One basic belief of the Libertarians is “that governs best which governs least.” As an example, they often cite the numerous boards, commissions, panels, and agencies whose sole purpose seems to be to license and permit people to conduct business. While I can certainly see the necessity of certain levels of state scrutiny (doctors, lawyers, and perhaps a few other notable professions and trades such as electricians and plumbers), in most states it is carried to ludicrous examples. Massachusetts, for example, requires psychics and fortune tellers to obtain a license.
New Hampshire has strong Libertarian leanings, and that’s one of the reasons the Free State Project chose us for their grand experiment — get 20,000 like-minded people to move in and attempt to create their idea of a Libertarian utopia.
Recently, they staged a public event to demonstrate their cause. One of their members — a refugee from Vermont — taught himself the basics of hygiene and technique of giving a manicure online, then proceeded to give a manicure to another Free Stater — this one from Texas — on the lawn in front of the offices of the state Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics..
Naturally, he didn’t bother to get a license from the aforementioned state Board of Barbering, Cosmetology and Esthetics before he committed his flagrantly illegal and dangerous act. And naturally, Concord police moved in and arrested this menace to society. He refused to meet with a bail commissioner, so he was held over for arraignment.
Personally, I’d like to see a happy medium (no pun intended) struck. Keep the state licensing and mandated standards, but make them optional. Require the practitioners to prominently display their credentials, or lack thereof, and then let the people decide if they want to go to someone who the state says knows their business, or if they want to trust their instincts and word of mouth and patronize someone who hasn’t bothered jumping through the state hoops.
I don’t have the greatest track record on predictions, but I feel safe in saying that I doubt there will be a huge surge in deaths and injuries from bad haircuts and manicures if that happens.