Every ideology has its blind spots, areas wherein the ideology cannot predict the consequences of particular actions. Leftists are keenly attuned to negative consequences of giving the state power in matters of sex and police work, but they seem utterly oblivious to the dangers of granting the state power in economic matters. Leftists see only the immediate gain without considering how that power might be abused.
For example, most leftist are strong supporters of freedom of the press, while at the same time being strong advocates of government regulation of large media companies. They want the government to have the power to decide such matters as which markets media companies can enter and which technologies they can use. It never seems to occur to them that giving the government a great deal of say in a media company’s economic operations ultimately also gives it leverage to control the content it provides.
Via Instapundit comes this story in the WSJ about Time Warner’s presumed capitulation in the Plame scandal. Time Warner may reveal the reporters’ sources, possibly because:
Time Warner depends on government approval for a number of matters. It is, for example, awaiting antitrust approval for its acquisition — with Comcast Corp. — of Adelphia Communications’ cable assets. It depends on the government’s largesse to issue securities. And though it is a cable operator and holds no broadcast licenses from the Federal Communications Commission, the company is vulnerable to FCC pressures on issues of media content.
One other potential issue is a deferred-prosecution agreement struck last year between the Justice Department and Time Warner relating to America Online. A deferred prosecution contemplates cooperating with the government in its ongoing investigation into specific wrongdoing, in this case alleged accounting fraud.
“Time Warner has got to be inclined to be as cooperative with the government as they can on all fronts,” says Washington attorney Hank Asbill, who is representing a former America Online executive charged with securities fraud.
Of course, both Time Warner and the government would never admit to any quid pro quo and in any particular case, there may not be one, but giving the government power over the economic well being of the press raises at least the possibility that economic pressure could be used to alter or suppress reporting.
Leftists have spent the last 100 years trying to convince everyone that in matters of economics, the government always knows best. Yet, they act surprised when events like the Kelo decision occur. Economic matters are the material basis for every other facet of life. Freedom of the press means nothing if you cannot buy paper, ink or a press. To grant the state carte blanche in economic matters is to ultimately grant it power over every other facet of our lives.