SCOTUS Defines Personhood

Supreme Court of the United States Defines Personhood

Flash Fiction Satire by Vonda N. McIntyre

In an expected decision today, the United States Supreme Court reaffirmed its definition of Corporations as persons, and redefined organic beings as unpersons.

Unpersons include nebular avatars, bionic individuals (including biological bodies with computer-assisted intellects, machine-assisted brain preservation modalities, and exoskeleton-assisted paraplegics, quadriplegics, and n-oplegics for any value of “n”, including naturalized aliens), infertile biological entities (whether infertility be caused by chromosomal abnormality, age, illness, sexual orientation, or disinclination to reproduce), naturalized aliens, and natural-born human beings.

The Perfect Union must now be administered as a profit-making organization (Amendment 28 to the Constitution of the United States of America, “National Profitability”). Corporations are the only entities with sufficient financial resources to function as Persons and Citizens. According to Amendment 28, the USA must balance or surplus its annual budget, forgo borrowing under any circumstances, and invest in projects only if they will result in an assured profit of, at minimum, 18%. As a result, all infrastructure construction has been privatized since 2014 and may be used only on a fee basis; health care is available only to individuals who purchase adequate insurance (average cost 3.4 x average annual income) and who can be repaired with standard printable parts; and the defense budget is restricted to amounts returned to the government by surrender of corporate beings, takeover of profitable government entities, and spoliation. Examples include the nuclear program of Iran (including all warheads, enriched uranium, and centrifuge sites); Wyoming (including offshore corporations, Yellowstone National Park, and the hotsprings of Thermopolis, including all springs formerly protected by the Big Horn Hot Springs Land Cession Agreement); and the Smithsonian Institution (including all collections, now dispersed and sold via eBay).

Because biological entities cannot, by and large, contribute to the profitability of the United States, biological entities (including former biological entities life-supported by mechanical or electronic means or any combination of mechanical or electronic means or any means now available or ever improved, developed, or invented in the future) are now relieved of citizenship. Any program that benefits organic entities or extends the lifespan of organic entities must demonstrate its profitability. Since most organic entities are a net drain on resources, most programs — including support for the elderly, support for the infirm, support for children, support for organic entities with young children, and support for organic entities in the process of creating young children — are forbidden.

Programs to defend ova, sperm, and embryos, however, are protected by Amendment 29 of the Constitution of the United States of America (“Personhood of Gametes”) and must be funded. Programs supported by Amendment 29 include R&D (“Communication with gametes and embryos for purposes of voter registration”); elimination of doctor-patient confidentiality laws, medical ethics, and the Hippocratic Oath; prosecution of capital miscarriage (without exception); recruitment of OB-GYNs, obstetrical nurses, midwives, and sexual partners of fertile women as undercover agents for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Guns and Explosives, and Pregnancy; interdiction of masturbation (“Opportunity for Every Sperm” clause of Amendment 29); and liquidation of urologists (“Prohibition of Impotency-Causing Prostate Cancer Surgery” Clause of Amendment 29).

As unpersons cannot function adequately under the Supreme Court decision, Corporate Persons now stand in loco parentis for all non-Corporate Persons. This includes decisions about education, discipline, family honor, and imprisonment. Compulsory education is eliminated, as it infringes on the freedom of individuals, whether they be Corporate Persons or unpersons. Discipline is unregulated, as regulation of corporal, electronic, or capital punishment infringes upon the freedom of Corporate Persons to manage their organizations within their Family Values. Activities related to Family Honor, being the basic Family Value, are unrestricted.

The Corporation of Incarceration, charged with prison construction, maintenance, management, and oversight, recently matched Shexmoil as the most successful Corporate Person in the country, with profits of seven trillion dollars each in the first quarter. The CI’s intake of unpersons is expected to increase. Unpersons unattached to Corporate Persons are known to engage in criminal activity such as substance abuse, caloric excess, and toll evasion, in order to compel the Corporation of Incarceration to support them with food, lodging, and medical care. Insult to Corporate Persons has been upgraded from an incarceratable to a capital offense.

The Major Ten and the Minor Thirteen Corporations recently filed a class action suit to challenge the eligibility of organic beings to hold seats on the Supreme Court.

Shexmoil and CI replied with a counter-suit to maintain the current membership and to overturn any limits on Supreme Court sponsorship, basing their suit on the argument that any regulation of the use of corporate funds is a violation of the First Amendment.

Profit recalculation has resulted in a change of sponsorship for the Supreme Court. CI gains sole sponsorship of one Associate Justice. The Major Ten combine to sponsor four Associate Justices, while the Minor Thirteen combine to sponsor the remaining three Associate Justices. Were the countersuit to prevail, the Major Ten and Minor Thirteen Corporations would be relieved of their sponsorships, while Shexmoil and CI would sponsor five and four Justices, respectively.

Shexmoil, whatever the outcome of the legal challenges, will retain sole sponsorship of the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States of America.


I thought I was writing satire when, on July 4, 2011, I wrote this in a fury.

Recent news makes me wonder.

–VNM


Vonda N. McIntyre is a founding member of Book View Café. Her novels and selected short stories, including “Supreme Court of the United States Defines Personhood,” Nebula Award winners Dreamsnake and The Moon and the Sun, can be found at the Book View Café ebookstore.

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SCOTUS Defines Personhood — 30 Comments

  1. Thanks.

    I thought I was, in a fury, writing satire in July. Now… not so much. The assault on women’s rights and health is terrifying; the transfer of wealth from the people who create it to the top 1% is appalling.

    I was accused of being a dirty commie when I suggested that the people who create wealth should participate in the increase of wealth, on my congresscritter’s website. (Not by Congressman Jim McDermott, I hasten to add, but by a commentor who behaved very much like, dare I say it, a troll.) The person who thought I’m a dirty commie said that rich people work so hard for their money that they *deserve* to get 100% of the increase in GNP over the last several decades.

    Apparently rich people’s hard work is worth much much more than anybody else’s hard work.

    This puzzles me completely. The only explanation I can come up with is that Americans in general think that eventually they will all be rich. Never mind that the evidence of the past few decades is that people who are rich will become richer, while people of average income will see their incomes plummeting.

    Note how often people say, “If I win the lottery…”

    This makes me weep.

    Vonda

  2. You are not alone. A great many Americans are struggling with the transformation of our society into the increasingly degraded thing it is becoming. While the worst is not over yet, I do believe we will successfully navigate these Crazy Years (TM Robert Heinlein) into a better founded successor society in the next tewnty years. Just don’t expect to enjoy a lot of the events I forsee over those decades. This will be a transition every bit as painful as that of the 1930s.

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  4. Such an uncanny, dead-on, portrayal of where we’re headed right now is necessary. It might be our only hope in avoiding every word you wrote coming true. You did an excellent job. So please don’t think I’m insulting you when I say that I really, really wish I could dismiss this as the work of a lunatic. I wish I could, but I can’t.

    I’ve felt as if I was living through some warped, futuristic version of the 1930s for a while now. And I don’t just mean the Depression in America… I mean the rise of lunacy among governments. Only this time, it is driven by corporations and financial interests rather than rabid mobs. I really hope the world I live in wakes up and shakes off that nightmare before I find out how this scenario ends. I know all too well how the last one ended…

  5. Ray: You said “So please don’t think I’m insulting you when I say that I really, really wish I could dismiss this as the work of a lunatic. I wish I could, but I can’t.”

    I don’t at all, I wish I could, too.

    I reallio trulio thought I was exaggerating too much even for satire when I wrote this, in a fury, on the Fourth of July.

    But I wasn’t.

    Alas.

    Vonda

  6. It’s sad that a country that tossed away the yolk of monarchy now has a large number of people who gladly support a corporate/ultra-wealthy monarchy. It’s just pathetic.

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  9. Wow. Just…wow.

    Excellent, depressing, funny, scary, and thought provoking story. Kinda brings to mind Ben Bova’s “Fitting Suits.” Makes me wonder which will happen first: the Corporate States of America or the SCOTUS-OS.

  10. I’ve talked to so many people who vote for those most responsible for promoting these policies. And most of them work in education, no less! But the ability to see what happens if this goes on — so brilliantly shown in this “story” — eludes them.

  11. I keep asking why people are so anxious to vote against their own interests, and get told that rich people work so very hard for their money that they deserve to get paid 2000x as much as their employees.

    I keep asking why people focus on taxes, when the problem is stagnant wages, I ask why the people who create the wealth in our country (GNP has doubled since wages went flat), and get told that rich people work so very hard for their money that they deserve to get paid 2000x as much as the people who create the wealth in the first place.

    Nobody ever actually answers my question. Or the question of why it’s right to take any and all restraints off “corporate persons,” while piling on more and more government intrusion into the private lives of actual human persons… usually women.

    –V.

  12. Loved this despite not ever having been in the US for more than a couple of days. Her is Canada the different levels of governemnt do a far far far better job. Looming ever nearer is the climate crisis. Government websites boldly state they are staking a strong stand, are holding meetings and commissioning studies. Other Ministries move merrily onward with the Oilsands. I must not forget to mention that the gov’t is wondering whether it should step in to prevent a major sale of the oilsands to a foreign power. China.
    Here is Canada we all care and we are by and large very interested in making a good society and remaining calm. We all hold a lot of meetings. Meetings about what to do about meeting results and the results of commissions and meetings about implentnetation of policies and meetings about everything possible. We are all tolerant and respectful and paranoid about being prejudiced or infringing on rights and freedoms so much so that cultural freedom to treat daughters and wives like things is creeping in here. It is very polite but politeness can = paralysis.
    Just ideas.
    You write about the things troubling thinking people so much that they cannot sleep. America was Hope. It was Freedom and Opportunity and the triumph of good over evil all ways always . I blame FOX News et al and the general human tendency towards sloth.

    To the last poster – I was always a prolife feminist and now I support the right to abortion as part of that stance because of the utter atrociousness of prolifers (who only like endangered foetusses).

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  15. Vonda, your satire — I only wish it were! — is a brilliantly rendered nightmare. What’s most frightening about it, in my view, is the fact that every one of your extrapolations is firmly rooted in standing legal precedents even more than in nascent technological capabilities. If we can’t successfully undermine the legal foundations of corporate personhood — and it seems to me the only way we could do it is through a carefully phrased constitutional amendment, and how that might be enacted beggars all hope — then as a species we are done for; such a failure really would appear to be the beginning of the end. I’m reminded of the “Common Sense” essay about our current political situation that you posted a year or so back, possibly here at BVC — could you post a link to that again? Both of these pieces, the one above and the earlier one, deserve the widest possible circulation. Kudos!

  16. Hi Ron,

    Thanks — I’m glad you found the story worthwhile.

    The article you ask about is I think this one:

    https://bookviewcafe.com/blog/2011/06/01/this-is-what-i-wonder-and-this-is-what-i-think/

    There was a pretty good conversation going on until a couple of drive-by commenters astroturfed the discussion and I never could get it started again.

    Since I had the chutzpah to poach the title “A Modest Proposal…” for one of my stories, I probably would also have it to poach “Common Sense,” but this time I didn’t.

    Best,

    Vonda

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  18. I love it! I love having a fresh and spicy sizzling piece of social commentary to cleanse my palette that has been dulled by bland and artificial diet of “factual” “news”. Doesn’t matter that I’m tasting it 9 months after it was served.

  19. Because biological entities cannot, by and large, contribute to the profitability of the United States, biological entities…are now relieved of citizenship. Any program that benefits organic entities or extends the lifespan of organic entities must demonstrate its profitability. Since most organic entities are a net drain on resources, most programs — including support for the elderly, support for the infirm, support for children, support for organic entities with young children, and support for organic entities in the process of creating young children — are forbidden. Programs to defend ova, sperm, and embryos, however, are protected by Amendment 29 of the Constitution of the United States of America (“Personhood of Gametes”) and must be funded.

    I’d laugh, if it weren’t so horrifyingly plausible…

  20. I wish it were becoming less plausible, but since I posted it, more plausible is more like it.

    As an SF writer, I don’t claim to predict anything. I let my mind follow the “if this goes on…” track.

    –V.