Love in a Time of Politics

Don’t fall in love with a candidate.

It’s ok to love his ideas, or how he presents them.  It’s even ok to fall in love with policies, although those are – fortunately – rarely as pure as the ideas.

It’s even ok to decide, after a long, successful term of governance, that one has become attached, and to love an officer-holder for what they have done.

But don’t fall in love with candidates.  That’s when they’re ambitious, egotistical, manipulative.  They want to win an election, to hold an office.  They may believe what they say, and you may like how they say it, but never forget that a candidate is, above all, trying to get something from you.  Your vote.  For office.  For them.

If you love them, they probably don’t even know who you are.

Candidates are, like the rest of us, flawed human beings, with sins in their pasts and compromises to be made in their futures.  They will have to trade away X to get Y and it may well be that X is the single most important thing to you in the platform.  Nothing personal, just business.

That’s why, when you judge a candidate you do so based on cold calculation of whether or not supporting them advances the political cause.  What will they do once in office?  Do you trust their judgment, especially under pressure? Can they win?  If they can’t win, does it matter, and what can they achieve in the course of losing?

But above all, not, do I love them?

As it is with candidate, whose business is politics, all the more so with a company or CEO, whose business is business, but who gets involved in politics.

Consider the news from Apple today that it will oppose an FBI request to develop a version of its iOS to allow the government to bypass security on confiscated phones.

Some libertarians are cheering Apple as a friend of liberty, a champion of freedom.

I strongly suspect that, to some extent their willingness to fall in love with Apple over this issue is strongly related to their having fallen in love with Steve Jobs’s products, but I can’t readily prove that.  Nevertheless, fallen in love they have, at least for the moment.

Tim Cook is no Champion of Liberty.  He’s a lefty with a libertarian streak when it comes to his company’s products.  He supports gay marriage, which libertarians like, but opposes individual, private freedom of conscience not to participate in those ceremonies, which ought to give libertarians the willies.

He has committed Apple to get 100% of its power from highly expensive, heavily publicly-subsidized “renewable” energy, and refused to disclose to shareholders how much this will cost them.

Cook may or may not be on the right side of the privacy issue.  (I tend to think he’s correct in general, but wildly wrong in thinking that two dead mass murderers have privacy rights worth respecting.)  But on the whole, Cook is a typical New Oligarch, fond of using the government to tell other people how to live, while chafing at those restrictions himself.

In short, no friend of liberty.

Don’t fall in love with a company.

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