Commentary
5:00 am
Fri December 23, 2011

Richard Crowson: Corporations Are People? They'll Never Be Dogs.

Christmas seems like a good time to reflect on all things warm and wonderful. In other words, on dogs. Proudly open about their feelings, dogs seem to have the sort of values and traits that sometimes put us unpredictable, ungrateful, back-stabbing human beings to shame. Dogs can be fiercely loyal, protective and attentive to our needs. And furthermore, they treat us as if we really do deserve this sort of behavior.

I wonder if that’s the reason the United States Supreme Court issued their “Citizens United” ruling of a year ago, which granted freedom of speech to corporations, in effect giving them equal status to people. Not to dogs, mind you. To people. So we may now think of corporations as sharing our human traits of, among other things, unpredictability, ingratitude and the occasional back-stab.

I find it potentially very significant that the court didn’t mention dogs anywhere in their ruling. The Court anthropomorphized corporations. They did not canine-ize them.

Consider the Boeing Company for instance, and the fact that all the indicators point toward their moving their tanker work elsewhere. I believe I understand exactly why my family’s dogs, Hank and Lucy, get such superior looks on their faces every time a Boeing plane flies over our house. They’re thinking, “At least I know how to be loyal and true to my friends.”

Mark Twain once famously said that the more he knew about people, the more he liked dogs. And now that the word “people” includes corporations, that’s truer than ever.

That’s why we have stockings hanging by our fireplace for our two dogs. And none for the Boeing Company.