Who are the true ‘fools’ of April?

Greenwich-Voices-von-KeyserlingIn the 1890’s our “independent” and wise United States Supreme Court bowed to the robber barons and declared that a corporation had all the rights, privileges, and powers of an individual U.S. citizen, except the right to vote (and I suppose get married).

This was a case of declairing, “It is a fact because I say it is a fact.” Since then, almost all of our governmental screw ups and abuse of the “human” citizen rights have stemmed from this declaration from the court. More recently, in another Supreme Court ruling, it declared in the Citizens United case that a corporation has the citizen’s constitutional right to free speech and petition of government because money is speech.

This threw open the doors for the special interest corporate lobbby. Because a corporation was a “person,” it must therefore have the rights of a “person,” even if it is not, in reality, a person.

Because of this , the fools of this April in the esteemed U.S. Supreme Court now have to decide (and probably will) if a corporation now has the right of moral choice. Apparently some “Christian” corporation does not want to provide birth control contraception for its employees as directed by Obamacare (another government say so fact).

The April fool’s joke on all of us is that a corporation does not and is not allowed to have a conscience or moral constraint.

A corporation was formed as a marvelous method of raising the huge amounts of capital investments required to fuel the Industrial and technological revolutions. By law, its only requirement and purpose is to make profits for its stockholders. I have been told that a corporation may not pass up profit because of a moral compunction of its management. Stockholders can sue successfully for any “losses” caused by such a moral alternative.

What passes today for “corporate responsibility” is, in fact, profit making PR and image building, not morality.

Therefore, corporations do not function like or as an individual person. There is no restraint on their enormous concentration of influence on government expenditure and regulation. The law recognises that it alone cannot control society. It is the additional social conscience and group morality which allows a civilized and mutually productive community.

Many corporations even indulge in illegal activities on a cost benefit basis of penalties being cheaper that correcting for compliance. We individuals do not have such alternatives to legal action. An individual may be jailed, never a corporation. It is the law abiding individual which makes up, one by one, the consensus of equal voters which establishes and sustains democracy.

Until the U.S. Supreme Court reverses itself and declares that a corporation is not an individual person under the U.S. Constitution, we will never regain control of our government. Yet it most probably will continue the denial of reality, in favor of the comfort of the leadership, or today’s robber barons.

But don’t blame the big lobbies. They do what they are supposed to do. And don’t blame the big corporations. They do exactly what they’re designed to do. Blame the Supreme Court and the U.S. Justice Department for not protecting the individual citizen.


Christopher von Keyserling is a Republican and a longtime member of the town’s Representative Town Meeting, though the opinions expressed in this column are his own. 

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