This post will not make the majority of Christians, Conservatives or even many Libertarians very happy with me, but it is still the truth. I am not going to bother linking to it, but I am reacting specifically to the Supreme Court case over whether or not businesses should be allowed to claim 1st Amendment protections from the mandates of Obamacare. You can find the stories easy enough if you are interested. What I’m concerned about here is that the Obama Administration actually has the correct position regarding Hobby Lobby and corporations in general: they are not people, and, therefore, they do not have constitutionally protected rights. Sadly, any attempt to fight the Administration on the part of those seeking to preserve our rights will undermine that effort in the long run. This is the mess we make when we ignore the fundamental principles of Natural Law.
I wrote about the problem here in my post, FUNDAMENTALS OF NATURAL LAW: The Corporation Undermines Natural Law. The Obama Administration is correct: the corporation is not a real person. The Constitution only addresses Natural Rights. As such, it only speaks to real people and not artificial entities. This is a fundamental principle of Natural Law. You will not find artificial entities anywhere in Nature, so Natural Law cannot address them. If you find it in Nature, it is real and Natural Law applies. But the corporation is a human invention, and thus, it is not real and Natural Law does not apply. Ergo, there can be no Constitutional protections for a corporation. This should be ‘self-evident,’ but alas, sadly, it is not – not in this dumbed-down society.
But here is the real peril. If you try to defend the ‘rights’ of a corporation and win, you have now opened the door for government to claim rights. And, as it is the government, it is only natural that it will claim its rights are above those of the governed. After all, it is the government to which the corporation depends for its existence. Without a government license, the corporation ceases to exist, so it is only rational to concede that the government is above the corporation. So, by defending the rights of the corporation – an artificial entity – you are opening the door to tyranny by conceding rights to a greater artificial entity – the government — while destroying any rational basis to argue against it.
Nor can we argue that the corporation is still private property, because it is not – at least, not if it is a publically traded corporation. By its very nature, the ‘ownership’ is too large and too varied to be held accountable for the corporation’s actions; therefore, the corporation cannot be thought of as ‘private property.’ This should also be self-evident. The example that illustrates the point is easy. Suppose you stock in Toyota. They knew they had cars with acceleration problems but delayed taking action. In some cases, people died. Now, what if the government came and arrested you and charged you with negligent homicide? If Toyota is private property, and you own it, then – by the law – you are legally liable for those deaths. So the government would be perfectly within its right to charge and try you. But we don’t operate this way because the corporation is not private property; it is a public creation and, thus, subject to public control through government regulation. Our founders even stated this to be the case. And, if it is subject to the public for its very existence, then that means it is not private property.
The hard lesson here is that – on this narrow point – the Marxist is correct: corporations are the product of greedy people who seek to maximize their ability to generate profit while shielding themselves from legal liability for their actions. In this regard, the system we have created is evil and – in my opinion – deserving of being torn down in favor of restoring a truly free market. But to the Marxist, understand this: I said you were right on a narrow point about corporations and greed, but your solution to the problem is infinitely worse that the problem itself. If faced with corporate greed or Marxist solutions, I would chose the greed every day of the week and twice on Sunday – because your cures are poison!
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