Opinion: Gas pipeline project review definted as ‘capitOlism”

Regarding the Public Service Board meeting in Middlebury on June 12:
I am today introducing a new word to the vocabulary of this dialogue: “capitOlism.”
Capitolism is the process and condition whereby agencies of government, whether representing the national Capitol and government or state Capitol and government are united as one with the agents of capital and commerce.
These government agencies and agents — facilitators of unlimited economic and environmental encroachments — are typically appointed by someone in power. They officially represent no one and are accountable to no one.
When it comes to the actual implementation and enforcement of our founding principles, our laws and our visions for the future, we are rendered absolutely powerless by these unelected, unaccountable, unrepresentative agencies.
Rather than guardians of the public good, for which they are designated, they become facilitators of unlimited economic and environmental encroachments, now with the blessings of the Supreme Court in the Citizens United ruling. We have officially moved from “one citizen, one vote,” to “one dollar, one vote.”
From the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, the EPA, countless banking and commerce agencies, to the Public Service Board: You have unlimited power to facilitate the destruction of what defines Vermont. First it was the destruction of the Green Mountains, the very defining soul of Vermont. Now you are facilitating the encroachment of a foreign enterprise conveying, through our state, the product of a process banned in Vermont for its intrinsic severe health and environmental hazard and delivering that product to an enterprise in another state, and certifying that this is for the public good of Vermont.
But ultimately, this is not simply about running a pipe through someone’s back yard in Shoreham or Cornwall. This is about control of our destiny and our quality of life.
We are gathered here today, not simply to halt an absolutely intolerable violation of the sovereignty and dignity of the good citizens of Vermont. We are here to declare today that any law or the interpretation and application of any law that violates the founding principles of this great republic of Vermont, and these United States, shall not be tolerated. Any agency facilitating the perversion of our principles shall be disbanded or reduced to simple advisory function. We, all here today, have a moral responsibility to honor the principles and preserve the achievements that our fathers so nobly fought and paid for, including the cultural and moral landscape, to truly serve the public good.
In 1786, just three years after our independence, this country was facing a virtual collapse of its economy and loss of true sovereignty due to a grossly inadequate body of laws (the Articles of Confederation) and the growing encroachment of foreign capital. As a response, a few enlightened visionaries called for, and I quote, “an end to this national humiliation and imbecility.” A new Constitution was called for with the primary purpose of “regulating commerce and trade.”
Let us once again, in “the Spirit of 86,” reform our relevant laws and the agencies of implementation to once again achieve their proclaimed function of serving the public good, for ourselves and our posterity.
Rustan Swenson

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