Thursday, January 21, 2010

Me and Bobby McGee

I can appreciate a true Libertarian when I meet one. That is, I can appreciate that they are vain, cruel, naive, self-centered assholes.

But a true Libertarian is a rare creature, thank god. Usually you only meet the fake ones that attend protest meetings with badly-spelled and punctuated placards, or troll the internet armed only with a Caps Lock button and list of words whose meanings they are not so familar with, like "socialism."

True Libertarians would have taken to the streets yesterday with spittle-flecked lips and pitchforks after the US Supreme Court's absolutely fucking stunning decision to negate a century of precedent and lawmaking when they elevated the rights of corporations above those of American citizens. But the silence from those who supposedly value liberty above all was pervasive, revealing that 99% of those tea-bagging jerks are actually Republicans who want, above all, to see the GOP dominate our government, no matter what the fuck they get themselves up to. And dominate the Republicans will, as it is the party of corporate ass ponies that are poised to benefit the most from SCOTUS's latest valentine to corporate America.

See, what these so-called Libertarians never seem to get through their thick skulls is that less restriction does not always equal more freedom. This is a concept that most 4-year-olds grasp easily, as they ponder what life would be like outside the safety of their parents' influence. Freedom may be what we all want, but other people's freedom tends to fuck you in the ass, don't it? It's, um, kind of a basic concept of civilization that you trade some measure of your own liberty in exchange for the freedom to be able to walk down the street without being Shanghaied into a cage match with Tina Turner in a mohawk and chain mail.

Corporations are not people, and money is not speech. I may be allowed to tell a cop what I think of him (unless I'm a black man standing in my own house, of course), but I'm not allowed to give him a fifty as a means of persuasion. If you equate money with speech, then every corporation on Wall Street has the voices of a billion people, except it's not the voices of a billion people really, it's one voice, a billion times louder than yours or mine, and it only cares about one thing: going about its way unfettered from concerns about the quality of our air, or the price of our utilities, or the passability of our roads and bridges. It doesn't care about our health, our wages, our working conditions or whether our kids go to school or what they learn. It wants the path of least resistance, no matter what the cost to us. It only wants to grow and amass more wealth and grow some more. And it owns us, completely, because it owns the people who have to win campaigns in order to write our laws.

And, as for the cherry of cynicism on top of the sundae of doom, this ruling obliterates John McCain's supposed life's work, McCain-Feingold's campaign finance reform. One would think that the ruination in one fell swoop of all that he claimed to care about would have elicited an immediate reaction from the self-proclaimed reformer, but McCain was too busy trying to prevent others from affording a health care plan one tenth as good as the one he enjoys for free to bother commenting. And then, when he did comment, his disappointment was less than convincing. Perhaps McCain is envisioning a future wherein he can run for higher office again, this time with an unconstrained corporate bankroll. Well, the jokes on you, old man. As far as your party leaders are concerned, from now on, non-centerfolds need not apply.

I remember when I was a little kid, listening to my Dad playing Janis Joplin singing "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose." I remember being a bit shocked at that assertion. I remember thinking "Oh, I hope not." But maybe songwriter Kristofferson knew something we still haven't figured out. Maybe the whole damn thing has to burn to the ground before we can finally understand what makes it worth the trouble. I'm not saying I got nothing. To the extent that I have collected money, I did it to ease my life, and to enable its longevity. And when my government takes my money from me, I hope, I try my best to ensure, that it is with that same goal in mind for my countrymen. I wish we all felt the same way. It seems like such a simple thing to want. How, I wonder, how, from where we started, how the fuck did we get here?


Lisa said...

I'm Ronald McDonald, and I approve this message.

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

Excuse my language but this post is fucking brilliant. As usual.

Michael said...

Now I can breathe again. Don't ever stop doing this.

Bro said...

Strangely enough I am on the fence about this. I believe that the gvmnt cant dictate who can say what, and whether you can't say it just because your a corporation. Somewhere I heard that lobbying/lobbiest is freedom of speech and I bought it.

So I think that the government cant tell corporations they cant say certain things; hopefully things like corporate law, shareholder feedback and the Internets un-tamable ways will make Haliburton flaming someone on Fox a mute point.

But I think I think that they have a right to say it (and say it often because they do have money alas). Not fair, sure, worth putting the decision into the current government's hands, no.

vikkitikkitavi said...

Bro, you should read this article, which summarizes why the decision is bad and unnecessary for the "free speech" of corporations.

Anonymous said...

I'm probably being naive here, but once upon a time, didn't the decision makers use lobbying as a way to educate themselves? A way for politicians to get up to speed in a million different areas, talking to specialists and experts for their best advice? Or has it always just been about money and the proverbial reach around? After this latest SCOTUS decision, Senators and Congresspeople should be required to wear their sponsor's swag, just like NASCAR drivers and NFL teams.

GETkristiLOVE said...

I forgot Kristofferson wrote that song. To borrow another 70's phrase, right on, sis.

Doc said...

And so the shysters win again.

And again.

Because they have the money and the little guy once again, gets kicked to the ditch. If he complains, they tell him he better be grateful for his ditch because they can afford to make his lot in life even worse.

The people of this country have been slapped with a big red sticker that says, "Reduced for quick sale" like day old baked goods.

It's hard to believe that we have taken the greatist experiment in human freedom and pissed it down our leg. I'm going to have a tough time explaining to my kids why they no longer count as people anymore.


Red said...

Did anyone else hear Newt Gingrich _being interviewed on NPR_ explaining why this decision was a victory for the middle class? Robert Siegel obviously thought he was full of it, which he is, but couldn't say so in so many words. He tried, though.

dguzman said...

A good question, Vik--how the fuck DID we get here? It's scary to even think about, and scarier still knowing that it's only gonna get worse before (if?) it ever gets better.

I think Kirby's got it right; I want to see those assholes in DC wearing all their corporate sponsors' logos on their clothing. I'm sure it'll be impossible to even see the cloth under all those patches. But then at least we'd know what corporations we're being fucked over for.