Upper Left Coast

Thoughts on politics, faith, sports and other random topics from a red state sympathizer in indigo-blue Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Quote of the Day: Apple vs. PC government

From Jonah Goldberg on NRO today:
Liberalism promises an Apple government. One that is seamless, smooth-running, sleek, chic and aesthetically uplifting. It is a world of Deweyan positive liberty, where the government takes so many of the hassles out of life that it liberates you to be all you can be. That's why liberals think the extra money is worth it. And frankly, if government could be an Apple government, I think the money would be worth it.

But Apple government, call it MacTopia, is fool's gold. It will always be a PC government, because that's what government is: a bunch of perpetually outmoded parts that have trouble talking to each other. It sells itself as the cheap fix but ultimately costs you more because of its constant system errors, freeze-ups, and faulty patches that only kick problems down the road. It is a system of impenetrable jargon designed not to improve efficiencies but to empower the bureaucrat-technicians who wield a gnostic-like power over the rest of us simply because they know what gets plugged in where and what an alt-dot-sys-bat file is. Citizens must take their word for what we need because the PC government system is rigged to keep us in perpetual stupefaction about how the system works.

If there is a MacWorld (aside from the magazine), it is the private sector. Consumers matter more in the private sector than citizens do in the public one. The private sector is set up so that the people are happy with what they get. In the public sector the system is set up so that people have no choice but to stick with it (just look at school choice where liberals want to take scholarships from poor black kids for the good of the public school system). The government can — and sometimes does — borrow good ideas from MacWorld, but it cannot be MacWorld because the incentives are different.

Exactly right. And yes, I'm a Mac guy.

UPDATE: Jonah's Mac guy (a former Apple employee) responds that Apple is a "fascist" company:
Apple products are based on centralized command-and-control. Apple makes the hardware, software, and — increasingly — many key applications ("everything inside the state, nothing outside the state"). The Apple faithful believe that the computing world dominated by Microsoft is bad (if not outright evil) and must be redeemed. If only everyone changed to their way of computing, we would reach computing nirvana. And society would be changed for the better, too. If only. This mythology goes back to the original Mac "big brother" ad.

The company is led by one man, and one man only, and no one else could take his place. Steve Jobs is head of engineering, product marketing, advertising, etc. The employees exist to do what Steve wants because, after all, only Steve knows how to make it all work. Those who work there put up with it because they are proud to be part of a higher calling.

As I said, I love the products. And it's fine by me for Apple to function as a fascist company, as the employees can choose to work there (I chose otherwise). But don't ever wish for an Apple government.


  • At 6/26/2008 8:57 PM, Blogger MAX Redline said…

    yes, I'm a Mac guy

    Ah Feel yer pain.

    Actually, I don't give a rat's heinie.

    My systems are PC based because they're easier and less expensive to upgrade. I use several versions of Windows and Linux.

    My view: go with what works for you.

    I do, however, think that it's rather a stretch to compare governments to PC systems - particularly since most of the computer systems used in government are Macs.

    Perhaps because bureaucrats don't like to solve problems? (g)


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