Growing up in the United States as a member of the X generation I was exposed to rote history. Historical moments of significance were described and tested. I assimilated the facts, dates and names of those things that were told to me to be important. I was always intrigued by history because it seemed to me that beneath the dusty layers of dates and names lay a rich tapestry of human passions and dreams. Yet through all my history classes from grammar school to under graduate little attention was paid to anything other than what lie on the surface.
As a young adult I had little occasion to revisit the annals of history and wonder down its ancient halls looking for those stories, those men that rose to greatness that earned them a footnote in history. What was their story? What was their culture? What drove them to do the things they did that historians would reward them with the eternal mention of their names in the great tomb of history?
However as I near middle age and my body no longer seeks the restlessness of youth but instead relishes the warm comforts of reflection and introspection I begin to realize a vaster ocean of truth swirling in the great sea of time. I find that men, as courageous as they may be, were nothing more than individuals united together in common cause. How did men come to unite together to ward off the darkness and enemies real and imagined? Why a solitary creature of means would abandon his freedom given to him by nature and bind himself and all that he has to a common interest? Certainly philosophers and historians have extolled and recorded the why, the when and the what. However my curiosity propels me forward beyond the time of the basic gathering of men. It seeks a time that moved us far from the simple gathering of brutes to the complex interrelationships of modern civil society.
Yet somehow in all the years of history there still remains a part of that natural man that yearns to be free of the bonds that enslave us to one another. It is not merely that we wish to be free and run unfettered in nature but that we wish to reclaim our rightful inheritance of freedom from the egregious excessiveness of the modern world. We have traded our freedom for baubles and trinkets. No longer are we free to exercise our will for the common good or indeed for our own self interest. We are bound to society, submissive to state and slave to corporation.
My chief complaint is not the ties of society for without which we would have none of the greatness that enamates from it. Instead I concentrate my intellectual ire against that of the corpulent corporation. History class taught of ‘The Captains of Industry’, of Robber Barons, Train Barons and great business philanthropist. Yet only scant mention is paid to how these men of so called greatness were able amass such mighty fortunes. How were they able to accumulate such power and wealth? Why did a citizenry founded on the greatest of ideals, as recorded in the constitutions, sit idly by as more was taken away from them with each day, hour and minute?
My U.S. history teachers failed to instruct how our society was perverted even before it began by the noxious abomination that is the corporation. For so heinous was the corporation to our founding fathers that it required a special act of congress to grant a limited charter to encorporate. Yet this understanding common to all men of virtue and morals seems to have been lost and rather lost quickly. The one thing we can credit American history records with is the dates to which ‘things’ happened. Thus from the first act of incorporation in Massachusetts to the incorporation of U.S. Steel and beyond the morals of men and their virtue that created the good general will of society have weakened under the determined resolve of the strong man protected by the legal fiction known as a corporation. Starting with acts of local legislatures to the form factories of the secretaries of states the corporation has come to enslave us all.
The corporation is a legal fiction. It is citizen and yet not citizen. It cannot vote yet wields more influence than any voter. It reduces to servitude citizens so that they identify not readily as a citizen of state but as an employee of corporation. It cowers states into submission so that every act of legislature is always a boon of degrees to the corporation. The modern day corporation is corpulent. In the eyes of our founding fathers it is immoral. The founding father believed in the rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness by ones own hand. Today their children, those offspring of men so virtuous as to draft a social compact so fixed with inalienable rights of individuality, view the corporation as the sole succor for their pursuit of happiness. The corporation provides the life of slavery and the happiness of addiction at the cost of our liberty.
It is Rousseau who said, “Liberty may be gained but can never be recovered.” I fear we are on the threshold of losing our liberty forever to the corporate greed led by the lecherous desires of the slef-absorbed rich oligarchy.
2 thoughts on “Corpulent Corporate”
This is a beautiful piece of writing. The words are concise and elegant, and the length is just about right.
I would say that you are missing an important point though. You’re a bit simplistic in your assertion that all corporations are draconian, as I’ve seen examples of good corporations. In fact, corporations are fantastic tools to generate capital to do great things and to clearly denote people’s stake in ownership. The Slackers, my favorite band, does their business as Slackers Music Inc., (an SCorp) and all they do is create great music, tour and hope to make enough money to live. A corporation is a human-made economic construct that has no real mind of it’s own. People have to steer them. I love how some criticisms of corporations create anthropomorphic characters that represent good and evil so plainly. Generalizations like this aren’t useful. We need to focus on the human element that drives the corporations to do evil things.
Ego and greed steer the corporate machine into the draconian morass.
Agreed. My rant is directed soley towards the fat corporation. It is interesting that they incorporated vs. a limited liability partnership.