The conventional concern about the Supreme Court's decision to grant personhood status to abstract corporate entities is usually expressed, as the President did recently, with the apparently not so self evident comment that "Corporations are not people." It would be a shame if this presidential election did not vet that notion thoroughly, since the standard bearer for the Republican Party, has, in one of his few unambiguous statements, said that "Corporations are people, my friends." That contradiction in perspectives gives us an excellent opportunity to examine the consequences of conflating corporate entities with people.
To make the point, consider what kind of citizen Wall Street would be, once granted personhood. Mr. Wall Street would operate in a clear, easily understood environment. The major locus of his perspective would be the simple notion that the principles of capitalism are the only legitimate basis for governmental decision making. He would focus on the needs of those with accumulated wealth, since they understand that wealth is the sole measure of success for any individual. He would be dismissive of the social problems which bubble up in a pluralistic society, since such issues deserve attention only when they become disruptive to the smooth workings of a profit oriented economy. He would be selectively patriotic, taking whatever monetary advantage he could from his ability to influence national law, while using, without restraint, international, offshore venues for the same purpose. He would be uninterested in arguments that the messy interplay of this nation's growing ethnic diversity and its increasingly unequal distribution of wealth are problems that government should address. He would be comfortable with the notion that health care and education are the entitlements of only those who can afford them. He would be disinterested in ecology, except to frustrate those whose concerns with the future of the planet interfered with the short term opportunity to maximize wealth by exploiting non-renewable natural resources. And he would be indifferent to the nation's crumbling infrastructure.
He would be Mitt Romney.