I have to agree with Ken Connor here: Stossel is dead wrong. The Constitutional ideal simply cannot work without the accountability that the legal system affords claimants (and the defense in a given case, of course). One oft-presented example is that of pollution–without the ability of individuals or groups to bring a case against a polluter, we would have to rely solely on potentially outdated or corrupt regulations. Further, as Connor explains here,
The tort system promotes local control. Through the jury system, people at the local level decide what is reasonable behavior within their own communities. Ordinary citizens, applying a common sense standard of reasonable care, making decisions about acceptable and unacceptable conduct within their community – that is the essence of local government. And, as a result of those decisions, suppliers of goods and services within the marketplace will often modify their own behaviors (i.e., improve health care standards, place guards on dangerous products, protect against discharge of toxic pollutants) without the necessity of yet another costly and intrusive governmental bureaucracy.
It is a fact: sometimes libertarians appear to be self-caricatures. They’ll oftentimes let their vision of American society be reduced to smoking bans or, in this case, “tort reform,” potentially missing the ‘bigger picture’ and further triangulating an otherwise serious political philosophy.