People have rights. Things do not.
A corporation is a thing. The U.S. Supreme Court, however, believes corporations are people.
The court has ruled, for instance, that corporations have free speech and can use this right to ply politicians with money. And last week, the court ruled that some companies even have religious freedoms and can use them to deny certain forms of birth control through the health insurance they offer employees.
Certainly, the people behind corporations have rights, but why do their legal edifices have the same rights?
To often, we have seen the corporation used as a device for people to hide behind as they shirk personal responsibility.
The whole idea of a corporation, at least legally, is to limit liability. It’s also a handy thing to blame when someone commits fraud or needs a bailout from the government.
When corporations go to Washington they have far more influence than individuals. We have become a nation of special interests – especially special corporate interests.
Click here to read my column in The Sunday Wall Street Journal.
As for birth control at Hobby Lobby – the main issue in this Supreme Court decision – I find the entire episode absurd.
Hobby Lobby argues that as a Christian company it shouldn’t have to pay for health insurance for its employees that in turn pays for morning after pills and intrauterine devices that Hobby Lobby – as a corporation – compares to abortion procedures.
Does Hobby Lobby also tell its employees what how they can spend their paychecks?
Health insurance is a form of compensation. If employees use that compensation to buy something, this isn’t Hobby Lobby’s business.
What if employees use their paychecks to purchase these same contraceptives that their health care plans won’t cover? Is Hobby Lobby violating its religious values because it paid them the money they used to buy them?
The fact is, we live in a pluralistic culture. Participating in that culture invariably means some of our hard-earn money goes to things we don’t support. I don’t like nuclear bombs, for instance, but I pay taxes to build them.