Today's blog is about a story near and dear to my heart: crony crapitalism and the power of corporations. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against corporations or good old fashioned entrepreneurial capitalism, thrift, and enterprise. But one would have to be blind not to see the concentration of power and wealth in fewer and fewer hands, corporate hands that have no regard for basic natural God-given rights, and to whom governments are mere instruments to enact favorable mercantilist policies. In rehearsing a long litany of corporate excesses over the years, I return often to two themes: (1) the utter mistake of making corporations persons in law (by a process of convoluted theological and jurisprudential reasoning), and (2) the fact that corporate charters and corporate behavior make no room for those natural God-given rights.
Well, with that in mind, consider the following story that was submitted by quite a few people this week:
Planned legislation to establish new business areas in Nevada would allow technology companies to effectively form separate local governments.
Democratic Gov. Steve Sisolak announced a plan to launch so-called Innovation Zones in Nevada to jumpstart the state’s economy by attracting technology firms, Las Vegas Review-Journal reported Wednesday.
The zones would permit companies with large areas of land to form governments carrying the same authority as counties, including the ability to impose taxes, form school districts and courts and provide government services. (Boldface emphasis added)
Needless to say, this prompts all sorts of ideas to swirl around in my head, none of them too good. Note firstly that there is a certain ineluctable logic here, one that, surprisingly, has taken a rather long time to arrive at, but which - if examined from the standpoint of elucidating the basic steps along the development of that logic - should come as no surprise. It would go something like this. Step one: in our system of government, individual persons are sovereign, and possess by nature certain rights that are not granted and therefore cannot be circumscribed by governments. Step two: as such, persons have the right to ban together and form, reform, or dissolve, governments, as laid out in this country's Declaration of Independence. Step three: somewhere along the way, corporations became persons in law. This step was actually first undertaken in the middle ages for reasons we needn't get into here. So step four - elaborated in Nevada's recent attempt to woo corporations to that state - should come as no surprise, for if corporations are persons in law, then they have the same rights to form, reform, or dissolve governments as any other group of persons.
So it should come as no surprise that the next step in the arsenal of politicians' tricks to woo business to their states should be to allow corporations in effect to form local governments, establish courts, impose taxes, and so on, in effect creating private jurisdictions.
We can imagine how corporations will handle courts, taxes, and schools. Just look at today's courts, taxes, and schools, and put all of it on steroids. Whether or not the measure succeeds in Nevada is, at this stage, a moot point. The important point is that at long last we have arrived at the fourth step in that logic that has been under way for centuries in the West. It is the ultimate fruit of a step taken long long ago, i.e., to view an individual person as part of a great collective called the corporate person, in this case, the corporate, "federal" person called Adam, and his inheritance as being one of moral culpability by dint the inheritance of a fallen, "sinful nature" or "sin nature." (And for those inclined to throw bible verses at me, don't waste your time. There's a great deal of difference between "eph ho pantes hemarton" and Jerome's mistranslation "en quo omnes peccaverunt." And if you don't know what I'm talking about, go do some homework.)
And that recalls a statement of St. Photios the Great, famous Patriarch of Constantinople in the 9th century, whom I paraphrase: to say that there is a sin of nature is a heresy.
So where's the high octane speculation? Well, one might opine where this will lead. There has been a little writing recently on the idea of "infinite debt" and how it makes all humans slaves to that debt. All one needs to complete the picture is a "social credit" system, supplying small remissions of that debt (we might call them indulgences) if one behaves well and obediently submits to the authority that has control of the ledgers. In the middle ages, that was the papacy. In the modern age, it looks like corporations. But the system hasn't changed much.
See you on the flip side...