commentary, philosophy, and outright rants

Archive for the ‘freedom of speech’ Category

The Individual Freedom Reclamation Amendment

Thinking about how religious people in the US, from diverse traditions, can reclaim our Nation from corporate control, led to a search of Catholic encyclicals.  One thing that keeps popping up in Catholic social justice – identical to things I have heard from many fellow Witches – is the dignity of the human person.  Although not widely known,  several encyclicals starting with Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum make it clear that the Roman Catholic Church opposes US-style capitalism just as much as it opposes socialism. In fact, it opposes any economic or political system which violates the dignity of the human person.  Given that many Baptist and Evangelical churches were deeply involved in the civil rights movement, I would think that many Protestants share this belief as well.

As the current pope has put it:

“the market has prompted new forms of competition between States as they seek to attract foreign businesses to set up production centres, by means of a variety of instruments, including favourable fiscal regimes and deregulation of the labour market. These processes have led to a downsizing of social security systems as the price to be paid for seeking greater competitive advantage in the global market, with consequent grave danger for the rights of workers, for fundamental human rights and for the solidarity associated with the traditional forms of the social State.” – Pope Benedict XVI, Caritas in Veritate

One problem in the Western world is that corporations – in legalese, “non-natural persons” – are recognized as persons by the legal system. This enables large amounts of capital to be used in ways no human person could muster: to control media, depress wages, and eliminate the “social security” net (not speaking solely of the US agency called “Social Security”.)

To restore the dignity of the human person as superior to capital – as is the belief of many Pagans, as well as many Christians – I think the following Amendment to the US Constitution might be appropriate:

ARTICLE (?).
1. No Right, stated in this Constitution, shall apply to persons other than Natural Persons, unless specifically granted to persons other than Natural Persons.

2. Section 1 of this Amendment shall not apply to the Powers of Congress as enumerated in Article I, Section 8 of this Constitution.

3. For the purposes of this Constitution, and all laws and regulations made subject to it, the phrase “limited Times” or other like phrases shall be construed as one-third of the average lifespan of a Natural Person citizen of the United States. Said lifespan shall be calculated on a decennial basis by the Social Security Administration or successor agencies; if said agencies cease to exist the national Census shall be modified to determine said lifespan.

4. Sections 1- 3 of this Amendment are curative and shall apply immediately to all treaties, laws, and court decisions now standing.

“Corporate Greed”: a useless simplification

I see a lot of people complaining about corporate greed, as if a legal charter given to a group of people somehow acquires the very human attribute of greed. Corporations don’t have greed. They can’t. As Sir Edward Coke, sitting as the King’s Bench, put it in the Sutton Hospital Case of 1612:

“They may not commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicate, for they have no souls, neither can they appear in person, but by Attorney.”

Corporations do not have greed. People have greed, which is often more successful when hidden behind a for-profit corporation. Using the phrase “corporate greed” buys into the very denial of the I-thou relationship that the greedy people have. Calling it “corporate greed” aids and abets the glamorie that the owners of the corporation use the corporation for: there’s no people here, it’s just a corporation, it’s freedom, what’s your problem anyway? With a corporation, an individual human can only have an I-it relationship, eliminating any chance of dialogue and real change.

In order to break down the walls in society against I-thou relationships, people opposed to massive accumulation of wealth by individual persons need to initiate such connections, instead of attacking the phantom of “corporate greed”. One philosophical song that I see as addressing the desire to attack the greedy as opposed to the need to first make an I-thou connection with a particular person in hopes of establishing a resonance is T. Thorn Coyle’s “Hey Mister” (from her Give Us a Kiss! CD):

“Hey mister,it’s really not my place to put you down
Hey mister, it’s not in my theology.
Hey mister, I shouldn’t run your name into the ground
But I seem to do it anyway!

Hey mister, I know that I should see the God within
Hey mister, but in your eyes she doesn’t seem to play;
Hey mister, I suppose I ought to listen not defend
Hey mister, but I just don’t see the world your way.

All I see are your big cars,
And the way my neighborhood has changed;
It makes me want to shout you out:
And pull my hair like I’m deranged!
I want to bring salvation back;
I really want us to evolve –
But I don’t know how to see a thing
The money, opposition and false power.”

“Hey mister”: it’s a phrase one-to-one. It derecognizes the phony personhood of the corporation and tries to initiate a conversation with an individual, human, person who wields money and power behind the corporate glamorie.

Attacking “corporate greed” has gotten practically nowhere. Perhaps it’s time to look at another strategy; a humanistic strategy; a strategy of finding connections to those hiding behind “corporations”. Perhaps it’s time to try to see the world the way corporate owners (not managers unless they are also major stockholders) see it; it’s the only way to establish a slow resonance in dialogue to ultimately change the frequency.

Corporations have no souls, no greed, no lust, no passion. Attacking corporate greed is a symbolic action so divorced from the actual people who wield power and money, and an action so divorced from humanistic and social justice I-thou traditions, that it wastes energy that could be better used in addressing the actual people of power and money.

Autism vs. Basketball Stars

What’s the main difference between Michael Savage and Don Imus?

Don Imus attacked Rutgers basketball players, who are perfectly capable of defending themselves.

Michael Savage attacked autistic people, who are people who are at a vast disadvantage for defending themselves.

Think Michael Savage will get fired like Don Imus did?  I doubt it’s likely.  Disabled people get a lot less funding than state university basketball teams – not to mention a lot less fans and a lot less attention.

I’d love to see some of the women’s basketball team at Rutgers step up publicly and say that Mr. Savage’s remarks are just as unacceptable as Imus’ remarks.  But I’m not holding my breath on it.

Stifled by technology? Take a walk!

In a recent post on a Yahoo!Group, the author bemoaned that he feels stifled by technology.

Somehow he missed the irony that he was choosing to use computer technology to bitch about it.  He wants to return to the wild, yet he is unable to do without computers. I wonder about lower tech items, like indoor plumbing, microwave ovens, gas/electric ranges, electric lights… Somehow his idea of the ‘noble savage’ appears to be a ‘savage’ with all the advantages of technology as it exists to this point.

People who sincerely hate technology should unplug their computers and throw them out so the rest of us don’t have to read their claims to hate that which they voluntarily interface with to preach their dissatisfaction to the world.

Quote Updates 5/18

Horatio, Lord Nelson:
“I am acting not only without the orders of my commander-in-chief, but, in some measure, contrary to him…I am doing what is right and proper for the service of our king and country. Political courage, in an officer abroad, is as highly necessary as military courage.”
http://infomotions.com/etexts/gutenberg/dirs/9/4/947/947.htm

Gregory Norbert:
“When the time of our particular sunset comes our thing, our accomplishment won’t really matter a great deal. But the clarity and care with which we have loved others will speak with vitality of the great gift of life we have been for each other.”

Stan Rogers:
“…For we couldn’t leave her there, you see, to crumble into scale./She’d saved our lives so many times, living through the gale/And the laughing, drunken rats who left her to a sorry grave/They won’t be laughing in another day…/

“And you, to whom adversity has dealt the final blow/With smiling bastards lying to you everywhere you go/Turn to, and put out all your strength of arm and heart and brain/And like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again

“Rise again, rise again – though your heart it be broken/And life about to end/No matter what you’ve lost, be it a home, a love, a friend./ Like the Mary Ellen Carter, rise again….”

http://www.stanrogers.net/

Kunal Ghosh:
“That communism is a crypto-religion in line with Judaism and Christianity (both are Abrahamic faiths of West Asian origin) has been alluded to by many great thinkers…Abrahamic religions, whenever they conquer a territory, convert the inhabitants and try to suppress their ancestral culture. Ancestral history becomes a prohibited subject. In Afghanistan and Pakistan pre-Islamic Hindu-Buddhist history is not permitted in schools. China is doing the same in Tibet.”
http://www.mainstreamweekly.net/auteur39.html

debauchette:
“I, and other women like me, object to the assertion that sex work is inherently degrading and that no woman pursues this work or experience by choice. Women do make these choices, and I’m among them. And I have no regrets. My perspective on Sawyer was just that – I was a woman who made a choice.

“This isn’t to say that degrading and dehumanizing sex work doesn’t exist, because it most certainly does. But it does a disservice to everyone when we fail to recognize the differences, the differences in power, autonomy, and freedom.”

http://debauchette.wordpress.com/

Updating links pages and social sites

I finally added some actual descriptions (mainly copied from other sites I already put descriptions on) to my Tribe and Facebook profiles.

I also updated my humor link page and my cruelty, pain, and death link page. (The cruelty, pain, and death link page is not recommended for those who are easily offended, or for those who think ‘my body, my choice’ only pertains to abortion…)

YESiceptive, YESiceptive!!

A great post about obscurely painful words: http://gloriabrame.typepad.com/inside_the_mind_of_gloria/2008/02/sm-vocabulary-b.html