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Re: Microsoft vs. Justice Department

  One hundred years ago it was Standard Oil.   Just who
  do these democracy lovers think they are?
  Tibor Machan wrote:
  > [From The CHicago Tribune, etc.]
  > Microsoft and Nanny Reno
  > Tibor R. Machan
  >         Here we go again!  About twenty five years ago it was IBM, now
  > it's Microsoft!  The Justice Department just needs to have its bogeyman!
  >         Any firm that is very successful in making itself appealing to
  > millions of customers stands a good chance of getting nailed.  Some
  > aluminum giant the name of which I now forget (was it Anaconda?) had been
  > the victim of such harassment several decades back.  Now it is Bill Gate's
  > highly effective company.
  >         Never mind that there is nothing to worry about with Microsoft, as
  > there was nothing to worry about other companies that played by the rules
  > of the free market.  If a firm does not steal from or defraud others, if
  > it pays the wage it agreed to pay, if it practices no industrial
  > espionage, government has no business interfering with its operations.
  >         And the charge against Microsoft is not that it does any of these
  > things but that it has sold us an option we might be tempted to use to its
  > advantage (and, of course, to ours as well). What is this?
  >         Well, Microsoft's very popular Windows program, Windows 95, comes
  > with the option of making an easy connection to the Internet, of course,
  > for a price.  I have it right here, on my personal computer and, as
  > millions of others, I have never used it.  Instead, I use another browser
  > and have never chosen the Microsoft option.
  >         The same happens when I buy other conveniences for myself  I can
  > purchase accessories for my stereo tuner  speakers, tape and CD players,
  > turn tables, all in one big bulk, made by one company.  Or I can buy a
  > bunch of different units and connect them myself  which is just how my
  > sound system is set up in my home.  I can go to Sears & Roebuck and buy
  > not just pants but shirts, jackets, shoes, socks and the whole clothing
  > ensemble, or I can confine myself to buying some of the stuff there, then
  > go to Robinsons, Maceys or Walmart for other things.
  >         What the US Justice Department is doing by hassling Microsoft is
  > not just attacking big for being big  which is, curiously, done only in
  > the USA, nowhere else  but also demeaning the millions of customers who go
  > shopping every day by implying that they need their hands held to do the
  > best for themselves in the market place.
  >         This, of course, is not new.  It fits well with the increasingly
  > paternalistic way the US federal and state governments have been looking
  > at us for decades.  Just consider Food and Drug Administration, Federal
  > Trade Commission, Securities and Exchange Commission, Occupational Health
  > and Safety Administration and the hundreds of other agencies of the state,
  > all of which pretend to help us but are wholly unaccountable for their
  > deeds  notice the Federal Aviation Administration does not get sued when a
  > plane crashes, even though it is responsible to supervise safety in the
  > skies.  What they are telling us over and over again is that we are too
  > inept as free men and women to care for ourselves, we need Big Daddy to
  > watch over us, whether or not we want it.
  >         Do you think if the Justice Department's Antitrust Division
  > undermines Microsoft's operations -- raises its cost of doing business,
  > leads to increases in it prices, and even stifles budding firms by scaring
  > them away from innovating marketing practices  Janet Reno will be sued and
  > made to make up these losses?  No, because Janet Reno is part of the team
  > of state agents who have convinced themselves that they are our pretend
  > moms and dads with even greater powers than the originals.
  >         Much of what is wrong with our country is that people are not
  > treated as adults, thus they become dependent upon government to look out
  > for them.  That is at least one of the main things wrong with the welfare
  > state: it fancies itself as surrogate parents of the citizenry, thus
  > encouraging everyone to remain dependent only not while a child but in
  > their adulthood.  This is not less unwise than treating children as if
  > they were adults  both approaches do violence to our nature.
  >         But here is how it is done to make it all look palatable: Play to
  > people's adolescent fears about dealing with Big Businesses like
  > Microsoft, offer them what appears to be a friendly helping hand, the
  > psychological drug of dependence on the state.
  >         Never mind that this is more like the "protection" of organized
  > crime than help from a friend, which is usually temporary and comes only
  > in emergencies.  No, make government a permanent nanny and that will make
  > the bureaucrats feel saintly as well as indispensable.  We, in turns, will
  > indeed tend to become the helpless creatures Janet Reno already assumes we
  > are  when she claims that we are unable to say either "yes" or "No" to a
  > measly little icon on our Windows 95 desktop and do what we think is best.
  > .-