Monday, June 30, 2014

Hobby Lobby case a boon to fiction writers?

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in the Hobby Lobby / Conestoga Wood Products cases is a real eye-opener for the politically obsessed. But for writers it certainly can provide interesting fodder for speculative fiction plots.

Now, corporations, which exist on paper only and clearly have no souls, nevertheless, have religious rights under our constitution, thanks to the recent court ruling. The decision held that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) requirement for insurance coverage of certain contraceptives violated the companies’ religious freedom rights. 

This particular decision, written and supported by five men only, dealt with Christian beliefs. Will we be seeing similar lawsuits and rulings concerning closely held companies (their stock is not publicly traded) owned by majorities of Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Mormons, Scientologists, or YOUR RELIGION HERE? 

Among other things, corporations have been given rights by this court to essentially spend whatever they want to influence our elections. They already have a stranglehold on local, state, and national legislators through lobbying efforts (also a part of the First Amendment). They essentially control our defense establishment. 

They have controlled our economy for some time, even wrecked it a few times – 1929 and 2007 come to mind, but there are tons more if you care to do the research. For-profit corporations took over our health care during the past several decades, which led to passage of the ACA. Try to get dental care without a financial statement and $50,000 of home equity for a Second Mortgage. 

Citizens THINK they are pushing for such things as renewable energy and decent food production, even climate change strategies, but corporate giants control the bulk of those areas. Also, the Roberts court is systematically weakening workers’ rights to organize. These trends point to ever increasing corporate control over our lives, taxes, homes, families, health, and general well-being.

See that dark corner back in your junk closet in the basement? That is what you have control over, and this is in doubt if you are forced to rent instead of buy. 

Charlie Chaplin in "Modern Times"
Speculative fiction is based on current trends extended into the future or near future. Post apocalypse stories, books, games, and movies have flooded the market in recent years. Corporate power is a common theme in many stories and has been for a very long time. Go to YouTube and watch Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” or read Kurt Vonnegut’s “Player Piano”.

As the Supreme Court continues its march to fundamentally change our society here in America, writers should examine these trends and get them into our fiction.