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Reblogged:DeSantis: A Conservative, NOT a Capitalist

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In the Washington Examiner, Brad Polumbo reports that Florida's Ron DeSantis has signed into law a measure that allows only current manufacturers of electric vehicles to sell directly to customers, but forces all other car makers to sell through middlemen.

That is, instead of permitting customers to make up their own minds about how to buy new cars -- as has been occurring and would occur under a truly free, capitalist marketplace -- the law will forcibly conserve the state of the market as it exists today:
Look who got an exemption from Ron DeSantis's gratuitous market intrusion! (Image by Tesla Fans Schweiz, via Unsplash, license.)
f this legislation was really necessary to "protect consumers," why wouldn't it be necessary for electric vehicles, too? And isn't it a bit suspicious that Tesla CEO Elon Musk has been a huge supporter of DeSantis and that the law included a special exemption that really helps Tesla?


[T]his policy openly uses the power of the government to rig a market in favor of special interests. It was explicitly influenced by the lobbyists who represent the auto dealers. It protects them from competition using the force of the law to skew the market in their favor. And this very industry gave DeSantis and the other Floridian policymakers who made this bill happen loads of money. According to Florida Politics, car dealership interests gave "more than $2 million to DeSantis in the last two years, $230,000 to political committees controlled by Senate President Kathleen Passidomo and $50,000 to Sen. Ben Albritton."
Polumbo is right to be upset that companies are begging for government favors, but wrong to focus on them as the problem -- as he is to call this 'crony capitalism.'

This law would be just as improper had there not been a single cent greasing a single palm, no matter how unremarkable it would be for something like this to be passed in America today. I assume that DeSantis was counting on that last fact -- and, come to think of it, the fact that bribes disguised as political donations are wrongly accepted as "the way things get done" these days.

As Ayn Rand put it, "Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned." Government telling anyone -- such as an individual in the market for a new car -- how to do business is not capitalism, as this violates that person's rights.

Get the government out of the business of doing things like this, and companies will compete on merit, rather than for favors.

So here we have it: Our governor, who holds himself out as a consequential defender of freedom is expending his time unwittingly clarifying the banal actual meaning of that bit about "standing athwart history, yelling Stop:" The market arrangements of a portion of American commerce in one state will hereby be frozen in their 2023 place by force of law.


America needs better than a panicked or cynical pause at "the way things are" and a principled return to a respect for freedom and individual rights. The left is wrong, but conservatives sure as hell aren't the answer, either, as judged by seeing one of the "better" ones in action.

-- CAV

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