Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The Naked Face Of Evil

Courtesy of Maetenloch at Ace of Spades HQ comes the link to the most despicable, monstrously evil piece of opinion writing I've read in many years:

They’re huge, they’re ruthless, and they touch every aspect of our daily lives. Corporations like Amazon and Google keep expanding their reach and their power. Despite a history of abuses, so far the Justice Department has declined to take antitrust actions against them. But there’s another solution.

Is it time to manage and regulate these companies as public utilities?...

They were created with publicly funded technologies, and prospered as the result of indulgent policies and lax oversight. They’ve achieved monopoly or near-monopoly status, are spying on us to an extent that’s unprecedented in human history, and have the potential to alter each and every one of our economic, political, social and cultural transactions.

Please read the whole thing...preferably on an empty stomach. From first to last it's a tissue of lies, baseless contentions, and expressions of ravening envy. And it is a perfect illustration of the core agenda of the Left: to ensure that nothing that actually works shall be left in the hands of those who created it.

The history of governments' invasions of enterprise is a record of unparalleled, undiluted failure. The reasons should not baffle anyone with a sense for how people respond to incentives and penalties. Milton Friedman boiled it down to a 2x2 matrix:

The Benefit Will Accrue To Me The Benefit Will Accrue To Others
The Cost Will Be Borne By Me
The Cost Will Be Borne By Others

The unwisdom of government as a "provider of goods and services" really becomes quite simple when one reduces the question to incentives and their absence:

  • When Smith is spending his own money on himself (I), he strains to optimize both the cost of what he buys and the quality of the thing purchased.
  • When Smith is spending his money on something for someone else (II), he'll still try to keep the cost down, but the quality of the purchase won't much concern him.
  • When Smith is spending on something for himself, but with someone else's money ( III), he'll still be interested in a quality purchase, but the minimization of cost will no longer concern him.
  • And when Smith is spending someone else's money on something for someone else (IV), neither cost nor quality will concern him.

An enterprise "owned" by government is a Type IV enterprise. Those who operate it are providing something to persons other than themselves, using tax revenues or fees coerced out of private citizens. They cannot profit -- legally, at least -- from doing it economically or well. Indeed, in the usual case there's more gain to be had from doing it poorly. After all, it's always the failing projects and the overrun budgets that get the biggest increases in staffing and funding, isn't it?

But note! Governments very seldom seek to take over a business that's operating at a loss. They target profitable companies that are appreciably more popular than their competitors. The usual cry is "monopoly" or "exploitation," even when the targeted company has a number of competitors -- Amazon has thousands of them -- or provides its services for free, as does Google. When a government seizes such a concern, it almost immediately runs it onto the rocks, providing ever poorer goods or services at an ever higher end-purchaser cost, in obedience to the incentive structure outlined above. Examples are innumerable.

Given that the advocates of "nationalizing" this or that are seldom deaf-blind idiots who can't grasp the logic above, they must have some other end in view than improving the quality or cost of whatever they seek to seize. And they do, Gentle Reader, they do.

I have no previous acquaintance with Richard Eskow, the author of that atrociously evil article above, but the tag line at the end makes him "a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America's Future," a hard-left "progressive" advocacy group. We may take it as written that his covert aim is the elimination of private enterprise: the overarching agenda of all "progressive" activists and organizations since the word first entered our political lexicon.

"Progressives" -- semi-closeted totalitarian social-fascists -- are animated by envy and power lust. Joseph Sobran and Ayn Rand had a common definition for envy, the one and only sin God forbade in the Ten Commandments: hatred of the good for being the good. Virtually none of them are capable of producing a good or service that others would willingly purchase. Virtually none of them have any substantive achievements of any sort. (No, I don't regard the acquisition of an Ivy League degree in "political science," "social policy," "journalism," or "communications" as a substantive achievement.) And virtually none of them, if pressed with maximum force, could justify the treatment of any enterprise as something that "should belong to 'the people'" -- and that includes all the various "nationalized" and "municipalized" enterprises we endure today.

I used the word justify for a reason. To justify something is to establish that it accords with the principles of justice: that is, with right and wrong as they're encoded in our fundamental laws. Eskow is so far from justifying the nationalization of Amazon and Google that he has to resort to lie after lie even to make a start on it -- the assertion that the development of broadband Internet access was "publicly funded" is only the most risible -- and to what purported end? To reduce Amazon's irreducibly thin profit margin? To make Google's services cheaper than free? Or might he have it in mind to use the information-gathering powers of those giants of the World Wide Web, which he excoriates for "spying on us" -- the term "progressives" invariably substitute for "market research" -- for his preferred political purposes?

Given that the "progressive" pole star is unbounded and irresistible power over all that exists, regardless of the "justification," which would you prefer to know about your purchasing patterns? Your tastes in entertainment? Your affiliations with other online groups and advocacy sites? Your Web-enabled vices, whatever they might be? Amazon and Google, or Richard Eskow and the Campaign for America's Future?

Think it over.


T. Paine said...

Does anyone else see the irony in Richard R J Eskow using Facebook to promote himself and his fascist ideals? The face of the enemy.

T. Paine said...

If anyone cares to see the face of the enemy go over to that evil, vile Facebook and look up Richard R J Eskow. This guy has several anti business rants posted there.

Joseph said...

To leftists: You cannot use the Ring. Regulation answers to the State alone. It has no other master.