Let’s de-French Our Dependence on Government

We are all French now – at least when it comes to government permitting. That’s unfortunate because it means we’ve lost some of the dynamism and initiative that built America. We need to fix our sclerotic permitting system, and to do it, we should look back to our English common law roots.


The current permitting system, used across all levels of government, generally has the same process structure. An applicant (person, business, etc.) who wants to do something such as build a structure or open a business, must file an application with a government (federal, state, or local) seeking approval. Before a project can be constructed or a business can open, the government takes it upon itself to make sure all conditions are met. The applicant must then wait, sometimes for excessive amounts of time, simply to know if their desired permission will be granted.

This same general process is experienced by many, whether it be seeking permission to build a shed in a residential backyard or building a multi-million-dollar oil rig. The same problem persists: there is inefficiency, uncertainty, and expense involved for anyone who needs government approval to act.


But this approach to governance is not what made America exceptional. Historically in the West, there were two philosophical approaches to government. The first, derived from the English common law, is decentralized government. The individual is free to act, within certain understood parameters, freely. The king (government) would only step in if some action or behavior needed correction.

Read more: https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2023/08/02/lets-de-french-our-dependence-on-government/


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