About Deregulator

“Our editorialist knows a lot about politics in North Carolina … and uses that knowledge to advocate clearly for sensible solutions. First-rate thinking and writing.”

The judge who reviewed editorials from online publications for the 2019 N.C. Press Association awards offered those kind words. I won first place in the division — the third straight year I was honored with the top spot.

That’s what I intend to deliver to Deregulator readers. You can take advantage of my knowledge and experience as I cover policies and ideas and trends in North Carolina and elsewhere, from my POV.

Maybe even have some fun while we’re at it.

About the title

The North Carolina Regulators were a feisty group of North Carolina farmers during the Colonial era who fought the first battle of the American Revolution … a few years early. They resisted the high fees and corruption of Royal Governor William Tryon. The War of Regulation culminated at Alamance Courthouse in 1771, when British forces crushed the outmanned and outgunned farmers. Several Regulators were hanged, others were pardoned. (The Outlander series revisited the campaign!)

I started Deregulator in 1986 as a play on the Regulator moniker. It was a monthly ‘zine, opining from a libertarian perspective. It was fun. And amateurish. Though I charged subscribers, it wound up being an expensive hobby. It did, however, lead to connections with the founders of The Carolina Critic, a student publication at UNC-Chapel Hill. Which led me to an internship in 1989 with the National Journalism Center in Washington, D.C., where I wound up meeting Virginia Postrel, editor of Reason, who hired me as a cub reporter.

I’ve been writing and editing professionally since then.

My worldview has evolved as I’ve learned and, I hope, gained more perspective. I value good-natured disagreements more than ever. I don’t want to “own” any ideological perspective — the libs, the cons, or the mods. I’m not sure it’s possible, even if it were desirable. If a brilliant or snarky turn of phrase can get another person to abandon a set of principles, then those principles weren’t deeply held or understood anyway.

Besides, there’s (Hayek misappropriation warning) The Knowledge Problem. No person is omniscient. We can often if not always learn from others. That’s much more satisfying intellectually and spiritually than trying to “own” them.

I kept Deregulator alive as a blog and it was the natural choice to be my Twitter handle, even though I was living in Colorado when I joined that wretched website.

After 35 years, Deregulator’s time may have arrived. If you think it’s worth it, of course!

What happened?

Read about it here. The TL;DR version: I hoped there was room for reasoned, straightforward reporting and commentary — with a voice and perspective — from independent writers.

There may be. Just not now, unless you have institutional support, a large, ready-made audience, and time to build and develop new readers in North Carolina’s political space.

After four months, I learned that the absence of a) and b) made c) improbable. With Social Fabric, I have entered an optimistic and positive space I love.

Why subscribe?

Any new material I post will go to the free list. If you’d like to support my work financially (bless you), check out Social Fabric. See what you think!

I also may set up secondary funding streams. If so, the link will be here.

Feedback, please

I’ve gotten kind words and shares and promotion from friends and other readers. Thank you! I’d greatly appreciate feedback in the comment section as well. Don’t be shy …

For now, enjoy the great Durham-based Americana band The Gravy Boys, with a song they wrote about the War of Regulation.

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