We’ve long known about those folks who think they are spiritual but don’t like “organized religion.” Now add the group of political conservatives who say they want what is best for the people but don’t want organized labor. In fact, many of the same conservatives have relentlessly ridiculed the sitting President for, among other things, having been a community organizer.
Iran and Libya don’t want organized opposition. Scott Walker has now coerced the Wisconsin legislature to deny the right of state workers to collective bargaining. (If unions are outlawed, only outlaws will have unions?) It has become clear that the effort to break the back of organized labor is itself highly organized and well-funded.
What these things have in common is fear and loathing for anything organized. Better, they think, if everything which threatens their status quo remains disorganized.
But curiously, one organization that doesn’t seem to suffer the same criticism, at least from the people on the proverbial right, are corporations. Highly organized, armed with extraordinary international clout, fluid money and shadowy subsidiaries, a very controlled hierarchy and playing for high stakes, corporations are running my life from behind the velvet drapes of the Wizard of Oz. “Pay no attention to the corporation behind the curtain,” says the corporation behind the curtain.
Is there any doubt that Wisconsin’s Governor Scott Walker intended to keep a curtain drawn over his own prejudices until he was exposed by a prank caller? Is there any doubt that Hosni Mubarek or Moammar Gadhafi want to keep control shielded by a curtain of absolute authority from all public accountability. Is it any wonder that British Petroleum corporately winced at the exposure of its avarice and manipulation that contributed to that catastrophic Gulf oil spill?
It amazes me that the mental coprolites who think there is a conspiracy behind everything don’t want to look behind the curtain of their own privilege, made possible by the simple act of hurting and destroying other people.
This is not naivete here. I am well aware, for example, that the California Prison Guards Union is screwing both the inmates in California prisons and the people of California. In little more than a decade, the cost of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitations, which runs 33 state prisons, has jumped from $3.5 billion to $11 billion.
But by and large it is not the union lobbyists who are bankrupting state governments. It is not the corporate lobbyists either—at least on the surface. It is greed which is behind the curtain. Lobbyists make their living on funding politicians behind the curtain. Where is the public accountability if the public thinks it is really more comfortable and privileged as a result of corporations?
On my recent “vacation” to Florida, where the land is flat enough to be completely erased from the map by a high tide, people are in complete denial about global warming, for example. The ground of their denial is not that the science of permanent climate change is still hugely theoretical, but linked to the denial that anything could possible wash out their entitlement to a life of privilege, ease, comfort and high standard of living.
Probably more than anything, it is privilege which is behind the curtain: masculine privilege, white privilege, American (native-born not immigrant legal or otherwise) privilege. For all the conservative ranting about entitlements, our nation, our culture, our wonderful America is turned our national entitlement into a god at whose altar anyone, any minority, any cause, any just thing, many be slaughtered and sacrificed. We have met the enemy, says Pogo, and it is us.