Cronies Aren't Capitalists

Monday, July 20, 2015

Bruce Bialosky ends an otherwise perspicacious column badly, by making the common error of conceding a fundamental premise to an intellectual enemy. Writing about "supposed capitalists" -- his term, and far superior to the self-contradictory "crony capitalists" used in the title of the piece -- who supported "net neutrality", Bialosky asks:

When will capitalists [sic] stop trying to line their pockets through the largesse of the government? Certainly some government/business cooperation is needed, but it stops there. Obama has been a master of playing off these greedy capitalists who think they can control factors if they are at the table as opposed to fighting the expansion of government control. Playing footsie with the Left never works over time. Hastings, Schmidt, and Karp are already regretting their foolhardiness. The rest of us will end up suffering. [bold added]
The statement in bold is where Bialosky will lose his argument, and pointless discussions over where to draw a line will begin. Fortunately, this passage reminded me of one in which Ayn Rand discussed the whole notion of government-business "partnerships", in her essay, "The New Fascism: Rule By Consensus", found in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal:
The formula by which the sacrificial animals are to be fooled and tamed is being repeated today with growing insistence and frequency: businessmen, it is said, must regard the government, not as an enemy, but as a "partner." The notion of a "partnership" between a private group and public officials, between business and government, between production and force, is a linguistic corruption (an "anti-concept") typical of a fascist ideology -- an ideology that regards force as the basic element and ultimate arbiter in all human relationships. (216)
Rand notes further that "partnership" is "an indecent euphemism for government control", and that:
[T]here are men who may find such a prospect attractive; they exist among businessmen as among every other group or profession: the men who dread the competition of a free market and would welcome an armed "partner" to extort special advantages over their abler competitors; men who seek to rise, not by merit but by pull, men who are willing and eager to live not by right, but by favor. Among businessmen, this type of mentality was responsible for the passage of the antitrust laws and is still supporting them today. (216)
The useful idiots Bialosky wrote of are no capitalists. On top of this, it is too bad that so many other Obama supporters seem oblivious to such examples of things not turning out so well when they get what they ask for.

-- CAV


Today: (1) Fixed a formatting error.  (2) Slight clarification to last sentence.

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