In books and essays about writing, among other well worn pieces of advice, they say you should write about things, people, events and so forth that interest you. I find libertarians Nick Gillespie and Matt Welch boring and tiresome. I’m more familiar with Gillespie. His modus operandi in his average piece is to tote the liberalism which libertarians have subverted. Libertarianism is the bastard child of late 19th century anarchists, communists and fascists. Much like conservatism, they do not have an historical base of political science or political theory to draw from. In this piece – Death of the Duopoly– true to form they decry the drug war, foreign wars and the impact of special interests. Even a squirrel finds a nut eventually. A duopoly in this case is the Republican and Democratic party establishment with some examples from business, sports and music thrown in as supposed supporting evidence. It would make things so much easier if we lived in a world of obvious contrasts. Is he completely wrong in his cliched observations about our two major political parties. No. Though far be it from Gillespie to note the incredible rigidity and conformity of the Right and its adherents. If he and Welsh would not stop to make that all too obvious observation they certainly would not note the multiple divisions in the Democratic Party. If that were not enough of a hint that the article is going to be a disaster. An utter failure in even casual observation, this is another clue,
The decentralized and effectively leaderless Tea Party is the most potent example of this permanent non-governing minority. The movement has focused like a laser beam on what all but a few Washington politicians won’t dare to touch: actually cutting spending and debt. Whether the group will be able to maintain its emphasis on stanching the nation’s flow of red ink while avoiding divisive social issues is an open question. But there’s no denying that the Tea Party’s biggest impact has come by backing challengers to entrenched Republican candidates.
Far Right presidential candidate Michele Bachmann started the tea stained caucus in Congress. Most of the tea stains financial backing has come from the far Right Koch brothers, American for Prosperity, and the American Enterprise Institute, among others. That income inequality that Gillespie and Welsh say is so awful is largely a result of far Right tax policy supported by organizations like AFP. The so-called tea movement is largely driven by the same old special interests that have been bank rolling the far Rights for decades. The Koch brothers father was one of the founding members of the John Birch Society. These people were and still are so far right they thought Dwight Eisenhower was a communist. I’ve read interviews with and seen TV reports of people who say they are with the tea baggers and really are independents and so forth. Those people are a very small percentage of the tea bagger movement. Which means the tea baggers are merely part of the long tradition of the far Right versus the centrist to progressive Democratic Party. The “duopoly” this little essay is said to be against. This deeply false narrative is obvious to anyone who has kept up with social and political events of the last two years. Gillespie and Welsh’s thesis is deeply offensive in that regard. So are they living in a mental bubble or are they trying to appeal to people dumber than the average door knob. A look in the comments is informative in that regard. The Gillespie/Welsh bubble must be plentiful and cheap. The laws of supply and demand at work. I’m not going to Fisk the entire article. This last excerpt demonstrates a logical fallacy that runs through the entire essay,
It is worth taking a closer look at one case on Mr. Darby’s list: Kodak and Fujifilm. For much of the 20th century, Kodak was synonymous with color photography. Memories captured on film were “Kodak moments,” and the Dow Jones Industrial Average listed the company for more than seven decades. At one point it enjoyed an amazing 96% share of the U.S. market for film. Such was its dominance that the federal government sued Kodak for antitrust violations not once but twice, producing out-of-court settlements in 1921 and 1954.
Fujifilm began competing with Kodak globally in the 1970s and seriously in the U.S. after the 1984 Olympics. Though always the junior partner on Kodak’s home turf, the conglomerate held its own enough that the duopoly soon attracted academic studies. Their underlying assumption was that the duopoly would be stable for the foreseeable future.
But the studies were wrong. The share price of Eastman Kodak tumbled from $60 in 2000 to below the $4 mark by 2011.
What happened? Like many duopolies, Kodak and Fujifilm treated their customers like captives, forcing them to pay for pictures they didn’t want and steering them toward ever-pricier analog products. This worked as long as consumers had nowhere else to turn. But digital technology, as we know, changed all that, giving customers not just a Kodak/Fuji-free workaround, but the power to make, delete, alter and otherwise control their own creative product.
That example to prove their point about the evils of duopolies is from Larry F. Darby. Mr. Darby has passed away. It would be just as pretentious for me to speak for him as it was for Gillispie and Welsh to use his work in this laughable stretch of of an analogy between America’s political parties and two film companies. So first there was the monopoly Kodak. Than along came a competitor Fuji. Both companies are took a big hit by the beginning of digital technology. Most people do not even develop their pictures anymore, they just keep digital copies. If they want a print they can buy a film printer or send selected photos to be developed over the net. So event D(digital) followed event F( two film companies) thus two entities dominating an endeavor is proven to be bad. That is a post hoc argument if I ever heard one. Digital film came along via an improvement in technology so the growth of the communist party in North America is thus 1) inevitable 2) the best result for the public. Just substitute tea stains or Green Party or Constitution Party for communists. Gillespie and Welsh completely fail to tell us how the failure of the two film companies to perform in a certain way produced digital technology. They fail because one did not produce the other. The invention of a new technology lead to the downsizing of the two film companies. A lark. Unless they could produce proof the inventors of digital film camera, smart cards and associated technology were invented in order to bring down Kodak and Fuji( which both sell photographic paper, home printers and digital picture dispalys) they might as well have told us a story about a little girl and three bears and how the moral of the story proves the dominance of our two political parties is not good for the country. That might be true, but two leading intellectuals of the libertarian movement failed to make that case. How is it these two wankers got some prime media real estate for this junior high level attempt at making their argument.
1. The Presidential election of 1976. I urge you, as emphatically as I can, not to support the candidacy of Ronald Reagan. I urge you not to work for or advocate his nomination, and not to vote for him.