By Gregory John Campbell
If you are familiar with Thom Hartmann’s book, Unequal Protection, you know the Supreme Court in 1886, enshrined corporations as “persons” according to the 14th Amendment, through a court reporter’s head notes, enabling them to gain the same equal rights as living persons under the Constitution. Consequently, these legal fictions acquired the living rights only human beings should have, because they do not die, do not vote and can conglomerate wealth, power, influence and control over time indefinitely. Hence, corporatism (fascism).
Before this change, corporations were subject to local and state charters that could be revoked if they didn’t meet the needs of the communities (states) they were chartered in. Accordingly, abolishing this fallacious “personalized status” is an essential first step to annulling such fictional “persons” the right to political free speech, because commercial speech is not free speech; it is paid-for commercial activity using free speech. Furthermore, corporations should not be given the “right” to purchase other corporations, for without that privilege their power and influence would be curtailed, which is as it should be. A yeoman scale of economy is the opposite of a corporatist one. Our “commons” must come before “their” corporations, or our public reality (polity) will be controlled by private entities.
Free speech is not intended to make wealth, which is all commercial speech does. It is intended to ensure, enshrine and expand the inalienable moral, spiritual and constitutional principles of our rights (freedoms) guaranteed to us as human beings, via the Declaration of Independence and Bill of Rights, of which commerce is a derivative from the principles of those rights, and not their source. For first men must understand what freedom is in principle—with or without wealth—before they can appreciate, value and control a system of principal producing it. For without that understanding, they will replace their moral, spiritual and constitutional principles (rights) for their principal wealth (property), substituting a material end product for the non-material “mold” enabling it. And because a mold is capable of producing a variety of principal benefits (products) greater than just one, so do our non-material moral, spiritual and constitutional principles structure a variety of rights (benefits) for us greater than that of material property only.
Thus, the balance between morality and money is a fine one. But when “push comes to shove,” we must choose morality over money(1), or we will lose our morals and gain our money, losing all our non-material values and ideals—principles—for one of material principal only—mammon—a far greater moral loss to us than any material “thing” or idea we could own or control. Such an exchange may improve our short-term wealth, but it will do nothing to integrate our long-term freedom. It will only add materiality to our lives; it will not increase moral, spiritual and constitutional awareness in our lives. It will only give us things; it will not give us the moral comprehension needed to be human, which requires a spiritual consciousness materiality cannot provide. Ideals, values and rights as principles—liberty, equality and freedom—come from this consciousness; they do not come from material things. No material thing can secure our moral freedom; only moral freedom can. Thus, material success or strength is no guarantee of moral freedom, or of moral truth—a far greater loss.(2)
As all our cherished freedoms and rights are enshrined to us as principles of conduct and behavior, and not of wealth, accorded to all living men equally and inalienably—democratically and constitutionally—and not those of principal wealth only—of privilege—it is only fitting that they must be preserved as such, or they will be reduced to the privileges of those who have wealth and property, but no intention of supporting, endorsing or sharing them with others as moral, spiritual and constitutional equals. The immoral credo of such materialists is: “gain wealth; forget all but self”—a material condition a moral state of freedom cannot permit or tolerate, if it is to remain moral and free. Our Founding Fathers clearly understood this, which is why they defined our inalienable rights as “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” given by God, and not as wealth, profit or property given by men; as did De Tocqueville.
Such materialists do what they do for the material advantages (privileges) of principal they acquire only, and not for others, who do not share, have or desire the same kind or degree of principal advantages as themselves, but do their moral, spiritual and constitutional freedom from them! Hence, the grave danger of a material Republic based on acquired principal advantages (privileges) only, versus an egalitarian representative democracy based on inalienable moral, spiritual and constitutional rights (principles) accorded to all men (not “cultures”) regardless of their material wealth, property or status. If not, we will pursue material wealth and security, but not moral truth and freedom, losing all.
Those of a commercial state of material “freedom” will never accord others an inalienable state of moral, spiritual and constitutional freedom equal to themselves in principle ever, because it would neutralize the economic principal advantages (control) they’d have over them, because of its moral demand that they treat them as they do themselves—equally, fairly and justly—with or without their intellectual, political or monetary advantages (status), voiding before the law their ability to do so, and declaring them violators of it in doing so. Why justice must guide us, never men.
In terms of moral rights, Thomas Paine wrote: “My idea of supporting liberty of conscience and the rights of citizens, is that of supporting those rights in other people, for if a man supports only his own rights for his own sake, he does no moral duty.”
It is obvious that corporations have no intention of supporting the liberty of conscience and rights of citizens in others as a moral duty, because corporations only exist to support their own rights (profit) for their own sake, and not for any other principle reasons or persons, and therefore cannot perform any moral, spiritual or constitutional duty for them as such equally or fairly, but only for themselves in unfair principal material advantage.
Consequently, such corporations have their place in a moral democracy, but shouldn’t have a prominent one, or that moral democracy will be reduced to a fascist corporatocracy in no time, reducing what men should do from the conscience of their hearts and minds, to what they would do with the content of their wallets only. Such an immoral state is for men made in the image of mammon (slavery), and not for men made in the image of God (freedom). Choose what you want to be.
(1) I owe this moral insight to my departed friend Ted Gusich.
(2) Moral truth keeps freedom moral and true with the Golden Rule; freedom will not.
Gregory John Campbell was formerly involved in the health food industry and is a citizen concerned with our nation’s course and direction.
From the Mar. 3-9, 2010 issue