Sunday, October 18, 2020
Think-tanker Henry Olsen has written extensively about the American right’s decades-long malady of “free-market fundamentalism” — the liberalized notion that private-sector action is per se good and public-sector action per se bad. But whatever appeal such a sentiment might have for dorm-room libertarians reading Ayn Rand for the first time, to proffer such a creed as a viable theory of governance is to succumb to the elevation of fanciful dogma over the pragmatic realities of everyday life.
Justice and liberty are ill-served by large concentrations of tyrannical, unaccountable power, regardless of whether those concentrated power sources are public or private.
Legal theorists and policymakers are still contemplating how to reconcile the fact that our Constitution deals primarily with state action and the fact that the true threats to our liberty in the 21st century, whether in the form of online speech or digital privacy, disproportionately emanate from private, nonpublic action. That reconciliation process is unlikely to conclude any time soon.