Saturday, April 23, 2011

Ghostbusters: How the Government Destroys Entrepreneurship

Ghostbusters Double Feature Gift Set (Ghostbusters/ Ghostbusters 2 and Commemorative Book)I just watched Ghostbusters again, and man, that movie has aged well.  The script (co-written by Dan Akroyd) was full of clever dialogue.  The acting was great, Bill Murray is always at the top of his game.  Has that guy ever been in a bad movie?

I loved it even more now that I'm an anarcho-capitalist.  The movie pits struggling entrepreneurs (the Ghostbusters) against a meddling and incompetent government (the EPA).

Dan Akroyd (Stantz) and Bill Murray (Venkman) have a discussion in the beginning, when they decide to go into business for themselves:

You're always so worried about your reputation. We don't need the University. Einstein did his best stuff while he was working as a patent clerk.'They can't stop progress. STANTZ (not cheered) Do you know what a patent clerk makes? I liked the University. They gave us money, they gave us the facilities and we didn't have to produce anything! I've worked in the private sector. They expect results. You've never been out of college. You don't know what it's like out there. VENKMAN (with visionary zeal) Let me tell you, Ray, everything in life happens for a reason. Call it fate, call it luck, Karma, whatever. I think we were destined to get kicked out of there. STANTZ For what purpose? VENKMAN (with real conviction) To go into business for ourselves.

(emphasis added)

This conversation could just as easily been about government jobs vs. private sector jobs.  It takes tremendous effort, risk, and sacrifice to go into business for yourself.  Akroyd's character has to take a third mortgage on his house to get the business up and running.

Business picks up as they start busting ghost heads, until all hell breaks loose.  But it's not ghosts that are the problem, it's the government.

An power-mad EPA inspector Walter Peck (played by William Atherton) comes to shut down the ghost storage grid.  The first encounter goes like this:

May I please see the storage facility? VENKMAN Why do you want to see it? PECK Well, because I'm curious. I want to know more about what you do here. Frankly, there have been a lot of wild stories in the media and we want to assess any possible environmental impact from your operation. For instance, the storage of noxious, possibly hazardous waste materials in your basement. Now either you show me what's down there or I come back with a court order. VENKMAN (he's had it) Go ahead! Get a court order. Then I'm gonna sue your ass off for wrongful prosecution. PECK (exiting) Have it your way, Mr. Venkman. VENKMAN (shouts after him) Hey! Make yourself useful! Go save a tree!

(emphasis added)

Venkman's threat to sue Peck is an idle one.  Because the government has a monopoly over the court system, it is nearly impossible to successfully prosecute them.

Peck returns with a police officer, and threatens to have the secretary arrested for "interfering with a police officer."  He orders the storage grid to be shut off:

If you turn that thing off we won't be responsible for the consequences. PECK On the contrary! You will be held completely responsible.

This is typical.  The government interferes with a private enterprise, and then blames that enterprise when their own actions cause the disaster.

This power trip may sound fantastic.  But you must remember, Nixon established the EPA.  There's obviously something sketchy about them. And here are some real-life examples of the EPA gone wild:

The EPA ignores science
The EPA wants the authority "to shut down every kind of industrial activity or construction project nationwide."
The EPA is responsible for the Challenger disaster.
The EPA regulated milk and dairy products, because they contain "oil" (natural fats, not exxon stuff).
The EPA destroys a small American surfboard business (a must read)

So the EPA releases hell on earth, and the Ghostbusters go to prison.  They then have to beg the mayor of New York to "allow" them to do their jobs.

It was great to see a realistic depiction of government meddling in the movies.  Entrepreneurs are the real heroes.  Government just gets in the way.  If the Ghostbusters had simply been left alone, the ghost apocalypse would not have happened.

It would be safe to assume that the zombie apocalypse will come about through government intervention.

No comments:

Post a Comment