Culture Vulture was having brunch with the lovely I. Daphne St. Brie and a few close friends on the patio of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. the other day when my buddy MIke commented that, “If I had to kill animals myself, I’d give up meat and become a vegetarian. But as long as I can get it prepackaged, bring it on!” I had to agree that to a very large degree I share this common ethical hypocrisy. And the turn of conversation got me to speculating on the various dichotomies of intent and action that fuel the human condition. For instance: The thought of blowing the brains out of some snuffling, inoffensive, defenseless porker just so I can eat his belly meat is grossly repugnant, but the smell of bacon sizzling in a pan is cause for celebration and motivation for getting out of bed.
This line of thought led to formulating an ever-widening series of speculations, some disingenuous, some patently ridiculous, some merely specious. Thus:
If I had to drill for and refine the oil myself, I’d give up driving.
If I had to grow the cotton, spin the thread and weave the cloth myself, I’d become a nudist.
If I had to typeset, print and bind books myself, I’d read a lot less.
If I had to maim and kill innocent children, women and noncombatants personally, I’d stay home, raise cotton and make my own clothes rather than go to war.
If I had to condemn people to eternal torture and damnation for making a mistake while exercising the free will that I built into their very souls, I’d think twice about my own benevolence, infallibility and omnipotence. And so on.
And another thing
Chevrolet has of late been advertising the bejeezus out of the fact that the company is expanding its “employee discount” to include anybody who wants to buy one of its motor vehicles. That’s all well and good. Culture Vulture, with the caveat that dependence on fossil fuels in general and internal-combustion engines in particular is slowly destroying the environment that sustains us, is all for discounts. It’s the implications of the advertising campaign that concern me.
Does the nationwide employee discount indicate that due to corporate tax cuts and taxpayer-funded subsidies every taxpayer is now a de facto employee of General Motors and therefore entitled to a major price break? If so I’m all for it. But I think it would be nice if government and big business would just admit that we are living in a corporate socialist state—one in which the government exists solely as a mechanism for funding and perpetuating corporate affairs—and stop hiding their machinations behind a facade of free-market consumerist capitalism.
Culture Vulture proffers the hypothesis that if all the resources devoted to maintaining the illusion that international corporations are not in control of the world’s governments could be devoted to ensuring the health, welfare and education of the corporations’ employees and potential employees, that this would be a healthier, happier, more prosperous and more peaceful world for all concerned.