In “Big Government is watching you” (Op-ed, May 19) Tom Keane ignores the most intrusive power that has grown in our world: multinational corporations that track our purchasing, Web searches, and very thoughts, and seek to manipulate not only what we buy and desire but what we think about issues facing our democracy. Consider, for example, the front-page story in the same edition, “A robust market for attacks and half-truths.”
The Founding Fathers who fought for our independence were suspicious not only of the centralized authority of the monarchy but also of corporations such as the trade-controlling East India Company. Their worst fears came true when huge, greedy, unfettered corporations crashed our economy in 1929, and more recently in 2008.
We developed “big government” New Deal and Great Society programs to help the many destitute people left behind by corporate greed. We developed regulations to protect citizens from makers of harmful products, prevent our air and water from being fouled by pollution, and keep workplaces free from exploitation and workers safe from being maimed.
But now the big private money-makers seem to have captured our democracy. Whose absolute power should we fear the most?