It's not the job of ____ to protect your ____ ... what am I thinking of?
June 3, 2021 6:32 AM   Subscribe

There is a concept I’ve come across a couple of times, very likely in articles posted to the Blue, that I’m trying to remember. The gist is, it's not the role of the justice system / legal system / government to protect your business model from competition, or from someone who invents a better way of doing things. Something like that. What am I thinking of?
posted by dywypi to Law & Government (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I suspect that a number of people have said something like this, but the quote that I'm familiar with comes from Robert Heinlein.
There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to the public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.
posted by adamrice at 6:39 AM on June 3, 2021 [3 favorites]

I believe there was an earlier version of this that dates from the buggy whip days, where carriage makers were finding their business decimated by the automobile. Related to the saying about "failing like a buggy whip maker," but I don't have the time to dig for it this morning.
posted by jgreco at 7:27 AM on June 3, 2021

Best answer: Perhaps something about being pro-market vs. pro-business? The former is about protecting an open and fair system for competition and new entrants to the market, the latter is about protecting the interests of existing businesses at the expense of new entrants or consumers. Googling that phrase will provide lots of articles on that general idea.
posted by skewed at 11:14 AM on June 3, 2021

Somewhat relatedly, I was reminded of “your lack of planning is not my emergency.”
posted by iamkimiam at 2:29 PM on June 3, 2021

The classic in the legal profession is the famous or notorious case of Lochner v. New York, decided in 1905, in which the U.S. Supreme Court overturned a state law limiting the number of hours that employers could require bakers to work to ten per day. Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes, in dissent, said "The Fourteenth Amendment does not enact Mr. Herbert Spencer's Social Statics" and "A constitution is not intended to embody a particular economic theory." No one remembers Herbert Spencer or his book, but the idea of so-called "laissez-faire" economics remains popular today.
posted by yclipse at 9:01 PM on June 3, 2021

The Lochner case and its reasoning, though, are now on the Court's trash pile: never overruled, sometimes mentioned, never cited as support, disregarded, and considered an embarrassment.
posted by yclipse at 6:13 AM on June 4, 2021

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