Friday, January 31, 2014

Government and Corporations - Those Necessary Evils

The other day I read and then posted an article to a couple of social media sites about one of my political parties of choice - The Libertarian Party. The article was written by Allen Clifton, a fairly well known progressive liberal who was relating his opinion that the political beliefs of the Libertarian's make absolutely no sense whatsoever (click on his name to be linked to the article). While I usually find sweeping allegations such as these to be fraught with flawed thinking, after reading Clifton's thoughts on the matter I found most of what he said to be based in pretty sound logic. First, let me say I make no claims to the soundness or rationality of other thoughts Mr. Clifton may have on other political subjects but this time he and I are kind of on the same page.

Before going any further I think it wise to state where I come from in this discussion. Politically and philosophically speaking when it comes to social issues, such as abortion, stem cell research, gay rights, definition of marriage, etc., I tend to lean moderate to slightly left of center. On fiscal matters I am pretty staunchly conservative, but not so far to the right that I cannot see the merits of some government spending programs my colleagues like a Rush Limbaugh or Mark Levin might find too intrusive, and when addressing purely constitutional matters I can rightly call myself a libertarian.

I did get some response, as I expected, from those on the right side of the aisle. Most were a bit upset that I would be agreeing with the stance of Mr. Clifton as they saw his article as denigrating a citizen's right to approach and make requests, or even demands, from their elected officials.

I don't think the article was addressing the common citizenry who make requests to their elected officials in Congress, which is not only their constitutional right but their duty as well, but to the huge lobbying effort by mega corporations who flood congressional offices with tons of cash for reelection efforts in order to influence or even buy the vote of the representative or senator to create, move, and pass legislation that is favorable to their particular business interests over those of the common citizen and the environment they have to live and work in. Since the Supreme Court decision that states corporations are persons we have seen a massive effort, more than all previous years going back to the Lincoln era, to influence members of Congress through the use of dollars and other monetary-based persuasion.

Again, the article by Mr.Clifton was emphasizing that to remove some of the government regulations and oversight, particularly those pertaining to environmental and work safety issues could (the article stressed would) give those corporations carte blanche to go back to business practices of over 60 years ago in which they had little concern over the health and welfare of their workers or the environment. That assumption may or may not be an accurate one however, my own assumption, knowing through experience the basic greed factor of corporations and their myopic few of the bottom line, tends to agree with the author on that one point at least. To remove, as many of my fellow Libertarians profess to want, most of the vestiges of government regulation would in fact be seen by these corporations as a great thing because it would save them billions of dollars annually in monies being filtered into the campaign coffers of these elected officials and would untie their hands to resume to unwholesome past business practices. I do not believe pressure from the general public alone or from State government's alone would defray that kind of detrimental activity from the largest corporations. If it could then it would have in the past and there would have been no need for the federal level of intervention in the first place. It didn't work in the past, I see no reason why in a future world of total deregulation and lack of measured government oversight would either.

Business will continue to work to ensure the viability of their existence and the furtherance of their product while making profit. I have no problem with that at all. I prefer a capitalistic free market based economy over any other kind. However, business without some kind of government regulation becomes an encompassing enterprise that can and usually will cause its own brand of slavery and destructive influence. Government, if in the pockets of said businesses, only enhance that probability and becomes the gestapo arm for the corporations. What is needed is the turning back of the Supreme Court decision that sees corporations as persons and with the same influences over government officials as the normal voting public. Changes in governance by legislative law is suppose to be influenced by the vote of citizens on election day and from communicative interaction between the elected and their constituents, not the result of lobbying and favor-peddling from the corporations, at least that is how the majority of founders envisioned it.

Governments, like corporations, are a necessary evil that must be scrutinized daily by the common everyday voter and consumer - a task we have failed at miserably over the last two generations. It is a fine balancing act like tight-roping on the razor's edge but one which must be taken up by each citizen if they wish to remain solvent and free from too much control and influence from either of those two necessary evils.

No comments: