20 January, 2014

A Plea for Awareness

It doesn't seem to me like many people noticed, but we've lost one of the most significant battles of modern times. It is now possible for corporations to sue governments. I have little doubt that the apathy our world's distractions breed will keep most people from considering the symbolic significance of this, but this is a decisive assault on liberty. Governments were our only recourse to fight against the wild vagaries of power and greed. It is not a question of evil overlords. It is a question of the nature of economics. Economics does not care for individual freedom. It cares only for competition, and thus power. Economics is inherently dictatorial.

Democracy is a state of affairs in which the natural urges of power must be regulated by a larger authority (the people). Democracy is not freedom. It is regulation upon the freedom to subdue and be subdued. That is precisely why Ayn Rand was a short-sighted imbecile. She did not understand that pure freedom leads inevitably to fascism. One only needs to look at history to realise that free societies eventually have chiefs, that chiefs become kings, and kings become emperors. Emperors were at last disenfranchised not by violent revolution but by a long process of the arts acquiring influence over politics while the sciences acquired influence over economics. This process culminated in a period rightly called the Enlightenment.
I reiterate for those for whom it's necessary: in a free society, a powerful body has the right to subdue, enslave, or even kill a less powerful body. This is natural. This is a tiger eating a deer. In a regulated society, the people as a whole can make decisions such as "Slavery is wrong." Then action can be taken on this decision's behalf, like how Britain began patrolling the coast of Africa arresting slave trader vessels for many years in 1807, and paid Portugal £750,000 (a lot of money back then) and Spain £400,000 to cease trading, or like how Canada declared all Canadian residents free in 1819. Slavery was economic efficiency having control over human lives. People decided it was wrong. Money disagreed. That's why the voice of the people, the government, had to make it illegal. We earned our right to a government. It was a long and hard battle, and it was our communal voice that stood against oppression. It was a government that stopped the ships circling Africa like wasps around a beehive. It was the government that stopped the East India Company from exploiting India in 1874 with the East India Stock Dividend Redemption Act. In every historical circumstance you can name, ever since the voice of the common person mattered in government, it's been the government that's championed human rights against a free economy.
(Another side-note: I would love to live in a world without governments, but it won't work so long as people are capable of being ignorant, self-oriented scum, and such scum are capable of becoming powerful.)

For governments to be sued over policies that their people have helped dictate, in democratic fashion, is for powerful, privately vested interests to have greater say over a nation's actions and decisions than the people themselves. It is Ayn Rand's ideal of free economics. It is the ideal of Freemasonry, unregulated economics and the natural and inevitable subduction of the weak by the strong. It is an ancient ideal, centuries behind the society our ancestors worked so hard to evolve into. It is nothing less than an ancient evil. Humanity is now absolutely disenfranchised. All you see around you, all the freedom you enjoy, is now an illusion. We are now truly ruled, and our relationship with the powerful is that of emperors and serfs. Break the illusion. Don't think I'm crazy. This is a vital moment in history, and the tragic fact is, nobody's looking or listening.

The amazing horror is, society is now so reliant on what these corporations offer, I see no realistic, immediate means of fighting them. I don't believe this to have been a conspiracy, but I couldn't have devised a better one. All we can do is start back where our ancestors did, with art and science. I will do my best to influence politics by enlivening the spirit, making people open their eyes and believe in themselves, making them care. That, to me, is the purpose of art in any troubled time. Scientists must play their part as well.

Still, here are three immediate means of loosening the grip of the most powerful corporations:

1) Do not borrow from the bank. (In fact, mortgaged homes provide a perfect example. If your home mortgaged, you do not own your house. The bank has provided the privilege of living in a place you can not truly afford, for a cost. It is the bank's house. Consider the symbolic significance of that. It is a metaphor for much of what is wrong with our society, and how much we rely upon those wrongs. It is perhaps not feasible in our society to live without a mortgage, but one can still allow an awareness of that symbolic significance to pervade other elements of your life.)

2) Do not shop at supermarkets. This is easy. Just go to a local shop whenever you have the chance. More will spring up. Eventually we will overcome an unhealthy marriage of convenience. They provide. We take because it is simple. Consider the symbolic significance of that, and how it harms us terribly in the end.

3) Invest in ways to limit your use of oil based energy sources.

If I inspire one person to take one action, I will have at least accomplished something. These three ideas are direct means of disempowering the three most powerful forces of our subduction.

All of this talk on the nature of governments requires understanding of a fundamental irony: so long as governments are headed by those interested in power, the common (decent) person must remain vigilant. The government is not our ally, and certainly not our patron. It is a recourse, and a constant potential enemy. It is a two-faced partner, and if we turn our backs for long enough, it will stab us.

Even back in the 1800s with the abolition of slavery, it took years of petitioning, decades of authors writing stories and poems about how slavery was wrong, and several judge rulings (setting precedent) in order for the government to finally declare the abolition of slavery. We live in an era of constant petty gratification. Let us not forget that important changes take time and effort, and are worth fighting for.

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