Monday, November 7, 2011

Statism, Libertarianism, and Steve Jobs

This article in The New Yorker gives some examples to show just how neurotic, controlling, exacting, and insufferably tyrannical Steve Jobs could be. As I was reading it, I couldn't help but notice the difference between libertarianism and statism. A statist system, whether a brutal third-world autocracy, or a soulless first world bureaucracy would enable a giant and exacting personality like Steve's to do truly horrific things to people. Compulsive, eccentric, commanding, bereft of compassion, indifferent to rules and moral duties, he would have made the perfect tyrant. Really. His personality quirks put him squarely in the company of men like Kim Jong Il and Muammar Gaddafi.

But capitalism-- capitalism can take a tyrannical personality like Steve's and harness all of its potential to unleash wonders upon the world instead of horrors. In a statist system, Jobs could have been a brutal dictator. In a capitalist one, he became a benefactor for us all, an artist, an engineer, and an evangelist-- an art and design fanatic with all the zeal of an ascetic saint. At their worst, his flaws were annoying, hurtful, and offensive, rather than murderous and genocidal like the flaws of Steve's brothers in spirit who run amok in statist systems, unyoked by the rule of law and the constitution of a civil society. The mighty furnace of capitalism can take even the worst imperfections and melt them away, leaving pure gold in their place.

Contrary to two centuries' slander, capitalism is by its nature so benevolent, so pure, so moral, that it can accomplish such a wonder as this. There can be no better way to live.




Wes Messamore,
Editor in Chief, THL
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