Another Corporate Nightmare

I guess I’m addressing the Supreme Court decision about Hobby Lobby a little late in the game, but hey, I’ve been away from my computer for a while. Besides, I think I already covered it pretty well back in March. One point I didn’t really bring up there but that I have seen elsewhere is that Hobby Lobby was ALREADY allowed to not cover birth control. In fact, they didn’t have to cover ANY medical care; they just wouldn’t get the tax break that comes with such coverage. It’s sort of similar to the segregation cases that led to the creation of the Religious Right. These people want to have their hate and eat it too. So why is the Supreme Court letting them? Well, it seems like the government is pretty much entirely under the control of corporate interests these days. Remember, like Mitt Romney said, “Corporations are people too, my friend.” It’s obvious he was full of crap, since the guy he was addressing was clearly not his friend. And you’ll notice it only seems to be brought up when it’s beneficial to the corporation.

I haven’t done a lot of research on the topic, but I did look this up last night, and it looks like corporate personhood arose from the idea that corporations could be treated as people for the purposes of contracts, as any organization can. But if corporations are people, doesn’t that mean they only have religious freedom as long as it doesn’t interfere with that of others, such as their employees? So are corporations MORE important than people? Of course, the corporations are run by people, so aren’t we giving those people extra rights? Well, this IS the same Supreme Court that said money is speech, hence essentially saying that rich people have more First Amendment rights than anyone else. I guess they already sort of did, since someone with a lot of money could buy their own newspaper or television station, but now it’s even more blatant.

Trying to disguise a desire to pay less taxes and discriminate against women as a religious issue is pretty sleazy anyway, as is claiming that certain drugs cause abortions when they don’t. It’s a long-standing tradition that religious beliefs don’t have to conform to facts, but it all adds up to a very lazy case. Mind you, I think corporatism might BE a religion these days, when people talk about “the market” as if it’s some all-powerful entity to which we are all subject instead of something we made up.

I’ve seen a lot of people saying they won’t shop at Hobby Lobby. I won’t either, but that’s not exactly saying anything, since I’ve never even been near one as far as I know. I haven’t been eating at Chick-fil-A even though I think their food is really good. I’m probably not making any particular difference, but I would feel guilty if I did eat there. I guess I feel that there needs to be some sort of organized movement against bigoted companies like those, because a few people aren’t going to make much difference, but a whole lot of them could.

I also have to wonder how many companies there are that have policies just as disturbing, but haven’t been in the public eye. Maybe we should be glad that some companies are coming right out and SAYING they’re evil, because at least they’re honest. I think in some ways it’s a case where I don’t like that they think they can make bigoted statements and get away with it. Even if they’re right, I want them to get their comeuppance. That also applies to corporations that more or less do the opposite, and pretend they’re nice and friendly. When it came out that Apple was utilizing Chinese sweatshops and making homophobic decisions on what applications they’d allow on their products, it isn’t like they were the only corporation to do things like that. But I think the fact that they presented themselves as counterculture hippies trying to stick it to The Man makes it seem somewhat worse that they actually ARE The Man. Not exactly the same but worth mentioning is how Whole Foods seems to want to attract left-wingers, yet its CEO came out against universal health care. How do you like them organically-grown apples, hippies? I don’t know. I wouldn’t say I’m inherently opposed to the idea of incorporation, but corporatism is kind of a convenient shorthand for how society is not only skewed toward the wealthy, but also pretends that this is somehow moral.

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5 Responses to Another Corporate Nightmare

  1. Joe says:

    I couldn’t agree more.

    The United States has expanded from a covert imperial oligarchy, a military-industrial-media complex (already long in place before Eisenhower gave his speech warning about it) to an overt corporatocracy that can readily be defined as an evil empire, if not simply a sociopathic one. Yet, the middle-class continue to turn a blind-eye, while a bogus war between the extreme left and right is perpetuated by lunatics and shills within the media who holler and scream from whatever platform they can steal, borrow and buy as a way of distracting from the reality that both sides are marching to the beat of the same drummer, and the song that keeps playing is destruction for profit.

    I have strong doubts that we can change the world, but we can change how we live our lives, both in terms of what we support financially, and by simply taking responsibility for how we choose to live. Add to that the power of boycotts, petitions, demonstrations, all part and parcel of a growing movement of nonviolent resistance, revolution and civil disobedience. Battles small and large have been won that way, and at the very least, we know we’re on the side that’s fighting for good.

  2. Onib says:

    I agree as well. On the topic of personhood for companies, my biggest complaint is the unfair way in which it is applied. Corporations get every benefit of being a person, but none of the downsides. When a corporation can be put to death for knowingly murdering people or can be sent to jail (or at least preventing from selling or buying any product or service for several years), then I will accept corporations as persons. Until then, I’ll continue to believe that the idea is a scam to ignore any law they choose not to follow.

  3. caelesti says:

    Great analysis- and cartoon collection! I don’t particularly feel like celebrating independence day this year (will be working anyway) I’m thinking of donating money to or joining some organization that supports civil liberties/separation of church & state. The problem is, the strategy of these groups (like the ACLU) tends to be to challenging cases thru the courts, and if the Supreme Court doesn’t really stand for the rights of ordinary people it seems like the only tool we have left is public opinion against these companies. I don’t think boycotts in general are especially effective strategy- I think pressure from current consumers on the company works better. There was also another recent Supreme Court case that ruled having a “buffer zone” around abortion clinics where protesters are not allowed to go is unconstitutional. There’s actually one not far from my house. (I suspect the unemployment helps them keep them supplied with protesters) Hmm, maybe that’s what I’ll do- volunteer as a clinic escort.

    • Nathan says:

      I’m also going to be working on the Fourth, and at night too, so I can’t see fireworks even if I wanted to. Actually, it’s apparently supposed to rain, so maybe nobody in my area will.

      If the Supreme Court is supposed to be the ultimate arbiter of what’s constitutional and hence legal and they’re in the pocket of big business, it does rather put a damper on things. I agree that pressure from current consumers is probably the best option, because even if the law doesn’t take the side of the people who aren’t filthy rich, economic pressure remains viable. It would have to be a LOT of pressure, though, which is what I’m getting at with the organization thing. Unfortunately, as anyone who’s seen my room can testify, organization is not one of my strong points.

      I usually find the cartoons by searching for a particular phrase on Google and seeing what comes up. Sometimes they’re not directly relevant to the point I’m making, but I use them anyway.

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