America's New Civil War: The War Between the Big Government and Big Business

America’s New Civil War: The War Between the Big Government and Big Business

Remember the Civil War? Lincoln? Gettysburg? States’ rights used as a civil rights smokescreen for the real issue of owning human beings?

It was a pretty big deal, and they even made a few movies about it. If I were you, I’d catch the one where Daniel Day-Lewis plays Lincoln. And while watching Steven Spielberg’s stunning talent for making a thriller out of a movie that is basically about Congressional procedure and debate, think about what that period in American history might have been like had Lincoln had the power to do what was right for the entire country been handcuffed by politicians who honestly believed their job was to protect the business interests of slaveholding Big Agriculture.

America is just as firmly trapped inside a potentially devastating civil war right now. Only instead of standing to lose half the nation to those politicians who actually did put the business interests of slaveholding farmers ahead of human beings, we stand to lose the entire country to Big Business owners who want to make slaves of us all.

Some would have you believe that there is currently a civil war taking place between conservative and liberal ideologies. History proves that liberal ideology always wins in the end because you can’t achieve progress without being progressive, and the very foundation of conservative political thought is obstruction of progress. The nature of conservatism is to cling tightly to ideals formed by the crucible of ignorance. Such is why slavery managed to exist in the United States of America for nearly a century: because slavery is an ideal formed in the crucible of the ignorant belief that white people should be allowed to own black people.

If the civil war in America were taking place between conservative and liberal ideologies, those on the conservative side would be calling for the reinstatement of slavery and for denying women the right to vote. Both those beliefs and practices are irrefutably part of the tradition of conservative political thought. Keep in mind that slavery was the cornerstone of that peculiar brand of Southern conservatism until it was abolished in all its forms with the passage of a progressively liberal initiative, which amazingly is today being attacked by conservatives as a bad thing: the Civil Rights Act.

The civil war that is bound to tear this country apart–not tear it asunder, mind you, but shatter it into pieces–is that which is forcing the citizens of America to choose between a country run by Big Business and a country run by Big Government. Either way, the little guy is going to get screwed because Big Business will undoubtedly play a part in writing the very laws that serve to regulate them and protect us. Allowing Big Businesses to write legislation that regulates themselves is a bad idea, which can be proven merely by looking at how allowing the banking industry to write their own regulatory laws around the turn of the millennium turned out in 2008.

So here Americans sit, poised dangerously between what they are being told–but what can be easily disproven by history–as the rock that is Big Government and the hard place that is Big Business. Rank and file conservatives have been told that Big Government is evil and Big Business is good so often that the lie has officially become the truth. In fact, you don’t need to open a history book to see that in the specific case of American economics, when Big Business is allowed to run amok free from regulation and government oversight, Americans not only lose every time but lose really, really big.

  • Deregulated Capitalism in the 1920s: the Great Depression
  • Deregulated Capitalism in the 1980s: The Reagan/Bush Recession.
  • Deregulated Capitalism in the 2000s: The George W. Bush financial collapse.

One need not be a historian or economics major or even all that particularly bright to learn the lesson that American history teaches on this issue. When Big Government in America was at its most threatening and overreaching apex, the result was keeping the union together and abolishing slavery. Every single time that Big Business has managed to sell its snake oil to the most people, the result has been a hangover of monumental proportions and unabated regret at being so collectively foolish enough to be duped yet again.

Keep in mind that there is one truly spectacular difference between Big Government and Big Business that for anyone paying the slightest bit of actual attention should be a great big burning beacon of realization. Every argument over which is better for the country, Big Government or Big Business, comes down to this burning beacon of reality and if you haven’t figured it out yet, you would do very well to pay attention.

When someone in the government screws you over, you can vote him out of office. When was the last time you were given the chance to kick some CEO of a business that screwed you over out of office?

Nancy Vawter
Nancy Vawter

Nancy Vawter has been a reporter and writer since shortly after her graduation from the University of Arizona. She spent seven years with the New York Post, working as a national feature writer in New York. She later taught journalism as an assistant professor at American University in Washington.