Yesterday’s Supreme Court decision was worrying for many reasons. It’s a setback for women’s health and it may give penny-pinching corporations enough wiggle room to back out of paying for contraception that should be part of comprehensive health care. Most disturbingly, it grants an inordinate amount of power to corporations to impose religious beliefs on its employees–a power not even granted to our federal government.
Over the years, we have seen the courts grant an increasing amount of rights to corporations. Citizens United, for example, established money as a form of speech and determined corporations have a right to express this “free speech” even though it might rob others of platforms to exercise their rights.
Now that the gateway has been opened for corporations to exempt themselves from laws they have religious exceptions to, what’s to stop corporate leaders from heaping their favored religion of choice onto their employees? Granted, religious minorities have a tough time of it already. There are plenty of informal social methods organizations can use to ostracize “heathens.” They really didn’t need another tool in their belt, especially one sanctioned by the Supreme Court.
What baffles me most though is the sheer willingness we have to grant such vast powers to corporations. The biggest corporations have a net worth larger than many countries. When Walmart pulls in more revenue than Norway’s entire GDP, I think it’s fair to say these companies are essentially oligarchies. But even when an oligarchy plays hardball with its critics and stifles debate with its own canned message, people are willing to call that censorship and propaganda. Modern corporations are just employing “free market principles.” An oligarchy dictating religious values to its citizens would be establishing a state religion. Corporations are instilling “work values.”
I hear conservatives and libertarians call for small government all the time. So where is the movement for small corporations? Why is it so much better to entrust private entities with the same or more power than we are willing to grant our federal government? The government is accountable to all citizens of this country, not just those with money. Or at least it is in theory.
I’m just saying either antitrust lawsuits start getting filed or I’ll lose all respect for small-government Republicans. This is a hypocrisy we’ve tolerated far too long.
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