When I first read about that the Supreme Court had sided with the corporations on the issue of their constitutional right as an individuals to freedom of speech — the court ruled that as individuals, corporations do not have to disclose their names when funding political adds that support one particular candidate or another — I was infuriated and totally convinced that the Supreme Court must be clearly in the extremely large pockets of the corporations.

After looking into the subject more deeply, I found that while I still maintain my original assertion on the pocketing of the court, I find that like everything else the issue is a lot more complex.

The first time the Court ruled on this issue was way back in 1819.  According to Wikipedia:

In the United States, corporations were recognized as having rights to contract, and to have those contracts honored the same as contracts entered into by natural persons, in Dartmouth College v. Woodward, decided in 1819.

This first move by the court makes sense to me, because at that time, business was run pretty much by monopolies owned and run by several wealthy families.  These people were not thrilled with the idea of corporations — that is until they figured out that all they had to do was use their vast resources to buy controlling portions of stock — and prior to that ruling had the great advantage over them in any court proceeding because they could face the court as an individual, but all members of the corporation — sometimes thousands of people —  had to take an active part in the legal proceeding.

So, I do think that corporations should be considered as people — as long as one condition — which I will stipulate later —  is met.  For now, I would like to shift gears and talk about sociopaths — those with no observable conscience.

Stalin, Pol Pot, Sadam Hussein, Ted Bundy, are a few examples of such that we all know about.  These people all demonstrated a lack of the ability to feel empathy for others and had a total lack of remorse for the consequences of their actions.  The DSM (Diagnostic Manual of Mental Disorders) does not list psychopathology as a separate disorder, but includes it as an aspect of Antisocial Personality disorder.  The manual states that one afflicted with this disorder will show the following characteristics:

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders fourth edition, DSM IV-TR = 301.7, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines antisocial personality disorder (in Axis II Cluster B) as:[1]

A) There is a pervasive pattern of disregard for and violation of the rights of others occurring since age 15 years, as indicated by three or more of the following:

  1. failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
  2. deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;
  3. impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
  4. irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults;
  5. reckless disregard for safety of self or others;
  6. consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;
  7. lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;

We now know though brain scans of thousands of individuals, verified by multiple researchers all over the world, that whenever someone exhibits the above characteristics, they always have damage — either genetically caused, or through some trauma in their lives — to the frontal lobes of their brain — the seat of conscience.

Now, I would like to ask:

What makes us human?  There might not just be one thing that makes us human, but I maintain that if one thing is missing, we are not.  And that one thing is our conscience.  Our ability to feel remorse when we know we have made a wrong social choice.  By that definition, not only are sociopaths sub-human, they are sub-mammalian — reptilian?  This viewpoint is anthropomorphic, but I believe mammals can feel remorse.  Wolves, who mate for life have been known to wither away and die after the death of their mate.  If that is not remorse what is it?

So, where am I going with this?  Corporations never use a moral compass when making decisions, but always go to the bottom line to choose direction – profit.  If you go through the DSM’s list of characteristics, you will see that corporations clearly qualify as having Antisocial Personality Disorder — are sociopaths.

  1. Failure to conform to social norms with respect to lawful behaviors as indicated by repeatedly performing acts that are grounds for arrest;
    (As regards laws, the tactic of corporations is: If it means more profit, break the law, try not to get caught, but if you do, pay the fine, but continue to ignore and break laws.  And see #2 lie, lie, lie.)
  2. Deception, as indicated by repeatedly lying, use of aliases, or conning others for personal profit or pleasure;(When corporations are caught in their dirty deeds, they have no compunction about denying what they did until and after the moment of conviction.  They pay the fine — which rarely comes close to equaling the profits earned by the illegal activity.   And even then never admit that they did anything wrong.  This is because in their view, as long as they don’t violate the prime directive —  profit motive — they have done nothing wrong)
  3. Impulsiveness or failure to plan ahead;
    (Corporations are notorious for not thinking about or planning for dealing in the future with the consequences of actions of today.  For examples, Exon, Goodyear, Monsanto, and endlessley etc. )
  4. Irritability and aggressiveness, as indicated by repeated physical fights or assaults; (they will fight to make and keep every penny they can)
  5. Reckless disregard for safety of self or others;(Constantly evident in corporations trying to get away with unsafe working conditions for their empl0yees)
  6. Consistent irresponsibility, as indicated by repeated failure to sustain consistent work behavior or honor financial obligations;(I deem as consistently irresponsible that corporations consistantly refuse to take responsibility for their actions as well as attempting in any way possible to wiggle out of their financial obligations to fix the problems they cause.)
  7. Lack of remorse, as indicated by being indifferent to or rationalizing having hurt, mistreated, or stolen from another;(this is the most important characteristic that I think makes all corporations sociopaths and therefore in my opinion, not qualified to be considered as people)
So what is the condition that has to be met for corporations to actually be people?  The condition that government must act as a conscience for corporations with rules that curb their sociopathology.  A first step toward that goal would be for the Supreme Court to crawl out of their pockets.
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