The Corner

MacTopia*

I think Nathan — aka Chaka — has stumbled on something here. He writes: “Yes, if the ideal government were induced from Apple, it would be a Democratic one: Apple takes more of your money while promising a better product.”

I think this isn’t quite right. 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.

*Update: Yes, I know Microsoft’s Mac development unit is called “Mactopia.” The irony is not lost on me either. This is the equivalent of a bunch of bureaucrats, idealists and hacks promising that their collection of schemes amount to a “Great Society.” 

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