After reading uncountable numbers of seeds, columns and comments on Newsvine, I’m puzzled by what appears to be a total contradiction implicit in some folks’ beliefs' or ‘philosophy’. A lot of people seeding articles, writing columns or posting comments here are staunchly patriotic and deeply invested in espousing and defending ‘the American way of life’ and ‘American values’; chief among those values are honesty, integrity, moral and/or ethical conduct & behavior and loyalty to our nation. We expect American citizens to be ‘straight-shooters’, to respect their neighbors, to contribute to their communities, to be honest, ethical and moral in dealing with their fellow-citizens and to do their part to keep America strong, free and prosperous.
The merest hint or insinuation that someone doesn’t hold to those values one-hundred percent will provoke a firestorm of accusation, challenge, outrage and contempt on the Vine. That kind of dialogue (or monologue) crops up frequently when discussions fall into political debate, usually with those on the ‘right’ generally accusing those on the ‘left’ of being disloyal, un-American or even ‘anti-American’, usually because some ‘lefty’ doesn’t appear to be uncritically committed to the ‘American way’. An individual who seems not to share those essential beliefs in the American value system is obviously a threat to the American way of life and often told he/she doesn’t deserve to live here. Sooner or later it always comes down to a pretty flat declaration: “If you don’t believe in America, if you don’t respect basic American values, if you aren’t loyal to this country, get the hell out and go someplace else.”
Imagine for a minute that a private citizen got in your face and said, “Hey chump, I have NO loyalty to America, the American people or the American government; I flatly don’t feel any obligation to my neighbors, my community or my country. I’m only concerned with looking out for Number One regardless of how that affects others, cause I just plain don’t give a damn. The only people I even think about for a minute are the ones who help me get whatever I want when I want it. I’ll break the law when I can, I’ll evade the law wherever possible, I manipulate the system and exploit every loophole and bribe anybody that’s bribable to get everything I can. My goal is real simple—I’m gonna take everything I can get from America, screw anybody I can, and get as much loot as possible out of this country and into foreign accounts where I won’t have to pay taxes on it. I could care less how that affects the American economy, the American government or the American way of life, much less you stupid peons who are scuffling along trying to be honest, ethical and loyal. The way I see it, that kind of thinking is why you’re all sheep and deserve to get fleeced.”
How would you feel about someone with that kind of attitude? Would hearing that kind of statement make you angry? Wouldn’t you say that a person with such a complete lack of moral or ethical sense was completely untrustworthy? Would you think that a person with that kind of belief system was un-American, maybe even anti-American? Would you say that kind of behavior was contemptible, possibly even disloyal and dangerous to the American way and in fact that person didn’t deserve to even be in this country?
So why don’t you react that way when ‘Corporate Citizens’ say the same thing?
The talking heads of every major corporation in this country all say the same thing: “Our only obligation is to our shareholders.” What are they actually telling us with that statement? How much have you thought about what they mean when they say that? It means that the corporation has NO loyalty to America, the American people or the American government-- the corporation is only concerned with the corporation, and the people who help the corporation get what it wants. Now, small-town Mom & Pop companies and small businessmen generally CAN’T operate that way (even if they'd like to)—they can’t shaft anybody & everybody, ‘cause a bad rep in their home communities would kill their business. Mega-corps like Exxon or General Electric CAN operate that way, because they don’t HAVE a ‘home community’—that’s what ‘multi-national corporation’ doing business in the ‘global economy’ means.
A PRIVATE INDIVIDUAL with that kind of totally self-centered and manipulative attitude would be considered a sociopath, a person capable of doing anything, someone who is seriously abnormal and dangerously scary, When a CORPORATE INDIVIDUAL asserts exactly the same beliefs, a whole lot of people at Newsvine say, “Oh I totally understand that; after all, business is business…”
Maybe it’s time we all expected the same kind of moral and ethical behavior from Corporate Citizens that we expect from our next-door neighbors. Why DON’T we insist on the same honesty, integrity and loyalty from our corporate neighbors that we expect and demand from the people who live down the block? If you KNEW the guy across the street was a hard-core sociopath who would do anything to get what he wants, you’d be watching your back (and your wallet) and probably screaming for police protection from somebody that dangerous—why is it any different just because his 'world headquarters' are in Houston?