Sunday, August 24, 2003

I thought I heard somebody say that Objectivists have no sense of humor.
Here's Harry Binswanger:

Dear Editor:

Post-blackout, some are calling for even more government regulation. A New York Times
editorial (Aug. 16) urges us to consider "whether the government should step in to
ensure the reliability of the nation's power supply" because, "the grid is so complex--
with hundreds of companies operating power plants or transmission lines around the
country--that it is extremely difficult to coordinate actions quickly."

Well, thank God we already have government regulation in the sock industry. A constant
team of police, federal agents, judges, and justices of the peace help keep the greed of
hundreds of sock manufactures harnessed to the public good. Otherwise, you can just
imagine the chaos that would result, given all the complexity: if just one thread in the
complex grid of woven sock were to break, a catastrophic failure could rip through the
fabric, exposing a toe or perhaps even an entire heel to the unforgiving inner surface
of shoe or slipper.

And it is thanks to government's police-presence that a constant supply of socks is
available at distribution centers (sometimes called "stores")--even as the public need
for socks waxes and wanes, not only with the changing seasons but with other, even less-
predictable factors. Only the superior intellect of our government officials could
assure the adequacy of the sock supply--with a reserve of socks for periods of acute
public need.

You can only imagine, in a nightmare scenario, what kind of sock-shortages and toe-outs
would occur if sock-providers were operated as a profit-seeking scheme, with owners out
only for themselves.

What's that? The sock industry *is* a profit-making enterprise? And it is the electrical
power industry that's been practically a branch of the government since forever? Oh.
Never mind, then.


Harry Binswanger
Ayn Rand Institute

2121 Alton Parkway, #250
Irvine, CA 92606
United States
(212) 983-6429

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