The Absurdity of Corporate Personhood
My wife thinks I am crazy. I know many men can make this claim; however, I get called crazy quite often. According to my wife, one of the craziest things I do is I treat our dog as a person. I constantly hear my wife yelling “Rich, Audrey is not a person”, my response, which is quite odd but makes me laugh (and that’s all that matters at times) is “If Conservatives want to believe the store we got her from is a person, why can’t I think she is a person as well.”
My wife and I got our little dachshund at Pets Plus; a business, not a person. The salesperson who rang up the purchase was a person; hence the combination of the word sales and person. Furthermore, the breeder who owned the puppy mill that Audrey unfortunately came from was a person (even though I don’t consider someone who runs a puppy mill a person, but that’s a different discussion); the puppy mill however is not a person. We can continue with this line of absurd reasoning by stating that the clerk who cleaned the cages, those who stock the shelves and the manager who operated the store were people. When people work together in a business it doesn’t create a new person represented by the business. I might not possess the philosophical, nor psychological know how to dissect the lunacy of corporate personhood, yet where the intelligence falls short the sarcasm kicks in. In the following examples, I will attempt to use my sense of humor, frustration and sheer sarcasm to show the absurdity of the notion of Corporate Personhood. I have named this process Carlinisms, after one of my favorite sayings from the late George Carlin “These are the thoughts that kept me out of the really good schools.”
First, if a corporation is a person, how can another person legally own a corporation? The Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution of the United States clearly states “neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction” If a person cannot legally be owned by another person and a corporation is a person, how can a person own a corporation. Even if you would say shareholders own the corporation and the CEO is just in charge, that argument would just mean a group of people own a person and people cannot be property. If you examine the absurdity of the notion of Corporate Personhood, you come to the same conclusion that I have and that conclusion is that the Koch Brothers and the Walton family are 21st century slaveholders. They hold the Corporate Person in bondage and this reinstitution of slavery must be abolished. I for one hope we do not have to see another civil war to free the corporations, or South Carolina secede from the union to defend the states right to own a corporate person .
Second, if a corporation is a person, can a corporation vote? We all know that through the Citizens United vs FEC decision, five of our wise unelected kings of the bench have declared corporations can buy elections, but if a corporation is a person, should corporations be allowed to vote. The 15th, 19th, 24th and 26th amendments expand the franchise to all citizens eighteen years or older, regardless of race, color, creed, or ability to pay a poll tax. Furthermore, the 14th Amendment states in the first section: “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside” Walmart (which is an example I will use quite often) was founded (or born) in the state of Arkansas and incorporated in 1969. If the Corporate Person which is Walmart, was born in Arkansas in 1969, should Walmart have been allowed to cast a vote in every election following 1987. How can we allow corporations like Walmart to be disenfranchised? They are technically as much of a natural born U.S. Citizen as I am. Hell, if you really think of it on their 25th birthday Walmart could have run for the house, 30th the Senate and since Walmart was born in the United States, Walmart could have ran for Presidency following their 35th birthday. The more you dissect this absurdity of Corporate Personhood, the more your head starts to hurt.
Finally, we will reach my third question. I could go on all day and night, but this absurdity must at some point come to an end. If a corporation is a person, could a corporate merger constitute a marriage? Conservatives rail on the sanctity of marriage, even the three time married (one resulting from the adultery from another marriage) Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich claims to defend this sacred institution from encroachment. How many times have we heard that same-sex marriage will destroy the institution of marriage, or even the family dynamic? However, what if two corporations, which represented the same sector of industry, merged. AT&T and T-Mobile are telecommunication industries. If they merge, that would constitute a same-industry marriage and that drives to the heart of all that is evil according to some fright wing evangelists in Mississippi. How can we continue to allow same-industry Corporate Person mergers to continue their assault on the institution of marriage? I would like to say that if AT&T and let’s say General Motors merged, that according to conservative reasoning it would be quite acceptable.
I fear I have wasted the past hour of my life, one hour that I will never regain in this pursuit of the absurdity of the Corporatist claim of Corporate Personhood. However, I hope by sharing these thoughts, that kept me out of the really good schools and led me to an unfortunate unwanted career so far in corrections have allowed you to see a glimpse of the absurd arguments that can be made in defense of Corporate Personhood. I could have continued further and discussed if Walmart could be drafted into military service, incarcerated for a crime, or my favorite accept Christ as their savior. I mean could one say that Christ died for the sins of Walmart as well. The more absurd the claims get, the more you see the joke that is Corporate Personhood.