Friday, April 18, 2014

#BookBlast Seventeen by Mark Diehl

Mark D. Diehl writes novels about power dynamics and the way people and organizations influence each other. He believes that obedience and conformity are becoming humanity’s most important survival skills, and that we are thus evolving into a corporate species. Diehl has: been homeless in Japan, practiced law with a major multinational firm in Chicago, studied in Singapore, fled South Korea as a fugitive, and been stranded in Hong Kong. After spending most of his youth running around with hoods and thugs, he eventually earned his doctorate in law at the University of Iowa and did graduate work in creative writing at the University of Chicago. He currently lives and writes in Cape Elizabeth, Maine.  
Author’s Website 

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What kind of writer am I?

I would characterize myself as a Post-Objectivist fiction writer, the first and only, so far as I know. Objectivism was Ayn Rand’s philosophy, based on the idea that true morality came from individual pursuit of personal goals. She asserted, therefore, that the only system that could be truly moral was a laissez-faire capitalist one with full respect for individual rights. Ayn Rand was brilliant, but she didn’t have the vantage point we do now.  

In Rand’s day, humanity was trying to figure out how much a role government should play in markets. It looked like the world was being unzipped and falling into halves. On one side were state-planned economies, with their collective farms and military parades. On the other was the capitalist model, with our sleek, efficient, market-driven economies. 

Growing up in Russia, Rand had seen Communism first hand. She realized that giving the state so much control was stifling to individuals, and she showed in her books how state oppression could extinguish a society’s innovative abilities. When Communist societies began collapsing, it seemed to prove that Ayn Rand had called it: We had the better system, and it was better because it encouraged and rewarded the individual. 

Here’s the thing, though:  

Multinational corporations now dwarf most of the world’s governments, but we still treat them as if they’re individuals. Recent Supreme Court decisions have upheld corporate “human rights” like privacy and free speech, meaning, among other things, that they are protected from surprise safety inspections and they can spend unlimited sums to influence elections. They own most of the world’s available resources and are run for one purpose only: the generation of short-term profit. They demand efficiency, planning, and discipline, they reward unity and conformity, and they have even less respect for human uniqueness than their government counterparts. Big business is not an alternative to big government so much as it is the new totalitarian structure eclipsing it.

The truth is that BOTH models stifle the individual, either through the forced altruism of Communism or the cutthroat uniformity of corporatism. Step out of the party line, the Communists shut you out, just like corporations do to whistleblowers. What Ayn Rand thought was the antidote to Communism was just a different kind of poison. If either the government or big business is able to rule on behalf of itself, the individual is shut out. The so-called left and right wings are just flying us toward control by the same elites, either way. What we see now is that either side can be equally dehumanizing. 

The only way free individuals have a chance is if they all decide to wake up and become aware. In order for unique, independent people to continue to exist, we must develop into an informed public with actual power and the desire to keep it.

Here’s the same idea, boiled down:
In the jungle, the biggest gorilla takes as much as he wants. It’s natural. Our problem is that through the creation of corporations and governments, we now have immortal gorillas who continue growing forever. Our situation is no longer natural.


Most of the world's seventeen billion people are unconscious, perpetually serving their employers as part of massive brain trusts. The ecosystem has collapsed, and corporations control all of the world's resources and governments. A bedraggled alcoholic known as the Prophet predicts nineteen year-old waitress Eadie will lead a revolution, but how can she prevail when hunted by a giant corporation and the Federal Angels it directs?

The old man wrung his hands, looking Hawkins up and down. Hawkins scrolled through some text and found the name again: Stuckey. Another gee-whiz dimwit citizen, eager to please. Stuckey’s eyes went back up, from Hawkins’s acid-resistant all-traction black shoes, to his flexible, abrasion-proof gray uniform – cut in the old-fashioned suit style with lapels – to his perfectly Gold complexion and salt-and-pepper, closely-trimmed hair.

“Never had a Federal Angel in my place before,” Stuckey said, though Hawkins barely heard him.  The Agent was closely observing the movements of a young, redheaded waitress setting plates on a table. As she leaned over, the girl kept her knees pressed tightly together, as her panties were clearly exposed with every bend of her waist. “I wish I could help you more; dropped that danged computer in a pot of soup when it was all going on – corporate’ll be furious, of course, but you’ve gotta tell ‘em so you can get the information you need. I hope my blunder doesn’t slow down your case, though. God’s will, right? God to the President to you, the Federal Angels. Geez. I never thought I’d actually meet one of you.”


Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Elise-Maria Barton said...

Mark, thanks for sharing such a thought provoking guest post today.

ilookfamous at yahoo dot com

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