Thoughts on software and life.

Friday January 26

Of iPhones and Socialists

Hugo Chavez, the president of Venezuela, comes off as a quack, but sometimes he says things that could have easily been said by an American politician:

"The one who will pay is the one who fills up the BMW," Chavez said of the gasoline tax.

Socialist reformers are so obsessed with promoting equality that they completely overlook the need to promote creativity. Imagine that you work for an automobile company and you have a dream for an innovative new car. How would it make you feel to know that your government would punish people who purchase your vehicle because it would allow them to drive a higher quality car than some others? In a country like that, people don't even bother to dream of new things.

There is a cultural undercurrent here in America that mocks consumerism. It is frustrating to see that attitude flirt its way into legislation, because to a creative person, there are few things as meaningful as having your creations enjoyed by as many people as possible. This is what drives us, even though it is the long process of creation that brings the most joy, not the ephemeral act of consumption.

This is why the iPhone story has brought me such happiness these last few weeks. It's not just the knowledge that in six months I will finally own a phone that doesn't suck, it's because of all the public adulation that has been focused on the creative spirit of Steve Jobs and Apple. While the iPhone itself will soon be taken for granted, scores of people around the globe have been kicked into action by Apple, inspired to create the next beautiful new thing. We Americans are fortunate to have a culture where that impulse is still encouraged, not smited by men like Chavez.

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