Individuals, Systems, Principles, Work, Life
Let's imagine, for a moment, that I work for some egregiously morally corrupt corporation — Philip Morris or Halliburton or some such entity that the liberal community agrees is repulsive. (More on this in a moment.) Buy my job, day to day, is amazing: I only have to work 25 hours a week; I can usually work from home; my duties entail imagining anything that the future might bring and then writing it up in fanciful prose; and there's no asshole manager leaning over my shoulder.
(Personally, I'd take that job in a flash.)
Now imagine that I work for some non-profit that builds schools for the poor in developing countries. But my day to day job involves cleaning the toilets, getting coffee for the boss, and writing extensive PowerPoint presentations that sum up someone else's work.
Which job is better?
Principles are great but they have a tendency to coerce, to dictate, to imprison the believer — not to mention making one a sanctimonious prick. On the other hand, aren't we all actors in a collective system, cogs in an engine that does all sorts of things but, mostly, pillages the planet and subjugates the individual in a number of painful, cruel ways.
What do we do? What does one do? What do you do?
Now let's complicate things. The liberal community — which, frankly, is anything but liberal in its beliefs as it adheres to a party line, an ideology, and what's less liberal than an ideology? — condemns certain corporations, Big Oil, Big Tobacco, and the like. But while those corporations are no doubt morally bankrupt, the fact is all corporations — by definition — are morally bankrupt. All corporations, by the mere fact of being corporations, contribute to the pillaging of the planet and the relentless subjugation of the individual. After all, a corporation — by definition — subjugates the individual to the corporate demands: you work for the good of the company in order to drive its bottom line — increased profits.
So does it really matter, from the perspective of principle, if you work for Halliburton or Whole Foods?
Now add this creepy dimension: corporations are so good at branding — who does all this branding, anyway? — that we actually think it's cool to work at Google, at Apple, at Whole Foods but not cool to work for Halliburton, Costco, Walmart.
But the question, for me, remains the same: What is your day to day life like?