John Facella’s inspirational column, “Patriotism not limited to one party, so stop throwing stones,” May 1, led me to read the recommended conservative icon Thomas Sowell, who asked, “What do you call it when someone steals someone else’s money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social justice.” That led me to ask, “What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in campaign finance donations and agrees to let that determine his actions while in office? Free speech.”

Now some people might think this is bad, but I and, apparently, Sowell know that it is good. Most substantial campaign finance comes from corporations. Sowell is a Milton Friedman think-alike, so he is aware that free markets trump free people any day. (Monopolies and oligopolies really are just an illusion.) The Supreme Court has found that limited liability corporations are, in fact, limited liability people. That is, even though they can’t say “gay” in Florida, they can kill you and your family without paying much of a price outside of increasing executive bonuses. Tort reform makes it even harder for a lesser, full-liability person like you to have any recourse.

This may sound bad, but it really isn’t. It is neoclassical economics’ gift to us all. If we were to punish corporations for their crimes, the legal system would slow down fast. Executives’ families would have to move to our neighborhoods. Corporations would have to deal with non-issues like climate change, workplace safety, sexual harassment, pollution, and exorbitant profits causing inflation. Then where would we be?

Ken Weston

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