How Dawkins got pwned (part 5)
So, in the course of the previous chapters, we’ve established that Professor Dawkins is pwned.
He is pwned because he is serving the interests of a tradition called Universalism, a nontheistic sect of Christianity which is currently the planet’s dominant religion. And Professor Dawkins has not done his homework on Universalism. As we’ve seen, he’s accepted orthodox Universalist interpretations of major aspects of reality—if anthropology and history count as “major”—in exactly the same way that his favorite strawmen accept theistic metaphysics: by declaring it true until proven false. He appears to be quite unaware of how creepy this is.
Or at least he was unaware. If he is reading these messages, Professor Dawkins is now sunk, I’m sure, in misery and despair. He is questioning his own sanity. Is there any path back to reality? Is anything left but sickness, confusion, lies? Can anything now be real and good and true? Or has the worm but lunched too long?
The answer, actually, is yes. The worm has lunched too long. There is no escape. Not for Professor Dawkins, not for me, not for you, not for anyone. We’ll simply have to deal.
If the infection were fresh, we could escape just by asking and answering two simple questions. One: is Universalism good, or evil? Two: if the latter, what should I, personally, do about it?
If Universalism were Scientology—or the cult of Kim Jong Il—or even Communism—this might be an effective initial state from which to consider its merits or demerits. But Universalism is to these pissant little knockoffs as the Holy Roman Catholic and Apostolic Church is to Robert Schuller’s Hour of Power. As Detective Durkin put it in Split Second, “We need bigger guns… We’ve got to get bigger guns!”
In fact, if you just translate the word “Catholicism” into 21st-century English, it comes out… you guessed it. I was recently disappointed to learn that, contrary to the assertion of my 10th-grade English teacher, “Darth Vader” does not actually mean “Dark Father” in Dutch. That would be Donker Vader, which somehow doesn’t have the same je ne sais quoi. But you get the idea. The point is that this thing, whatever you care to call it, is at least two hundred years old and probably more like five. It’s basically the Reformation itself. It’s certainly the most up-to-date revision of Jouvenel’s Minotaur. And just walking up to it and denouncing it as evil is about as likely to work as suing Shub-Niggurath in small-claims court.
So, if there’s any way to even contemplate this history-devouring horror, it can only be by thinking around Universalism. We cannot hope to assault the Elder Ones. We cannot even offend them. Our only hope is to amuse them for a little while.
In other words: it may be a fun parlor game to answer every political question by asking how the Duke of Wellington would handle it. But we lack anything like the shared cultural capital we’d need to simply evaluate the proposition that Universalism is just evil, and needs to be terminated with extreme prejudice. We can’t even imagine how to think these thoughts. And Universalism at every turn would be telling us we were evil for even starting to think them.
On the bright side, however, by accepting the possibility that Universalism exists, that it is not simply “ethics” or “justice” or “science” or “history,” you have already taken the first step toward thinking around it. Let’s take a few more steps and see where we end up.
First, remember that Universalism is a mystery cult of political power. As John Gray puts it, “Modern politics is a chapter in the history of religion.” This is not to excuse Professor Gray, whose incredible legerdemain in skipping directly from the French Revolution to George W. Bush does much more to conceal than to explain. But, as Hunter S. Thompson used to put it, even a blind pig finds an acorn every once in a while.
To engage the neohominid instinct for worship, you need a grand mystery: some question of transcendental importance to which no meaningful answer can be constructed. It is even better if inside the mystery is some high agency, some power which works in mysterious ways. Christopher Moltisanti decided that the higher power for his 12-step program was his Mafia oath. Sometimes I suspect that if you go to an AA meeting in Berkeley, their higher power is the United Nations, or maybe the State Department, or even just NPR.
In this chapter, we’re going to try to raise the tone, and avoid taking these cheap little digs at Universalism or Universalists. The point is: the spiritual antennae of the Universalist are aimed almost exclusively in the direction of the State. When a Universalist thinks about good or evil, she thinks about the good State and the evil State.
Our goal, in learning to think around Universalism, is to construct a way to think about the State that is morally neutral, and that does not depend at all on Universalist concepts. The end product should be a complete, drop-in replacement for Universalism which does not challenge or threaten it in any way.
Our first step is a full linguistic reconstruction of politics and history. I’ll outline this reconstruction for the State I live in, which I think is reasonable, because this particular polity happens to more or less dominate the world. (As Thom Yorke put it, “Radiohead works like the United Nations. I’m the US.”) If you live in Greenland or Poland or Uzbekistan or wherever, the transformation should not be too difficult.
Just as we saw in the Universalist concept of humanity, there is an enormous inherent confusion in Universalist political linguistics. When I talk about America or the US, I may mean one of the following concepts: a political organization, a geographical region, or a population of neohominids. For the first or the third, I may mean this concept solely in the present, or I may be referring to some period of historical continuity. A more preposterous hodgepodge could scarcely be contemplated.
Frankly, this is ridiculous. It has to go. The Empsonian ambiguity—a programmer might call it overloading—may be poetically touching, that is, if you’re a political shill-poet like Lowell, Whitman, MacLeish or Dove. Finish your ode to Stalin and get outta here. The rest of us would like a way to clearly refer to clear, specific concepts.
One way to do this is to imagine we’re thinking about an alternate reality. In Reality #2, there is a clone of Planet 3, Planet 3.01, which is exactly identical and follows the same orbit around the Sun, 180 degrees out of phase so that neither can see the other.
On Planet 3.01, the temperate and subtropical latitudes of the northern continent in the western hemisphere are a region called Plainland. (An English translation of Vinland.) The inhabitants of Plainland are the Plainlanders.
Culturally, our Plainlanders fall into five major castes: the Brahmins, Dalits, Helots, Optimates and Vaisyas. They can also be divided by descent: European, African, Asian or Beringian.1 And their political conflicts identify them as either Coaster (blue) or Middler (red). Of course, none of these categories is precise or complete. All sorts of overlaps and subcategories exist. Nonetheless, these very rough high-level abstractions are quite useful.
Plainland is owned by a sovereign corporation, or sovcorp. Its name is Washcorp: the Washington Corporation. (I like this slightly better than one I tried earlier, Fedco. It sounds even more neutral and enormous. Of course, Planet 3.0 has plenty of actual companies named both Washcorp and Fedco, but none is particularly significant.)
A corporation is just a set of people working together with a common purpose—basically, any organization. I should probably replace this word as well, but it is such an effective offensive weapon that it would be a pity to just throw it out, and the English meaning is extremely clear.
A corporation is sovereign—and thus a sovcorp—if there is no controlling legal authority to which it can appeal, and it is responsible for enforcing and defending its own law. Again, the English meaning of this word is extremely clear and historically accurate.
Aside from the fact that it is sovereign, Washcorp owns Plainland in the same sense that any person or organization owns any piece of property. It exercises absolute and total domination and control. Plainlanders exist at Washcorp’s sufferance. It can expel them, kill them, or order them to obey arbitrary commands. There is no other power to which they can appeal, and no Plainlander or combination of Plainlanders has, or could conceivably have, even a thousandth of the military force needed to defeat Washcorp. Nor does any such force exist anywhere else on the planet.
Note that Planet 3.01 remains identical to Planet 3.0 in all substantive details. Let me add, however, the stipulation that on Planet 3.01, and within the boundaries of Plainland, Washcorp is absolutely invincible. It is not even worth thinking about thinking about a military strategy which could wrest Plainland from the eternal iron grip of Washcorp. Also, the flag of Washcorp is a red W inscribed in a white circle on a black field, and this sigil is honored with the Roman salute. Everything else is the same, though.
I should also describe the history of Washcorp. It was founded by an aristocrat and military leader, General Washington (hence the name), a prominent sympathizer of a paramilitary gang called the Sons of Liberty. The Sons evolved into the first identifiable ancestor of Washcorp as we know it today, the Continental Congress, with its Continental Army under Washington, who swiftly established himself as princeps.
This version of Washcorp is the First Corporation or the Continental Corporation. The period of its formal existence, 1776 to 1789, is the Continental Period. The First Corporation’s goal was to use violent force to seize Plainland from its original European owner, the sovcorp British Crown. Assisted by political divisions within British Crown, it succeeded in this task and assumed ownership of Plainland through adverse possession, winning the War of Atlantic Separation.
The original First Corporation was very weak and had limited power over its subsidiaries, the provinces of Plainland, which retained much of their original sovereignty as recognized in both its primary contract, the Articles of Confederation, and its deed of cession as conceded by British Crown, the Treaty of Paris. In 1789, a group of prominent managers wrested power from the First Corporation and replaced it with the Second or Constitutional Corporation (1789–1861), which left the relationship between Washcorp and its provinces informal.
The primary contract of the Second Corporation, the Constitution, was designed by its primary architect Alexander Hamilton, one of Washington’s cronies, to shift sovereign power gradually, subtly and irreversibly away from the provinces and toward Washcorp itself. (Compare to the similar approach of present-day Eurocorp.) Interprovincial tensions always undermined this strategy, and in 1861 a group of provinces joined forces and attempted to seize the southern half of Plainland in the War of Southern Separation.
Under the messianic dictator Abraham Lincoln, Washcorp won this war and subjugated the rebellious provinces. No more was heard about provincial sovereignty. The War of Southern Separation effectively revoked the Constitution, and converted Washcorp’s management process to an informal system with no strict textual basis, opening the Third or Nationalist Period (1861–1933). It is also notable for its introduction of military slavery—i.e., the draft—to Washcorp’s playbook. All major Washcorp wars through the 1970s were fought with Plainlander slave soldiers.
The Third Corporation retained many elements of the old Constitutional system, notably the theory that Washcorp’s sovereign discretion was constrained by a list of enumerated powers. However, it also developed a state religion of transcendental power worship, or Nationalism. The quintessential Nationalist tract was the science-fiction novel Looking Backward by the Social Gospel fanatic Edward Bellamy, which predicted with remarkable prescience that by the year 2000, Washcorp would exercise complete and detailed control over the lives and occupations of all Plainlanders.
The essential idea of Nationalism was that Washcorp was deeply and fundamentally good, and could bring this spirit of righteousness to everything it touched or did. If this seems hard to understand, it is best explained as a continuation of the Protestant postmillennial tradition, with its emphasis on achieving the New Jerusalem, the kingdom of Christ on earth.
Nationalism can only be understood with respect to the system known as democracy, in which Plainlanders reconsecrate their obeisance to Washcorp regularly and indirectly, pledging their submission to one of several (typically two, but rarely one or three) political gangs, or parties. The parties alternate in power according to headcount of registered supporters. In the late Constitutional and early Nationalist periods, Washcorp operated under the spoils system, in which the parties distributed Washcorp’s revenue to their supporters by disguising these dividends as the salaries for so-called jobs.
Democracy, which had deep roots in the English Dissenter sects to which early Euro-Plainlanders subscribed, is best seen in terms of the system of ritual legitimacy it replaced, divine-right monarchy. The older divine-right sovcorps legitimized their ownership—that is, persuaded their subjects not to rebel—by attributing it to divine intervention. Democracy arrived with the advent of new religious systems which stressed the divine nature of humanity. This Inner Light, of which all adult males (and later females) had exactly one, could be counted and summed. If Washcorp was directed by this arithmetic, its actions could not fail to be righteous.
As the 20th century opened, Nationalism evolved into its more sophisticated successor Progressivism, a label still used today. Progressivism, which is essentially the political projection of Universalism, was a check to the abuses of democracy, reducing the power of corrupt elected officials in favor of permanent Washcorp employees, or civil servants. (Perhaps the word “master” would be more apropos.) Progressives consider these employees “professional,” “nonpartisan,” “objective,” etc., but they still operate under the moral umbrella of democracy, whose righteousness is undiminished however symbolic or passive its elected officials may become. Note that this is not unlike the modern fate of constitutional monarchy.
In extreme progressivism, as practiced today by Eurocorp, meaningful politics can be eliminated entirely, but the sovcorp still considers itself perfectly democratic. Needless to say, so do its subjects. The defunct “people’s democracies” of Russia and Central Europe, though dominated by security forces rather than educational organs, followed a similar pattern.
Washcorp was also a leader in developing a comprehensive official education system. Like many techniques of 20th-century sovcorps, official education—which includes official primary, secondary and tertiary instruction, official scientific research, official journalism and broadcasting, etc.—is essential to prevent democracy from degenerating into civil war or rebellion. Otherwise, political conflicts are simply too real, and parties become attracted by the creative opportunities of escalating violence. Either the sovcorp’s security organs become its first line of defense, or it succumbs to the mayhem. There are no modern examples of a stable democratic sovcorp without an effective system of official education.
Needless to say, coordinating the opinions of the population is one way to make them loyal workers and soldiers in wartime, and reliable taxpayers in peacetime. 20th-century sovcorps can be classed broadly by their choice between two models of domestic security: educracy, in which the sovcorp manages the opinions of its subjects with an official education system and confirms that this system is working by subjecting itself to democratic elections, and securocracy, in which the sovcorp forgets democracy and simply trusts its security forces as the ultimate guardians of order.
This is a continuous spectrum: all securocratic sovcorps also maintain official education systems, and all educratic sovcorps have effective, trustworthy security forces. But there is generally a consistent pattern of dominance in conflicts between educational and security agencies—for example, between journalists and policemen—which favors one or the other.
Official education was an essential step in Washcorp’s new goal for the 20th century, the conquest of Europe. By intervening in the First Great War, Europe’s first total civil war since 1815, at a point when the Central and Entente Powers had nearly defeated each other, Washcorp smashed the remnants of the Concert of Europe, destroyed the House of Romanov and conveyed its possessions to the new, ultraprogressive and ultraviolent sovcorp Sovetskiy Soyuz, and began the process of remodeling Europe as a cluster of Washcorp client states. By forming an alliance with Sovetskiy Soyuz, the notorious Popular Front, and by using diplomatic ultimatums to intimidate the Japanese sovcorp Dai Nippon into a hopeless preemptive attack, Washcorp inserted itself into the Second Great War, completed the destruction of Europe and Japan with merciless, indiscriminate bombing campaigns that killed more than a million civilians, and graduated to the task of dividing global power between itself and Sovetskiy Soyuz. When you’re feelin’ it, as they say, you’re feelin’ it.
Meanwhile, the Nationalist Period ended in 1933 with the rise of the Voldemort system, or New Deal. Washcorp had destroyed its financial system by adopting the British model of central banking, in which Washcorp itself guaranteed the value of private loans. During the 1920s this created a pyramid of debt substantially exceeding the quantity of gold available to pay it, and when the pyramid collapsed Plainland—along with most other countries—was devastated. This set the stage for the rise of an unscrupulous aristocrat, Lord Franklin Voldemort, often known simply as That Man, whose rule inaugurated the current Fourth or Universalist Corporation.
Lord Voldemort, elected on a platform of scaling back Washcorp, instead seized absolute power, eliminating the last formal limits to Washcorp’s domestic power. His staff of extreme Progressives dedicated themselves to implementing Bellamy’s vision of an Industrial Army, an ideal planned society in which Washcorp employees coordinated all productive activity in Plainland. (Voldemort even put his name on a book called Looking Forward.) Nationalist holdouts prevented this vision from being realized before Washcorp’s intervention in the Second Great War, but after 1941 the last anti-Voldemort forces were politically isolated and destroyed. The postwar period saw an enormous expansion of official education in the Progressive tradition, completing and cementing the Fourth Corporation, which rules Plainland to this day.
All official education in Plainland today instructs Plainlanders to revere Lord Voldemort and his movement. All orthodox political factions claim pure Voldemortian descent. And all private businesses operate as quasiautonomous subsidiaries of Washcorp, which has settled on the elegant design of allowing their managers full entrepreneurial freedom, while maintaining total regulatory control over their operational policies and procedures.
However, all is not utterly copacetic in Plainland. The 1920s saw the first outbreaks of genuine anti-Washcorp murmuring since the War of Southern Separation, as some Plainlanders started to realize that their interests and Washcorp’s were not always identical. After the proto-Voldemortian era of Progressive fanatic Woodrow Wilson, the Return to Normalcy—i.e., sanity—of Warren Harding and Calvin Coolidge actually reduced the size and importance of Washcorp. The same feat was achieved by Ronald Reagan, and attempted unsuccessfully by a variety of failed political rebellions, such as those of Strom Thurmond, Joseph McCarthy, Barry Goldwater, and George Wallace. While none of these movements actually aimed at the destruction of Washcorp, and none had any chance of permanently checking its expansion, they can only be described as worrisome.
One fascinating response to the development of discontent is the rise of pro-Washcorp ultraloyal pseudo-opposition movements, comparable to Catholic ultramontanism. After the Second Great War, the size, efficiency and ideological consistency of Washcorp’s system of official education considerably increased. The 1960s saw the harvest of this program, with the rise of extremist ultra movements such as the SDS. The SDS’s manifesto, the Port Huron Statement, is worth reading in full—as a Universalist confession, as an expression of faith in the absolute righteousness of Washcorp (if led, of course, by the enlightened), and an action plan for seizing the universities and redoubling the ideological intensity of official education. Needless to say, the plan succeeded, and the ideas of the SDS are now mainstream.
With Washcorp becoming the default employer and financial guardian of all Plainlanders, political conflict in Plainland increasingly transitioned to a highly stable phase in which all significant conflict was not between pro-Washcorp and anti-Washcorp Plainlanders, but between different factions within Washcorp itself.
These battles tended to play out in Washcorp’s so-called “foreign policy.” In the 1940s, the high Voldemortian plan of creating a single global sovcorp, by converting the victorious alliance of the Second Great War, the United Nations, into a permanent sovcorp cartel which could cohere gradually in the usual manner, suffered a major setback when a schism appeared between Washcorp and its primary progressive client, Sovetskiy Soyuz. This Anglo–Soviet split was due to the paranoid, militaristic management style of the securocratic progressive “people’s democracies,” as was demonstrated by further mafia-style catfights, such as the Titoist and Maoist splits with Moscow.
However, the Anglo–Soviet split also divided Washcorpers into one faction whose primary goal was opposing Soviet power, and another faction whose primary goal was healing the split and restoring unity in the global progressive movement. These factions faced off in three Asian proxy wars, two of which actually involved Plainlander slave soldiers: the Chinese, Korean, and Vietnamese civil wars.
In the Chinese civil war, different departments of Washcorp backed opposing armies, with the State Department supporting Mao and the Pentagon Chiang. State succeeded with the aid of the New Deal political general George Marshall, imposing an arms embargo on Chiang, who was reactionary and corrupt, and ensuring his defeat at the hands of Mao, who was a murderous megalomaniac. Not only did Mao murder 30 million Chinese, but only three years later his slave armies were fighting directly against the Pentagon’s own.
It was slightly difficult to explain to Plainlanders that, while Hitler’s Nazi myrmidons were so evil that it was necessary to level Germany and accept no terms but unconditional surrender, Mao’s progressive volunteers could not even be frowned at until they had actually crossed the Korean border—and preferably not even the 38th parallel. Progress, however, can explain anything, and by the 1950s Washcorp had had a lot of practice.
The even more bizarre gladiatorial bloodbath of Vietnam, in which it was almost impossible to recognize anything resembling a military strategy or objective, was so hard for Plainlanders to understand that it actually wound up as a political victory for the ultra-loyalist radicals, now recognizable as our modern-day “blue-state” Coasters. Vietnam was so confusing that after the Pentagon had won a complete military victory over the South Vietnamese insurgents, State prevailed by simply capturing Congress and imposing a surprise arms embargo on the corrupt, reactionary leaders of South Vietnam, treating them much as it had treated Chiang. The resulting North Vietnamese invasion surely reminded a few diplomatic silverbacks of the good old Popular Front days, when the Red Army rode into Poland on Plainland-made Jeeps.
The pattern repeated itself across most of the planet. Any ally was a good ally for State, so long as it was not reactionary and corrupt, i.e., an ally of the Pentagon. The more nationalist, socialist, and violent, however, the better. For some reason it was important for Washcorp to have more allies in more places than Sovetskiy Soyuz, and these three factions—Pentagon, State, and Soviet—competed for the privilege of funneling money and weapons to the murderous and criminally mismanaged Third World sovcorps that emerged from the postwar destruction of European law and order in most of Africa and Asia. Tens of millions of people were killed and billions left destitute in this new imperial scramble, which is still described today as the “liberation” and “independence” of the Third World. Apparently “liberation” requires the rule of sovcorps whose managers have the right skin color, and “independence” involves receiving billions of dollars a year in “aid.”
The so-called “conservative” strategy, in which confused, half-brainwashed Middlers attempted to revolt against the Coaster departments of Washcorp through aggressive military provocations overseas, which if victorious would strengthen Middler politicians and the Middler-dominated armed forces (now mercifully relieved of slave troops), after a few minor successes in the 1980s and 1990s found its tragic, yet blackly comical, Waterloo in Iraq.
After a spectacular attack by national-socialist neo-Islamic terrorists on New York, Plainlanders became vehemently, if temporarily, done with the systematic adoration of any Third World thug whose only saving grace was to be an enemy of the Pentagon. Coasters found it impossible to prevent the Pentagon’s invasion of Iraq, whose ruling sovcorp, Baathco, had done an exceptionally poor job of maintaining its membership as a State Department client. Instead Baathco had cultivated the Europeans, leaving two degrees of separation between itself and State. Two turned out to be one too many.
The invasion of Iraq was a smashing military success. But it was a tactical success and a strategic defeat, because the tremendous political power of 21st-century progressivism left the Pentagon with no viable options. It could not rule Iraq as a possession, as Arthur MacArthur had in the Philippines. It could not govern Iraq as a subjugated enemy, like his son in Japan. It could not restore a monarchy, as Kermit Roosevelt had in Iran. It could not even install one of its patented reactionary, corrupt dictators, like Chiang or Diem or Syngman Rhee.
No, the same military force that subjugated the South of Plainland itself and ruled it under the Lieber Code, which let it shoot any uniformless combatant, without a trial—that, under the same code, invaded the Philippines and turned it into one of the most famously pro-Washcorp regions outside Plainland itself—that obliterated Germany and Japan from the air, killing a million civilians, and reconstructed them as pacifist communes under the notorious JCS 1067—could only execute a politically and militarily absurd plan which installed a democratic sovcorp, using proportional representation of all systems, promised to leave as soon as the ballots were dry, and bound itself to obey rules of engagement probably insufficient to impose order in Newark, New Jersey.
It might as well have issued every Iraqi with an AK-47, an RPG and three IEDs, and ordered everyone to join a paramilitary gang as soon as possible, winners to be selected by whatever prowess they could demonstrate in killing Plainlanders.
While this strategy was certainly well-designed for Coaster factions to prevent a military and hence Middler victory, it was not exactly designed to make Washcorp popular among Middlers. As if it they didn’t love it already! And with its security forces essentially in the hands of its enemies, Washcorp faces a difficult political struggle. As its educational system becomes increasingly stagnant and moribund, inculcating at least as much apathy as loyalty, its natural evolution would be to transition from educracy to securocracy. But its own military caste despises it profoundly.
The only way to keep them in check is more democracy. Which means extending the franchise. Which, since the entire framework of nationalism depends on the identity between geography, sovcorp and population, and the ideal solution of letting actual Europeans vote in Washcorp elections is simply beyond reach, means importing more and more Beringian voters from Mexico, while reducing the power of the White House (no Democrat has won the Euro-Plainlander presidential vote since Lyndon Johnson), in favor of that of Congress, which through seniority and gerrymandering has achieved the ideal Universalist combination of democratic legitimacy and civil-service stability. As demonstrated by its approval ratings, which seem to hover barely in the double digits without any degradation of power. Whereas if a President has an 11% rating, not even his hairdresser will do his combover the way he asks.
Now that the last strategy which seemed to offer some hope to Middlers, invading the world and restoring Western civilization to places from which it has spent the last hundred years evaporating, is off the table, the evolutionary path of Washcorp seems obvious. Until such time as its creditors tire of loaning it another trillion dollars every year, it will join Eurocorp in its gradual progress toward becoming a bureaucratic, Brezhnevian Beamtenstaat. As in Europe, the distinction between working as a direct employee of Washcorp and working for a “private” company will become increasingly irrelevant, as companies become branded, financially independent arms of the State in which the entire process of production is dictated by regulation, à la ISO 9000 or Sarbox.
So: this is Washcorp. I hope I have covered the major points. Hopefully for any missing details, it should be reasonably easy to translate the official story to fit with the above. The official story is almost never wrong as a matter of fact. It is usually just interpretation.
Of course, even if this jaundiced and decidedly unofficial biography of Washcorp is an accurate perspective, Hume’s ought does not entitle us to claim that Washcorp is evil. Still less are we left with any idea of what to do about it, if it is.
However, there are still some interesting observations we can make.
The first observation is that the employees of Washcorp are overwhelmingly Universalist—except for the disgruntled military.
The second is that Washcorpers think of their employer as a fundamentally charitable—i.e., eleemosynary—institution. It’s not just that Washcorp has Google’s motto, “Don’t be evil.” The point is so obvious that to state it is to sully it. The meaning of Washcorp is that Washcorp does good.
Not just for Plainland, of course, but for the whole world. Because Universalists do not, of course, value Plainlanders over any other neohominids. And Washcorpers are Universalists, so good to Washcorp is Universalist good. The archaic legacy policies and procedures that force Washcorp to discriminate in favor of Plainlanders are distasteful and detestable, and should be discarded as fast as possible. Ideally, Washcorp itself would become only an unimportant unit of a single global sovcorp.
The third is that, even though the source of Washcorp’s fundamental goodness is its connection to public opinion, which can never be misguided or evil, there is still a way to evaluate Washcorp without reference to the cult of democracy. Democracy, like the principle of divine right, legitimizes Washcorp’s ownership of Plainland. To a good Universalist, the only way in which Washcorp can become evil is if it abandons democracy, in which case it is no longer legitimate and should be treated as a tyrannical dictatorship. Until then, it is good. Etc.
A formalist, however, can duck this entire trap. A formalist has no interest at all in Washcorp’s political formula. She does not care whether Washcorp’s democracy is good democracy, bad democracy, or no democracy at all. To her, Washcorp simply owns Plainland. There is no why. Ownership is demonstrated by unchallenged control. Washcorp has it. Perhaps some debate is possible over what other parts of the world Washcorp owns. As far as Plainland goes, it’s a no-brainer.
The formalist, therefore, judges Washcorp only by its actions. She can say: why does Washcorp do X or Y? Why do the people involved with Washcorp act in ways that lead it to do X or Y? Would it be better, in her opinion, if it did Z instead? And—granted that Washcorp is invincible and cannot be destroyed—how, if at all, can she act to help change it into something whose actions are more desirable?
We’ll cover this in Chapter 6. But essentially, my view is that people who oppose Washcorp are simply barking up the wrong tree. It’s not just that Washcorp can’t be defeated. It’s that even trying to weaken it is a mistake. Weaken a sovcorp, make it less efficient, and it compensates by getting larger and more complex.
Rather, I think only the way to fix Washcorp is to improve it out of existence. It needs to become so much more powerful and so much more efficient that it no longer exists as such. And this effort must not contradict Universalism in any way, shape or form. If this doesn’t make any sense or strike you as possible, please be patient and stay tuned.