Note: I will use a certain word that in it’s infinitive form starts with ‘f’ and ends with a ‘k.’ As a person I have the right to freedom of expression. Likewise, as a person, you have the right to get mad, refuse to read, or say how that makes you feel. We’re all people here, which means we are responsible for our actions.
As you probably know, a corporation is a person. This is specified in 1 U.S.C. §1 which states:
In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, unless the context indicates otherwise– the words “person” and “whoever” include corporations, companies, associations, firms, partnerships, societies, and joint stock companies, as well as individuals;
This all began with Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad (118 U.S. 395) in which Chief Justice Morrison R Waite said:
The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of the opinion that it does.
Time went on and corporations became regarded as endowed with the same rights as people: the right to contract, the right to a certificate of occupancy, the right to spend and so on.
Any freedom granted is also freedom to accept the responsibility. At the top I indicated I would say fuck often, and I will. I also said I accept your right— as a person— to take offense, get angry, and to express how you feel about that. I have the right to say fuck, you have the right to tell me to fuck off.
If corporations are people— and people have freedom and responsibility— British Petroleum (BP) should be arrested. Imagine if you or I had dumped oil in the Gulf killing marine life, destroyed the environment and devastated the livelihoods for generations. You or I would be arrested, tried, and viewed as a villain of a heinous crime up there with Osama Bin Laden, Hitler, and Darth Vader. If BP, as a person, is not responsible for their actions then who is?
You or I would not be given reprieve, the ability to form a PR defense and certainly not allowed to continue our day to day lives. There would not be talk even of "fixing" the problem as the damage is done. With the freedom granted by the US Constitution we accept or rights as well as the rights of others. Or as famously penned by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence, the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”
The Bill of Rights are ammendments to the U.S. Constitution that outline several rights but the also outline several consequences:
- First Ammendment: the right to freedom of speech which means other people can say things you do not like or agree with.
- Second Ammendment: the right to bear arms with responsible and civil use.
- Sixth Ammendment: the right to a fair trial with a legal responsibility for new cruel or unusual punishment.
Note in all of these examples, a reponsibility is incurred with a right.
Yet if BP is defined a a coporation— and a corporation is defined as a person— BP is not granted (or refuses) the right of responsibility.
Just like you or I, BP should be fucked. Because they fucked up messed up the Gulf and BP has a dismal safety record. BP fucked up more and more yet they don’t seem to give a fuck. They should face the consequence of law enforcement, be it jailtime or capital punishment dependent on the state as we all do. I disagree with capital punishment however if I killed at least seven people in a Gulf Coast state, that option would have been on the table. By the way, all states in the Gulf have capital punishment on the books.
BP does not want this to happen. They do not want to be a person that can fuck and be fucked. They do not want to face the consequences of responsibility.
Seems there are two choices here. Either BP own up to personhood and turn himself/herself/itself in to the authorities– for the crimes you and I would face– or be dragged in kicking and screaming by the law to face the music. The corporate person goes to "jail" by seizing assets and holding it accountable in a court of law for its action. Or BP renounce it’s personhood: go back and tell the U.S. Supreme Court to pull out its corporate dick and stop fucking America. Then BP can escape into the warm uterus to a pre-personhood stage. A time before consequences and responsibilities that come with personhood.