Benefits of SOPA?
This SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) conflict just emphasizes what we already know: Money touches everything. But it also suggests that the obvious solutions may actually be the most effective.
Let’s recap: “Money,” as we’ve all been taught, has no inherent worth. At one time, it represented something called “gold,” but that was back when David Bowie was doing his best Lady Gaga impression. Today, money is just shorthand, a representation of power, a centralized, somewhat-monitored method of putting time, energy, goods, and services on a level, exchangeable playing field. The E=MC2 of work, if you will. And when we allow that power to be centralized in the hands of a few, those few are going to do their darndest to keep that power intact. That’s what Darwin called the law of nature and David Bowie called “common sense.”
So if there are profits to be made, us proletariat-types have to either fight or get sucked dry. What we’re seeing with this SOPA bill is not new – it’s simply a further consolidation of power, a way of protecting an enormous investment, and really, who can blame them? We don’t live in a utopia where there’s some unseen moral arbitrator – we live in the frigging jungle where the strong survive and the weak get their heads bashed in. Lions eat deer, and if anyone feels a sense of moral outrage about that, I hope your remote mountaintop cave at least has central heating.
Since there’s no moral arbitrator, why wouldn’t the wealthy push for more power? The worst-case scenario is they fail and have to try again a few years later – scattered public acrimony being a small price to pay for immeasurable power. Remember when the courts legislated that corporations have the same rights as people? (You don’t. You weren’t alive.) There were scattered grumbles. Not many. Remember when the courts granted unlimited corporate spending in electoral politics? (You should. It was two years ago.) There were gentle foot stamps, maybe a couple of strongly-worded signs. For decades, the wealthy have cautiously usurped small amounts of power, hiding their grabs behind closed doors and silky screens. Then they got a bit bolder, testing the waters of reckless power centralization. And we did a little protesting, a little speechifying, fairly sure there was a system in place that would protect us. I mean, we’re a rational, moral country, right?
That “system” was the idea that elected members of Congress represent our interests. But let’s be real – with all that power in one place, why wouldn’t the corporations just gather the politicians under their big, luxurious umbrella? Doesn’t it make sense to invest one million dollars to get a two million dollar tax break? Today, there are 26, count ‘em, 26 lobbyists for every ONE Congressman. (And when THAT got allowed, I don’t think there was much hootin’ OR hollerin’.) Lobbyists make sense. Corporate tax codes written by the corporations they benefit make sense. Unlimited anonymous campaign contributions make sense. We have power and they have power and theirs is centralized and ours is not. This is a problem, because it makes sense for them to push and push and keep pushing.
So maybe you’ve been thinking that certain things are “basic rights” or “God-given.” Let me tell you – if there’s a cent to made or power to be grabbed, nothing is sacred. Not living wages, not torture-free meat, not clean water. We hold the line by taking our whining hats off, unwrapping our moral outrage scarves and raising up our fisticuffs. We fight back by consolidating and combining in support of common ideals. Our power will always be greater than theirs, but only when unified. That’s really the takeaway from this SOPA protest – it seems to be working. Take notes on this so we don’t forget—if we unify and look like we actually care, they back down. But we have to mean it and there has to be a lot of us… and the support of major social entities like Wikipedia doesn’t hurt. Think about it: If only we’d developed our cajones a bit sooner, maybe we wouldn’t have all these corporate people walking around…