Reason or Force: The United Airlines re-accommodation illustrated the societal choice we have.

“Under capitalism, man tries to exploit man using voluntary exchange; under socialism, man exploits man using government force.” -Will Spencer

That last few days has seen a tremendous amount of buzz over the dragging of a passenger off of a flight in Chicago, and while it does has it’s sensational elements, it doesn’t seem to be an isolated incident.

The sequence of events began with the airline having the need for some extra seats and it’s representatives offering monetary incentives for some to leave the flight. When an insufficient number declined these offers, it was decided that it would randomly ‘re-accommodate’ some passengers. One refused and the airline used the police power of governmental force to remove him to the horror of his fellow passengers and the nation at large.

This aptly illustrated the societal choice of reason or force in how we interact with each other. We can either dwell on a level of voluntary exchange or we can have governmental force as the standard of discourse. One can either be offered incentives or one can be forced into certain behaviours. This is the old idiom of the “carrot and stick”, that force is usually employed when incentives fail.

The stark choice is one of a free-market and reasoning with each other with voluntary exchange or governmental force to compel everyone to act in a certain way. Most rational beings would prefer the voluntary exchange option to one of force, thus this second option has to be couched in other terminology to make it saleable to the general public. The governmental force option is often disguised with flowery the language of equality and ‘fairness’ and of leveling the playing field.

But behind this deceptive language, there is the fact that one cannot accomplish these goals without the application of force. There may be legions perfectly amenable to receiving government largess, but it has to be extracted from someone. There may be many who want to dwell in places where contrary ideas are not expressed or would like the false security of people control, but someone has to enforce ‘speech-codes’ or confiscate firearms from the innocent.

So, for those who recoiled at the application of governmental force with the re-accommodation incident, perhaps they should consider if that is the paradigm they would chose for the rest of society.


Author: Torcer

Differential equations teaches us that one can use the initial conditions of the present to extrapolate events in the near term balanced with the knowledge of the past. The interaction of technological advances and the march of history is fascinating. History can inform those willing to listen as to what will happen in the future because the laws of human natural are as immutable as the elegant equations of Newtonian physics.

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