Title page for ETD etd-04132011-183705

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Berken, Eric John
Author's Email Address eric_berken@yahoo.com
URN etd-04132011-183705
Title Citizens United and the Balance between Individual and Corporate Political Speech
Degree Master of Arts (M.A.)
Department Philosophy & Religious Studies
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Rocha, James Committee Chair
Lercher, Aaron Committee Member
Schufreider, Greg Committee Member
Song, Edward Committee Member
  • Empirical Implications
  • Cognitive Science
  • Egalitarian
  • Libertarian
  • Milton Friedman
  • John Stuart Mill
  • Citizens United
  • Political Speech
Date of Defense 2011-04-04
Availability unrestricted
In an attempt to create stronger protection for free speech rights, the Supreme Court, in its ruling on Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission (FEC), has issued a determination that limits the rights of citizens in favor of artificial industrial entities. The majority’s stated position, that corporations cannot be regulated differently from real human beings, cannot be justified according to values enshrined in the Constitution. They further claim that large sums of unregulated money accrued for capital investment cannot be demonstrated to cause corruption, which is an obvious mischaracterization of financial influence in the current political process. By ignoring the purpose of the federal legislation as a balancing agent between artificial organizations and citizens, the Supreme Court has opened the door for a centralized control of public policy and other ideas through information dissemination that can now be dictated by financially privileged government instantiated organizations. My thesis is to provide a philosophical justification for the equilibrium needed between competing agents in the political and social arena that was removed by this recent court decision. One foundation to do this will be John Stuart Mill’ On Liberty, a traditionally well accepted and respected commentary on balancing social freedom and interaction. Additionally I will use Milton Friedman, a respected libertarian philosopher, to elaborate on the modern impact of imbalanced regulation between citizen, state, and business entity, and outline a direction toward solutions for this difficult problem. Through analysis of the case along with these two philosopher’s positions, my aim is to articulate the imbalance that currently exists in political speech.
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