No Door to the Mansion

Our politicians are corporate lapdogs for the same reason so many Americans think technology and better products means real progress. Neither plenty of Americans nor our politicians are willing to consider a future without depending on corporations.

Mention to any politician that corporations are often very pleased with their policies and much more so than the average person, and they will probably say something is not right there. Perhaps as often or more, they will say that corporate interests are better for America.

Mention to the average citizen that they will have to give up their cell phone, tv, cable, internet, ability to travel, and many of their comforts if we got rid of our dependence on corporations, and they will deny that we have to depend less on corporations in order to control or rescind some of their power. They’ll instead talk about higher taxes or getting the money out of politics.

With this predicament, we will likely not get rid of corporate control because we don’t really want to. The left will be up in arms about this or that scandal, and then shout with joy to the heavens whenever a corporation publicly supports some leftist cause. The right will say the government should dial back it’s own powers, especially its interference with the market, and then bite their tongue when the disobedient elite exploits whatever freedoms they already have. And around we go, everyone complaining about the same problem — inordinate power concentrated beyond the reach of the people — and then nothing will change because the root of the problem is not addressed.

Here is another pertinent Chesterton quotation:

A man so desperately ill that he cannot be cured without an operation may have been so affected by a nervous breakdown that he cannot withstand the shock of an operation. His position is in some measure analogous to that of a nation which has accepted an artificial mode of life and has lost desire for recovery. In the one case the doctors must deal with the nervous breakdown and then operate. In the other the minds of men must change before they can improve their habits.

No good purpose can be served by minimising, certainly not by ignoring this condition, which is largely responsible for the helplessness of so-called leaders and the success of subversive teachers. Those who want to find the way to victory must therefore be patient as well as determined, must preach perhaps a little more actively than they engage personally in normal work.

It is as Phil Elverum sang, “We built walls, tall and solid, between the treasure and the shovel.” Yes, you should blame yourself. And as you blame yourself, I advise decreasing the width between both ends of all the things you need. That’s how we begin to imagine and create a future without corporations. The dependence did not jump from widespread poverty to the present commonness of technology, so we cannot return or advance to a place with less corporate influence, power, and consummables without an equally slow, or at least inexorably more arduous, effort towards needing less of what we think we need.

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