Promoted from the Ricochet Member Feed by Editors Created with Sketch. The Proper Relationship Between Government and Business

 

imageBack when I was moonlighting as a Pinkerton security guard in 1976 or 1977, there was some labor trouble at the manufacturing plant where I worked. I don’t recall the exact order in which things happened, but the workers replaced the UAW with the Teamsters in an acrimonious process, and a Teamsters guy came to help them conduct negotiations for a new contract.

One night, when things had been getting heated, my supervisor stopped by at the beginning of my shift and told me what had happened during the day. Congressman Rick Nolan, a leftwing Democrat, had made an appearance at the plant to insert himself into the process. The plant manager accosted him, asking “What the hell are you doing here?” and ordered him off the property.

I had considerable sympathy with the plant workers then and now — and this plant manager didn’t particularly like me — but I think that this encounter demonstrated the proper relationship between government and business. I thought about it when President Obama met with social media companies, strong-arming them to help in the fight against terrorism, which I presume is what has led to things like Twitter’s increased belligerence in shadow-banning of conservatives. A more proper relationship between business and government would have had these companies ordering the president off their property, so to speak.

I thought about this incident again when the dispute between Apple and the FBI became public. I was heartened to see Apple taking the position of that plant manager. I hope Apple prevails.

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  1. Titus Techera Contributor

    I’ve two objections. First, the libertarian oligarchs are fully able to get rid of conservatives & of people they find unpleasant without government prodding them. It really is the case that the more conservative a conservative thinks himself to himself, the likelier he is to stay away from almost everything public.

    Secondly, the government may have a serious national security interest in the matter of the terrorist’s phone. Possibly, what they’re asking of Apple is silly; possibly, it’s incredibly dangerous; but it is national security. I would not say off-hand, I trust Apple more than the Obama administration. When it comes to keeping tabs on the population every which way but loose, the future of Apple et al. is more worrisome than anything else.

    • #1
    • February 21, 2016, at 4:26 AM PST
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  2. I Walton Member

    Of course we can’t trust Apple but they do not have a monopoly over everything in our lives enforceable through violence.

    • #2
    • February 21, 2016, at 4:46 AM PST
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  3. Titus Techera Contributor

    I Walton:Of course we can’t trust Apple but they do not have a monopoly over everything in our lives enforceable through violence.

    Neither does government. That’s a fiction of political philosophy invented by Weber to make Hegel more plausible, to put teeth in the state.

    It’s true that there are way too many SWAT teams in America & there are a lot of unbearably ugly things done by government. But it is not true in any meaningful sense that the state enjoys a monopoly over legal violence. For one, Americans are not as yet advised–except on planes–that they are breaking the law if they are defending themselves.

    • #3
    • February 21, 2016, at 5:20 AM PST
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  4. I Walton Member

    Titus Techera:

    I Walton:Of course we can’t trust Apple but they do not have a monopoly over everything in our lives enforceable through violence.

    Neither does government. That’s a fiction of political philosophy invented by Weber to make Hegel more plausible, to put teeth in the state.

    It’s true that there are way too many SWAT teams in America & there are a lot of unbearably ugly things done by government. But it is not true in any meaningful sense that the state enjoys a monopoly over legal violence. For one, Americans are not as yet advised–except on planes–that they are breaking the law if they are defending themselves.

    if I do not pay my taxes, violate some EPA rule that affects my property, run afoul of some OSHA, or DOL, HHS mandate etc. or try to run a food truck without a license, I can be ruined, if I resist I will be arrested at gun point. The monopolies are extensive at all levels of government and they are enforced by the threat of violence.

    • #4
    • February 21, 2016, at 7:19 AM PST
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  5. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Titus Techera:

    Secondly, the government may have a serious national security interest in the matter of the terrorist’s phone. Possibly, what they’re asking of Apple is silly; possibly, it’s incredibly dangerous; but it is national security. I would not say off-hand, I trust Apple more than the Obama administration. When it comes to keeping tabs on the population every which way but loose, the future of Apple et al. is more worrisome than anything else.

    Most of the internal repression done by the Soviet Union and today’s China is done on grounds of national security. ObamaCare and climate change mitigation have been supported on national security grounds. Just about anything can be done in the name of national security.

    I am far less concerned by Google or Apple keeping tabs on my internet behavior than by what the national government does, unless they become a defacto part of the national government, which is what the administration is trying to do. .

    • #5
    • February 21, 2016, at 8:20 AM PST
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  6. Titus Techera Contributor

    I Walton:if I do not pay my taxes, violate some EPA rule that affects my property, run afoul of some OSHA, or DOL, HHS mandate etc. or try to run a food truck without a license, I can be ruined, if I resist I will be arrested at gun point. The monopolies are extensive at all levels of government and they are enforced by the threat of violence.

    First, let’s do a bit of clarification. Monopol legitimer physischer Gewaltsamkeit (Monopoloy of legitimate physical violence) is a phrase Weber put into, I think, the third para of Politk als beruf (Politics as vocation, 1919). So that denies the right to self-defense. Are not Americans held to be able to kill even officers or magistrates of the state in their official capacity in defense legally?

    As a matter of public law, the legal monopoly over violence is older: Its origin is the origin of the modern impersonal state, so that goes back 400 years. Of course, it was meant as the self-standing character of the state against trans-political entities. It was meant to prevent any possibility of religious civil war. But it is probably true that that also denies the Locke-introduced right of revolution.

    Now, as to what you say: Law-breaking, broadly speaking, is punished in all regimes or else there will be no law nor no regime. But this is not to say that all governments disarm the citizenry & turn them into children!

    • #6
    • February 21, 2016, at 10:12 AM PST
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  7. Titus Techera Contributor

    The Reticulator:Most of the internal repression done by the Soviet Union and today’s China is done on grounds of national security. […] Just about anything can be done in the name of national security.

    I blush to read such comparison of American government & next-to-naked tyranny, as though all claims are equal. The man who believes in the legitimacy of American government is not insane; a man would would have to be to believe in the legitimacy of those other regimes–if such a man can be imagined. How much do you know about life in those places? Would you like to hear the stories that are my curse-at-birth as much as American freedom is your birthright?

    I am coming around to the disheartening opinion that American freedom is a burden conservatives will no longer bear, for reasons more or less understandable. I am perhaps too much affected by that opinion & too sensitive to what you have said; &, too, who am I that you should pay attention to my sentiments? For all that, I did not expect this.

    I disagree with your country’s national security policy in ways you might not be able to imagine. I am sure Americans by right & by inclination would take more offense than someone like me would, who has nothing like your birthright. But you do not know what it means to contemplate in all seriousness available to man the coming chaos or slavery or the return of tyranny.

    • #7
    • February 21, 2016, at 10:20 AM PST
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  8. Titus Techera Contributor

    The Reticulator:I am far less concerned by Google or Apple keeping tabs on my internet behavior than by what the national government does, unless they become a defacto part of the national government, which is what the administration is trying to do.

    I believe you are wrong to blame the administration for the coming of this administration-of-mind administrative state. Blame instead Silicon Valley. There is a real possibility of a future where human beings will no longer know they are human except if they’re told by Amazon & Google that other humans also do & did what they’re doing & recommend further doings. Self-knowledge is being exorcised. The man who pays attention to his moods or to God’s revelation in the Bible could be human so long as God & nature conspire to allow him to be. But in this new world, self-knowledge is more & more removed from the experiences which make for humanity. No amount of government-obsessed politicians could come up with that.

    So yeah, we’re in our common sense not worried about the keeping tabs part–except when we think about what grounds common sense & how it will no longer be available by the publication of the tabs or its public use against the humanity of our posterity. I think even the old liberals excuse–science is just a tool!, except for nuclear stuff, that’s the devil!–is going to die. The old instrument or tool will be the world…

    • #8
    • February 21, 2016, at 10:35 AM PST
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  9. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Titus Techera: How much do you know about life in those places? Would you like to hear the stories that are my curse-at-birth as much as American freedom is your birthright?

    I’ve been raised on those stories since before I learned to read, and was brought up with the idea of keeping those things from happening here in the United States. I don’t believe there is a magical American Exceptionalism cookie that can keep those repressions from happening here, and I haven’t given up on the idea of keeping them from happening here.

    • #9
    • February 21, 2016, at 10:17 PM PST
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  10. I Walton Member

    Titus Techera: Now, as to what you say: Law-breaking, broadly speaking, is punished in all regimes or else there will be no law nor no regime. But this is not to say that all governments disarm the citizenry & turn them into children!

    No it’s not like the tyranny you have known, far from it, but it is the direction states go, it tends to be irreversible and the more power the state has over individuals the harder it is to reverse and in a giant heterogeneous country like the US the dysfunction and economic centralization and resulting stagnation, rigid development of class divisions will lead to disorder and and attempt by the government to bring peace and stability by insisting on greater conformity. We already see it. We know where it’s heading and there must be very good reasons to give the Federal government more power. Gradually more things become illegal as we move increasingly to an administrative state.

    • #10
    • February 22, 2016, at 8:22 AM PST
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  11. Titus Techera Contributor

    I Walton:

    Titus Techera: Now, as to what you say: Law-breaking, broadly speaking, is punished in all regimes or else there will be no law nor no regime. But this is not to say that all governments disarm the citizenry & turn them into children!

    No it’s not like the tyranny you have known, far from it, but it is the direction states go, it tends to be irreversible and the more power the state has over individuals the harder it is to reverse and in a giant heterogeneous country like the US the dysfunction and economic centralization and resulting stagnation, rigid development of class divisions will lead to disorder and and attempt by the government to bring peace and stability by insisting on greater conformity. We already see it. We know where it’s heading and there must be very good reasons to give the Federal government more power. Gradually more things become illegal as we move increasingly to an administrative state.

    Sure, I’m all for moving in the opposite direction. Law & order tends to turn into order, the inhumanity of which may yet be learned–but it were better to prevent that. Ricochet, in one aspect, should be a school of how to make changes that are good for people in their different communities, & in another aspect, a school for politicians who need to understand their electorate & their own job to make these changes possible or even likely to happen, & to stick.

    • #11
    • February 22, 2016, at 8:36 AM PST
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  12. Jamie Lockett Inactive

    We still have Pinkertons?

    • #12
    • February 22, 2016, at 8:52 AM PST
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  13. Trinity Waters Inactive

    A few stipulations:

    1.  Government is almost entirely incompetent, avaricious, and untrustworthy.
    2. What it is demanding of Apple, in compromising our privacy, cannot be undone by electing somebody smarter.
    3. This issue falls securely in the framework of “look, squirrel!”
    4. The phone is question was government property in the first place.

    I don’t trust the government. My security clearance has already resulted in my data hitting cyberspace. All this rhetoric I see spilled above is meaningless at the point of a gun.

    • #13
    • February 22, 2016, at 9:07 AM PST
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  14. Duane Oyen Member
    Duane OyenJoined in the first year of Ricochet Ricochet Charter Member

    The Reticulator:

    Titus Techera:

    Secondly, the government may have a serious national security interest in the matter of the terrorist’s phone. Possibly, what they’re asking of Apple is silly; possibly, it’s incredibly dangerous; but it is national security. I would not say off-hand, I trust Apple more than the Obama administration. ……………

    Most of the internal repression done by the Soviet Union and today’s China is done on grounds of national security. ObamaCare and climate change mitigation have been supported on national security grounds. Just about anything can be done in the name of national security.

    I am far less concerned by Google or Apple keeping tabs on my internet behavior than by what the national government does, unless they become a defacto part of the national government, which is what the administration is trying to do. .

    This is still a debatable point- sometimes you really do need to reluctantly permit powers to the government that would be bad if improperly used. The only real answer- which we admittedly failed in 2008 and 2012- is to have the right people in government.

    The other unfortunate side fact is that Rick Nolan was re-elected in 2012 despite a strong challenge from a decent candidate. It just shows how bad (meaning also Trump-friendly) what passes for political thought often is on the Minnesota Iron Range.

    • #14
    • February 22, 2016, at 9:30 AM PST
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  15. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Pinkerton may have been more expensive than some security services, but they provided a lot better supervision and coordination than some I have come into contact with in more recent years. I don’t know if they still are around or provide the same type of service.

    • #15
    • February 22, 2016, at 11:31 AM PST
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  16. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    A couple of thoughts prompted by your post, apart from the immediate issue of Apple and the FBI.

    First, I agree with your general proposition of keeping government out of business.

    Second, in Seeing Like A State, James Scott pointed out that it was the rise of centralized, bureaucratic states that prompted the obsession with counting things in society, because they required data in order to rule. The need for more and more data arose because of their desire to control more and more of their peoples lives and assets. The modern progressive state has become insatiable on both its need for data and in politicizing every day life.

    Third, in general, while business thrives on data, it has historically, even in regard to the largest companies had access to only slivers of society’s overall information.

    Cont’d in next comment:

    • #16
    • February 22, 2016, at 12:41 PM PST
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  17. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Cont’d from above:

    But, I wonder if we are entering a new era with tech companies like Google, Apple and Facebook. The sheer amount of data they have access to is staggering as is their ability to analyze and use it. These companies lack the government power of compulsion but their top executives have publicly announced their desire to use this data to influence us, and that is something they are much better at than government.

    How do they want to influence us? While some of the tech oligarchs refer to themselves as libertarians, I don’t think they really know what that means, as in practice what they want is liberty for themselves and the folks they like, not such much for anybody else. If you listen to them talk you hear a weird mishmash of libertarian, progressive and social justice warrior language.

    In your OP you mentioned that you are less concerned about corporate behavior “unless they become a defacto part of the national government, which is what the administration is trying to do.” I agree, in this instance, that is what is happening. But the bigger picture is the opposite; it’s very clear that these executives want to become a defacto part of national government if it is led by progressives. They’ve indicated that by both their statements and their political contributions. And that is a danger.

    • #17
    • February 22, 2016, at 12:42 PM PST
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  18. Titus Techera Contributor

    Let me add to your careful observations an unpleasant thing about what America is doing or what it’s like. Younger & younger creatures, less & less able, by habit or by natural processes of maturity, to understand themselves, learn of man & world through the work of technology.

    • #18
    • February 22, 2016, at 12:46 PM PST
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  19. Gumby Mark (R-Meth Lab of Demo… Thatcher

    Apropos of my comments see this OP on Surreal Reality that just went up on the Member Feed.

    • #19
    • February 22, 2016, at 12:56 PM PST
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  20. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Mark: Second, in Seeing Like A State, James Scott pointed out that it was the rise of centralized, bureaucratic states that prompted the obsession with counting things in society, because they required data in order to rule. The need for more and more data arose because of their desire to control more and more of their peoples lives and assets. The modern progressive state has become insatiable on both its need for data and in politicizing every day life.

    Perhaps this was foreseen with great clarity around 1000 B.C. From the book of One Chronicles, Chapter 21:

    21 Satan rose up against Israel and caused David to take a census of the people of Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Take a census of all the people of Israel—from Beersheba in the south to Dan in the north—and bring me a report so I may know how many there are.”
    3 But Joab replied, “May the Lord increase the number of his people a hundred times over! But why, my lord the king, do you want to do this? Are they not all your servants? Why must you cause Israel to sin?”
    4 But the king insisted that they take the census, so Joab traveled throughout all Israel to count the people.

    • #20
    • February 24, 2016, at 9:45 PM PST
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  21. The Reticulator Member
    The Reticulator

    Mark: In your OP you mentioned that you are less concerned about corporate behavior “unless they become a defacto part of the national government, which is what the administration is trying to do.” I agree, in this instance, that is what is happening. But the bigger picture is the opposite; it’s very clear that these executives want to become a defacto part of national government if it is led by progressives. They’ve indicated that by both their statements and their political contributions. And that is a danger.

    That’s a very good point. But if the current case is an opportunity to drive a wedge between Apple and the government — a step to restoring a proper, antagonistic relationship between government and Apple — we should exploit it to the max.

    • #21
    • February 24, 2016, at 9:59 PM PST
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