Wednesday, December 2, 2015

The Two Enemies of the People

"The two enemies of the people are criminals and government, so let us tie the second down with the chains of the Constitution so the second will not become the legalized version of the first."
~Thomas Jefferson

I saw this quote earlier on Facebook. It was posted by a guy that I knew from high school who himself is a politician (local). And it got me to thinking. Ultimately, I decided to comment on it. Here is what I posted:

Not sure I agree with this. I think any institutions created by humans - be they governments, churches, or corporations - are susceptible to corruption. So, they can potentially all be enemies of the people. However, governments are (or can be), as Lincoln decreed, of the people, by the people, and for the people. When government is done right, meaning elected and controlled by an informed citizenry, it can be a force for good. But you would never know that by how much skepticism and even hatred is heaped on it whenever people speak of governments as always the problem, and never the solution. Hopefully, that level of skepticism will lessen, because my suspicion is that it has become part of this country's problem now.

I will say that I believe the evil in government right now is that too many members of the government are bought and sold by special (corporate) interests, which to me, constitutes a conflict of interest. There should be a strict separation of corporation and state, or we will always be plagued by invasive and totalitarian government.

In this day and age, not to acknowledge the dangers of corporate control over people's lives is tantamount to willful ignorance. I have often felt that the excessive skepticism towards government, which has been strongly entrenched since Reagan took office, and the related focus on deregulation is essentially code for taking away power from an elected "government of the people, by the people, and for the people" in order to give more power to corporations that are not elected and hardly ever pretend to serve the people. For corporations, the bottom line is profits, and increasingly, the focus is on short term profits. That has led to consistent news of layoffs, benefits and/or salaries compromised and cut, and environmental regulations for polluting corporations essentially rendered ineffective.

That is what the dominance of corporate supremacy has given us for the last two decades in particular, and it has been to the detriment of the entire nation, and possibly even to the entire world, since this diseased focus on accommodating corporations at all costs has taken hold overseas too often, as well.

So, until self-described conservatives truly start to show that they understand the dangers of giving in to corporations, and that demonizing government tends to be self-defeating in the long run, then I cannot fully agree with this generally powerful Jefferson quote.

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