At You, Not With You

Dear Europe: if you feel an uncomfortable suspicion that we yanks are laughing behind our hands at you, well… yes, yes we are.

But honestly, how can we help it?  Exhibit A, a new EU regulation that will prohibit people from specifying their desired gender when advertising for a roommate.  It’s supposed to combat discrimination.  What next, a law requiring landlords to accept the first person who applies for a room?  After all, even if landlords can’t advertise for a specific sex, they can still discriminate by choosing which applicant to accept.  Gotta plug those loopholes!

This would just be an amusing quirk, except that those of us who have followed the Brickbats section of Reason magazine for any length of time know that it’s representative of the constant stream of insane, unenforcable microregulations that have flowed out of the reality-challenged EU buearocracy.  There’s a very simple reason we’re kicking your collective ass economically: less regulation.  You should bone up on the lessons of one of your greatest gifts to the world, F. A. Hayek.  He explained sixty years ago why centralized micromanagement couldn’t work, and his predictions have all been born out by history.  Oh well, I guess it’s true what they say: a prophet is never honored in his home land. 

(Hat tip: humandays)

View All


  1. Dear Landlord,

    You are in breech of penal law “347 section c”

    All rental applicants shall be placed in a pool and drawn in a random manner.

    The fact that said tenant has 20 evictions, no income, sleeps with animals, and is a 9 time convicted felon can not affect your decision to rent to said individual!

  2. Tyranny creeps in on little cat feet.
    Socialism is not the ultimate evil any more than complete deregulation.
    The problem in Europe is that they’ve practically done away with any opposition.
    What is the alternative? Moving to Algeria?

    Don’t speak too loudly about ” a law requiring landlords to accept the first person who applies”. You may give someone ideas.

  3. uh people?

    regulation that will prohibit people from specifying their desired gender when advertising for a roommate.

    again, if we insert the word race, would you feel the same way? “I only want white tenants” doesnt sound like discrimination to you?

    1. Re: uh people?

      Both are discrimination, I wasn’t arguing that it wasn’t. I don’t agree with any law prohibiting such discrimination. They achieve nothing. So someone can’t post an ad for “only white tenants”, but they still refuse all applicants until a white one comes along. You know it happens all the time. Is that somehow better than overt racism, where it can be seen and publically condemned?

      And honestly, what newspaper would ever consent to publish such a racist ad? Our society tolerates sexual discrimination for the purpose of seeking tenants or roommates. I’m not aware of any great movement to change this fact, either – I think most people agree that it’s OK for, say, a woman to only be comfortable living with another woman. On the other hand, it doesn’t tolerate overt racial discrimination for that purpose – a fact that any newspaper ignores to it’s peril. A law prohibiting such ads would do nothing to change the attitude behind them – it would only serve to conceal it.

      1. Re: uh people?

        For me there’s a vital distinction between ads for roomates and ads for tenants, but no vital distinction between race and gender in this context.

        re landlords seeking tenants, no it wont stop them from simply selecting ‘fitting’ tenants BUT what it does do is make that a lot more obvious, a lot easier to prove, and therefore 1)less likely to happen and 2)more likely to be corrected if it is happening. even if 2 only represents going from 1% being stopped to 2% it still matters.

        1. Re: uh people?

          Another difference in basic philosophy… for me, being regulation-averse by default, a law has to pass a pretty high bar to be justified in my eyes, and a bit part of that bar is the utilitarian test: will it have substantial, measurable results? To me a 1% reduction is far too low a cost/benefit ratio to justify a new law, even disregarding any questions of whether I think the law is moral.

          1. Re: uh people?

            er, a big part, that is

          2. Re: uh people?

            were this about illegal parking, or shoplifting, i might agree 1% isn’t worth it. in this case, however, it is. if even a few thousand people a year are not denied access to residences that may in turn enhance their income, their childrens eduction, access to a safer environment, the ability to extend their political influence, etc – thats sufficient to me to merit the law.

  4. their laws are in keeping with their philosophies, and Europe is notorious for authoritative law-making, throughout history. isn’t that part of the reason Americans revolted?
    our laws reflect our beliefs.

    and their social economic policies are based in different philosophies than ours, also. post-WWII, Germany (my only expertise at this level) experienced their “change of values”. when your home and homeland are just about annihilated, you think that maybe assuring creature-comforts and fairness matter a bit more than worldwide economic domination.
    if it’s all a number game, we win out on military, economics, much of the quantifiable stuff. but are we here to win Milton Bradley’s “Game of Life”? that sounds like a sorry life to me, though it seems to be the predominant American philosophy of government.
    just sounds a lot to me like we’re the big kid on the block assuming we’re better than everyone else because we can beat them up. surely we’ve got something more than that.

    1. You’re the only one talking about beating them up. I’m talking about economics, which contrary to popular belief is not just something that matters to baldheaded old guys wearing green visors. Economics affects everything. It’s the prime enabler of quality of life. There are a lot of intangibles that go into quality of life, but a strong economy – and the overall wealth and envrionment which it brings – is what allows people to persue those less tangible aspects.

      1. “kicking your collective asses economically” is the language from which i’d garnered my “bully” impression.
        and that a person like my mother can work dilligently in the same professional field (as an operating room nurse) for over 30 years, and still have barely enough to support herself and the family- when the only gateway to the quality of life demanded by most Americans is inescapable debt – i seriously question our economic superiority.
        just my emotions coming to the surface.

Comments are closed.