Sunday, February 20, 2011

Steve Jobs May Be the Last Great American

NOfP Note: Bob from LA returns to author this post

Mr. Steve Jobs changed the world, he created the iPod, iPhone, iPad, media tools that make my life better, and arguably make many lives better. As the genius behind Pixar Animation, he perhaps saved Disney, and enhanced many lives with wonderful animated movies.

Mr. Jobs is also the creative intellect behind the Macintosh computer, which easily does what most people need. Music, video, email, write letters, keep track of things. From my perspective, the thing that is so great about the Mac is not what it does today, even though it does it so easily. It is the promise that the next incarnation of the Mac will be better than the last. (In contrast, the Microsoft operating system never seems to get better, only different. Installing a printer on the PC has always been a chore, it just never gets any easier.) On a Mac, it is effortless and seamless. Installing a scanner I was up an running within 60 seconds, which is as long as it took me to search for the scanning app that comes as part of the built-in software. It is there because Apple knows people need to do those things without thinking about them.

Another example: My first computer was a Mac 128k, the original. Out of the box, the day I took it home, I created a ten page technical paper in six hours with integrated text and graphics. In 1984. I printed it on an Imagewriter and turned it in the next day. I was able, without ever having used a computer before, to do this. Try that today! It's almost an impossible experiment. But, you get the picture.

Whereas a simple thing like installing a printer on a PC has never gotten any easier, Apple makes improvements. Why? Because people want to do things on the computer, without thinking about how. That is the Apple advantage. Thanks Steve Jobs.

Steve Jobs created great things that make many peoples lives much better. We communicate, collaborate, share, love, cry, learn easier, better, faster and without taking a day to learn how to install a stupid printer on a stupid computer! Thank you Mr. Jobs! He was able to do these things because he had to do them to compete. Competition and capital allowed him to do great things, a truly Great American.

Want to know what competition and capitalism can do for you? Just pay a visit to the local grocery store. Notice the abundance of cheap food. The absence of long lines and queues. When the government takes care of food control and production, shortages and high prices exist. Just take a look at the former Soviet Union, Cuba and North Korea to know that. Ten million people get fed in New York City each day because of competition an capitalism. Where does the best food go? To those that can afford lobster and caviar.

But, Steve Jobs is dying. Well, we are all dying, but Mr. Jobs is dying sooner than most of us, from pancreatic cancer, notoriously low five year survival rate. He has extended his life by buying the best medical care, and being on every transplant list in the country. He can do this because he is wealthy.

And, Mr. Jobs may be the last Great American. Ever.

Why? Because government growth is squeezing out the ability to be a Great American. Take a look at the American car industry: destroyed by unions, no longer competitive. These unions grew in power and were protected by federal, state and local governments. Sure, individuals in those unions are better off, but the country is worse because the auto industry is going elsewhere. There is no competition for jobs when the work (and pay) is allocated based seniority insted of productivity. A younger, better, faster worker will be laid off before a slower, older, lazier worker. How does that make sense? No, life isn't fair.

I would argue the public education industry is failing us as well, because of teacher-union control, facilitated by Big Brother. There is little competition, and thus less incentive, to excel as a teacher. Government and union control of education is killing it.

And finally, in Mr. Obama's world, the government will be in control of health care. Most likely that is the future, if we don't kill the thing now. In Mr. Obama's world, health care will be controlled by an inefficient government, rationed and you will line up in queues to get it. Steve Jobs could never buy the best medical care, he would stand in line like everyone else.

In Mr. Obama's world, the liver that Steve Jobs has now would have more likely gone to waste as a discarded organ, due to lack of funds for transplants, or just as likely, gone to a diabetic single mother of four on welfare. That would have made her life better, certainly. That liver makes a big difference to that one person. However, Steve Jobs makes my life better! He makes a lot of lives better! That's what makes him a Great American. He makes many lives better. In this America, if you can afford the liver transplant then you can get something like the head of the line, by being able to cross the nation for available organ at a moments notice. That allows you to be on the list of more than just your local donor list. Most of us cannot afford that, but Steve Jobs can, because he created wealth by being a Great American.

Instead of 'fixing health care' by making it worse, we should fix health care by letting capitalism and competition cure the system. That has has worked everywhere it has been tried. If socialism were better, we'd all be speaking Russian.

Capitalism and competition works to create a Great America and Great Americans. People that hate America, want to destroy it and create a mediocre place to live where everyone is at the mercy of a controlling big brother authority.

That's why Steve Jobs may be the Last Great American, because if America doesn't cease to exist, it will not be a place where greatness prospers... only mediocrity.