The devaluation of Humanity to being a thing, the expunging of Humanity's intrinsic value, is a grave danger to any civilization. Today, we risk the very idea of the Human Being destroyed by the legal convention of corporate personhood.
A corporation is by definition property, held by shareholders. The corporation's historical purpose has been to help protect those shareholders against financial ruin should the corporation be forced into liquidation. By saying that it has any of the same rights as a natural person, a human being of flesh and blood, undercuts one of the primary arguments against slavery: human beings cannot be property; it is contrary to the dignity of the human being to be considered property. Its purpose is to protect human beings, not to be protected as if it were a human being.
Whatever protections and privileges a corporation has, should be solely determined by its corporate charter, and the laws of the governments under which that charter was issued. As a thing, it cannot have rights--it is not a human being.
The oligarchs ultimate aim is to use issues like this one and establish a multi-tier class system in our country--and around the world--where only those at the top of the economic ladder have any real rights, and those at the bottom--like the slaves of Rome--have none. The fact that corporations provide their executives with a layer of legal protection when endangering the public that the rest of us lack, is a prima facie example of this oligarchic advantage.
Perhaps the oligarchs do not intend full-fledged slavery: a new feudal system with a bottom level of serfs--with virtually no rights--might suit their plans better. But never doubt for an instant, that unless you are one of the oligarchs, one of the financial One Percenters, you will wake up one morning in the near future, wondering why subjects you used to discuss openly at bars, are now only discussed quietly, behind closed doors, with close friends whom you trust.
For most of the One Percenters, you and I mean no more to them than Mitt Romney's poor dog did many years ago, when Romney strapped the dog's kennel to the roof of the family station wagon for a twelve hour road trip. I've seen parents like Mitt Romney in my lifetime: you had by God better go to the bathroom before the trip starts, and God help you if you don't have a cast iron bladder and spring steel bowels; Daddy's not going to stop until lunch, no matter what. Romney put the family dog in his kennel on the roof, not because it was best for the dog or his family, but because it was most convenient for Mitt Romney. If the family had not been in the car when Fido had his "accident," I suspect that Fido would have been beaten, and left at the side of the road, having "run away while on a walk." In many states today, leaving a dog on a roof in a kennel would constitute animal abuse. For me it is a demonstration of how the lack of empathy by the One Percenters in general, and Mitt Romney in particular, turns human beings (and everything else living) in their minds into things to be used, not fellow creatures to be cherished.
I for one do not intend to go down without a fight. I will not be made a slave to the One Percenters. My intrinsic value is measured not by my wealth, but in my merit as a writer, a researcher, a humanitarian, member of my family and a friend. I will probably die poor, but I believe that I will die missed by those whom I have loved and I have inspired. That is enough for me. Against the forces that would enslave our nation and the American people, I shout a modern watchword of a screenwriter's (probably Dalton Trumbo's ) imagination, expressing my desire for freedom for all of my brothers and sisters, no matter what their origin or current circumstance in life:
I Am Spartacus!
May we all be blessed in this struggle against oppression.