Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The tenor of political debate in this country has made me think that it is really quite fortuitous, that—in spite of their different roots—"ideologue" and "idiot" sound so similar in English. There seem to be fewer and fewer instances in which the two words are not interchangeable without change of meaning.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Logical implications of extending the Bill of Rights to fictive persons

Corporations have always been fictive persons—or at least fictive bodies, given the root—in some sense or another. For profit corporations are fictive persons for financial purposes. If Corporation X owes me money and goes into default, I only have a right to some share of Corporation X's assets, as the fictive person involved, and not to the assets of all the shareholders of Corporation X. This is much like the idea that if you owe me money, I may be able to get it from your spouse in some states—because, in one legal sense, you really are one body, one corporate being with shared assets—but I cannot attempt to attach the assets of your parents or siblings or best friend, since they are distinct legal persons. So, the shareholders and even officers of a corporation are legally distinct from the fictive person of the corporation.
But, (five of) the Supreme Court Justices have told us that corporations and other fictive persons are persons with respect to the Bill of Rights. Inasmuch as they are such, it would seem to follow that they have the other rights (and responsibilities) of persons. It is important to note that the operative concept in both the common and the civil law is person and not human being, so we needn't worry about the fact that corporations are not humans.
So, quite apart from worrying about whether Coca-Cola has registered for the draft—wait, they are beyond that age now—we should ask our corporations to forego the middlemen of lobbyists and campaign contributions and merely run for office themselves. I offer for your consideration, the Senator from the State of California, Apple, the Mayor of New York, The Bloomberg Corporation (only a small step), and our new President, Berkshire Hathaway.


Within the American political context, if you call your opponent, left or right, a Communist or a Nazi or a Stalinist or, honestly, even a Socialist, you have made it clear that you have no idea what any of those terms mean.
And, if you talk about dictatorship, it is clear that you have never lived under one or even visited a country that ever had one.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Logical implications of the identity of money and speech

If, as the five justice majority of SCOTUS again ruled today, money really is speech, then why can one arrested for solicitation of prostitution not mount a defense claiming that he was merely doing the same thing as anyone trying to pick up a sexual partner in a bar, at a party or elsewhere.
The normal mode of pick-up is to talk to someone until such a time as they might be willing to engage in sex. Of course, it normally helps if one is attractive but we all know of cases where charm evinced through speech was enough to seal the deal.
Now, a john is offering money for a sexual act that he would not normally get. This is just what prostitution is. But, if money is speech in political contexts, why is it not speech in this context? And, if it is, the john is guilty of nothing more than speaking his way to sex. And that is mere fornication (or adultery), which is a crime almost nowhere these days.
By the same token, if a person accused of a crime has the right to argue his innocence—a clear instance of speech—why may he not simply pay the judge or jury a sum—money being speech—to make that charge disappear? Or do we already have that system?