Are we negligent owners?
This nation was founded on the basis of a more perfect union of its citizens. We the people own the United States of America and I propose we have been negligent at its governance. We the people own America’s physical space and the total product of its national potential. Everything that occurs within this country is the responsibility of its citizens and so far we have been remiss in our responsibilities. To wit, we have let commerce, business, and plain old making a living dictate how we govern our nation. Corporations, for example, are not citizens. Business exists, operates, and should make a profit or loss solely at the public’s pleasure. Commerce has a civic and ethical responsibility to fit into society. Corporations, businesses, merchants, commercial enterprises or whatever you want to call them, emphatically do not and cannot exist solely for the benefit of the owners or the shareholders, but instead must exist cooperatively at the public’s discretion. We the people––the public, the citizenry––own the air, the land and the water, the streets, the airwaves, the space above us. We own the towns, the counties, the states, and everything they are or do, or is done within the dimensional boundaries. We own the nation’s administration, defense, infrastructure, resources, and security, Any system that operates using these services must do so serving the nation’s purpose. Business is the public’s tool for prosperity, not vice versa. If we do not like the way a business operates it is our right to deal with that business in any way we want. Laissez-faire is theory, not a legal reality. Just because money has always controlled governance, doesn’t mean it has a legal right to do what it wants or what it can get away with. Just because business has traditionally be left to create its own rules based solely on profit does not mean that it has a public right to operate that way. By not demanding that business contribute to the public ethic we endanger the very fabric of good governance. We have the greatest economy in the world today, but it is not an economy of prosperity for all, but based on survival of the fittest, and as such we are negligent owners. If we do not set rules and enforce them, we have no one to blame but our selves.
Richard Dorsey, Hacienda Heights, CA