Ilya Shapiro has a great piece on the liberal angst over the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision restoring First Amendment freedom to companies and organizations to exercise free speech during elections.
As I–and others greater than I–have pointed out before, their Marxism-based protests hold no water, but in a country such as ours which is so sick with the disease of liberalism and ignorance (one and the same, for the most part), it never hurts to teach the same lesson over and over, applying new angles and new information from time to time.
From the Cato Institute:
[W]ould the “no rights for corporations” crowd be okay with the police storming their employers’ offices and carting off their (employer-owned) computers for no particular reason? — or to chill criticism of some government policy.
Or how about Fifth Amendment rights? Can the mayor of New York exercise eminent domain over Rockefeller Center by fiat and without compensation if he decides he’d like to move his office there?
So corporations have to have some constitutional rights or nobody would form them in the first place. The reason they have these rights isn’t because they’re “legal” persons, however — though much of the doctrine builds on that technical point — but instead because corporations are merely one of the ways in which rights-bearing individuals associate to better engage in a whole host of constitutionally protected activity.
Shapiro also mentions a piece by George Mason law professor Ilya Somin addressing this topic:
It’s true, of course, that corporations “are not human beings.” But their owners (the stockholders) and employees are. Human beings organized as corporations shouldn’t have fewer constitutional rights than those organized as sole proprietors, partnerships, and so on. In this context, it’s important to emphasize that most media organizations and political activist groups also use the corporate form. As Eugene points out, most liberals accept the idea that organizational form is irrelevant when it comes to media corporations, which were exempt from the restrictions on other corporate speech struck down by the Court today. The Supreme Court (including its most liberal justices) has repeatedly recognized that media corporations have First Amendment rights just as broad as those extended to media owned by individuals. Yet the “corporations aren’t people” argument applies just as readily to media corporations as to others. After all, newspapers, radio stations, and TV stations “are not human beings” and they too “have no consciences, no beliefs, no feelings, no thoughts, no desires.” We readily reject this reasoning in the case of media corporations because we recognize that even though the corporations in question are not people, their owners and employees are. The same point applies to other corporations.
Well said. Let’s hope that when liberals get done hyperventilating, maybe they can turn off their Marxist loathing of the free market and turn on some common sense long enough to grasp this logic.
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