Excessively Large: When ‘Too Big to Fail’ Becomes Simply Too Big

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Public confidence in institutions such as government, big business, academia, and media is collapsing, according to a recent Gallup poll. The only institutions that still receive majority confidence are the military and small businesses. However, the vast majority of institutions are failing to meet expectations, which means they are failing to satisfy their reason for being. What is peculiar about their failure is that as they collapse, they are all falling leftward – never rightward, universally moving in a direction that reduces rather than increases liberty.

Key Takeaways


  • Public confidence in major institutions is dwindling, with only the military and small businesses maintaining majority confidence. Most institutions are failing to meet expectations and are seemingly shifting leftward in their ideologies.
  • The loss of confidence in institutions is attributed to various factors, such as government overreach, corporate ideological conformity, media untruthfulness, and academia's resistance to exploring competing ideas.
  • The consistent leftward shift of institutions raises questions about whether the "long march" of socialists has succeeded or if the diminishing personal freedom serves the needs of these institutions.
  • The concept of "too big to fail" is linked to a lack of accountability in various sectors, such as the auto industry and banking. It allows institutions to prioritize their agendas over the needs and desires of the people they are meant to serve.

Government hasn't lost our confidence because it isn't doing enough, it has lost our confidence because it's doing too much. Regulation, surveillance, oversight, and bureaucratic burden all work to restrict our freedoms. Corporations haven't lost our confidence because they are too profitable; instead, we are unsatisfied because they insist on ideological conformance in exchange for the products they are willing to sell us. Media haven't lost our confidence because they're boring; they have lost it because they are untruthful. They are pushing a narrative and are unwilling to sell unbiased news or entertainment at any price. Academia hasn't lost our confidence because it has become too expensive – though it has. It has lost it because it refuses to explore competing ideas. Critical thinking has become a thing to be canceled, not developed.

Why are our institutions failing in the direction of woke? Sixty years ago, socialists pledged a "long march" through our institutions. Has their constant leftward pressure succeeded, or is it something more? Is it possible that diminishing personal freedom always serves the needs of institutions? Were institutions susceptible to the "long march" because of their inherent selfish tendencies? Is it possible that excessive growth always tends towards socialism – like a cancer? Is "big" the natural ally of "woke"?

John O'Sullivan, the former aide to Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is credited with saying, "All organizations that are not explicitly right-wing will over time become left-wing." It certainly seems to hold true, but why? Why have our institutions almost universally tacked leftward, when that turn is driving them to failure in our eyes? Is it because they are no longer concerned about the desires of those they are intended to serve? Have they lost that concern because they have all been released from accountability?

Anytime we hear "too big to fail," it translates to "too big for accountability." When an auto company is "too big to fail," its executives escape accountability for decades of bad union contract agreements. When a bank is "too big to fail," its leadership escapes accountability for bad ESG investments. "Too big to fail" allows our institutions to substitute their agenda for ours.

The media want influence – and the truth is immaterial. Pathfinder reports that 90% of the media in America are controlled by just six companies: AT&T, CBS, Comcast, Disney, News Corp, and Viacom. That is down from 50 companies just 37 years ago, leaving no meaningful competition anymore, and they are free to promote any narrative they wish.

Corporations want profits. Once they reach a critical size, they can influence the government for regulatory concessions. They achieve de facto monopoly status by making it economically impossible for new businesses to compete. According to FiveThirtyEight, Fortune 500 companies now control 73% of our GDP. That's up from 58% in 1994. The power of large corporations is beginning to exceed the ability of their customers to influence their decision-making.

Academia wants to control our future, feels uniquely qualified to do so, and is willing to use our children to achieve that end. Higher education has always flirted with Marxism because those that can't do take from others – or something like that. Colleges have become multi-campus statewide corporations with little real competition.

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