The January 1998 Earth is Flat Award

A celebration of the inane, insipid and asinine...

One of the most unremarkable candidates for the presidency of the United States is making his comeback. Unlike most lackluster candidates who have the decency to settle down to a quiet life after a doomed campaign (have you heard from Walter Mondale or Michael Dukakis recently?) Dole has decided to shill for the forces of anti-trust.

According to a recent Wired News article on Republicans who have leapt on the anti-Microsoft band wagon (because Republicans love a free market), failed presidential candidate Bob Dole has taken to warning against the evil Microsoft -- who never once voted for a tax hike like Dole -- for money.

The Wall Street Journal reported on December 23 that Dole is representing a host of Microsoft antagonists - Netscape, Sun Microsystems, and airlines reservation giant Sabre Group Holdings Inc. - in a campaign to build an anti-Microsoft business coalition. Oddly enough, Dole used to defend Microsoft.

Says Wired, "It's unclear what, beyond the availability of a high-profile, high-paying gig, drew Dole into the Microsoft fray now."

Want to see the shift?

Bob Dole speaking on the Justice Department attack on Microsoft in June 1995: "A company develops a new product. A product consumers want. But now the government steps in and is in effect attempting to dictate the terms on which that product can be marketed and sold. Pinch me, but I thought we were still in America."

Bob Dole on Microsoft in December 1997: "In the coming months, we will need to educate the public, the administration, and Congress about the dangers of a laissez-faire attitude toward Microsoft. I am personally convinced that if nothing is done now, it will become increasingly difficult to have fair competition in the years ahead. That is why we will need companies like yours to help finance and support our efforts."

Dole's recent comments only serve to prove that the choice Americans faced in the last presidential election was merely two faces of the same coin. Unlike Dole, Enter Stage Right won't change its mind...he can keep his Earth is Flat Award for perpetuity!

The January 1998 Vinegar in Freedom Award

There is an old Serbian proverb that says vinegar in freedom tastes better than honey in slavery. This award is meant for events and people Enter Stage Right considers to be positive.

Imagine for a moment that you have created tens of thousands of jobs with many employees who become millionaires, one of whom even managed to become a billionaire. Imagine still that you pay tens of millions in taxes. Before you're done, also imagine that you also fit the public's definition of good corporate citizen, endowing millions of your own money to schools, neighborhood projects and community centres. You've given the world an easy entrance into technology which constantly shapes our world in new and different ways. You feel good right? You imagine you have no problems right?

In a perfect world where the men and women of production are lauded and respected for their achievements, you would be right. However, as Ayn Rand wrote some decades ago, you would actually be a member of one of the most persecuted classes in North America. You are a businessperson. It is a profession that can only exist in a free society, yet there are those who would impose their will on you regardless of whether it is a rational one.

And so it is with Microsoft Corp., a company which only last year was earning raves from everyone. What a difference a year makes. The company is now under the combined onslaught of a Department of Justice more concerned with crushing a legitimate business then prosecuting criminals in government, opportunistic competitors, and a man who never had to earn a real living.

Microsoft has its defenders -- one website in particular. Capitalism.org is leading the on-line fight to defend one of America's best companies, and by extension, the free market itself.

In any month, Capitalism.org would deserve a Vinegar in Freedom Award for its activities, but this month it is especially important to laud them for their campaign to defend Microsoft.

Go to the site and read the background material that they have assembled in support of their cause. Sign their on-line petition. Why should the left be the only one to actively support their causes? Visit the site at http://www.capitalism.org/microsoft/

Will Ralph Nader be the only "consumer" voice?




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