I read an essay last week so bizarre I can’t even classify it as “wrong.” If I didn’t recognize the author, I would have thought it parody, but it had none of the hallmarks of good parody other than being consistently ridiculous. On a scale of right to wrong, it runs perpendicular to the scale. It is orthogonal to the concept of truth.

Most of all, it seems to have aged incredible poorly since it was published nine days ago.

Anyone who has read about the Luddites knows that they were right, so using them as an example of silly fears sets the wrong tone from the start. Claiming that outsourcing and automation were also examples of things people feared needlessly begins to build the foundation for something so bizarre and counter-factual it must be the result of a dare.

But all of that fades away to background noise when the author charts a collection of things that have gone up in price against things that have gone down in price and claims, absent evidence or reason, that the difference is government control. Average hourly wages rising since 2000? Government control! (Reality: the last federal minimum wage increase was in 2009) Housing prices? Government control! (Reality: a decrease in regulation led to the 2008 housing crisis) Food and beverages? Government control! (Reality: Huh? Is he mad about… food safety laws?)

Oh, how I wish for such government control as he imagines!

Meanwhile the price of ephemeral things like cellphone service and software are down, along with the sorts of things that are built via outsourcing and automation, like TVs and toys. And while toys and electronics are more regulated in the US than, say, food and beverages, or childcare and nursery school, somehow the color-coding says otherwise. Beware the government control boogeyman!

Anyway, I don’t know nor care whether AI is going to cause unemployment. I mean, sure, it clearly is going to replace some jobs while creating others, generally shifting still more options out of reach of a certain class of workers, so the comparison to outsourcing and automation is apt, but really, that’s not the point of the essay.

The point of the essay is to argue that government control is The Problem™, literally days before Silicon Valley Bank went under and had to be rescued by the government using government control of the banking industry. One of SVB’s biggest clients? The author of the essay. I guess he’s pretty glad of government control today!

It was bizarrely, weirdly Wrong with a capital W, T, and F the day he published it, and it has gotten even more Fd in the days since.

You would think the author would have better things to do than write such nonsense, like try to get some kind of return on the $400 million he invested into the recent purchase of Twitter with seemingly zero due diligence or common sense. But hey, he’s rich, and there are two different economies, apparently.

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