The Corporation Called Shotgun

carpool by tyger_lyllie

Do you remember, o faithful ‘moth reader, when I wrote about corporate personhood and suggested that it implies that if you have your corporation in the car with you, that should qualify you for the carpool lane?

Someone is testing it out. His name is Jonathan Frieman, and he’s been driving around Marin County carpool lanes with his corporation for a while now, purposely trying to get a ticket and push this issue. Are corporations people? Do they need seat belts? This week, a judge ruled no. Now, I hear, Mr. Frieman is appealing that ruling.  Definitely something to follow.

The judge says that allowing corporation people to count in the carpool lane is not the intent of the law. Seems like the same thing could be said about the intent of the right to free speech. I wonder, though, about whether the papers of incorporation count as the corporation. It’s a little like having someone’s birth certificate count as that person. So I ask you all to look deeply inside yourselves and wonder: where does the soul of a corporation lie? Is it merely a physical document? Or is it something more ephemeral? Ask yourselves, does it even exist?

And what is a person without a soul?


Corporations are People Too

You know what they say: Corporations are people, too.  (If you don’t know, Mitt Romney can tell you.)

I know this is a hard thing for some of us to adjust to.  It was hard for some people to accept that Irish people and black people and gay people were people, so it is understandable that it might take us a while with corporation people.  Perhaps someone ought to make a song for preschoolers about it.

But seriously, people, think about it.  There are some far-reaching ramifications of this.  It touches many of the key issues of our times.  For instance:

Transportation:  As long as you have your corporation in the car, you should be allowed in the carpool lane.  If you get pulled over, just say politely, “Officer, notice my corporation, right there in that dossier on the passenger seat.”  Be careful, however, never to leave the dossier in the trunk: that’s no place for a person.

Abortion: Ever since the 1970’s, the precedent has been for the government keep its laws off our corporations.  On the other hand, once a corporation has been conceived, is it moral and legal to terminate it?  Isn’t that a kind of murder?

Marriage Equality: Any two grown-up people who love each other should be allowed to marry, whether they are a man and a woman, two men, two women, a man and a corporation, a woman and a corporation, or two corporations.  Right now, our laws deny this right to everyone except a man and a woman, and two corporations.  This is a gross injustice.  If a man loves his corporation, and his corporation loves him, why can’t they marry?  They practically live together anyways.

Accessibility: We have made great strides in the last few decades to make our society more accessible for people with a wide range of physical abilities.  Although we still have a long way to go, we are moving towards a society where every person can participate with the body they have.  But what about our corporate people, who have no bodies at all?

Education: Despite our rhetoric of commitment to public education, our schools remain a place where corporations can only participate in certain ways.  They can sell their soda pop, for instance, but can they really be educated?  If you look around at our country today, you can see that clearly they are not receiving the benefits of a public education.  It is doubtful they are even making it through kindergarten.  I mean, how many corporations that you know of have learned to share?  How many pledge allegiance to the flag?  Although they are competitive in the global workforce, few have achieved the level of citizenship skills, ethics, and ecological literacy that we might hope they would in the 21st century.  Clearly, something is wrong if we are letting these people out into the world with this level of education.

This is only the tip of the iceberg.  However, as you can see, we have a long way to go as a society before we can join Mr. Romney in wholeheartedly saying, “yes, corporations are people, my friends.”