Walking away from the governance table will not work in making the United States more just
The wealthy can not exist without the government. That is the actuality. The government does not create poverty, but it can uphold organized socioeconomic groups and construct a structure that maintains hegemony. And therefore, the wealthy yearns for you to detest the government and not participate so that the government will only service them at the expense of the common person.
The wealthy should contribute taxes not owing to altruism, but because the government that we have agreed upon is valid, including its social constructs of the rules of taxation. It is their contribution to E Pluribus Unum.
To expect the people to abide by the rules of engagement, the wealthy must, at the bare minimum, pay their fair share and they are shirking that responsibility with a smirk.
“Over a five-year period, the 25 richest Americans paid a combined $13.6 billion in federal income taxes. That amounts to a true tax rate of only 3.4%.” —NPR (2021)
The wealthy are deliberately avoiding contributing revenues via the most inequitable way of becoming wealthy, the estate tax, also known as the inheritance tax.
“The estate tax has eroded to the point that last year the estates of just 1,275 people in the whole country owed the tax — down from a peak of 139,000 in 1976 — despite historic amassing of wealth by the very richest.” —ProPublica (2021)
How is that possible?
It is possible because many of us have walked away from the governance table. We are angrier at the US government than the wealthy who are stealing our labor, our land, and polluting our planet.
Why are we angry at the government? Our Government has been co-opted by the rich, had its focus centered on supporting the rich, and then the top civil servants filibustered away most of the programs that would have supported the middle and working class. Don't get mad at the table because the gluttons eat everything and leave you with nothing.
It is for many valid reasons. First, the Government simply listens to who is at the table, and those people have a lot of money.
However, another reason the left walked away from the table is much more complicated and calculated.
I am going to now discuss the Second Amendment. It seems to be an irrelevant or competing topic, but I assure you it is deeply intertwined. Economic inequality and Violence are the twin Asps that currently make the Caduceus of America. This is the crutch of the argument historically. Slavery, property rights, and gun rights are all interrelated. And this has been a long transformation. Our European-centered National Myth of a country has shifted from “Et in Arcadia Ego”, to “Liberty Leads the People”, to the Hagiography of the Cowboy: “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.”
This deliberate disinformation of U.S. history allows for the Myth of the Eternal Rebel that shoots the bad guy but never stays to heal the town. We never talk about the hard work of building a just society peacefully. Furthermore, we know what happens when powerful individuals are removed. It rarely results in a just society spontaneously erupting. And this can be modeled through the use of Chaos theory. In a structureless system, people coalesce around power, so without a great effort you end up with the same oppression with a different political label. “Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.” No matter how many NYC mob bosses we imprison, the Goodfellows of the Five Families remain.
I would like to begin this section of this essay by advising you to read Heather Cox Richardson’s book How the South Won the Civil War.
The anti-government left, as far as the “corporate America is our friend” perspective is concerned, was inadvertently hatched from the Lost Cause that became the Southern Strategy. The consequence is that instead of effecting change both inside and outside the houses of governance, we’re sprawled on the floor begging for change from the wealthy imperialist globally and domestically. And being run over and plowed away. Confederates have always been anti-US government, but they have also appeared glamorously rebellious with their guns and their racism cleverly disguised under freedom. Freedom to them is being able to mistreat other people with no consequences.
Let us dismantle schools, social services, and just beg from the rich, that’s Freedom!
James Madison, a primary drafter of the U.S. Constitution, added the Second Amendment with much debate.
“A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed.”
Those words were written explicitly for white landowning slave-owning men. They were shaped in part by Virginia Governor Patrick Henry. Henry was an anti-federalist (states’ right in the 1700s) and also a founding father of the US. He is famously known for his declaration to the Second Virginia Convention:
“Give me liberty, or give me death!”
Slave rebellions were a constant threat. Many of the white Southerner landowners had experienced the 1739 slave rebellion in Stono, South Carolina. This is known in Black oral history as the Stono’s Rebellion. Enslaved Black people from the Central African Kingdom of Kongo, rose up and literally took white people’s heads.
It does not take many decapitations to terrorize the white racist’s self-centered imagination, but in 1739 it gave the soon-to-be US racists a lot to contemplate.
At the 1788 ratifying convention, when Henry read Madison’s draft, specifically Article 1, Section 8, Henry said, “Let me here call your attention to that part.”
“To provide for organizing, arming, and disciplining, the Militia, and for governing such Part of them as may be employed in the Service of the United States, reserving to the States respectively, the Appointment of the Officers, and the Authority of training the Militia according to the discipline prescribed by Congress;”
U.S. CONSTITUTION, ARTICLE 1, SECTION 8
Henry remembered well the “horns of the dilemma” the rich enslavers had faced in prior years.
Federalists asked Southerners to use their militias to help in the Revolution, which would open them up to enslaved people rebelling and losing their property —Black people.
England threatening to free their enslaved people, their PROPERTY —Black people.
“Henry feared that without checks upon it [Article 1, Section 8], Congress could undermine the ability of militias in Virginia and elsewhere in the South to suppress slave uprisings and pursue runaway slaves.”
2019, Nicolaus Mills, “How Slave Owners Dictated the Language of the 2nd Amendment” DailyBeast
Madison, not wanting to deal with the Henry, the South, and their histrionics, added in the Second Amendment, which could be interpreted as “states’ rights” to protect its brand of white hegemony, with guns if necessary.
James Madison even rewrote the Second Amendment into its current form during the 1788 Virginia Ratifying Convention in response to that state’s largest slaveholder, Patrick Henry, demanding that Virginia’s slave patrols be explicitly protected.
2019, Thom Hartman, “Latest massacre shows the Second Amendment model of “slave patrols” is still in effect” Salon
After the Civil War, and the taking of their “property” (enslaved Black people), the Confederates had a real ax to grind, and even in 2022, they are still grinding it.
The government takes away your freedom to live as you please, but unlike in Europe, this is about chattel slavery, colonization, and guns in the US. It is not about freedom to think. It is about freedom to oppress.
Many on the left, whose families came to the US after the turn of the 20th century, have little understanding of the United States prior to 1900 and even less of an understanding of the South.
Anti-government in the US does not mean anarchist or freedom. It means I’m angry that the Yankees took my slaves away, and I’m going to destroy this country for revenge.
Henry David Thoreau was an abolitionist. The creator of the Landlord Game, Lizzie Maggie was an abolitionist. They understood.
In the US the left must participate in the government less we allow it to be the domain of the racist, capitalist, and dead-ender confederate. The rich do not pay taxes, because we have allowed the wealthy to have the table of governance. We have allowed their histrionics to tire us. We have allowed them to create policies that cheat this country, oppress its citizens, and exploit the historically excluded. The U.S. government is US, not the wealthy. It is the majority who are not wealthy, who work for a living, and who expected the Social Contract to be enforced. We can no longer afford the government to be a place of refuge for the wealthy and their capital gain.
Mob movies like Goodfellows and the Godfather are mirror images of the Cowboy myth but they never assume that it will be better, but that they will dominate.
Henry was an attorney, planter, politician, evangelical pastor, orator, and enslaver of African people. He enslaved people, bought people, sold people, and traded people until his death. He was at one point the largest enslaver in Virginia. He died owning 67 enslaved people.