January 11, 2013

The world wants you to be a peasant

Piers Morgan is British. Britain still has a royal family. Britain has always been a two-class society: the aristocracy and the peasantry. In a two-class society the noble class has certain obligations and the peasant class has different obligations. The nobles are obligated to provide the peasants with the tools they need to survive, defense from outside threats, as well as capture and execution of dangerous persons (unless those persons are nobles, of course). The peasants in turn are obligated to pay taxes which usually amount to about half their productive capacity. They are also obligated to completely trust that the nobles have their best interests at heart. Peasants are not allowed to disagree with the nobles, nor are they allowed to debate with the nobles. Any debate or discussion takes place solely within the nobility. This kind of two-class society was the foundation of human existence for five thousand years.

In 1776 everything changed. The American colonists, inspired by John Locke and William Blackstone as well as the English Magna Carta, threw off the yoke of the nobility once and for all. Their "Declaration of Independence" proclaimed that the rightful sovereigns of any nation were the people themselves when guided by good Christian morals and an enlightened self-interest in the prosperity of their land. The end result of a protracted revolution and a long debate was the U.S. Constitution, including an itemized list of ten basic human rights that the government would not be allowed to interfere with.

But the old noble class had not completely vanished. Many of their prejudices still ran hidden throughout society. As time passed, some people prospered more than others. Most of the time this was due to better creativity, better problem-solving, and a better ability to understand basic economics. Once in awhile it was due to criminality: an inherent ability to evade the law enforcement capability of the nation as well as clever perversion of the basic freedoms protected by the Constitution. Among those who prospered it became commonplace to think of themselves as superior to the "common people". Socially and economically two distinct classes began to emerge in American society. The greatest difference between the two-class American society and the traditional European or Asian two-class society was the complete lack of barriers in American society between the two classes. There were no protections in place for American economic elites who were foolish in how they managed their inheritance. As a result, the road down was swift and unavoidable. For economic commoners, on the other hand, the road up was clear and free of obstacles for anyone with intelligence, creativity, and a propensity for hard work. After the Civil War, everything changed again.

The American Civil War left the United States with two distinct, immobile classes of people. In the north there was an entrenched aristocracy based on banking, industry and international trade, as well as an impoverished working class with limited access to capital, education, and the tools of productivity. In the south there was a severely damaged but still resolute landed aristocracy and a class of economically disadvantaged freed slaves living alongside the downtrodden and disadvantaged whites. Over the next seven or eight decades a series of economic upturns and downturns that were largely driven by events on the opposite side of the globe created such a huge gap between the two that the old economic mobility became severely limited. It still existed, but it was harder than ever for the elites to completely fail and for the commoners to completely succeed. As the economic classes became more solidified, so did the assumptions of the social classes. The Stock Market crash of 1929 had a devastating impact on the economic life of the nation. Afterwards, it became almost impossible for any kind of genuine social mobility to occur. This social stagnation lasted until after World War Two.

During the opening decades of the Twentieth Century several things changed both politically and economically. The wealth of the United States became more concentrated in the hands of fewer people, usually people with solid ties to national banking and federal politics. This group of entrenched elites became convinced that they were an entirely new breed of human. Under the influence of European academics, they decided that the old, traditional two-class society was no accident. In their minds there were in nature and in fact two completely different types of humans: those who could and those who depended on those who could. Along with this new sense of nobility came the old standards of noblesse oblige. It became the duty of the rich to care for and protect the poor. Under this new set of social assumptions, Franklin Delano Roosevelt won the 1933 Presidential election and ushered in the era of the "New Deal".

From the end of the Civil War to the beginning of FDR's New Deal, there were many factors that contributed to this solidification of the old freedoms into the privileges of two distinct classes. For example, the sudden introduction into the workforce of millions of freed slaves in Southern States where there was very little industry to absorb their labor made it easier for better educated surviving plantation owners to convince less educated former slaves they still needed their former masters. Those slaves who had been under more enlightened masters and had received an education before the Emancipation Proclamation gave them their freedom quickly took advantage of this situation as well by moving into occupations and positions abandoned by whites who had died in the Civil War.

As the educated former slaves gained businesses, became teachers, and took over abandoned plantations, groups of disenfranchised whites joined together under the leadership of former Confederate Army Officers to both terrorize the successful former slaves and intimidate the impoverished former slaves. The real goal of the original Klu Klux Klan was to prevent the freed slaves from voting for Republican politicians locally and federally. This is because the new Republican Party had been the driving force behind the election of Abraham Lincoln to the White House along with a Republican majority in Congress. Faced with an abolitionist Congress, the Democratic/slave-owning Southern States withdrew from the Union, leading to the war and their abject humiliation at the hands of the Union Army, especially during the last two years of the war. The founders of the original KKK did not realize it or even consciously think of it in those terms, but their real-world goal was to create a permanent peasant class of blacks that the whites could easily exploit. Without even realizing it, they set out to recreate and make permanent the two-class society their ancestors had rejected in 1776.

Another important factor that both aided and worked against the complete transformation into a traditional two-class society prior to the advent of the New Deal was the opening of the American West. After the Civil War the new nation quickly moved to gain control of the entire continental region under the social guise of "Manifest Destiny". This created huge economic opportunities such as the nation had not seen since the century before. Disenfranchised and disenchanted people of all social classes could move west and start over again. Many of these people gained great economic success, sometimes through creativity and intelligence and sometimes through criminal activity. For a short time, from about 1865-1890, there were in effect two United States of America. East of the Mississippi the country was fairly stagnant socially and economically, with two distinct classes and very little social mobility. West of the Mississippi the nation had fallen back on its original, freely mobile social and economic ideals with many individuals either rapid climbing or rapid falling both economically and socially. Individual success was once again based on initiative, hard work, creative problem-solving, and good social skills rather than birthright.

The old aristocratic assumptions were hard to break, however, and much of the real-world turmoil in the "wild west" was in fact nothing more than violent confrontations between those who assumed they were entitled to success and those were struggling to achieve it. High-noon gunfights and battles with natives, the stock of penny novels and later on Hollywood movies, were present but were very few and far between. Far more common were events like the Johnson County Cattle Wars in Wyoming and the war between the "Cowboys" and the Earps in Tombstone that led up the now infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral.

Many people look back on the Civil War, the "Wild West", and even the New Deal and they see a battle of "good" and "evil". Depending on who is doing the writing, the "good" side might be the economic and social elite while the "bad" side is everyone else, or even vice versa. Karl Marx was among the first to observe that "winners write the histories", but he was not entirely correct. Winners might write the official histories, but the losers write the popular ones. One way or another both versions of history do get recorded and it is up to each of us individually to decide which version we are going to believe. Even more importantly, we need to recognize that "good" and "evil" are largely meaningless out here in the real world. There are behaviors that are productive and there are behaviors that are self-destructive. Most of what we call "evil" is self-destructive, although sometimes it takes years or even decades to see the consequences. In the worst cases, the consequences of self-destructive behavior do not become apparent until a century later when someone finally sits down to write the history of a people or a nation, which is exactly where we find ourselves today.

It is only very recently that historians have begun to re-examine the consequences of FDR's New Deal (see, "New Deal or Raw Deal", by Burton). Southern voices on the "War of Northern Aggression" have also recently begun a serious reconsideration of both the motivations behind the Civil War and the consequences of it on American society. Even more recently, a new "Tea Party" movement has sprung up seeking to return the American political dialogue away from "what can the government do for me?" and back to "what can I do for my country?" The old, aristocratic response to these sudden changes in the social and political discourse are both predictable and expected. In the name of "public safety" they are seeking to complete the destruction of American society that began with the Civil War, became solidified with FDR's New Deal, and will lead us inevitably back into the arms of the very tyrants our forefathers fought so hard to be freed from.

The re-election of Barack Obama was a huge loss for the new, revitalized freedom movement. It provided the old aristocratic assumptions a new sense of legitimacy. In their minds they now have a social mandate to complete the three generation long battle to reassert their traditional rights and privileges. Behind Al Gore's refusal to sell CurrentTV to Glenn Beck and his rapid agreement to sell to Al Jazeera is an assumption that he is part of the global elite, just as the royal family of Qatar is, and the rest of us are mere peasants who really ought to shut up and do their bidding. This same assumption is behind Joe Biden's insistence the the President is not only entitled to use executive orders to restrict the Second Amendment, but is obligated to do so. Behind the editorial decision of the Journal News to release a map of registered gun owners is the aristocratic assumption that peasants like you and I don't need firearms for self-defense. The editor's assumption, Piers Morgan's assumption, Diane Feinstein's assumption, Nancy Pelosi's assumption, and Joe Biden's assumption are all the same: they are the elite and they know how to protect the common people so the common people should just shut up and let them do their jobs.

The world's elite want to disarm the American citizens. We, the American gun owners, are the very last obstacle in their effort to reassert their privileged status. We already have multi-generational political families (Kennedy, Clinton, Romney, Bush, etc.), we already have tax-payer protection of their favored banks and businesses, we already have severe limits on our ability to object to their machinations. The last step in their strategy, the one obstacle to a genuine global government, are American gun owners. We, the American gun owners, are the largest standing army in the world. We are the world's greatest marksmen, we are veterans of the world's greatest military. No military in the world dares to invade the United States because they know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it would be suicide. We are better armed, better prepared, and more proficient with our weapons than any army in the world. That is the real reason Joe Biden, Dianne Feinstein, and everyone else is working so hard to control our firearms.

Why do I need an AR-15 clone with a 30-round magazine? I need one because the person they will send to collect mine will be carrying one and I need to be at least as well armed as he is.