Strangely Sensible Barber Licensing

A correspondent sent me a link to a North Carolina state legislator proposing “AN ACT PROVIDING THAT ONLY BARBERS MAY USE THE STRIPED BARBER POLE AS A MEANS OF ADVERTISEMENT.”

I don’t actually think this is a terrible idea. But what I’d like to see is a scenario in which that’s the only legal implication of a barber license. Let the state set up a barber licensing board, let the board devise whatever scheme it deems appropriate, and then give the licensed barbers exclusive right to display the barber pole and proclaim themselves “licensed barbers.”

But if some non-barber wants to cut hair, leave him in peace. Then we can see what the real value of the credential is. Personally, I have would have no hesitation whatsoever about checking out an unlicensed barber if a friend or colleague recommended one.