At this point, the only question that is really worth asking is whether everyone in politics has lost their senses. At the most basic level, the president once again shows his utter lack of understanding as to how a market economy does and should work. The first principle is that the government has a restricted role, which is to define property rights and enforce contracts. But when it comes to corporate and social arrangements of private firms, it should not mandate, or even try to influence, those business decisions, especially for short-term political advantage. The first reason for this hands-off policy is that the president, notwithstanding his high political position, does not have a clue as to why and when GM makes its particular decisions. Five minutes of political reflex is not a substitute for thousands of hours of hard work and analysis.
The third element of technophobia is a nefarious one: protectionism. Every time an innovation rises, an old guard feels threatened. When umbrellas began appearing in England in the mid-18th century, the drivers of horse-drawn cabs — whose business thrived in rainy weather — cast the invention as effeminate and not fit for proper society. The dairy industry villainized margarine soon after it was introduced in the United States in the 1870s, when butter was expensive and margarine (then made of beef tallow) was not. In the modern age, print publishers howled about the ad-vacuuming Internet even as they have tried, with spotty success, to adapt.