People must support Chick-fil-A’s right to free speech because “corporations are people, my friends” #chickfila

First, I don’t really support the boycott of Chick-fil-A. It is a waste of time and the direction is misfocused.

However, to support them is another matter.

Or maybe they are the different sides of the same coin.

Corporations are not people. They do not have freedom of speech. They cannot discriminate. They cannot hate. They cannot be anti-gay. They cannot be pro-fay. They cannot be… well, you get what I mean, right.

Corporations are paper-only entities that have no life blood, no brains, no mouth, no heart. They have one purpose – to make money not for themselves, but for those who own them. That’s right, corporations do not even “care” about themselves. If you give money to a corporation, you are giving money to the people who own it. If you don’t give money, you are hurting those who work there. The corporations don’t exist except as an abstract – and an abstract that not even Plato could justify.

Because they can’t care.

So to support Chick-fil-A’s “freedom of speech” is to buy into the notion that “corporations are people, my friend.”

Don’t do it. Don’t be that person.

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18 Replies to “People must support Chick-fil-A’s right to free speech because “corporations are people, my friends” #chickfila”

  1. Joel, the whole corporations are people argument misses the real point of the debate… the right afforded by the Constitution to free association… which includes those who are free associate and to take positions and to have views and to organize and to contribute to causes– which means Chic-Fil-A as a corporation has the right to free speech, not because corporations are people, but because it is an association that people have entered into freely for various reasons. They are just as free to do this as others are free to associate with those who will not support Chic-Fil-A as a association because they do not like the causes they support, even though, I agree with you that boycotts seldom work, all it does is inflame both sides.

    1. Dr. Bevere – I disagree with that argument. The right to associate does not imbue association with the same rights as the individuals. People, individually, have rights.

      This boycott is an exercise in futility. It only hurts the employees.

          1. Well, here is one more example of the problematic nature of rights arguments. Individuals have the right to freely assemble (which in the context of the Constitution, it was the right to assemble for a cause). If they have the right to so assemble that must mean that as a group they have rights as well. Otherwise, what is the point of free association? If corporations have no rights can we discriminate against the corporation? Only in an individualistic society can we make these kinds of tortured arguments.

            Individual Christians have rights, but do churches?

  2. Joel, I think you may be on thin legal ice here. As near as I can tell corporations have responsibilities and rights much the same as individuals in most courts of law. Also who made the statement that started all this.

    1. Skid, I understand the legality of it. I disagree with the Supreme Court, of course.

      The statement wasn’t made by a corporation, not even by the CEO. It was made by the son of the CEO. An individual.

  3. Corporations cannot have opinions or emotions, but they can take positions and adopt policies. And if a corporation (not Chick-fil-A) adopts a discriminatory policy such as refusing to employ gays, surely it is discriminating and anti-gay?

  4. Joel, Of course I knew who made the original opinion statement and was simply making this point. I believe he is now CEO since his father has retired from the position. Rights and responsibilities have always applied to corporate and other legally recognized organizations and the SC decision is only a small part of that. The only real problem I see here is if government threatens retaliation against someone for a religious belief since that might well come back to bite you and/or me. Of course beliefs have to have some limiting definitions such as not allowing shooting and killing random people in the name of a god.

  5. I am going to agree with Joel on this one. Those who claim corporations are people are simply spliting hairs and missing the point of his argument. Yes corporations have responsibilities BUT as a legal entity NOT as a person.

    It cannot do business without a human making the business deals nor can it operate without humans but that human presence doesn’t magically turn the corporation into as human being.

    The advantage of having a corportation is that those same humans do not have to take personal responsibility for their actions but can blame the paper entity for their own actions.

    Calling a paper business a person just facillitates that avoidance of guilt. A corporation doesn’t do the bad acts it is accused of, those can only be done by the humans employed by it.

    In other words a corporation is not a person but is the scapegoat for human behavior.

  6. I don’t believe any thinking person would say a legally organized group of people is a person. The point is that these groups have legally defined rights and responsibilities similar to a persons legally defined rights and responsibilities all of which might be legally changed at any time. This has little to do with your religious or moral values except for your right to try to change the law where you disagree through the vote or legal persuasion.

    1. I disagree, Skid. The law defines corporations as persons. This is not an original concept, btw, in the Constitution.

      I think it has a lot to do with religious values. I find it disconcerting that we are more ready to give protections to corporations as persons than actual people.

  7. the reality is, no one is talking about chik-fil-a’s right to free speech. they are talking about its president’s right to free speech.

    1. No, they are talking about an individual’s right to free speech. Congress and local governments are prevented from limiting that. People, on the other hand, can, will, and should from time to time.

  8. Joel, The definition of an organization goes back to some of the earliest decisions of the SC. The problem is that if an organization is not a “person” as used in the constitution then the courts would have all kinds of problems applying constitutional decisions. You might be a bit concerned if you could not sue a corp. because they were not a “person” as defined in the constitution. This is the problem the SC faced early in the 19th century which resulted in the constitutional “person” being broadly defined to include more than simply a human being. If a corp. is not a constitutional person then most laws applied to them would be declared unconstitutional. I doubt you would approve of this also.

  9. I think you totally missed my point as to why a corp. must be considered a “person” or constitutional requirements cannot be applied in the courts. It applies to much more than how free speech may be limited. Free speech can be limited (and is) and that is a separate problem.

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