LOS ANGELES—One of the nice things about running a multimillion-dollar corporation is that people listen to you, even if they don't particularly like you or your business.
Enter Larry Flynt, pornographer, whose populist essay on HuffingtonPost.com, "Common Sense 2009"—its title harking back to Thomas Paine's famous pre-Revolutionary War pamphlet—lays it on the line for, among others, the everyday people who form the backbone of the adult industry's customer base.
Basically, Flynt echoes the frustration felt by almost all progressives who, when they voted for Barack Obama for president, felt that what they were really voting for was "change"—and why those voters legitimately feel frustrated about how poorly such "change" has thus far been implemented.
Flynt justifiably lays the blame for the current economic mess at the feet of the stock brokers and hedge fund managers ("Wall Street"), "the mega-corporations and the super-rich," acknowledging that "They are the ones who decide our fate."
"In America, corporations do not control the government," Flynt charges. "In America, corporations are the government."
And being a corporate bigwig himself, he ought to know. But as a pornographer, he's had firsthand experience with the concept, to paraphrase the Bard, that "All corporations are equal, but some corporations are more equal than others." And even though Flynt's managed to cut a couple of hypocritical conservative politicians down to size—Rep. Bob Livingston comes immediately to mind—he's hardly in a league with, say, JP Morgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon or Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein when it comes to influencing Congress.
All the more reason, then, for Flynt, who knows both the board room and the bedroom, to "tell it like it is" about who's responsible for the country's steep economic decline ... and why "Main Street" is having trouble affording adult material.
First, Flynt takes President Obama to task for charging that, in the run-up to the current recession, "A culture of irresponsibility took root, from Wall Street to Washington to Main Street."
"There it is. Right there," Flynt analyzes. "We are Main Street. We must, according to our president, share the blame. ... This is nonsense. The reason Wall Street was able to game the system the way it did—knowing that they would become rich at the expense of the American people (oh, yes, they most certainly knew that)—was because the financial elite had bribed our legislators to roll back the protections enacted after the Stock Market Crash of 1929."
Flynt goes on to point out how the (Republican-dominated) Congress "gutted the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated commercial lending banks from investment banks, and passed the Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which allowed for self-regulation with no oversight. The Securities and Exchange Commission subsequently revised its rules to allow for even less oversight—and we've all seen how well that worked out."
"To date, no serious legislation has been offered by the Obama administration to correct these problems," Flynt correctly notes. "Instead, Obama wants to increase the oversight power of the Federal Reserve. Never mind that it already had significant oversight power before our most recent economic meltdown, yet failed to take action. Never mind that the Fed is not a government agency but a cartel of private bankers that cannot be held accountable by Washington. Whatever the Fed does with these supposed new oversight powers will be behind closed doors."
"Obama's failure to act sends one message loud and clear: He cannot stand up to the powerful Wall Street interests that supplied the bulk of his campaign money for the 2008 election," Flynt concludes. "Nor, for that matter, can Congress, for much the same reason."
Flynt particularly notes banker David Rockefeller's 1994 prediction that "the right major crisis" would force the nations of the world to "accept the New World Order," and echoes Thomas Jefferson's warning that, "If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issuance of their currency, first by inflation, and then by deflation, the banks and the corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered."
Flynt then recounts the 1786-'87 Shays' Rebellion, led by farmer Daniel Shays, who'd been driven into bankruptcy by the "predatory lending practices" of colonial banks.
"Rallying other farmers to his side," Flynt recaps, "Shays led his rebels in an attack on the courts and the local armory. The rebellion itself failed, but a message had been sent: The bankers (and the politicians who supported them) ultimately backed off."
But while not counseling an armed uprising, Flynt offers a nonviolent alternative: A strike.
"I'm calling for a national strike, one designed to close the country down for a day," he proposes. "The intent? Real campaign-finance reform and strong restrictions on lobbying. Because nothing will change until we take corporate money out of politics. Nothing will improve until our politicians are once again answerable to their constituents, not the rich and powerful."
"Let's set a date. No one goes to work. No one buys anything. And if that isn't effective—if the politicians ignore us—we do it again. And again. And again."
A good idea, and one that's been suggested several times before, though not by anyone in Flynt's economic (or social) position—but then again, as the adult industry continues to gain mainstream acceptance, maybe mainstream will begin to hear the industry's political as well as its sexual voice.
"The real war is not between the left and the right," Flynt concludes his figurative call to arms. "It is between the average American and the ruling class. If we come together on this single issue, everything else will resolve itself. It's time we took back our government from those who would make us their slaves."
And hey, even Family Research Council is against slavery! (Isn't it?)