Language is strange. It is everything and nothing. The words we use (call them buzzwords, keywords, magic incantation, etc) are important.
But they can be abused and manipulated. We are manipulated through what we hold closest.
Something that you hear – and repeat and say yourself – are the words and phrases of “freedom” “individualism” “democracy” and “entrepreneurship / small buisiness” and most importantly “jobs”. Very few people are actually consciously against these things, in fact, probably no one. So why are small businesses dying? Why is the American middle class dying?
In current American politics we all vote “jobs” and we all love the rhetoric of “small business”. These words that we love and value are not being served by either party. A recent study from Princeton showed our government responds the ultra wealthy and corporate whim. We are living in the Wal-mart society. Wal-mart is not ‘entrepreneurial’.
What am I saying when I say I want to live in a democracy?
I think I’m trying to articulate what a majority of Americans are trying to articulate.
When I say I am for small businesses and entrepreneurship, I fully realize the implications; just how radical that makes me. If you genuinely believe in small business and entrepreneurship and democracy, this takes you well out side the two established parties who are incapable of providing genuine change. Seriously. You might as well go out and buy a beret and a red star, and go up into the hills, because to achieve a society where the small business could survive and thrive will probably take that sort of commitment and radicalism.
The choice between a big government and a big corporation is a false choice. They are both massive systems that can only work to build and insulate their own power and influence, be it in the guise of profit, or votes, or jobs, or what have you.
A democratic society of small businesses would be, a society of mentors and neighbors, not “sales clerks” and “assistant managers”. A society of true pluralism, not pluralism as in the choice between pepsi and coke, but a true choice, more like a choice between beer or tea or pepsi, and yes even single malt scotch straight up. More concretely, a society where people have more genuine freedom to pursue their own meaning in life, not just the rat race.
To achieve this society there would be big changes. The financial sector -Wall Street – and the global financial system would have to be very heavily regulated. Major multi-national corporations would be broken up. Most companies would be owned by the employees, or be limited in size. Military and intelligence spending would be curtailed; if you are genuinely against big government, you have to realize that most of government is about military spending. This would be about local governments; cities, towns, maybe even states and regions on the big end.
We need to ask ourselves, seriously, what sort of society do we want to live in? How do we want to live in the long term?