Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Post-Modern Corporation (that eats people)

I've been reading a book on my lunch hour called False Dawn by John Gray, formerly the School Professor of European Thought at the London School of Economics. And I've come to the conclusion that Republicans really don't know anything, read anything, or care about their own futures. Because what they seem to be arguing for is not just a return to the good old days of the robber-baron capitalists of the 19th century, they seem to want to become the coal that fired the engines.

The Glenn Beck rally on Saturday, in which Beck attempted to resurrect the spirit of Martin Luther King, Jr. (without actually knowing what it was King was for), had a variety of Tea Party folks, nice old white people (here and there were tiny pockets of nice), and gun nuts who must have felt naked without their concealed-carry pieces. Beck had asked everyone to please leave their guns and signs at home, since this wasn't a political event, but some kind of moral lecture, religious revival, or possibly, The Plan, as Beck had called it a couple of months back when he announced this event.

As it happens, he didn't reveal The Plan, unless you count the folks in the Puritan outfits that are supposed to go out and evangelize for... something or other. He did, however, reveal The Palin, who was her usual incomprehensible self, sounding like a combination of Yoda and Hooked on Phonics played backwards.

Turnout was in the high-seventy- to low-eighty-thousand range. So of course, Fox says half a million showed up. "We report, you decide not to think."

One woman was quoted as saying that if she wanted to buy a gas guzzler, she should be able to, and she wanted to use any kind of damn light bulb she wanted. To which I say, fine, if you can afford the gas it takes to fill up a HumVee, be my guest. If you want to burn lightbulbs that die every six months and cost ten times what a CFL does to power, fine. We won't credit you for much in the way of brains, but go ahead, waste your money.

False Dawn argues that the politicians of the United States, and some in Europe, have decided somewhere along the way that a market-driven economy (what the Right calls Free Markets), now equals a system in which the societal costs of running a factory or driving a car are being absorbed by the society at large, and that big corporations and their owners are not responsible to the society at all. The point of operating a business has nothing to do with enriching the community or benefitting the country in which the business resides - no, it's all about enriching the corporation, making sure that there are as few impediments to the ability of the corporation to do what it needs to do to maximise profits.

If this is the way we're going than I suggest a Swiftian response: if someone is unemployed for too long, and they can no longer get benefits or welfare or food stamps, then I suggest we use them for either fuel for power stations (like coal, only not quite as clean burning), or fertiliser for ethanol corn. If they can't serve any other useful function, let them die and reduce the surplus population.

While I recognize that that was a very mean-spirited paragraph, it wouldn't surprise me if that's what a lot of the Tea Party thinks, simmering just under the surface.

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