The difference between a State run by corporation and one run by far left or far right Political factions is the intent, not the operation. In a police state, a small group of leaders impose an agenda through law, enforced with deadly intention, essentially using force to ensure compliance. By doing this, it ensures a streamlined decision and policy making process that leads the country to ends that do not entirely reflect public wishes or desires. The corporate state has the same outcomes via different motivations and methods. Instead of an outright political revolution, the corporate state wields its interest through the legislative process, securing its agenda through legitimate means. This is best seen in the management of Italian city states in the Renaissance, where powerful banking families (the analogues of powerful corporate interests in the day) corrupted the supposed "republican" rule of law to pass policy favoring the family. Look at the above clip in that light. Read up on the Renaissance political scene. See if you can't make any connections for yourself.
You might be saying: Jason, thats ridiculous. There have always been powerful corporate lobbies in this country and there always will be. In fact, lobbying is how (some of) the founding fathers saw this country being ran. I would agree, however there is something very different in the past that makes today's situation perilous. First of all, this "ALEC" group (along with secret funding for campaign ads, *cough* excuse me, educational ads) is completely off the books, off the public record. Forever. They will never be held accountable for what they are doing because no one is writing it down. That means, even if what they are whispering in senator's ears is harmless, you WILL NEVER KNOW ABOUT IT. Period. Because no one is required to make any accounting of it, the secret workings of our "democracy" will remain secrets.
Secondly, there no longer exists a natural "aristocratic" spirit in the Senate because they are more responsible to the public at large. The increasing subjugation of Senators to the whims of public opinion means that they are also more susceptible to financing, which comes in secret from unknown origins. What was once a purposefully aloof and elite legislative body is now a smaller house of the commons with longer terms, increasing the stakes and therefore potentiality for shady dealings. Who is more likely to sell ones soul for campaign funding? An aristocrat who comes from a financially secure position interested in the long term viability of stability in this country? Or a "self made man" who, like a crack addict, will do anything for a buck in order to can spend it on the next commercial that will expose his opponent as a flip-flopping nanny-wagon whose welfare queen wife drives 3 Cadillacs at a time to pick up her food stamps?
Why is the corporate state bad? They make money, and they must be good at it. In this election cycle, it seems as though thats all that matters, get America back on top so that we can continue to do as we do. It is bad because of one thing: the profit motive. Now, I am no communist. Like any god-fearing human being, I know the profit motive is the source of America's power in the world, and that the streamline effect it has on companies gives a competitive edge in the work place so that work can continue in the future. Without this motive we are lost. Only one problem. We have private prisons. What does the profit motive do to them? Well, they can either increase efficiency by cutting something in the budget, like training guards or feeding prisoners, which would be bad enough. OR they can increase their market base. When you have a company that directly profits from the number of inmates, or customers, what kind of whispers do you think they put into the ears of politicians? "Lock up the whole country" may be a bit overboard, but "lock up those brown guys no one likes" may not be far off. What if we tied this motive to police officers, whose profit motive told them to "clean up the streets!"? How bout the Army, whose motive would be to "conquer, kill, and invade"?
Thats the magic of the profit motive at work. See, when companies wish to really strike it big, they know who to go to: the government. In the government, they have a steady and sizable market, namely, everyone. And they will continue to go to the well until it has gone dry.
The answer to this question is money. I disagree with the supreme court here. Money is not speech, it is a speech amplifier. When someone has more of it, they do not become better able to articulate or convince. They do not become a better debater, nor do they develop a better platform of policies. They merely become louder. Our situation is now merely a shouting match where the first sound bite to reach the ear will become an Ohrwurm. And like the pounding from the basement of a German techno Haus, the waitress in the cafe upstairs will hum the tune for the next week, all the while wishing a bus, or bear, or bullet would end her misery. The solution to this is to remove money from the system. You may gasp, and once again reach for the thesaurus to search for slang words to use instead of "Commie!", but hold on tight, here we go:
Use the incredibly stable 2 party system in this country. Or even add a third. Or fourth! Perhaps stratify them into tiers, where the top two receive the most, and the bottom must have an awful good message. Require them to gather signatures in order to be on the ballot, top four get on, top two get 4/6 the funding. Then give them pubic funds. YES, public funds. And outlaw ANY other money in the game. Increase the membership of the legislative ethics committees, and increase the penalties. Remove once and for all the profit motive from the system. Make it so that the Senators and Legislators receive a modest pension for the rest of their lives, but become incredibly strict on time spent with lobbyists. Remove money from the scenario and cease the shouting match. Make the contest about ideas.
The option is a velvet revolution of money for a small group of elites, favorites of the government or a violent revolution of idealists. Either way the effects will eventually be similar, and the ruling class similar. I prefer my classical liberal America, where everyone is protected equally, a free market reigns in the country to provide the best products to those who work hard, and a government that knows that it is here to govern over those sectors that do not benefit from the profit motive; prison, police, war, crime, and maybe health. The rest of its duty is to ensure companies obey the law along with people, and that all are held accountable to his/own/its/inc.'s own actions. Let us not slide so easily into chains, checking facebook while our government sells our soul. We fight for our freedoms every day. Liberty forever.
Its really too bad that this won't happen. Here's to you, internet.