Garry Reed combined a professional technical writing career with a passion for all things libertarian to become the Libertarian Opinionizer.
Commentary From Your Libertarian Opinionizer
There has been a lot of outcry over big tech’s big social media platforms wielding their big corporatist power by censoring whoever they want for whatever reason they want.
Brandon Smith, writing in Alt-Market.us, explains big media’s big self-justification accurately and succinctly. “Big tech social media conglomerates argue that their websites are like any other private business and that they are protected from overt government interference by the US constitution. In other words, they have a right to platform or deplatform anyone they choose.”
“Platform or deplatform” is of course big cyberspeak for “censor or not censor.”
Free enterprise, capitalism and democracy are in a fight for survival against mega-corporations with treasuries richer than many countries.
— John David Rose, "Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism"
The very title of John David Rose's book Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism makes a clear distinction between these two concepts. Corporatism is a legalistic mythology that continues to “keep us enslaved to these creatures of our own making” while capitalism is “the powerful engine of free enterprise” that makes us the freest and most prosperous people in the world.
Libertarians might put it this way: Free market capitalism, an economic system that recognizes individual rights and self-ownership, is in a fight for survival against corporatism, a political ideology in which big corporations and big government openly collude to control society for their own benefit.
The issue becomes significantly and often purposely muddied when the corporatist tech giants, and even some confused libertarians, claim they have a right to censor anyone on their websites because they are private companies just as everyone has a right to censor anyone who comes into their homes because they too are private property.
But no entity legally called a corporation is private property. Once business people file incorporation papers, they’ve made a pact with the government devil. They have become extensions of government and have lost all legitimate rights to call their companies a “private business.” By voluntarily submitting to become a government-classified, sanctioned, and regulated enterprise they cease to be a private business. A corporation becomes an extension of government and government becomes an extension of the corporation.
In the end, corporations and governments are co-conspirators.
Are You a Codependent Corporatist?
No matter how large or how small your incorporated business is, you have become a preternatural corporatist.
The wealthiest corporatists, both online and off, have entered into a scam in which the corporations transfer wealth into the pockets of the politicians and the politicians obligingly repay them with special regulatory favors, privileges, protections, incentives, and other advantages unavailable to anyone else including private citizens and their legitimate unincorporated private businesses.
The libertarian non-aggression principle rejects coercion, intimidation, and fraud. Corporate Personhood is the direct result of government coercion, intimidation, and fraud. So libertarians know there is only one way to end this favor-swapping federal fabrication: Abolish the illicit “Corporate Personhood” racket and make honest entities out of all business concerns by re-privatizing them.
How Libertarians See Capitalism
Libertarian Party Libertarians want more freedom and less government by limiting government to the military, police, and law courts. One result would be the separation of government and economy in the same way, and for the same reasons, we have separation of church and state.
Minarchist libertarians will accept a form of government that is 100% voluntarily funded and never creates victimless crimes or violates the non-aggression principle. That makes an honest “person” out of the government’s illegitimate personhood child.
Post-Statist libertarians want to abolish all coercive “governments” and replace them with voluntary “governance.” That leaves only a peaceful non-coercive laissez-faire free marketplace where everyone is a private participant.
Why People Become Corporate Persons
Here are the most commonly listed reasons for signing the paperwork that legalistically turns your company into a fraudulent “corporate person” in order to obtain special protections and privileges that cannot otherwise be legitimately obtained by actual real persons.
The list also includes how these issues might be dealt with in a libertarian society.
1. Personal asset protection
We already have ways of protecting personal assets. There’s umbrella insurance, business insurance, debtors insurance, and so on. You may already have and are paying premiums for homeowners, auto, medical, liability, and other types of personal insurance, so what’s the big deal of protecting your business with small business insurance in the beginning and then expanding it as your business grows? If you can’t afford to protect your business yourself or don’t know how to protect yourself from lawsuits without thinking you have to hide behind a big coercive government maybe you’re just not ready to start your own business.
2. Tax flexibility and incorporation tax benefits
You’ve certainly heard libertarians say “Taxation is theft.” Status quo establishment people scoff at that because they can’t imagine any other way of organizing a society. They have their heads firmly stuck in the sand with no vision for any future alternatives. And they likewise have no concept of today’s reality since vanishingly few understand the difference between crony corporatism and free market capitalism.
All governments exist on the same principle, to extract as much power, control and wealth from their captive populace as possible for their own benefit. How many politicians do you know who live in thirty-year-old two-bedroom one-bath houses in older rundown neighborhoods like so many of their constituents do?
Similarly, all governments operate on the basis of coercion, intimidation, and fraud to some greater or lesser extent, which just so happens to be the same basis on which all Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) operate.
In a libertarian society, there will be no “tax flexibility and incorporation tax benefits” since there will be no criminal organization called “government.” But there will be lots and lots of legitimate insurance companies offering the best benefits for the lowest possible prices all competing for your attention.
3. Enhanced credibility
This sounds like a selling point for a law firm specializing in filing business incorporation paperwork. Incorporating boosts your business’ reputation because “you gain a sense of higher worth in the eyes of new customers” and “new customers want a professional organization,” thereby “further validating your brand image with customers.”
Do you as a customer know or even care that your favorite businesses are incorporated? Do you know which one is an S Corp or a C Corp or an LLC or a DBA or a Sole Proprietorship? Or do you just patronize the one who gives you the best products and the best service at the best prices?
4. Brand protection
Branding means copyrighting which falls under the heading of Intellectual Property (IP). Libertarians are deeply divided on the legitimacy of copyrights, trademarks, and patents. Some claim that your company’s brand name is protected like all other property rights. Others claim that your brand is an idea, a thought, or a concept, and such concepts cannot become the exclusive property of an individual.
In any case, all libertarians ought to agree that your brand should not be protected as your exclusive business identity by a coercive government since that would be a violation of the non-aggression principle. So what then?
One solution might be the concept of “homesteading.” If you were the first to use "Splonklefritz" for your particular product and registered it with a branding organization and someone else later named their copycat product that same name, you could take it to arbitration. Or simply start a shaming war in the media against your imitator. No coercive government is needed.
5. Perpetual existence
It’s easier to find investors if they know your business will continue to exist far into the future whether you do or not. Fine. All you need do is document the names of owners, partners, board of directors, and investors. Have it notarized. When things change document the changes and notarize them again. Why should it require a massive government-created package of regulations to make this happen?
6. Deductible expenses
If there are no coercively extracted taxes in a libertarian society, whether limited, minarchist, or post-statest, there will be no deductible expenses, just operating expenses.
Some articles list many more advantages for people who want to run a company but want to escape personal responsibility when they run their company into the ground and destroy the lives and livelihoods of others.
A funny, ironic thing happened on the way to Corporate Personhood.
According to history.com, the 14th Amendment turned Corporations into “people” in order to protect individuals and corporations from state and federal governments. The irony is that nothing was done to protect governments from corporations. And to make it doubly worse both the government’s politicians and the corporation’s CEOs found mutual self-interest in bedding down together and plundering the entire population.
When phony legalistic fantasies are allowed to be contrived by people seeking power, control, wealth, and personal ego binging “corporate personhood” are the kinds of things we end up with. No wonder those government-created corporate giants are attempting to dominate all of us with their censorship. It’s in their own interests and the interests of the politicians they’ve bought to do so; they always seek to gain at everyone else’s expense.
Yet too many people are locked into the “Government or Nothing” mentality, the idea that if the government doesn’t do something then something will never get done. There will be a giant vacuum that never gets filled. But in a free society if there is a need to be filled the private sector will rush in to fill it, with for-profit or not-for-profit businesses, groups, organizations, and services of many kinds.
Banning coercive government from society while unleashing the minds, imagination, inspiration, ingenuity, inventiveness, and creativity of the entire population in a voluntary laissez-faire free-for-all free market environment allows all ideas to compete with one another so that something far better, more rational, and responsive, more equitable and just can emerge.
And that is the crux of John David Rose’s Rescuing Capitalism from Corporatism as summarized by a reviewer.
“What follows is the author’s attempt to remove the blinders of corporate mythology that keep us enslaved to these creatures of our own making. To enlist the help of entrepreneurs, investors and students of business in rescuing capitalism from those who are abusing it. To loose the powerful engine of free enterprise from the grasp of corporate monsters now holding it captive."
Rose’s ultimate plea is this: “God did not create the corporation, man did. We made it, we broke it and once we put aside the mythology and misconceptions surrounding this creation, we can fix it.”
References and Links
Best Short Read For Libertarians! “Corporations are the pure-bred progeny of Leviathan. You can’t have one without the other. No libertarian principle can pretend to excuse their existence. Nothing from the lexicon of liberty can be said in defense of the corporate concept.”
A “Short” History of Corporations From the very beginning corporations were creatures of government, for good or ill but mostly for ill. It was the U.S. that turned the corporation into an unhuman “person” and called its Frankenstein Monster “Corporate Personhood.”
What is Corporate Personhood? Ambrose Bierce's Devil's Dictionary defines it as “an ingenious device for obtaining profit without individual responsibility.” Libertarians believe in personal freedom and individual responsibility. Little wonder they reject this mutant freak.
Separate state and corporations just like the separation of state and church. The author still wants the government to step in to protect individual rights rather than letting the private sector develop those mechanisms but many libertarians will see this as a “good start.”
This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.