So it looks like Pinocchio is slowly but surely becoming a real boy. But unlike Pinocchio, corporations don’t have tell-tale signs of lying, and most definitely don’t have a conscience, in the form of a cricket or otherwise. Instead, corporations are a carefully crafted wooden parasite, carefully winding their way through American government, changing the internal workings ever so slightly, so the rest of the public body has no idea what’s happening. But like any plan, occasional parts are forward and obvious, and this little parasite has relied on the simple lack of care of the American people… and succeeded.
A few weeks ago, the American Supreme Court over turned an older ruling that limited the amount that corporations could spend on political campaigns. This decision was hailed as an advance for free speech by some, and the authorization for corporations to buy elections by others. Off the bat, the reasoning for the previous ruling was over-turned is garbage. In addition to legal jargon, part of the reason given (I believe by Alito) was that the previous decision was not unanimous, thus meriting a repeal until the decision can be reviewed. If that’s valid reason to review, why hasn’t Alito reviewed other landmark cases that redefined rights, such as Dread Scott v Sandford? Do non-whites really need rights? Perhaps Plessy v. Ferguson? Bah to the fourteenth amendment! The notion that all Supreme Court cases should be unanimous is ridiculous. It undermines the very idea of America being a democracy.
Regardless of this grave injustice, America continues as if nothing has happened. Even with the background chatter of action overturn what many if not most people agree was a bad call, on both sides of the political field, there has been no movement to do so. And the longer this ruling stays in place, the closer we get to an America run openly by corporations rather then the more subtly run government we have now, through lobbies.
An interesting point here is that many people on the right, where the majority of support for this decision comes from, feel that government control is intrusive but welcome corporate control. Even if not openly, I often find that people leaning right argue with government spending/programs/etc (at least those that don’t help them directly), but have no issue with stuff like cable company monopolies, ISP limit rates, food company take overs. These things are just the invisible hand of the market interfering with our lives, thus ok. But representatives we selected making those same decisions or instating those sort of controls, and suddenly the forefathers are turning in their graves. And sadly, those on the right get screwed by the market just as much as the rest of us, but can never seem to accept it, thus leading it to repeat.
But in the end, how can anyone justify corporations being people, and having the same rights as people? I think The Daily Kos said it best, with satire: Give Corporations More Rights! Giving corporations rights as people is just a convenient way to bypass making sensible laws. After all, if corporations are people, they are obviously second class citizens. If we’re making them people, why not given them other rights? Also, why aren’t other collections of people also people? I’m trying to come up with an example, but its all so foolish, I can’t even think of one worth putting down.
Simply put: corporations are not people. There’s no good reason why they should be treated as such. When people say corporations freedom of speech is restricted by laws like the one that prevented them from spending without limit on campaigns, but I have to ask, who’s rights are limited? The people within corporations can still freely spend money. Those investing in the company can still freely spend. But instead, by granting corporations the right to spend money freely, millions of dollars earned by dozens if not hundreds if not thousands of people will be spent by a small enclave, who will only help campaigns that make sure they maintain the power. People don’t invest in medical companies to help a pro-life politician get into office; they invest in a company to either make money or because they believe in what the company does. But if that politician’s economic policies help that company avoid regulations or simply help the board stay in power, why would the board not put funds towards the campaign? Why should a board of businessmen make political decisions with other people’s money? Why is it ok for a business to interfere with politics, but wrong for government to regulate business?
In the end, this is another step along the path to corporatocracy. It is a long series of problems, rooted in the ever-growing lack of care to know the facts but desire to criticize the results. It’d be an interesting day if people started to apply the values they hold dear to outside their household. And while we should continue to strive for the rights that keep us free, we shouldn’t be so eager to sell them to the highest bidder.