The Feb. 15 column “The progressives’ itch to regulate speech” by George F. Will was a masterfully written argument for treating corporations as people, especially when it comes to speech. The historical basis for the legal recognition of corporations includes many aspects of personhood, but not all.
For example, corporations do not vote in elections. We have tailored the personhood of corporations to recognize and encourage the benefits of collective efforts. But we clearly and rightly recognize a difference between individual human beings and the organizations they form.
Our Constitution recognizes freedom of speech, but that recognition is arguably for individuals. It is not axiomatic that such recognition applies without question to corporations.
In the principles of war, mass is one recognized factor, and that principle also applies to the battle of ideas. Corporations can mass funds and effectively drown out the speech of individuals, effectively canceling freedom of speech for many individuals.
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Some tailoring of the rights of corporations is justified just to allow all voices to be heard. Will conveniently dodged this issue in his support of the decision by the Supreme Court in the Citizens United case.
It should not require an amendment to the Constitution to overrule that wrong-headed action.