So today the real Americans turned out en masse to protest “socialism,” government spending,
middle-class tax cuts, taxes (period), and the election of a Kenyan Muslim as president of the United States. Not that we’re racist or anything. Just patriotic. You can tell by our “Don’t Tread On Me” flags and our use of Boston Tea Party symbols.
I’m not a fan of conspiracy theories. Still, these rallies remind me of past controversies (flag burning, the pledge) that have commanded media attention and stirred public passions without any practical result — except a widening of the gulf between Americans. It’s not hard to believe these episodes are designed — not by some central planning board, but by some one or other of the interests in favor of maintaining a shrunken, disunited electorate in a perpetual state of mild panic. The more we cut ourselves off from each other, the easier we are to control.
The cant about “socialism” is both deeply felt and absurd on its face. No one knows what effect the so-called stimulus measures will have on the economy. But Republicans in Congress have determined that no matter what happens, they can oppose the measures without fear of consequences. Even if the measures prove effective in hindsight, their effect will be gradual and difficult to separate from the effects of other events, both planned and accidental; therefore easy to obscure. If the economy comes roaring back in as little as five years, the Republicans will simply chalk it up to the virtues of the American people, which managed to bring us out of recession despite the stultifying effects of Big Government. And Democrats will fall over themselves to design a nice new tax cut before the other party beats them to it.
That’s assuming that we, the people learn nothing from our experiences with scarcity except fear and resentment. It’s a safe bet, if one I would prefer to lose.
In our panic, we seem determined to defend the Western tradition of taxing cottages and hovels while exempting palaces and castles. In uncertain times, you see, we peasants can take a modicum of comfort from the thought that our lords’ estates are still intact.
Working men’s dollars are to be taxed when earned and taxed when spent. Every dollar must be taxed; even pensions from the government are to be taxed upon receipt. But the earnings of our betters must be zealously guarded from “double taxation” lest our civilization come crashing down.
Update: The evening news reports sixteen tea parties in Alabama today. Probably the largest of these was at the Hoover Country Club in metro Birmingham. Like the other “grassroots” events, this one was star-studded and drew surprisingly attentive media coverage (including syndicated radio celebs Rick and Bubba, “the sexiest fat men alive”). Degree of Madness has the details.