Identifier

etd-04132011-183705

Degree

Master of Arts (MA)

Department

Philosophy and Religious Studies

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

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.

Date

2011

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Rocha, James

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