Monday, October 5, 2009

Capitalism: A Love Story

I seldom go to movie theaters anymore, preferring Netflix and my own comfy chair, but there are a few people for whom I will go out and Michael Moore is one of them. I saw his latest yesterday and found it so disturbing that I can't stop thinking about it. I've told everyone I know to be sure to see it. M. Moore documents things I had suspected, and reveals others I never would have imagined. The movie is in turns infuriating, provocative, anguished, inspiring, occasionally humorous, but always informative. Once again I was reminded that yes, many capitalists are inhumanely greedy, but I am more offended at the greed and corruption,with rare exceptions, of our elected officials. Why do we keep electing people to office whose primary goal is self-aggrandizement? We citizens have the power to turn these people out, or in some cases, to recall them as California did several years ago with Governor Gray Davis.

These words of the sixteenth (16th) century French essayist, Michel de Montaigne describes our current situation impeccably.

"Each individual one of us contributes to the corrupting of our time: some contribute treachery, others (since they are powerful) injustice, irreligion, tyranny, cupidity, cruelty: the weaker ones bring stupidity, vanity, and idleness...."

De Montaigne lived in a monarchy. One would think his statement would be inapplicable to a democracy, but it's a perfect fit. It fits because we citizens have abdicated our responsibilities to hold elected officials accountable to us. De facto, we are allowing a monarchy to flourish, except this time, it's royal corporations, rather than royal families.

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