actionaries had stood up to the progressives, and by sheer numberrnand force of will, actually began to win. Disney is desperately,rnif quietly, trying to regroup, because if there is one thingrnan evil businessman wants more than the thrill of destruction,rnit is profit. Tliat pursuit reins in his desires, and restricts the socialrneffects of his malevolence.rnNot so with government. Imagine if Michael Eisner werernthe head of a federal movie administration. The therapeuticrnmovies funded by the FMA would not be subject to a marketrntest. They would have ready funding and a truly captive audience,rnprobably including every public school classroom. Eisnerrnwould be far freer to pursue his grudge against the publicrnwithout restraint, so long as he could bamboozle his wayrnthrough Senate confirmation hearings.rnDavid Kessler did not even have to do that. As Food andrnDrug Administrator, Kessler enjoyed a degree of power unknownrnto any corporate kingpin. While Eisner may be chastenedrnby public disapproval from time to time, Kessler could ignorernpublic opinion, because he did not have to worry whetherrnpeople will purchase his product. He attempted to smash therntobacco industry even though a third or more of the Americanrnpublic smokes cigarettes regularly or on occasion. His iron griprnon the drug-approval process meant that untold tens of thousandsrnsuffer or die for lack of pain relief and cures. He couldrntarget any food or beverage company in the world and charge itrnwith misleading its customers, thus driving its stock price to arnfraction of what it should be, bankrupting stockholders on arnwhim.rnThese are the powers of an unchecked autocrat, and Kesslerrnused them with profoundly destructive results. But who wasrnKessler subject to? Could consumers boycott him or influencernhis decisions? Not a chance; yet we were all forced to conformrnour buying habits to his dictates, which affect everyone in therncountry. Whatever Kessler wanted, Kessler got. In contrast,rnwhatever Eisner wants is subject to a highly sensitive ratificationrnprocess by the consuming public, and his fortunes can be reversedrnon our whim.rnEvil exists in both the public and private sector, but there isrna profound difference between government power andrnmarket power, and thus the power of evil to wreak social havoc.rnThe popular music industry, for example, has been the enemyrnof decency and taste for decades. But in recent years, it hasrnpushed matters over the top: rap music is the worst imaginablernracket to appear in the history of recording technology, toppedrnoff by filthy lyrics celebrating behaviors lower than can bernfound in the animal kingdom. But it was the market that tookrnthe edge off: the largest seller of CDs in the country is Wal-rnMart, and its buyers insist on clean cover art, no profanity, andrnno celebration of death and mayhem. As a result, parents havernfallen in love with Wal-Mart’s CD bins: they live up to theirrnfamily-oriented market pitch, and profit as a result.rnThere is bitter irony in the complaints that the market economyrnhas destroyed our aesthetic sense. The market, above all,rndeserves credit for having saved us from a series of maliciousrnconspiracies. Earlier in our century, the same intellectualrncrowd that gave us socialism also gave us serialism in music,rnDadaism in architecture and art, and demented plays at therntheater. There was just one thing that these ambitious intellectualsrnoveriooked: the public does not like the way the 12-tonernrow sounds, does not like wacky-looking buildings, and will notrnpay to have its sensibilities insulted at the theater. Despiterndecades of promotion, these art forms survive largely as a resultrnof government subsidies. The market has never wavered in itsrnpreference for minimum standards of beauty and form over thernnihilistic demands of the government-connected intelligentsia.rnThis is the basis on which music critics such as Paul Griffithsrnof the New York Times denounce the idea that “the market is allrnwe need to determine what matters.” To him, all that reallyrnmatters is Schoenberg, and if he had his way, we would throwrntonality into the dustbin of history. But to make that a realityrnwithin a market economy, we would all have to havernlobotomies or live on heavy tranquilizers.rnStill others have a different view: music went wrong in thern13 th century with the advent of complex polyphony. How canrnwe sort this out? How do we decide what kind music ought tornbe heard in a society that values freedom? We have done quiternwell with the market, which has managed to suppress the evilrnimpulse to abolish tonality even while making medieval chantrnmore widely available than at any time in history. If we had torndepend on the government-backed concert hall for music education,rntonality might have been wiped out by now, and with itrnthe Western heritage of music. Thanks to recorded music, andrnthe vigorous market for it, beauty in music survives, thrives, andrnhas triumphed over evil.rnThe same is true in food. An evil crowd has insisted that peoplernshould eat only vegetables, pasta, bread, and rice. The cowrncomes in for special criticism because it wanders far and wide,rnletting off ozone-destroying methane gas, and eating far morernthan its fair share of grain. But this theory, promoted by the culturalrnelite, rejects the historical and physical reality that manrnand meat go together.rnDespite a decade of pro-soybean propaganda, antimeat hysteria,rnand pro-veggie enthusiasm, meat continues to triumphrnin the marketplace. This is in no small part due to the muchderidedrninstitution of fast food, which continues to make a deliciousrnmeat-bread-vegetable package available to the masses ofrnAmericans for a very cheap price. So corrupt are the elites inrnsome places, for example, that the only restaurants with therngood sense to serve meat are fast-food joints. Say what you willrnabout McDonald’s, but it has kept vegetarianism at bay forrndecades. And those who think fast food is tacky can feel securernin the knowledge that the market also offers the widest variety ofrnready-to-eat meat from grocery stores and fancier restaurantsrnthan at anytime in history.rnIt is an old canard to denounce the greeting-card industry forrnmanufacturing “Grandmother’s Day,” “Secretary’s Day,” andrnall the rest. But compare them with the holy days that governmentrnhas invented for us: Veterans Day (read: War Day), LaborrnDay (read: Union Day), MLK Day (read: “Hand Over YourrnWallet, Whitey” Day), and all the rest. It has been the greetingcardrnindustry, together with the much derided “commercialism”rnof Christmas, that has helped keep traditional religiousrnholidays alive even while the secular elites have attempted tornbanish them from public life.rnThe cultiiral critics of markets forget that there are mechanismsrnwithin the market economy that reward the good andrnpunish the bad. The incentive to make contracts rewardsrnpromisekeeping and punishes people who go back on theirrnword. Credit markets reward savers over spendthrifts, and makernpeople who are present-oriented pay for their high-time preferencernin the form of higher interest, while punishing those whorndo not pay their bills by giving them a bad credit rating.rnThe profit system rewards those who use resources withoutrn22/CHRONICLESrnrnrn