John D. Rockefeller in 1885 Emperor of the Robber Barons
(Image by Ethan Bloch) Permission Details DMCA
Children of a Lesser God Part 1
By Richard Girard
"Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate."
Bertrand Russell (1872--1970), British philosopher, mathematician. Sceptical Essays, "Freedom in Society" (1928).
"Power and violence are opposites; where the one rules absolutely, the other is absent. Violence appears where power is in jeopardy, but left to its own course it ends in power's disappearance."
Hannah Arendt (1906--75), German-born U.S. political philosopher. Crises of the Republic, "On Violence" (1972).
I have been reacquainting myself with the people I knew from high school after forty years, and as I have pointed out elsewhere, I am somewhat surprised by how many of them turned right in their political, social, religious, and economic belief systems after high school. On subjects such as abortion, gun rights, income and wealth inequality, immigration, etc., they have adopted the positions of Rush Limbaugh, James Dobson, and Fox News seemingly without question or reservation.
One of their major complaints is about taxes, and I agree with them, the tax burden in this country has been shifted from the large corporations and the wealthy--where it was when I was born during the Eisenhower Administration--to small businesses and the middle-class under Ronald Reagan and his successors, including Democratic Presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.
Redistribution of Wealth: From Rich to Poor or Poor to Rich
François Marie Arouet, better known to the world as Voltaire, made one of his most profound observations in his Dictionnaire Philosophique, in the section titled "Money," in 1764. Voltaire stated that the primary--if unspoken--purpose of all governments is the redistribution of wealth. The only choice is whether that wealth will be redistributed from the poorest citizens of a nation to the very richest, or from the richest (by which he meant the nobles, clergy, and wealthiest financiers of a nation) to the poorest (the other 98-plus percent of a nation). In the last forty years, we have seen a shift of twenty percent of our nation's wealth, and fifteen percent of our nation's income to the top one percent of the population, as former Clinton Labor Secretary Robert Reich points out in his book, Aftershock, as well as his article, "Unjust Spoils." using numbers taken from the Bureau of Labor Statistics and the U.S. Census. In fact, in the golden era of American economic power from 1949 to 1980, the top one percent of American income earners never made more than 12.8% of our nation's total income.