Last week, I wrote an article entitled The Arrogance of the Political Class explaining the superiority complex most centralizers and big-government types operate under. In short, they think themselves more intelligent, wiser and generally entitled to rule over you and me.

For our own good, of course.

It didn’t take long to find a story demonstrating this extreme hubris.

A pointy-headed academician at the University of Washington penned a piece published on Slate’s website advocating for the nationalization of Facebook.

By “nationalizing Facebook,” I mean public ownership and at least a majority share at first. When nationalizing the company restores the public trust, that controlling interest could be reduced. There are three very good reasons for this drastic step: It could fix the company’s woeful privacy practices, allow the social network to fulfill its true potential for providing social good, and force it to put its valuable data to work on significant social problems.

First off – let’s make sure we understand a term – statists call it “public ownership.” They really mean government ownership.

So, our esteemed professor argues that a federal government regularly spying on its citizens under the auspices of the “Patriot Act,” fighting for the power to indefinitely detain people on American soil with no due process and sexually assaulting Americans as a condition of air travel on a daily basis will “fix the companies woeful privacy practices?”

And this guy’s supposed to be smarter than you and me.


But let’s pretend Howard retains at least a crumb of credibility and look a little deeper at his underlying premise.

He wants the government to run Facebook so the company can “fulfill its true potential for providing social good.” What exactly constitutes the “social good” and who decides? Why he does! Along with his fellow statists and centralizers.

You see; you and I aren’t quite smart enough to know what’s good for us. So Howard and his clique will decide for us, and then he will exercise the strong arm of government to make sure it happens.

Keep in mind; this is the same brainiac who thinks the federal government will protect our privacy.

In my article, I made the point that those who think they know how we should live our lives will eventually decide they should tell us how to live our lives. And ultimately, they WILL make us live our lives in that way. Think I’m engaging in hyperbole? Well, just look at the words Howard uses.

“…force it to put its valuable data to work on significant social problems.”

There it is. Coercive force. Howard and his ilk believe they know best for society, and in their smug arrogance they think they have the divine right to force Mark Zuckerberg, you and me to conform.

And if you let them, they will.

In reality, Facebook already provides immense social good. It allows millions of people across the world to network and communicate – all for free. It also provides a valuable service to other organizations and individuals, creating for them a powerful advertising platform. Nobody had to put a gun to Zuckerberg’s head and force him to create Facebook. Nobody coerced him into using his immense talent to meet society’s need to socially network.  And nobody put a gun to their heads and forced 950 million people to sign onto the service. He did it, and millions of Facebook users apparently think they benefit.

But believe me; if Facebook doesn’t get hold of its privacy issues, and if it doesn’t continue to evolve and meet the changing needs of its users, it will eventually wind in the trash heap, rotting alongside AOL and MySpace. Some other upstart will come along and usurp King Facebook.  Nearly a billion people came to the Facebook party. And nearly a billion people can just as quickly go someplace else with a few clicks of a mouse.

People have an amazing ability to force companies to adapt or die through the power of the market. Organizations can only survive the whims of consumers acting though markets by fulfilling their desires, or by co-opting government into protecting them from competition or propping them up. (That’s a subject for another article.)

Now imagine if the government ever did get its bureaucratic hands on the social networking site. It would live on forever, whether it actually met the needs of its users or not, whether it efficiently used resources or not. It would live on interminably because people like Howard deem it a “public good” – kind of like the post office.

Howard and his fellow centralizers don’t really care about “social good” as defined by  society itself  and – that’s you and me acting in the marketplace. No, they care about “social good” as they define it in their infinite and superior wisdom. They want to mold society in their own image, whether you and I  like it or not. And they have no qualms about  forcing us to conform at gunpoint. The Howards of the world want control over Facebook and other private entities so they can bend them to their purpose – bending us to their purpose.

After all, they know best.

Mike Maharrey

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