The Super Citizen

The Glaxo/Avantia matter is ubiquitous and representative enough to serve as a touchstone for a discussion on larger issues of where we are as a nation amid the rise of corporatism. Where within the emerging shift of constitutional rights and privileges do we as a nation and “people” stand? Even a casual knowledge of current events should display the fundamental shift and consolidation of political power attending the launch of this new millenium, a consolidation of the dictates of big business exemplified by concurrent losses of flesh and blood rights.
“We’re from the government. We’re here to help,” goes the old right-wing standard yuk-yuk “biggest lie.” A reasonable counter might be something akin to an absurdity like McDonald’s “We Do it All For You.” Corporate expressions of the concern for their customers are pure piffle, constructs of PR firms whose main duty to their masters is to tailor impressions that in the circles you and I travel would often consider lies. And here we can look for the size and effects attending the transcendence from public to private control via emergence of the super-citizen, the triumph of business over the sovereignty of popular government, as seen in the spill zone with civil authority, local cops, commandeered by BP for their purposes, depriving citizens and the press of access to the spill site under threat of arrest for exercising their 1st amendment rights in a public place, a very disquieting return to the 19th century.
From the flawed 19th century railroad case, Santa Clara vs Southern Pacific, that let the monster out of the box, the emergence and institutionalization of the corporate person has evoked major reconfigurations in politics. While the two party “system” has long exhibited a perennial cycle, a plasticity, in what and who they represent, best seen in what “republican” meant to Jefferson compared to what it means to Sarah Palin, no greater change has come as a result of corporation’s enhanced rights to fulfill their primary ethic, make money. Attending that earthquake was a shift in the meaning of money, from an abstraction of capital, a sort of agreement for conducting business, to the actual raison d’etra of human existence, rendered even more absurd and surreal by the emergence of what I call Wall Street’s “debt standard”, an economy at it’s core based on who owes what to whom, the freakery enhanced by money’s new surreal digital expressions.
The primary dividing line of politics, the overused and increasingly meaningless categories “liberal” vs “conservative” was formerly based on where the money went. Practical conservative theorists like Alexander Hamilton bet on elite families, banks and financial entities. The Jeffersonian economic sense of liberalism was more democratic in concept, that the nation’s money supply should retain a fluid nature, widely dispersed by small-scale commerce and trade. Neither of these should obscure that the visionaries who engineered the American overthrow of British power were by the definition of the word at the time “liberals” nor that the newly spawned US was by definition a liberal state. We conducted a revolution that launched a new economic order that reduced Britain to no more than a favored trading nation. The internal fight began between those who favored elite control and Jefferson/Jackson’s romantic yeoman.
The corrupt erasure of the legal distinctions between natural and corporate citizens launched a new royalty based not so much on family connections but on piles of cash. Following Santa Clara, the Democratic party, founded for the individual, had its soul stolen. Since Wall Street could not consistently triumph over the combined will of the electorate at the ballot box, they used their influence to tweak the rule book. A Democratic standards of support for the “people” was skewed when the corporation became a person. Laws and amendments that benefited humans suddenly aided beeg beesiness. Take lying. While distasteful and ultimately producing negative effects, lying is speech protected by the Constitution, a two-edged constitutional sword forged by the first amendment and used daily by corporations to increase profits. We pay with our lives everyday.
In the case of Glaxo, to accept that the corporation releases the safest compound following clinical trials and such is a happyland hallucination. In my role as an AV tech out at the park, I got a front row seat at internal meetings of all the Pharm firms. Much like Ford concealing the deadly faults with the Pinto, invariably Big Pharm would opt for formulations that would make them money, even those estimated to kill a higher percentage. Don’t believe it? There is medicine to help you with that. See your prescriber.


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