Monday, February 1, 2010

The Myth of Liberal Big Gov Love

In a corollary to the critique of the Supreme Court's recent decision that corporate campaign cash is unfettered free speech, I pose a notion for all which I hope will utterly reorient everyone's attitude towards left of center thinking. America was born of a fairly uniform belief that government cannot be trusted for much and should therefore remain as limited and unintrusive as manageable. For the most part, NONE OF US ARE BIG FANS OF GOVERNMENT OF ANY SIZE. I believe Americans tend to be anarchists at heart, wanting to abide by our own rules confident in the notion that we are decent enough folks in general to know how to treat each other with at least a minimum amount of respect and desire to get what we need without stepping on the needs of others. Please note that this is how we see ourselves individually, not that we actually behave that way all of the time. But I digress.

Folks on the right love to tar us left-of-centers as having big-government desires as solutions to all problems, real or perceived until, inevitably, the word socialist gets thrown around. Sorry but it just isn't so. The only reason there is any such thing as big government in this country in the first place is because of the threat to liberty posed by big business. Without big business, there would be little need for unions, minimum wage laws, workplace condition laws, immigration laws, child labor laws, environmental regulations, mandated product quality standards, and all of the bureaucracies which came into existence in order to enforce all of these rules.

Why is that? Very simply, if businesses stay small, there are many more of them available to serve the public and as a result to compete for the public's attention and affection. They have to compete! Big businesses don't compete much. They eat the competition, then can abuse their employees and their clientèle in order to simply produce their product as cheaply and efficiently as possible in the singular pursuit of profits and absolutely nothing more. Eventually, as happened in this country starting in the 1880s, something has to be done about them.

When businesses get too big they can begin to prey on the public. They become a nuisance or worse, which must be controlled. But at that point no individuals can do anything about their power. A giant corporation is a giant collective source of capital (money), power, and influence. The only institution, which at least theoretically has the ability to push back against such power is a government powerful enough to enforce rules against such entities. This is how government got so big in this country and this is why liberals get tarred with it as an epithet -- because before the liberals promoted big government, the "conservatives" but really just the repubelican party, bought in fully to the seduction of big business and the money that came along with it.

If big businesses are exceedingly difficult to create and maintain, there will be no need for a big government to protect the public against them. By necessity (or actually the lack of necessity) the big government will begin to shrink. The phrase "too big to fail" should be a concept which exists only in the lecture halls at university business schools and economics departments as nothing more than an efficiency exercise.

If you love capitalism like I do, then hate big business. Big business is the destructive force of capitalism like cancer is a destructive force of the body. It is part of the body gone haywire and left uncontrolled will destroy that which keeps it alive. A body without cancer needs no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgery. A body politic without enormous businesses needs no big government to oversee and regulate it.

End corporate personhood, break up all big businesses, encourage real competition by making a playing field where there are actually different businesses to compete with each other, not glop together for singular aims. Do that, and the money will be in the hands of the people, not in the pockets of oligarchs and plutocrats. True democracy, true liberty.

2 comments:

kbud said...

I agree with everything you wrote, except one thing. We do need Big Business - we need its capital to fund research and progress. Big Business has no soul - and Government's job is to make it accountable.

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