The "liberal" (= socialist) worldview

No Bill Gates has even 1/100 of the economic power as the person on whom you depend to protect you from Bill Gates.

Who protects you from the person who protects you from Bill Gates?
I wrote a longish comment concluding with the above thought in response to this statement on reddit.

This is my response:

It is sad how your interpretation of reality is wrong and misleading on nearly every count.

There are some claims I can easily dismiss offhand. Before there was the FDA, there were private organizations, similar to Consumer Reports today, which served the function of keeping food manufacturers to high standards. Furthermore, before there was an FDA, it was possible for there to be competition among providers of such supervision; depending on their selectivity when buying, consumers could choose to hold their food providers accountable to some or all of them.

Furthermore, if some food producer in a privately supervised system does prove negligent to the point of causing harm, there is the legal system and there's the option of lawsuits, individual or class action, to serve as a deterrent to keep companies in line.

What the current government-controlled system does is, it provides an inferior one-size-fits-all supervision approach which provides a single point of failure due to its monopolistic nature. Such failure is happening as we speak. One possible reason why the FDA does not ban potentially harmful artificial food coloring is because the FDA gets paid per quantity of color additives actually used. So instead, people who find that they are especially sensitive to such colorings, rely on private supervision providers, like the Feingold Association, to provide them with means to protect their health that are superior to what the FDA provides.

Most of the other claims made are similar distortions and fallacies. I can point out one which I know is particularly preposterous; no unscrupulous bankers ruined the banking system in the Great Depression. Neither capitalism nor bankers brought on the depression; the Federal Reserve itself did, by employed monetary policies that were counterproductive, without knowing it at the time. Subsequently, neither capitalism nor bankers prolonged the Great Depression, which could have been a short one, had Hoover not tried to "fix" it by encouraging employers to keep wages high and even raise them - which they, in what in hindsight could be seen as foolish patriotism, followed and did. When this didn't help the economy but actually made the problem worse, Hoover and associated congressmen further tried to "fix" things by imposing the isolationist Smoot-Hawley tariffs, which practically cut off the United States from foreign trade. This was done against petitions of thousands of economists warning that the tariff would lead to a disaster. It did.

Then FDR came to power and pretty much tried to do in the U.S. what Mussolini did in Italy. That, too, didn't work. Then came the war, bringing with it a central command economy, and that didn't help the economy either, despite continuing fallacies that WWII is what cured the Depression. It did not. A true recovery came after WWII.

What you're writing here, this is populist shit taught in schools across the USA by people to which the ex-Soviet leadership would privately refer as useful idiots.

What your story does accurately demonstrate is the vast extent to which government is present in (or interfering with) everyone's lives. The erroneous conclusion you make is that the mere fact that this vast interference exists means that its absence - or indeed, any reduction! - would cause harm. But this is not the case. The situation would be different, but just because a void would appear in market needs that is currently being filled by government, doesn't mean that private individuals would not step in to fulfill it, and it doesn't mean that they would do a worse job. In fact, libertarians argue convincingly that private individuals would do a better job, because they are responsible to people voting on a micro level every day with their wallets, while government is "responsible" only to people voting every few years, on a macro level distanced from the smaller levels that actually have problems, and given few realistic choices that don't even allow the voters to exercise control over anything.

Indeed, you exercise less control over what happens economically when you vote for a new Führer - um, President - every few years, than you exercise when you vote with your wallet and switch from one provider of a service to another.

There's another fallacy that seems to be deeply ingrained in your collective "liberal" minds: everyone involved in business is by default an unscrupulous, egotistic, megalomaniacal, profiteering, untrustworthy person, whereas people involved in politics and government are somehow better and less corrupt.

Don't you find it a bit strange that everyone who's corrupt would automatically be attracted to business, and few "good" people would be attracted to business; while everyone who's "good" would automatically be attracted to government, and few corrupt people would be attracted to government? Do you really think that's a realistic assessment of fact?

And if so, do you really think that the token elections you are allowed to participate in every now and then, in which each time you are given a wonderful and nuanced choice of two persons to vote for, one Democan and one Republicrat, and where your vote, if properly counted, means less than your contribution in revenue when you buy from your local store - do you really think that this system somehow gives you control, somehow allows you to "reign in the bastards"?

If so, then man, you've already been reigned in by the bastards, and they're the bastards you are voting for - the people who taught you that business is evil; the people who taught you that their contribution to society, keeping the bad businessmen in line, is something so valuable that you can't live without; people who obviously have no self-interest, whatsoever, in collecting a good 30% of your annual pay check, and spending it on whatever they currently consider worthy...

No, no, they are your protectors, you need them, because you see, if it wasn't for them, the boogey man would come, and the only reason the boogey man doesn't come is because they protect you. Just as long as you keep paying them.

So go on. Continue paying.

No private company takes out of your pocket even closely as much as the government does. Every year.

No private organization's revenue is $2.5 trillion per year. And growing.

No Bill Gates has even 1/100 of the economic power as the person on whom you depend to protect you from Bill Gates.

Who protects you from the person who protects you from Bill Gates?


Popular posts from this blog

When monospace fonts aren't: The Unicode character width nightmare

Circumcision as an adult, part 1

Circumcision as an adult, part 2