Why is the federal government and Department of Justice interjecting itself in the book business?
The Justice Department continues its assault on the property and contract rights of Apple and various book publishers. Bloomberg reports that the DOJ “is close to a settlement with three of the world’s biggest publishers on e-book price contracts with Apple Inc.” According to the antitrust laws under which the DOJ acts, the federal government may forcibly prevent or alter consensual contracts among producers on the pretext that doing so increases “competitiveness.” But the only sort of competition the government should protect is that of free markets, made possible by the consistent defense of individual rights. Fundamental to our rights is the right to negotiate freely with others by mutual consent. Insofar as it enforces antitrust laws, the federal government replaces the free competition of businessmen creating and trading values (i.e., capitalism) with the “competition” of armed government thugs (and those seeking their favor) who tell businessmen what they may and may not do (i.e., statism). Ultimately, the DOJ enforces all of its “settlements” and other demands by forcibly seizing property and jailing people.
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The Objective Standard