News, notes, and observations from the James River Valley in northern South Dakota with special attention to reviewing the performance of the media--old and new. E-Mail to MinneKota@gmail.com

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Feeding useless eaters and nurturing corporations

Madville Times has lent its chortle to the incredulous laughter at the Supreme Court ruling that the McCain-Feingold bill passed in 2002 is wrong in limiting corporations from making direct contributions from its profits to use for political attack advertising.  It is not the finding of five members of the court that is cause for derision, but their reasoning demonstrated in the opinion. The ruling sounds like something George Orwell would concoct if he were a writer for The Daily Show,.


In  all, it has been a crowning week for the right-wing agenda.  Rush Limbaugh, the most pathological of the conspiracy theorists, warned that contributions for Haitian relief would contribute to something insidious.  Sarah Palin is still struggling with her reading list. The lieutenant governor of South Carolina suggested that poverty-dependency could be eliminated if school lunches were withheld from poor kids so they would die out and not breed.  And the Supreme Court majority hinged its decision on the premise that corporations are persons.  They must have been tutored at the Sarah Palin Institute for Intellectual Excellence.

Those who snickered at the corporations-are-persons contention were immediately assailed by the wing-dingers and informed that they were confused and ignorant and stupid.  The English lexicon has from its inception defined a person as a human, an individual of specified character, the personality of a human self. To contend that a corporation, which is a political contrivance of humans with an agenda, is in any way a person is to fly in the face of an essential linguistic and semantic distinction that is deeply rooted in the language.  But such affronts to literacy are not something new.

In Orwell's 1984, the protagonist's job in the Ministry of Truth is to purge the language of words that might convey to the people knowledge of historical realities that might cause them to question the totalitarian regimen under which they live.  If the word itself cannot be eliminated, its definition is changed.  That is what the Supreme Court had to do to bring corporations and their arbitrary uses of their power and wealth under the protetion of the First Amendment,  which has previously been understood to apply to persons, not contrived entities.  Corporate totalitarianism and the privileges of power it wants for its fascistic elite are a basic GOP premise.  The Supreme Court hacks found a crude way to bring them under a Constitutional protection.   Wily, if not particularly edified or brilliant. 


 The McCain-Feingold bill and previous court rulings were attempts to keep huge, powerful entities from dominating and controlling political discussion to the point of diminishing, even eliminating, the voices of private citizens in political debate.  The Supreme Court majority has found a way to employ the protections of the Constitution against the very things it was written to protect.  It has done so by demolishing the language, by purging it of the semantic content of certain words and changing definitions.  Libel, disinformation, and mendacity are endorsed as the language of the realm. 

The literate will have to suffer.  And democracy will now mean that individual persons have been demoted to a powerless serfdom while corporations assume the prime mantle of personhood. 

1 comment:

Thad Wasson said...

McCain-Feingold, in my opinion, was a bill designed to keep the elected few in office with as little outside competition as possible. Those who serve as Senators and Congressman fail to mention that they have an advantage over the common man. Name recognition at the federal level is worth millions that others will have to beg, borrow or sing for.

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