Posts Tagged ‘Corporate contributions’

Corporations Are A Person?!

February 20, 2010

Corporations Are A Person?!

I found a reference to a book that I thought would be good for me to read, so I ordered it. It was to be a book that I would take on a cruise through the Panama Canal and Latin America.

The title appeared to be right up my alley: Threshold: The Crisis of Western Culture. As you might know, I am very interested in things that strengthen and weaken the viability of sociocultures.

I was in for a surprise. As I began to read the first sentence of the book the following assaulted my senses:

” The election in 2008 of Barack Obama as president of the United States has already led to dramatic changes in policy and process both within the United States and around the world.” The author was so very happy.

I nearly fell of my chair. The very liberal author, Thom Hartmann, was sitting in my lap and lecturing me about the evils of conservatism!

After a few moments of stunned recovery, I decided to spend some of my vacation with Thom and to read his book cover-to-cover. After all, I am in favor of a “liberal education”. Also, this commitment was in keeping with my desire to be exposed to all of the arguments in areas that are important to my decision-making.

After reading this book, I have concluded that Thom Hartmann is a good and well-intentioned man. His book is worth reading. I was in agreement with many of his facts, but in disagreement with many more of his conclusions based upon those facts.

One major point of agreement is that we both object to a particular Supreme Court ruling. Based upon a 1886 case, the Court asserted that Corporations are entitled to the same voice in Washington as are individual citizens. Thom points out that “Our nation is built upon equal protection of people (regardless of differences in race, creed, gender, or religion), and corporations are much bigger than people, much more able to influence the government, and don’t have the biological needs and weaknesses of people”.

He then explained that corporations, once equal to persons, have claimed the First Amendment Right to free speech. Under this protection and even though they cannot vote as individuals, corporations vote with their money. He points out that they are able to “spend hundreds of millions of dollars in order to influence elections, prevent regulation of their industries, and write or block legislation”.

Without question corporations must be protected from predation and micro-management by our government. But we the people must also be protected from corporation’s power to overshadow our will. Corporations are not people, but they are made up of countless people who already have a vote. Because corporations are comprised of citizens, and citizens can vote and make contributions, a balance of individual and corporate interests have always had representation.

 But, when corporations can overshadow the power of the public, they can stand our political system on its head and gain hegemony over both the body politic and the Nation State.

Current spending on the part of corporations to induce governmental officials to behave in ways that primarily benefit themselves will frequently work against the general welfare of the public. This  remains a major source of corruption in our government.

V. Thomas Mawhinney, Ph.D. 2/20/10

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