Friday, December 01, 2006

President Gates?

From Scott Adams' ("Dilbert") blog this morning:
In an earlier post I said Bill Gates would make an excellent president because he's a successful businessman, makes decisions based on reason instead of superstition, and has a track record of trying to help the poor through his foundation...

The fascinating thing is that even the comments [in reply to that post] about his evil-doings are FAVORABLE to the concept of Bill Gates for president. The man took one look at capitalism and beat it like a 14-year old boy with unrestricted Internet access. Bill Gates is a winner. Wouldn't you prefer having him on your side for a change, beating the crap out of North Korea instead of Netscape?

I've always felt that you should pick a president the same way you'd pick an attorney to help you out of a dangerous legal problem. Do you want the attorney who dresses nicely and belongs to your church? Or do you want the attorney who can rip out your opponent's heart and put it on the hibachi before he dies? Maybe it's just me, but I want an attorney who is part demon. And I want a president who isn't afraid to make rational decisions.

I would say a loud "amen brother!" to the bits about rationality. However: the catch is in the throwaway phrase "have him on your side for a change" because it's unfortunately true. Bill Gates has always and only been on his own side (up to the creation of his trust fund, and my hat is sincerely off to him for that. Well done.)

He has (through his personal direction of the actions of Microsoft) an extensive track record as an opponent of freedom of choice and the right to privacy. Do you really want more of that in the White House? Isn't what the government is already doing to your rights under the excuse of preventing terrorism bad enough?

By the way, Gates was able to beat capitalism because IBM made a very peculiar decision: they let him retain the rights to MS-DOS rather than insisting that they should own them, as they had done with all previous software subcontractors - which is what he then was. If the team which made that decision had had competent legal advice, Gates would still be very rich, but he'd be nothing like the gazillionaire monopolist he is today.

2 Comments:

Blogger brooksba said...

While I agree to having a president who is a business (wo)man who would actually use problem solving skills and look the opportunity costs of actions, I don't think Bill Gates is the right candidate. You are completely right about his ideas around span of control, freedom of choices, and privacy issues.

December 2, 2006 at 9:18:00 AM GMT+1  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Yeah, I love Microsoft products but I can't see Gates as president. A country can't be run as a corporation.

December 3, 2006 at 1:37:00 AM GMT+1  

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