Government: When You’re a Hammer, Everything Looks Like a Nail
Government’s One Tool Tool Kit
In this, the Age of Social Media, everything said - must be said curtly and quickly. It is tough to be subtle in less than 280 characters.
And sadly, the combination of government schools and social media has rendered most of us stupid - with infinitesimal attention spans.
To grab majority attention - one must be loud and brusque.
Which works out quite well for the advocates of government.
Government is a blunt force instrument. It is not an entity capable of nuance or subtlety. You can not ask government for precision.
Government is either off - or all the way on. It is all hammers - all the time.
But sometimes - you need a scalpel. Precision carving - rather than mass hammering.
Government doesn’t have any scalpels in the bag.
If government officials stick to aiming at nails - things remain reasonable.
“Wisconsin Republican Congressman Mike Gallagher wants congressional hearings with Apple CEO Tim Cook and the NBA’s Adam Silver over dealings in China connected to forced labor of Uighur Muslims….
“‘Concentration camps, for instance, help make those Nike uniforms that the NBA wears,’ said Hawley. “They should pledge right now -- Nike, the NBA, and all these American corporations, that they will not use forced slave labor.”
It’s very easy to hammer away at those nails. It’s either A or B. You are either for or against having slave Uighurs assemble iPhones and sew sneakers.
And it ain’t hard to come up with about a million other, better places you can get those jobs done.
But then Congressman Gallagher - overextended himself. He left the Land of Hammers and Nails - and entered Scalpel Land:
“Gallagher went a step further and said that he does not think that companies, like the American microchip company Qualcomm, which supplies the Department of Defense and intelligence community, should be doing business with companies like Huawei and ZTE.”
“The U.S. has led a worldwide campaign to convince foreign governments to bar Huawei from their advanced telecommunications networks, arguing that allowing them into those systems would lead to violations of their citizens’ privacy.
“The U.S. has also threatened NATO and other allies with curtailments or suspensions in intelligence sharing and cooperation should they allow Huawei components or technology in their high-speed networks.”
Except unlike with the manufacture of shoes and phones - there’s a bit of a problem with immediately dumping Huawei.
“Trump wants to avoid business with Chinese tech firms, but no American company makes the same wireless equipment.”
Why doesn’t anyone else? Because what China did - was for years subsidize the daylight out of Huawei’s hardware. Huawei undersold everyone else - and thereby drove everyone else out of this crucial link in the Internet chain. China’s subsidies - bought Huawei a monopoly.
You want Uighurs to immediately stop making hightops? No problem. You can quickly move your factory to Incheon. Or, preferably, Indiana.
You want Uighurs to immediately stop assembling Apple stuff? No problem. You can quickly move your factory to Bangalore. Or, preferably, Battle Ground, Michigan.
But the entirety of the world’s Internet - has spent years building itself up and around Huawei’s hardware. And we have nothing with which to immediately replace it.
Unlike Obamacare, you can’t repeal Huawei and replace it with nothing.
And years of past stupidity - does not mean we should lurch forward stupidly.
Fortunately, the cavalry is assembled - and is coming.
“A new coalition of more than 30 tech companies launched Tuesday to advocate federal policies to fund research and development of open and interoperable 5G networks.
“The White House has promoted the same approach because it wants to see 5G built out in the U.S. and abroad without using network gear made by China’s Huawei….”
But we’re not there yet.
Congressman Gallagher and his ilk need to temporarily stow their hammers.
We first need the scalpels.
This first appeared in Red State.