Wednesday, December 12, 2012

My Enemy's Enemy

There is a crucial parallel to be drawn between worker unions and the corporations whose interests they oppose. It has to do with the basic pattern of a solidifying hierarchical power structure.

Our reproduction-driven competitive instinct leads us quite reliably to attempt to control each other. The measure of worth of a social ape is the number of other social apes kissing its ass. Our instinctive measure of worth is the power we hold over others. We are forced to enlist others, to compromise with a few in order to gain power over many. This leads to the ubiquitous pyramid scheme found in anything from the traditional patri- or matri-archal family unit to military ranks and national governments.

There is a great difference however between the amount of compromise a power structure is willing to tolerate as it grows compared to an already-powerful oligarchy. No pyramid scheme will compromise where it can enslave. Where power structures meet, it is the underdog which will almost inevitably adopt a more populist stance.

This is a very old pattern. Religions, national governments, military autocracies and merchant princes have all had their periods of populism and tyranny. National governments were largely a defense against imperialism before they began to imitate the absolutist monarchies whose empires they'd risen against. With the rise of the middle-class, it was often business, the merchant caste, which led the opposition.

The merchant caste, however, has long ago ceased to be the underdog and as it secured its place at the top of the power structure its populist message of increased standard of living through the production of goods started to ring hollow. We have lived, for the past sixty years or so, in an increasingly corporatist society, where government bows to the demands of the ultra-wealthy, castrated by its own need for funding. In this climate, trade unions are one of the few forces counterbalancing the corporate-controlled, gutted national governments of capitalist countries. This is the significance of yesterday's big news.

I despise unions, largely because i despise "that immortal ass, the common man" as Ambrose Bierce so heartwarmingly put it. Unions are by no means the good guys. It is largely the thoughtless glut of muscular apes embodied by worker union mentality as a whole which is dragging humanity down. The excesses of communist regimes illustrate quite clearly how quickly and forcefully proletarian uprisings turn on their own principles. Unfortunately it is true that at this point in western history, unions are an underdog power structure which stands against the excesses of corporate power, a way to solidify popular opinion instead of allowing it to be completely swallowed up in mass-media control. As distasteful as i find those blue-collar slobs, i would rather have them brainwashed by unions than by corporations.

It's not much of a choice. Either support the underdogs or be enslaved along with them.
And expect them to bite you for it once they gain the power to do so.

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