27 August 2014

Can corporations be (un)patriotic?

Much of the debate over Hobby Lobby was whether corporations could practice religion. Some like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) signed on to an amicus brief arguing that for-profit corporations could not practice religion.

This week, Burger King announced it was buying Canadian-based Tim Horton's in a move widely believed to precede BK's move to Canada. In response, some like Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) have argued that doing so would be a "completely unpatriotic move." He added that "[m]any of these corporations have absolutely no loyalty to the people of the United States or to our government."

If corporations cannot practice religion, can they be patriotic or unpatriotic? Can corporations exhibit loyalty to a country or its government? Can corporations have a conscious at all? And if so, where do we draw the line?

If corporations can exhibit traits like patriotism and loyalty, but cannot practice religion, what is the distinction?

Now add this wrinkle: A Brazilian global investment firm called 3G Capital owns 71% of Burger King. Is a Brazilian global investment firm owner supposed or expected to show patriotism and loyalty to the United States just because the company's headquarters is currently in the United States?

Something to think about.
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