¡Vaya un espectáculo! Vídeos virales discutidos tanto en las noticias en hora punta como en los shows nocturnos. Miles de personas enojadas declarando públicamente que nunca volverán a volar con United Airlines. Imágenes de tarjetas de viajero frecuente cortadas en pedazos. United pidiendo disculpas por el incidente y reembolsando el costo de los billetes de todos los pasajeros del vuelo. Gente pidiendo la renuncia del Presidente de la empresa. Una reunión de prensa con abogados expertos frotándose las manos que esperan meter en los “bolsillos profundos” de su víctima, clamando “justicia, respeto y dignidad por parte de las aerolíneas”, exigiendo “un cambio en la cultura de United Airlines”, y sugiriendo que “hagamos de David Dao un modelo a imitar”.
Serias o divertidas, todas las acciones convergen en un punto clave: son ataques contra United Airlines, contra una corporación grande, internacional, exitosa, contra un símbolo del capitalismo. Esos ataques son el resultado de la combinación de dos elementos: el contexto de odio que existe contra todo lo que huela a negocios y a mercado libre, y el video que le pegó fuego a todo.
La gente está evadiendo ciertos hechos: no fueron los empleados de United los que sacaron a David Dao de la aeronave, sino los oficiales de policía; la aeronave es propiedad de la empresa, la cual bajo ciertas circunstancias tiene derecho a pedirle a cualquier individuo específico que desembarque; de hecho, el Dr. Dao pudo haber sido quien violó los derechos de la aerolínea al negarse a cumplir con las órdenes inicialmente corteses de un oficial de policía (si invitas a alguien a tu fiesta y luego le pides que se vaya, él está violando tus derechos al negarse a hacerlo).
Puede haber muchas otras cuestiones a considerar, y de hecho no tengo ni idea si los puntos señalados anteriormente son válidos o no. Esperemos que los abogados y los tribunales investiguen los hechos objetivamente y tomen las determinaciones apropiadas.
El tema que quiero resaltar es el siguiente: todos los ataques contra United Airlines son malvados, y están motivados por la misma cultura nihilista: por querer destruir lo bueno por ser lo bueno. Obviamente, United no se convirtió en una aerolínea líder tratando a sus pasajeros con falta de respeto; cualquier individuo racional reconocerá que se trata de un incidente aislado, a ser tratado como tal, y le parecerá absurdo que un vídeo pueda hacer que una empresa pierda miles de millones de dólares de valoración. Pero no estamos tratando con individuos racionales.
Los colectivistas están surgiendo de todas partes con dos objetivos claros: chuparle la sangre al máximo a United (e incluso llevarla a la quiebra si pueden); y aumentar la regulación gubernamental y el control de todas las líneas aéreas y, por implicación, de todos los negocios.
Hemos de tener claro en qué lado de esta batalla estamos luchando. Es cierto que el incidente ocurrió y debe ser analizado, juzgado y resuelto. Pero no nos limitemos a lo concreto, no reaccionemos emocionalmente a un video, no nos dejemos llevar por el punto de vista colectivista. Defendamos a United Airlines como una empresa que proporciona valor a sus empleados, a sus clientes, a sus proveedores y a sus accionistas, no como una empresa que regularmente saca arrastrando a sus clientes de los aviones; defendamos con firmeza el sistema de libre mercado que es perfectamente capaz de autorregularse sin intervención del gobierno.
¡Convirtamos una vergonzosa muestra de irracionalidad en una batalla por la razón, el individualismo y el capitalismo!
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Por Domingo García, presidente de Objetivismo Internacional.
Este escrito fue publicado originalmente en inglés en Facebook. Sigue el texto original y los comentarios derivados de su publicación, para que queden registrados. El tema y su tratamiento en los tribunales puede durar varios meses.
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Let us defend United Airlines!
What a show! Viral videos with millions of views, discussed from prime-time television to late-night shows. Thousands of angry people publicly declaring that they will never fly United Airlines again. Images of cut up frequent flyer cards. United apologizing for the incident and reimbursing the fares of all passengers on the flight. Calls for the resignation of its CEO. A press meeting of savvy lawyers rubbing their hands as they prepare to stick them into their victim´s deep pockets, clamoring “fairness, respect and dignity from the airlines”, demanding “a change to the United Airlines culture”, and asking that we “make David Dao a poster-child to imitate”.
Serious or funny, all actions converge on one key point: they are all attacks on United Airlines, on a large, international, successful corporation – and a symbol of capitalism. Those attacks result from the combination of two elements: the context of hate for business and the free market, and the video that ignited it all.
People may be ignoring certain facts: it was not United employees who removed Dr. Dao from the aircraft, but law enforcement officers; the aircraft is the property of the company, which under certain circumstances may ask any specific individual to disembark; in fact, Dr. Dao may have been the one who violated the airline´s rights by refusing to comply with the initially polite orders of a police officer (if you invite someone to your party and then ask him to leave, he is violating your rights by refusing to leave).
There may be many other issues to be considered, and in fact I have no clue whether the ones pointed out above are valid or not. Lawyers and courts will hopefully deal with the facts and make the appropriate determinations.
All those attacks are mean and misdirected. United did not become a leading airline by treating its passengers with disrespect; any rational individual will recognize that this was a one-off incident, to be treated as such, and will find it absurd that one video would cause a company to lose billions of dollars of valuation. But we are not dealing with rational individuals.
The collectivists are crawling out of the woodwork with two clear goals: to suck the airline dry – and even put it out of business if they can get away with it – and to increase government regulation and control of all airlines – and, by implication – of all business.
Let us fight on the right side of this battle. True, the incident happened and should be dealt with. But let us not be concrete bound, let us not react emotionally to one video, let us not be taken in by the collectivist agenda. Let us defend United Airlines as a business enterprise that provides value to its employees, its customers, its suppliers and its shareholders – not a company that drags customers out of planes; let us strongly defend the free market system that will auto-regulate itself without government intervention.
Let us turn a shameful show of irrationality into a battle for reason, individualism and capitalism!
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Domingo Garcia Any successful business enterprise IS a symbol of capitalism, and the fact that a specific industry is regulated does not negate the nature of the business.
Please read the comments from “the pilot’s wife” posted later. The airlines environment, especially after 9/11, is one where decisions must be made quickly and orders must be enforced without hesitation.
A passenger ordered to leave must put all his other concerns aside and simply follow orders from the pilot in command and his representatives. THAT is the only valid consideration.
When government monopolizes a field, like public education or — increasingly — health care, then you get this sort of attitude. For the most part, we don’t experience this kind of attitude with airlines. When something this awful and outrageous happens, it makes headlines because it’s not an everyday thing. Yes, flying can be frustrating and stressful. It always will be. Airlines have their work cut out for them in getting people safely to their destinations in a somewhat competitive atmosphere while still making a profit. But when someone makes you a promise and then breaks it, after you’ve spent a lot of money with them and then treats you like this on top of it, you’re kidding yourself if you think that increasing government monopolization, regulation or any other form of government authority will resolve the problem. If government control were the answer, it would have already delivered in 2014, if not sooner.
The only thing that will resolve this problem are the remaining features of a free market. United Airlines has competition. Increasingly, people will move away from United and toward other airlines. United’s stock has already reduced in value, according to some reports. United may succeed at repairing its reputation or it may eventually go bankrupt. It’s really no different than after a crash. Although far less tragic, this incident has been, for United Airlines, the p.r. equivalent of a plane crash where the airline was at fault.”.
David Elmore The video highlighted and made tangible the contemptuous attitude of airlines towards customers for decades concerning overbooking. Whether the passenger was right or wrong, the result was a new awareness and fury at the contempt, rightly so.
It is the airlines’ property, no doubt, but they have been in cahoots on this contempt for decades, so hopefully this brouhaha will result in changes in their booking procedures. Already, Delta has announced that it will go up to $9900 on buying passengers out of their seats. That is the free market at work, and it is wonderful.
Pedro José Bernárdez SarríaThe passeneger agreed to the terms and conditions. But the relevant terms and conditions here are not the ones relating to overbooking, since the flight was not overbooked- but on federal requirements; customer agrees that airline may sometimes not deliver service in order to comply with federal regulations or orders. The customer is entitled to restitution in these cases as per the terms. It seems that federal authorities ordered or pressured United to fly those employees. This is a case of government interfering in business, but both customer and airline agreed in writing.
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Wayne Niddery Domingo Garcia It is important to recognize that the airline industry is FAR from being a free market and thus airlines are going to act accordingly, not as they would under pure capitalism.
Yes it is their property but their policy on this is boneheaded – accepting someone’s money, allowing them to board and take their seat, THEN deciding to give their seat to someone else – simply cannot be defended as a rational act by a capitalist company.
Yes, it was airport security directly responsible for the brutal treatment, but it was at the behest of United as a result of this boneheaded policy.
Now I have heard (but have no factual confirmation so far) that they may have had no choice but to remove passengers after already seating them due to union rules that require the airline to move flight crews as and where needed on their own aircraft even if last minute. If this was the case then *some* of this can be blamed on the union and government protection thereof. However, even then, United handled this very poorly and still deserves a great deal of the criticism it is receiving.
read it carefully because it answers many of the important questions that people are not even considering.
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Keith Weiner The airlines we have today are not products of capitalism, but of an extreme of regulation.
And I think this case is mixed. I think United handled it badly, making several unforced errors. At the same time, Dao behaved very badly initiating the use of physical force in an attempt at what lawyers call “self help”–taking what you feel entitled to from the other party, if you feel wronged.
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Domingo Garcia It is sad to see the CEO of United caving in to leftist pressures. He should deplore the way things happened, but should not apologize (!!) until an investigation is conducted and the liability of each party legally established.
If anything, he should insist on the airline’s ability to regulate itself, and not acknowledge any wrongdoing that will lead to further government controls.
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Keith WeinerAshby the airline did not come to the point of brutalizing a passenger. They came to the point of denying service to 4 passengers. One of the denied passengers thought he could force the airline to fly him anyways.
What a bizarre belief!
Anyways, he found that the police could see his force and raise it further than he.
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If the airline breached, the passenger is entitled to damages. How much? To be determned in courit. The passenger is not entitled to use whatever means of force to MAKE them fly him.He learned that the hard way.
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Ashby Manson Sure, the airline *can* handle things this way, but it’s kind of stupid and counterproductive and no way to run a business. They’re doubling down on Barney Fife & respect my authority. They should have worked out a deal.
They’re learning that the hard way.
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Let’s make a parallel with the famous Chick-fill-A case: they refused service to gay people and decided to support prop 8 (or something of the like, I can’t recall right now) and people that were bothered by those facts, stopped buying from them. That is a legitimate way of protest. Of course, if the government were to force Chick-fill-A to serve gay people, that would be outrageous and completely immoral.
I completely understand where Domingo is coming from: as with many things, this is turning into an attack of business and companies *in general*, for the sake of being such. But I’m not sure that there is something fundamentally wrong with the way people are reacting (and I mean those who were bothered enough by the incident that decided to stop using United’s service, not the idiots who are calling for MORE regulation or attacking businesses irrationally). It’s true, it was an isolated incident, among millions and millions of happy customers. But the line has to be drawn by each individual, and it’s his sole decision to stop using the company’s service, and even to boycott it.
I was personally disturbed by the footage, and I think United handled the situation poorly—even if it was airport security dragging this man out of the airplane. I also understand that when you’re asked to leave private property, you have to, or else…. but I think it could have been handled better. Dr. Dao was clearly out of his mind, and posed a threat to himself and others (and after 9/11, none of that BS can be tolerated), but I still think this whole incident could have been avoided by the airline.