Slippery Slopes

“Regulation stifles businesses,” he said, losing his footing on the edge of a steep cliffside. He quickly grabbed at a sapling poking out of the ground. “I think the Market can and should police itself! We don’t need government nanny-state rules telling people what they can and can’t do! What about freedom?”

The sapling’s roots soon gave way under the significant weight, sending the man careening backward, arms twirling, one hand still gripped reflexively around the dislodged young tree. “Also, I think we should privatize as many government services as we can!” he wailed. “Businesses can do the job more efficiently!”

As he watched his feet fly by overhead, he shouted, “businesses should be allowed to deny anyone service for any reason! If a bakery makes wedding cakes, they should be allowed to deny cakes for gay weddings or black weddings without suffering any consequences! There should be no anti-discrimination laws!”

After several tumbles end-over-end, his hands managed to grasp some shrubbery, halting his descent right at the edge of a cliff. He caught his breath and said, “we should get rid of income and business taxes and then cut social programs. Let private businesses take care of it!”

The rocks beneath his feet gave way and the cliffside collapsed. He tumbled for almost two minutes before his mangled body finally lurched to a halt.

A group of hikers found him ten minutes later and were relieved he was still breathing. One called 911 and waited on hold for over five minutes before finally being transferred to an operator in Bangkok. After listening to some brief sales pitches for nearby hospitals, they relayed the situation and were told that paramedics were en route.

Unfortunately, the ambulance that arrived was from a for-pay private firm that, as a policy, required payment up front. His wallet had fallen out of his pocket halfway up the mountain. The hiker dialed 911 again and this time requested paramedics who would accept deferred payment. It was nearly half an hour before they arrived. There was a hospital fifteen minutes away, but it did not take the man’s insurance, so they drove another fifteen minutes to a hospital that did. They were able to repair most of his injuries, but the damage to his spine rendered him paraplegic from the waist down, and a slow cranial bleed had gone on long enough to result in permanent brain damage.

Out of a job, he lost his house to the bank over his tremendous healthcare loans. Hungry and desperate, he turned to shoplifting in order to survive. Many workers overlooked his theft out of pity for his condition, but he was eventually arrested. Though his crimes were petty and nonviolent in nature, the prosecutor and judge—both of whom owned shares in all the local for-profit prisons—concluded that his wheelchair constituted a weapon, and he was sentenced to twenty years.

Two years later, he died in his cell from a trivial infection that spread to the rest of his body due to cutbacks in the prisoner health program. With his last words, he cursed government regulation for stifling the free-market utopia that would have saved his life.

One thought on “Slippery Slopes”

  1. People supporting idea of completely free market tend to annoyingly imply that what is good for business is somehow proportionally good for customers, despite those two having perfectly opposite interests.

    Stuff like “competition” is good for customers, but really bad for business, since fighting competitors really cuts into profits. That means that it is imperative for a business to decrease competition, preferable to zero. Through creating oligopolies or single vast monopoly after destroying everyone else.

    Sort of like the winners of Russian Free Competition Season of 1917-1922 did.

    It sorta sucked to be a customer after that.

    Having “private sector” and “government sector” at permanent impasse guarantees(I hope) no such ultimate monopoly arises.

    Government should be too dependent on income from private sector and scared to lose taxpayers, who, in turn, should not be able to gain enough organization and unified power to overtake governmental structures.

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