This morning I posted some links which I thought pointed to an essential divide between left and right. It seems likely that exactly where the left places large corporations in its pantheon where the “bad things dwell” the right puts government. Avatar is just the latest in a long list of left leaning movies which trot out, nominally or at least normally, one dimensional villains acting on behalf of or at the behest of corporate (greed) and wickedness. The movie review of Avatar I had linked notes that that movie trots out three well worn left-wing cinema stereotypes: evil corporations and their stooges, dastardly military commanders (and mindless destructive soldiers), and the good simple native peoples (borrowed I guess from some Rousseau inspired fantasy). But I am digressing a bit, what I’m trying to concentrate on is the left/corporate-as-evil and the right/government-as-evil and compare and contrast these two, for I think they play similar roles for each side. So if you’re on the left (or the right) I’m suggesting where you put corporate evil the other side puts government and vice-versa.
I was starting to write that “There are just a few things wrong with viewing corporations as compared to government in this light” and to go into a point by point fisking of the the left wing point of view why government not corporations need curtailing (and now I’ve just deleted three paragraphs of that polemic). I’m not sure “argument” is the right way to go about this. The point is just as reflexively as the right points to the evils of government, so does the left point to corporate evil. The left points to how corporate money and influence corrupts government. The right points to how government power (in the marketplace) in the first place is what attracts corporations in turn to influence government in the first place.
What I don’t see is why the left consistently looks to the source of the problem as the “evil corporations,” when I suspect few if any of them work for what they would consider the same. Nameless corporate evil … greed and whatever. The whole “evil soldier” thing is a holdover from a caricatures of what the armed forces were like in the Vietnam conflict. But what is the origin of the continuing high place of corporations, especially when compared to government, in the pantheon of “bad things?”