No theme is as pervasive and enduring among the leftist world that that of the Evil Corporation.
Corporation. For too many, the word itself evokes its etymological root “corpse”, as in “body”, as in cold, lifeless, dead. Corporations lack the human spark. They regard the importance of the human condition, when it is regarded at all, as being beneath the importance of making a profit. Corporations can do good, but not without prompting by good people outside the corporation, and not without a great deal of consternation by the corporation itself.
Of course, this is a load of bunk often spewed by people who have never worked at a corporation. Take Aaron Sorkin, whose view of the corporate world manifested itself in The Social Network. Somehow, Sorkin completely missed the big story behind Facebook. Never mind that the bulk of the story was concocted in his own mind, what mattered to him was that an extremely successful and (apparently) profitable corporation was not built by a socially redeeming genius but by an alleged sociopath.
Or consider a lesser-known talent, one Larry Waldinger.
Who? He’s the Green Party candidate for Saskatoon-Sutherland in this November’s provincial election. I’m picking on poor Larry because he attended a public discussion the other night to which I happened to bear witness.
Now, Larry is a teacher and “also a published author in the field of corporate law”, which qualifies him to be as much of an expert on corporations as I am on teaching school. Larry also posts lists of his own quotes on his blog (along side, incidentally, a “favored” quote from the Matrix‘s Agent Smith that compares human beings to viruses). At that public forum, Larry spoke of “tweaking capitalism” because, well, we’re not doing it right. He also referred to “transnational corporations” as being “non-human”.
That’s right. Corporations — which are owned by people, managed by people and implemented by people — are in fact, to Larry, not human.
Having worked in more than a few corporations, one thing I’ve learned is that corporations can be entirely too human in many ways. Human beings are behind every single decision made by corporations, good or bad, and the success of the corporations is entirely dependent on the ability of its people to create its success. True, people make mistakes, people can be rash, people can be jealous, greedy, and cruel. But people can also do great things, have immense patience, be forthright, generous and kind.
In fact, despite how many groups cry out for people to unite, to work together, corporations do that as a matter of course. In many corporations, people unite for a common purpose, to bring a valued product or service to the world. In that, corporations and those who work in them can be honourable.
Ol’ Larry doesn’t realize this. Nor does he realize that by joining the Green Party team, he is doing the exact same thing: working with a group of individuals toward a collective cause. When he speaks of the Green Party, he actually means the people behind the Green Party name, not some articles of incorporation. Good on him, despite his silly notions.
(James Taranto notes this hypocrisy with another left wing group, Common Cause, who denounce faceless corporations using a faceless corporate media release.)
Now, just like people, not every corporation is nice and fuzzy. There are bad ones, just like there are bad people. Most corporations develop their own corporate culture, which means that they often need to be vigilant to ensure that their intentions are good and, even more importantly, that their results are beneficial.
But narcissists like Sorkin and foolish leftists like Larry will never consider this notion. It is simply easier to fight some faceless power than it is to accuse a whole set of people of harboring latent sociopath tendencies.
Which says more about them than their collective obsessive fixations on corporations ever will.