Tag: nanny state

The Government is the Worst Kind of Micromanager

By Thomas Calabro | United States

Many of us have worked for someone who was very particular about how work was operated and needed to constantly monitor and manage workers so that they may arrive at the preferred outcome with the specific method. In a way, the Government is the same as any micromanager: a controlling figure of authority who seeks to regulate the aspects of a job rather than delegate these powers to others. In this case, we can see how an intrusive government wishes to become the biggest (and worst) micromanager of all, one that monitors and controls the means of production.

We constantly see states that wish to exhibit the attitudes of the typical micromanager. The state has a lack of faith in how a job gets done (in this case providing goods and services to the people). So it seeks to monitor how businesses conduct themselves, what materials to use, what wages to pay employees, what products can even be sold, and what prices they are sold at, if you are even allowed to. Any issues in these realms are a call for the state to gain influence over these aspects for its intended purposes of increasing the nation’s economic strength, of distribution of wealth, and even of creating “healthy” lifestyles.

While a free market has proven to be an effective way at distributing goods and services to a greater amount of people, many grow resentful of this amount of free will in the hands of certain individuals, choosing to harm the environment, or an individual’s own body because of the products they demand. The idea of one consuming a big gulp with a plastic straw, while smoking a blunt inside of a car manufactured in another country, does not instigate the thought of a people whose economic system provides goods demanded to a large population that through voluntary interaction. Rather it shows the need of creating a social/cultural atmosphere of implementing policies for the good of a collective (the State, Americans, the lower class, etc) rather than the individual. It isn’t the distribution of goods and services of our desires, but the distribution of goods and services of our needs.

The result of the attempt to control the economy and the economic decisions of individuals and businesses become similar to the effects of a micromanager. Creative innovators are suppressed, as a result of the lack of incentive to grow due to red tape, and other hurdles that are required to contribute “effectively” into the economy and ultimately pushing away talented and hardworking employees/workers that may effectively contribute, either to the economy or a business. There is no way to effectively see where what society needs without pricing mechanisms or freedoms to use certain products that cost less and are demanded more. Rather it is reliant upon those who set rules and regulations to either set standards that are needed to be met to meet the demand or to downright seize the powers of supply, effectively taking control from the producers (who really are controlled by the demands of the consumers) so that those very same people feel that the economic decisions are in suitable control.

This micromanagement shows a lack of faith in the economic system that truly puts the consumers in control, has increased wages, decreased poverty, and gotten us to a world where food and other necessities are less of a scarcity. It is time that those who feel we must control the economy realize that by placing our trust into the economic system that relies on individual demand, we truly are in control, and should cherish that freedom that many in the world don’t have.

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California or The Ministry of Truth?

By Mason Mohon | @mohonofficial

Due to recent fears over the spread of fake news, various state, local, and national governments, along with private organizations, have worked to halt further dissemination of false information.

The most recent of which is the California state government. SB-1424 outlines strategic plans for dealing with “false information” in the news realm. While this may seem like a good-intentioned piece of legislation meant to protect the marketplace ideas, intentions are not results.

The primary goal of the legislation is as follows:

(a) Any person who operates a social media Internet Web site with physical presence in California shall develop a strategic plan to verify news stories shared on its Internet Web site.

The way they will go about doing this is outlined in the (b) section of the legislation:

(b) The strategic plan shall include, but is not limited to, all of the following:
(1) A plan to mitigate the spread of false information through news stories.
(2) The utilization of fact-checkers to verify news stories.
(3) Providing outreach to social media users regarding news stories containing false information.
(4) Placing a warning on a news story containing false information.

There are many issues with this legislation, and it is an action outside of the boundaries of government authority.

The first problem with any legislation similar to this is that it gives government authority over the truth. Anyone who has read Orwell’s 1984 will wisely be skeptical of any method to do such a thing. When those who have a monopoly on violence are now the arbiters of truth, incentives are skewed in a way so that state power will only increase. As Rothbard said in Anatomy of the State:

For… acceptance [of the state], the majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives.

Any state will seek to make itself seem great in the eyes of the populous. Allowing for the state to have a say in what the news can and cannot sets a precedent that would allow it to take incremental steps and eventually sway all of the media in favor of its power (assuming it has not already).

The founders of the United States saw the media as a check on government. It is why we have freedom of the press embodied in the first amendment. They had good reason to do this, for the incentives for government do not pressure it to limits itself. An outside apparatus must limit it, one of which is the press.

It shouldn’t be the other way around.

Sub-point 2 requires organizations to use “fact-checkers.” The problem with this is that getting news startups have tight resources. A professional or state-approved “fact-checker” may be a drain on resources that will keep potential news companies out of the game. This decreases competition and increases the risk of monopoly.

That is not the only way that they “little guy” will be trampled upon. The “fake news” Trump and the MAGA crowd is upset with is astronomically different than that which a left-leaning government such as California’s will be upset with. While a Trumpian anti-fake news crusade would go after organizations like CNN, left-leaning fake news witchhunts are going to target alternative media sources, which tend to have fewer resources to defend themselves.

There is not going to be a nonbiased way of keeping the news real. Somebody is going to have an agenda, and that will be pushed. If you have doubts, ask yourself the question: Is the government of California really going to go after green or liberal media that is based in their state?

This legislation also intensifies the view of the state as a maternal entity. The government doesn’t think Californians are wise enough to discern between real and fake news, so it sweeps in and does it for them. While that should be insulting to all Californians, it also turns the state into a nanny of sorts. A nanny state causes individuals to throw their problems towards the government. People quite literally turn into grown-up babies.

Although many of the impacts of planks of this legislation seem far-fetched, it is a matter of the principle behind the matter and the precedent the legislation will set. When you expand government authority into a realm without any sort of proper limiting mechanisms, there is no reason to believe it will stop itself there.

The government has no incentive to limit itself, so we should be fighting back every time it tries to move an inch. Because if you give the state an inch, it will take a mile and half your paycheck.

Featured image source.