View Poll Results: Should Corproations have "personhood" rights?

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  • Yes, corporations are just like a person

    18 18.18%
  • No, corporations are not just like a person

    81 81.82%
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Thread: Corporate Personhood

  1. #161
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by misterman View Post
    I know a few humans who aren't like that though. I know a few who have no compassion and only care about profit. Should we take away their freedom of speech based on that?
    Well, such people are called "sociopaths" and they make up only about 3% of the population. Many of them do end up losing their rights because they break the law. But no, I wouldn't take away the rights of citizens from actual citizens, except for cause. On the other hand, I wouldn't create a whole new class of citizens, all of whom I know to be sociopaths.
    Listen to what you're saying - you are putting conditions on rights. You're saying freedom of speech should be taken away based on what is said, or who is saying it. That's scary.
    Not at all. No one is losing their free speech rights. All the stockholders and employees would continue, free to express themselves. The profit-making enterprise wouldn't, and it shouldn't because...wait for it...corporations are not people.

  2. #162
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    Oh, come now. You can't believe your own signature and say that. Humans have compassion, they care about the future of their children, they have lots of motivations beyond profit. Corporations look after only one thing, and rarely care what happens more than about 60 months in the future.
    Profit comes in many forms, not just money. You think that people who volunteer don't get any profit? All voluntary trades involve profit for both sides. Even people who donate their money to the poor profit from the transaction. They valued the good that that money would do for the poor more than the good that it would have done in their hands. As such, my quote does not contradict my signature.

    Actually, many of them (employees) can't. Most shareholders keep their stakes through mutual funds and pension plans and may not even know what are the profit interests of their own holdings. As for management, there are lots of corporate managers who take actions they personally find distasteful but that they do because their training as businesspeople requires it.
    So what? Ultimately people still choose to do these things.

    Take, for example, some environmental legislation. Let's say that it's not trivial--that it involves protections that most of us would want. Yet most legislation of this kind adversely affects the bottom line of some businesses. Those businesses, if they are corporations, will act in defense of their bottom line no matter how dangerous the individuals running the corporation consider it. If it's possible to obfuscate the issue to convince people otherwise (unfortunately, not that hard to do), a corporation has an OBLIGATION to do so. This does not make it immoral; corporations are amoral.
    Environmental legislation? It's a non-issue. If property rights were respected the companies would have to do something about the pollution that they create.

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  3. #163
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    GM can not give you money, a person must do so.
    I do not believe in corporations as persons because they are not.
    Sole owners or a group of owners can contract you but a corporation can not do so.
    They still must make that choice as individuals.

    Anthropomorphism for the win!
    It doesn't matter whether the corporation is a person, because the free speech clause is not limited to persons.

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press
    Even so, let's pretend that you're right that it has to come from a person. GM hires my friend Joe as a political consultant, giving him $25 million/year to do whatever he thinks would help the company's political position. He uses that $25 million to make a whole bunch of ads supporting candidates that he thinks will help GM.

    In that case, there are only individuals making decisions. Is that okay?

    Communal ownerships does not give groups free speech, the individuals of a group have free speech.
    Banning a church would be banning the individuals who practice as they wish.
    This is not a logically defensible distinction. You agree that if the government tried to prevent a church from doing things to advance its cause, it would run into constitutional issues. How then can you argue that banning a corporation from doing the same would not?

    Using your logic, a law prohibiting the Catholic church from practicing its religion freely does not impose any burden directly on individuals, so it would not be problematic. To take your words from earlier, why couldn't the government say "The Catholic church cannot pay priests, an individual must do so. The Catholic church is not an individual, so it has no rights. Sole owners or a group of owners can hire priests, but the Catholic church cannot do so."

    That's exactly what you said would apply to corporations, but I think we can all agree that if the government tried to say this, we would consider it an infringement on religion.

    No such right to exists because groups are not a person.
    And the relevant portions of the first amendment are not limited to persons, so I don't know why you keep on repeating this.

    Large groups have been shown to make poor decisions in some circumstances and it really isn't all that beneficial as the leaders of such groups become entrenched in gaining more than the group originally wanted or changing the direction with the group following out of herd type behavior.

    Groupthink - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Herd behavior - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
    Which has what to do with anything? You don't get to abrogate a constitutional right simply because you're mistakenly applying an irrelevant sociological principle.

    Again it violates the core principal of a republic, majority rule but not at the expense of the minority.
    No, what violated the principle of "majority rule but not at the expense of the minority" was the unconstitutional law passed by a majority that infringed on the free speech of public interest groups, unions, and corporations. Thankfully, that's been fixed.
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  4. #164
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    It doesn't matter whether the corporation is a person, because the free speech clause is not limited to persons.
    "First 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States, adopted as a group in 1791. They are a collection of guarantees of individual rights and of limitations on federal and state governments that derived from popular dissatisfaction with the limited guarantees of the Constitution."

    United States Bill of R...: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from Answers.com

    Come on man, you should know this already.
    Individuals can only be persons.

    A corporation is not an individual or person.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Even so, let's pretend that you're right that it has to come from a person. GM hires my friend Joe as a political consultant, giving him $25 million/year to do whatever he thinks would help the company's political position. He uses that $25 million to make a whole bunch of ads supporting candidates that he thinks will help GM.

    In that case, there are only individuals making decisions. Is that okay?
    GM can not hire anyone, only someone working for the business can.
    But that is completely fine with me.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    This is not a logically defensible distinction. You agree that if the government tried to prevent a church from doing things to advance its cause, it would run into constitutional issues. How then can you argue that banning a corporation from doing the same would not?

    Using your logic, a law prohibiting the Catholic church from practicing its religion freely does not impose any burden directly on individuals, so it would not be problematic. To take your words from earlier, why couldn't the government say "The Catholic church cannot pay priests, an individual must do so. The Catholic church is not an individual, so it has no rights. Sole owners or a group of owners can hire priests, but the Catholic church cannot do so."

    That's exactly what you said would apply to corporations, but I think we can all agree that if the government tried to say this, we would consider it an infringement on religion.
    If the people who own(or want to own), a church, are prevented from establishing the church, it violates their individual rights of freedom of religion.

    They, on an individual basis, are being prevented from practicing their religion.
    They church is not inferred rights of people because it can not logically exercise any rights, it is not human nor is it living.

    Similarly the GM owners can establish their business but the business itself has no rights, only the owners do.
    The owners can donate money in anyway that they wish but the business itself cannot, it is illogical because businesses are not living entities.


    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    And the relevant portions of the first amendment are not limited to persons, so I don't know why you keep on repeating this.
    Because the first 8 amendments of the Bill of Rights is meant for individuals, not for non people.

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Which has what to do with anything? You don't get to abrogate a constitutional right simply because you're mistakenly applying an irrelevant sociological principle.
    You said, "The existence of that corporation makes their speech simpler and more beneficial" but it doesn't always work like how you say.


    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    No, what violated the principle of "majority rule but not at the expense of the minority" was the unconstitutional law passed by a majority that infringed on the free speech of public interest groups, unions, and corporations. Thankfully, that's been fixed.
    I don't care about whether or not the law was passed, repealed or thrown out.
    This is a discussion about corporate personhood and how illogical that is.

    The fact of the matter is that these groups have undue sway over policy at the expense of an individual that is not part of a group.
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  5. #165
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Harry Guerrilla View Post
    "First 10 amendments to the Constitution of the United States, adopted as a group in 1791. They are a collection of guarantees of individual rights and of limitations on federal and state governments that derived from popular dissatisfaction with the limited guarantees of the Constitution."

    United States Bill of R...: West's Encyclopedia of American Law (Full Article) from Answers.com

    Come on man, you should know this already.
    Individuals can only be persons.

    A corporation is not an individual or person.
    I don't really know what else to say, because you're simply wrong on this. A quote from a layman's explanation of what the Bill of Rights supposedly means does not trump the actual text of the Constitution and years of jurisprudence. The first amendment applies to more than just individuals. If you don't want to take my word for it, take the Supreme Court's:

    (b) The Court has recognized that the First Amendment applies to corporations, e.g., First Nat. Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, 435 U. S. 765, 778, n. 14, and extended this protection to the context of political speech, see, e.g., NAACP v. Button, 371 U. S. 415, 428-429.
    From First Nat Bank v. Bellotti:


    There is no support in the First or Fourteenth Amendment, or in this Court's decisions, for the proposition that such speech loses the protection otherwise afforded it by the First Amendment simply because its source is a corporation...
    As the Court said in Mills v. Alabama, 384 U.S. 214, 218 (1966), "there is practically universal agreement that a major purpose of [the First] Amendment was to protect the free discussion of governmental affairs." If the speakers here were not corporations, no one would suggest that the State could silence their proposed speech. It is the type of speech indispensable to decisionmaking in a democracy, and this is no less true because the speech comes from a corporation rather than an individual. The inherent worth of the speech in terms of its capacity for informing the public does not depend upon the identity of its source, whether corporation, association, union, or individual.
    This is well settled law.

    GM can not hire anyone, only someone working for the business can.
    But that is completely fine with me.
    Where are you getting this from?


    If the people who own(or want to own), a church, are prevented from establishing the church, it violates their individual rights of freedom of religion.

    They, on an individual basis, are being prevented from practicing their religion.
    They church is not inferred rights of people because it can not logically exercise any rights, it is not human nor is it living.

    Similarly the GM owners can establish their business but the business itself has no rights, only the owners do.
    The owners can donate money in anyway that they wish but the business itself cannot, it is illogical because businesses are not living entities.
    Again, this doesn't make any sense. The Catholic church is the one paying the salaries of priests. If government passed a law forbidding the expenditure of money on priests, that would be analogous to government passing a law forbidding corporations to spend money on advertising. Using your framework, because neither one is technically a person, they have no rights and those laws would be fine. If you want to say that the individual members of the catholic church are having their freedom of religion infringed by such a law, then you would have to say that the individual members of a corporation would be having their freedom of speech infringed by such a law.

    Because the first 8 amendments of the Bill of Rights is meant for individuals, not for non people.
    And as explained above, this is incorrect.

    You said, "The existence of that corporation makes their speech simpler and more beneficial" but it doesn't always work like how you say.
    So your theory is that because you think it would be inefficient, that somehow means they shouldn't be allowed to do it?
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  6. #166
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Rassales View Post
    Well, such people are called "sociopaths" and they make up only about 3% of the population. Many of them do end up losing their rights because they break the law.
    But some go on to become businessmen and Republicans.

    But no, I wouldn't take away the rights of citizens from actual citizens, except for cause. On the other hand, I wouldn't create a whole new class of citizens, all of whom I know to be sociopaths.
    The point is that you want to decide what is good speech and bad speech, and that's blatantly forbidden by the 1st.

    Not at all. No one is losing their free speech rights. All the stockholders and employees would continue, free to express themselves. The profit-making enterprise wouldn't, and it shouldn't because...wait for it...corporations are not people.
    You could say the same thing about newspapers. They aren't people either. How do you reconcile that?

  7. #167
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by misterman View Post
    The point is that you want to decide what is good speech and bad speech, and that's blatantly forbidden by the 1st.
    Actually, this argument has nothing to do with the content of speech--we have said nothing about that at all. It's about granting yet another aspect of personhood to corporations. Since there is no corporation that has no actual persons associated with it, no person's speech would be forbidden.
    You could say the same thing about newspapers. They aren't people either. How do you reconcile that?
    I actually spoke to this question in post #115.

  8. #168
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by RightinNYC View Post
    Why? Why makes the first ones okay but the last one improper? They all involve the expenditure of money in order to support a candidate.
    I support people being able to devote a certain amount of money to a campaign, so I have no problem of people giving food to people while they talk about a candidate.

    Spending money on chips is very inexpensive, so that would be under the amount of money that people could donate to a politician.

    But of course, I would be against someone giving lobster to people so they would see them talk about a candidate that they support. (assuming that the food costs thousands of dollars though)

    As I said before, people and corporations can contribute money to a campaign, but there needs to be limits on that contributions.


    If you and your friends each want to give 1000 to a campaign that is fine, but I am against a corporation or labor union giving 1 million dollars to a campaign. If the corporation or labor union wants to give $1000, then that is fine thoug


    Quote Originally Posted by misterman View Post
    So? That's democracy. If you don't like the way people vote, you can't just declare that they can't hear certain messages you don't like them to hear.



    The Supreme Court's decision has absolutely nothing to do with campaign contributions. The current prohibition on corporations (and unions) giving contributions to political campaigns from their treasuries is intact.
    Advertisements by a corporation supporting a candidate accomplishes the same thing as political contributions, so when I am talking about my ideal policies, I take them to be the same thing.

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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by phattonez View Post
    Profit comes in many forms, not just money. You think that people who volunteer don't get any profit? All voluntary trades involve profit for both sides. Even people who donate their money to the poor profit from the transaction. They valued the good that that money would do for the poor more than the good that it would have done in their hands. As such, my quote does not contradict my signature.
    That's a rather deceptive way to define profit, and wholly different from the word's ordinary meaning. To paraphrase Lincoln, calling a dog's tail a leg doesn't make it one.
    Environmental legislation? It's a non-issue. If property rights were respected the companies would have to do something about the pollution that they create.
    Until your ideal world comes to pass, you can't act as if it has.

  10. #170
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    Re: Corporate Personhood

    Quote Originally Posted by Dezaad View Post
    You're saying that:

    Newspapers should have freedom of the press applied to them, even when they are corporations. Since some are corporations, the principle must be applied to all corporations.

    I am responding:

    Maybe they shouldn't be allowed to be corporations. If we decide that newspapers cannot be, then it pokes a hole in your notion that corporations ought to be free to speak under the first amendment simply because some newspapers are corporations.
    It does not change the fact that right now, they ARE corporations, and you and others are arguing that right now, the Bill of Rights doesn't apply to corporations.

    So, yes or no -- does the First Amendment cover the New York Times right now? Not should/shouldn't. Yes or no?
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