18 April 2018

A Piece by Perrin Lovett, Feature Writer of National Affairs: "Zuck It Up.." or, "Br’re Fox..."

- est 2010 -

Zuck It Up: On the Meeting of a Social Mogul and the Contemptible Congress
Br’re Fox and Br’er Bear Outwit Br’er Rabbit


A piece by Contributing Writer Perrin B. Lovett

Special to The Chronicles 

Social media aficionados and much of the slack-jawed public were lately riveted to the televisions watching Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg square off against a panel of Senatorial Congress Critters. (NOT under oath). This writer has seen sadder spectacles but not so many as enlightening and entertaining. Amidst all the fun a pseudo-literary thought jumped into my head. I’ll share in a moment.

The Zucker

The great concern of the people is that Facebook violated their privacy and misappropriated their cherished personal information: email addresses, voting habits, cat pictures, etc. Zuckerberg admitted as much, roundaboutly. Hence, the popular clamor for regulation: if not from Big Social, then by Big Brother.

Now for my funny, impromptu thought. Remember Uncle Remus? Surely your parents read to you those beloved moral stories by Joel Chandler Harris. It seems to me that what I witnessed on the Tube was, literally, a meeting between a sly, elitist, globalist corporatist and a bunch of mid-witted, elitist, globalist statists. Allegorically, I saw an Uncle Remus tale unfold.

The American people played the part of Br’er Rabbit. Facebook and Zuck represented Br’er Fox. Uncle Sam was Br’er Bear. Play along here… The happy little rabbit, while busily posting meal pictures and juvenile memes, noticed the mean old fox was cheating him. Incensed, the rabbit angrily demanded action, either from the fox or from Br’er Bear. In other words the hapless bunny tattled on the small predator to the large predator. Seems risky to me.

The rub is that, in the original yarns from 1881, Br’er Rabbit was clever. He usually outwitted his adversaries, sometimes pitting one against the other, while he hopped away laughing. Here and now, concerning real life and virtual reality, it’s the other way around. The predators are pulling a fast one, openly and at the public’s insistence, as they collude against the Leporidae social media patrons.

Last I checked it was 2018 (AD, not CE). We’ve had this internet thing a few years and general electronic communication a few years more. Those who are even half awake have known for a generation that the government tracks, records, and stores much, if not most, electronic correspondence. Do you know anyone who therefore shuns phone calls, texts, emails, faxes, and web surfing? Me neither.

Likewise, most should know, or suspect, that their social media doings may be subject to monitoring, recording, hacking, and merchandising. If one doesn’t like the prospects, then one either: doesn’t use the socials; limits activity theron, or; carefully scrutinizes who gets to see what. The best course of action? Use. Common. Sense. You see, whatever else it is, Facebook is a voluntary service. One can walk away. Or run.

Running to government for more regulations is the worst course of action. Government is not voluntary; it’s force personified. Some of that force is already present in the social debacle. Facebook, via its information firesale to Cambridge Analytica or whomever, likely violated existing FTC rules. If there were 80 million individual violations and each one carries a possible $40,000 maximum fine, then Facebook is dead and gone, bankrupt. That scenario is far from likely. Zuck was on the Hill partly to head off any such sanction.

His other motive was the afore-mentioned collusion. A dirty little secret of the political world is that large corporations are absolutely, head over heels, in love with government regulation. State mandates price out competition, prevent startup challenges, foster monopolies, and raise profits. One of “your” political heroes hinted around this fact; Zuck nodded along sheepishly.

Hank Rearden would have indignantly rebelled against any threatened intervention with his business. When asked about third-party recording of user data, he might have retorted with NSA data collection. If asked about the complexity of his user agreements, he might have spoken to the complexity of the tax code or the CFR. Not Zuck. He happily agreed that interference is good and that he and his team would just love to help draft more. Sure they would. That would allow them more control while insulating them from the real consequences of a free market. That’s what always comes from government “protecting” the public.

Examples abound: railroads, insurance, banking, healthcare, etc. Back in the days when some barbers practiced surgery the sick and injured had more choices for care and paid lower prices. Enter the State. Declarations of who exactly could practice medicine, medical school requirements, licenses, board certifications, the insurance racket, Medicare, Medicare, and HMOs were all the regulatory invasions, slapping away the invisible hand. Each one resulted in restricted availability and increased prices. Obama “like your doctor, keep your doctor” Care was the latest example. Are your premiums and deductibles higher than they were ten years ago? Well then, consider yourself protected.

Obamacare was crafted by a cabal of medical services administrators, well-greased lobbyists, and insurance industry lawyers - for the benefit of their interests, not those of the public. So it will be with Facebook, Twitter, Google, and Apple.

What we witnessed this week was the deprecation of freedom, free markets, and personal responsibility. Some would spread that spirit beyond the socials unto the whole internet. There’s the old adage about sacrificing essential liberty for false security. Br’er Fox and Br’er Bear will promise saaaaafety, all the while plotting to sacrifice Br’er Rabbit to the dinner pot. Help we could do without, that.

Okay! Back to the baby videos and whatnot.

Fellow Terry College of Business (UGA) grad Brother Perrin Lovett is a true renaissance gentleman & scholar. A recovering attorney, he's into guns & cigars, and the US Constitution. A published authorPrepper columnist & YouTube personality, and an acclaimed blogger, TPC is very proud to have our old friend on board as the C.F. Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs

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