Monday, March 17, 2014
Corporate Persons: A Legal Product of Ideological Psychopathy
There is a common tendency among many individuals to conflate and confuse the following terms: ‘sociopath’, ‘antisocial personality,’ and ‘psychopath.’ A brief overview might be of assistance.
A sociopath is someone who manifests a pattern of behaviors that is considered by a dominant culture to be either criminal or deviant. Yet, within the subculture to which a sociopath belongs, that person is not necessarily considered to be deviant or suffering from any sort of mental/emotional disorder.
A sociopath could have a well-developed sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ or ‘morality’ and ‘immorality.’ As well, a sociopath might display dispositions involving loyalty toward, and empathy for, other human beings.
Many people who are criminals – whether in prison or free – could be considered sociopaths by the larger society. Yet, the people so labeled are often – but not always – capable of intimacy with other individuals and capable of caring for those people.
The ideas of ‘sociopath’ or ‘sociopathy’ are not diagnostic terms. The technical phrase which comes closest to ‘sociopath’ is: ‘antisocial personality disorder.’
Individuals who are diagnosed with antisocial personality disorder tend to fall within a range of possibilities that extends from: those individuals displaying the aforementioned sociopathic patterns of behavior and attitudes, to: individuals who display more severe forms of dysfunctional behavior and attitudes (e.g., maybe they have problems with being intimate or have a diminished sense of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’) without spilling over into the still more severe forms of disorder that are given expression through psychopathy.
Psychopaths are individuals who display a certain cluster of personality traits. Among these traits one finds an absence of: empathy, guilt, loyalty, a capacity for intimacy, and conscience.
Not all psychopaths are necessarily highly intelligent. However, psychopaths do tend to have a keen sense of the emotional lives of other people and how to manipulate those emotions in order to gratify themselves or achieve their own completely self-directed ends ... in a sense, they know how most emotions work and that such emotions play an important part in the lives of others, but psychopaths just don’t know how most of those emotions feel.
The first systematic study of the psychopath was done by a psychiatrist, Hervey Cleckley, and he published his findings in a 1941 book entitled: Mask of Sanity.
Among other things, Dr. Cleckley indicated that psychopaths were very insincere individuals, and, yet, they had the capacity to mask that insincerity with an appearance of sincerity. In fact, psychopaths were apparently capable of providing the surface semblance of a variety of emotions such as: intimacy, love, loyalty, friendship, empathy, and morality without actually feeling any of these emotions (which is consistent with my previous contention that psychopaths seem to understand how emotions work but not how those emotions feel).
In addition, Dr. Cleckley described how psychopaths seemed to have little, or no, insight into their own condition. As a result, they tend to exhibit little, if any, sense of guilt or remorse with respect to the ways in which they have harmed others through the moral shallowness of their condition.
Another trait of psychopaths noted by Dr. Cleckley concerned their apparent inability to learn from experience. However, if people don’t care about the consequences of their acts, then they are not likely to be sufficiently motivated to use past experience to shape future behavior.
On the other hand, there are case studies concerning psychopaths that suggest such individuals can be quite elaborate and calculated in the plans they make for abusing and controlling other individuals. As a result, certain psychopaths are sometimes capable of evaluating complex, social dynamics as well as figuring out the sort of tactic which is necessary to engage those dynamics for purposes of advantaging the psychopath while damaging other human beings.
The only emotions which psychopaths seem able to experience deeply are frustration, anger, and rage. Those emotions tend to surface when the self-serving agenda of the psychopaths is thwarted or threatened in some fashion.
Psychopaths are capable of reasoned, logical, critical analysis. However, this tends to occur within the narrow framework of determining what is necessary to satisfy their desires and interests.
While psychopaths are sometimes described as not being subject to delusional thinking, this might not be true. They often have a megalomaniac sense of self, and, as well, one might argue that their emotional and moral parsing of the universe is delusional in character ... perhaps driven by their inflated sense of self-importance along with their beliefs/attitudes that only their own satisfaction, gratification, interests, and purposes are what matter.
There are four domains of behavioral traits which are considered when trying to diagnose whether, or not, someone is displaying psychopathic tendencies. These domains involve: interpersonal, affective, life style, and antisocial characteristics.
In conjunction with the foregoing domains, Dr. Robert Hare has developed several diagnostic tools for assessing the degree to which psychopathic tendencies might be present. Depending on the tool, these diagnostic techniques involve either a more extensive, or a somewhat less extensive, set of traits in the aforementioned domains of activity to determine a diagnosis.
The more extensive set of traits (found in the Psychopath Checklist – Revised, or PCL-R) are evaluated through in-depth interviews that are scored in accordance with a system -- expounded in an accompanying manual -- that runs between 0 and 40, whereas the less extensive version of the same sort of test – namely, the Psychopath Check List - Screening Version (PSL – SV) – uses a scoring system that ranges between 0 and 24 points.
According to Dr. Hare, the average criminal will score somewhere between 19 and 22 on the PCL-R and approximately 13 on the PCL-SV. The line dividing psychopaths from lesser sorts of dysfunctional or problematic behavior is usually set at 30 in relation to the PCL-R, whereas a score of 18 or above is considered to be the dividing line for a diagnosis of psychopathy in the shorter PCL-SV.
Interestingly enough, there is room for ‘average’ human beings to register on either the PCL-R or PCL-SV. However, these scores generally do not rise higher than 5 on the PCL-R and 2 or 3 on the PCL-SV.
Many psychopaths are very good at ‘reading’ people. They often are quick studies when it comes to acquiring an understanding of what motivates different people and how the interests, attractions, antipathies, and worries of those people can be translated into vulnerabilities that can be manipulated by the psychopath.
Moreover, as Dr. Cleckley pointed out in the Mask of Sanity, psychopaths are often quite skilled in impression management. That is, they use emotional and social masks to influence the impressions which other people might develop with respect to the psychopath.
Finally, many psychopaths exhibit impressive – albeit limited in certain ways – skills of communication. This skill tends to emphasize manipulative style over substantive content, and as true with respect in relation to the capacity for impression management, this sort of a communicative style is used to shape the perceptions, attitudes and beliefs of other people with respect to the ‘persona’ of the psychopath.
Some psychopaths are quite skilled in the practice of lying and using disinformation or misinformation as means of controlling a situation and/or manipulating people. In fact, certain psychopaths are so good at lying and spreading disinformation/misinformation that they can induce people who already know the truth of a given situation to doubt their own understanding of those circumstances.
Whether, or not, some degree of truth is spoken by a psychopath often tends to be a purely practical or instrumental decision. If telling the truth will further the psychopath’s purposes, then the truth will be told, but if telling the truth will not advance those purposes, then disinformation or misinformation will tend to rule the moment.
As indicated previously, psychopaths appear to act without any sense of conscience, guilt, or remorse with respect to the impact which their actions have on others. Therefore, even when psychopaths understand that their actions have caused a problem, psychopaths will often blame others for whatever has transpired.
Not only do many psychopaths feel entitled to do whatever they do, but, as well, they feel that others should take the blame for the actions of the psychopath. This is part of the psychopath’s sense of entitlement – to see others as the means to the ends of the psychopath.
Once people trust someone, that trust becomes a potential source of vulnerability. The presence of trust makes the simultaneous presence of certain kinds of flaws in the people being trusted more difficult to detect due to the way the presence of trust tends to inhibit people from critically examining the behaviors that are hidden beneath such a cloak. Many psychopaths are very good at inducing people to trust them, and then the trust becomes the Trojan horse through which all manner of problems enter into the lives of those who have been willing to extend that kind of trust to the psychopath.
When impression management and facile communication skills are not able to accomplish the purposes of a psychopath, those individuals usually have a fallback position involving overt and covert expressions of meanness, aggressiveness, and intimidation. This fallback position is likely a reflection of the way in which the frustration, anger, and rage that tend to exist just beneath the surface of a psychopath are triggered and channeled into aggressive forms of intimidation/meanness with respect to those who are perceived to be behaving in ways that constitute obstacles to the psychopath’s interests and purposes.
However, either serving, or being obstacles to, the purposes of a psychopath are not necessarily the only roles which other people can assume in relation to the psychopath. Some psychopaths derive pleasure from the pain that they inflict on other human beings through the manipulation of emotions and exploiting vulnerabilities, and deriving pleasure in this fashion might be a primary goal for these kinds of psychopaths ... quite irrespective of whether, or not, anything further is gained through that sort of abuse.
Controlling other people through manipulating their vulnerabilities and/or willingness of other people to trust someone is a challenging game for some psychopaths. The foregoing sort of game might become the raison d’état for their lives.
Once people have served their purpose or become a liability, a psychopath will abandon those individuals. The psychopath is indifferent to what happens to the individual (s) who is (are) abandoned in this fashion.
Although psychopaths are often impulsive, unreliable, and irresponsible, they also are often very adept at making things seem to be other than they are. Their communication skills, capacity for impression management, as well as their shameless willingness to throw other people under the bus often – but not always -- help to compensate for various displays of impulsiveness, unreliability and irresponsibility.
Some people have proposed that the number of psychopaths in any given population might be as many as 1 in 100 people. In America, this would mean that nearly 3½ million psychopaths are present.
The foregoing individuals are not necessarily ensconced in a prison somewhere. They are sprinkled across all strata of the population – from: criminals and abusive spouses, to: military personnel, government officials, educators, scientists, and business people -- including executives.
If the foregoing statistics are true, then as terrifying as are, they actually pale in comparison to the possible actual nature of the problem facing society. More specifically, psychopaths are usually considered to be born rather than made ... although environment might serve to exacerbate or modulate (e.g., help hide) those psychopathic tendencies.
Consequently, psychopaths do not necessarily come from abusive families. Many of them grow up in ‘normal’ circumstances, and, some – perhaps many -- of them might come to recognize at an early age that they are different from other people and that those differences will have to be hidden by means of various coping strategies – such as impression management, communication skills, manipulation, lying and so on – if their ‘different’ inclinations are not to lead to problematic ramifications for them.
However, what if the condition of psychopathy were totally a function of a combination of environment and the manner in which an individual’s sense of personal agency (that is, their capacity for choice) engaged those environments? For instance, many people are driven to such an extent in their pursuit of political, religious, financial, educational, and economic goals that their behaviors often become like a psychopath.
Those people often seem to be: entitled; impulsive; irresponsible, egocentric – if not megalomaniac; lacking in compassion and empathy concerning those to whom they cause harm; inflexible; insincere; manipulative; inclined to blame others; consider other individuals as mere instruments to their own ends; ready to abandon anyone who does serve their purposes; willing to lie or spread disinformation and misinformation if it will further their agenda; inclined to feel little remorse or guilt with respect to the harm and abuse they inflict on those who are perceived to constitute threats or obstacles to the fulfillment of the agenda of such individuals. In addition, the foregoing, psychopathic-like sorts of people are very good at: reading people and calculating what the value and vulnerabilities of those individuals are relative to the interests of the psychopathic-like individual, as well as being very good at managing the impressions of others, controlling situations, and using their communication skills to convince people that things are other than the evidence suggests is the case.
I refer to the foregoing sorts of individuals as ‘ideological psychopaths.’ They might not be born that way, but through the interaction of environment and personal agency, those individuals become indistinguishable from psychopaths who appear to be born into their condition.
Previously, I indicated that there might be as many as 1 in 100 people who are ‘born’ psychopaths. The incidence of ideological psychopaths is likely to be far higher given that there are so many more different ways – religiously, politically, economically, philosophically, and historically – other than genetically through which ideological psychopaths might come into being.
There is one difference between the foregoing two categories of psychopaths. ‘Normal’ psychopaths can’t help themselves, whereas ‘ideological psychopaths’ can help themselves but choose not to.
People who are willing to go to war and destroy tens of thousands, if not millions, of individuals for arbitrary ‘reasons’ – that is, for reasons that cannot be justified beyond a reasonable doubt – are psychopaths. The only question which remains concerns the issue of whether they are ‘natural’ psychopaths or ‘ideological psychopaths,’ and in some respects the question is a moot one since precisely the same sorts of behavior are in evidence in both cases.
People who are willing to arbitrarily destroy the lives of tens of thousands, if not millions, of people for the sake of economic (whether capitalistic, socialistic, or communistic), political, legal, or religious ideologies which cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt are either ‘natural psychopaths’ or they are ‘ideological psychopaths.’ However, irrespective of which they are, their behaviors are thoroughly destructive, abusive, and malevolent in ways that lack all empathy, compassion, and concern for the welfare of whoever falls beyond the horizons of their sphere of self-interest and their behaviors are devoid of evidence indicating any sense of conscience or guilt concerning the harm which ensues from their focused, relatively inflexible pursuit of their arbitrary forms of ideology.
The people who instituted the experiment in constitutional democracy and those who are the heirs with respect to continuing to conduct that experiment – whether these individuals are politicians, government officials, members of the judiciary, or representatives of the military – have again and again exhibited psychopathic-like tendencies with respect to the lives of tens of millions of people (e.g., Indians, slaves, women, minorities, the poor, the disenfranchised) through the arbitrary – and, therefore, unjustifiable – ideological frameworks by means of which they have sought to control and manipulate the vulnerabilities and trust of ‘We the People.’ The way of power in the United States has been the dominant ideology used to conduct the experiment into democracy, and the way of power is a euphemism for ‘ideological psychopathy’.
The way of power – or ideological psychopathy -- seeks to undermine, limit, disempower, destroy, and manipulate the way of sovereignty – that is, the way which is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has a fair opportunity to push back the horizons of ignorance. Moreover, part and parcel of this notion of having a “fair opportunity” encompasses not only issues of: food, shelter, clothing, health care, and education, but, as well, includes the right to be free from all of the ways in which ideological psychopathy -- of whatever variety -- might attempt to interfere with the sorts of discussions, assemblies, and arrangements that should be considered in order to be able to advance, beyond a reasonable doubt, the way of sovereignty for everyone.
A corporation is sometimes described as a legal fiction – that is, something that everyone knows does not reflect any reality outside of the legal realm but which, nonetheless, serves some sort of legal function. On other occasions, a corporation is referred to as an artificial person in the sense that such a legal entity is considered to have a personality and legal existence distinct from the human being(s) who are legally associated with that entity.
I have been studying psychology for close to 50 years, and I have taught a wide variety of courses on psychology, including: general psychology, social psychology, abnormal psychology, transpersonal psychology, and developmental psychology. However, in all that time, I’ve never come across any understanding concerning the issue of personality which is capable of demonstrating that such an understanding gives expression to a provable system of thought with respect to: what personality is, or how it develops, or what its origin is.
There are many, many theories of personality (e.g., Sigmund and Anna Freud, Carl Jung, Alfred Adler, Henry Stack Sullivan, Gordon Allport, Erik Erickson, George Kellly, Ludwig Binswanger, Victor Frankl, Abraham Maslow, Carl Rogers, B.F. Skinner, Albert Bandura, Jean Piaget, Albert Ellis, etc.). While most, if not all of, the foregoing theories have their advocates as well as their spheres of application, nevertheless, all those theories also require leaps of faith (sometimes quite substantial ones) across a chasm of unknowns with respect to what personality actually involves ... in reality rather than in purely theoretical terms.
Some modern researchers have given up trying to establish a theory of personality and have, instead, selected certain factors to explore which might have something to do with personality and which seem to exhibit a certain amount of empirical stability in individuals across time and circumstances. These elements – known as the ‘big five factors of personality’ – (1) Openness (as measured by how: independent or conforming, imaginative or practical, and variation or routine-oriented a person is); (2) Conscientiousness (as measured by how: careful or careless, disciplined or impulsive, and organized or disorganized a person is); (3) Extraversion (as measured by how: fun-loving or somber, sociable or retiring, and affectionate or reserved a person is; (4) Agreeableness (as measured by how trusting or suspicious, softhearted or ruthless, and helpful or uncooperative a person is); and, finally, (5) Neuroticism (as measured by how: self-satisfied or self-pitying, calm or anxious, and secure or insecure a person is).
One of the problems with the foregoing approach to the idea of personality is that they are dependent on the nature of the measuring instruments which are used to rate people with respect to the big five personality factors. Not all those instruments necessarily measure what they claim to, or they do so in problematic and contentious ways. Furthermore, some degree of subjectivity enters into the manner in which the results generated through those measuring instruments are interpreted.
In any event, notwithstanding the aforementioned considerations, what would it mean to construe the alleged personality of a corporation in terms of any of the foregoing possibilities? Does a corporation actually have a personality in any of the aforementioned senses, or is the term “personality’ used in relation to corporations in an entirely arbitrary sense meant to indicate that every corporation is shaped by human beings and circumstances in a way that is, to varying degrees, distinctive? Moreover, even if one were able to, somehow, evaluate a corporation in terms of, say, the ‘big five factors of personality,’ what does any of this have to do with permitting corporations to have the right to impact the lives of people in problematic, abusive or destructive ways?
Actual human beings do not have the foregoing sort of right. Why is that kind of right being extended to corporations?
Some people have argued that corporations are persons and, therefore, are entitled to the same rights as people. In what sense are corporations persons?
Corporations are a legal fiction. They have been invented to serve the purposes and agendas of certain forces within the legal world, but what right does the legal realm have to create such fictions and impose them on people?
Several other relatively recent blog postings have shown, in various ways, that there is no ‘rule of law’ operative in the United States which is capable of justifying itself beyond a reasonable doubt. For example, the rule of law that is supposedly inherent in the Philadelphia Constitution is, in a number of ways, quite arbitrary (some aspects of which have been explored in previous blogs).
What is the argument – legal or otherwise -- that demonstrates corporations are not only persons but persons with rights? What is the difference between a biological person and an artificial person created through legal means?
A corporation is not considered to be identical to the person or persons who are associated with that legal entity. This element of separation is, among other things, what permits the people who are associated with that sort of a legal fiction to be immune, in many ways, from being held responsible – criminally or financially – for claims against the corporation.
So, if a corporation is not the same as the person or people who are associated with it, in what sense is it a person – artificial or otherwise? To say that corporations are persons because they are considered to have a personality – that is, a dimension of distinctive style or manner of functioning -- is an abusive use of language that is so arbitrary – and, therefore, unjustifiable – that such an argument reduces down to little more than someone operating out of the way of power – which, as pointed out previously, is a euphemism for ideological psychopathy – and claiming that a corporation is a ‘person’ because such a representative of power says so.
As a legal entity, a corporation has no: intelligence, self-awareness, understanding, creativity, artistic or musical talent, potential for learning, emotion, insight, morality, hermeneutical skills, judgment, ability to choose, or linguistic capacity. One cannot point to the human qualities of the people associated with such a legal entity and claim that the presence of the human beings with the foregoing sorts of qualities transforms the corporation into a person since, legally speaking, a wall of separation exists between the corporation and the people associated with it, and if this were not the case, then, corporations would not be able to offer any degree of legal and financial protection for those individuals, and as a result would serve no legal purpose.
Of course, some people argue that one of the reasons why corporations are considered to be artificial persons is to ensure that those entities are treated fairly before the law, just as human beings are. However, if one were to eliminate corporations altogether, then people engaged in business would be treated just as any other individual is treated, and one wouldn’t have to worry about all the legal voodoo which surrounds the idea of corporations as artificial people.
Considering corporations to be artificial persons does not balance the scales of justice. Rather, this kind of a legal fiction renders the scales of justice dysfunctional.
People associated with corporations want to keep their cake and eat it too. On the one hand, when they wish to be shielded from criminal prosecution, financial liability, bankruptcy, or sanctions of one kind or another, then the individuals associated with that sort of a legal fiction insist on everyone remembering that there is a strict separation between the legal entity and the human beings associated with that entity. On the other hand, when it is advantageous for those people to insist that corporations should have access to the same rights accorded to human beings (for example, speech, equal protection under the law, due process, and so on), then, somehow, the corporation mysteriously acquires personhood.
However, the nature of that mysterious transformation has never been adequately explained by anyone. Instead, the legal system insists that everyone must accept the ‘personhood’ of a corporation on faith ... that is, because the priests, bishops, and cardinals of the legal system have arbitrarily decreed – meaning that such an act of faith is something which cannot be justified beyond a reasonable doubt – that the foregoing sort of legal arrangement is incumbent on everyone.
What is the source of obligation in relation to that notion of ‘incumbency’? What, if anything, makes it binding?
Arbitrary laws have no binding force. The incumbent dimension of those arbitrary laws is nothing other than the threat of force which is given expression through the way of power – that is, ideological psychopathy -- in relation to whoever does not comply with that kind of legal directive.
Furthermore, even if one were to somehow come up with a definitive proof concerning the alleged ‘personhood’ of a corporation – and no one, to date, has done this successfully -- nevertheless, there still would be a major problem surrounding the idea of treating corporations as persons. Why should some of the individuals associated with corporations get a double portion of ‘rights’? – namely, those rights to which they are entitled as human beings independently of corporations and those same ‘rights’ to which they are supposedly entitled because of their association with corporations.
The foregoing situation is sort of like saying that each of the personalities of someone who suffers from a dissociative identity disorder should be entitled to a separate set of rights. If one considered that kind of a claim to be ridiculous – and it is – then why is the claim of multiple rights for a person and the corporation with which he or she is affiliated any less ridiculous?
How does one justify certain people – i.e., some of those who are associated with a corporation, and, one should keep in mind, that not everyone associated with a corporation necessarily can do this – acquiring more ‘rights’ than everyone else? There is an inherent inequity in this sort of an arrangement ... an inequity that receives the full support of the legal system even though that same legal system cannot adequately explain, or justify beyond a reasonable doubt, in what way a corporation is a person -- and the burden of proof concerning this issue is on the legal system, not on ‘We the People’ to demonstrate the negative.
There are both private and public corporations. Just as private individuals use the corporate dodge as a way of doing an end around certain kinds of legal and financial issues while retaining an array of double-dip rights, so too, public bodies – such as city/town, state, and federal governments – also make use of the legal legerdemain that is afforded them through the legal fiction of ‘corporations.’
Whether one believes in the idea of evolution or in the idea of creation, there were no corporations roaming the earth when life, somehow, was manifested on the face of the Earth. Skeletal remains of early hominids have been discovered, but there are no artifacts of corporate bones that have been unearthed in the dust surrounding those hominids.
Corporations are a conceptual invention of human beings ... or some of them. Corporations came into existence as a way for certain religious organizations and local governments to leverage their own ‘authority’ despite often being financially insolvent or experiencing liquidity problems. In exchange for the power that was vested in a charter of operations by the appropriate source of authority, the ones receiving the charter -- who often had money or resources but not necessarily any recognized authority – would set about earning money for the organization or government that was authorizing the ‘corporate’ entity to act.
If an organization or government with authority had sufficient money, they would have had no need for corporations to do their bidding. If, on the other hand, a business entity had its own source of authority which was capable of sanctioning its acts, then that entity would have had no need for some form of authoritative backing to sanction the actions of the business entity.
Corporations were a marriage of convenience between power and money, or between power and the potential for generating money. Corporations came into existence through the permission granted by a source of authority capable of enabling those commercial entities to act in ways that might not otherwise be possible.
Corporations also represented a way to establish a wall of plausible deniability between the authorizing/enabling source and the entity that was being authorized or enabled. If it was politically expedient to do so, a corporation could be blamed or set up to draw criticism for various problematic acts even if those acts had been authorized by a given religious organization or government.
Corporations were quantitative (material and financial) utilitarian instruments for controlling a variety of resources. Those resources ranged from: people, to: property, crops, goods, services, education, tools of war, buildings, art, blessings/prayers, and power.
Finally, in exchange for the charter of empowerment that was granted by a given source of authority, the people associated with a corporation would assume the majority, if not entirety, of the financial and material risks of venturing into uncertain economic/commercial territory. Those who granted the corporate charter stood to gain financially and/or materially without endangering their own wealth or status, whereas those who were being granted the authority to venture forth for possible profit in relation to places and activities which they would not be permitted to venture into otherwise.
There is no concept of personhood in any of the foregoing functions of a corporation. Everyone involved – those granting the charter and those receiving such a grant – knew the nature of the game being played, and it was entirely a matter of power enabling money, and/or money enabling power.
From the very beginning, corporations existed quite independently of the wishes of the generality of people. Corporations were a legal fiction – an expression of the way of power -- created by some, given source of authority/power to serve the interests of that source of power.
Under the best of conditions, corporations had a symbiotic relationship with the source of authority/power that had enabled those sorts of commercial entities to operate under certain conditions and circumstances. Under the worst of conditions, there was a parasitic-like relationship between the two in which either side of the relationship might serve as the host that is being preyed upon by the other dimension of the relationship.
A corporation can give expression to the sorts of behaviors that might warrant the diagnosis of ideological psychopath. However, those behaviors are a function of human beings operating through a legal entity, and, as a result those human beings ought to be held responsible for those behaviors rather than playing a legal game in which psychopathic behaviors are attributed to a legal fiction that can – within limits -- be held legally responsible for those acts in order to prevent the people who actually perpetrated those acts (using the corporation as their means) from being held accountable for their own problematic behavior.
Whatever laws or moral codes were broken by Frankenstein’s monster, one should never forget – and the townspeople in the book/movie did not -- that it was Dr. Frankenstein who set everything in motion and was the one who should be held accountable for whatever acts his scientific fiction committed. In the legal world, however, only the monster can be found legally liable, and the ideological psychopaths who unleashed the monster on the world are considered untouchable ... Charles Dickens was right – “The law is an arse.”
Many of the colonies in pre-Independence America came into existence under a corporate charter. Furthermore, various cities and towns within those colonies operated out of charters which had been granted by the individuals who had been given authority by the Queen or King of England to run those colonies for the benefit of: royalty, as well as the members of the charted corporations, and, sometimes even the generality of people, but the latter individuals had, for the most part, little control over what took place in the context of those interacting charters.
In addition, there was another kind of corporation – for example, the East India Company – that constituted a further form of chartered empowerment. Those companies also operated at the pleasure of the Queen or King of England, and its impact on the American colonies was considerable.
Contrary to the opinion of some, America was not founded by the Pilgrims. Nearly 20 years before the Mayflower landed off Massachusetts, the East India Company already had been visiting America and claiming land on behalf of the Crown.
In fact, the Mayflower was part of a fleet of ships that was owned by the East India Company. Moreover, that ship had made 3 previous trips to America before the Pilgrims chartered it in 1620 to take them to the new continent.
England – under Queen Elizabeth I – entered into the New World corporate business when, in 1580, she granted Francis Drake and his ship, The Golden Hind, immunity from prosecution in exchange for whatever wealth he could manage to ‘liberate’ from those who possessed resources and valuables.
Other countries – such as France and Holland – were also engaged in these same kinds of corporate relationships. Commercial enterprises and moneyed individuals were granted permission to acquire resources in the New World in exchange for filling up the coffers of the granting powers.
Very pleased with the arrangement she had forged with Drake, Queen Elizabeth I expanded on the original idea. In late 1600, she granted permission for a group of several hundred merchants in London to form a corporation – named, the East India Company – to explore the New World in search of wealth-generating opportunities for themselves and for their Queen.
Initially, the foregoing company was supposed to compete with the Dutch in relation to the spice trade. However, that venture did not turn out very well, and, so, the company turned their attention to other possibilities.
For instance, while trying to make a go of things in the spice trade, the East India Company had been transporting a variety of people to various places in America. These passengers ranged from: prisoners, to: people who were unhappy with life in England and sought a chance for a new beginning elsewhere, and the East India Company made a considerable profit for transporting people to America.
In addition, the East India Company busied itself with claiming large tracts of land for itself and the Queen. The first official, English settlement in America was established at Jamestown in Virginia in 1606, and that settlement was organized by the Virginia Company on land that had been ceded to the former company by the East India Company.
Captain Cook was a company man, and he went on many exploratory voyages on behalf of the company. Captain Kidd was also a company man before he went into business for himself against the interests of the East Indian Company and, as a result, was executed for his enterprising spirit.
For a time, the East India Company became one of the most powerful corporations in the world. By the 1760s, however, it had plunged deeply into debt due to its attempt to rapidly expand its sphere of operations all over the world – from: India and China in the East, to: the Americas in the West.
One of the obstacles that helped prevent the East India Company from being able to get out of debt was America. Most of the colonists were, in one way or another, very active commercially.
Among the foregoing American entrepreneurs were a number of small businessmen who were involved in the tea business. They had found ways to smuggle tea into America and, thereby, cut out both England and the East India Company from the profits.
There were many tea houses that had been established in the colonies. Moreover, since tea houses – along with taverns – were primary social gathering places for the colonists, there was a booming tea trade in America that totaled thousands of tons of tea every month.
The aforementioned small business entrepreneurs who were involved in the tea trade were in direct competition with the East India Company. Because most, if not all of the English royalty were stockholders in that company, their profits were being adversely affected by colonial businessmen.
As a result, a number of laws were enacted – for example, the ‘Pirates and Privateers’ legislation of 1681 required anyone importing goods into the colonies to have a license ... and such licenses were granted only to very large corporations such as the East India Company. Anyone who did not have the requisite license was considered to be either a pirate or privateer.
Additional legislation – e.g., the Townsend Act of 1767 and The Tea Act of 1773 – was also passed in order to either enhance the power of the East India Company and/or to weaken that company’s competition. For instance, The Tea Act gave the East India Company exclusive rights to the tea trade in the colonies. Furthermore, that company was exempt from having to pay any taxes on the tea exported from England to the colonies.
That sort of legislation enabled the East India Company to undercut the price for tea that was charged by colonial entrepreneurs. The Boston Tea Party of 1773 challenged the authority of the English government to grant monopoly rights to the East India Company with respect to the tea trade and also challenged the authority of the English government to establish an unfair playing field by charging colonial entrepreneurs a tax while exempting the East India Company from having to pay such a tax.
In the aftermath of the Boston Tea Party, a further law was passed. It was referred to as the ‘Boston Port Law,’ and it was intended to penalize the colonists. More specifically, until the people in Boston and/or Massachusetts reimbursed the East India Company for the tea destroyed during the aforementioned event in Boston harbor, the port would remain closed.
The demanded compensation was not forthcoming. Less than two years later -- during April 1775 -- the battles at Lexington and Concord were fought.
While there were a variety of underlying causes for the American Revolutionary War, nevertheless, in part that war was fought in an attempt to reject: monopolies, monopoly capitalism, and the inequitable manner in which colonial businessmen were treated by the English government relative to the East India Company.
One of the first skirmishes of the Revolutionary might have been won via the Boston Tea Party. However, ironically, the actual war of revolution involving the sovereignty of ‘We the People,’ has, to a large extent, been lost because, once again, mega corporations like the East India Company rule the American landscape and, with the help of government – both state and federal – many segments of ‘We the People’ have been placed at a distinct commercial, political, and legal disadvantage.
From the very beginning in America, there has been a very consistent, political/legal situation in America. On one side of the political/legal ledger, one finds the government-coddled corporate world involving both private companies such as the East India Company and public corporations like the Virginia Commonwealth or Jamestown. On the other side of the political/legal ledger one finds the generality of people whose basic sovereignty has been oppressed, undermined, weakened, and compromised due to the ideological psychopathy generated through the marriage of governance and corporations that forms the way of power.
Like the infamous Protocols of the Elders of Zion, some myths are difficult to put to rest. This is not because there are any facts to substantiate those myths but because, instead, there are people with vested interests who keep flogging the myth in the hope that, sooner or later, they can induce other individuals to cede their moral and intellectual agency and, thereby, become invested in those myths – emotionally, politically, and financially.
One of the myths making the rounds in 1882 was the idea that a secret, congressional journal had been kept during the legislative discussions that, eventually, helped pave the way to the ratification of the 14th Amendment in 1868. According to the proponents of this myth, the secret journal proved that members of Congress had forged the 14th Amendment with the intention of having corporations included among the ‘persons’ to whom rights were granted in that amendment.
Part of the foregoing myth involves two individuals – former railroad lawyer and Congressman John A. Bingham, along with former railroad lawyer and Senator Roscoe Conkling – who, while helping to write the 14th Amendment, inserted the word “person” into the language of the first section or paragraph of that amendment with the secret intention of meaning the term to include artificial persons ... that is, corporations. In other words the references to ‘persons’ in the first paragraph of the 14th Amendment – for example, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States ... are citizens of the United States”; or, “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law; nor to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” – were, according to the aforementioned myth, supposedly intended to refer to artificial persons as well as biological persons.
Even if Congressman Bingham, and Senator Conkling were engaged in the foregoing sorts of underhanded tactics, unless those secrets intentions can be shown to reflect the majority views of other committee members and unless it can be shown that those secret intentions reflected the majority views of other members of Congress, and unless it can be shown that those secret intensions reflected the majority view of three-quarters of the state legislatures or ratification conventions, then what a couple of congressmen did for their own underhanded purposes is neither here nor there. Their unstated, secret intent does not determine the meaning of the 14th Amendment.
Whether, or not, the two aforementioned individuals actually did what is claimed, and whether, or not, there was some sort of secret congressional journal whose existence has never been proven, one wonders how either the two congressmen or the mysterious journal keepers could reconcile those sorts of secret intention with the actual language of the Amendment. There is a world of difference between the alleged hidden intentions and the actual character of the language.
Corporations are neither born nor naturalized. They come into existence through the granting of a charter.
According to the 14th Amendment, persons who are born or naturalized in the United States are citizens thereof. There is nothing in the language which indicates – explicitly or implicitly -- that artificial persons – who are neither born nor naturalized in the United States – qualify as citizens.
The 14th Amendment goes on to indicate that: “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States”. Since artificial persons are not citizens – that is, they are neither born nor naturalized in the United States -- they are not the sort of individuals whose privileges and immunities must not be abridged.”
The foregoing sentence of the 14th Amendment continues on with: “nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the law”. However, according to the promulgators of the ‘corporation are persons’ myth, between the beginning of the aforementioned sentence in which the privileges and immunities of citizens – who must be persons that are born or naturalized in the United States – are being discussed, the rest of the sentence was intended to be construed through a filter that permits artificial persons to be part of the discussion.
Such a hermeneutical construction of the 14th Amendment is entirely arbitrary. In other words, there is absolutely no evidence which can show beyond a reasonable doubt, that the idea of ‘persons’ being mentioned in the amendment must encompass ‘artificial persons (i.e., corporations) as well as persons who are ‘born and naturalized’ in the United States. Furthermore, given that artificial persons are not citizens of the United States, there is nothing in the wording of the 14th Amendment which suggests that ‘artificial persons’ qualify as the kind of persons – i.e., citizens – that are being discussed in that amendment.
Is it possible for someone to imagine that because the latter part of the first paragraph of the 14th Amendment talks about persons rather than citizens, then, therefore, one is entitled to expand the notion of ‘persons’ to include ‘artificial persons’ as well as those persons who are born or naturalized? Yes, such a flight of fantasy is possible, but this is not enough to justify doing so.
Finally, the Preamble to the Constitution begins with: “We the people of the United States” and a little later refers to the securing of the “blessings of liberty for ourselves and our posterity.” A group of artificial persons, or a collection of natural born persons and artificial persons, does not constitute a group of people, and, in addition, corporations have no posterity because they are not biological entities, but, rather, are purely conceptual fictions.
Someone could, of course, try – through the use of tortured logic and an absence of evidence – to argue that corporations are not just persons but, collectively speaking, they give expression to a people capable of engendering posterity. However, the foregoing would be the exercise of an ideological psychopath who is intent in inducing everyone to cede their moral and intellectual agency to a completely arbitrary understanding of reality.
Moreover, even if someone were successful with respect to the legal equivalent of squaring the circle, one could still ask the following question: Why should artificial persons have more rights than natural born persons?
For example, why should artificial persons be able to shield the people associated with them from criminal prosecution or financial liability when natural born people are not permitted to shield themselves in this way? Or, why should corporations be free from many of the problems surrounding bankruptcy – for instance, credit history and its impact on someone’s ability to borrow -- when the credit lives of natural born persons are not treated in the same manner? Or, why should artificial persons pay taxes at a lower rate than many natural born individuals? Or, why should an artificial person be permitted to make campaign contributions that are significantly different than are permitted by the campaign contribution rules governing naturally born people?
The perfidy of the ideological psychopaths seeking to impose on ‘We the People’ the idea that corporations are persons -- who are entitled to, among other things, equal protection under the law -- did not stop with the 1882 San Mateo legal case in which the myth was put forth that it had been the secret intent of a congressional committee to confer personhood on corporations. A much more egregious act of subterfuge was committed in 1886 during the Supreme Court case involving Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad.
The issue at the heart of the latter case involved taxes. For more than five years, the Southern Pacific Railroad had withheld tax payments to Santa Clara County with respect to various rights of way and lands connected with the railroad that were in Santa Clara County.
When arguments concerning the foregoing case were heard by the Supreme Court in 1885, the lawyers for the railroad claimed that given its corporate status, the railroad should be treated as a person. Moreover because the railroad was a person, it was entitled to various rights under the 14th Amendment – for instance, railroads should not be subjected to arbitrary tax policies in different localities that discriminated against the alleged right of the railroad with respect to equal protection under the law.
According to the lawyers for the railroad, the state had been inappropriately including fenced land along the railroad line during its assessment of the value of the railroad’s property for purposes of determining what taxes to levy upon the railroad. The railroad lawyers claimed that the county should have been doing the assessment in relation to that fenced land, not the state, and, as a result, the railroad had decided to withhold paying taxes to Santa Clara County until the matter was sorted out.
The railroad acknowledged that it owed back taxes to Santa Clara County. However, it also maintained that the wrong agency of government had done the assessment concerning the fenced area.
In addition, the lawyers for the railroad argued that not only did the wrong branch of government do the assessment in relation to the fenced areas, but, as well, the assessment was done incorrectly. Those lawyers claimed that railroads should have the same right to deduct mortgages from the value of assessments as natural born people did, and, since this was not the case, then railroads, as persons, were being discriminated against under the 14th Amendment.
In rebuttal, Delphin M. Delmas, who was one of the lawyers representing Santa Clara County, argued along the following lines. No one had ever intended that artificial persons – that is, corporations – should be entailed by the nature of the person that was being protected through the language of the 14th Amendment.
His argument included a lengthy analysis of the differences between natural born persons and corporations and why, as a result, the 14th Amendment was not applicable to artificial persons. Therefore, corporations were not immune to the suspension of whatever privileges and protections that might have been temporarily extended to a corporation through its corporate charter.
The actual text of the Supreme Court decision concerning the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad specifically indicates that the Court did not intend to rule on the Constitutional issue (involving the 14th Amendment). In fact, the Court stipulated there was no need to address that issue because the case could be adequately settled independently of those considerations.
The Court also argued that the Constitutional matter should be engaged only if it were essential to the disposal of the issue before the court. Since that facet of things was not considered to be an essential feature of the case, it could be set aside.
So, how do perfidy, subterfuge, and ideological psychopathy enter the picture in relation to the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case? The Official Supreme Court Recorder for the foregoing case – John Chandler Bancroft Davis – who in 1868 had been elected to the presidency of the Board of Directors of The Newburgh and New York Railroad Company -- made a claim that during an informal discussion prior to the Court’s issuing its ruling on the case, he heard Chief Justice Waite say to the assembled lawyers who were waiting for the Court’s decision that although the Court was of the opinion that the provisions of the 14th Amendment were applicable to the corporations, nonetheless, the Court did not wish to deal with those matters in the present case.
In the 1880s – and later on as well -- one of the ways in which court recorders made money was through the royalties they received in conjunction with published collections of Supreme Court decisions that were introduced by various commentary from the court recorders with respect to any given court case. These comments were referred to as ‘headnotes.’
When the Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad case was published in the foregoing manner, J.C. Bancroft Davis began the headnote for the Santa Clara County case with the statement that corporations are considered to be persons in accordance with the intent of the 14th Amendment. Yet, later in the same headnotes, J.C. Bancroft Davis acknowledged that the ruling of the Court with respect to Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad sidestepped those matters and that the crux of the Court’s decision revolved around issues involving assessment procedures.
Consequently, Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad does not constitute a precedent that can be used to claim, in a valid way, that corporations are persons under the 14th Amendment. As the Court’s ruling stipulated, and as the Official Court Reporter J.C. Bancroft Davis eventually acknowledged in his headnote: The case did not revolve about the 14th Amendment, and, in addition, the case could be settled independently of those issues.
Even if what J.C. Bancroft Davis claimed he heard during the informal discussion prior to the Court’s delivery of its ruling on the Santa Clara County case were true, that discussion was not part of the Court’s decision, and, therefore, it should not be part of the supreme law of the land. However, there are a variety of considerations which strongly suggest that J.C. Bancroft Davis might have acted with ulterior motives when he stated things as he did in his headnote for the Santa Clara County case.
As noted previously, about 18 years before the Santa Clara County decision of 1886, J.C. Bancroft Davis had been elected to the Board of Directors of The Newburgh and New York Railroad Company. Therefore, he was not necessarily a disinterested by-stander with respect to the Santa Clara Count case.
There is evidence to indicate that at some point during the Supreme Court’s engagement of the Santa Clara County case, J.C. Bancroft Davis had written a note to Justice Waite asking for clarification concerning the Court’s inclination not to hear arguments about whether, or not, corporations were persons within the intent of the 14th Amendment. In this note, Davis added the sentence: “All the judges were of opinion that it did,” indicating that this was something which Davis believed Justice Waite had said during the informal conversation – in other words, that the justices were of the opinion that corporations were persons entitled to the protections of the 14th Amendment.
Davis wanted to know whether, or not, his account of the alleged conversation was accurate. Justice Waite wrote back and said that while the court recorder’s memo did capture – “with sufficient accuracy what was said before the argument began,” nonetheless, Justice Waite also indicated that since the Court was by-passing the Constitutional issue involving personhood, the Justice left it to the discretion of the court reporter whether, or not, to include that constitutional matter in his report concerning the case.
There is a potentially crucial ambiguity that permeates the foregoing considerations. On the one hand, the Official Court Recorder – J.C. Bancroft Davis – claimed that the informal discussion to which he is referring in his memo to Chief Justice Waite took place just prior to the Supreme Court giving its ruling in the Santa Clara County Case. And, yet, the Chief Justice indicated in his reply to the court recorder’s request for clarification, that Davis’ understanding of the discussion which took place before the arguments began was sufficiently accurate.
The nature of Chief Justice Waite’s response to the court recorder would seem to indicate that the informal discussion in question took place in 1885. However, J.C. Bancroft Davis’ had claimed that the discussion took place just prior to the Court released its ruling on the case.
So, which is it? Did the informal conversation take place before lawyers for the two parties in the court case began their arguments, or did that alleged informal conversation occur just prior to the delivery of the Court’s opinion?
The arguments for the case were given in 1885. The Court’s ruling was issued in 1886.
If one were to assume that the informal discussion occurred in 1885, then one might raise various questions. For example, had anything occurred between 1885 and 1886 that might have changed the alleged opinion of the jurists with respect to the issue of corporations being persons under the 14th Amendment – for example, the arguments put forth by the lawyer for Santa Clara County concerning that very same issue?
On the other hand, if one assumes that the informal discussion took place in 1886 just prior to the Court’s issuing of its ruling, then, other questions become appropriate to ask. For instance, given that the Court is about to bring the case to a conclusion by issuing its judgment on the dispute, why is a Supreme Court Justice talking about arguments as if they have not, yet, occurred?
To add further mystery to the foregoing considerations, there is some indication that Justice Waite might not have been present when the lawyers in the Santa Clara County Case made their arguments to the Supreme Court. Apparently, Justice Waite was so ill that he missed most, if not all, of the 1885 session of the Supreme Court, and, to varying degrees, he continued to be ill through much of 1886-1888, until his death in early 1888.
During the period involving both the arguments and the Court’s ruling Justice Waite was ill. As a result, there might have been various ways in which Justice Waite was confused in relation to the aforementioned inquiry by his court recorder.
Irrespective of how one settles the foregoing issues, there is another critical question to ask. Why would J.C. Bancroft Davis lead off his headnote to the Santa Clara County case with the contention that corporations were considered to be persons in relation to the intent of the 14th Amendment and only later on – in smaller print – indicate that the issue played no role in the Court’s decision? Why didn’t Davis indicate at the very beginning of the headnote that the Court’s decision was not based on any interpretation of the 14th Amendment and that the idea of treating corporations as persons had been – if true -- an informal, off-the-record remark which had no legal standing?
J.C. Bancroft Davis’ previous history with railroads might offer an explanation for the foregoing behavior. In other words, irrespective of when the alleged informal conversation might have taken place, Davis knew perfectly well what the judge was saying in his reply to the court recorder’s request for clarification – namely, quite apart from whatever the informal opinions of the Justices might be, the constitutional issue concerning the 14th Amendment had nothing to do with the Court’s decision in the Santa Clara County case.
Unfortunately, J.C. Bancroft Davis seems to have used the degrees of freedom extended to him by Chief Justice Waite in the latter’s written note of response to Davis’ inquiry – and one wonders why the Chief Justice would do that – to serve an ulterior purpose. One possible answer to the foregoing sense of wondering about why a Supreme Court Justice would leave things to the discretion of his court recorder in relation to the corporate person issue might have something to do with the fact that when J.C. Bancroft Davis had been an Assistant Secretary of State, he was part of the legal team that argued, and won, the 1871 Geneva Arbitration case in which England was sued for the help it gave to the Confederation during the Civil War.
The lead attorney for the United State in the foregoing case was Morrison Waite who would later – in no small part due to his participation in the Geneva Arbitration case -- be appointed to the Supreme Court and, then, become its Chief Justice. J.C. Bancroft Davis and Mr. Waite were re-united in the Santa Clara County Case.
Conceivably, over the years, the two might have had various conversations concerning the issue of corporations as persons. When Chief Justice Waite left things to the discretion of the court recorder with respect to whether, or not, the constitutional issue of corporate personhood should be part of the recorder’s report, the act of the Chief Justice might not have been an innocuous act.
More specifically, for some time prior to 1886, corporations had been trying to upgrade their legal status of artificial persons to one that was equal to natural born persons. However, the Supreme Court had not been willing to crown those efforts with success in any of its decisions. One of the primary reasons for the foregoing failures is that no one – Supreme Court jurist or otherwise -- had been able to come with a convincing legal argument for treating corporate persons as equal to natural born persons.
If what Davis claims is true with respect to the informal discussion that allegedly occurred at some point in the Santa Clara County case, then even if the justices might have been of the private opinion that corporations should be considered as persons within the intent of the 14th Amendment, they had no convincing way to legally justify that sort of private opinion. Understanding this, Chief Justice Waite might have extended discretionary to J.C. Bancroft Davis to do what the latter individual could in relation to the issue of treating corporations as equal to people.
In other words, Davis leveraged Chief Justice’s discretionary offering into an opportunity to generate disinformation and misinformation that might subsequently benefit railroads, specifically, and corporations, generally. He did this by creating the impression in the headnote for the case that a precedent had been established in the Santa Clara County case with respect to the issue of corporations as persons.
There is a further interpretation of Justice Waite’s use of the word “argument” in his response to J.C. Bancroft memo. Conceivably, Justice Waite might have been referring to the arguments in the Court’s rulings that were about to be issued.
If so, then, the foregoing scenario would be consistent with J.C. Bancroft Davis’ claim that the informal conversation in question occurred just prior to the Court’s release of its ruling in the Santa Clara County case. However, this kind of an account does not preclude the possibility that J.C. Bancroft Davis -- on his own, or through a ‘wink and nod’ arrangement with Chief Justice Waite – was trying to slip something into the Court record that was of a legally mischievous nature.
Whether J.C. Bancroft Davis acted entirely alone or in collusion with Chief Justice Waite, the foregoing scenario resonates with the behavior of ideological psychopathy. Apparently, J.C. Bancroft Davis – and, possibly, Justice Waite -- had no problem with distorting the truth in an irresponsible fashion, and Davis doesn’t seem to care what harm might occur in relation to those who reside outside his narrow sphere of interest (i.e., corporate control of America). Moreover, his act of distortion is one which seems to display no evidence that conscience, remorse, or a sense of guilt is present with respect to what Davis has done.
Like many psychopaths, J.C. Bancroft Davis is someone who appears to be using his skills of communication to manage the impressions of others concerning the issue at hand – in this case, the idea of corporate personhood. Moreover, like many natural born psychopaths, J.C. Bancroft Davis seems recklessly indifferent to the fact that anyone who reads the decision of the Supreme Court or carefully reads all of his headnote for the case, including the small print, will discover that the issue of corporations as persons had nothing to do with the Supreme Court’s decision in the Santa Clara County case ... that is, he doesn’t mind being caught in a lie, and this is resonant with the behavior of many natural born psychopaths.
Davis presents himself as a sincere participant in the court proceedings. However, as is the case in relation to many psychopaths, behind the mask of sincerity are inklings of duplicitous intentions that are being expressed through the filters of a former president of a board of directors for a railroad.
In addition, as also is the case in relation to many psychopaths, J.C. Bancroft Davis states things in his headnote in such a way that if someone comes along and fails to read the entire prefatory comment or fails to do due diligence concerning the Santa Clara County case and, consequently, just trusts J.C. Bancroft Davis to be an honest individual of integrity, and, as a result, such a person incorrectly interprets the significance of the Santa Clara County case, then the finger of blame can be directed toward those people ... not at J.C. Bancroft Davis. Left out of this sort of a perspective – as also is left out of the accounts of psychopaths concerning various events -- is the fact that it was J.C. Bancroft Davis who stated things in such a misleading and distorted manner and, thereby, apparently sought to induce people to cede their moral and intellectual agency to his version of things.
Even if one were to give J.C. Bancroft Davis the benefit of the doubt concerning what he allegedly heard Chief Justice Waite say, there is no independent proof that such a view actually was held by the majority of the other Supreme Court Justices. At best, we only have Justice Waite’s claim that all of the other justices were in agreement on the issue that corporations are persons within the intent of the 14th Amendment.
Consequently, whatever Justice Waite’s private opinion might be concerning the status of corporations within the intent of the 14th Amendment, that opinion is a moot point unless a majority of the justices on the Supreme Court were in agreement with that opinion and gave expression to that perspective in the Santa Clara County decision -- which they did not do. Therefore, whatever Justice Waite might have said informally concerning those matters is – constitutionally speaking -- neither here nor there.
Finally, even if, for purposes of argument, one were to accept the idea that Chief Justice Waite said what J.C. Bancroft Davis claimed with respect to the issue of corporations being persons under the 14th Amendment, nevertheless, arguments for that position have to be spelled out. The informal musings of Supreme Court justices have the same legal standing and significance as instances in which those jurists happen to pass gas.
Chief Justice Waite would have to demonstrate how his private opinion could be reconciled with the language of the 14th Amendment. In addition, the Chief Justice would have to demonstrate how that opinion could be reconciled with, among other things, the character of the Declaration of Independence, the Preamble to the Constitution, the process of ratification, the Bill of Rights, the Boston Tea Party, and the war for independence.
Prior to the Santa Clara County case, no previous Supreme Court decision -- nor any of the cases decided within any federal or state jurisdiction -- had ever successfully established that corporations should be considered to be persons in the same way in that natural born individuals were persons. Moreover, treating corporations as persons was not part of English law.
So, on what basis would Justice Waite have been able to demonstrate that his alleged opinion concerning the idea that corporations are persons is defensible? There were neither existing precedents on which his Court could call that were capable of justifying that opinion, nor had anyone come forth with an argument detailing the grounds for establishing a new, defensible precedent concerning the matter.
In the twenty-five year period following the 1886 Santa Clara County decision, there were 307 cases that reached the Supreme Court involving, in one way or another, the 14th Amendment. The vast majority of those cases – 288 – were filed by corporations seeking, among other things, equal protection for corporations under the law as allegedly guaranteed by the 14th Amendment.
In the early 1900s, the Supreme Court decided a number of issues by citing, among other things, the alleged rights of corporations under the 14th Amendment. These cases involved a variety of issues – including: utility regulations, minimum wage issues, and child labor concerns -- yet, there was no valid, constitutional basis for those rulings ... those decisions were entirely arbitrary and, therefore, could not be proven to be true beyond a reasonable doubt.
With each succeeding Supreme Court ruling which claimed that corporations were persons within the intent of the 14th Amendment, new precedents were established which could be cited in subsequent cases. However, all of those precedents were fruits of a poisonous tree because no one on the Supreme Court, or in any other federal or state court, had been able to show how corporate persons are entitled to the same rights as natural born persons.
Everything had been predicated on an arbitrary assumption – that is, one which cannot be proven beyond a reasonable doubt. The presumption was that the ‘corporations are persons’ issue had been adequately settled, but this was not so.
In addition to the foregoing considerations, one might bear in mind that Supreme Court Justices can decide all kinds of issues based on votes of 5-4. However, unless those justices are able to demonstrate that their rulings can be proven to be true beyond a reasonable doubt – something which, at a minimum, requires a 9-0 vote – then, all of the former kinds of votes are entirely arbitrary, and one wonders why ‘We the People’ should be expected to comply with that sort of arbitrariness.
There is nothing in the Constitution which requires the Supreme Court to operate through a process of majority decision, simple or otherwise. Operating in accordance with that kind of a rule is entirely arbitrary ... a man-made convention that cannot necessarily be justified.
After all, if criminal cases affecting the freedoms, rights, privileges, immunities, and sovereignty of individuals must be unanimous verdicts that give expression to a consensus understanding that is considered to be true beyond a reasonable doubt, then why isn’t the same standard applied to the manner in which Supreme Court decisions are made since many, if not most, of the Court’s decisions also affect the freedoms, rights, privileges, immunities, and sovereignty of individuals in essential ways? Why is a less rigorous standard used in Supreme Court decisions than in criminal cases?
Once the sluice gates for corporate personhood were illegitimately opened, there was a flood of litigation by corporations that sought to claim their alleged ‘rights’ as persons. As a result, corporations began to be awarded decisions before the Supreme Court with respect to, for example, their right to privacy under the 4th Amendment and, therefore, the right of corporations to withhold financial information from the government even though such disclosures previously had been a condition for being granted a charter.
Corporations-as-persons were also able to successfully argue before the Supreme Court that, like natural born persons, they supposedly had First Amendment rights. Consequently, they should be able to petition their government (i.e., the right to lobby) and contribute to the campaigns of individuals running for office because money is supposedly speech, and as persons, corporations claimed the right to speak freely – financially speaking --about those issues.
Apparently, many Supreme Court jurists were indifferent to the fact that the foregoing decisions were entirely arbitrary. After all, as noted earlier, no one in the history of the Supreme Court has been able to successfully argue how and why corporations should be considered to be persons and, thereby, be deserving of all the same rights, freedoms, privileges, and immunities of natural born persons.
To the extent that Supreme Court decisions arbitrarily decide legal issues in favor of arguments which demand that corporations be treated as persons who are entitled to the same rights as are natural born persons, then to that extent, those decisions give expression to the ideological psychopathy of jurists who exhibit those behaviors. To try to present arbitrary decisions – that is, arguments which cannot be demonstrated to be true beyond a reasonable doubt – as something other than they are ( i.e., nonsense), Supreme Court jurists must, like psychopaths, use their language skills to distort the truth, manage impressions, and manipulate ‘We the People.’
Those kinds of arbitrary arguments are impulsive, irresponsible, and have a reckless disregard for how that perspective destructively impacts upon the lives of the generality of ‘We the People.’ The foregoing sorts of qualities reflect many of the properties associated with ideological psychopathy.
Like psychopaths, the individuals being alluded to pretend to be sincere defenders of the Constitution and ‘We the People.’ Yet, behind the mask of sincerity, are machinations involving the imposition of their arbitrary, ego-centric ideas upon the people irrespective of the consequences of those ideas. Just as is true in relation to psychopaths, everything those sorts of jurists do, is about satisfying and gratifying their own world-view.
Like psychopaths, those sorts of jurists abandon individuals who have trusted them – e.g., ‘We the People.’ Those jurists betray that trust by empowering corporations to not only have the same rights as natural born persons, but empower corporations to have many more rights than natural born persons have – such as: the ‘right’ to shield those who are associated with a corporation in relation to criminal and financial liability, and the ‘right’ to slough off past credit history by adopting a different corporate persona.
There is little, or no, evidence indicating that those kinds of jurists exhibit any signs of conscience, remorse of guilt concerning the issuing of legal decisions that are completely arbitrary. If such a sense of conscience, remorse or guilt were present, then those jurists would discontinue what they have been doing, and since they continue on with their arbitrary decisions, then those behaviors resonate with the lack of conscience, guilt and remorse that is characteristic of natural born psychopaths.
Of course, in certain respects, one shouldn’t be surprised that the foregoing sorts of ideological psychopathy have dominated so many of the Supreme Court’s decisions during the history of the United States. That kind of psychopathy has consistently been manifested in relation to: Slaves, women, Indians, the poor, blue collar workers, minorities of one kind or another (e.g., the Japanese), and the disenfranchised, ever since the Philadelphia Constitution made its illicit way to the center of American governance ... how else can one explain the near unanimous verdict (8-1) in the 1896 case of Plessy v. Ferguson – to choose but one legal possibility from a legion of them -- that anyone with more than 1/8th Negro blood in them did not have the right to be treated as white people were ... how arbitrary and how psychopathic in nature!!
Furthermore, by way of a side note to the aforementioned Plessy v. Ferguson case – and as additional evidence that people who exhibit ideological psychopathy under one set of circumstances often act in the same manner in other situations as well – J.C. Bancroft Davis (the court recorder in the Santa Clara County case) – wrote a headnote for the Plessy v. Ferguson case in which he indicated that Plessy (the black person who was seeking relief under the 14th Amendment with respect to his treatment on a passenger train) was not really entitled to the rights he was claiming under the 14th Amendment because Davis believed that the aforementioned amendment surely was not intended to eliminate discriminatory distinctions involving considerations of color or race. Such a headnote is as absurd – and as ideologically psychopathic -- as is the headnote that Davis placed before the Santa Clara County Supreme Court decision.
During the first 100 years, or so, of the American republic, thousands of corporations were granted charters. While many of these corporations acted in accordance with the requirements and conditions of their charters and, in the process, served the needs of the people, there were other corporations which sought to leverage the privileges extended to them through their charters in order to eliminate competition, monopolize markets, and control prices.
Railroads, for example, induced federal and state governments to use their powers of eminent domain to confiscate the lands of Indians, settlers, and farmers and, then, give that property to the railroads free of charge. Millions of acres of land were transferred from the people to the railroad companies in this fashion.
The railroads, then, leveraged this free land to force farmers, traders, merchants, and settlers to comply with the market conditions that the railroads (and their associates) began to place on commercial activity. Markets that were supposed to be free were shaped and controlled by the ‘way of power’ in order to serve the interests of the powerful irrespective of what ramifications ensued with respect to the ‘way of sovereignty’.
None of the foregoing monopolistic practices could be shown, beyond a reasonable doubt, to: Form a more perfect union, or establish justice, or insure domestic tranquility, or provide for the common defense, or promote the general welfare, or secure the blessings of liberty. In many ways, the interpretation of the Preamble to the Constitution was filtered through the lenses of corporations ... that is, whatever: Established justice for the corporations, or ensured their domestic tranquility, or provided for their defense, or promoted their general welfare, or secured the blessing of liberty for corporations was considered to be good, and ‘We the People’ were free to pick up whatever crumbs, if any, that might be left by such an interpretation of the Preamble and Constitution.
To be sure, some people earned considerable profits through the foregoing set of monopolistic practices, and as a result their lives became more: perfect, ‘just,’ tranquil, defensible, and free. However, many segments of ‘We the People’ were oppressively controlled by those same arrangements.
The relationship between the generality of people and corporations was becoming increasingly asymmetric. Corporations had started out in post-Constitutional America as servants of the people – that is, the charters of corporations were granted to serve particular purposes from which the generality of people supposedly would benefit, and, once those purposes were accomplished, the charter would be discontinued – but a turning point was reached early on in the history of the United States in which people became the servants of the corporations – whether, or not, corporations were considered as persons -- and corporations were granted a variety of rights not available to natural born persons.
Corporations that, for the sake of their own profits and power, seek to monopolize, control, ruin, punish, squeeze, undermine, oppress, or eliminate the basic sovereignty of human beings – along with the officials in local, state and federal governments who enable corporations to do so – give expression to ideological psychopathy. Similarly, trusts – which involve the merger of a variety of corporations – that leverage their collective power to control prices, competition and markets for purposes of advantaging themselves while disadvantaging those people who exist beyond the horizons of the inflexible pursuit of profits and power of such trusts, also give expression to ideological psychopathy.
The Sherman Anti-Trust Act of 1890, the Tillman Act of 1907 (which tried, in a minor way, to prevent corporate money from being funneled to political campaigns), the Clayton Anti-Trust Act of 1914, the Robinson-Putnam Act of 1936 (which attempted to make price discrimination illegal), and the Celler-Kefauver Anti-merger Act of 1950 were all acknowledgements, each in its own way, that the agenda of many corporations – but not all -- was antithetical to the interests of the generality of people in America. Unfortunately, the regulatory character of the foregoing laws was not always enforced or was enforced in arbitrary ways, and, moreover, during the last sixty years much of the regulatory potential of those laws has, for various ‘reasons,’ either been largely ignored or has been watered down legislatively (and completely arbitrarily) in ways that favor corporate interests rather than the interests of the people.
Ideological psychopathy in the form of corporations that are largely, or only, interested in enhancing their own power and profits are like an invasive species that has spread throughout America which is seeking to supplant all forms of sovereignty among ‘We the People’ and replace the ‘way of sovereignty’ of individuals with the ‘way of power’ of corporations. Corporate ideological psychopaths have been assisted by political ideological psychopaths in local, state, and federal branches of government who have maneuvered to institute legislation that seeks to empower corporations while disempowering ordinary citizens.
The term ‘psychopathy’ above is used advisedly. It is not just a loose manner of speaking.
Corporations and individuals who give expression to ideological psychopathy are engaged in economic, political, scientific, financial, social, philosophical, and/or religious behaviors that exhibit the qualities of natural born psychopaths. In other words, those individuals are inclined toward: manipulation, dishonesty, insincerity, impulsivity, risk-taking, using others as a means to self-gratification, irresponsibility, inflexibility, ruthlessness, a lack of empathy, egocentricity, callousness, duplicity, shamelessness, emotional shallowness, exploitation, predatory abusiveness, disloyalty, aggressiveness, belligerence, rationalization, impression management, delusions of self-importance, oppressive control of others, as well as a relative absence of conscience, guilt, or remorse with respect to the destructive consequences which their behaviors have on others.
In the Biblical-like language of certain portions of Genesis, the Bretton Woods Agreement of 1944 begat the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank which, in turn, begat the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade which, in turn, begat the World Trade Organization. Some 50 years later in November of 1994, the United States accepted paternity for the foregoing process of begetting during the administration of Bill Clinton when the Bretton Woods Agreement was finally ratified.
Moreover, a short while thereafter (December 1994), legislation was passed in relation to GATT – that is, the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade – along with the concomitant World Trade Organization. The details for the agreement and accompanying organization were spelled out in approximately 30,000 pages ... which like the subsequent Patriot Act were read by very few members of Congress.
The foregoing legislation required America to foot the bill for 23% of the WTO’s expenses in exchange for 1% control over the manner in which that money is spent. In addition, the legislation called for the creation of a variety of committees and other organizational arrangements within the WTO over which the United States government would have little, or no, control ... including arrangements that preclude due process and which decide matters in secret by those who are not necessarily American and who have not been elected to their positions within WTO by the American people.
The ‘supremacy clause’ can be found in Article VI of the Philadelphia Constitution. More specifically, Section 2 states: “The Constitution and the laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, and all treaties made, or which shall be made, under the authority of the United States, shall be the supreme law of the land, and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby ....” Furthermore, in the second paragraph of Section 2 of Article II, the president is given the power to make treaties in conjunction with the advice and consent of at least two-thirds of the Senate.
If the foregoing sections of the Philadelphia Constitution were understood in the context which establishes the nature and purposes of that document – namely, the Preamble -- then none of the laws that might be made in pursuance of that Constitution, nor any treaties which might be made, should be in conflict with the principles put forth in the Preamble with respect to: ‘justice,’ ‘domestic tranquility,’ ‘the common defense,’ ‘the general welfare,’ and the issue of freedom. Unfortunately, there is no consensus of opinion concerning the meaning and scope any of the aforementioned principles and purposes.
Therefore, whatever laws and treaties which are made in pursuance of the Philadelphia Constitution are entirely arbitrary because they cannot be demonstrated to be true beyond a reasonable doubt with respect to issues of justice, tranquility, defense, welfare and freedom. Nevertheless, executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the federal government have considered themselves to be entirely justified in interpreting those ideas in whatever manner those officials consider to be ‘necessary and proper.’
Since the implementation of GATT, and WTO -- along with other agreements such as NAFTA -- many segments of ‘We the People’ have become unemployed, and/or are paid less for longer hours, and/or enjoyed fewer, if any, benefits and/or are required to work in more dangerous working conditions. In addition, many corporations have moved their manufacturing operations out of the United States to localities where they can take advantage of foreign forms of governance that enforce regulations involving: Even lower wages; fewer, if any, benefits; more dangerous working conditions; a more pervasive absence of worker protections; lower, or no, taxes, and fewer, if any, protections for the environment than exist in the United States.
Under the foregoing agreements, corporations have acquired more rights than natural born persons have. Such entities are entitled to sue countries – for example, the United States – if those nations implement laws designed to protect either workers or the environment since those sorts of laws are considered to constitute unfair restraint of trade ... and the determiners of ‘unfairness’ tend to be corporations – or their political/judicial thralls – who believe (in best tradition of ideological psychopathy) that commercial activity must trump all other considerations no matter what the consequences of those inflexible systems of thought might be with respect to the lives of the generality of people either in the United States or elsewhere.
There are some historians who claim there is a huge disparity between, on the one hand, the original intentions of the 1944 Bretton Woods meetings with respect to the proposed functional character of the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the idea of some sort of world trade agreement and, on the other hand, the manner in which those organizations function today. This might be the case, but, the mistake made by the people from the United States who participated in the Bretton Woods meetings was to believe they had a the right – which they didn’t -- to make plans for the American people that had a potential for undermining the basic sovereignty of the latter individuals.
The Philadelphia Constitution might have claimed supremacy for whatever the federal government did in pursuance of that document, and the Philadelphia Constitution might have given the president the power to make treaties with the advice and consent of the Senate which are binding on the states, it judicial systems, and their people. Nonetheless, unless one can demonstrate that the treaties which are established thorough the foregoing sort of pursuance of the Philadelphia Constitution are capable of demonstrating, beyond a reasonable doubt, that those activities and treaties give full and true expression to what are entailed by justice, tranquility, welfare, the common defense, and liberty, then, on what basis can those kinds of actions be justified? Moreover, if they cannot be justified in a non-arbitrary way, then why are ‘We the People’ being obligated to comply with those laws and treaties?
Such arbitrary laws and treaties are imposed on the American people because of the ideological psychopathy of the corporations – as well as their political/judicial minions – which insists that the interests of those corporations (despite being unproven with respect to the principles and purposes of the Preamble to the Philadelphia Constitution or the Bill of Rights) have priority over the interests of the generality of ‘We the People.’ The binding force of those arbitrary laws and treaties is derived not from ‘We the People’ but through the use of various forms of violence, punishment -- or the threat of violence and punishment -- by the ‘way of power’ with respect to the ‘way of (basic) sovereignty’ of individuals.
One of the driving forces underlying the ideological psychopathy of corporations was established in 1916. It was given expression through a court decision involving Dodge v. Ford.
By way of background, during the early part of the twentieth century (1906), Horace and John Dodge had invested a little over $10,000 dollars in the Ford Motor Company ... which made them major shareholders in the company. Subsequently, John Dodge also served as a director for the Ford Motor Company, and, as well, the Dodge brothers supplied certain parts used in the construction of the Ford vehicles.
Part of the Ford business model was directed toward helping both workers and customers. On the one hand, Ford wanted to pay his workers more than other companies because he wanted his workers to have the money necessary to purchase, among other things, his vehicles. On the other hand, he also wanted to attract customers by lowering the cost of his cars, and between 1906 and 1916, Ford was able to cut the cost of purchasing a vehicle by almost $500 dollars (from $900 to $440).
Ford felt that while making profits was important, there were other factors to be taken into consideration ... such as people having the money needed to purchase cars being sold at prices that might be affordable to a larger segment of the population. Both of the foregoing factors might lead to enhanced longevity for the country and, therefore, sustained profitability over the life of the company.
In 1916 John Dodge resigned as a director of the Ford Motor Company. He and his brother began to develop a commercial idea of their own involving motor vehicles.
They continued to be shareholders in Ford’s company. Their intention was to use a forthcoming quarterly dividend to help finance their own project.
Henry Ford upset the commercial plans of the Dodge brothers when he cancelled the dividend payout. Ford wanted to slash the prices of his vehicles once again in order to generate profits through volume rather than through charging higher per unit prices.
The Dodge brothers sued Ford. The essential nature of their argument revolved around the idea that profits belonged to the shareholders.
The presiding judge agreed with the Dodge brothers and ruled in their favor. In the process, Ford was chastised by the judge.
During the court hearing, Ford had maintained that the primary purpose of a company is not necessarily to make as large a profit as one could but, rather, companies should provide a service to the community as well as make whatever profits were compatible with that sort of service. The judge criticized Ford’s perspective and argued that Ford had forgotten the fact that the primary purpose for operating a company for which shares had been issued was to benefit the stockholders and not the community.
While operating solely for the financial benefit of stockholders certainly constitutes one possible way of running such a company, I’m not aware of any argument which proves the foregoing must be the case or that it is the only possibility which should be considered. Even if one were to argue that Ford might have gone too far with respect to this idea about service to the community, there is nothing which necessitates that the only other option requires one to go to the other extreme and claim that service to the community should not play a primary role in a company’s operations.
The judge’s decision in Dodge v. Ford was entirely arbitrary. It was predicated on a specific theory about the character of the relationship between certain kinds of commercial enterprises and the rest of society ... namely, that the essential nature of those businesses should be about profits. That kind of a perspective is not necessarily reconcilable with the purposes and principles set forth in the Preamble to the Philadelphia Constitution.
Will profits of the sort envisioned by the judge in the Dodge v. Ford case guarantee that ‘We the People’ will be afforded justice, tranquility, a common defense, enhanced welfare, and the blessings of liberty? Commercial activity – as important as it might be – is but one dimension of the American republic, and, therefore, one wonders about the tenability of the judge’s claim that profits are the only permissible filter through which the commercial activity of companies like the Ford Motor Company should be viewed?
There is no clearly established rule of law running from: colonial America, through: the Articles of Confederation, the Continental Congress, the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Philadelphia Convention, the Preamble to the Constitution, the process of ratification, and the Bill of Rights which demonstrates, beyond a reasonable doubt, that the sole purpose of a commercial enterprise must be to earn profits -- and earning a living is not necessarily the same thing as earning a profit. Moreover, Ford’s attempt to balance community service with profits seems closer to the spirit of the Declaration of Independence, the Revolutionary War, the Preamble, as well as the Bill of Rights than does the decision of the judge in the Dodge v. Ford case.
The judge in the foregoing case sent many corporations on the road toward becoming ideological psychopaths. Such businesses were going to be required by law to be driven in an impulsive, irresponsible, inflexible, arrogant, exploitive, manipulative, aggressive, abusive, manner that showed callous indifference toward the needs of the community or the generality of people and did so without any sense of remorse or guilt.
The best interests of a corporation or its stockholders are not necessarily coextensive with the best interests of ‘We the People.’ However, without really being able to justify his decision – although he gave reasons and rationalizations -- the judge in Dodge v. Ford required those companies to give preference to their own interests over the interests of the larger community or the generality of ‘We the People,’ and this was a recipe for disaster which has played out in destructive ways over the rest of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first century.
The judge in the Dodge v. Ford case was like Frankenstein. Corporations that became ideological psychopaths were the monsters that were created, and, now, apparently, all the townspeople (i.e., We the People) can do is to shout and shake pitchforks or lighted torches in anger as they gather about the castled walls of judicial ignorance.
On the other hand, the judge in the foregoing case was just one person. If subsequent judges had not been so unduly influenced by, or so willing to follow along with, his biases -- which held that companies should be controlled by their self-absorbed and self-serving stockholders rather than be encouraged by the courts to serve their communities, as well as their stockholders, in a more balanced fashion -- then, the precedent which was established in Dodge v. Ford might have fallen by the wayside.
Unfortunately, many later judges shared the same biases as did the judge in Dodge v. Ford. Those kinds of biases were, and are, inconsistent with the Preamble to the Constitution as well as the Bill of Rights, but those who are inclined to ideological psychopathy tend to be indifferent to those sorts of matters.
In legal terms, the judge in Dodge v. Ford set a precedent. In reality, precedents (whether set or followed) tend to give expression to nothing more than a judge’s biases, and, as a result, the foregoing judge – and a lot of judges since that time – have deemed it ‘necessary and proper’ to impose their biases on ‘We the People’ with very problematic results.
More specifically, back in the 1980s, I taught a course on the sociology of crime. One set of facts that I shared with my students revolved around the idea that corporate crime is the cause of more deaths and more financial losses than street crime is ... by many orders of magnitude.
The situation has only become progressively worse since the 1980s. The trillions of dollars that were lost and millions of people whose lives were devastated due to the 2008 financial meltdown encompass just one manifestation of what happens when ideological psychopaths are permitted to have their way with the world.
Should one interpret the foregoing perspective to mean that one should ‘legalize’ street crime? The answer, of course, is: “No.”
However, in effect many judges have legalized corporate crime. Through precedents – that is, biases – like Dodge v. Ford, many judges have paved the road to Hell by empowering corporations and their stockholders with all manner of rights that they should not have and which, all too frequently, give expression to the destructive, callous, arrogant, manipulative, dishonest, egocentric, exploitive, ruthless, inflexible, cruel, and irresponsible qualities of ideological psychopathy.