It is impossible to introduce into society a greater change and a greater evil than this: the conversion of the law into an instrument of plunder.
Foolishly thinking that I could be a
modern-day Bastiat, I attempted more than a decade ago to organize a
political-action group called Honest Americans Against Legal Theft, or HAALT.
My rallying cry was that the nation was doomed to insolvency unless the masses,
media and intelligentsia understood that it was immoral and ultimately suicidal
for Americans to petition the government to steal from their neighbors so they
could get handouts, subsidies, bailouts, and a partridge in a pear tree.
It’s an understatement to say that the
idea didn’t resonate with the public. Heck, they ran screaming in terror in
the other direction. It was amazing how fast they could run, or waddle,
considering that most were overweight and were carrying big-screen TVs, granite
countertops, Viking stoves, Big Gulps, big Starbucks milkshakes masquerading as
coffee, and other stuff that they had bought with counterfeit money printed by
the Federal Reserve, known as Bernanke dollars.
Since then, the situation has gotten far
worse. The United States is now a criminal enterprise in which tens of
millions of people, organized in hundreds of powerful interest groups (e.g.,
AARP, farmers, Wall Street banks, defense contractors, public-sector unions,
the welfare industry, sports teams), use government force to steal from their
fellow Americans instead of embracing liberty, competing in free markets, being
industrious and frugal, and relying for help on family, neighbors, church, or
The rule of law has become a fiction.
The law is now used to plunder instead of protect. Plunder has become so brazen
that even the old canards, platitudes, and charades about social justice,
fairness, community, and the common good have been cast aside. Even the
professoriate that teaches this claptrap to gullible students has abandoned all
pretenses and now openly operates as a fence for government tuition loans and
grants, giving worthless degrees to students in exchange for borrowed Bernanke
Texas Governor Rick Perry is not the
brightest politician in even a box of 25-watt politicians, but he was absolutely
correct when he said that Social Security and Medicare are Ponzi schemes.
Members of AARP called him an imbecile as they fled in terror at two miles per
hour in their motorized wheelchairs, bought with Bernanke dollars, courtesy of
some obscure Medicare program. Members of the media, having obtained
worthless journalism degrees and thus having the intelligence of bedbugs,
agreed with the members of AARP, without even bothering to understand the
genesis of the pejorative “Ponzi” and how such schemes operate until they
crash, as they always do.
Actually, Perry was only partly right.
It is not only Social Security and Medicare that are Ponzi schemes. The entire
nation has become a Ponzi scheme. Those who got in early, such as the
so-called “Greatest Generation” and their offspring, the Boomers, did okay.
Granted, some of them didn’t do okay, especially those who bought houses they
couldn’t afford or took out multiple mortgages on houses they couldn’t afford,
receiving Bernanke dollars in exchange to buy crap they couldn’t afford. Of
course, the bedbugs in the media portrayed them as innocent victims.
On second thought, many of them are
victims. They are victims of government K-12 schools--schools that are
forbidden by the two political parties, by teacher unions and by the textbook
industry to teach the truth about the two political parties, teacher unions and
the textbook industry. But even more deleterious to their mental health and
financial well-being, most Americans of every age are immersed in bull crap
every minute, nay, second, of their waking hours. Almost everything they watch
and read is either propaganda, ideological agitprop, juvenile pop culture, or
advertisements and commercials that are just as deceitful and vacuous as anything
ever blabbered by Barack Obama and George W. Bush.
It’s difficult to decide who has done
more to turn free-market capitalism into something uglier than a baboon’s
butt. Is it the trollops in Congress and the White House who seduce business
executives and Wall Street bankers in their houses of ill-repute and copulate
with them in the bed of crony capitalism? Or maybe it is the television
executives who run more than 40 inane commercials per hour, with the incessant
message, Buy, buy, buy!
The Bernie Madoff imitators in government
and industry are so desperate to keep the Ponzi scheme going that they have
convinced the rabble that it is their civic duty to not only buy, but to buy on
credit. Conversely, it has become unpatriotic to save. The lead “news” story
during the weeks before and after Thanksgiving was not about the national
government being bankrupt or about most Americans being buried in debt.
Instead, teleprompter-reading newscasters chirped in their chirpy voices about
Black Friday beginning on Thursday and whether spending would be better than
the previous year. Of course they showed the standard video clips of fat, ugly
and brainless shoppers pummeling each other over a pair of gaudy sneakers.
I could wax intellectual about how the
Federal Reserve and its banking franchisees are the vehicles for the easy
money, limitless credit, and public and private indebtedness--and the ultimate
destruction of the USA
economy. But that would be like blaming a car for the driver going off a
cliff. And I could blame politicians for being lying, hypocritical scoundrels,
but that would be like blaming a puppet for the sins of the puppeteer. The
fact is that the American people are at fault for letting the vehicles and
puppets get out of control. After all, in a democracy the buck stops with the
The ugly fact is that the American people
have wholeheartedly embraced neo-Marxism and neo-fascism. They embrace the
revised Marxian maxim, “From each according to his means and to each according
to his greed.” And they embrace the fascist idea of a strong man distributing
favors and money to politically-favored groups at the expense of groups out of
Take income taxes. The tax code makes no
distinction between (a) someone who earned his income from hard work, saving,
and providing goods and services that other people want; and (b) someone who
obtained money by gaming the political system. Money, whether obtained
ethically or unethically, is treated the same: as something to be taken by
those greedy and powerful enough to take it. There are no moral distinctions
in a Marxist/fascist system.
Or take the hundred or so forms of
welfare. Welfare handouts are not restricted to the 7-10% of the population
that doesn’t have the mental or physical ability to make a living. Nor do the
handouts come with a requirement that the recipients work in exchange for the
money, even if it means sitting at a government office answering a phone. At
least FDR, despite his ignorance of economics, required people to build dams,
sewers, roads and other infrastructure in exchange for government money, under
the auspices of the Works Progress Administration. Welfare today is nothing
more than Marxian redistribution. Those who claim it is about eliminating
poverty are either full of bull crap or have the brains of bedbugs.
Even those who game the welfare system
know it is bull crap. That’s why “Judge Judy” is a popular morality play among
those on welfare. They can instantly identify the gamers. Being smarter than the
intelligentsia, they also know the difference between right and wrong, although
many of them choose wrong.
Bastiat said that there are two ways to make a living: from hard work or from plunder. The majority of Americans have chosen the legal form of the latter.
Mencken’s Ghost is the nom de plume of an Arizona writer who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.