Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Fine Print We Just Signed Has Nullified Our Legal Rights

A very disturbing article in the New York Times explains how corporations have nullified our legal rights. It's all there in the fine print at the bottom of the agreement we just signed.

I can’t decide if this is Orwellian or Kafkaesque. Maybe it’s both.

Why don’t corporations write contractual language saying we agree to allow them to commit crimes against us? If it’s written into a contract’s fine print which we must sign to complete a purchase of something we need, I guess the corporation whose product we need owns us body and soul. They can do with us as they wish.

If something is in a contract we sign is it automatically legal? Can a lawyer legalize murder in a properly written contract? Can a contract absolve a company of all responsibility for its deeds or its products? Apparently. There are arbitrators, but arbitrators need the corporations’ business. They are bound to them as firmly as we are, and will do as the corporations wish.

Our grandparents used to say “they have you over a barrel.” You’re helpless to resist. You can’t say No. You can’t fight it. Surrender. Give up. Give in. The contractual language of everyday life has put us over a barrel.

Somewhere in the fine print our corporate masters have nullified our legal rights. They have deleted their legal responsibilities for anything that might happen, for anything they might do. They have blocked our access to the justice system forever, nullifying one of the three branches of our constitutional government, at least as far as ordinary citizens are concerned.

How can this possibly be legal?

The point is, it’s not for us to say what is legal. We are nobodies. Our legal rights were suspended when we signed the agreement on our last online purchase.

If the document said we were now the legal property of the lawyer who wrote the fine print would we even know?

(One step toward removing arbitration clauses from consumer agreements.)

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