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HOYT: When the Free Marketplace of Political Ideas Is Thwarted

AP Photo/Seth Wenig

 

There are plenty of articles about the blatant naked fraud we all saw happening in this election. I usually link my friend Larry’s post, because he has a bunch of the indications (though not all).

But though we’ve joked for a long time about having to beat the fraud—cemeteries voting in Chicago is a perennial—the only state to go all vote-by-mail and not become perpetually Democrat is Utah, and that’s probably cultural.

However, it’s almost impossible to prove how long the left has been committing fraud or whether it’s actually won them elections.

We do have some indications, such as the fact that the Dems passed Motor Voter, allowing people to register to vote even while they’re here on a temporary visa (and definitely when they’re illegal) because it’s illegal to even ask people if they’re citizens. It might give them bad feels or something.

It wasn’t till I was in the middle of a discussion with #2 son today that I realized we do have another indication.

Look, the free market is, among other things, an indication of what people want. You can tell corrupt/unfree markets by the fact that they don’t give a hang what the people actually want.

For instance, Facebook has not only become a noxious pusher of woke “verities” but also has installed a UI that most users can’t stand and wish to see deep-sixed. Despite numerous protests, Facebook is forging right ahead.

They think that their monopoly allows them to do this and survive. And, of course, you’re not the customer. You’re the providers of free data they package and sell. But still, what allows them to mess around that way is that they are “where everyone is.” Whether they’ve made their final gamble on that is something else.

The point being, they are insulated (or have been so far) from the results of their actions because they are the first and largest social media of its type. So they do whatever looks good to them, their peers, and the class the owner wants to belong to.

In the same way, take publishing. (Please. I’m not using it.) Look, you might have to look up the term “push model of publishing” to understand this. Let me see if I can link a post from my blog. I might have talked about it a while back.

Ah, the post is here, Selling Books To Real People, but it talks about a lot of other stuff, so I’m excerpting the relevant points below. 

So we return to Amazon vs. Borders, or let’s face it, Amazon vs. Barnes and Noble who is on the same butter-greased merry slide to h*ll with less excuse.

Did Amazon kill Borders?  Well, only if you look at it as assisted suicide.

Borders grew and became very big by having a system.  The system was ordering to the net.  They ordered only proven sellers.  The way they did this was by looking in the computer at the author’s name, and seeing how many of his hers or its (must be post binary) book they had sold.  Then they ordered just that number.

This system worked magnificently while Borders was a small bookstore, in a small town, and before the publishers tumbled onto it.  Two things Borders didn’t take into account: the variety of regional tastes and the violence corruption inherently possible in the system.

The publishers did.  Oh, they did.  You see, NYC publishers had for a long time wished to be able to forecast exactly how much a book would sell.  This because after the eighties round of mergers, they were run by corporations that didn’t understand books aren’t widgets and that it was impossible to say something like “the last historical mystery sold 100k copies.  So this one will sell that” when the periods, characters, authors and writing style are completely different.

For middle managers in publishing houses, it is necessary to forecast how much a book will sell so you can calculate an advance, and I understand selling too much is about as bad as selling too little.

So. They latched onto the ordering to the net system.  Particularly since in a couple of years every chain bookstore and a few independents were using it.

What it was first was a good way to have disposable writers, who never earned out their advances, which doesn’t mean that the book didn’t make money for the publisher, because that’s another matter.  (I pride myself in the fact that while in this role at Berkley I STILL earned out advances, though they usually took the book out of print right after the first earnings check.)

If you didn’t “push” a book onto the shelf, (And there were ways the publishers would PAY for the push — say for 100 copies per store, which the stores thought was just more free money) the default stocking was 2 books.  This meant even if you sold all the books, you could only get two on the shelf next time.  But given increasingly short shelf times, the more common things was one of two: either the books were never unpacked (these were low priority books, why should the staff bother?  Neither of my two first books ever made it onto shelves locally, though they were in the system) stayed in a closet and were marked as “didn’t sell” which means next they ordered none, or the books went on the shelf but due to low visibility sold only one.  The other one might even be shoplifted, it still showed as not having sold.  The end result was the same.  Next book you only stocked one.  And one book in a shelf of books, good chance of not selling, means your career was over, at least under that name. (And you could ride this carousel several times.  I did it at least three times.)

If you were lucky, your “career” lasted three books.

The way to beat the system was to stock so many that you couldn’t fail.  If you had fifty to a hundred books per store, you were going to sell a large amount, regardless.  The code for this, btw, was “the publisher has high confidence in this book.”

The trick was that no one was reading the books.  Well, maybe someone at the publisher’s, but certainly no one else.  (And I wouldn’t bet on the publishers.  I know several books of mine were only “read” on proposal, except by copy editors.)

And the problem is that this is a lousy way to sell books to real people.  Real people who read are, yes, influenced by externals on a book.  There are names I’ll buy sight unseen, and time periods that I’ll buy without much thought.  There are certain characters that appeal to me.  None of these require reading the book.  BUT in the end I’m buying the book to READ.  As are most if not all (!) readers.

So in the end the style, character construction and FEEL of the book count.

But they didn’t in the push model.

What we noticed as readers was that suddenly it was possible to go to the store and come home without a single book, disconsolate and upset saying “I guess no one has our tastes anymore.”

So, that’s the background, but really relevant to the effect I was talking about is that what the publishers chose to push and what the public would have bought kept getting further and further apart. Because the publishers had excluded the possibility of accidental bestsellers, what they were left with was a stable, continuously spiraling down the drain. For instance, midlist print runs in the ’70s were around 70,000 paperbacks, while five years ago they were about 5,000. Publishers had all sorts of excuses for this—“TV,” “movies,” and “games”—despite the fact that two of those were already in existence in the ’70s.

The truth was that since the whole line was spiraling down, they could blame the public for “getting dumber” and being uncouth, and pick books to appeal to people in their circles. This is why—I think—at this time they have a checklist of intersectionality that the characters have to meet, and they’re selling worse than ever, for which they blame the (“dumb”) reading public.

While the reading public—I am one—until the advent of Indie, was at wit’s end with the lack of things to read and ended up reading mostly used books from back in the time when publishers still cared.

Democrats, to an extent, operate under the same kind of divorce from the people they have to “sell” their ideas to.

No part of it is, of course, the media, which covers up for them like mad, and which frankly ran all of China Joe’s Potemkin campaign for him. That provides a lot of insulation to them, but more in modes of behavior.

I invite you to consider: If Hunter Biden were the son of a Republican, would you have heard of anything else for the last month?

However, they also seem to be insulated from the need for votes, which are the currency (in a representative republic) in which political ideas get “paid.”

So, for instance, they can run around saying things like they’ll provide free health care for illegal immigrants, or that the most important thing ever is global warming—issues that completely fail to find traction with the great majority of the public, outside very wealthy (and insulated) upper classes.

Or as someone put it in 2016, “They’re running as if the U.S. were a country slightly to the left of Sweden.”

And the right looks at the voting results and thinks, “Oh, it’s all those gosh-darned young college graduates.”

While there’s an endless supply of boneheads, the left has spent most of the last 40 years creating them, and they still snap out of it by thirty, and don’t vote much before that. Which is why the left thinks it would be wunderbar to lower the voting age to 16.

But the truth is that the left keeps spiraling further and further left, i.e. what impresses radical socialist chic matrons. So this year they ran as if they were running in the USSR in the ’70s.

I think that’s because they’re completely insulated from the results. Because there’s a certain amount of fraud baked in.

This is why Biden can promise to lock us in for three months and then work mostly on keeping the Earth from baking and still come close to winning.

It’s also why, on a local level, my governor, Paste-Eating Polis, can turn around after we defeated a measure to let the homeless park in public spaces, and sign an executive order to do it.

The fix is in, with all vote-by-mail, so he doesn’t need to worry about what the peasants think. And we’re all racist, sexist, and homophobic, anyway, and who cares if property values in downtown Denver tank? Look at his beautiful feels in having all these homeless in tents. And, of course, voting for him with same-day registration.

Seriously—even if we can’t prove it, it’s easy to spot how the system is corrupt, and has been for a long time.

Let’s hope that Trump can prove it for this year and that in the wake of it our voting system gets cleaned to something that wouldn’t embarrass a corrupt African country.

Because one thing I can tell you, from looking at traditional publishing, is that systems that become uncoupled from feedback only spin more and more out of control. In this case, that is something we neither need nor can afford.