A year ago, the Supreme Court declared, in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission, that corporations are people, with first amendment rights. The founding fathers must have turned over in their graves.
Fortunately, some of our legislators disagree. Altogether, five constitutional amendments have been introduced to negate the notion. Bills have been introduced in the Senate, by independent Bernie Sanders from Vermont, and in the House, by Ted Deutch, of Florida, which seek to prohibit corporations from influencing elections on federal, state and local levels. The bills would stipulate that corporations are not people. It’s about time.
I’ve had a grudge against corporations since I saw the documentary, The Corporation, made in 2003. Not that I loved them before that. The film, which hasn’t lost a smidgeon of relevance since it was made, features corporate insiders and critics, discussing notions of morality and corporations. Even the insiders agreed that corporations have no morals. Milton Friedman said, “Asking a corporation to be socially responsible makes no more sense than asking a building to be.”
The film documents countless instances of harm, often deliberate and calculated, done to all who inhabit the planet. I suggest that it be required viewing for all of the corporate believers out there. It’s free on the website, along with transcripts and resources.
The aspect of the documentary that most caught my attention attempted to answer the question: What kind of a person is a corporation? The answer: a psychotic. Using a checklist credited to the World Health Organization, and examples of nefarious deeds perpetrated on the public by corporations, the film posits that, if corporations are people, they’re psychotic.
Here’s the Checklist:
* Callous unconcern for the feelings of others
* Incapacity to maintain enduring relationships (corporations always seeking cheaper labor)
* Reckless disregard for the safety of others
* Deceitfulness. Repeated lying, and conning others for profit
* Incapacity to experience guilt
* Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors
Come to think of it, many of the current legislators, informed by ALEC, exhibit the same behaviors. Do we want psychotics calling the shots?