Poor Richard once wrote that “a plowman on his feet is taller than a nobleman on his knees.” By this Ben Franklin meant that a solvent plowman stands taller than a beggared nobleman (The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin 181). Applying this wisdom to debt is a reminder that during the revolutionary period not all wealthy men were created equal. The landed gentry were the Tories (Parrinton, chapter 2). They bent the knee to King George because they owed their entire estate to the crown. Likewise, with perhaps one notable exception, the elite merchants of Massachusetts, the aristocracy, were almost all loyalists (Frankel: chapter 6, last paragraph). But the native businessmen, the Yankee traders, were the sons of liberty. They were willing to stake their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor for independence. Hence, we have a financial resume for Warren Buffett’s political leanings and for his willingness to legitimize both corruption and tyranny.
Even more pointedly, though, we have an object lesson in a catechism that at best, Buffett, can be said to have forgotten; that is, all “the wealthy” are not alike. The “rich” cannot be categorized by income alone. To say “the rich” or “the wealthy” is from every perspective a demagogic use of stereotype and prejudice.
Who are the rich? Are they investors? You know, are they guys who were once like Buffett, guys who piled all their savings into a risky venture and then rejoiced when their ship came in laden with treasures? Or are the “rich” the monarchs, agents of the state, Tories, who take their cut for king and country according to divine right?
Is it a coincidence that WashingtonD.C.has America’s highest income while not having the highest GDP? As agents of ignorance demagogues and tyrants make their money on prejudice, Let’s look at this “the wealthy” shell game.
If all the rich are greedy and evil, then all the poor are lazy and shiftless.
If all the rich live to oppress the poor, then all the poor are undeserving, without morals, and born to be ordered by their betters.
These are obviously all lies. The first set was the coin of the Greek and Victorian; the last is the warp and weft of today’s Marxist cloaks of covetousness. Whether the lies are about rich or poor, it’s all senseless, self-serving bigotry. It’s Ignorance calling itself wisdom because so many fools are willing to dispense it.
Anyone can play the shell game. Shall we go a round?
Who wakes early to oppress the poor? Who works tirelessly throughout the land in every city and workplace to exploit the weak and helpless? Who demands more and more from the working man and offers no solace, relief or return? Is it the rich or the IRS?
See how sickly thin these stenotypes are? But they’re really fun! Let’s play again:
Do you know who’s ruthlessly oppressing the working man? Our federal government, that’s who. Behind’s its mask her agents sell us for bottles of gin, and trade us abroad like stolen Super Bowl rings. Think about it. Who’s demanded 12% and 15% of every paycheck you’ve ever earned and offered you nothing in return, not interest on investment, not the right to bequeath to your children, nothing. And these barons of “democracy” dare call it “Social Security”? That’s right, your life’s savings is called an “insurance” policy. Insurance for whom? No us, that’s for sure. And as if not bothering to offer us even the most meager return on our investment is not thievery enough, the alien in Uncle Sam’s stomach rears its toothy grin and inflates the dollar of our retirement dole until it is but as a tithe of the dollar of our initial “contribution.”
To break the chains of all such mad prejudice then, let us refuse all stereotype and bigotry and consider specifics.
If Bill Gates or Steve Jobs is too rich, let’s give back our I-phones, desktops, and I-pads. Did we get exploited by our MP3 players? Did our wide screen TVs oppress us? Surely, then not every rich business man is a greedy self-serving enemy.
The motivation to gamble on precious silk and spices from lands far away is much reduced when the monarchs and the aristocracy take all the profit. Will the king make up the difference for the loss of investment when the moon goes red and the investor’s ship is wracked on the rocks? Only if it’s a political donor; only if he is of the aristocracy. Otherwise, the ordinary investor, the Yankee trader, will, like Gibson Guitar, be taxed again for its impact on the natural environment. But who cares? Who needs tea, silk and spices anyhow? Who needs Gibson guitars? Who needs high definition TV? As long as no one is getting rich, that’s all that matters.
Independenceof mind, independence of wealth, what else is independence? How can we deny this to one and not deny it to all? If we give up the path to financial independence found in frugality and good judgment because we are jealous of others, then we are all enslaved. We will become slaves because we’ve lost our soul to covetousness. Like Buffett, we will have sold our birthright of liberty for a mess of potage. When we’ve killed the free market, we are all slaves: without property, without anything we can call our own, without rights, –chattel of a state of lies. The soul of a man is the first victim of his ignorance and bigotry.
Now back to specifics on one rich man; Warren Buffett doesn’t offer enlightenment. He doesn’t offer a pathway to social justice. The poor, blind old man has offered a knife to tyrants with which carve out the soul of our liberty. He is not to be heeded; he is to be pitied.
A country based on what is not right can’t prosper… ever. A nation is either growing or dying. The citizen of the free market may be a Tory or one of the Sons of Liberty. We know the first if he wields the bludgeon of taxation and monopoly; we know the second if he is an agent of our material liberty. It is to the everyone’s advantage for the sons of liberty, rich or poor, to have equal access to their means.
UPDATE 10/01/2011: More Tory Talk from Buffett
Although it is difficult to get good video on cowering Tories during the revolutionary period, it is reasonable to assume they sounded something like Buffett did during this recent interview with Real Clear Politics:
Watch or read at your leisure.
Although much of the above has been tongue in cheek, sadly, their seems to be a palpable fear in Buffett’s dodginess.
Update: 12?2/2011– Buffett is the truest Tory; he’s a sellout
Peter Schwietzer’s new book, Throw Them All Out, spells it out. Warren Buffet gave free advice on structuring bank bailouts while purchasing bonds in these same institutions. It is no wonder that Buffett will say anything the adminsitration tells him to.Tweet