A companion blog, The Metacognition Project, has been created to focus specifically on metacognition and related consciousness processes. Newest essay on TMP: Goals and Problems, part two

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The New Secessionists

Preamble: The issue is not whether humans act as isolated individual units or as collectives, it is whether the collectives within which we function are to be dominated by a cabal of individuals or to be the expression of the needs and wants of the whole measured by some socially beneficent democratic process.  The arguments being made today for ‘individualism’ and personal freedom are really arguments for the cabal and not, as so often portrayed, arguments for democracy.

There is, of course, nothing new in this problem; it goes back to the earliest writings on government, and was a major divide in the formation of the USA: the dominant cabal is always afraid that their authority will be limited by the masses and the masses are always afraid that they will be misused by the cabal for its own purposes. 

Elites and masses have different needs; the greater the material and physical separation, the greater will be the differences in needs and the less comprehension and compassion the one will have for the other.  There is no way around this fact.  It is as immutable as the physical laws.  The only solution, if it can be called solution, is for the differences to be small.

The history of human change has been the history of increasing these differences until today some ‘individual’ humans are said to have in their personal control material wealth equal to the summed total wealth of millions of other ‘individual’ humans.  These elites have no contact with the masses and vice versa. The only understanding that one can have of the other is complete misunderstanding.  The Reality that every human being, the living ecosystem structure and the physical materials and energy flows of the planetary surface are locked together in interdependent systems is utterly and totally lost in these failures of understanding.

A corporation is a cabal with a mission to use some need of the masses to gather to its leaders as much wealth as possible.  Kings directed God’s authority through themselves, used armies of sycophants and soldiers and ‘Lorded’ over the masses directly.  Corporate cabals corner the market on a commodity, product, idea or service and extract a pittance from each transaction so that adding it all up creates a large, even kingly, pile.  So, in a sense they ‘earn’ their princely place in the firmament as opposed to Royalty’s divine right.  But, while it is the king’s job to govern the whole of the thing, it is the corporate cabal’s job to have the final costs be less than the final sales.  These are two quite different frames of reference, and what we are seeing today is a great conflation of these quite different principles of organization.

It is not states now that wish to secede from the Union, although some opportunistic politicians are striking that pose, it is rather the Corporate Confederacy.  Corporate entities were given possibility and “birth” by human created infrastructure, economic and social stability, but now that they have consolidated wealth power to a point that equals nation-states, their managers realize the possible power to secede from the political state, to be free of its control and, consequentially, be free of any obligation to the human beings upon which the corporate entity depends for their detailed function.

A pure secession from the state is, however, not easy (or possible); it is a bit like trying to separate consciousness from the brain in which it resides.  The model is that of an organism trying to become free of the demands of its individual cells – some element of the organized whole dominates the actions of individual organs and cells while divorcing itself from their needs.  Such a view, of course, would tend to be held in secret by the economic elites, and would be not only an incredible hubris, but also an incredible mangling of metaphor in the service of an insanity.

And so business is moved to a more old fashion form of escape – freedom through domination: the Corporate Confederacy must actually take over government in order to be free of it.  (The prescient reader will be ahead of me.)  When one state secedes from another, it must create all the machinery of a new state often using the old state as template; like budding a new plant from the old one.  Some things are specifically rejected, otherwise there would have been no secession in the first place, but for the most part new states, in such situations, are much like the old.

But the Corporate Confederacy doesn’t want to create a new state, corporate managers just want to be free from the obligations of citizenship in a state; they want all of the institutional support, stability and coercive power, but none of the responsibility to the people and the institutions upon which corporations depend.  This presents the corporate confederacy with the dilemma of how to be free of a structure that it requires in order to exist. 

What we are seeing today is the opening parts of this struggle.  The first impulse is to destroy the existing structures that seem to oppress corporate action – to, by whatever means, create the conditions in which corporations can act with impunity – and to replace them with models from the corporate template. But the corporate template is remarkably incomplete for the purpose and corporate authority would have no idea of how to do this.  Autocratic authority is an early choice, supported by all of the “tricks of the trade” and wealth power.  And so we are seeing a kaleidoscope of pathologies working, like maggots in a dead body in the tropical sun, to get a piece of the action.

Governing, which equals control, from the corporate perspective is a matter of putting the right people in place to give the right orders – tough-minded corporate loyalists who will the toe the line of the bottom-line, and see to it that ‘those below them’ do to.  This is not ‘evil’ in the corporate frame of reference, no matter how much suffering and injustice is experienced by the ‘consumer’ of corporate governance: “It’s nothin’ personal, Roco, ja know, it’s just business.” 

But can nation-states allow corporations to actually manifest the insanity of corporate secession?  I can’t speak for A. Lincoln – he did plenty of that for himself – but while he offered many reasons for rejecting the secessionist demands of the southern states, I think he would have been somewhat flummoxed by our corporate secessionists; the shear craziness is mind-boggling.  To recap succinctly: corporations have gained sufficient power that they can effectively fight governing regulations, but must take over governing to finally be free of it.  They are utterly unequipped to actually govern, but don’t realize that, being, as they are, blind beyond their frame of reference.  They can buy anything and almost anyone, but that only functions in the corporate frame, not a true governing frame of reference.

Faced with these facts, I think that Mr. Lincoln would have had the courage to fight a different kind of civil war, perhaps an even more difficult one than the Civil War actually fought.  You will remember that that one had armies marching and fighting at our doorsteps, killed possibly a million of the nation’s citizens, did billions in damage and is still remembered bitterly by a major section of this nation.  What would be the consequences of denying the Corporate Confederacy its secessionist plans?

There are a number of parallels.  Many southern members of congress dissolved their loyalty to the Union before 1861, but remained in their elected positions acting in ways damaging to the Union.  Comity disappeared and was replaced with open hostility. Today, corporate senators and representatives are showing that their loyalty is no longer to the Union, the constitution or the people, their disrespect for those who don’t share their perspective is obvious and some of their behavior is in violation of their oath of office.

The arguments have a familiar ring to them.  The southern Confederacy couldn’t imagine functioning without a captive labor force over which they had complete control.  They required ‘freedom’ from economic restraints imposed by a hostile Northern government (which was actually doing the bidding of northern business interests).  The Corporate Confederacy is trying to remove all employment protections and regulations to effectively create a pool of serfs from which they can select labor completely on their terms. 

A mythology was created in the south that the plantation system and slavery were beneficial to all concerned, a natural and God given arrangement.  In the face of sound economic argument that such a system was fatally flawed, the myth was fertilized with social arguments and fears.  The “free market” ideology of today is a similar myth and its failures are hidden behind a smoke screen of abortion talk, homophobia and racism.  Again what the myths share in common is the supporting of the narrow short-term interests of an elite or corporate cabal.

It is time to take a stand against this corporate secession and reattach corporations to the control of nation-states; this would be obvious if it was clear that the choice was actually between social democracy and fascism.  As bad as the nation-state model has been, it will be better than government by corporate power.  It would be the corporate model to create a Government Division, but it would have to make a profit.  There is no place in corporate thinking for “something for nothing” which is how government services tend to be viewed, except of course for those services that extract wealth from the many and put it into the "capable hands" of corporate managers.

While there many differences between secession by regions of nations and secession by an economic segment of a nation, the biggest is that the Corporate Confederacy cannot and will not govern even if it succeeds in its version of secession by domination; it is still secession of responsibility!  The purchasing power of the Corporate Confederacy is so great that the world’s greatest sophists can be bought to present the corporate argument via the corporate owned media allowing for the illusion of governing to be maintained for a time.  The only actual governing style available in the corporate frame is a brutal and distant autocracy, and ultimately the people will decide just how much of that kind of abuse they will take.

(In my research for this idea I came across this piece by Roger Bybee posted in January of this year in which he talks about corporate secession) 


ronfromdownunder said...

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As you've been saying in your wonderful blog, the way forward to beat these "corporates" is to simply reduce personal consumption.

James Keye said...

Thanks, Ron. Your comment has given me the focus for the next essay.