Antitrust : The Rule of Unreason

“Free competition enforced by law” 
is a grotesque contradiction in terms.
We are not a capitalist system any longer: we are a mixed economy, i.e.,  
a mixture of capitalism and statism, of freedom and controls. 
A mixed economy is a country in the process of disintegration,  
a civil war of pressure-groups looting and devouring one another.

The alleged purpose of the Antitrust laws was to protect competition; that purpose was based on the socialistic fallacy that a free, unregulated market will inevitably lead to the establishment of coercive monopolies

But, in fact, no coercive monopoly has ever been or ever can be established by means of free trade on a free market. 

Every coercive monopoly was created by government intervention into the economy: by special privileges, such as franchises or subsidies, which closed the entry of competitors into a given field, by legislative action

The Antitrust laws were the classic example of a moral inversion prevalent in the history of capitalism: an example of the victims, the businessmen, taking the blame for the evils caused by the government, and the government using its own guilt as a justification for acquiring wider powers, on the pretext of “correcting” the evils.

The world of antitrust is reminiscent of Alice's Wonderland: everything seemingly is, yet apparently isn't, simultaneously. It is a world in which competition is lauded as the basic axiom and guiding principle, yet "too much" competition is condemned as "cutthroat." It is a world in which actions designed to limit competition are branded as criminal when taken by businessmen, yet praised as "enlightened" when initiated by the government. It is a world in which the law is so vague that businessmen have no way of knowing whether specific actions will be declared illegal until they hear the judge's verdict — after the fact. (1)

The Antitrust laws,an unenforceable, uncompliable, unjudicable mess of contradictions,
have for decades kept businessmen under a silent, growing reign of terror. 
Yet these laws were created and, to this day, are upheld as a grim monument to the lack
  • of political philosophy,  
  • of economic knowledge 
  • of any concern with principles. 
Under the Antitrust laws, 
a person becomes a criminal from the moment he/she goes into business, 
no matter what they do. 
For instance, 
  • if he/she charges prices which some bureaucrats judge as too high, he/she can be prosecuted for monopoly or for a successful “intent to monopolize”
  • if he/she charges prices lower than those of his competitors, he/she can be prosecuted for “unfair competition” or “restraint of trade”; 
  • if he/she charges the same prices as his competitors, he/she can be prosecuted for “collusion” or “conspiracy.” 
There is only one difference in the legal treatment accorded to a criminal or to a businessperson: 
the criminal’s rights are protected much more securely and objectively than the businessperson’s.

There is only one meaning and purpose these laws could have, 
whether their authors intended it or not:  
  • the penalizing of ability for being ability
  • the penalizing of success for being success, 
  • the sacrifice of productive genius to the demands of envious mediocrity.
If parasitism, favoritism, corruption, and greed for the unearned did not exist, 
our mixed economy of capitalism and statism - would bring them into existence.

 (1) Alan Greenspan, "Antitrust," in Ayn Rand, ed., Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, 1962
Ayn Rand : Antitrust : The Rule of  Unreason