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Corporate State stifles freedom

This broadside was inspired by an ad lurking in the Enterprise Aug. 19, but you may note that my missive does not begin, as instructed, with the phrase “Dear Editor,” even though the ad flat-out tells us to “share your opinion by submitting a Letter to the Editor.”

Americans should never allow anyone to point us in a direction that is contrary to our heritage and national ideals. In the ad we see the idea that “FREE SPEECH and a FREE PRESS together allow people to obtain information from a wide range of sources that are not dictated or restricted by the government. This freedom makes it possible for people to make decisions, develop opinions and express their views to the government.”

The government? Since when does the government have any say about our rights and liberty? We need to take the advice of Ayn Rand, who repeatedly challenged her readers to “check your premises” before making any decision.

The Enterprise ad got it wrong because nobody bothered to “check the premise” of the ad that government would, or could, dictate or restrict access to information. Government is not the problem; the Corporate State is our true censor.

Governments are like guns: When in the correct hands, they work well, but when the wrong persons get hold of it, all hell breaks loose. The reason we have a Bill of Rights is because the Declaration of Independence recognizes that all humans have the right to revolution, to violently overthrow any government that abuses them.

A close paraphrase of the first paragraph in our founding document says, “Whenever any government abuses the rights of the people to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, it is the right and the duty of the people to alter or abolish that government and start a new one.” The Second Amendment provides the means for that revolution.

We need not fear that our government would abuse our rights; true danger lies in the fact big corporations have so much money, political power and sheer gall that it is they, not the government, that threatens our freedom and traditional values. Corporations have achieved this undemocratic power, especially since the Wall Street/Corporate State seized the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court and actively uses this illegitimate power against our traditional national interests.

The Republican Party, acting exclusively on behalf of the wealthy class, has managed to restrict our rights by disguising this assault as their normal, ideological ploy that has been ongoing for years. America is a capitalist country and should always so remain, but this alien species of capitalism we had shoved down our throats without our informed knowledge or consent is quite different than the type of capitalism practiced in 1787.

Back then, our capitalism was known as “Jeffersonian Democratic Capitalism” and was marked by the ascendance of farmers, small business, artisans and professionals with the dispersal of wealth and power as widely as possible, but this ethos was changed in the 1830s with the advent of the laws now governing corporations, enabling them to concentrate vast wealth and power into the railroads, which were enabled to charge their customers, mostly farmers, whatever they chose simply because these companies grabbed so much power.

The chief economic foundation of America, from the beginning, was the aptly named “Main Street” that was subverted and destroyed by the sudden arrival and ruthless use of great wealth and the political power that wealth guaranteed. Civil War profiteers accelerated this orgy of greed on rails.

Wall Street is capitalism alright, but a mutant form, beefed up on corporate propaganda and covert government aid, the economic equivalent of steroids. The coup-de-grace of this action was the creation of an unconstitutional fourth branch of government, outside the system known as “checks and balances,” and this fake bank has been going on for over a hundred years, methodically destroying our traditional, family-friendly, Main Street system of capitalism.

Here’s how the scheme works: The Fed issues papers called cash and distributes them to banks using low interest rates to stimulate an economy that, according to corporate propaganda, should never, ever need such stimulus. The money it makes available, for the purpose of financing titanic corporate takeovers, in chunks of tens of billions of dollars at a time, creates massive wealth for a very few investors while denying moderate amounts to millions of small businessmen across our land.

Imagine a central bank that specializes in small business, say, the “Jacksonian National Bank,” having $50 billion to lend to local entrepreneurs. This is what can bring back our prosperity and financial independence (along with a “kick-China-cold-turkey” policy), with local businesspersons manufacturing what we now buy from China, keeping OUR money circulating in OUR economy.

We need to understand that the right-wing ideologues on the Supreme Court have hatched a philosophy to separate us from our right to free speech. That court upheld the termination of a worker for the “crime” of refusing to remove his Obama-for-president bumper sticker when ordered by his boss, ruling that private property now trumps free speech. We endure many instances of corporations pushing us around, from their contracts preventing us from accessing the courts for a redress of grievances to forcing us to submit to a major waste-of-time annoyance trying to speak with one of their 800-number morons.

This court now employs a close, strict interpretation of the Constitution that it cynically calls “Federalism” as an effective American method of restricting our rights. It claims that the actual words mean exactly what they say: “Congress shall make no law restricting the freedom of speech …” Fine. All that means is that Congress, specifically, may not restrict our rights, but because the First Amendment does not ALSO say that the executive, the court or the Corporate State can’t do that, these institutions can restrict whomever they wish, with the court backing them every inch of the way against our rights. Our new political reality is strictly, “All people are created equal, but the wealthy are more equal than the rest.”

Rick Gombas lives in Saranac Lake.