It’s a bit unfortunate for libertarianism and free markets that Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged (soon to be another major motion picture) is about innovative captains of industry — giants among insects — beset on all sides by the leviathan of government. For one thing, it encourages too much respect for business leaders, many of whom don’t deserve it. It also paints a false picture of who really suffers from overreaching government.
The captains of industry can usually take care of themselves. They can afford the lawyers and lobbyists they need to protect themselves (and with depressing regularity, they use those lawyers and lobbyists to get the government to attack their competition, usually while paying lip service to the glories of free market capitalism). It’s more likely to be the small business owners who are beaten down by oppressive government regulation.
This piece from reason.tv about second-hand record dealers in Washington D.C. is a good example:
Now, instead of simply selling records, they have to hire lawyers and try to get the city council to revise the laws. It’s a waste of time and money, it could shut these businesses down, and it discourages new entries into the market.
Mark is a computer programmer, website builder, photographer, and sometimes journalist in Chicago, where he also writes the long-running Windypundit blog.