An Activist for the State

As if to remind the malcontents that our tax money isn't just for Congressional tennis courts and the requisite killing of skinny brown people that hate our freedoms, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday that a 'false advertising' lawsuit against Nike can move forward, refusing to hear the corporation's appeal of an earlier ruling by a California court regarding free speech, commercial speech, protected speech and whatnot.

Now, before anyone e-mails me a cut-and-pasted diatribe about Nike's sweatshops in Vietnam : I haven't owned a pair of Nike shoes in probably ten years or more. Right about the time I had to start buying my own footwear and clothing, I figured out that a good pair of shoes could be found for a lot less than what Nikes go for. To be honest, even if such wasn't the case, I probably couldn't talk myself into spending that much on a pair of sneakers, anyway. Perhaps if, as an average American, nearly half of my income wasn't taken from me in order to pay for things like the 'judges,' bailiffs, secretaries, stenographers, law libraries, and courthouses (complete with metal detectors and x-ray machines) that are going to be devoted to this case, things would be different. I'll probably never know.

But sneaker economics aside, I don't know which is more ridiculous in this legalist society of ours, the ultimately stupid notion of supposedly educated people spending their time and energy arguing about what they (and the rest of us) should or shouldn't be allowed to say, and to whom and when, their sincere belief that it's right and proper for the State to literally force the rest of us to abide by whatever conclusion their glorified debate club arrives at, or the fact that you and I are the ones paying for these courtroom dramas and their directors' salaries.

Depending upon where you read about it, this suit was filed by an 'anti-globalization activist' or a 'consumer activist.' Is this a joke? Honestly, I would have assumed this to be yet another case brought before the State by the State itself, but I suppose there's really no need for 'our civil servants' to try and legitimize the Just Us system and the outright thievery that funds it when there's plenty of 'activists' around to do it for them.

I imagine this particular Nanny-State activist is at least partially motivated by the idea that people need to be 'protected' from potentially misleading corporate utterances. Assuming for the sake of argument that there really are a few dozen people somewhere in America who are both over the age of twelve and unaware of the fact that large corporations will bend the truth in order to sell their products - frankly, I don't care; It is no more my responsibility to educate those folks than it is my responsibility to help pay for your kid's State education. Should I choose to enlighten the ignorant on the realities of corporate ethics, I'd like to think that I could find a way to do it that didn't involve requiring the rest of the country to involuntarily finance my endeavors. After all, no matter how good my intentions may be, if I make myself an accomplice to the State's thievery, what am I really? Not much of an 'activist,' that's for sure.

Is the motivation publicity? A partially taxpayer-funded stunt designed to 'get the word out' about Nike's sweatshops? Again, I don't care. More accurately--I don't see the relevance. Due in no small part to proceedings such as this case, coupled with an economy in the toilet (fueled by a worthless fiat currency), pretty much everyone I know is operating on an overtaxed budget that doesn't allow for the purchase of such luxuries as Nike shoes, anyway. Besides, most people that do buy Nike shoes fall into the same category as people that pay $29 for T-shirts with a particular corporate logo or emblem on them: They're conspicuous consumers. They buy Nikes simply because they're Nikes, or because their kids 'wanna be like Mike.' If you'd like to try and convince those people (and their kids) of the importance of politically motivated purchasing decisions, that's your prerogative ' just don't play tax collector and use extorted public funds to do it.

All told, I have a really hard time calling anyone that operates within the boundaries of the State's Just Us system 'an activist.' By voluntarily stepping into that den of thieves and expecting any kind of social 'justice' to be meted out, you are at best a fool, and at worst accomplishing two nefarious tasks for the State:

#1. You are legitimizing the notion that an individual audacious enough to call his or herself my 'judge' (a blatant blasphemy of Christian principles, for those that care about such things) has the right to dictate anything regarding anyone else's life, and

#2. You make yourself an accomplice to the State's crimes. You demonstrate through your voluntary participation that 'we' must 'need' these judges, their secretaries, bodyguards, stenographers, clerks, and everyone else on the State's payroll that isn't honest enough to just go on Welfare. Just who do you think is paying for those people to sit there and deal with your case? Don't you think that perhaps, if I had more purchasing power, I could afford to more directly participate in the kinds of 'consumer activism' that you apparently endorse?

It's a sad day indeed when 'activists' choose to worship at the altar of Statism at the expense of the very people they're supposedly trying to 'help.' Our anti-hero could have just as easily accomplished his goals of exposing Nike's questionable manufacturing practices to the world by utilizing the Internet and other mediums without ever negatively impacting anyone other than his target.

In all fairness, however, I must admit that I myself am by no means an expert on activists or activism of any kind. After all, I'm just another armchair cynic. What about you?

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Andy Henke's picture
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Andy Henke is 27 and lives in East Tennesse.