Today’s Guest Saturday post comes to us from Brian at the Frankentein Government blog. He originally published this essay as part of his Sunday Collage on September 21, 2013.
The Renaissance of American Enlightenment
Today, I want to talk a little bit about “civil disobedience” under the current regime.
I have been a law abiding citizen most of my life- with the possible exception of a few misdemeanors in my youth. From age 20 until age 52, all I have been guilty of is breaking a few unbelievably restrictive traffic laws. Like Oregon’s ridiculously low speed limits on the most desolate highways in the west. So there’s that. Guilty your honor. My penance has been fines and my forced participation in some of the finest insurance price gouging ever.
I spent my lifetime in small town America. I was a policeman first and then ultimately, a Police Chief. I believed in the mission of law enforcement and I also believed that without cops- the predators would most certainly have their way with the sheep.
Unfortunately, our government has become a predatory government. Instead of a government consisting of “We the people” we have an elitist government that has morphed into a government that caters to the aristocracy or the wealthy 1% of America. This government takes every opportunity to steal middle class money and tells us it is for our collective benefit. It passes laws that are clearly in violation of the Constitution of the United States and then asks the Supreme Court to rubber stamp them. I suppose this is done to convince “We the people” that this government is behaving lawfully and responsibly. I call it the theater of the absurd. That is the same crap that King Richard III tried to pull on us. He wanted to control us and steal our money. He was willing to send troops to threaten and then kill us over the issue and so it was. We had us a war with some bloodshed.
It’s always about money. The absolute root of all evil.
In America, our government has a long standing tradition of labeling immoral or criminal acts with palatable terms so that they can behave like criminals without public retribution or outcry. They do the exact opposite when some other entity engages in the same behavior. Sometimes Americans sign onto this madness as long as there is something in it for them. Like killing native Americans because it was “God’s manifest destiny” for us. Sorry Indians, God doesn’t like you. Citizens who worked hard and saved gold in 1933 were labeled “gold hoarders” about the time that FDR issued an executive order- no law was passed- authorizing the government to seize gold without a warrant to prevent “gold hoarding.” If the government doesn’t like the negative connotations of a term such as “kidnapping” they substitute that term for “relocation” as was the case of WWII era Japanese Americans. If the government and the elite don’t like the term “counterfeiting” because that denotes precisely what it is- they use the term “quantitative easing” instead. They tell us that they are diluting our money supply for our own good. When the government gets caught violating the law, they label the whistleblower(s) a “traitor” rather than a hero as was the case of Edward Snowden. People are not murdered by drones- they are “victims” or “casualties” or “enemy combatants” or “collateral damage.”
We allow the government to essentially violate any law it wants to- just so long as they can find some innocuous term for their immoral conduct that sits well with us.
Well, most of us.
Of all the flawed character traits that I possess, and there are many, my ability to see through all of this bullshit like a laser beam is probably my worst. It has cost me dearly. But I have never let the consequences of my actions get in the way of what I know is morally right.
In other words, I am weary of this government bully.
So what term did Americans employ when we wanted to quit paying taxes, commit treason, and eliminate King George III? Well, we called that the period of “American Enlightenment.” Ah yes, American Enlightenment.
The American Enlightenment is a period of intellectual ferment in thirteen American colonies in the period 1715–1800, which culminated in the American Revolution, American Independence, and the creation of the American Republic under the Constitution of 1787. Influenced by the 18th-century European Enlightenment, the American Enlightenment applied scientific reasoning to politics, science and religion. The foremost representatives of the American Enlightenment include religious leaders Jonathan Edwards and Ezra Stiles, political thinkers John Adams, James Madison, James Wilson, and Alexander Hamilton, and polymaths Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
Let’s shift gears here for just a minute. If our government is going to compel us to buy insurance and then allow the Supreme Court to call Obamacare a legally mandated tax- then by logical extension- all of my other compulsory insurance must also be a tax. My car insurance is a tax, my force placed mortgage insurance is a tax, my homeowners insurance is a tax. If the government requires my compliance and removes my choice to purchase these products then by law- it’s not insurance, it’s a tax. Right? I mean how am I supposed to distinguish the difference between insurance and a tax if the terms are interchangeable depending on how the Supreme Court feels on any given day?
The truth is, it’s all bullshit dressed up to steal our money. King George tried the same tactics. Perhaps…
I might be able and willing to buy Obamacare just so long as the government allows me to write off all of the other compulsory insurance I am required by law to purchase. Or allows me the choice to quit purchasing it. I have never made one homeowners claim in 30 years. I have never defaulted on a mortgage payment. Yet I pay 1500.00 a year and in the case of mortgage insurance- I will never EVER receive a benefit despite the fact that I am required by law to pay 1100.00 a year for it.
My life and my health are far more important to me than insuring someone else’s investment. Yet oddly, the government doesn’t give me a choice. I have to buy everything the tell me to buy. I no longer have a choice what I can buy. Apparently the government will decide what I spend my money on- irrespective of what is important to me. Government is indifferent to my needs just so long as I do what they tell me. Is it a wonder that people have quit working or work for cash instead?
This has become the national insanity. Government seizing our money and telling us how to spend it.
Ultimately, all of this compulsory stealing of our money boils down to one immutable truth. Sooner or later, law or no law, label or no label, it matters not- we are going to run out of money. You can pass all of the laws that you want, fill all of our courts and prisons but ultimately, you can’t squeeze blood out of turnips. Each one of us will have to decide whether or not we can continue to comply with the law. It’s not a matter of if- it’s a matter of when.
I am on the short side of when.
If I were wealthy, I wouldn’t be here writing this nor would I be bothered by a little margin pressure from Obamacare when I have gobs of disposable income. But I do not. I have already arrived at that point in time when I am going to have to make decisions about what I spend my money on and then suffer the consequences of my decisions. Make no mistake about it- there are at least 200 million Americans stuck between poor (free Obamacare) and wealthy (can easily afford Obamacare) and so the middle class once again, will feel the boot of government on their throats.
To survive financially, many of us opted out of health care. All Obamacare is- is a law that compels healthy people back into a system where the corporate kleptocracy and the unhealthy benefit. That’s all this is. Nobody gives two shits about our individual well being.
I hate to sound like a victim. But I’m not sure I can wait for the renaissance of American Enlightenment. I am going to have to make some decisions or die a slow and lingering financial death. Our government is sure to try and find some method of forcing us all into Obamacare compliance. They will start first with the palatable labeling of non compliant people. (In fact, I have been hearing this from the liberals already) In the beginning, the non compliant will be taxed, penalized, assets lien ed upon or seized, or failing that- persons non compliant will be subjected to prison. It’s kind of like quadruple jeopardy. The government’s penalties for non compliance start easy at first, then ratchet up quickly. That is how they always operate. If you aren’t a criminal now just wait a little bit longer.
I am not advocating civil disobedience for anyone but that’s what many of us will face.
Picking on 200 million broke “irresponsible and tax dodging” Americans isn’t exactly a prescription for success but that appears to be the course of action of this government. Warren Buffett once said that the elite waged a war on the middle class in our country and that the elite have won.
Winning? That’s just a label too. I’m not sure what Warren means by that but I do know this. When they raid the house they get everyone. Including the wealthy. The most fearless people I have ever known- were the ones with nothing left to lose. I am one of those folks. It appears that our ranks are swelling.
5 thoughts on ““The Renaissance of American Enlightenment” an essay by Brian”
Thanks for a great post. Insight can be a hellish experience when one knows the ending to the story.
“the same crap that King Richard III tried to pull on us. ” Ah… you might want to take another look at the King.
My assumption is that he misspoke regarding King Richard III as that king was already cold and in the ground having died in the field during the War of the Roses after usurping the throne from the sons of King Edward IV..
As to money being the root of all evil, consider the following:
“So you think that money is the root of all evil? . . . Have you ever asked what is the root of money? Money is a tool of exchange, which can’t exist unless there are goods produced and men able to produce them. Money is the material shape of the principle that men who wish to deal with one another must deal by trade and give value for value. Money is not the tool of the moochers, who claim your product by tears, or of the looters, who take it from you by force. Money is made possible only by the men who produce. Is this what you consider evil?
When you accept money in payment for your effort, you do so only on the conviction that you will exchange it for the product of the effort of others. It is not the moochers or the looters who give value to money. Not an ocean of tears nor all the guns in the world can transform those pieces of paper in your wallet into the bread you will need to survive tomorrow. Those pieces of paper, which should have been gold, are a token of honor—your claim upon the energy of the men who produce. Your wallet is your statement of hope that somewhere in the world around you there are men who will not default on that moral principle which is the root of money. Is this what you consider evil?
Have you ever looked for the root of production? Take a look at an electric generator and dare tell yourself that it was created by the muscular effort of unthinking brutes. Try to grow a seed of wheat without the knowledge left to you by men who had to discover it for the first time. Try to obtain your food by means of nothing but physical motions—and you’ll learn that man’s mind is the root of all the goods produced and of all the wealth that has ever existed on earth.
But you say that money is made by the strong at the expense of the weak? What strength do you mean? It is not the strength of guns or muscles. Wealth is the product of man’s capacity to think. Then is money made by the man who invents a motor at the expense of those who did not invent it? Is money made by the intelligent at the expense of the fools? By the able at the expense of the incompetent? By the ambitious at the expense of the lazy? Money is made—before it can be looted or mooched—made by the effort of every honest man, each to the extent of his ability. An honest man is one who knows that he can’t consume more than he has produced.”
– Ayn Rand [Francisco’s speech in Atlas Shrugged]
As to government and it being elitist, let me ask you this:
Who put these elitists into their seats of power, connivance, and corruption? Did they put themselves there? If not, aren’t those who voted to support them complicit in the corrupt malfeasance that these elitist politicians perpetrate on us? The government is us, “we the people” and if we can’t work effectively to change it by educating our family, friends and neighbors of the evils we perceive, they who are we to complain?
I think the essay was well motivated, but can’t give it anymore than a C for completeness, accuracy and honest, thoughtful discourse that accurately reflects our current condition and how we got here.
If liberty is to endure, it can only be assured survival by adopting capitalism as a system of government:
“Capitalism is a social system based on the recognition of individual rights, including property rights, in which all property is privately owned.
The recognition of individual rights entails the banishment of physical force from human relationships: basically, rights can be violated only by means of force. In a capitalist society, no man or group may initiate the use of physical force against others. The only function of the government, in such a society, is the task of protecting man’s rights, i.e., the task of protecting him from physical force; the government acts as the agent of man’s right of self-defense, and may use force only in retaliation and only against those who initiate its use; thus the government is the means of placing the retaliatory use of force under objective control.”
~ Ayn Rand, Capitalism, The Unknown Ideal, 19
I mistakenly used King Richard’s name once but the context remains accurate. Despite the philosophical discussion on money being the root of all evil- I still maintain that it is.
The term elitism may be used to describe a situation in which power is concentrated in the hands of a limited number of people. They have bought our politicians. They are co-opted. No amount of “education” will change that. We the people re-elected 94% of the most unpopular Congress of all time.
Of course I agree with capitalism. REAL FREE MARKETS. The kind that does not exist. What we have now is some kind of sick, monopolistic, and exploitive corporate oligarchy which has hijacked the tax code and exported jobs. Competition is all but gone. Whether it is big pharma or big oil- the markets are rigged and the prices are fixed.
Your rant is well written. I must say I agree with most of it.
What I find odd is that someone would go to such great lengths to split hairs. I don’t mind that you give my writing a “C” I’m not here collecting grades. That part of my life is behind me and despite your personal opinion with respect to grading- I’m not here defending a thesis.
So my question is- do you have a blog of your own or do you write somewhere? Or do you just troll about- pointing out simple mistakes and assigning inferior grades with some other purpose in mind?
Kudos Brian. I caught this essay today but this is an essay for the ages since it’s as relevant today as it would have been 75 years ago. Excusing King Richard, these are facts even if naysayers may characterize them as anecdotal. One thing is for sure, incrementalism never sleeps and sure as shit the motivated will overcome the sleeping; (Paraphrasing Pogo) We have met the sleeping and they are us.