Turns Out the Elites Like the Administrative State Better than Democracy

“Recently, the New York Times, in a progressive moment of truth, reacted to the US Supreme Court’s decision in West Virginia v. EPA, in which the court ruled that because carbon dioxide is not among the pollutants regulated by the 1990 Clean Air Act Amendments, the Environmental Protection Agency could not enforce CO2 emissions rules for electric power plants. … Not surprisingly, the NYT went ballistic, and in so doing exposed the progressive mentality, with its affinity for rule by ‘experts.’ …

In its 6–3 ruling, the SCOTUS indicated that Congress was free to pass legislation to regulate carbon dioxide but that the EPA was not free to simply add it to its list of regulated power plant emissions on its own. In other words, the high court declared that democratically elected members of the US House and Senate are free to write (and pass) any anti–climate change legislation they choose. This is what the ancients once called democracy. …

The ‘administrative state,’ of course, is anything but democratic; it is autocratic to the core. For all of their professed love for democracy, progressives have long demanded rule by experts, or at least rule by ‘experts’ that meet progressive approval. … Far from being near-omniscient sages of science, the bureaucrats making life-altering decisions at the EPA are people who bear no costs if they impose unnecessary burdens on the lives of ordinary people but who also find that the more draconian their edicts, the greater the praise from environmental interest groups and, of course, the New York Times.

Originally published here by the Ludwig von Mises Institute on 12 July 2022.

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