Power vacuum

1959. "Anne Anderson in Whirlpool 'Miracle Kitchen of the Future,' a display at the American National Exhibition in Moscow." Kodachrome by Bob Lerner for the Look magazine article "What the Russians Will See."We can agree that society, like any collective human endeavor, abhors a power vacuum, can’t we? Having a controlling authority of some kind is what keeps the trains running on time.

So when we call for “less government,” what do we mean? Do we want less reliable trains? Of course not.

Typically, we’re referring to government involvement in areas like healthcare and education, but the particular part of government that we’d reduce or remove doesn’t matter. What matters is what we believe will happen when government, as we perceive it, withdraws.

My sense of things is that having “less government” won’t mean increased freedom or fairness. Instead, it will mean power vacuums being created in the places where we now imagine representative democracy to be. And then it will mean those vacuums being filled more openly than before by corporations.