Here’s the second video:
This video continues the central theme of successful resistance to the encroaching totalitarianism of the Left expressed in the previous one:
They can’t control you.
However, rather than analyze the Left’s control strategy and the social and economic conditions upon which it’s founded, Good Patriot leaps directly into the details of her counter-strategy. That shook me a bit. People expect an advisor or counselor not just to tell them what to do, but to explain why they ought to do it. Without such explanations, even the best, most constructive advice will fail to persuade a significant portion of its audience.
Be not afraid! Your humble Curmudgeon Emeritus is here to fill the gap. And as it happens, the explanation is relatively simple.
A great part of why the machinations of the power-mad Left have attained so much success stems from a historical seed with which not many Americans are familiar. It was planted early in the New Deal years, at a time when enough Americans were desperate for relief from Depression conditions that they’d accept essentially anything a confident, resolute-looking leader figure might propose. Hearken to the analysis of Garet Garrett, individualist and classical liberal commentator:
Business is in itself a power. In a free economic system it is an autonomous power, and generally hostile to any extension of government power. That is why a revolutionary party has to do something with it. In Russia it was liquidated; and although that is the short and simple way, it may not turn out so well because business is a delicate and wonderful mechanism; moreover, if it will consent to go along it can be very helpful. Always in business there will be a number, indeed, an astonishing number, who would sooner conform than resist, and besides these there will be always a few more who may be called the Quislings of capitalism. Neither Hitler nor Mussolini ever attempted to liquidate business. They only deprived it of its power and made it serve.
How seriously the New Deal may have considered the possibility of liquidating business we do not know. Its decision, at any rate, was to embrace the alternative; and the alternative was to shackle it.
[From Garrett’s essay “The Revolution Was”]
The shackle of which Garrett speaks above was an unprecedented regulatory regime that imposed a multitude of conditions upon the operation of American businesses. Coupled to FDR’s greatly expanded program of federal spending, it created incentives that gave rise to the mega-corporation: the form of commercial life that dominates American commerce today. Those incentives could be classified thus:
- The larger a corporation is, the more easily it can bear the overheads of regulatory oversight and its legal ramifications.
- A government will always prefer to purchase from an organization that resembles it as closely as possible, especially in size.
I first wrote about this in this Baseline Essay:
Large organizations have inherent deficiencies that conduce toward a generalized condition of incoherence and failure. Why, then, is the world’s commerce completely dominated by two or three thousand giant corporations?
Simply, because governments systematically tilt the field in their favor.
Ignore the propaganda about “monopoly” and “antitrust.” Nothing favors Big Business like Big Government. The occasional forays against specific targets in the private sector — mostly, companies that have been slow to bend the knee when the State commanded it — are mere flea bites, compared to the many ways the legal environment has been biased toward giant businesses.
Complex tax and regulatory law is one example. The larger a company is, the smaller the percentage of its expenses that will go to its overhead functions, in particular legal counsel and accounting. (For all that accounts payable and receivable are important functions, their complexity and cost pales in comparison to that of tax accounting.)
Liability is another example, and an increasingly important one. With all the ways in which suits against the providers of goods and services have been encouraged in the past thirty years, the fraction of a typical company’s expenses that go to legal representation, tort insurance, and payoffs has swollen to Brobdingnagian size. (A tiny example: Dr. Ron Paul, Congressman from Texas and former Libertarian Party presidential candidate, told me that the cost of his malpractice insurance in his last year as a practicing obstetrician came to more than a quarter of his annual revenue.)
Finally, but far from least, there’s this: When governments seize and spend 45% of the nation’s Gross Domestic Product, businesses that sell to governments are going to get really, really rich. And governments, for sociological and organizational reasons I’ll delve into some other time, prefer to do business with the largest of corporations.
The incentives delineated above have brought about the steady transformation of the American economy from one dominated by small businesses to one dominated by huge ones: for brevity’s sake, the Fortune 3000. Those huge businesses employ slightly more than half of all working Americans. Each of them has a large legal department and a sizeable regulatory-compliance staff. Most of them earn some significant fraction of their annual revenues from government purchasing. Thus, they have become points of derived control over their workforces:
- Most obviously, they pay the wages of those who work for them.
- They form an important part of their workers’ ideological environment;
- They can impose certain behavioral controls on their workers as a condition of employment;
- Those companies, in aggregate, provide more than half the consumer goods the American public demands.
- And they dance to Washington’s tune!
Whether FDR and his Brain Trust had this in mind as they sculpted the New Deal is not known, though Garet Garrett suspected it. In any case, the workforces of those 3000 mega-corporations must toe the line their employers dictate – and their products account for the greater part of the annual retail purchases of the consumers of these United States.
From the above it becomes clear why Good Patriot advocates a federation of small, self-sustaining communities to countervail the tentacles of the swelling Leviathan. As she said in the earlier video, separating oneself from its instruments of control is the key to preserving one’s autonomy. Only a partial separation is possible for many of us: e.g., those of us dependent on water and electrical power supplied by regional regulated monopolies. You should not doubt that the State can get the cooperation of such monopolies whenever it pleases. Consider what’s been done to California businesses that have refused to comply with state mandates.
The Left’s drive to nationalize medical care should also be viewed through this lens. We are fortunate that their efforts in that regard have not succeeded any better than they have. Were we as dependent upon government-managed medical services as, say, our neighbors in Canada, the State would wield a de facto power of life and death over every individual in this country. But the game is not over; indeed, it may still be in the first innings.
The last sentence of the previous paragraph deserves every Gentle Reader’s sober consideration:
The game is not over.
There are still moves to be made.
The outcome remains uncertain.
Your role may be larger than you imagine.