Montana Legislators Adopt the Tactics of the CCP to 'Protect' Montanans From CCP
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How soon Americans forget. Or it’s possible all-too-many Americans are too young to have forgotten just how backwards the former Soviet Union was. While endless lines for subpar everything were the norm, there’s a case to be made that basic services vivified the stupidity of communism the most.

Peter Osnos worked as the Washington Post’s Moscow bureau chief during the Soviet era, and the appearance-focused dandy reports in his memoirs that he actually tasked his wife with cutting hair his during the Moscow stint. Get it? A trip to the cobbler for a re-soling resulted in shoes returned to Osnos with nails sticking out, but no bottoms. In his own Moscow memoir, the late Geoffrey Bocca wrote of a visit to a restaurant during which he asked for Chicken Kiev, only to be told by an insolent waiter that he would be getting something else entireley. No arguing!  

Such is life where there’s no incentive or interest in getting to know one’s customers. While good and great businesses work feverishly to know what their clientele wants and when it wants it, all while searching for ways to lead that same clientele, in communist countries there’s no reward for achieving repeat business. What’s the point if there’s little of value to provide as is, after which what’s the point if equality is decreed at the point of a gun?

It’s something for Montana legislators to think about in the aftermath of their vote to completely ban TikTok. Word was and is that Montana is ripe for a ban simply because Montanans are “already protective of their personal privacy.” What a non sequitur. 

The simple truth is that businesses closely observing their customers are as old as business is, and for obvious reasons: they can’t survive without repeat customers. So they “spy” in order to anticipate needs that they hope to meet. Yet Montana’s legislators want to protect their citizenry from profit-motivated companies like TikTok for the latter having the temerity to supply an abundance of what TikTok usage signals its users are looking for? It’s all so backwards.

To which some will respond that TikTok is a company of Chinese origin, and because it is there exists the possibility that TikTok will share what it learns about its American users with the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Ok, but as we learned from the old Soviet Union, and for that matter the old China, information about American likes would be of little value to those who envision the imposition of command-and-control. As their use of force indicates, the last thing on their mind is customer service.

Which is why the second what-if critique of TikTok is so baseless: supposedly the CCP will use information gleaned to manipulate American thought in favor of China, against the U.S., or both. It’s hard to take seriously. And TikTok’s staggering, 150 million American user success explains why. The company succeeds precisely because it’s supplying that which brings its American users back, not CCP-curated prograganda. Talk about a business killer. If TikTok were what Montana legislators pretend it to be, a ban would be superfluous. And realistically worse than superfluous.

Indeed, the ban brings to mind a surprisingly useful observation by the U.S.’s 38th president in Gerald Ford that “a government big enough to give you everything you want, is a government big enough to take away everything you have.” In Montana, legislators are striving to protect the people from the CCP while mimicking the doings of the CCP. Ford's admonition about government growth is a certain sign that the TikTok ban won't end well…for Montanans.

John Tamny is editor of RealClearMarkets, Vice President at FreedomWorks, a senior fellow at the Market Institute, and a senior economic adviser to Applied Finance Advisors ( His latest book is The Money Confusion: How Illiteracy About Currencies and Inflation Sets the Stage For the Crypto Revolution.

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