Think Freely Media presents Common Sense with Paul Jacob

After the Supreme Court torpedoed restrictions on political speech by corporations, foes of the First Amendment bitterly denounced its Citizens United v. FEC decision.

They don’t consider themselves enemies of freedom of speech, of course. Instead, they think the Court erred by assuming that corporations have First Amendment rights. They say corporations aren’t people; they can’t have rights.

But hey: Corporations — non-profit or for profit — are actually made up of people.

One corporation denouncing free speech for other corporations is The New York Times. Their angry editorial states, “The Constitution . . . mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions. But it does not mention corporations.”

First, the Constitution does not assign any rights to “press” or “religion.” It forbids Congress from abridging individuals’ freedom of the press, freedom of religion.

Second, the Constitution doesn’t exhaustively list relevant institutions. The drafters thought everybody knew that one way we exercise their rights is to organize, cooperatively, into groups — à la freedom of association.

Media corporations have been exempt from limits on campaign spending and political speech. The Times group editorial mind ignores this contradiction. They’re saying, “Our corporate speech is special and worthy of constitutional protection! We’re sincere and good! Members of other corporations, by contrast, can’t be trusted! Therefore, the First Amendment does not apply to them!”

Insist all you like, Mr. Times. You’re still wrong.

This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.

By: Redactor

7 Comments

  1. AdvocateForThought says:

    “First, the Constitution does not assign any rights to “press” or “religion.” It forbids Congress from abridging individuals’ freedom of the press, freedom of religion.”

    Semantics.

    Corporations are made of people, but that’s not the same as being a person. Spending money isn’t speaking. Spending money is a gesture. I’m afraid you’re thinking about this very deep issue very shallowly, like most older people do.

  2. Joe Geshel says:

    I have stated this on many blogs that corporations and other business organizations are made up of people. Good American citizens who work hard, vote, and support this country. They certgainly have a collective right to state tyheir positions on any matter, expecially involving an election, a candidate and the government. This is really a no brainer, but the folks with no brains continue to argue against it. Justice Alito was right when said “not true” President Obama’s tirade against it at this years Stae of the Union address. Obama claimed to be a Constitutional Lawyer, but he is not, Now you know.

  3. Timothy James Maki says:

    Exxon made how many billions last year? Do you really think this will not insure oil as our primary resources for our near future? As a small shareholder will my voice be heard if I am against a donation. No. Of course I can sell my stock – but what will that do? Someone else will just buy it and Exxon will continue in the direction that only a few “people” will determine.

    Not to mention elected Judges.

    You have no idea what just happened.

    Anyone who thinks lobbyists are special interest watch this. Corporations ONLY think of profit. Not people.

    Anyone who thinks you cannot buy a politician must be from another country.

    This is crazy.

  4. Gary Luther says:

    Paul,

    You’re always so Right On with your writings. This piece was not an exception to that rule.

    I hope Someday you’ll write a piece about the classroom teachers and professions that harangue against “corporations” as all being evil entities, yet they look to these entities to be profitable for their stockholders — the teachers’ unions — where the teachers’retirement money is invested.

    Tell us, are these teachers and professors really so stupid, or are they simply trained to speak from both sides of their mouths?

    -Gary Luther,
    Orange, CA

  5. lanczos says:

    Some former posters appear to be under the illusion that a corporation is just a person who resembles the Banker in the Monopoly board game, sitting around Wall Street boardrooms wearing a top hat and smoking a big cigar. Add to that the view that all big corporations have a big vault, like Scrooge McDuck, where the officers can go to swim in gold and silver coins and cash.

    A corporation is a collection of people who pool their money to operate a business. If the business is profitable, not only are the corporate profits taxed, but any profits that remain are distributed to shareholders – where they are taxed AGAIN. If the business is not profitable, then the shareholders lose some – or all – of the value of their investment. Only under the 0bama administration are such firms “bailed out” and even that comes at a steep price.

    The U.S. level of corporate taxation is the highest in the world, and the number of government regulations and fees is also the highest in the world: wonder why jobs are leaving the U.S.?

    Given the anti-business position of the federal government over the last 45 years, it seems insane that businesses should be prohibited from supporting political candidates, since they are directly affected by the decisions that are made in the political process.

    One poster appears to believe that Exxon-Mobil – or more likely, “big oil” – is the reason that the U.S., and for that matter, the rest of the world, still employ hydrocarbon energy. Suffice it to say that only certain people in the U.S. have the fantasy that hydrocarbon energy can be supplanted by – what? Wind power? Only the wealthiest country in the history of the world can make that fantasy appear to be viable. I can personally guarantee that the rest of the world is under no such illusion.

    And first poster – I also can guarantee that you are not nearly as smart as you think you are.

  6. Rubicon says:

    Free speech is free speech, regardless of the entity involved. How speech is used is perhaps an issue & perhaps we need to look at creating a situation that enables all to speak freely, but not be over-shadowed by those with more money. However, it has always been that those w/ the bucks get heard first & perhaps they are the only voice heard. So, in that respect, nothing has really changed.
    One issue many have either overlooked or have simply ignored, is the issue of rights.
    The New York Times states “The Constitution . . . mentions many things and assigns them rights and protections — the people, militias, the press, religions.
    The New York Times is totally wrong if they even begin to think the Constitution ‘assigns” our rights. Those rights, ‘individual rights’, are ours by natural truth. Many assign that truth to be the Creator. So be it. But no matter where that natural assignment comes from, it is not the government, nor the Constitution. That document only reflects & enumerates our rights.
    My rights are mine & no government can take them away. No government can assign them in a treaty or deny them to me. My rights supper-cede the government. They are mine as a human being & that is what our founders wanted all to recognize, realize, respect, and enjoy!
    Not sure why, but I get the feeling the NYT thinks the government gives & can take away our rights according to its discretion. Fat chance.
    Such is why men have rebelled over the ages. Once some clown think that power is theirs & ‘they’ get to decide for all, the people have to rebel & set them straight.

  7. […] Romney was right: Corporations are made of people. Those who roil with hatred for corporations, singling them out for more regulation or greater […]

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