In about 1978, IFO attended the state convention of the Libertarian Party of Oregon. The leading LPO intellectual in the state at the time was a man named Paul Dillon. Paul gave the key note speech that weekend in Salem and his words have haunted IFO ever since.
“If we (challengers to the status quo) ever begin to be a real threat,” he warned, “They WILL strike back.”
Pictured at left, Top, UberPOP CEO Thibaud Simphal. Below: French President Francois Hollande.
We’re singling France out, today, but UBER is facing violent union opposition in other locations as well, like New York City, where the company is offering free rides to protests against them.
Let’s listen to CEO Simphal – ooh-la-la!
Striking back shows up when a government entity and its hangers-on feel threatened. If possible, these entities prefer to blackmail or extort exorbitant sums from their victims. If the money is not forthcoming or doesn’t exist, they just adopt laws outlawing the offending behavior.
As the Wall Street Journal, referenced above, notes, “French prosecutors ordered two top executives for Uber Technologies Inc. to stand trial on charges that could bring fines and jail time, a rapid acceleration of France’s legal salvos against the ride-sharing firm. Uber executives Pierre-Dimitri Gore-Coty and Thibaud Simphal were released after spending a night in police custody…” [edited]
Striking back? The State? Yes. Taxi drivers alone can only fight back by competing more effectively. Why do that when they and their union can harness the power of the State to back up their calls for protection.
We saw this in the political arena when Third Party Challengers mysteriously started to show up on the ballot in years when voter disaffection was reaching epidemic proportions. IFO doesn’t believe H. Ross Perot was part of the anti-Third Party cabal.
In fact, he may have started it, when he showed the real danger of a Third Viable Presidential candidate. His candidacy was well on its way to “being a real threat” when his reputation was mysteriously trashed beyond recognition or recovery.
He was willing to put up, so he wouldn’t have to shut up. He did challenge the status quo by running for city council in a small town. This gave him the opportunity to show Libertarian thought at work in the real world, rather than in theory.
He was quietly making his point to the pseudo-intellectuals and theoreticians and hair-splitters active then, and still active, in the party. Also, he was showing the shy that it can be done and can be enjoyed.
Dillon entertained us at many a state committee meeting and state convention following his election. He told: What it was like to be the only “no” vote. How his principled stands and friendly demeanor had won him friends on the council.
We were all devastated when he contracted and died of a fast-moving cancer just a few years later. The State didn’t even get a chance to strike back.
What do we learn from this? Never underestimate the strength of the many kinds of competition your business investment can encounter.