In defence of Joe the Plumber
Lew Rockwell defends Joe the Plumber, a rare bit of colour in an otherwise colourless US campaign -- and no, that's not any kind of a pun -- who seems to be "a thorough-going outlaw in the best sense of that term."
The whole Joe the Plumber saga began when Joe Wurzelbacher from Toledo, Ohio, confronted Barack Obama about the candidate's tax plans. He wanted to know if Obama would raise his taxes. In particular, he was planning to buy a company with a revenue of $250,000 per year. "Your new tax plan is going to tax me more, isn't it?"
....But the New York Times did some digging and discovered — horror — that Joe is doing plumbing without a proper business license. How dare he call himself a plumber! A license is required by Toledo, not just one license for a partnership but for everyone who is called a plumber. Joe has not taken the training courses, is not a member of the union, and cannot legally call himself a plumber.
The press reports on this were explosive, with reporters speaking as if they had caught this guy red-handed and completely discredited him. But what about the complete absurdity of the idea that you have to have a license in order to have the right to fix someone else's sink? This is Soviet like, but deeply entrenched in American professional life.
And no less true, sadly, in New Zealand professional life.
By practicing plumbing without a license, Joe is bucking the system in a truly heroic way. He shouldn't be condemned for this. He should be celebrated as a freedom fighter. He has a lot more to complain about than just taxes. It is the state itself in all its incarnations that is his true enemy. He ought to demanding answers from the politicians about their regulatory schemes to further restrict competition in a wide range of areas (banking for example!).
Most ridiculous is the idea that he shouldn't be called a plumber because he doesn't have a license. Here we see how licensing attacks even the use of our language. If he is doing plumbing, he is a plumber. Period.
Wonder what the Architects' Institute here would say about such an argument?