Liberty, equality, brotherhood, and Apple

If you are reading this today then you know what is already in the news. I should not have to recap. And as happens whenever violence appears, everybody has an opinion. Some people show immediate sympathy. Some demand justice. Some just want another chance to be on TV. Some will use it for prejudice and racism. Some as an excuse to create more hatred and do more violence. Some to promote fear. These sort start asking for increased security. Right to privacy has to go first. Then free speech. Blah, blah, blah. Every war, every bad idea, every evil regime in history starts by promoting fear. If you've been paying attention you've already seen the people of the U.S. manipulated into starting a war based on fear.

What is different about now? Probably nothing. But I think things could change for the better. And I have some reasons why and in a way they have everything to do with Apple. Not as a technology company. Not as the maker of the iPhone. But as one of the most powerful companies on earth.

Liberté, égalité, fraternité is the motto of France. But it is much more than that. Our history as a nation, the revolution in France and in the U.S. are inextricably connected in history. There exists a tapestry of books, ideas, relationships between our country, its founding fathers and France. The very ideas of what a modern government should be have their origins with France. Hey, they gave us a statue. And the revolutions in France and in the U.S. changed the world. I think we are in the midst of another kind of revolution.

The problem is that the experiment of a free democratic society is failing. It doesn't actually exist in reality. It is a thought experiment that may have been near reality at one point but now it is mere fantasy. Our constitution, and rights, the very idea of a nation of laws is not real. It is simply an ideal to which we would aspire. Look at the real power structure in the world now. Since Eisenhower spoke of the military industrial complex the writing has been on the wall. But it is never as simple as it seems. The military part of the industrial complex has become just a tool of the whole monster. The laws of economics rule the world and control the evolution of society and government.

But though I think that the one person, one vote ideal seems to have been lost in our advertising and media wars it is replaced with something else. Economic theory requires definitions of cost and value. And value itself while traditionally attached to goods and services can actually be anything that a person values. In other words values such as rights and liberty and equality can be viewed as part of the economy. This is where it gets interesting because though the world is more of a corporate oligarchy now than it ever was, corporations are in the business of delivering value. And a smart corporation shares the values of its customers.

The vote has been replaced by money. What gives me hope is that people everywhere are beginning to exercise that new kind of vote by supporting corporations that share their values. And as a group, we are more powerful than any single billionaire. People everywhere are voting for Apple. And Apple is standing up for values such as freedom, privacy and liberty and tolerance. (Tolerance being the lowest form of brotherhood.) You can argue about who started the revolution of personal computing. But I purchased my first Apple computer in late 1979 and even then knew that we were at the start of something that could change the world. And Apple promoted the idea of the personal computer as a tool for creativity and change, and has continued that trajectory by creating an industry where one person, one vote is being replaced by one person, one camera, one platform for communication.

We may not be able to get the government we want in this country. Certainly when most of the choices for a leader seem to have popped out of a clown car in the circus it looks dubious. But we may be able to create a world government by concentrating power into the corporation or corporations that share our values. And equally we need to take it away from the corporations who do not. In the marketplace of values we need to buy freedom and liberty and stop buying products from the merchants of death.


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