The problem didn't start with Corp's, but with Govt inserting itself as an impediment or advantage into their businesses; once that was allowed, in the short sighted view of most practical minded businessmen, the Govt became just one more thing to be managed and used - aka: Regulations. And many of them eagerly supported, and do support, Govt Regulators... sort of like a large mouth bass eagerly swallows a nicely baited hook.
In the late 1800's the US Supreme Court more and more began to buy into the idea that the Fed Govt had a role in regulating businesses, their practices, what they could buy and how they could sell, how they had to go about making their products, and in doing so the court began to demote businessmen's Rights to Property and to Free Speech and as a result, it really should be no surprise, ALL of our rights have been abridged.
Something which We The People are just now beginning to look around and wonder about "Wha...? Force me to buy healthcontrol? Force me to use special light bulbs? Force me not to speak in unapproved ways? Whu...? Where did this all come from?!"
Let me answer that for you. If you have ever supported Govt regulation of industries, SEC, etc, Campaign Finance, EPA, etc, and yet are now looking around you today and wondering who is responsible for your high taxes, wrecked economy and loss of liberties, well...
Find mirror. Look in. Search over.
I'll grant you that marketing slogans like this one from the Amazon UI (Useful Idiot) which say
"One flows from the other. the major corporations buy off the government officials, and the government controls things on behalf of the big corporations."
Are pretty slick con's, which is why they've worked so well and did so right off the bat, but in fact exactly the opposite is the case. Proregressives such as Teddy Roosevelt, Woodrow Wilson, Herbert Hoover, etc, sold the regulation of business to the people as a way of preserving 'fairness', while they sold it to the corporations as a way to improve the 'quality' of their markets (which shortsighted businessmen very reasonably and moderately nodded at, while secretly seeing regulations, and those who wrote them, as useful tools to limit entry into their markets and hobble their competitors), but in fact regulatory agencies are primarily a way to expand the power of government bureaucracy and to erode our property rights - an absolute 'must do!' for any govt which yearns to grow bigger and more powerful - for a Govt that absolutely yearns to 'do good!', property rights are their bane. But what their idea of 'fairness' means in practice, is 'more' freedom for some, less freedom for all and the steady erosion of the Right of individual choice and free speech.
Buying into the Democrat party line on the "CITIZENS UNITED v. FEDERAL ELECTION COMMISSION " case (You remember, the one regarding which Justice Alito mouthed "Not True!" during Obama's State of the Statist speech), the Amazon UI laments that
"...they decided that government couldn't restrict corporate "free speech" rights..."Well the fact that he put Free Speech in scare quotes gives you an idea of what their idea of freedom is... freedom for those they approve of, and restricted (at best) for those they don't - how again is that Freedom? Questioning whether some should be 'allowed' to have a right to free speech doesn't say much for their conception of what Rights are. And of course if they can just get enough people to be swayed to see things as they do, then 'fairness' becomes a justification for limiting the rights of any lesser favored few - which is easy enough when there is no longer an unquestioned Right protecting their (Our) liberties.
Helpful Hint: allowing the limitation of one person's rights, breaches the integrity of everyone's rights.
All political rights rest upon property rights, and especially in a system which has allowed the govt to infringe on your property, then you need more than ever, the right to speak freely against those who mean you ill, and for attempting to sway those who might be able to aid you. What 'We The People' are finally beginning to discover now, today, is that by our allowing govt to chip away at our once inviolate right to property, it has eroded not only the rights of the rich, but the Rights of all of us, all of our precious Rights have been diminished. And not only have the rights we have to our property been reduced, but now even our Right to choose whether or not we wish to buy healthcare, or not - our allowing them to 'come for the rights of the rich' has allowed them to come for the rights of all of us.
And then there's this:
"... and they are free to bribe our government officials all they want--in the form of campaign contributions..."
I am Shocked! Shocked I say! That those with money would try to use it to prevent those with power from taking their money! Wow! Why didn't those Proregressive strivers against corruption and seekers of 'Fairness' see that one coming? What IS shocking, is that those in business who first sidled up to and supported Govt Regulators, it is shocking that they didn't foresee that the edge they intended to get over their competitors through a politician in every pocket, would unavoidably one day become the edge that would be held to their own throats. Well, it's not quite that shocking, the Classical Liberal Educations which our Founding Fathers received, and been diluted and suppressed for at least forty years, by that point, and the proregressive "Centralize! Consolidate! Efficiency!" mantra had become the common theme across the nation.
Plus, businessmen tend to be so stupid as to think that money motivates everyone, blind to the fact that those in government, though always thrilled and willing to line their pockets of course, are actually motivated by power, and mere economic power - which ultimately rests on individual people choosing to make a purchase - is a feeble defense against governmental power - which is ultimately backed by physical force.
"... confusing "freedom" with corporate domination of our elected officials and our government."Corporate domination... of... our... elected officials? You mean like how the CEO of GM dominated congress and Obama? Or did you mean the GM CEO he replaced the first one with? Or the one Obama replaced Him with? Those of you who buy into this notion, please take a close look at what it means - the ease with which you uncritically embrace such easy catch phrases should be a source of deep embarrassment for you.
If someone puts Freedom and Free Speech in quotes, as if they apply to some, and not all... that is someone you should be very interested in hearing what their conception of Freedom, Liberty and Rights actually are.
The obvious result, and very likely the intended result, of proregressive democrats and republicans who in the early 20th century had pushed for 'greater govt and business cooperation' through quasi-governmental organizations and regulatory agencies, was, and is, a system in which businessmen would have to bribe and favor politicians in order to secure somewhat more favorable terms in the latest regulation or legislation, just to be able to run their own businesses. That was the party line of such proregressives as Teddy Roosevelt(R) & Woodrow Wilson (D) & Herbert Hoover (R), and then just as now, the letter after their name is meaningless, it's the ideas behind their name that matters.
Ask Arlen Specter (R, D) if any further clarification is needed.
Once agreement has been reached that Property Rights are negotiable (meaning meaningless), as all the Proregressives, Marxists, Socialists, Communists, etc fully agree upon, then the rest is just a matter of personal style and 'smart' politics.
Our FF's astutely recognized that corporations pose a threat to democracy, and needed to be kept on a short leash."What those of our Founding Father's who did buy into that didn't realize (and BTW, if that's referring to Madison's essay on Property or Corporations, that interpretation is way out of context), was that that leash would be turned into one gigantic noose for all of us. Once you concede to limit the Rights of some, you've begun the destruction of all of the Rights of everyone.
"There is the idea of the common good, versus the right of an individual to make a profit."This is the theme of all of the left, and not a little of the little 'r' right. That was the same argument which Justice Taney made in the 'Charles River Bridge' case, that the 'common good' justified limiting the rights of some, for the benefit of the 'greater good', and it was the same case which on hearing the judgment, Daniel Webster lamented as being the "death of Property Rights". You DO remember Justice Taney, right? He was the same Supreme Court Justice who later ruled in the Dred Scott case that rights came from legislation and precedent ('Natural Law'?! Pshawww!) and it was for the greater good than one man should continue to own another.
"I believe that government has the right to restrict the rights of people, and particularly corporations, when they pose a danger to the rest of us. Just one example is companies disposing of toxic waste in a way that is cheap and easy for them, but may threaten the health and very lives of whole communities."What such fine intentions have accomplished, is to reduce serious criminal actions to mere regulatory affairs, fines and loopholes. If a Corporation, under the knowing direction of it's officers, takes actions which endanger the lives and/or damage the property of those around them, they should be criminally prosecuted. Really damn fast, and severely at that. Such laws would be easily stated, comprehended and enforced, and no ones rights would be infringed upon in the process.
But to regulate those businesses? Why... that requires an agency, reams of codes and restrictions, an army of bureaucrats and holding corp's and their officers responsible not to those injured, but to answering, or evading, only those Govt rules and regulations. And then of course you'll need to have an entirely separate (and probably larger) agency, etc, for another sort of business, and so on. Not to mention the fact that such things create a guaranteed bribery income and favor pool for Numerous and ever expanding numbers of govt officials and functionaries.
Congratulations, your system 'works', the proof is all around you.
"...Property is surely a right of mankind as really as liberty. Perhaps, at first, prejudice, habit, shame or fear, principle or religion, would restrain the poor from attacking the rich, and the idle from usurping on the industrious; but the time would not be long before courage and enterprise would come, and pretexts be invented by degrees, to countenance the majority in dividing all the property among them, or at least, in sharing it equally with its present possessors. Debts would be abolished first; taxes laid heavy on the rich, and not at all on the others; and at last a downright equal division of every thing be demanded, and voted. What would be the consequence of this? The idle, the vicious, the intemperate, would rush into the utmost extravagance of debauchery, sell and spend all their share, and then demand a new division of those who purchased from them. The moment the idea is admitted into society, that property is not as sacred as the laws of God, and that there is not a force of law and public justice to protect it, anarchy and tyranny commence. If "Thou shalt not covet," and "Thou shalt not steal," were not commandments of Heaven, they must be made inviolable precepts in every society, before it can be civilized or made free."If you wish to understand our constitution today, it would be worth your reading what Adams had to say about the development and failure of constitutions in earlier days - what we have left of our Constitution today, depends upon it.