TOS Blog: Daily Commentary from an Objectivist Perspective

Freedom-Loving Americans Must Condemn DOJ’s Bullying of Book Sellers

The Justice Department continues its assault on the property and contract rights of Apple and various book publishers. Bloomberg reports that the DOJ “is close to a settlement with three of the world’s biggest publishers on e-book price contracts with Apple Inc.”

According to the antitrust laws under which the DOJ acts, the federal government may forcibly prevent or alter consensual contracts among producers on the pretext that doing so increases “competitiveness.” But the only sort of competition the government should protect is that of free markets, made possible by the consistent defense of individual rights. Fundamental to our rights is the right to negotiate freely with others by mutual consent.

Insofar as it enforces antitrust laws, the federal government replaces the free competition of businessmen creating and trading values (i.e., capitalism) with the “competition” of armed government thugs (and those seeking their favor) who tell businessmen what they may and may not do (i.e., statism). Ultimately, the DOJ enforces all of its “settlements” and other demands by forcibly seizing property and jailing people.

Bloomberg reports that, in response to the possible DOJ “settlement,” “Apple may stop selling books or match lower prices, in some cases resulting in a loss on each book.” In other words, as reward for vastly enriching the lives of millions of Americans, Apple will be driven from part or all of the book market or forced to sacrifice its profits on the values it delivers.

To defend justice and individual rights, Americans must demand that (a) Congress repeal the antitrust laws, which are inherently rights-violating, and (b) until the laws are repealed, the Department of “Justice” stop using them as a cudgel to assault American business owners.

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Image: iStockPhoto

Posted in: Antitrust, Individual Rights and Law

Comments are welcome so long as they are civil.
  • Mike Kevitt

    Isn’t the reference to antitrust “laws”, as cudgels of assault to be taken as literal, not metaphorical?  The answer is, YES.  The assault is a START of physical violence, in pursuit of antitrust documents.  The antitrust documents are criminal plans, not laws.  Such documents, and actions whether in pursuit of such documents or not, are crimes, all the more so because they’re done under cover of the guise of law and government. 

    DOJ officials and employees who commit these crimes automatically separate themselves from the employ of the DOJ and from any immunity that employ carries, and they’re crooks, not to mention the private parties who push them to act. 

    Don’t we have LAWS and a Constitution which recognize and cover that?  Criminal complaints and charges oughta be brought (why not by Apple?).  Somebody must have the authority, under actual law, to make it formal and active, commanding action. 

    American’s demand to quit enforcing and to repeal the antitrust “laws” need teeth behind it.  Wouldn’t this approach do it?  Isn’t it available?  If not, then, what would be needed to put teeth behind it, and behind any demand for justice and individual rights? 

    Defend by demanding?  It’s not a matter of exchanging.  It’s a matter of TAKING, of seizing, what is ours by right.  We must COMMAND immediate non-enforcement and repeal of antitrust, and have a way to put teeth behind that.  I think the way mentioned above is available, and would work.

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