Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Dennis Prager, Big Business, and Big Government

At National Review today, Dennis Prager says that the left is dangerous because it craves power instead of money—and power in the service of Big Government leads to the Holocaust, Mao, and Stalin. Sure, some big corporations may not always "play by the rules," but they don't have the power to send you to a concentration camp.

Key graph:
There is yet another reason to fear big government far more than big corporations. ExxonMobil has no police force, no IRS, no ability to arrest you, no ability to shut you up, and certainly no ability to kill you. ExxonMobil can’t knock on your door in the middle of the night and legally take you away. Apple Computer cannot take your money away without your consent, and it runs no prisons. The government does all of these things.
Prager's diagnosis, of course, misses the concern that most liberals have about Big Business—which is that money and power are not separate things: Money purchases power, which can give (oh hell, let's use the phrase) "moneyed interests" an outsize influence in the lives of individuals.

Sometimes, that even translates into the ability to arrest you, shut you up, and kill you. Shell, the oil company, has been accused of funneling payments to militants in Nigeria, for example. In the United States, doctors in Pennsylvania are prohibited from telling patients about the "fracking" chemicals that might be poisoning them. The list of examples is endless.

A smart conservative friend often says the problem is bigness itself—a problem that exists whether that bigness is in government or in the business sector. That sounds right, or close to it anyway. It's certainly much closer to right than Prager, whose hatred of Big Government leads him to make pronouncements about benign activities of Big Business that make him either extremely naive or simply a shill.

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