"[T]he burden of government is not measured by how much it taxes, but by how much it spends." ~ Milton Friedman
America Is Greedy
Exclusive to STR
March 25, 2009
Most people are very upset that executives at American International Group ( AIG ) are continuing to receive over a hundred million tax dollars in bonuses. Taxpayers can't understand why the executives, who are either painfully incompetent or are crooks and cheats, should receive bonuses for running a company into the ground. Most of these upset people, not the grandstanding politicians who are only trying to win political points by their meaningless rhetoric (a provision could have been put in the terms of TARP that would have prevented this further raping of the taxpayers, but the politicians dropped it), are very unfamiliar with Wall Street and finance. They probably have only a 401(k) that they thought would take care of them in their retirement. As they see their relatively small, but from their individual perspective, huge, savings being dramatically reduced, they can't justify rewarding the financial 'experts' and 'professionals' who are responsible for their devastating economic losses. Especially, they can't see rewarding the business crooks with cash that the political crooks took from them through taxation. And to add insult to injury, it turns out the Barack 'Change You Can Believe In' Obama administration is responsible for the change in the language of the bill that allowed these grotesque and unwarranted bonuses to be paid!
These Americans who are now the victims of international banking, Wall Street and the government need to be honest with themselves. They need to ask themselves why they've tolerated such a corrupt and deadly government for so long. Why are they content to vote one gang of cheats into office and then replace those cheats in the next election with cheats from a political party of a different name but with the same corrupt content? Instead of playing the game sanctioned by the powers that be of voting Democrat or Republican, Americans should be uniting to protect what is left of their rights and to secure new ones. This apathy on the part of the average American was addressed by Thomas Jefferson when he wrote concerning Americans, 'They will forget' (about their rights) 'themselves but in the sole faculty of making money, and will never think of uniting to effect a due respect for their rights.' Unfortunately, it looks like Jefferson was correct. Americans have put income and career far above freedom and liberty and are now paying the price.
Claude-Anne Lopez, a historian and expert on Benjamin Franklin and the editor of Yale University 's The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, said that in Ben Franklin's day, the American dream was not owning a house with a two car garage, two luxury cars and a microwave; it was truth, justice and liberty. It was true progress. Americans have indeed gone from wanting principles to principally wanting material things. To demonstrate this sad current condition, ask yourself how many people you know who would sacrifice their comfort, their homes, their careers and income and their very lives for an ideal? This is exactly what America 's founders did.
Today, through government education and the established media, most people think that being patriotic is what America 's founders were all about. Of course, when you have a corrupt government, being 'patriotic' means you support that corrupt government and all the evil that it does.
Webster's Desk Dictionary defines patriot as: 'a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country.' Is that what George Washington and the other founders were doing, defending their country? Actually, they were not only not defending their country, they were attacking their country! At the time, the recognized government was Great Britain . By waging war against Britain , America 's founders were anything but patriots by the standard definition!
The standard definition of patriotism played no part in the desires of America 's founders. What they were after was progress. Only progress can bring about real positive change. Renaissance men like Thomas Jefferson knew, from observing other areas of life such as science and religion, that a conservative worldview is a stagnant worldview and an enemy to progress. Had, for example, history's heroes like Galileo been content to adhere to the conservative teachings of the church, mankind would not have made progress in both fields of science and religion. Likewise, the founders knew true progress could not be achieved by clinging to the established government. Progress demanded revolution.
The cost of progress is high. America 's founders risked everything they had to wage war against their government and to create a more progressive republic. Many of our founders were wealthy, established leaders in society. Ben Franklin, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington were all very well off and financially secure in 1776. By today's greed-based standards, they'd be considered to be on the lunatic fringe. They had everything they needed under the established system, yet they wanted to destroy that system and replace it with a progressive one, the benefits of which touched the lives of many more people. By waging war against the government, they not only risked losing all of their income and wealth, they risked losing their very lives. If they failed, they would at best be hung as traitors to the government; at worst, they would be hung until close to death and then drawn and quartered. Not many people in today's money and material-driven society would choose all those risks over material comfort, but thankfully, the Founders did.
It wasn't only the famous people like Jefferson , Washington , Adams , etc., who paid a very high price for liberty and its progress. Thousands of new Americans paid a very heavy price for their ideals and desire to make a better world. And it wasn't just the soldiers and Minutemen who paid. Living in today's society, it's difficult to realize the support women of that time gave to the cause of freedom and progress. One moving example is found in the writings of a Mrs. Davis, who was the wife of a Minuteman by the name of Isaac Davis. Her words can be found in the book The Revolutionary War, written by Bart McDowell for the National Geographic Society. Isaac took part in the fight against British troops, who were ordered to destroy the weapons the citizens and anti-government rebels had at Concord , Massachusetts . This was a case of government-sponsored gun control, which led to the first time rebels fired on government troops.
Mrs. Davis wrote, 'Isaac Davis was my husband. He was then thirty years of age. We had four children; the youngest about fifteen months old. They were all unwell when he left me, in the morning; some of them with the canker-rash.
'The alarm was given early in the morning, and my husband lost no time in making ready to go to Concord with his company. My husband said but little that morning. He seemed serious and thoughtful; but never seemed to hesitate. He only said, 'Take good care of the children,' and was soon out of sight.
'In the afternoon he was brought home a corpse. He was placed in my bedroom till the funeral.'
What an exceptional woman! She loved the ideals of liberty and progress so much, she was willing to sacrifice her family life for them. She and her husband were capable of seeing the big picture and would not let anything stand in their way that would prevent them from fighting for it. To me, this is true patriotism of the highest order, and well placed. It was not placed in the government, as people tend to do today. Instead, it was placed where it belongs and can do the most good--in ideals and in principles, not in government.
Women on the other end of the financial spectrum were just as notable and important in seeing a successful progressive march of society. Could you imagine a wealthy woman today who marries a man whose wealth and assets are far below her own, actively supporting her new husband in his revolutionary desires and actions that put in jeopardy not only his material wealth, but her much greater level of material wealth? That is exactly what Martha Washington did. Not only did she have to be concerned for their wealth, she had to be concerned for her children. Going well above and beyond what most people would have done, she took an active part in supporting the revolution every winter. She would go to the Army's winter camp and help take care of the troops medically as well as giving their morale a boost.
Thomas Jefferson's wife Martha was also a devoted supporter of the revolutionary cause. When Jefferson was called to the Continental Congress in 1776, Martha was sick in bed at Monticello . She didn't pressure him to shirk his duties to the revolution. She didn't attack him for putting their home and family at risk by fighting against the government. She supported him and the cause, even when it was personally detrimental and demanding. These courageous women are shining examples of living and giving for the ideals of liberty we can all learn from.
c4">Robert Johnson is a paralegal and a freelance writer in Florida. He was raised Roman Catholic, but after reading Thomas Paine's The Age of Reason, he became a Deist. In 1993 he founded the World Union of Deists and in 1996 he launched the first web site devoted to Deism, www.deism.com. He is listed in Who's Who in Hell and is the author of Deism: A Revolution in Religion, A Revolution in You.
America Is Greedy