September 5, 2009

IT'S A SIMPLE ENOUGH COMPROMISE...:

Corporate free speech? Since when? (Jim Sleeper, September 5, 2009, Boston Globe)

Yes, “robust speech’’ must be protected even if it’s obnoxious, but no corporation - unless it’s a news-media company, whose business is to facilitate free speech - can be the kind of speaker or citizen the First Amendment’s framers intended to protect.

The Obama administration will defend the restraints on the grounds that corporations are different from individuals. “Corporations are artificial persons endowed by the government with significant special advantages that no natural person possesses,’’ solicitor general (and former Harvard Law School dean) Elena Kagan has written.

She’s right, because a publicly traded business corporation, driven to maximize profits by market competition and its own charter, can’t rise above that mission any more than it can dance nude. Corporations aren’t “voluntary associations’’ with republican intentions, as Justice Antonin Scalia claims; in a civic sense, they’re mindless, because their shareholders change with every stock-price fluctuation.

Even a “nonprofit’’ corporation like Citizens United doesn’t deliberate openly with Americans as fellow citizens; it exists only to advance a business agenda in politics and is closed to persuasion.


If corporations want to claim the rights of individuals then they can forsake all of the legal and tax advantages of corporations and accept the responsibilities of individuals. Any takers? Thought not....

Posted by Orrin Judd at September 5, 2009 8:34 AM
blog comments powered by Disqus
« THE PRESIDENT CAN GIVE US A MASSIVE INCREASE IN DEMAND WITH JUST THE STROKE OF A PEN: | Main | WE ARE ALL TRANSNATIONALIST ON SOME QUESTION OR ANOTHER: »