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Sameer Kumar
Mumbai, India

The Editor,

Re: Elian Gonzales and Microsoft OR Freedom v/s Slavery


The learned article by your columnist, Gary Endelman (An Answer to Elian) misses the fundamental issue involved, namely, whether your country, the USA, stands for man's freedom in a democracy or for man's slavery by a political dictator. The USA has been known until recently as a champion of man's political right to decide his own destiny. The traditional opposition of the US to the Communism and her bitter wars fought in far away Korea, Vietnam and other places - all spring from single political commitment to man's Rights and freedoms. With this historical perspective as a background, it is difficult to accept that a mighty government machinery was used to kidnap a six year old child from his relatives. Yes, kidnap, there is no other word to describe the US government's action in snatching away the boy in the ungodly hour of five o'clock in the morning.

Mr. Endelman's analysis may be legally correct; and I do not claim any competence to criticize him on legal grounds as I have little knowledge of the provisions of the Cuban Adjustment Act. But it is evident from his article that the said act was passed by your legislature to provide asylum, parole and opportunity to prosperity through a gainful employment to any freedom-loving Cuban fleeing from the clutches of the despotic Castro. It is indeed sad and ironic that in the case of Elian, the US government has acted just the opposite to the spirit, if not the letter, of the aforesaid Act.

In parenthesis I may add that if a parent's wishes were to override what a six year old is presumed to desire, why did your government overlook the earlier facts that the child was in the custody of his mother who definitely wished her son to enjoy the freedoms in the US and gave up her life on the high seas while smuggling away the child and herself from the Cuba's dictatorial rule. Even Mr. Endelman is conspicuously silent on this aspect while legally identifying the pro and cons of a child's competence to decide his destiny versus his father's wish to take him back to the dark Cuba.

But the fundamental issue of freedom is much wider than an individual case of an Elian. It may be beyond the scope of Mr. Endleman's article, but please allow me to show a sinister parallel that runs between the case of a Cuban fugitive child and that of the mighty Bill Gates of Microsoft Corporation. Your government's action in both the cases are anti-man, anti-life and anti-right. As much as Elian has right to covet the freedoms presumably available in the US, your own citizen Bill Gates and thousands of his workers have right to "pursuit of (their own) happiness" as guaranteed by your Constitution. Microsoft is not in business for the convenience of its customers, nor are these customers any way compelled to buy Microsoft's products. Let not your government interfere in restricting the freedoms of the competing corporations. Let them all compete FREELY and carve out their market shares as per their merits determined by their customers, who are also acting in THEIR OWN interests. All of them act in their own rational selfish interests and deal with one another wherever or whenever the interests coincide or else deal with a competitor for a better reward. 

"Competition" is essentially a concept of Laissez-Faire market economics, exactly as "monopoly" can arise only through a government decree or a franchise. A government decreed competition, as envisaged in your anti-trust laws is a blatant violation of man's right to his life, liberty and pursuit of happiness. This only leads to a government-protected consumer enslaving a free producer. And certainly your founding fathers who wrote the US constitution never even dreamt of a right to enslave! A brutal civil war was fought on this issue and a freest nation in the world emerged from the conflict. But, unfortunately your anti-trust laws have an ironic history of enslaving your brightest business barons.

Believe me, Sir, the issues of Elian and Microsoft are immensely distressing to millions of freedom loving intellectuals all over the world who aspire to immigrate to a free life in the US, and to cast away their government-controlled life at home. The present day American citizens perhaps do not appreciate the values of life and liberty because they had them from the birth like air and water. But there are millions of intelligent, hard working individuals in the third world countries like India who are queuing up in thousands every day before the US consulates to get any kind of visa to immigrate to your country. To these aspirants, Elian and Microsoft send wrong signals.

Your country has been largely built during the last over two hundred years by your first generation immigrants. May be the USA now needs the next batch of the first generation immigrants, who would work to have the anti-trust laws repealed!

Very Truly Yours,