Sunday, March 20, 2011

Why Does Business Support Both Political Parties?

I was recently asked by a friend to explain why men such as Jeffrey Immelt and other large corporations in the United States such as Goldman Sachs financially support both Democrats and Republicans, even as one party would seem to have the voters believe it supports businessmen and the other that it wishes to destroy them by taxing and regulating businessmen out of existence?

The facts my friend cites are not in dispute, and reflect the great depth of corruption in our current crony capitalist hybrid mixed economy.  One could understand why a corporation might support Republicans, but why would Goldman Sachs support the liberal and socialist program of the Democrats, a program whose seeming goal would lead only to its destruction?

The facts demonstrate the insight made by many who run our largest industries that:  1) the US government is a legalized criminal organization seeking "bribes" in the form of political contributions in exchange for certain "protections" from government regulatory, anti-trust, and taxing thuggery, and, 2) both major political parties are completely and irredeemably corrupt so the smart move is always to support both in case one or the other is able for the moment to delude enough voters to support its candidates.

It is true, not all businesses, not even all large businesses necessarily subscribe to this view of our government, but whether or not it represents their conscious views, it nonetheless offers a good theory why such businesses financially support politicians otherwise dedicated to their apparent destruction.  After all, when was the last time you heard a socialist, a Democrat, or even a Republican for that matter, defend businessmen?

Ayn Rand had some interesting things to say in a lecture given in 1962:

"Businessmen [her italics] are the one group that distinguishes capitalism and the American way of life from the totalitarian statism that is swallowing the rest of the world.  All the other social groups--workers, farmers, professional men, scientists, soldiers--exist under dictatorship, even though they exist in chains, in terror, in misery, and in progressive self-destruction.  But there is no such group as businessmen under a dictatorship.  Their place is taken by armed thugs:  by bureaucrats and commissars.  businessmen are the symbol of a free society--the symbol of America.  If and when they perish, civilization will perish.  But if you wish to fight for freedom, you must begin by fighting for its unrewarded, unrecognized, unacknowledged, yet best representatives--the American businessman."

Much has happened since 1962 when Ayn Rand said those words, and while Soviet communism has imploded and Red China has permitted a great deal of economic freedom for its citizens, we are now seeing on an unprecedented scale the slow, seemingly inexorable slide in the United States to a situation where leading businessmen such as Jeffrey Immelt of GE have now definitely moved into that twilight zone where the shift to the Dark Side becomes inevitable. 


Immelt is part businessman but now he is more of a commissar, a government thug pretending he is the CEO of a private corporation.  Immelt is not kept in corporate power because he has worked for the interests of the corporation--its stock has declined the entire period of his leadership--but because of his willingness to do the bidding of the federal government, in the present case, of President Barack Obama and the President's liberal allies on Capital Hill, all of whom are not necessarily liberal or Democrats.

Such men as Immelt have conceded the moral high ground to the socialists--that the good consists in sacrificing one's self, one's interests, for the "higher" good of society, whose voice is given expression by whichever gang of thugs is able to seize political power in the society at a given time.  Immelt and the others like him in the twilight are perfectly willing to play the game the socialists and liberals have invented and have become the willing milch cows of the corporate welfare state that we now have.

The socialist Democrats do not want to destroy businessmen, they want schmoos--businessmen who take delight in being devoured by the state.  Ultimately the schmoo is eaten alive, but the process can take quite a while and socialists have never been too concerned about the future anyway so long as they are able feed on the living body today.  They demonstrably have no problem mortgaging the future of the country, either, in order to continue feeding their social welfare programs, incidentally keeping themselves in power.

So Immelt and gang--the heads of Goldman Sachs for intance--understand the new rules and since they have already conceded they have no right to exist, that they have no rights as individual and exist merely on the sufferance of government, on "society's" need for their productive abilities, they will be permitted to keep some of their earnings, and, indeed, will be permitted to keep more of their earnings to induce other businessmen not willing to make schmoos of themselves, to alter their views and willingly surrender their interests and productivity to the service of state without a fight.

The picture is gruesome, a farce of unimaginable proportions.

And there is only one way to end it:  by rejecting the moral premise of the entire system that the good consists in the sacrifice of self to the interests of the collective.  It consists in the recognition and insight that the true good of everyone can never be advanced through the sacrifice of the individual, that society is, first and foremost, a collection of individuals, and that individuals have the moral right to exist, which means:  they have the right to the products of their own labor, intelligence, and talent.