Why and How I Came to Oppose the Modern Corporate Structure (My Last Post on this Subject)

As it seems I have angered my conservative friends with my stance on the corporation, I think I should explain why I oppose it and how I came to this position.  But first, it will require a brief glimpse into my background.  I hold a degree in philosophy and in sociology.  Before I switched majors, I lacked 18 hours from completing my mechanical engineering degree.  I was accepted to a graduate program in philosophy as well as law school.  That’s when life stepped in and changed my plans.  I experienced something that had a profound effect on me, and it started the long process of knocking me off my high horse.  I know that just made several of you snort as you think I’m still full of myself.  Well, I’m working on it, but, if you think I’m full of me now, you should have known me when I was in college.  Anyway, the point is, I left my formal schooling before it was complete, but I continued to study on my own.  As a result, I worked through a lot of stuff that others had tackled long before I was anything, but, unbeknownst to me.  It wasn’t until a few years ago, when I “returned to the land of the living” – so to speak – that I discovered most of what I thought of as “original work” was old news.  Never the less, this is how it is that I am so sure of myself on so many things.  If I can reach the same conclusions on my own that such great men as Cicero, John Locke, and Thomas Jefferson reached, then I feel I am in good stead.  Unfortunately, as my personal studies focused mainly on my own work, buttressed by what I had read of the classic thinkers before leaving school, I tend to be woefully lacking in my awareness and understanding of many more modern thinkers and events.  As I shall soon demonstrate, the “corporations are not people” movement is among the things I was unaware of – until Don asked me about it.

Now, I as I hope regular readers will already know, I hold an affinity for Locke’s view of Natural Rights and Natural Law because it seems patently self-evident to me.  Consequently, I reject the Hobbesian position as demonstrably false.  In this sense, I agree that society is formed through the Natural Right of every individual to freely and willingly contract with each other.  We form governments to protect our rights, not to grant them, and we retain the Natural Right to alter or abolish any government we deem to be a threat to those rights.  Were the Hobbesian to make an honest observation of history, he would find this to be true.  No matter how powerful, what government has never had a fear of its people?  None!  Even the most brutal of tyrants has a natural fear of a popular uprising.  And why should that be if not for an innate understanding of Natural Law.  It’s like Jefferson said:

“Questions of natural right are triable by their conformity with the moral sense and reason of man.”

–Thomas Jefferson: Opinion on French Treaties, 1793. ME 3:235

So, at least for me, Locke’s view of Natural Law forms the framework around which man should govern his own law.  Accordingly, I see any law that we write which conflicts with Natural Law is a violation of Natural Law and, as such, an injury to it and every individual in that society.  So, this is where I begin the explanation of my objection to the corporate structure.  Again, the words of Thomas Jefferson:

“A free people [claim] their rights as derived from the laws of nature, and not as the gift of their chief magistrate.”

–Thomas Jefferson: Rights of British America, 1774. ME 1:209, Papers 1:134

A corporation does not exist in nature.  It is as much a construct as government.  This means it depends on the laws of man for its existence, and not on those of nature.  Now, let me be clear about this next point.  I do not find an inherent or necessary violation of Natural Law in the corporate structure – so long as it remains under the authority of the people.  If the people create it by mutual agreement, they must be allowed to retain control over it, as well.  However, if a corporation is given the legal status of personhood, or it is held to be the private property of a few individuals, then a clear violation of Natural Law is committed.  Once again, to Jefferson:

“What is true of every member of the society, individually, is true of them all collectively; since the rights of the whole can be no more than the sum of the rights of the individuals.”

 –Thomas Jefferson to James Madison, 1789. ME 7:455, Papers 15:393

First, Natural Law deals with real individuals, and the corporation is an artificial entity.  By definition, a corporation acting as a person is a violation of Natural Law in and of itself.  But, as Jefferson points out, it is a violation of Natural Law to make the corporation greater than or above any individual in the society responsible for creating it.  As a corporation is theoretically immortal, making a corporation into a person makes it greater than every individual in the society that created it.  The same applies if the corporation is made private property.  If it takes the willing agreement of the whole society just to bring a corporation into being, turning around and making that corporation the sole property of just a few members of that society again violates Natural Law by taking away the authority of those who do not share in ownership.  It must be remembered that no government has the authority to do either of these things as, under Natural Law, no individual has the Natural Right to contract away the rights of another and, in both examples, that is exactly what happens when a corporation is made a person and/or private property.  The thoughts of Jefferson and a friend on this issue:

“A right of property in moveable things is admitted before the establishment of government. A separate property in lands, not till after that establishment. The right to moveables is acknowledged by all the hordes of Indians surrounding us. Yet by no one of them has a separate property in lands been yielded to individuals. He who plants a field keeps possession till he has gathered the produce, after which one has as good a right as another to occupy it. Government must be established and laws provided, before lands can be separately appropriated, and their owner protected in his possession. Till then, the property is in the body of the nation, and they, or their chief as trustee, must grant them to individuals, and determine the conditions of the grant.”

–Thomas Jefferson: Batture at New Orleans, 1812. ME 18:45

“All the property that is necessary to a Man, for the Conservation of the Individual and the Propagation of the Species, is his natural Right, which none can justly deprive him of: But all Property superfluous to such purposes is the Property of the Publick, who, by their Laws, have created it, and who may therefore by other laws dispose of it, whenever the Welfare of the Publick shall demand such Disposition. He that does not like civil Society on these Terms, let him retire and live among Savages. He can have no right to the benefits of Society, who will not pay his Club towards the Support of it.”

–Benjamin Franklin, letter to Robert Morris, 25 December 1783, Ref: Franklin Collected Works, Lemay, ed., 1

I contend that the practice of allowing corporations to function simultaneously as people and private property is at the heart of a great deal of our economic problems.  Consider the philosophical and legal problems connected to the following:

n  If a corporation is a person, how can anyone own it without violating the 14th Amendment?

n  If a corporation is a person, how can it own another corporation without violating the 14th Amendment?

n  If a corporation is a person, why can’t I get it on the phone?

n  If a corporation is a person, how does it testify in its own defense if charged with a crime?

n  If a corporation is a person, how do we put it in jail should it be found guilty?

n  If a corporation is a person, how do we execute it if the sentence is death?

n  If a corporation is a person, then what is its lifespan?

n  If a corporation is private property, then how can it be publically traded?

n  If the stock holders are the owners of the corporation, why can’t they come to work and give orders to the employees?

n  If the stock holders are the owners of the corporation, then why can’t they come to work and just remove property equal to the value of their stock?

All of these objections represent conflicts between man’s law and Natural Law: conflicts that lead to additional laws intended to deal with the unforeseen problems that always arise when Natural Law is broken, and which will inevitably lead to more conflicts requiring more laws.

In truth, an RNL commenter actually stated what the whole purpose of the corporate structure was designed to do: shield the individual from legal and financial liability.  This is as clear a violation of Natural Law as can be had.  Natural Law is built upon the personal responsibility and accountability of the individual.  To design a system that allows someone to operate with impunity for their actions and without real risk to their own finances is to violate that individual accountability – not to mention the founding principles and ideals of our system of government.

But there is another problem with making persons of corporations and of giving those persons the status of private property: it creates a path to creating a new aristocracy that, sooner or later, will threaten the very society that created it:

Suppose a corporation reaches the size of GE, or larger.  It owns hundreds of other corporations and, therefore, has access to vast amounts of money.  How does one stop that corporation from pushing laws – or worse – regulations that limit the ability of competitors to compete?  Let’s say this corporation pushes an environmental protection law that is intended to save the wetlands.  It makes it illegal for anyone to do anything with a wetland.  If they do, they go to jail for 5 years and pay a $10 million fine.  Now they are a hero: they saved our wetlands.  Except, when they want to build, they just do it.  The corporation can’t go to jail, and $10 million is pocket change to them.  In the mean time, the private property rights of any wetland owner were just trampled.  What’s more, if this corporation falls into the hands of a family, or even a group of people in selected association, such as the members of an elite group from a specific college, by definition, it has become an aristocracy.

It also allows the dead to inherit the earth and dictate to the living:

Take the case of a living trust.  Suppose, when a certain person dies, she owns an amount of private property equal to ½ of one state and 1/3 of another, adjacent State.  Before she died, she set up a living trust to make a “preserve” out of this land, dictating that it can never be sued – ever, for anything.  So, when she dies, this trust – a corporation – becomes immortal.  But the trust is not a person.  It is just a vehicle by which this dead woman can dictate to generations to come what is and is not done with the land.  Worse, this dead woman is demanding that she be allowed to dictate from the grave based on the willing agreement of the people that makes it possible for her to even own that land in the first place. 

Jefferson referred to this as the dead inheriting the earth and it’s why our founders favored laws mandating all inheritance be divided equally among all surviving heirs:

“If the overgrown wealth of an individual is deemed dangerous to the State, the best corrective is the law of equal inheritance to all in equal degree; and the better, as this enforces a law of nature, while extra-taxation violates it.”

–Thomas Jefferson: Note in Destutt de Tracy’s “Political Economy,” 1816. ME 14:466

It was a sentiment wholly in line with a meritocracy and echoed by Alexis de Tocqueville:

Grant me thirty years of equal division of inheritances and a free press, and I will provide you with a republic.

But let’s look to how the modern corporation is used.  Stocks have been changed so that most people who own stock in a company have little to no say in the operations of that company and do not collect any income from their stocks unless and until they sell them.  If I am an owner of a private property, shouldn’t I share in the management of that company as well as the profits?  If a person sets up a corporation, solicits investors and then tries to start a company and fails, the corporate structure shields him from any liability.  We say the investors should have known better.  But what if the company fails because the “capitalist” made deals with his “union” that paid them far more money than they deserved?  Today, the laws would do nothing to that capitalist.  And what if, after the company fails, that capitalist next tries to run for public office and is given a huge sum of money from the very same union that had a hand in the bad decision that caused the company to fail and the investors to lose their investment?  Today, this is still legal, but it is also a form of legal plunder made possible only because the laws have been written to allow it.  That brings us to the words of another oft cited political philosopher on the RNL:

 It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.

       –Frederic Bastiat

Now, admittedly, Bastiat was referring to the wrongs of socialism, but read this and see if you can’t equally apply it to the laws governing the modern corporation, as well:

Sometimes the law defends plunder and participates in it. Thus the beneficiaries are spared the shame and danger that their acts would otherwise involve… But how is this legal plunder to be identified? Quite simply. See if the law takes from some persons what belongs to them and gives it to the other persons to whom it doesn’t belong. See if the law benefits one citizen at the expense of another by doing what the citizen himself cannot do without committing a crime. Then abolish that law without delay … No legal plunder; this is the principle of justice, peace, order, stability, harmony and logic.

I didn’t touch on the problem of corporations donating to political campaigns where they cannot vote – even though they are people.  Or the issue of international corporations, which are often controlled by foreign nationals opposed to the best interest and security of this nation.  And then there is the fact that, as a socially constructed fiction, the corporation – person, property or not – is, by its very nature, a product of socialism.  It depends on the agreement of society for its very existence.  How much more clear a violation of Natural Law can there possibly be?  And this is why I object to corporations as persons and as private property.  Not because I say so, but because I have read the reasoning of greater minds than mine and have tried to move myself within the foundation of their thinking.  What’s more, I do not do this because I oppose the free market of private property, but to seek a consistent understanding of how man can best organize and operate his daily affairs without violating Natural law and the Law of our Creator.

That said, I wholeheartedly support private property and free enterprise.  I just happen to know that there are ways to do it that do not violate Natural Law: ways that hold the individual responsible for his/her actions and which respect the rights of the rest of society.  Proprietorships, partnerships, co-ops and even charter companies are all examples of how things were done before we perverted our laws and made corporations into people.  Each of the above examples would also go a long way to resolving a great deal of the problems created by the money and power associated with today’s modern corporations.

96 thoughts on “Why and How I Came to Oppose the Modern Corporate Structure (My Last Post on this Subject)

  1. Your last post on the subject, and the first one I’ve ever “liked.” Maybe one of us is slipping. Happy Easter, Joe.

  2. Our founders were not fans of the Corporations. They suffered greatly at the hands of the Corporations established by the King to fund the colonies. Look at the incorporating charters of corporations during the first hundred years of our nation. Most could not own property other than that directly needed for the business. They could not own other businesses or stocks of other businesses. They had a specific life span. The officers of the corporation could be held responsible for the actions of the corporation. And if the State found that the corporation was in violation of their charter they could be disbanded and the corporation liquidated. They could not contribute to politicians or political parties.

  3. Interrupted in the last response and wasn’t able to complete the thought.

    Seems like the founders knew the problems associated with a corporation and how to solve the problems. Unfortunately the corporations won their freedom through the courts whose judges came from corporate lawyers.

  4. I’m not angry, I just disagree.

    “In truth, an RNL commenter actually stated what the whole purpose of the corporate structure was designed to do: shield the individual from legal and financial liability.  This is as clear a violation of Natural Law as can be had.  Natural Law is built upon the personal responsibility and accountability of the individual.  To design a system that allows someone to operate with impunity for their actions and without real risk to their own finances is to violate that individual accountability – not to mention the founding principles and ideals of our system of government.”

    This is where your whole argument falls apart for me because the business entity, even though the individuals, down to the stockholder are shielded from some (and that is an important distimnction) individual liability, the corporate entity is still liable. Coorporate governance is also built upon personal responsibility and accountability of the individual. If I commit a crime in service to the corporation, I am still liable for my personal actions and in some cases, as a manager, I can be criminally liable for actions of others even if I do not have knowledge of the act. For example in the UK anti-corruption laws and the FCPA of the US, I am held criminally liable if someone who works for my company bribes someone or offers and illegal inducement – even if I don’t know about it and there are policies in place against the act.

    The thought that behing a corporate entity is some kind of inpenetratable shield from law or responsibility is bogus.

    Corporate entities can also die if the market no longer values them or they operate illegally.

    Every issue you seem to have is the same one that I have and that is the nexus of government and corpotation but the answer to that isn’t to destroy a form of business organization that allows individuals to invest and own a share of a business when they may never choose to own their own, it also would end the equity finance market for individuals and that is a form of non-governmental financing that is a significant lever for economic growth at a national level.

    The problem with “corporations” is the same as with any group – if the people who make them up act morlally, the corporation will act morally – if they don’t, it won’t. Same as a political party. Same as a private entity. Your argument seems to be the same as the “monopoly busters” of the 30’s – big = evil…and in your case, the same undercurrent applies, You are more wirried about the political power they wield than the benefits they bring. Take out the corporate structure and you will wind up with a very small number of ultra-wealthy individuals or you will have to legislate that businesses can only grow to a specificed maximum size and there you go, right into authoritarian rule

    Blaming corporate organizational structure for the real problem, influence and cronyism, is like blaming the dog for digging up the yard to bury a bone. Fido was only naturally acting based on the incentives put before hime by you, Corportions only respond to incentives before them – and many times those are offered by government. Want to stop the behavior? Then stop the incentives.

    I juat think while this is an interesting discussion, it really seems to be attcking a minor symptom. I understand that there were (and are) many who think all corporation are evil and wrong, I just think that George Washington’s admonition against the corruption of a two-party political system is more worthy of debate than whether coroprations are the downfall of liberty.

    • Utah,

      You admit to “some cases.” Under Natural Law, the individual is held accountable for his transgressions in ALL cases.

      Also, individuals can still invest in properly structured private companies. Nothing I am objecting to would destroy the system you seek — it would just make it much more difficult for people to become a threat to the society that allows their enterprises to exist.

      As for your concern over a very few number of very wealthy people: you have that now, only they are shielded by the corporations. Take that shield away, and they will not be able to escape a PROPER application of the law so easily. Add the founders’ ideas on inheritance and you will destroy their ability to create future aristocracies as not all heirs will have the same talents for making and managing wealth.

      Finally, the corporate structure — as it exists today — if the result of corruption and cronyism. It allows people to get around the confines of Natural Law. That part of my argument stands, and as long as it stands, my objection remains.

      • Joe:

        The individual is shieled but the individual entity, what you call and “artificial” entity is not shielded. Your argument basically says that no group, acting on majority rule where some members aren’t held accountable for the outcomes, violates Natural Law. `That is a true statement as far as it goes. Our Constitution defines such an entity, therefore under your definition – any democratic government violates natural law – and I think that is true, too.

        Governments and corporate structures – for that matter, any group we join that represents the members such as unions, trade associations, even churches – are not subject to natural law and we form them to operate via the legislative and administrative laws we create in accordance with natural law.

        And since you use the “same as” argument about private vs. corporate, I guess you are admitting that your argument is moot?

        I’m not disagreeing that corporations do not violate natural law, I’m just asing that it is an interesting, yet for the most part, an unimportant and ultimatelty distracting argument.

        • Yes, a strict democratic govt. does violate natural law, but then, we’re a constitutional republic for that reason.

          And it is only unimportant if one wishes to shield his special interest (corporations) while still being able to claim grounds to attack his opponents (unions).

  5. But let’s look to how the modern corporation is used.  Stocks have been changed so that most people who own stock in a company have little to no say in the operations of that company and do not collect any income from their stocks unless and until they sell them.

    Wrong. Most companies pay quarterly dividends. If they don’t, your return is based on the growth in value of the stock – capital appreciation. You are free to sell your stock at any time, so once again, your assertions are patently wrong.

    If I am an owner of a private property, shouldn’t I share in the management of that company as well as the profits?  

    Yes, and every stockholder votes either directly or via proxy to elect a board of directors to oversee the company. Your input is proportional to your ownership…and you know that when you voluntarily join a corporation.

    And that is an important point…buying and owning a stock is a voluntary exercise in a free market. There is no guarantee that things are always going to be rosy.

    If a person sets up a corporation, solicits investors and then tries to start a company and fails, the corporate structure shields him from any liability.  We say the investors should have known better.  But what if the company fails because the “capitalist” made deals with his “union” that paid them far more money than they deserved?  Today, the laws would do nothing to that capitalist.  And what if, after the company fails, that capitalist next tries to run for public office and is given a huge sum of money from the very same union that had a hand in the bad decision that caused the company to fail and the investors to lose their investment?  Today, this is still legal, but it is also a form of legal plunder made possible only because the laws have been written to allow it.

    You completely misrepresent these situations. Each officer signs a declaration of fiduciary responsibility to the stockholders and today, every manager with profit and loss responsibility has to personally attest to the accuracy of financial results under Sarbanes-Oxley. If we attest to something that isn’t true, we can be held criminally liable and prosecuted. Stockholders can and do bring civil lawsuits against management for the very actions you speak of. If the individual solicits funds for personal gain and misuses them for personal enrichment, that is criminal fraud.

    And in this case the debt doesn’t just go away, the assets of the corporation are attached and disposed to settle as much as posssible. You are correct in the case of a Sub-chapter “S” corp, which are typically very small businesses but you had better knnow who you are getting in bed with on this becuase investing in these are more like making a personal loan.

    I’m sorry Joe, you may well understand philosophy but you have obviously never been part of managing in a real corporation because you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.

    • Want me to beat him up for ya? I must say all this talk on corporations is Greek to me. At the same time, I seem to learn more and more listening to you, Trapped, Don, AK, et al about businesses and corporations.

      • An argument can be totally correct, yet unimportant at the same time. That’s my opinion of this one. Every group that acts as a representative of an individual violates natural law. Seizing on the the structure of the “evil corppration” is a non-starter for me as a contributor to our demise seems illegitimate. Of course, that’s just my opinion.

        Corporations are like most tools – it isn’t the tool, it is how it is used that is important. It is not the size of the worm, it is how you wiggle it that matters…so to speak.

        Joe is going a little OWS on us, methinks. We don’t agree on this one. I’m with this like Churchill was with democracy – it is the absolute worst form of economic organization – except for every other one that has been tried.

    • If you read through the other posts on the subject …. and the responses, to Aurora etc …. then you will see that You My Friend are included in the Evil Set.

      I / We are incorporated as well.

      There is Agenda in all this ……….. I said it many months ago …… things take time to fruition, and flower when they’re sure momentum is with them.

      • Don,

        The “agenda” on my part is to return our governing philosophy — in as much as possible — to that of natural law.

        Your agenda seems to be to paint me as a Progressive. I am not a Progressive. I have told you this, yet you insist on denying the whole of my argument so you can try to make your case. Poison well, straw man and against the man. Figures…

        • Except that the basis of our governance was never solely natural law. If it was, the Bill of Rights would have not been necessary and corporations would have been outlawed at our founding.

          If there was such a great danger, why didn’t that debate not take place as it did over slavery?

          • Technically speaking, the Bill of Rights is not necessary. Read the Federalist papers. It was added out of prudence and, as history has born out, rightfully so. And, if your point about corporations not being discussed because they weren’t a concern is to be won, then I suppose you just ceded the skeptics argument that the silence in the Constitution as to the role of God and religion in our govt. means the founders wanted us to divorce them from government.

  6. Utah::

    Joe is right about this. You are wrong. His objections to the Corporation are based on the Corporations ability to influence the political direction of this country. Which if you look at it in hindsight is why the Corporation was treated as they were by the founders. As long as the politician does what the corporation wants the money continues to flow, and as long as the money flows the politician will find ways to make the corporation secure in its market. It is called Crony Capitalism, as you are well aware.

    The OWS and the Progressives, on the other hand, demonizes the evil corporation because the corporations they demonize are not in line with their political beliefs.

    The question is, why do you think that this alliance between the corporation and the politician is not harmful to our government? Ever try to actually sit down and talk to your Senator or Congressman? (And yes I know they are busy, but how busy are they really, they can’t seem to get it together to pass a budget and they seem to always be on break) If you don’t have the money, serious money, to contribute to his campaign, all you get is an assistant that will shake your hand and issue the political talking points of the Party in that office. Sorry, but, that is the reality brought about by your Crony Capitalist Two Party Political System. The actual ‘People’ are superfluous.

    I also am not a OWS supporter. Just, An Average Joe, that would like to see our Government actually be responsive to the real ‘People’.

    • I beg your pardon, I am not wrong. Joe is arguing that the very existence of a corporation subverts liberty as it violates natural law. I pointed out that could be said about any corporately organized group, even governments. Where we agree is that when nexus of corporations and government create cronyism, that is the evil. The corporation is only half of that equation and without the government half, Joe’s point is moot.

      Read my comments more carefully.

      • It’s always the ‘gun’, and never the person, now isn’t it Utah? 🙂

        (more people need to understand that like you and I do)

        At some point in life, we are all going to have to accept that is only the human choice that needs to be addressed, and not an object.

        • Augger- Sort of like gun control at the range isn’t it. If you don’t control where you aim it, you might shoot yourself in the foot. But every one should be able to start them if they deem it necessary. However, unlike a gun, their stated purpose and use can be controlled. They have no protection under the Constitution.

            • And you are in denial of reality. Does the law or does it not recognize and treat a corporation as a person and grant it rights as though it were a person?

              Yes or no?

              Yes means I am correct, no means you are denying the rulings and the law.

              • It can’t vote, Joe. It has no rights of citizenship. It is not guaranteed all constitutional rights. It has what we legally give it and those things can be taken away, so what it has are not “rights” as defined for an individual, therefore it is not a yes or no answer.

                Citizens United could be overturned.

                So, I guess that reject your premise that answering one or the other wins or loses the debate. I also reject your framing of the argument as fallacious.

                  • “If it can’t vote, then why is it allowed “free speech” in our political process???”

                    Tell you what Joe. I will send you my corporation in the mail. If you can get those pieces of paper to practice speech, I will recant my position.

                    Deal?

          • No Joe. You are dead ass wrong. A Corporation is but an object formed by a human (in my case), or a group of humans (for instance General Electric).

            Corporations did not spring up from the ground, or by some natural chemical reaction, or by whatever other ethereal means one might dream up.

            Corporations are objects. They are not heuristic objects. They do not learn. In fact, my “corporation” is but a group of papers sitting in my safe.

            You cannot have it both ways Joe. A person makes the choices, not an inanimate object.

  7. You think we can control the Politician? How do you think this got to the condition it is in now? The politicians with the help of the corporations subverted the Laws put in place to control the problem. At one time the Sovereign States controlled the corporation. With the demise of the Sovereign States after the Civil War and the rise of Corporate rights under the Constitution as ‘people’ under the 14th Amendment, all control of the corporation was lost.

    Once again our founders have proven they knew the problems the corporation raised regarding a Representative Republic. Something we should learn from History. Our founders did not like the political party system because of the way they structured the Electoral College, but it didn’t take the political parties long to figure their way around that one.

  8. As far as not reading your post, I understand perfectly what you and Joe are saying. And the very existence of a corporation does endanger this Representative Republic if not controlled. Just as the idea that freedom, freewill, and personal responsibility are natural rights, endanger the Socialist State.

  9. And I re-say “for the Last Time”……that this stance points out a Strong Affinity with the Modern Progressivist Movement. The List of Organizations below show that. The pretty Mush Complete lack of Discussion about Unions through-out this Dialogue confirms my suspicion of a Stealth Agenda here. There is more of the Occupy Movement in this than of 1776 ………. and many commentors give faint gesture to Liberty….but actually reveal a stronger motivation in their Hatred of those wealthier than them. The pass they give to the Unions as just one window to their true commitments.

    Since this is Easter … I would remind those folks that the V-Vendetta mask of Comic-book fame adopted by the Anti-Corporation Occupiers, was Guy Fawlkes……who was motivated to take on the State over Religious Freedom issues.

    Here are the Organizations who support James and Joe and the others … you are in good Company.

    A Short list of the Organizations and “Heros” fighting the Good Fight against the “Evil Corporations”

    You wondered above about finding some info enlightening….. I indeed find the following (Short) list of Progressive sites and sponsors of the “Corporations are not People” movement enlightening …….. A reading of their “philosphy” and “interpretation” shows a remarkable similarity to your arguments.
    – Al Frankin
    -Patriots for Change…(self-described)..is a Progressive voice in the Chagrin Valley that advocates for ECONOMIC and SOCIAL JUSTICE through EDUCATION and COMMUNITY ACTION.
    -Senator Chuck Shumer
    -Congressman Chris Van Hollen
    -Center for Public Integrity
    -Move-On
    -Common Cause
    -Public Citizen
    -Progressive Democrats of Illinois
    -IPIR-
    -Move to Amend
    -Democracy in Action

    • Don:

      Joe is like a dog with a bone, he ain’t letting go of this.

      The fact on the matter is that natural law is an individual issue. All corporations are groups made up of individuals; therefore, if the individuals in the group abide by natural law, the group does as well. The same can be said of churches ( an entity that has more rights than an individual since they pay no taxes) or any group. It is a distinction without a difference.

      It is simply not a big evil. If we want to talk big evil, let’s talk about 501c-3’s, NGOs and SuperPACs.

      • Except, in this case, the “group” (corporation) is treated as a single person. And this is not a distinction without a difference because it places the creation over the creator.

        Now, if you are going to argue this is OK, then stop attacking socialism and big government. Just as the gays cannot attack pedophiles without forfeiting their own argument for gay marriage, those who support corporations cannot attack big government without forfeiting their argument in favor of the corporation. They are flip sides of the same coin.

        • Only if you use your narrow logic. The extension of your argument is there can never be an organization that represents the individual and that logic negates the founding of any government which puts you in the dictatorship of the proletariat camp with Komrade Karl. I can buy your argument if you want to state that the legal construction of regulatory governance of corporations is screwed but I cannot accept that the mere construction of a corporation is inherently anti-liberty.

          We legally construct artificial entities all the time. Charities are artificial entities.

          If corporations are anti-liberty, then all governments of men are and the Founders were wrong, too.

            • A contact is an instrument and it does not require an artificial entity but it can create conditions for one. But I fail to see the relevance that a legal agreement between multiple parties has here.

                    • Abusing you is not my intent. never has been, never will be. And, no matter what you may believe, I am attempting to advance an argument that — were you to bother to understand it — would place the hammer of Thor in the hands of those who support the free market and private property.

                      But then, I suppose that is impractical because I am making a distinction without a difference and am evil — all at the same time. 😦

                    • No. I think you are arguing that it is evil for a free people to legally invent an amoral entity, that like all entities, are merely a reflection of the people in it.

                      Augs had it right, a corporation is only a tool, a vehicle for the actions of people. Power is not evil in and of itself, how it is used is the defining attribute.

                    • And thus, you admit that we can make an artificial thing greater than the people who made it possible. Funny how you see the problem with this where govt. is concerned, but not the corporation. 😦

                • I could easily argue that it has elements of both. The organizational aspects are corporate and the enumerated powers are a social contract.

                  Not everything is as black and white as you want it to seem.

                    • No. You are pissing me off now, Mister Philosophy Graduate because you know as we’ll as I do the way a premise is stated influences the answer. You structured it in your mind to only accept right and wrong at a macro level while ignoring the issues that contribute to it.

        • And to use your analogy of putting “the creation over the creator”, isn’t that what we do when we accept the rule of law?

        • “Just as the gays cannot attack pedophiles without forfeiting their own argument for gay marriage”

          Though I agree with you on much of what you’ve offered on this post, Joe, this analogy simply falls flat. Even if you assume that being gay refers only to sexual behavior, a marriage of any sort requires two consenting adults.

          • James,

            WRONG! If marriage can be redefined from what it has always been throughout human history to suit the demands of those who demand it be altered, then the very arguments used to affect that alteration would apply equally to the next demand to transform the definition. Or, barring that, the definition of “adult.” After all, in some States today, that is still 14 or 16 — or something like that.

            I think you are not looking deep enough. I am looking to the very foundation of the argument, where the logic lies — not the particulars of it, where the emotion lies.

        • “Except, in this case, the “group” (corporation) is treated as a single person.”

          Like I said, not the object’s choice. A man’s choice. Stop blaming the object (like the liberals do with guns), and place the blame squarely on the shoulders of the men/women who accept this.

        • Don:

          With me, what you see is what you get. I’m wrong about as much as I am right but I’ll defend my position as honestly as I can until I can’t.

          Of all the fights to pick in a target rich anti-liberty environment, this is not in my top 100. The only one’s other that I have heard push this are the fringe libertarians and the looney left.

          Corporate personhood does not mean that the corporation is treated exactly like a real person and like I said, if we want to argue that corporate regulation has been lacking-fine, let’s- but I will not agree that the simple existence of a corporation is bad without a similar argument over all other legally recognized bodies, including all government.

          Shit, we have a government that excludes itself from the very laws it makes and Joe wants to rant about corporations as the anthesis to liberty and natural law?!

          Give. Me. A. F*ckin’. Break.

          • My flight was delayed but now my phone is about dead. My absence and lack of timely response will not signify surrender on this topic.

          • You guys are so hell-bent on looking at me as the opposition, you haven’t bothered to even consider the defense I am trying to build for the free market. You’ve been blinded by emotion and short-sightedness. You’re also demonstrating exactly why I have argued the American Conservative is nothing more than the flip side of the Progressive coin and NOT the ally of our founders as he/she believes himself to be. Sad.

            If only you would stop and look at EVERYTHING I have said, you would understand that you have conceded the Left’s claim to have just authority to legislate corporations, and thus, private property. On the other hand, were you to bother shutting up long enough to listen and think things through, you might find I have been trying to show you how to remove that claim and protect private property.

            At some point, reason dictates that I have to start considering the possibility that you guys know this, but that you have chosen to protect the shield from personal responsibility over a truly free market where private property truly is private and protected.

  10. Don- The OWS/Progressive movement targets specific Corporations as Evil. Not all. Their definition of Evil Corporation is not ALL Corporations, just those that don’t support their movement. Haven’t you learned to use their definitions when discussing their stated objectives? Forward may mean the opposite. Since none of their ideas are new.

      • Utah: Really, didn’t think I would have to remind you that what the OWS/Progressive says is not the same thing as their actions. Now tell me again about which corporations they attacked and which they failed to mention. Which of the super rich they talked incessantly about and those they stayed away from.

        • By all means, triper – let’s parse so that if they didn’t attack one corporation, that means that their intent was not to attack all of “the rich. I’m going to quote to you from their website:

          “Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless resistance movement with people of many colors, genders and political persuasions. The one thing we all have in common is that We Are The 99% that will no longer tolerate the greed and corruption of the 1%. We are using the revolutionary Arab Spring tactic to achieve our ends and encourage the use of nonviolence to maximize the safety of all participants.

          the only solution is WorldRevolution”

          http://occupywallst.org/

          I don’t seem to see them excluding anyone there.

        • So we should not believe what they say?

          I know they were a fraud – I posted seemingly endless information on that – but it still does not change their stated goals of “occupying” Wall Street, the commonly used metaphor for all business, big business, the “rich” and yes, corporations.

  11. It utterly amazes me how otherwise reasoned men will cede so much ground to their political opponents to hold on to a losing position. So far, I have seen the “corporations are liberty” side of this argument cede to the Left the govt.’s right to legislate corporations however it sees fit; the right for the corporate charter to shield people from legal and financial liability (which shield the Left from any attack based on personal responsibility in the process); the role of God and faith in the government of our nation; the right to exalt an artificial entity over that of the individual or even the people as a whole (which utterly destroys the objection to big govt.); the right of an artificial being to spend money to influence an election in which it cannot vote; and for an artificial person to both own and be owned by other people.

    All this because it is feared that I am trying to attack your right to private property??? Really??? If you were to bother to read my argument, you would find that, were we to do it the way I suggest — THE WAY THE FOUNDERS DID IT — private property would be infinitely more secure than it is now. But I heard one defender of the corporation — a person who swear allegiance to the original intent of our framers — say they were wrong on this count.

    Sadly, at some point, a reasonable person has to start to wonder whether or not the people throwing away so much to hold to their corporate structure know full well why they are doing it: because the corporation allows them to do in the private sector what politicians do in govt.. Corporations allow exploitation with little to no accountability to the people. So, if I am “evil” for wanting to remove that path to exploitation while cementing the right to private property and a truly free market, so be it. At least I can rest assured in the certainty that the modern capitalist and Progressive are opposite sides of the same coin and that I stand above the lot of them.

    • Damn. The last time I saw that much horseshit, I was in a barn.

      I’m not exalting a corporation over an individual, nor am I ceding anything. Your argument is moot because your premise is flawed. Corporations are NOT individuals no matter how many exclamation points you use to threaten those who disagree with you.

      When I get stopped, I’ll explain why in enough detail that will make your eyes bleed.

      • You need a massage to calm you down. Rick Perrry will be leaving shortly (FL promised him some DHS-confiscated hollow point bullets.) One must be primed for hobo hunting…….jes sayin. Oh, Augger was here this morning; he gave me his “sweetheart” for you to try out. Apparently, she’s got lots of rounds. Happy huntin!

  12. Well, if nothing else good comes from this topic … at least we’ll never have to hear McPherson bloviate about Augs, Utah, and Joe kissing each other’s buttocks ever again.

    Unless of course he has A.S.S. (Al Sharpton Syndrome).

    • It is fun for me, though, to see Joe trying to get something through your thick skull and to see Utah resorting to the same flame-throwing rhetoric that he once foreswore and which he usually reserves for liberals who point out his lies or cluelessness. 🙂

      And I’m sure you’ll get back to the butt-kissing soon enough. After all, Joe has promised that this is his last post on this topic. And with his friends attacking him, I’m sure that’s true.

      • Thick skull huh? Ok, I will bite. Correct your cranial recturnal inversion for just a few moments, and you please take an attempt at the humanization of inanimate objects.

        Of course, it is much easier for one’s coping mechanisms to blame something else, now isn’t it?

        • Chomp away, augger. Just as you refused to enter the fray the other day when you knew (or should have known) that Joe was lying about me, I’ll leave this little tiff to you boys and enjoy it from the sidelines.

          • Maybe I should have known, but it only took about 2 of your sentences to realize that I did not care. 🙂

            I did however, enjoy our little dialogue. You done with that,and are ready to ‘wrestle’ (as Melfamy calls it) again?

      • Hey, James. There is no “flame throwing rhetoric” here – except for your comment. The commonly understood meaning of that term is words only invoked for the sake of inciting and agitating. That is their sole purpose. Your comment serves only to foster incitement – I’m simply vehemently disagreeing with a point and following those expressions of disagreement with offers of a counterpoint.

        Butt kissing? Don’t confuse this site with yours where all the comments are subject to “moderation” and those that don’t meet some unspecified criteria simply don’t get posted.

        • “where all the comments are subject to “moderation” and those that don’t meet some unspecified criteria simply don’t get posted”

          Pure BS, and you know it, utter. The first comment from anyone is automatically held — as is common to probably 90 percent of WordPress sites — to cut down on spam. After the first one from any commenter is approved, anything else offered by that same person goes through. I’ve never declined to post a single comment that wasn’t clearly spam.

          On the other hand, I have had numerous comments blocked here — presumably because of the links within them. In short, you’re lying or clueless yet again.

        • “There is no ‘flame throwing rhetoric’ here.”

          “Bullshit. You are off your rocker.” “Bullshit.” “Give. Me. A. F*ckin’. Break.” “You have obviously never been part of managing in a real corporation because you don’t know what the hell you are talking about.” “Joe is going a little OWS on us, methinks.” “Damn. The last time I saw that much horseshit, I was in a barn.”

          Gee, my mistake. Sorry, Utter. 😉

        • Utah …. No No No… we have it all wrong….

          St James informed me after he left the Mental infirmary that HE was the one with a Sense of Humor.

      • James,

        I’m not going to leave this issue alone because my friends attack me. I can handle that. We’ve had worse rows in the past. We damn near came to blows over the 2008 election. But the thing I find interesting is that my command of logic has never been undermined in all my time on the RNL and the News Herald before that, and you’re even giving me a nod here because it suits your purposes, yet, when I use the SAME DAMNED ARGUMENT against you, only with the particulars as they apply to you, you reject that same reasoning you now praise. To me, this both affirms my assertion that you don’t understand basic logic AND confirms you as a hypocrite. You should quit while you’re ahead.

        • A correction, Joe, as is far too often necessary: I wasn’t complimenting you with that comment (though I happen to agree with your point of view regarding corporations) — I wasn’t commenting on Augger’s usual dense nature and Utah’s lack of civility. In short, I’ve been enjoying the fact that you’re all doing to each other what you usually enjoy doing to me.

          “To me, this both affirms my assertion that you don’t understand basic logic AND confirms you as a hypocrite.”

          And since we’ve well established both your lack of honesty and your inability to admit error, your opinion matters so much. 🙂

            • And since we’ve well established both your lack of honesty and your inability to admit error, your opinion matters so much. 🙂

              • You’ve established nothing of the sort (which is why I keep telling you that you need help with basic logic).

                As for your claim that I cannot admit fault: LIAR! (that’s jus ta little “James logic” for the rest of the RNL — who know full well that I have admitted being wrong many times in the past)

                We have now established that James is a LIAR — and he can’t object because we used HIS logic to condemn him. Man, I love it when a dope ropes himself 🙂

    • That’s because B is defending one of SBJ’s and the Porgressives most “Hallowed” points re Capitalism and Business !

      In this they see Joe as an Ally …. and for good reason. Go read THEIR position papers on the subject !

      • “In this they see Joe as an Ally …. and for good reason. Go read THEIR position papers on the subject !”

        Yes, Don, go read their papers and then READ MINE! If they see me as an ally, it’s because they are stupid as we say they are. But I never thought I’d have to count you among their numbers. 😦

        My position does NOT help the Left, it utterly destroys it. You really should look closer at what I am ACTUALLY SAYING as opposed to what you think I am saying. Good grief, for anyone who knows me to think I would EVER undermine the cause of liberty or even accidentally side with the Left… Really, man, just what do you think of me?

    • I probably agree with Joe on more than he’d care to admit, Kells — the similar uselessness of both major parties and on the Patriot Act, for example. Unlike some folks here, I see no need to cast all conservatives or all liberals as the same. I’ve even agreed with Utah a time or two, expecially back when he was more thoughtful and less of a whiner. 🙂

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