I never read Mr. R.’s letter but I don’t think I need to. I am consistently repulsed by the ramblings of one
Anonymous Right-Wing Mouthpiece
“Conservative Hack” or another. Mr. R. is just one more Republican with a Calculator for a Conscience.
The real gem here is the response by Tony Wikrent to this “Wrong-Wing” lie. It stands alone as a statement of belief and philosophy
“I was distressed to read Mr. R.’s letter “Free Education” in the February 4, 2015 issue of The Caswell Messenger. It is one thing to espouse a philosophy of political economy that protects selfishness and the rich; it is altogether another thing, and entirely unacceptable, to claim that such a philosophy is moral, and was condoned by the Founders.
Mr. R.’s assertions are based on the now widely accepted misconception that the money a person has is “theirs.” But did they print it? Did they make it? Did they put it into circulation? They may have earned their money, but it is really not theirs. “Render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s.” By classical Christian teaching, nothing a person has – not their money, not their property, not their talents – is theirs. All has been given them by the Lord, and their role as good stewards is to use that which they have been given to serve Him. And as Benjamin Franklin liked to say, “the most acceptable service to God is doing good to men.” Even Andrew Carnegie’s “Gospel of Wealth” recognized this concept.
Mr. R. attempts to frighten us with the dreaded heavy hand of government redistributing wealth. God only knows how many billions of dollars the selfish rich have given to “think tanks” like Heritage Foundation or Club for Growth to gin up the scary bogeyman of “redistribution.” But redistribution is exactly what governments have always done, through all of history. Recall the “bread and circuses” of ancient Rome. James Madison addressed this issue in his classic Federalist Paper No. 10, noting that political factions most often arise from economic interests. “The regulation of these various and interfering interests forms the principal task of modern legislation,” Madison wrote. Yes, REGULATION.
Redistribution of income dates from the very beginning of our republic, when the funding of the national government came almost entirely from import duties. In 1811, Thomas Jefferson wrote to Thaddeus Kosciusko, “The rich alone use imported articles, and on these alone the whole taxes of the General Government are levied…. the farmer will see his government supported, his children educated, and the face of his country made a paradise by the contributions of the rich alone, without his being called on to spend a cent from his earnings.” This redistribution of wealth was entirely intentional: in a letter to James Madison dated October 28, 1785, Jefferson wrote, “Another means of silently lessening the inequality of property is to exempt all from taxation below a certain point, and to tax the higher portions of property in geometrical progression as they rise.” It was understood at the time that large inequalities of wealth made the rich as dangerous to the republic as a standing army, because of the disproportionate political influence the rich could buy with “their” money.
Interestingly, the strongest opposition to the progressive taxation of using only import duties to support the federal government came from the slave-holders of the South. And just as interestingly, it was not until the slave-holders withdrew from the U.S. Congress with secession that our country was able to move forward economically with widespread development of the technologies developed before the Civil War. The telegraph had been invented and demonstrated in 1844 (with a direct appropriation of $40,000 to Samuel Morse), but it was not until Confederates were absent from Congress that legislation was passed that enabled a trans-continental telegraph system. And, a trans-continental railroad. And, land grants to create new public universities. And a Department of Agriculture to promote the use of science in agriculture (the 1920 discovery of photo-periodicity in plants by USDA scientists Harry A. Allard and W.W. Garner is just one of hundreds of examples; the introduction of winter wheats to the upper Plains by USDA agronomist Mark Carleton is another).
Just like the extreme property rights doctrines of the Confederacy corrupted many Christians a century and a half ago, today, the love of self and love of mammon have again corrupted many — and have similarly retarded the scientific and economic progress of the republic. The constant denunciation of “redistribution” by today’s property rights extremists has made it politically impossible to raise taxes to levels needed to fulfill the Constitutional mandate to promote the general welfare. We cannot even afford to maintain our roads, bridges, waterways, and airports in good working order. Modern day Confederate economics have again crippled governments at all levels.
Finally, Mr. R. declares anyone desiring “free” education or “free” health care are “thieves.” But the real thieves are those selfish rich who fund anti-tax movements but who never would have amassed great wealth in another country, such as Somalia or Ethiopia, without the protections, promotions, incentives, and economic structure provided by a strong national government. The real thieves are the Wall Street traders and hedge fund managers who buy and sell stocks and bonds within split seconds, and then insist their “capital gains” be taxed at only 15 percent. What real wealth is being created by such “high frequency trading”? What benefit to the economy? The real thieves are the employers and managers who are unwilling to pay their employees the $20 to $30 an hour actually needed to raise a family, and save for the kids’ college education and retirement. How is such thievery different than Pharaoh forcing the Israelites to make bricks without straw (Exodus 5)?
As Benjamin Franklin wrote, in his 1783 essay “Reflections on the Augmentation of Wages, Which Will Be Occasioned in Europe by the American Revolution, “To desire to keep down the rate of wages… is to seek to render the citizens of a state miserable, in order that foreigners may purchase its productions at a cheaper rate; it is, at most, attempting to enrich a few merchants by impoverishing the body of the nation; it is taking the part of the stronger in that contest, already so unequal, between the man who can pay wages, and him who is under the necessity of receiving them; it is, in one word, to forget, that the object of every political society ought to be the happiness of the largest number.”
Mr. R. is free to believe whatever historically ignorant economic theories he wants, even if they justify selfishness and a disregard for our fellow men and women, but he should not be allowed to pass off such theories as either Christian, or American.“
– Tony Wikrent
– PO Box 470
– Mebane, NC 27302
Originally posted to NBBooks on Sun Mar 01, 2015 at 04:46 PM PST.
Thanks Tony for the schoolin’. We should all learn this and keep it handy to cut off the legs of these Nazis we so generously call Republicans.