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If Texaco is a "Person", why not a chimpanzee?

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Alien
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#1

Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:02 PM

Not too long ago the U.S. Supreme Court declared that corporations are people and they have specific right formerly reserved for Humans, more specifically, US Citizens.  This led to a great deal of uproar and debate within the US population, giving some the feeling that regular "real" people were losing out to the wealthy elite.  The Non-Human Rights Project has recently filed a habeas corpus on behalf of a Chimpanzee named Tommy, stating he is a person, self-aware, knowledgeable about the past, present and acting in ways to attempt to alter his future (not like Doc Brown, more in a "That banana gave me a shock last time, better try the apple this time"). 

 

This got me to thinking... what is the difference between "People" and "non-People".  Personally I disagree that corporations are people with every fiber of my being and instinctually I feel Chimps are not either.  That would be a slippery slope and as a big fan of cheesburgers and fried chicken, I'm afraid what is at the bottom of said slope.

 

Conversely, however, I think that if we are defining corporations as people, why not?  Animals deserve some level of protection as well and maybe this is a childish attitude, but it's almost tit-for-tat; "Corporations?? Okay, then apes and cars too.  Cars are important and need protection. Also the pedestrians in GTA should not be fodder... they have their own lives and should be allowed to continue to live them." 

 

This is the actual Writ of Habeas Corpus;

 

http://www.nonhumanr...lton-Cty-NY.pdf

 

What do you think?


Mr. House
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#2

Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:18 PM

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On the subject of animal rights or rights for anyone or thing that can't directly communicate consent then there should be an assumption of non consent. As for direct human rights, then no. Because of the nature of animals being unable to consent and other notable differences you need differing laws to address that.
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I also believe that corporate personhood should not exist, it exempts corporate bodies from responsibilities that none corporate business have and bestows up on them rights that businesses don't have. Hell it even exempts Corporations from responsibilities that humans have.


Alien
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#3

Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:37 PM

Some captive members of the great ape family (Gorillas, Chimps, Orangutans, etc...)have been taught sign language and are able to communicate with humans.  It has been shown that they are able to express their emotions, wants and needs across species boundaries.  Do these cases show that they are actually deserving of more "civil rights" than we currently afford them?  I think it might, but that is tempered by the fact that they do not teach language to each other, nor do they ever ask questions, which might be a major line of demarcation from humanity.

 

Still, being self-aware and able to communicate desires in a clear and concise manner makes me pause... 

 

It is important to note that a corporation can do none of those things.  Yes, members of that corporation can (or should be able to), but the entity itself has no awarness of it's own existence nor needs unto itself or an ability to communicate those needs if they did in fact exist.


sivispacem
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#4

Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:54 PM

You're not talking about the same kind of rights, though. Corporations are not people in any other way than in respect to US citizenship. It's a bit of a false analogy to say "corporations are people, so why not entitle chimps to the same right as humans" because corporations are only "humans" in one very particular and specific respect. For the record, I don't think that either corporations or great apes should have rights as citizens, but any sentient being should be entitled to basic rights- that is, freedom from violence, unnecessary suffering and torture.


Alien
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#5

Posted 11 December 2013 - 02:48 PM

I agree completely, my preference would be to give neither animal or corporation any rights that reflect or at least aim to partially emulate those given to humans.  I do think we need different rights for animals, basic protections you spoke of, but  for corporations, they should instead have limits set to their power and allowed influence.  It's just that when our government decides that corporations are deserving of additional rights I feel that they have set the bar low for these types of allowances that my knee-jerk reaction is to say "Let's just give it out, willy-nilly!"


El Diablo
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#6

Posted 12 December 2013 - 11:43 PM Edited by El_Diablo, 12 December 2013 - 11:44 PM.

I'm afraid this debate isn't robust enough.

corporations rights versus animals rights? that's a false equivalency.

 

we should change this topic to what it was clearly meant to be: Are Corporations People?

then we can debate the merits of the US Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, campaign finance reform, and corporate personhood (offshore tax havens, sweat shop labor conditions, etc etc).


Mr. House
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#7

Posted 12 December 2013 - 11:49 PM

I'm afraid this debate isn't robust enough.

corporations rights versus animals rights? that's a false equivalency.

 

we should change this topic to what it was clearly meant to be: Are Corporations People?

then we can debate the merits of the US Supreme Court ruling on Citizens United, campaign finance reform, and corporate personhood (offshore tax havens, sweat shop labor conditions, etc etc).

I think the guy posting this was trying to make a point, but I agree that the two subjects should be discussed separately.


El Diablo
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#8

Posted 14 December 2013 - 05:21 AM

I agree,

just seems like the premise is too narrow.


DillBagnr
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#9

Posted 23 December 2013 - 08:55 PM

I was under the impression that the Supreme Court ruling was that Corporations can be considered "people" in regards to political campaign contributions.  It might be a bit of a precedent for future cases, but they have not extended this judicial "humanity" to anything else.

As for chimpanzees, directly related to the case--no chimpanzee has ever taken its personhood to court for any reason, let alone even tried to donate money to politicians.  As for why, perhaps, they might not have as many "rights" as us humans do--perhaps it could be because chimpanzees are not a part of our society, nor (despite their intelligence) would it be feasible to ever integrate them into it.


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#10

Posted 24 December 2013 - 03:47 PM Edited by Melchior, 24 December 2013 - 03:47 PM.

^ I believe the original idea behind corporations was that a group behind a project could be considered a single person for the purposed of the project.


Frank Brown
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#11

Posted 12 January 2014 - 07:51 AM

I don't see what's so ridiculous about corporations being able to donate money to political campaigns. That's what that whole person-hood thing was about in 2010. It's actually useful for the "little guy" too, so to speak. It upheld the idea that corporations can be held liable for any harm they cause and, this seems to be frequently ignored, the law is also applicable to unions and associations.





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