Saturday, June 19, 2010
America's Super Villain
No...not Lex Luthor.
Back in our nation's infancy, the Boston Tea Party wasn't primarily a political gesture but essentially an economic protest against a corporation – the East India Company, which had its own army and court system and put a stranglehold on the colonies...wouldn't let them freely import or export to countries other than Britain, nor do business with other trading companies.
At the time of the Revolution, the enlightened Founders were suspicious of if not downright antagonistic toward the idea of corporations. Those farsighted folks knew that corporate agressiveness would put the principles of a new republic in jeopardy, would spoil the political sphere. So, the new states passed laws severely regulating these conscienceless entities. Charters were required for corporations, and these instruments could be revoked if a corporation were found in any way unamenable to the commonweal. These limited liability companies were, by law, anchored to the state that charted them (couldn't move their home offices around), and a corporation could not hold stock in another one, which would be (and so has proven) the certain avenue for political control shifting from the People to the board room.
Well, as the decades rolled and railroad corporations became powerful, the previous strict control began to ease somewhat. Not really in the public mind, but in the political arena, where bribery and influence became, and are now, the rule.
Out of the dark, stepped one Tom Scott, the Jackal. He invented the stock holding company, which allows corporations to invest in other corporations. Meeting resistance, he persisted, and by hook and by crook, he finally got legal recognition for this democracy-shattering corporate mutation.
This buzzard sank his diseased claws into the soul of our once-free country (excepting blacks, Indians, and women, of course) and set loose the money-fever infection that soon led to corporate personhood. In the 1886 Supreme Court case Santa Clara County vs. The Southern Pacific Railroad, a justice said that, implicitly, corporations are people. Once this became codified, the gates were open, and corporations began to incrementally gain access to our Bill of Rights. Soon, the Beast became synonymous with Americanism and capitalism. Politics became the Beast's romper room. Free enterprise is one thing. Enterprise as shadow government something else entirely. Is it really our patriotic duty to vote for a Republican or a Democrat, when both parties reek of the rotting grease of corporate influence? Ask yourself, as an ordinary American human being: what powerful entity is lookin' out for your basic interests?
Can you wrap your mind around it? An artifical, legal fiction was found (and is even now trivially assumed) to be a real person? Those hard-earned rights enshrined in the Amendments were body-snatched by an alien breed. Now, that breed has evolved into a T-Rex of predatory proportions. They roam this once-free land, and we are like the proto-mammals -- scavenging, sniffing out tidbits left over after the corporate feast.
Thank you very much for your holding company, Tom Scott! You are our super villain. Like Mesphisto in Murnau's Faust, his black wings spread over the country – across time itself – and his contorted face smiles horribly down on the destruction of a country.