What a lot of people don’t realize is that we have the system of crime and punishment that we have because for hundreds of years, it’s been determined that once someone has been punished for a crime, they should be re-incorporated into society. Yet, today, it is increasingly the case that once you’ve committed a crime, however minor, you’re marked for life — even if it was a youthful indiscretion.
And the more corporations take over, the less rights ordinary humans will have. Already, corporations that own shopping centers know more about you than any government agency would be allowed to know under the Constitution. Even the USA PATRIOT Act has more safeguards (almost none) than those that cover corporations.
And corporations — which themselves have most of the constitutional rights and protections of ordinary human beings, but almost none of the responsibilities of ordinary human beings — are not (officially, anyway) “the government.” This means they don’t have to pay attention to the fact that we, the people, have certain unalienable rights.
In fact, in a corporate world, we do not have certain unalienable rights. You want a job? Your rights are now “alienable.” You want to enter a certain amusement park? Your rights could now be “alienable.” How long before it becomes: “You want to eat? Your rights are now alienable.”
Cashing checks, using credit cards, identity theft and, of course, the big Boogie Man (terrorists on every street corner and constant yellow alerts) — all these things drive us to willingly, unquestioningly, give up our rights. And once we’ve done so, precedent is set. It’s much easier to keep your rights than to get them back once you’ve given them up.
But as Benjamin Franklin said,
Those who would sacrifice their essential liberty to gain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.
Believe me, there are much worse dangers in the world than terrorists.
In the Dark Ages, the real dangers to ordinary human beings were called “feudal overlords” and regular people, like me and you, were called “serfs.” They virtually (sometimes literally) owned the people they allowed to live in “their” land. Most people lived on land they never could own and worked it, farmed it, only to turn over most of what they owned to the overlords.
In the 21st Century, the descendants of the feudal overlords are more powerful than in the Dark Ages. And they can track their serfs — that’s me and you — much better. Today, we call them “multinational corporations.”
And unless we refuse to become serfs, by refusing to accept the easy path they promise us in return for that trifling thing called “liberty” or “freedom,” we will, like the serfs of old “owe [our] soul[s] to the company store.”