Ubertarians, Meet Teslarchists

March 18th, 2014

I have previously commented on the phenomenon of the so-called “ubertarians.”

D.C. is home to a growing and curious breed, progressive young professionals who bemoan the city’s income inequality one instant and approach a black limo the next, asking “Are you my Uber?”; who condemn the government for under-regulating the banks and for over-regulating businesses and developers; who lament the decline of American labor but wish the teachers’ union didn’t have so much power in D.C. schools.

They support government regulation—except when it inconveniences them. Clamping down on the big banks? Yes, please. Tighter safety standards? Love ‘em. Restrictions on app-based taxi competitors, or on the number of bars or restaurants in their neighborhood? An outrageous imposition on the free market!

How is it that progressives, who otherwise favor all sorts of forms of economic regulation, occupational licensing schemes, and unnecessary barriers to entry, find this single cartel–taxi cabs–is unnecessary.

Well, many progressives have suddenly found another cartel they can’t stand. New Jersey, as well as Texas, and Arizona, only permit the sale of cars through in-state car dealerships. This renders the Tesla sales model–selling direct to consumers–illegal in many states.

And you know what? Elon Musk and other Tesla aficionados are objecting, and seek to deregulate (unregulate really) the market to sell cars.

These are the Teslarchists–Tesla Anarchists. Libertarians are often (inaccurately) assailed as anarchists. This is a law whose purpose is economic protectionism. Yet, there are many species of this law that do just that.

If only more progressives discover the harmful nature of cartels, we would all be better off. Ubertarians and Teslarchists unite!