Death by Rigidity

The FTC is   attempting to curb a sales pitch for Rice Krispies. And the effort involves an interesting syndrome.

One of the more insidious methods of attacking capitalism is to take a theoretical model of how it “should” work and then force actual capitalists to operate “by the book.” The most egregious instance of this is the absurdity known as “perfect competition,” which declares how capitalist competition “should” work and then serves as a Procrustean ideal that allows bureaucratic regulators to torture actual competition.

Nearly as absurd is the apparent model of “perfect advertising” that the enemeies of capitalism have tried to foist on the system. In a capitalist exchange, they say, the seller informs the buyer of what he has for sale and the buyer then determines if he values that product more than the money it would cost. Thus, an example of “perfect advertising” would be one of those unreadable sheets of miniscule print that comes with a prescription medicine.

The fact of the matter is that buyers very often do not know what they want before they hear a seller’s pitch. “If I had my customers what they wanted,” Henry Ford observed,” they would have said ‘a faster horse.’” And just as people do not know technologically what they want before hearing a seller, they generally do not know how they might “relate” to a product before hearing a seller’s vision.

Hence, the pitchman. He is a central figure in genuine, free-market capitalism, and any attempt to squeeze him out of the system--on the grounds that he does not represent some apriori ideal--is certain indication of an attack on capitalism itself.

For further information, see Jerry Kirkpatrick’s excellent little work In Defense of Advertising, reviewed here by master pitchman Don Hauptman.

Our Objective Media

Teddy Davis, ABC News’s Deputy Political Director, has joined the thuggish-left Service Employees International Union (S.E.I.U.) as assistant director of communications. According to his Web site: “At ABC News, Davis was responsible for helping plan the network's political coverage on ‘World News with Diane Sawyer,’ ‘Good Morning America,’ ‘Nightline,’ and ‘This Week.’ He also provided on-camera analysis to ABC’s digital cable station and wrote stories for ABCNEWS.com. While working for ABC News, he covered the re-election of George W. Bush, the Democratic takeover of Congress, the election of Barack Obama, and the fight to reform the nation’s health care system.”

And it’s not as though ABC didn’t know what viewpoint it was getting when it hired Davis. From 2000–2002, Davis served as a political aide, communications aide, and special assistant to the hapless Governor Gray Davis of California, who was recalled in 2003.

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