institutions do not speak and do not breathe. The Jolly Green Giant, Aunt
Jemima and Ronald McDonald are not real and therefore do not, or should not,
get rights as living, breathing people.
The Supreme Court made a landmark decision in January. The
decision claims to uphold the First Amendment -- for corporations, restricted
from using general funds to influence political campaigns since 1947. Now they
may spend whatever they want to buy elections. Corporate institutions now get
the same rights as individuals to speak and spend on messages, of course with
immeasurably more money and extensive infrastructure. This allows machines of
corporations to be more closely tied to machines of the state.
Also in 1947, George Orwell wrote 1984. In it, he coined the term oligarchical collectivism: the
linking of institutions, as with our corporations and the state. A new book, The
Complete Patriot�s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism: Its Theory and Practice, defines patriotism in universal
concepts through the Five Freedoms of the First Amendment.
The Guide supplies the historical and philosophical
evidence that the Bill of Rights are to protect and preserve the rights of
individuals, not of institutions. A primal concept of the United States is to
limit state involvement with corporate and religious institutions, and to limit
the interaction of these institutions with the state, or to limit oligarchical
The First Amendment guarantees freedom of thought, speech,
press, and peaceful political action for the citizenry. �Congress shall make no
law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise
thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press, or the right of
people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of
The First Amendment secures these rights as a way for
individuals to counter oligarchical collectivism and the mechanics of
institutional ties. �Institutions are not individuals,� as I note in The
-- Ethan, Author of The Complete Patriot�s Guide to
Oligarchical Collectivism: Its Theory and Practice, Progressive Press,
The Bill of Rights guarantees the freedom of political speech,
of speaking truth to power, not any and all speech. There was no intent to do
away with �natural law,� or social restraints on speech that violates privacy
or does harm, such as libel, false advertising, provocations, obscenity,
blackmail -- or corruption.
Because these limitations on speech are so well grounded in
precedent, SCOTUS took an end run -- reminiscent of its gift of the stolen
election to Bush by a specious �equal access� argument.
The majority endorsed the fatuous opinion that, �By taking
the right to speak from some and giving it to others, the government deprives
the disadvantaged person or class of the right to use speech to strive to
establish worth, standing, and respect for the speaker�s voice.�
Corporations are disadvantaged persons? They need to buy
elections to be socially accepted? As if it were at issue whether poor
minorities could speak out! This is so misleading as to be a bare-faced fraud.
The case before the court involved advertising spending by
corporations to influence an election. In frank terms, corruption. Can corporations now take the profits
they make from us to pay for false advertising, if it will establish their
worth and standing -- especially if they are disadvantaged by uncompetitive
Our government is not allowed to spend our tax money on
influencing elections, either. It is a �disadvantaged person.� So should the
government now establish state-sponsored media to support its candidates?
Wouldn�t that be tyranny, just what the framers meant to guard against with the
Bill of Rights?
But wait -- since the corporations already own the
government -- we are already there. Corporatism is the party of oligarchy that
owns, runs and finances our semblance of a two-party democracy, the media,
education system, and just about everything. That�s the conclusion of a recent
book, Corporatism: The Secret Government of the New World Order, by Prof. Jeffrey Grupp.
Behind the scene, the legal issue was not free speech, but
whether corporations are persons with the same rights as individuals. In the
dissenting minority opinion, Justice Stevens wrote that the Framers of the
Constitution �had little trouble distinguishing corporations from human beings,
and when they constitutionalized the right of free speech in the First
Amendment, it was the free speech of individual Americans they had in mind.�
He is right. Glen Yeadon has shown in The Nazi Hydra in
America how severe were the restrictions on corporations in the early days
of the USA. Gradually SCOTUS gave them more powers, with railroads recognized
as persons by a reporter for the Robber Baron court in 1886 -- which opened the
way to twisting the Bill of Rights against itself. Yeadon advocates a stripping
of corporate powers and a return to personal liability by owners.
As Stevens concluded, �The Court�s opinion is thus a
rejection of the common sense of the American people, who have recognized a
need to prevent corporations from undermining self government since the
Our whole problem is the sway of the money power over our
polity. Campaign financing is really bribery, plain and simple. Politicians are
beholden not to their constituencies, but to their sponsors.
The court�s radical corporatist libertarianism can only be
met now with radical purism: Outlaw all campaign financing -- even by the candidates
themselves. With electronic media, there is less need than ever to spend bags
of money buying votes. Anyone with a reputation and some good ideas should be
able to get attention. Political candidates are newsworthy in themselves. Let
them triumph in the marketplace of ideas, not in the muck of selling favors to
the highest bidders. And may the best one win. For once.
John-Paul Leonard is the publisher of the �The Complete Patriot�s Guide to Oligarchical Collectivism� by
Ethan; �Corporatism: The Secret
Government of the New World Order� by Jeffrey Grupp and �The Nazi Hydra in America� by Glen