A word from Jean Yarbrough

Steve Hayward inducted Jean Yarbrough into the Power Line 100 early on in his series. Professor Yarbrough teaches government at Bowdoin College and holds the Gary M. Pendy Sr. Professor of Social Sciences chair at Bowdoin College. She is the author, most recently, of Theodore Roosevelt and the American Political Tradition, winner of the American Political Science Association’s Richard E. Neustadt Award for the best book published on the U.S. presidency in 2012.

Professor Yarbrough writes in response to “The lonesome death of Buckyballs,” articulating thoughts at the back of my mind when I drew attention to the WSJ column that occasioned the post. I thought Professor Yarbrough’s message would be of interest to Power Line readers:

I too read that WSJ column on Buckyballs — “What happens when a man takes on the feds” — and was aghast. Put it together with the harassment of Catherine Engelbrecht by the IRS, a story reported by Jillian Kay Melchior (NRO) and Sharyl Attkisson (CBS), and you have, not soft despotism, but hidden and rather hard despotism for those who fall into the maw of the administrative state.

Two essays in the new issue of the Claremont Review of Books — one by Christopher DeMuth, the other by Brian Callanan — deserve special mention in connecting the dots. One of the things that truly alarms me is how little our fellow citizens, even moderately well educated ones, know about the parallel universe of the bureaucratic world. The DeMuth and Callanan essays provide a primer in what is going on with the executive and the regulatory agencies.

We need an updated online primer in American government and political thought. We all learn about the separation of powers and federalism, but don’t understand that these restraints do not operate in the administrative universe. Indeed, the administrative state was designed to overcome these obstacles. Our mission should be to educate Americans on the real effects of this turn toward administrative regulations and rules.

Thanks to Professor Yarbrough for her permission to post her message. My video of attorney Cleta Mitchell discussing the case of Catherine Engelbrecht/True the Vote is reposted below.

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