Beware the Leviathan
On this date in 1882, The Wasp, a San Francisco based satirical magazine, published perhaps its most famous cartoon, G. Frederick Keller’s “The Curse of California,” a commentary on the reach of the railroad monopoly. Keller’s depiction showed industry control over Nob Hill elites, farmers, lumber, shipping, agriculture and mining interests.
As we grapple with overreach by another industry ¾hello Google ¾its sometimes helpful to remember that we’ve been here before. The era of unfettered capitalism symbolized by Keller’s eight-legged monster soon met its reckoning when confronted with an amalgam of scientists, Christian activists and many others concerned for the health of society. Seeking to improve people’s lives by making all aspects of society more efficient and egalitarian, Americans founded reform movements and community organizations supportive of industry regulation and citizen’s rights. Ultimately an entire period of American history would be named after them ¾the Progressive Era.
History does not repeat itself. But we simple humans have a strange if rational way of responding to challenges with the same methodology in any century. Sometimes we don’t even change the labels!
Know your rights. Stand up to the railroad. And call The Bruce Law Firm before you meet the leviathan.