As I'm writing these words, people are dying at the hands of something far more dangerous than all of the governments, ideologies, religions, and environmental catastrophes in our time, combined. Something so heinous that all of those aforementioned organizations and philosophies are subject to its whim. Something so powerful that ordinary, innocent people are largely oblivious to its threat, and so convincing in innocence that some of its own victims are subject to endorsing it. And when I name this ever-powerful entity, only some of you will care to continue reading, while others will downplay this article, label me in various forms, and write this off as something less than it truly is. What is this horrific element I'm writing about? Corporations.
To list all of the offenses that corporations have committed in the past year would require several volumes of complete works, and to identify these crimes in the past three hundred years would literally be an impossible task. Corporations are a silent assassin, costing all of us not only life, human or otherwise, but freedom as well. Our government is encouraged, and indeed driven, by corporate fundamentalism, and our power as citizens, to vote or to be well-informed, is limited by the greed and ambitions of enterprise. And yet most of us remain oblivious and objective, either flatly ignoring the threats that corporations present to us, or ignoring them in the hopes that they will somehow go away, regardless of our actions or silent protests.
The corporation is driven by one thing, and one thing alone: profit. as a recognized legal entity, the corporation has but one single obligation, that being to maximize the profit of shareholders by whatever means are necessary. To suit this end, they will put forth efforts to appeal to consumers, and as such, we often see corporate charity as an act that negates the harm they commit. But the only reason corporations commit these acts is to meet the end of impressing potential consumers and convincing them to supply them with business. They present themselves as friendly and caring, but the grim reality of it all is that corporations view you merely as a device through which more profits can be made. They are, as the old proverb permits, a wolf in sheep's clothing, appealing to your sensibilities and personal tastes only so that they can profit from you however possible. And their consumer contempt is viewed as beyond reproach by those who defend corporate mentality, only deepening the ill effects of their actions.
One might say that corporations are to the modern western world what Christianity was to Europe a few centuries ago. They directly influence the government, they've convinced consumers of their innocence and have made boogie-men out of their competition, and some are willing to die in the defense of these entities. Colonists escaped the throws of Christian-dominated Europe to settle the new world. Rather than fixing their problems, they escaped them. But the problems posed to us by corporations simply cannot be escaped. We can choose to do nothing, or we can choose to act and either regulate or abolish the very concept of corporations entirely.
How many of you shop at Wal-Mart, only to complain about the state of our economy? How many of you pay for health care the service, only to defend corporate greed by arguing for health care the privilege? How many of you complain about the cost of gasoline while pumping it into your cars, or worry about global warming in air-conditioned rooms, or daydream about losing weight while you scarf down a Big Mac on your lunch break? How can so many of you be so oblivious to the threats that corporations challenge us with? The answer is not only simple, but terrifying: corporations desire it so, and so it is. And if this doesn't make sense to you, I challenge you to think about this subject objectively for a while. I could draw it out for you, but it would suit the cause better if you figured this out for yourself, on your own terms. And if you refute the challenge, or if you put it off until tomorrow, or if you deem it of little or no importance, then you sacrifice your right to use the word "freedom" in any context regarding yourself.
We must encourage our government to regulate corporations, if not to wholly abolish them. Human nature and the determinations of our own societal survival make this not a decision, but an ultimatum. It is an issue that transcends politics, or faith, or opinion. There is no greater service of government by which we as a people can prosper than the suppression of corporate greed and engineered malfeasance, and should you choose to ignore this threat, and not educate yourself to it, then you are equally culpable in the crimes that these entities carry out against us all, and worse still, you surrender your voice to their whim.