Re: Online PR: consensus


Sender: Martin Janzen <•••@••.•••>

I wrote:
>You most certainly do NOT have consensus, Marilyn.
>At least one list member thoroughly disapproves of Richard's socialistic
>visions, and does not want to be associated with any kind of public
>statement supporting anything that even remotely smacks of limiting the
>freedom of adult human beings to engage in any sort of consensual
>activities they desire -- even economic activities.  "Social democrat"
>control freaks are no better than Christian fundamentalist control freaks.

Apparently this was unclear.

                                *  *  *

•••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore) writes:
>But I think the real thrust of the above "charge" is that I am
>somehow "controlling" this list.
>Martin - you're an observant fellow, why do you make such an
>unsubstantiable charge?  Are you trying to tie me personally to some
>position you disapprove of, as a way of attacking it?

No, no, no!  Sorry, Richard, for the misunderstanding.  I intended no
ad hominem attack; my reference to '"Social democrat" control freaks'
was not aimed at you personally.  I'll try to explain this remark below.

Also, it certainly had nothing to do with any belief on my part that you
exercise some kind of control over this list.  I'm really not sure how
you read this into my remarks.  I'm well aware that Andy is the Moderator,
and have to say that his style of moderation is quite laid back. I
wouldn't describe the list as being "controlled" by any one individual.

Sigh.  Let me try again...

                                *  *  *

First, if there's one thing on which I think we _have_ achieved consensus
on this list, it's that the recent efforts by the "family values" crowd --
whom I described as "Christian fundamentalist control freaks" [*] -- to
have legislators pass laws which infringe on anyone's right to speak
freely on the Internet and elsewhere are abhorrent, and that such laws
should be resisted.  I agree with Allen Marshall (•••@••.•••)
that something needs to be done about this -- and it is.  As we've seen
in recent reports, the ACLU and a long list of other plaintiffs seem to
have the latest situation in hand.

([*] To head off further misunderstandings:  Yes, I realize that the
supporters of censorship are not all Christians, or fundamentalists of
any sort, or even religious people at all, and that not all Christians,
fundamentalist or otherwise, and not all fundamentalists of other sorts
support censorship...)

However, the ill-conceived censorship laws don't appear to be the target
of the latest effort at consensus, nor of the statement that I believe
Marilyn wants to see drafted.  Instead, it deals with the issue of
Internet pricing, and suggests that we adopt "Richard's plan".  I'm not
entirely clear what all is included in this; the post to which I think
she's referring is more of a statement of the problems he perceives in
the current environment, than a specific plan that he would like to see

                                *  *  *

Now, on to the "S" word:

•••@••.••• (Allen  L  Marshall) wrote:
>Subject: Is Socialism an ugly word?

Very.  But in deference to our Moderator's wishes, I won't pursue this.
(Note that this is purely voluntary on my part; in doing so I don't feel
controlled by Richard or anyone else... :)

•••@••.••• (Richard K. Moore) writes:
>It's tempting to refute that "socialist" label (which is _really_
>far off the mark), or the implication that I begrudge people economic
>activity (when my economic comments are all in favor of competition over

_Is_ it so far off, Richard?  I'm not particularly interested in whether
the "socialist label" fits.  But you are arguing for government
regulation of the telecommunications industry, intervening to the point
of setting pricing policies and "appropriate" pricing levels.  While you
might argue that this is not explicitly socialist because you're not
advocating outright government ownership of telcos, etc., you would have
the government in charge of administering the industry at a very fine
level of detail.  What need does the government have for ownership if it
already has virtually complete control?

Also, as Charles Bell <•••@••.•••> pointed out (ever so much
more discreetly), if you use expressions like "monopoly robber-baron
capitalism", "systematically exploit", "capitalist profit-seeking
maneuvers", and the like, you do tend to come across as a raving Marxist
clutching handfuls of faded Communist International pamphlets and
yearning for just one more good class struggle...

                                *  *  *

As for competition versus monopoly, I think that the term "monopoly"
means somewhat different things to you than it does to me, and this may
be a part of the problem.

To me, a "monopoly" refers to a situation in which the government has
given to a corporation or other similar entity the sole right to engage
in a specific kind of trade, usually in a limited geographical area, and
in which the government uses the force of law (backed ultimately by the
threat of violence) to prevent others from competing with the
monopolist.  I oppose this kind of monopoly, and expect that you do too.

I suspect, however, that you would also describe a company which has a
100% market share as having a "monopoly", even if this state of affairs
is not due to government intervention.  (I'll avoid examples, since I
don't want to get sidetracked into a discussion of whether Standard Oil
qualifies...)  I also suspect that you disapprove of this situation.
I have no problem with this kind of "monopoly", because if the
"monopolist" stops providing good value, competitors will inevitably
move in.  Yes, we can talk about barriers to entry, "predatory" pricing,
and so on, but as long as no one's actually being threatened with
violence, all's fair as far as I'm concerned.

If we have a common cause at all, I believe it is in seeing that
governments leave the market alone by  not granting and enforcing
monopolies in the first place.

                                *  *  *

In a more, um, lucid moment, •••@••.••• wrote:
>could you point out exactly what you would like to do, and exactly what
>sucked about marilyn's letter.  i read it and found no 'social democrat
>control freak' parts in it.

Richard also asks:
>Why don't you state what position you _do_ support?

Fair enough.  I support open competition in the telecommunications
industry.  This means no government intervention of any sort:

 - No government-granted monopolies on telephony, cable, or any other
   telecommunication product or service.
 - No "equal access" or "universal service" provisions, not even for.
   Internet access.
 - No laws requiring special treatment for anyone for any reason: no
   legislated favors for rich or poor, urban or rural, business or
   individual, etc.
 - No regulatory bodies such as the FCC.
 - No tax-funded subsidies to anyone.
 - No government involvement in setting prices of telecommunication
   services; no more tariffs; no more "cost-plus".
 - No anti-trust laws regulating who may do business with whom.
 - No laws regarding content; no censorship, no mandatory ratings.
 - No government assistance to companies who get themselves into trouble.

In short, provide any service you want, to anyone you want, at any price
on which the two of you agree.

>BTW> Is "adult human being" your code-word for "corporation"?
>Otherwise I can't parse your arguments.

Yes.  A corporation is a group of people who have chosen to pool their
efforts and money to accomplish something which no one of them could
have done alone.  In doing so, they have given up none of their rights
as individuals.

So, I repeat my earlier remark -- more clearly, I hope:

It is just as wrong -- and for the same reasons -- for the government or
anyone else to dictate to you the kinds of economic dealings you may
have with other consenting adults, as it is for them to dictate the
kinds of conversations you may have with others.

Martin Janzen           •••@••.•••

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