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Eagle 3

Frontiersman, February 1998
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Unearthing the Earthly Paradise
by Don J. Cormier
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageAnybody who pays attention to the daily news knows that planet earth is not a paradise.  The world is full of problems.  Natural disasters, famines, and diseases kill people in various parts of the globe.  Human conflicts frequently result in physical violence ranging from wars at one end of the scale to simple fist fights at the other.  Even when problems are not life threatening, they frequently result in suffering for millions of people.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageMany people dream of a perfect world or earthly paradise in terms that recall the Biblical garden of Eden.  Many people would like to live as Adam and Eve, with spiritual peace among the beauties of nature, with abundant food and water, perfect health, and no need for hard work.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageMost people would be surprised to find that our early ancestors really lived in a kind of Eden.  Of course, effort, pain, conflict, disease, and death have always been present, but scientists suggest that our ancient ancestors lived hunter/gatherer lifestyles which provided adequate food with little hard labor.  The fact that hunter/gatherers lived in small, mobile bands meant that social problems associated with dense, settled populations could not arise.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageOur "fall from Eden" may have come with the change from a nomadic, hunter/gatherer lifestyle to one based on agriculture.  Farming required a settled base which increased the monotony of everyday life.  Farming produced more food which fostered a higher population, which fostered the division of labor in society and the development of specialized warrior castes.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageOur world may be the true garden of Eden, but we can't see it because it's been paved.  If the research is true, and if we truly wish to live in Eden, we can if we are willing to unearth it.  We can chip away the carapace of agricultural civilization.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageIt is at this point which most people would abandon the notion of re-creating "Eden".  Most people would prefer living with modern problems than to make radical life-style changes.  To employ a Biblical metaphor, they would rather stay in Pharaoh's Egypt than move out to the promised land.  They fail to consider the fact that the journey to the promised land or back to Eden could be made in small steps.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe first step could be a personal one.  It could be to relearn the old hunter/gatherer skills, so that one might be able to live in the wilderness.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageA possible second step is also personal.  This second step would be to restrict oneself to no more that two offspring.  If population density prevents us from living a nomadic, hunter/gatherer lifestyle, then the population must be reduced and individuals must take responsibility to reduce it.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageFurther steps would be to encourage the preservation of open space and endangered species, and the development of decentralized, environmentally sustainable technologies.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageFor those who truly wish to find the new Eden or to unearth the old Eden it's time to study, to train, and to network.  Time for our agricultural civilization may be running out and only those who have prepared may be able to survive it's fracture.10x5 Page Background GIF ImageInfinity Symbol


Editor's Note Mr. Cormier follows in a long tradition when he ponders the mixed blessings of settled society.  An ancient Sumerian myth reflected similar concerns.
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"Here were the delights of society, exquisite craftsmanship, beautiful clothes, the arts of sex and music.  But civilization has a darker side, said [the God of Wisdom], which has to be accepted along with the good.  There was the art of being mighty, the art of being kind, the art of straightforwardness, the art of deceit, the art of kingship, justice, and the enduring crown, the resounding note of a musical instrument, rejoicing of the heart, the kindling of strife, the plundering of cities, the setting up of lamentation, fear, pity, terror.  All this is civilization, said the God of Wisdom.  All this I give you, and you must take it all with no argument, and once taken, you cannot give it back."
from the documentary series Legacy,
produced by Maryland Public Television and
Central Independent Television PLC
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I believe that the idea of civilization has been generally misunderstood.  I suggest that civilization is a characteristic not of societies, but of individuals.  A highly settled, technological society might be populated by barbaric individuals, by civilized individuals, or by both.  The same thing is true of a primitive, nomadic society.  Civilization, then, is not a way of organizing society, but a kind of individual human behavior.10x5 Page Background GIF ImageGun
Acknowledgments
     My thanks to Lady Jan the Voluptuous for her ongoing editorial assistance and for her countless other efforts in support of this newsletter and of its editor.
     My thanks to The Affiliate, of Vankleek Hill, Ontario for regularly printing reviews of the Frontiersman.
     My thanks to Sir Donald the Elusive for paying the production costs of this newsletter and for his additional contributions.
editor


Practical Theory In theory, there is no difference between practice and theory;  but in practice, there is.

author unknown, provided by Silicon Valley Bob

Frontiersman@ida.net Frontiersman
479 E. 700 N., Firth, Idaho  83236
February 1998
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The First Step Is Responsibility
Sam Aurelius Milam III
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageCorporations have produced many benefits.  They've also caused much harm.  If it's possible to prevent them from causing more harm than benefits, then they might be worth keeping.  I say "might" because there could still be better ways to achieve the same benefits.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageIf corporations are to be prevented from causing harm, then the source of that control must satisfy four requirements.  First, it must not be subject to the authority of the corporation.  Second, it must have authority over the corporation.  Third, it must have some sympathetic interest in the corporation, so that it will not harm the corporation unnecessarily.  Fourth and finally, it must have some incentive to prevent the corporation from causing harm.  These four requirements are necessary and sufficient for the control of corporations.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageSome people believe that employees should prevent the corporations from causing harm.  However, most harm done by corporations is a result of policy decisions, not worker misbehavior.  No individual worker (or group of them) within a corporation has much control over these policies.  Also, workers must do as instructed.  If they don't, they risk termination of their employment.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageManagers have little more latitude than workers.  They must "pull together," and be "team players."  If a manager objects to the corporation's misbehavior, his concerns will be viewed by higher management as a "personal problem".  Any problem that can't be ignored will be turned over to a special task force or study group.  These groups excel at solution avoidance and enhance their job security by continuing to study the problem.  To actually solve it would reduce their usefulness.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageHigh level executives appear to have more control over corporations than their subordinates.  Yet, however eloquently such an executive may promise exemplary performance, he is isolated from the workers by a very good filter the chain of command.  As instructions pass down the chain of command, they're "interpreted" according to unwritten policies.  For example, the manager of the shipping department cannot sacrifice the shipping schedule, no matter what the CEO said about containment seal integrity.  The chain of command filters in the other direction, as well.  Every manager must appear competent to his boss.  The boss wants the people under him to be "problem solvers".  Accordingly, problems are "handled" at the lowest possible level.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageExecutives, managers, and workers are all employees of the corporation and therefore they serve it and are controlled by it.  None of them satisfy the first two requirements and cannot be expected to prevent a corporation from misbehaving.  This failure of control from within the corporations has caused the creation of regulatory agencies.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageIf regulatory agencies are to prevent the misbehavior of corporations, then they must satisfy the four requirements mentioned above.  However, there are many ways in which a corporation might exert an influence over a regulatory agency.  It would be interesting to learn, for example, how many agency auditors were once industry designers, have friends there, and might even be auditing their own past work.  Watch the news for a few days, and no doubt you will find some report or allegation of industry lobbyists tinkering with the legislative and regulatory machinery.  Worse yet, corporate employees can easily come to identify safety and reliability with regulatory mandates.  Any safety conscious employee within the corporation might then become a pariah, identified with these mandates.  This can sabotage the very resources within a corporation that might otherwise have given legitimate attention to the goals allegedly promoted by the regulatory agency.  The result is an adversarial relationship wherein great effort is exerted to appear competent and cooperative, to steer auditors into "safe" areas, and to reveal nothing.  Documentation systems are made as complex as possible to impress, confuse, or discourage auditors, but ignored in daily practice.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageIndeed, a corporation in a regulated industry need not be concerned with safety at all, but only with compliance.  If an accident occurs, the corporation need only demonstrate that it complied with regulations.  If it can do that, it is blameless.  If an accident occurred in spite of its demonstrated compliance, it can blame the agency for failing to properly regulate it.1
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageFinally, if a regulatory agency were ever to succeed in regulating an industry into a safe condition, then the agency would find its own usefulness diminished.  Rather, an occasional accident is a Godsend, irrefutably justifying expansion of the agency's manpower and authority.  The justification process relies upon the existence of risk.  The threat of accidents is the lifeblood of the regulatory industry.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageIt's clear that regulatory agencies have no sympathetic interest in corporations and little or no incentive to prevent corporate misbehavior in any case.  Therefore, they fail the second two requirements and cannot be expected to prevent corporations from causing harm.  There does exist, however, another possible source of control, and that is the stockholders.  Let's see how they measure up to the requirements.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe stockholders are external to the corporation and are not under to its control.  Even when an employee owns stock in the corporation that employs him, his vote as a stockholder is separate and apart from his employment by the corporation.  In his capacity as an employee, he is controlled by the corporation.  In his capacity as a
1
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The first thing the owner did after the Three Mile Island accident was to blame the NRC for failing to provide adequate safety standards.

February 1998
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Frontiersman
479 E. 700 N., Firth, Idaho  83236
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stockholder, he is beyond the corporation's control.  Therefore, stockholders, even those who work for the corporation, pass the first requirement.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageFrom the point of view of the stockholders, a corporation isn't a personality at all, but a piece of property.  They own it.  They can, potentially at least, control it through the authority inherent in their power to vote.  Whether or not they presently exert such control is irrelevant.  The fact is that they can if they wish to do so.  The stockholders therefore easily pass the second requirement.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe stockholders easily pass the third requirement.  Their dividend and the resale value of their stock depends upon the performance of the corporation.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageUnder present assumptions and conventions, the stockholders fail the fourth requirement.  They have no incentive to prevent their corporation from causing harm because they are protected from any such incentive by the doctrine of limited liability.  However, this is the only requirement that they fail, and the failure can be remedied.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageConsider this.  If your dog bites the neighbor's brat, you're screwed.  If a visiting evangelist snags his toe on your carpet and breaks his holy neck, you're screwed again.  For a natural human being, ownership is a litigation industry.  But if a corporation poisons everybody downwind, the owners might lose a few dollars on the next dividend or, at the very worst, the value of their stock.  They're immune from responsibility, no matter how many people their property might kill.  This is why they fail the fourth requirement.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe treatment of corporations as distinct individuals with personalities of their own is well established by long practice.  There are, however, things that corporations cannot do.  They cannot love, marry, or get pregnant.  They cannot be imprisoned or hanged, although they can be dissolved.  In 1245 the pope decided that they could not sin, so presumably Hell, like the jails, will be devoid of corporations.  It has been claimed that corporations cannot commit murder, but this is a lie.  If I remember correctly, it was the Dow Chemical Company that killed thousands of people a few years ago in Bhopal, India.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageUnlike natural human beings, corporations are fictitious entities, creatures of the state.  Natural human beings can have rights, but corporations can have only powers.  In some regards a corporation may behave like a person, but a corporation feels neither pain nor remorse.  In fact it is only property, owned by various people who have bought portions of it.  The means by which corporations can be controlled follows from these differences.  People make decisions, but corporations do not.  Corporations are never responsible for anything they do.  Only people can be responsible for the consequences of their actions.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe doctrine of limited liability is a long-standing assumption, but it can be changed or abolished.  The doctrine of Alter Ego is a doctrine in which the corporate entity is disregarded and individual stockholders are held responsible for acts knowingly and intentionally done in the name of the corporation.  Piercing Corporate Veil is a judicial process whereby the usual immunity of stockholders may be disregarded.  This may happen for the defeat of fraud or the remedying of injustice (remember Bhopal, Suisun Bay, Three Mile Island, and the Exxon Valdez).  The Instrumentality Rule will allow corporate individuality to be disregarded when the corporation is only an adjunct and instrumentality of a parent corporation.  In other words, it's possible for the doctrine of limited liability to be set aside in some circumstances.  If it can be done in those circumstances, then it can be done in others.  I believe that limited liability should be abolished for all stock ownership.  All owners of a corporation should always be personally responsible, without limit and in proportion to their ownership, for any harm caused by their corporations.  It's their property and they should be responsible for it, just as I am responsible for mine.  I believe that if they were, then the misbehavior of corporations would be controlled.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe end of limited liability would be a big deal.  Present stockholders would scream and gnash their teeth.  Maybe some of them would even jump out of windows.  Stock might not be worth very much for a while because many potential stockholders would be discouraged by the looming spectre of responsible behavior by corporations not prepared for it.  Perhaps corporations in hazardous industries would disappear and some things now accomplished by corporations would be accomplished otherwise.  Maybe real responsibility would eliminate some hazardous endeavors entirely, thereby showing that they weren't really necessary after all.  On those rare occasions when corporations caused a problem, the taxpayers would not need to pay for the consequences because the stockholders would have to do it.  This probably wouldn't happen very often because stockholders, faced with real responsibility, would insure that their corporations didn't cause problems.  And finally, we could abolish the regulatory agencies.  At best they're useless.  At worst, they're homes for tyrants and parasites.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageI'm not necessarily advocating an end to corporations, although I wouldn't lose any sleep without them.  I'm advocating an end to irresponsible ownership of corporations.  When I finally understood the nature of stock ownership, as it is presently constituted, I sold my stock.  The lost ownership was quickly forgotten and the money spent on better things.  The peace of mind which resulted remains with me to this very day.10x5 Page Background GIF ImageGun
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February 1998
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Frontiersman 
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Ownership
is proven by
control
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Letters to the Editor
Dear Sam
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageThe problem is not that corporations have artificial intelligence or intelligence of any kind;  they obviously don't.  The problem is that corporations are not human beings, and yet they are treated by contemporary society as "legal persons."  The result of such an insane use of the legal system, which is supposed to provide justice for humans, on the basis of the "sanctity of the human person" above all mere objects, is that the Bill of Rights, which was supposed to guarantee human freedom, now guarantees the "human" rights of the "corporate person."  Is it any wonder that under such a warped system, corporate persons now have freedom of speech, but human persons no longer do?  Can you expect a system that treats a legal fiction as a human being to treat human beings like human beings?
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageCormier's ideas about the rugged individual, independent of contemporary human (or sub-human) society, are an absurd illusion, perpetuated by Hollywood, to undermine any rational resistance against an inhuman government, which is evil not because it is a government, but because it is inhuman.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageSincerely,
Elliot;  N. Merrick, New York
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Government is inherently inhuman and inherently evil.
editor
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Dear Sam
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageI wish to thank you for your continued sharing with others that which is important to you.  I enjoy your writings and appreciate you showing me a view not often reflected ....
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageLove,
Millie;  El Granada, California
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Man will occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of the time he will pick himself up and continue on.
Winston Churchill
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Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
Dear Buck
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageMy husband keeps getting "Hunting Fever".  What can I do?
Lonely Wife
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Dear Lonely Wife
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageGive him two aspirin and call me in the morning.

Sesame Suite
Bernie: What's a pirate's favorite letter?
Burt: That's a stupid question!
Bernie: Aaarr!
Burt: Bernie!
Bernie: What's his second favorite?
Burt: I don't really want to know!
Bernie: Aye!
Sesame Suite is a production of the Children's Tunnelvision Workshop


Frontiersman
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageCancellations If you don't want to keep receiving this newsletter, print REFUSED, RETURN TO SENDER above your name and address, cross out your name and address, and return the newsletter.  When I receive it, I'll terminate your subscription.  You may also cancel by letter, e-mail, carrier pigeon, or any other method that gets the message to me.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageBack Issues Back issues or extra copies of this newsletter are available upon request.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageReprint Policy Permission is hereby granted to reproduce this newsletter in its entirety or to reproduce material from it, provided that the reproduction is accurate and that proper credit is given.  Please note that I do not have the authority to give permission to reprint material that I have reprinted from other publications.  For that permission, you must go to the original source.  I would appreciate receiving a courtesy copy of any document or publication in which you reprint my material.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImageSubmissions I solicit letters, articles, and cartoons for the newsletter, but I don't pay for them.  Short items are more likely to be printed.  I suggest that letters and articles be shorter than 500 words, but that's flexible depending on space available and the content of the piece.  I give credit for all items printed unless the author specifies otherwise.
15x5 Page Background GIF ImagePayment This newsletter isn't for sale.  If you care to make a voluntary contribution, you may do so.  The continued existence of the newsletter will depend, in part, on such contributions.  I accept cash and U.S. postage stamps.  I don't accept checks, money orders, anything that will smell bad by the time it arrives, or anything that requires me to provide ID or a signature to receive it.  In case anybody is curious, I also accept gold, silver, platinum, etc.  I'm sure you get the idea.
Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor

February 1998
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