Saturday, March 23, 2013

Real Life Tao - Way Outside the Box

Trey Smith

One of the things Zhuangzi challenges us to do is to think outside the box. That's why many of his stories are so topsy-turvy. He is encouraging us to wipe away our prejudices and biases to look at life through new eyes. For this reason, me thinks, if Zhuangzi was still alive, he would give Jonathan Frieman a big high five.

Like many people -- me included -- Frieman thinks this idea of corporate personhood is bonkers. A corporation is NOT a person; it's an artificial entity created BY humans to conduct business activities. But the US Supreme Court thinks otherwise and so corporations now enjoy many of the same rights -- not necessarily the same responsibilities -- as flesh-and-blood people.

For the last several years, Frieman has been trying to think of a way to illustrate this absurdity and he decided on a strategy that is both brilliant and creative. What did he do? He decided to drive by "himself" in a lane of the highway reserved for vehicles carrying more than one passenger. He did this in the hope that he would be pulled over by a police officer. After several unsuccessful attempts, he finally met with success! Now he could put his novel idea into motion.

As the officer pointed out that he was alone in his car, Frieman said this was not true. He had a passenger. At this point, he showed the officer a document called the Articles of Incorporation. This document is used to create a corporation and, as we all should know, corporations legally are viewed as persons. So, that meant two "people" were in the car!

He still received a ticket anyhow. He went to court and lost, but he plans to appeal. Whether he ultimately wins or loses his appeal, I applaud him for his gumption. We need more people willing to think outside the box.

This post is part of a series. For an introduction, go here.

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