Category: Opinion

A True History of Bacon and the Celtic Gods

A True History of Bacon and the Celtic Gods

glossarypictboar2Let me tell you a story about the Celtic gods.

Being immortal (and bored) the gods of the Celts often held contests among themselves and made wagers. Being the Celtic pantheon they were always hungry, and so the gods decided that one food must be chosen to represent their greatness. A wager was struck, and the gods agreed that Man would decide. Celtic tribes from all over Europe were gathered together to vote for which food would be the fit for the gods.

Each god spoke in turn to the people…

Lugh, the great thundering voice from the sky, declared, “The Bull of Heaven provides the heroes portion and STEAK is the food of the gods. because the cow can turn simple grass and straw into a meal fit for a king.”

Danu, goddess of Earth and Sea, laughed from her place among the waves. She declared, “SALMON is the food of the gods, because it always returned to feed the people each year. sacrificing itself for the good of all mankind.”

Morrigan, the goddess of death, sent a raven and it spoke to the people. “No my friends, the lowly CHICKEN is the food of the gods, for it gives not only meat for the table, but eggs, and when you are ever in doubt about what something tastes like it always tastes like chicken.”

Math, being the god of trickery and magic, knew that his voice would not be heard above all the great thunder from the sky,  or the crashing of waves, or even the caw of the raven. So Math said not a word. He waited until the tribes had argued about which god or goddess had said the wisest words, and then he announced that, since he had not chosen a food for consideration, he would instead cook a meal of each dish and allow the people to taste the choice of each god in turn, so they may know which is truly the food of the gods.

So Math cooked hundreds of steaks, prepared piles of salmon, and thousands of chickens were baked, fried, and BBQ-ed for the people assembled. Each dish was perfect and the people could hardly contain themselves for the smell was maddening.

Math then said….”People of the Celts I have cooked only enough food for you to take one bite of each of the three dishes. You then must decide which of these is to be the food of the gods.”

The people came and waited in line, taking only one bite from each type of food…steak, salmon, and chicken.  The arguments rose and fell. An entire day went by but no one food was judged the best of them all.

Math heated up the grill once again, because the people wanted another taste, but this time Math secretly laid one strip of BACON on each piece of Steak, Salmon, and Chicken. Again the people lined up and took one bite each of the three foods.

A cry went up. Something was wrong. The food had been perfect the first time. It had been the greatest mouthful of food that anyone had ever eaten… but this! This time the food was even better: Perfection had turned to heavenly delight…

Math stood before the people in his apron triumphantly as the people shouted, “BACON is the food of the gods, for only the pig can turn shit into sugar, and a perfect meal into something divine.”

The pig has since been the most holy animal of the Celtic people.

The End

The Real Thing: An Intellectual Defense of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World

The Real Thing: An Intellectual Defense of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World

 

If you were to survey most of the reviews on the Internet, you probably wouldn’t realize that The Thing From Another World has not only long been considered to be a classic, but is one of the most important science fiction films ever made. And if you’re using the Internet exclusively as a resource, that’s part of the whole problem. Although even the very best science fiction films of the Fifties have had to struggle against unfair blanket criticisms and mischaracterizations, the case of The Thing from Another World is especially tragic, as not only is it a landmark film in the genre, it was one of the few science fiction films to attain a high degree of acclaim and respectability from mainstream critics and fans alike. Whereas it used to routinely be on the top of all-time best lists in the genre, it now rarely does so; instead it has become the object of sneering derision and contempt by genre snobs who are upset that it’s not exactly like the original novella and by amateur armchair critics who have an ignorant and uninformed bias against older films in general and older science fiction films in specific. Continue reading “The Real Thing: An Intellectual Defense of Howard Hawks and Christian Nyby’s The Thing From Another World”

The Greatest Challenge to the 1st Amendment: A Follow Up

The Greatest Challenge to the 1st Amendment: A Follow Up

3D-printed-gun-modelsThe Government has forced Cody Wilson’s company, Defense Distributed, to take down his designs for 3D printed firearms. I can’t say I’m surprised, and if you had read my other article earlier in the week you would understand why: This is a blatant attack on the first amendment. Forget, for a minute, that these plans can be used to create guns. What is the difference between banning these plans from distribution, and banning a book? There are quite a few books out there that could be considered just as dangerous. I downloaded a PDF book on building machine guns last night. Will we see books like that banned next?

Just this week Obama gave a speech in which he said, “Reject voices that warn about government tyranny.”

Let me quote the words of a document that president Obama would have you reject.

But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security”

Is this computer file any more dangerous to the government than the words of the *actual* Declaration of Independence? Will these words also be banned?

I am not saying that we need to rise up in armed revolt, and I am not saying that we have become a despotic state. I am saying that, when a government feels it has the right to censor public information and ban the people from looking at what are, at their most basic,  just “drawings” of an item that the government fears, we are not far away from the very tyranny that the founders warned about.

I quoted the movie Serenity at the end of the last article, “You can’t stop the signal”. The file was downloaded over 100,000 times before it was taken down. I was able to find the file in about a minute with an online search this morning.  The real irony is not that the government is helpless to stop the signal. The irony is that the government has the gall to even try. Banning knowledge is the hallmark of desperation and a stepping stone to true tyranny. So, yes I am one of those voices warning you about tyranny, but don’t listen to my voice, listen to the much more eloquent voices of history…

 

When any government, or any church for that matter, undertakes to say to its subjects, This you may not read, this you must not see, this you are forbidden to know, the end result is tyranny and oppression no matter how holy the motives.
Robert A. Heinlein

 

Enlighten the people generally, and tyranny and oppressions of body and mind will vanish like evil spirits at the dawn of day
Thomas Jefferson

 

The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant.
Maximilien Robespierre

 

The Framers of the Constitution knew that free speech is the friend of change and revolution. But they also knew that it is always the deadliest enemy of tyranny.
Hugo Black

When I researched these quotes, I did not look for quotes that linked censorship and tyranny. I merely typed in tyranny and hundreds of quotes linked the two. Try it for yourself. Tyranny and the suppression of knowledge are invariably linked. Censorship is ever the companion of despots.

Modern Science Fiction: The Downfall of a Once Great Genre

Modern Science Fiction: The Downfall of a Once Great Genre

ar12819814138667I was suckered into looking at IO9 this morning. I know, generally I avoid that place like the plague. I was enticed in by an article about science fiction fonts. The article wasn’t even actually on their site. Some writer there had just written a story about a blog that had links to classic science fiction cover fonts. I honestly wish the person that posted the IO9 story had cut out that particular middle man. That is neither here nor there at this point because once on IO9 I saw article after article of the most pernicious and condescending left-wing constipation. From anti-Human environmentalist rhetoric to socialistic political screeds disguised as science fiction commentary. The problem at IO9 is not an isolated case. It has become all but the norm. For instance all the major science fiction awards are dominated by liberal political hacks, who pick the winners based on how well they write polemics on ludditism masquerading as fiction. Writers like Robert Heinlein would not even merit a mention among our modern scifi elite.

 How do you write a disparaging sigh into an article? “Uuuuuuuuuuuugh” I know better than to read the drek on IO9 or even look at the state of modern science fiction because it depresses me to no end. The once great experiment in literary freedom is now the bastion of socialist nonsense and home to environmentalist green weenies. Forgive me when I say screw those mother fuckers. Science fiction has always been socially liberal, but that social liberality was married to the belief in individual liberty and the aggrandizement of the rugged individualist. Science Fiction has always been the home of the libertarian, even before the word was coined. Today it is a sad shell of its former glory, overcome by schlock pseudo-science fantasy and vampire romance fed to an increasingly ignorant, apathetic public. The state of the art mirrors the state itself.

Why am I being so harsh? Well let me summarize the entirety of current elite science fiction in one sentence…

It is too bad that humans, who are destroying the Earth, are so adaptable that they will probably survive and pollute space with their ignorance and bigotry.

Do these idiots understand science fiction? Do they realize that the vast majority of that fiction is about humans surviving against all odds and overcoming obstacles through inventiveness and adaptability. Science Fiction is the cheerleader for the human race. While there is depressing science fiction in which humans make mistakes, it almost always ends with hope for humanity. Hope that we become better and learn a lesson from our mistakes. Sometimes a great science fiction classic works with a bleak premise about human nature, for instance 1984, but these are few and far between and the authors of these are universally warning the audience not to follow that path. The writers of today aren’t warning us of our folly. They are lamenting our very existence as a species.

Do people on the “Left” know what species they belong too? If they are so interested in our extinction is it possible they could do us all a favor and lead by example? I can not understand the mentality that leads someone to think that humanity is not the most precious gift evolution has given the universe. We are the beings that will take life to the stars. We are the gardeners of forever. We are life’s vessel, the pinnacle of evolution with the ability to turn the universe green. This is what science fiction should be about. It is the fiction we should be basing our future on. A future we will never realize if the environmentalist agenda is realized, or if the socialists turn our world into what they believe is utopia. We can not give the Universe the gift of life if we remain tethered to this pile of rocks. If that means the extinction of 90% of the life on this planet, or that there will be inequality due to capitalism then I am willing to make that trade so our descendants stand on distant shores…free and proud.

(This is not a blanket condemnation of science fiction today. There are authors working hard to live up to the true legacy of the genre over at Baen books and other places. They are just outnumbered by those who don’t deserve the title of science fiction author)

Farnham’s Freehold and My Response to the Recent Election

Yeah, I know the site’s name came from this book and I am feeling a little presumptuous, but given the events a week ago, I have to ask a lot of soul-searching questions.

Farnham’s Freehold was probably the most controversial book Heinlein ever wrote.  It is at least in the top three.  The main issue: racism can cut both ways.  The postulate that blacks and whites could switch places and that the blacks would use whites as food as well as slaves was one that was not well received.  Heinlein used up a lot of his guru capital he gained with Stranger in a Strange Land to make this one.  In the racially tense 1960s, this took guts.

I have to wonder in some fashion if this is not happening in a more symbolic sense.  First off, I am not a racist.  I don’t care about the color of a person’s skin, my question is the color of their politics.  Symbolically there does seem to be a connection however.  The minorities make up a large part of the Democrat vote and they have won.  They are in power in the Senate and the Executive Office fo this country.  The House is still in Republican hands.  They campaigned on the notion of making the rich (dare I say white) people pay more and give them more stuff for free.  This bread and games strategy worked and the supporters of this notion came out in droves.  Personally,  I think this is the beginning of the end for this Republic and I am wondering which direction to turn.

Option One: Wait

This is the easiest thing to do and probably the one requiring the most guts.  It, however would mean watching the slow decline of the economy over the next two to four years.  Sorry, you can’t add this much money to the debt and then throw a healthcare system like Obama Care and not have it be detrimental effect on the economy.  Already the news talking heads are talking about the fiscal cliff were heading off.  Companies are now announcing that they will have to reduce hours and lay people off to pay for the requirement of health insurance.  This is going to lead to most employees being part-time to avoid full-time benefits and I believe double-digit unemployment will follow in less than two years.

Politically, this will happen fast enough for a backlash.  I predict that like Obama’s first term this will mean a loss of seats in both the House and Senate in 2014.  Obama will lose the support of Congress when the Senate falls to Republicans.  Obama will; however, not change anything.  He will see himself as the last line of defense for his plan and being the radical he is, he will fight for it even to the detriment of the country.  Despite pressure from Congress, the people and even the media, Obama will stand fast.  He is far to arrogant to believe anything other than he is right.  In 2016, the country will elect a Republican president but he will inherit a mess.

The problem with this scenario is that the media and the Obama campaign have been very successful in demonizing the corporations and rich and I don’t think that will stop.  Ultimately the people will have to be decided who is a fault and the Obama camp will play the ‘rich people are to blame’ card.  How effective this will be will be anyone’s guess.

Option Two: Prepper

Maybe it is time to prepare for the worst.  To be like the Farnham’s and fight not only for survival but for the preservation of the American culture and ideals.  To emerge from the wasteland and restart things is an appealing image but it is not one I relish.  I live  in the most prosperous country in the world and I would like that to continue.  I cannot be blind; however, to the fact that collapse can happen and I need to be better prepared.

Option Three: Take Action

But which action?  This depends on what I think the future will be.  If collapse is inevitable, then the best thing is to be a part of something like Asimov’s Foundation that will shorten the time between collapse and rebirth.  If I think the situation is salvageable, then the option would be to do what I can to salvage it.  Not an easy choice because I am not sure which option will be reality.

So, what to do?  Perhaps there is nothing to really do but take each day as it comes and work toward all the possibilities.  Problem, my resources are limited and if I am to survive and be successful, I need to eliminate what will not be the case quickly so I can focus I what legitimately could be.

In the end I need some advice from my readers here at The Freehold.  Perhaps you have an option I haven to thought of.

Weather Control, Sandy, and The Wrath of God

Weather Control, Sandy, and The Wrath of God

I remember a long time ago I saw an old newsreel about the possibilities of weather control.  The short movie speculated that hurricanes could be diverted with rockets shot into the atmosphere and thus creating artificial moisture or pressure centers.  More recently the idea is to use mirrors to artificially heat areas of atmosphere and do much the same thing.  The main idea is to create atmospheric barriers that storms and hurricanes cannot cross or that weaken those storms as they cross them.  It would also be possible to strike the center of a storm and weaken it.  If perfected the whole thing would make things like super storm Sandy a thing of the past.  From a getting off this rock point of view, terraforming possibilities exist within these technologies, so more power to these people on several fronts.

Hurricane Sandy / Super Storm Sandy has been one of those storms where I think such weather control technology would have been well worth the money spent.  I believe it would be a welcome addition to any disaster control team.

That said, I suppose I should apologize for my misguided and egotistical Christian brethren who propose that such disasters are God’s Wrath.  Sorry, I do not think so.  It gets very hard to maintain such theology in the face of say children being drowned by flood-waters or burned by fires.  When good people suffer, it is hard to say this is the Wrath of God.  It makes God into a mean sadistic SOB.  I would rather look at it as one of those things that simply exists in this world and to be honest in many respects I think they are ever-present simply to teach the human race to grow, develop and mature.  Perhaps God is simply waiting for us to get off our collective asses and develop weather control.  God has perhaps placed the solutions to our problems in our hands but we have not the sense to act.  We are waiting to be delivered and the tool of our deliverance is already in our hands.

Unfortunately, to many of those of faith see God as a cosmic Santa Claus that one needs to always bail them out of a jam.  God becomes the thing that saves them not the one who develops them.  As a father, I often have the means to bail my children out of a jam but that does not mean I always should.  I have never attempted to spoil my children because I feel it would be bad for them.  I believe God is much the same way.  This is not God’s wrath, it is simply the laws of physics in action and we have the capacity to stop it if we put our collective minds to it.  If God were to just take storms and hurricanes away, how would we get better as a race?  It is the challenges that make us grow.  People die yes, but people die every day.  These things are just another way it happens.

My ultimate goal as a father is that my children love me but can stand on their own two feet for most of life.  They may still need family and community from time to time but for the most part I think and hope that I have taught them that the first duty of a citizen is to take care of themselves so they are in a position help others and not be a burden to society.  That is achieved by defending and valuing your freedom and the freedom of others, not by controlling others or limiting others.  You also have to ultimately trust yourself in the end.  Liberty and opportunity are the greatest gifts and they need to be defended at all costs in order for a person to achieve this or a society to achieve greatness.  If God acts the same way, then maybe it is simply time to do for ourselves to grow up as  the human race.

Yes, I know there are other people who read and write for this site who are not believers.  It is not my point, that they should be; rather, my point is that being a believer does not mean that one should divorce oneself from using grey matter to think intelligently.  I only buy the wrath of God angle, if some guy gets out there and predicts the disaster ahead of time with details like intensity, date and time and then it happens.  Otherwise, it is simply a storm like many others.

What should be happening from those of faith is not judgment, but fulfilling of the mandate to treat others as we would want to be treated.  So far the truest Christian I have seen in all this is one of my parishioners who will be traveling east with some friends and a water pump to help people get the waters back where they belong.  He does not give two dingoes’ kidneys whether or not Sandy is God’s wrath or not, he just knows people need help and he is going to help them. What we need is not condemnation by the religious talking heads, but a use of our minds to come up with better ways to help with and stop disasters.  Then perhaps, God will see we have matured and guide us to and through the next step.  Maybe weather control by humans is God’s objective.

The victims of Sandy can either be casualties of God’s wrath or a catalyst for us to be better and do better as human beings.  I choose the latter.

Book Review – A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin

When a series of books spawns an award-winning HBO Series, I suppose one should take notice.  I have an aversion to popularity contests when it comes to books, but I decided to give this one a try.  I was not disappointed.

Probably the best thing this book does is get rid of a lot of fantasy novel norms.  The good guys are always good and the evil guys always evil being one of them.  This book dismisses that idea by giving each character both lovable and despicable qualities.  Even the honorable Eddard Stark of Winterfell in this book has his flaws: he has fathered a bastard child, he is stubborn and headstrong and to be blunt is not political in a place where he should be political.  On the flip side the evil characters do have some good in them in at least the form that many fight for their family.  Don’t get me wrong, the villains are indeed villains but they often surprise you  in some ways.

The novel’s literary form basically switches from character to character.  Each chapter begins with the name of the character that is the focus.  During that chapter the story is told from their point of view.  I find this is one of the best ways to tell a story other than to have just one person the focus for the whole story telling it from a first person point of view all the way.  The writer can keep certain secrets this way and pass time quicker simply by changing character.

The world of A Game of Thrones is has a  great medieval feel to it but is truly its own world.  Magic is this world, at least so far as this book has taken us so far, is subdued but you get the feeling that great power slumbers beneath the surface.  Religion and faith magic is very real but also subdued.  The creatures of myth are few and far between but you also feel that there will be more to it later.  This starts out as a simple medieval tale but as it grows the complication and the power is growing with it.  It is like seeing the begining of a long fuse lit, knowing in the end it is going to lead to a big explosion

This is where you can tell that George Martin was writing with his eye on a sequel.  This book only takes you through the beginning of the story and sets the scene for later.  It provides the needed early character and situational development that will be needed for the sequels.  Martin is also not afraid to develop great characters and then kill them off.  This is what give the book its realistic feel.  The good guys die and evil sometimes does indeed triumph from time to time.  Things are not always nice and battles are not glorious affairs but often brutal and bloody.

The story is intensely political.  The queen’s words: “you either win at the game of thrones or you die” are very true.  Honor in this world can be a real liability as well as an asset.  But the bad guys also have their bad moments as they often underestimate the good characters because they are honorable.  The weapons of this game are not just swords either; sex and intrigue also have their roles to play. Yep, this is an adult fantasy book so be advised if you see your eight year old reading it.

Are there some conservative themes?  Well, to George Martin’s credit, he does not create a world where women are equal to men.  Titles are handed down through the male side of the house and this is realistic for ancient and medieval societies.  One thing I could note from this is the simple fact that women’s equality is only as much as is allowed by men and this has always been true.  Not to say, that there are no powerful women in the book, but they do not achieve their power through claiming they should be equals but by simply being women in the truest sense of the word.

The other conservative theme might be the simple fact that one of the great causes of trouble for Eddard Stark is a lack of funds brought on by wanton spending by King Richard.  It is this debt that has put less than savory characters into power.  They are needed to constantly raise funds for these overindulgences.  Debt is never a good thing and brings out the jackals.

If the book has a downside, it is the simple fact that it is very long.  Be prepared for a long read only to realize the story has only started.  Things are definitely left hanging for the next book. So if you are the kind of person who wants to see resolution of a story in a single novel, you will not have it here.

All in all, the book is a worthy read that will have you ready for the next one.  Definitely worth the money and the time.

Highbrow? – Hey, It Just Comes with the Territory

Perhaps there are some who visit this site and read our articles and make the accusation that the site is too highbrow.  To them I wish I could apologize but it just comes naturally for us conservative / libertarian types.  To be both you have to cut against the grain and that means you are going to think differently from everyone else.  It is very easy look at entertainment like we do and offer up criticism or praise if you are going to simply say what everyone else is.  It is much harder to look at it with a different point of view in mind.  Particularly if you are going to be judge entertainment based on a particular point of view that people do not find popular.

The entertainment industry is largely liberal and those who review it are also liberal.  I do not think this is in any way a stretch, it is simply so.  Unlike those liberal reviewers who deny this is true of themselves, we here at The Freehold do not.  We make it our stock in trade to say “I am a conservative and a libertarian and I think this movie, book, tv show, website, etc. is a bunch of liberal trash” or the opposite.  This is simple plain honesty.  It also simply comes with being conservative and libertarian.

As a conservative, I look at science fiction and fantasy with an eye to what I think works economically, socially or politically.  I am not interested in someone presenting an idea that in real life would not work in these areas.  It is interesting that liberals do feel that we can just spend our way to prosperity, but at the same time it is interesting that they never promote this idea in their fiction.  If you are going to present an ideological system for the public in science fiction or fantasy wrapping paper, then it still better be practical.

As a libertarian, I think books and movies that promote the idea that too much freedom is a bad thing for the individual are wrong.  Hey, I understand duty and honor, but those are things people should have to embrace because they have chosen to embrace them.  I understand law, but laws should be used to protect individual rights not restrict them.  It takes thinking to divided the line in the right place.

Notice the last two paragraphs, I do not judge a book or movie about what I FEEL about it, but what I THINK about it.  This is the classic difference between liberals and conservatives.  I have to think about things. Feelings are not right or wrong and therefore they are not a judge of right or wrong.  Feelings do provide passion, but they should never form the basis of what we do.  We should think about what we are going to do and then put our feelings behind that thought.  Science Fiction and Fantasy’s purpose if done right, does not just entertain, it should cause you to think and thus look at things differently.

This is why I don’t think this site can escape the label ‘highbrow’  Highbrow simply means that it is done with a scholarly mind.  A scholarly mind that thinks about what the issue at hand is and offers an opinion on that thought, not on what is felt.  Feelings may be there but to the scholar, they should be shaped by thought, not the other way around.  Highbrow is then simply just a product of being conservative and libertarian – it means you think first.

It is a moniker I will gladly accept.

 

When Heinlein Was A Liberal

 

I have to admit, the book For Us, The Living by Robert Heinlein is a real puzzle.  As a piece of science fiction literature it is an obvious failure from the standpoint of story telling.  It is more of a lecture with a story to fill in the blank spots.  The lecture however is even more disappointing because of the fact it is loaded with liberal tones and to be honest seems very anti-libertarian because of the government being the source of all prosperity.

The economic system proposed is one where each person gets a check from the government and then spends it on their needs.  The system that Heinlein proposes is even backed by a game that the characters not only play in the book but the system is given as an appendix so the reader can try it out themselves.  I did try it once and it does indeed work but it has some fatal flaws; the greatest of which is rampant government spending.  It also has the flaw of thinking that economics is a closed system.  You really cannot create wealth in the system when you look at it nor does it take the creation of wealth into account.

The greatest flaw of the whole book is not the discussion of economics so much as a belief in human nature.  The book seems to say if people did not have to worry about their financial needs, they would naturally want to work and produce for enjoyment sake alone.  With our current welfare state, this does not work out to well.  If we have learned anything about just giving money to non-producers, it is that it encourages more non-production.  Need; like it or not, is what propels people to act and work.

The other part of human nature I don’t buy in this book is that how someday psychology will rid the world of jealousy, greed, strife, etc.  So far, this is still a fantasy.  All these emotions may simply be a part of human makeup because of the needs of humans to survive.  While I respect Heinlein’s belief that man if left to himself can do great things, I reject the idea of some sort of psychological utopia.  That better belongs to the unrealistic Star Trek fantasy.  Great entertainment but not a possible reality.

The book was originally rejected and Heinlein did not resubmit it in his lifetime.  It was eventually published posthumously.  I often wonder if an older, wiser Robert Heinlein decided it was a failure on a lot of levels for himself.  I wonder if he looked at it and said: “Oh My God!  What an idiot I was!”  I personally think it did do his writing some good.  Stop lecturing and start storytelling was a lesson I believe he learned there.  Sift the philosophy in subtlety and tell a damn good story instead.  In the end this played out very well over a great and wonderful career.

It seems in the final analysis, that For Us, The Living was the failure that Heinlein needed to learn from to ultimately be successful.  It moved him from trying to hit the home run right out the gate to the simple success of building his craft over time.  The home runs came later but they were far more significant and it was probably because of this failure. Utopia is nice, but in the end it never happens.  Heinlein learned this lesson in this book from a lot of standpoints and it in many ways became a turning point of sorts for him.  A good turning point, I might add.

Megatraveller, Megacorporations, and Misplaced Corporate Hatred

Sorry, the mindless drivel of the political ads about corporations has gotten to me.  You know: “He will take on the big corporations and get back what is rightfully yours,” drivel.

In 1987, I was visiting a hobby shop in Kalamazoo, MI and ran across Megtraveller the RPG (original pen and paper stuff) and bought the original boxed set.  I had already been playing Traveller so the transition to a more complex and expanded Megatraveller was a natural fit.  In the world of the star spanning Imperium anything was possible.  You could be any science fiction type role and play multiple different styles of campaigns.  It was a great system enhanced by the fact the record keeping and game mechanics were simple but still allowed so many different actions.

The world of Megatraveller had one other feature, it employed the as part of the world of the Imperium – the megacorporation.  These giant of industry were enormous.  They had an office on any civilized world of the Imperium and often had a home world and star system of their own as a central office.  They employed their own everything including armed forces and fleets of ships.  They wielded tremendous power because of their shear size and wealth. Sometimes this power was used for good, sometimes for evil.  Mostly it was simply used to make more money.  Characters often needed them because they produced products and technologies that could be found nowhere else.  They also were able employers who everyone knew ‘the check would not bounce’ so to speak. The currency of a Megacorporation in Megatraveller was hard currency.  In fact, after the Imperium collapses in the game system, it is the megacorporations that still have value after all else has become worthless.

I point out the benefits because I think in our real world we miss the benefit of corporations.  Businesses become corporations for one simple reason — to make more money.  In reality a corporation is just a vehicle in which people expand their existing business by adding more capital.  By doing this they are able to do more.  Among these benefits: hire more people, expand the business to get more products and services to people, give more to charity, develop new ideas and technologies that benefit people, etc.  I wonder how charities; for instance, would do without corporate sponsorship? Corporations exist to create and generate wealth which they use to generate more wealth.  If left alone, this brings prosperity to everyone involved with the corporation to one extent or another.

When people simply label corporations as bad I am not sure which is at work: stupidity, prejudice, envy or jealousy.  The idea that if we stick it to the rich or corporations that I am going to benefit is intellectually vacant to me.  Just because someone  or something else loses in prosperity does not necessarily mean I am going to benefit.  Sorry all your hatred toward corporations will not get you a single nickel from them. If they are brought to failure by the governing bodies of this country, you will gain nothing. More than likely, it will actually have the opposite effect.

In truth, the poor and middle class like to blame corporations and rich people because it takes the focus off their own failures.  Blame never has once solved a problem, it is a tool for those who do not want to take responsibility for themselves.  To be truly free, you must take responsibility for yourself.  It was not corporations, that caused people to spend more than they earn or have debt levels so high they can’t see a way out.  That was a product of each individual’s choices.  Greed may exist but it is a human problem, not just a rich people and corporation problem.  It is a greedy decision to make plans to live off welfare and thus the prosperity of others through taxation. It is just as greedy as any decision that the Ebenezer Scrooges of the world have ever made.

*Sigh*  My rant is over but to say this.  If you want freedom, true freedom, you must take responsibility for yourself.  Blaming anyone for where you are will not help you move forward in your life. I also don’t believe we will go forward as a nation by looking for someone to blame.  We instead need a vision where everyone can profit if they take responsibility for themselves and let things be free to do what they need to do.  That includes corporations by the way.