Saturday, September 25, 2010

Unbelievers Stand Aside Please--You are About to be Crushed at the Ballot Box

To me the difference between conservatives and liberals comes down to one simple thing: the Believers versus the Unbelievers, in freedom. Of the individual sort.

The Believers count on their fellow man to act in his own best economic interest. Believers believe at their core the ideals America was founded on: individual freedom and liberty. And, in their view, this extends to private property--that is: the individual's right to amass and employ his private wealth however he sees fit. The Believer's assume their fellow citizens will--for the most part--manage their lives well. They will save and spend the money they work for on things that improve their lives and the lives of their children. The things that are important to them. That is their right.

The unbelievers don't take such a sanguine view of the individual. They believe that the government has a right to usurp individual rights in the interest of the common good. This is manifested most clearly in the debate over taxes. Nancy Pelosi (among others, the President included) claim that cutting the taxes of "the rich" is something the country can't afford. Doing so will increase the deficit--as though "the rich" work for the sole purpose of reducing the deficit having no say over its creation in the first place. The unbeliever's place the needs of the State above the needs of the individual who is creating the wealth. And in their view--manifested most clearly in the progressive income tax structure--the more wealth you have, the more of a right to it they have.

None of this is new. Nor original. Or progressive for that matter. Taxes have been the source of tyranny since the beginning of recorded history. As Charles Adams writes in his tome on the history of taxation, For Good and Evil--The Impact of Taxes on the Course of Civilization, the Rosetta Stone, the "Proclamation of Peace" issued by Ptolemy V to end the Egyptian civil war sparked by increased tax burdens carried as its most important provision a "general amnesty debtors and rebels. Tax debts were forgiven" (Adams, 19) The tax burdens in Egyptian society had reached confiscatory levels. Debtors were thrown into prison, filling the prisons to overflowing. Private property had been confiscated and villages and farms abandoned. The fabric of society was threatened by excessive taxation. A remedy was required. Tax amnesty via the Rosetta Stone proclamation of peace restored order (Adams, 21). And the rights of the individual.

During FDR's reign, in 1935 to be precise, the economy was deemed to be in recovery--"a jobless recovery," ironically, according to Amity Shlaes', The Forgotten Man. Yet for political reasons FDR determined it was time to go after the rich, the source of jobs. Benjamin Anderson of Chase Bank warned against such a strategy. His point was, there is danger in targeting the rich. He noted while the economy was improving some, "the country was not getting the strong recovery that it should expect. The New Deal was causing the country to forgo prosperity, if not recovery" (Shlaes 263). The marginal tax rate had been increased to 75%. And the level of unemployment still 70% above pre-depression levels.

And so here we are again. With the democrats referring to our taxes as revenue needed for deficit reduction, adding threats that the Bush tax cuts will be allowed to expire for the wealthy while being reinstated for the middle class, with Cap and Trade, the Leviathan of taxation looming, state governments--like California--effectively bankrupt despite one of the highest marginal state tax rates in the nation, the politicians are forgetting one thing: it is our money. It is our government. It is our liberty. And it is our intention to exert our great displeasure with their policies in November.

Something it has taken the modern day citizen-militia or the tea party as it is most commonly called, to commemorate.

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