This response refutes point (i) in the Ayres comment's abstract. It argues that at its heart responsive regulation is about seeking strategies that will render regulation more relational when it counts. This is possible even in domains like tax compliance where 99 per cent of the routine regulatory action occurs without face-to-face encounter. A number of critiques in the special issue are embraced. While practitioners who reject civic republican values can learn from the responsive regulation literature, regulation conduces to tyranny if it is not explicit in a value commitment to reducing domination in the world. Concern that the republican elements of the argument have been insufficiently prominent in subsequent writing of the authors is therefore embraced. Freedom as non-domination requires a transnational regulatory vision for strategies with transnational leverage that reduce domination globally, not just nationally. A paradox advanced is that the largest regulatory errors of recent history on the global stage are best corrected by micro relational strategies invented with a global imagination for crafting micro–macro linkages.