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LF 8: The Myth of the “Right Wing Business”

I think this chapter was the most informational of the book so far.  In keeping with the theme of the “Book Notes” project, I think the most important idea for conservatives to remember is actually captured on the second page of the chapter:

These myths are entwined with one another in a magnificent knot of confusion.  Among the strands of this knot are the palpably false notions that big business is inherently right-wing or conservative (in the American sense); that European fascism was a tool of big business; and that the way to keep business from corrupting government is for government to regulate business to within an inch of its life.

We here all the time how “Big Tobacco”, “Big Oil”, “Big Energy”, “Big Auto”, or “Big {insert choice industry here}” is simply a tool of the evil conservative party.  In reality, many times it makes good business since for big business to side with liberals.  Mr. Goldberg starts with a great example in the Meat Packing industry of the early 1900′s.  I was taught in school that meat packers were evil and allowed rats, parts of their workers, and other nasty things to mix with the meat before it was sent to the grocery stores.   Then government stepped in and cleaned up the business.  The reality is far different:

The problem is that it’s totally untrue, a fact Sinclair freely acknowledged.  “The Federal inspection of meat was, historically established at the packers request.”  The historian Gabriel Kolko concurs:”The reality of the matter, of course, is that the big packers were warm friends of regulation, especially when it primarily affected their innumerable small competitors.”

If we forget the liberal mantra and think this through, it actually makes sense.  Any new regulation passed by the federal government will impact big business, but it will have a much larger impact on the little competitors of big business.  Big business will update their equipment, make the necessary changes, and pass any increase in production cost on to their customers (perhaps with a little extra for profit).  Smaller competitors that might be trying to break into the market won’t have the money to invest in the whatever new requirements these regulations institute.  Big businesses can also afford to pay lobbyists to get exemptions or other perks written into law that might exclude a smaller company. (Ask Mary Landrieu, Democrat, how this works)

There are a number of really good examples in Liberal Fascism to illustrate this point.  However, if we think the issue through (and ignore what liberals tell us), then the thought of Business teaming up with government to drive smaller competitors out makes sense.  Let this illustrate another point:  If we ignore what liberals tell us, and think something through, many times we will reach a better conclusion than if we had listened to liberals in the beginning.

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