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Bad Day for Democracy January 21, 2010

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, politics.
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For anyone who takes democracy seriously, today was not a good day. It looks like health care reform is dead for now, held hostage by a minority of 41 Senators who see fit to abuse Senate rules to prevent majority rule.

And the Supreme Court in a 5-4 ruling held that restrictions placed on corporate campaign contributions are unconstitutional. Corporate influence on campaigns, already substantial, will now know no limits. Politicians will be wholly owned subsidiaries of Big Pharma, Big Banks, and Big Oil.

The ruling is philosophically absurd. Justice Kennedy, writing for the majority, claimed that restrictions on campaign donations by corporations is a unconstitutional abridgement of their freedom of speech.

But corporations are not persons. Human beings have rights such as freedom of speech because we have desires, thoughts, and the self-awareness to care about their expression. Rocks, coffee cups, and footballs don’t—and neither do  corporations. The nonsense about corporations being persons is a legal fiction devised solely for economic purposes in the late 19th Century, primarily to shield individuals from liability.The individuals who own and work for corporations already have free speech rights. The Supreme Court’s interpretation effectively grants corporate speakers extra rights both as citizens and as corporations.

Corporations were created by the government—why can they not be regulated by the government?

book-section-book-cover2 Dwight Furrow is author of

Reviving the Left: The Need to Restore Liberal Values in America

For political commentary by Dwight Furrow visit: www.revivingliberalism.com



1. locomotivebreath1901 - January 23, 2010

“Corporations were created by the government—why can they not be regulated by the government?”

Untrue on both accounts. A corporation is a legal fiction that is granted a charter by the state, not the federal govt. A corporation is comprised of individuals working for a common cause – much like a union. Those individuals all have first amendment rights.

And corporations are regulated by the government. Law libraries are full of regulations and laws aimed at corporations. But, bad laws, like the one struck down by SCOTUS which inhibits first amendment rights, deserve to be abolished.

Any liberty loving citizen should champion this ruling.

2. Paul J. Moloney - January 24, 2010

I have to wonder what buying votes have to do with the freedom of speech. Those who buy votes do not even express the opinion that they have the right to buy votes, even though they have the freedom of speech to do so. If they expressed such an opinion, their opinion would be seen for what it really is. Those who belong to big corporations seem to give the indication that they are people who cannot think for themselves; this is why such people do not take individual responsibility. They blame the corporation that did their thinking for them, as if any corporation could think for itself. Those whose vote can be bought are also people who cannot think for themselves. When people who manage the country cannot think for themselves, the country is in trouble.

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