“I actually like privatization,” said the Capitalist. “How can you not?”
“I like privatization too,” said the Cynic. “I’d even like to privatize the death penalty.”
“What?” asked the Capitalist.
“Simple,” said the Cynic. “People need to die, of course. Or at least our polity always says so. That means there’s a job to be done. And jobs… belong in the private sector.”
“What exactly do you propose?” asked the Capitalist.
“Contractors will bid for it,” said the Cynic. “The lowest-price bidder gets to do the killing. When all is said and done, at least one more person will be… gainfully employed.”
“That’s barbaric,” said the Humanitarian.
“There’s more,” said the Cynic. “I expect that in time the bids will be negative: Firms will offer the government money for the privilege of doing the killing, rather than billing it for services rendered.”
The Capitalist: “You mean — ”
“Reality TV,” said the Cynic. “They’re going to monetize it, baby. Nature, in her wisdom, has provided that the sickos who want to watch will always be more numerous than the sickos who want to perform. And this will make the government money.”
“You do like money, right?” the Cynic added hopefully. “If you want, I’ve got other ideas,” he said at length.
The Humanitarian raised an eyebrow. “I thought you might,” he said.
“Well, take this here NSA telephone metadata program,” said the Cynic. “The government scoops up all the information about nearly all domestic phone calls that isn’t spoken out loud. And there’s no need for a warrant because, well, whatever. It scoops up things like the time, the telephone numbers for all parties, and the duration. It’s really quite amazing what you can learn from metadata, including many things about the people involved that maybe they don’t want the world to know.”
“And?” asked the Capitalist.
“Take this program,” said the Cynic. “And privatize it.”
“You mean give it to a corporation?” asked the Malthusian.
“Yep!” said the Cynic. “Think of it as a jobs program, an economic stimulus, and a chance for entrepreneurs to employ their talents.”
“How exactly would that work?” asked the Capitalist.
“We’ll have the corporation keep all the data,” said the Cynic. “And when the government wants something, it just has to ask. That way it’s… private!”
“Will there be less LOVEINT at a private corporation?” asked the Malthusian.
“Will they spy less on ordinary citizens?” asked the Humanitarian.
“Will they respect the Fourth Amendment more, or less?” asked the Capitalist.
“It doesn’t matter!” said the Cynic. “That’s the beauty of it. Because they’re private, they can be… flexible, shall we say. They don’t need to obey the Fourth Amendment — not under the Third Party Doctrine.”
“Will they do less financial surveillance?” asked the Capitalist. “Or more?”
“Who knows?” said the Cynic. “Who cares? We’re at war here, and, as our commander-in-chief reminded us, our nation was founded on spying.”
“Sounds… extensive,” said the Capitalist.”
“It certainly is,” said the Cynic. “And of course there are a lot of programs, including some of the very most extensive, that we haven’t even gotten around to privatizing yet!”
“Tell me,” said the Humanitarian. “If our society still burned witches, would you privatize that too?”
“No, no,” said the Cynic. “You tell me: What do you have against efficiency?”