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don't want their rights curtailed. But in Countries where corporations
are strictly regulated (Sweden, Germany) social conditions are
How come UNIONS make for higher living standards?
Strong unions result in the opposite of the elites want us to belive?
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Corporations do not deserve treatment as individuals
Issue date: 1/12/10 Section: Opinion
I have recently begun to think about the influence of corporations in America and what should be done about it. A case before the U.S. Supreme Court has stirred questions about corporations' free speech rights.
The New York Times reports legal experts are anticipating a Supreme Court decision which may reduce the scope of campaign finance laws to which corporations are now bound, specifically the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002 championed by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold. It would peel back many restrictions on corporate spending for politically oriented advertisements on the basis of the First Amendment.
As I read over this story a few days ago, I was already primed by Michael Moore to be very worried. During the Christmas break, at the behest of my brother, I watched a 2003 documentary on Hulu (because I'm cheap like that) called "The Corporation," in which Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky and a host of other commentators and former CEOs described the evil which is the corporation.
So many of the themes addressed in the movie have a lot to do with the national debate on the current decision facing the Supreme Court. Before watching the documentary, I had not been totally ignorant of the general debate surrounding corporations. I remember hearing harsh criticisms launched by the likes of Ralph Nader or Ron Paul here or there, but I didn't really understand corporations. Indeed, they are kind of confusing.
The current issue started off as a simple question last year in Citizens United v. The Federal Election Commission, in which the non-profit conservative advocacy group Citizens United held that its anti-Hillary Clinton documentary did not fall under the McCain-Feingold laws. A Los Angeles Times editorial says the case has now turned into "a test of whether restrictions on political speech by corporations should be ended altogether."
The problem was explored back in 2003 with "The Corporation" and has been increasingly surfacing in recent years following controversial rulings in favor of corporate campaign spending led by Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Samuel Alito. The problem is, corporations have historically been treated like individual persons. Therefore, corporations are being given individual freedoms and can increasingly do whatever they want with their money, power and influence, including advancing their power and influence through unrestricted campaign spending.
But corporations are not people. They are sheer money-making machines with absolutely no moral compass. Just because their commercials try to brainwash us into thinking otherwise doesn't make it so. When we take the (false) notion that individual freedom means doing whatever you want despite the consequences and then (falsely) apply that to large corporations, we set ourselves up for disaster.
Matt Watson is a graduate student majoring in Spanish. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org