You raise several valid points and as the discussion progresses I think we all see that truth and wisdom lies in the middle. I am glad to hear you state that the FAA and it's regulatory responsibilities do serve a valid and important role in maintaining the safety of the flying public. I deliberately used this example to help illustrate my position because it is such an obvious concept that anyone who has ever boarded a commercial jet can personally relate to.
So now I think we can all agree that it is not government regulation itself that is a probl but pointless regulation and pointless application of regulation. Maybe this has been your point all along. If so then forgive my slowness at not understanding. The reason I raised the point in the first place was to add some needed clarity for the readers who also may have come away with the impression that if we just totally got government out of the picture all together, everything would be swell. Talk radio likes to do this and I hear it being repeated everywhere by the "dittoheads".
As is the case with aviation, many facets of our society must always have regulation. I am a proponent of nuclear power but the potential for disaster is far too great to not have a single regulatory body like the NRC and DOE administering it. I would also say the same with regard to the DOT and FHSA that regulates the safety of our highways and railroads.
I understand your point about all of this being relegated to the individual states. The idea sounds nice but in practice I believe that we as a nation found it far more practical and efficient to have one governing body at the federal level to coordinate these efforts than to try to get 50 states to coordinate everything independently. Personally I see this as an imperfect yet practical solution, not a sinister path to tyranny ( not that you or anyone here suggested that but there are those who believe this)
So just as over regulation is a problem ( and I agree with you that in many circumstances it is ) recklessly deregulating and gutting agencies can cause problems; some catastrophic in scope. I like your idea of periodic review of all regulations by every agency to evaluate which ones work as intended and which cause unnecessary problems without intended results. I also agree that no regulation should be enacted without all parties haveing read, understood and added input. As you and cheese said, too often regulations get manipulated by the very entities they were intended to regulate. So now GE works the system while uncle Fred's Widget Factory goes broke. I think Uncle Fred should have the same say in the process as GE.
So coming full circle, I think many in the OWS movement just want this more level playing field for all of the Uncle Freds out there. Problem is in my opinion, demands have to start out as outrageous so there is wiggle room to show compromise toward a point nearer to what you really want. Take for example their demand for a $20 an hour national minimum wage. Almost everyone agrees that is outlandish. Most people however would agree that $10 an hour is reasonable. So if they start out at $20 but then compromise at $10 it becomes a victory since states like Arizona still only pay $6.15 an hour.
As to your point about my statement about never convincing me otherwise, I concede that point as you are correct; there are no absolutes. I had just watched that crash video and it provoked a strong emotional reaction which influenced my communication....