Thursday night really snuck up on me this week! My first week back at work after being out of the store for a while is always a challenge. In this case, getting caught back up on all the paperwork, training of new employees, and issues that came up while I was gone for two weeks is a quite daunting task. It is made even more daunting by an upcoming product launch that will be revolutionary in the industry and will also require a ton of my time for the next 8 weeks (work time not blog time!). I am pretty excited about some of my upcoming topics as well. I have some good discussion topics coming up, starting with Sunday night’s article in a few days. Tonight’s guest commentary comes to us from a tried and true contributor. I have a couple to choose from but I really wanted to run another one from Jon Smith. I always enjoy his topics because they are pretty thought out and well written. Jon has a knack for using that grey matter inside his skull to flesh out good discussions. Tonight’s contribution will be no different.
The Fake Dichotomy
by Jon Smith
Actually there are two I will discuss today. And I do mean fake dichotomy, not false dichotomy. A false dichotomy is when you are presented with only two choices, when in fact there are more than two to choose from. A fake dichotomy, at least the way I am using the term today, is when there are two options, or sides to an argument, and in fact the two are no different, they are on the same side.
The two key ones I will touch on today are being used as tools to manipulate the entire population. The first many people are aware of, or are becoming aware of. Many, unfortunately, are aware of it but still fall prey to it. It is the two primary political parties.
Republicrats and Demoblicans (US), LibLabCon (Britain), LibCon or ConLib (Canada), all terms representing what for more and more people is a glaringly obvious fact: The Parties are not very different, and they all end up leading us in the same general direction. They fight over nearly irrelevant issues, calling attention to small things that, even if they mean a lot to some people, certainly pale in comparison to the direction of the whole country, our freedom, our economic success and the quality of life in general.
The fact that people are not aware of the fake battle, and really believe there is a difference between the parties is a tragedy of observation and of people really caring enough to educate themselves about what is really going on. A greater tragedy is when people are paying attention, but are so biased and emotionally or sentimentally attached to “their party” that they judge the actions of their leaders based on who does the action, rather than on the substance of the action itself. Bush, for instance, started the bailouts, Obama continued them. Partisan critics had glaring differences in how they judged those actions, even tho they were essentially the same. The greatest tragedy, however, is that many people actually recognize that the parties have little difference, yet fall prey anyway. They talk about how both sides are a problem, how both are full of corruption, both spend too much, both take away freedom, both grow the government, both are incompetent. But on election day, they vote for one or the other anyway. They get all sucked into this issue or that. They get all up in arms about how bad the one “side” is, even tho they know there are no distinguishable “sides” to start with. They vote for one or the other, knowing that their choice is irrelevant, and will only lead to more of the same, only not quite as much of it as the other guy. Maybe.
I am not, of course, advocating not voting as some would recommend to you. This does nothing either, it is just quitting. If you want to step away from the system, however, it is better than perpetuating a broken one. I would rather see someone do nothing with their brains turned on than do something stupid when they should, or do, know better. The key here is to recognize that there is not only a fake dichotomy in American politics, with the parties working together behind the scenes, or at least moving toward a generally similar goal, but there is also a false dichotomy. The two parties are not the only choices we have.
The other fake dichotomy is less obvious, but is perhaps more sinister, since I think it is more purposeful. Also, this fake dichotomy does not include all players in the categories I speak of. (This also applies to the first fake dichotomy, not all Republicans and Democrats are the same, nor all they all on an evil path, but the majority, at least at the national level, certainly are.) The false battle I speak of is business versus government. Large corporations and the Government/Union alliance seem to fight constantly. There is some real fighting, to be sure, but in a lot of cases, the large corporations fight the regulations and laws for a while, and do so quite vocally, pointing to the costs and profit losses, but in the end they are not really that bothered by the regulations. Why? Because massive regulations cement their place at the top of the food chain. In a free market, every business must fight to the top and continue to fight and innovate to stay there. If you are a leader in your industry, you have the advantage of capital and brand recognition and infrastructure, but you are generally very hard to manage and innovation tends to slip. Structure, required for a large business to function, tends to eclipse innovation and flexibility. In most markets, if you fail to innovate, you will be outmoded and outrun. If you do not change your ways, you will eventually fail, beaten out by a better competitor, even one smaller than you. You may only lose market share in one region, succumbing to a smaller, but better competitor, but when that happens in enough regions, you are no longer the leader of the pack.
So why do the businesses actually welcome costly regulation? It raises the cost of entry into the market. Think about it. How many times do you say that you could do a better job at a given service provided by super large corporations? Most of the time, those companies are not operating at the best they possibly could because they do not have to. There are no viable competitors. The more regulations and restrictions are in place, the more licenses you need and the more you have to “know people” to get your company started, the better off existing competitors are. They can lose money to government regulations or taxes, but make it up by paying less or trimming quality or squeezing suppliers or whatever they want to do. They can steamroll their customers and employees alike and not lose a bit of business, because customers have no better options. They have no better options because no one is able to afford to start a business or get the approval for it.
Thus the power of big business is cemented with the current business leaders. They, in turn, support the politicians that slapped them with regulations and ensure that the unholy alliance continues. Power for the leaders, both corporate and political, with some thrown to union leaders to keep the workers from grumbling and we are stuck with a badly functioning market. More incompetence, bred by this manipulation of a supposedly free market allows justification for more regulation. Unhappy customers welcome the promises of a “fix” for the problem. A fix that only enslaves them further and entrenches the incompetent, lazy business leaders even further. Any real sense of business vision or ethics is lost, and we have a country run by crooks. Sound familiar?
Its not business versus government, it is government and SOME business leaders teaming up against the rest of business, insulating themselves from the market so that they can rest on their laurels and take advantage of the populace. It is a lie. There is no battle between business and government, there is a battle between the free market and a controlled market, between freedom and restriction. We need a separation of business and state like we are supposed to have for religion and state. Laws must still be followed that protect freedoms, such as laws against fraud and theft. Separation of business and state does not mean lawlessness, only a removal of the temptation for power to team up with wealth and run the world. The corporation and other government business constructs should be abolished. Business licensing and other restrictions should be removed. If you want to be in business, then do so. There should be no hoops or fees for innovation and entrepreneurship.
No more fake dichotomies, pretend battles, etc. Pay attention to what happens when the two sides fight. If either side “wins” but nothing really changes, either way, then the battle itself was false. One side pretending to be two sides must be attacked at the root, a proper opponent must be found. Its not just that there are more than two choices, its that the two choices presented are really only one choice.
Find another option.