Monday, June 1, 2009

Ideological Misdirection

Today, I saw a comment on Facebook that I resisted responding to, even though I wanted to jump right in - or perhaps more honestly, jump all over.

A friend was expressing her discomfort with the U.S. government owning 60 percent of a unionized GM. The response to this by another user was: "Another step closer to socialism"

Whoa Baby! Lets stop right there. Since when did doing the best for the greater good become socialism? Let's look at this more closely.

Why did GM get into trouble in the first place? And lets not start with the Unions. The unions are a symptom - not the cause.

Let's start with this first.

A corporation - is literally a business given the status, rights and responsibilities of an individual. This embodiment, also insulates those who run or own the business from all sorts of individual liability and responsibility for corporate behavior.

The incorporated business has no motivation to participate in the social contract that human beings engage in on a daily basis - meaning it is impersonal and lacks emotional and social skills.

think about this a little. The corporation is a faulty construct. It shares with its creators, the same shortcomings:

Lack of Foresight
Propensity to Blame
Self Centeredness
Loss of Perspective

Government is the result of the yielding of personal power to an organizational group that is tasked with protection of individual rights and well being.

In GM's case, we see the government taking extraordinary and unprecedented action in order to fulfill it's contract with it's people. Unfortunately, those at greatest risk from the potential collapse of GM - are not the Corporations - but are individual human beings whose livelihood and security are at stake. Even with this intervention, the government will not be able to prevent tens of thousands of people losing their jobs. Yet the alternative, letting the industry collapse entirely, would result in hundreds of thousands of lost jobs and possibly the government's inability to deliver on any of its responsibilities. Although the remedy is extremely distasteful, perhaps it is better to amputate a gangrenous leg rather than to die with one's body intact.


  1. Too funny... I was working on a blog post on the subject too! 1) what socialism really is, and 2) how it's not the most horrible thing in the world. My response to the socialism panic is usually that I'd rather live in a socialist state than a theocracy. ;)