Hizzoner, Lord Bloomberg, Duke of Da Big Apple, Baron of Staten, Margrave of Flushing, Earl of Bedford-Stuyvesant, Warden of the Isles of Riker, and Grand Marshall of the Macy’s Day Parade, hath decreed for his loyal subjects a ban upon sugary, oversized sodas, to be enforced within all his realms over which he is lord and protector. Because his subjects cannot protect themselves from the evils of excessive caloric intake, his ducal majesty must condescend to provide for their protection out of his own august capacities. For he knoweth how better to run their lives than they themselves do. So let it be!
How, one might ask, does the population of a free country allow examples of governmental excess and intrusion such as New York City’s recent ban on “oversized sodas” to stand? You would think that rational adults in a free nation would be up in arms over our magistrates daring to force their ways into our own personal decisions, ones that do not harm other people, such as what we want to put into our own bodies. Yet, from all I’ve seen to date, the most that New Yorkers have done is to grumble a little before resigning themselves to the decision of their social betters.
This should be no surprise to astute observers of the trends in modern American, and indeed all of Western, society. Since the advent of the welfare state and its allied governmental constructs beginning in the first quarter of the 20th century, there has been an accelerating trend towards the reduction of free peoples in the advanced industrial nations back to serfdom, to a place where their liberty of opportunity and action, and even of their thought and expression, is gradually being taken away and replaced with increased governmental control “for their own good.” Government will now protect you from all sorts of hazards and inconveniences common to adult life – medical costs, unemployment, worries over how to pay your bills, and the like. And because government foots the bill for all of this, you are then obligated to allow government to run your life as it sees fit – it can determine what is healthy for you to do or not to do, it can tell you what you can or can’t own, what you can or can’t do with your property. After all, he who takes the king’s gold plays by the king’s rules. In our nation, there has been a steady expansion of the welfare state designed to ensnare more and more people into dependence on the government and the ruling class that operates it.
What we are seeing is, in effect, a reversion away from the classically liberal political freedom that was painstakingly argued, and then fought for, by generations of liberty-minded individuals, toward a modern form of feudalism in which the cadre of power brokers and financial backers within the US and other governments seek to reduce formerly free peoples into serfdom, into dependency on them for their support and protection.
It has been observed that the origins of feudalism in Europe after the fall of the Roman Empire, as well as in other places where similar social structures have existed (such as medieval Japan and late pre-Islamic Sassanid Persia), are to be found in the rise of various strongmen in these social settings. In the unsettled times following the fall of the Empire in the West, various strongmen (often barbarian chieftains, but also some from among the former Roman populations themselves) were the ones with a combination of wealth, charisma, and personal following to allow them to emerge as local sources of power and defense – they were the ones who could get enough guys with swords organized to protect the inhabitants of a certain area from the guys with swords trying to raid from another area. The more successful of these leaders could bring greater and greater regions of land under their sway and could compel obedience from larger and larger numbers of people – including other warlords who would subordinate and fight for the stronger, in return for title to the local lands and revenues. Out of this, what we think of as classical feudalism – a stratified society of nobles each owing fealty to the man above and requiring loyalty from those below – emerged.
So, where did the common man fit into all of this? After all, not everyone can be a successful warlord. The masses of common people, typically the descendants of the peasant population in the provinces overran by the Germanic tribes decades or centuries earlier, generally had no defenses against depredation. In many cases, they were forbidden to own or carry arms, and even if they could get ahold of them, simple farmers would have been unable to stand up against professional raiders and armored, mounted warriors. As such, the peasant population was forced to look to the local warlord for protection. This protection was afforded – but at the price of freedom, as serfs, as they came to be known, increasingly became bound to the land owned by their masters, required to yield increasing amounts of their own time and the fruits of their own hard work to their lords, and dependent on the provisions given them by their aristocratic overlords to sustain them. In many cases, their very lives were in the hands of these lords. In every way – socially, legally, physically – serfs were inferior to the nobles in whose lands they lived and labored.
It is a reversion to a modern form of this that we see taking place, and which has already happened to large swathes of our nation’s population. Large numbers of the American people have voluntarily traded their liberty for a new serfdom to a new class of “noble” overlords who will take care of them and protect them, but at a very high price.
We have a huge underclass in America that completely and utterly depends upon the government for its welfare checks, for its food stamps, for its housing, and everything else. In return, the government practically controls every facet of the lives of the individuals in this class, and this class, almost to a man, votes for those in government who will continue the free-money gravy train. These individuals’ lives and families are ran by the government – through the probation boards, the social services bureaucracies, the child welfare offices, and the rest of the ever-enlarging apparatus of the nanny state. In return for the “protection” from adult responsibilities and the risks of life in a mature, liberty-oriented free-market society, this class has enserfed itself to modern-day aristocrats and their underlings in our “progressive” government.
However, equally dangerous to the long-term health of the nation are the current attempts by the governing class – and this includes individuals from both political parties, as well as a gaggle of internationalist big-wigs and money men – to reduce the middle classes in America to the same status of serfdom by taking away their ability to exist and prosper apart from the good graces of this ruling class.
The ultimate downfall of the aristocratic, feudal social order in western Europe was the rise and enlargement of a genuine middle class of merchants, skilled artisans, and professionals who did not fit well into the classic feudal picture of lords and lackeys. As trade increased and societies began to prosper, the traditional nobility found itself challenged by a class of people who were commanding increasing amounts of wealth, power, and prestige, but who did not have “bloodlines” or titles of nobility to go with them. Concomitant with the rise of these middle classes came a greater and greater demand for what we would understand as modern liberties of the individual. It no longer made sense to these merchants, doctors, shopkeepers, and skilled masons that a man with no more claim on their loyalties than a title of nobility and the laurels of ancestors long dead should be able to tell them what to do with their property, or tax them onerously to keep them “in their place,” or dictate to them what they could or could not say, believe, or print. As such, these middle classes of relatively self-sufficient individuals naturally went hand-in-hand with the growing body of liberty ideology that was developing out of the Renaissance and certain elements from within the Enlightenment, especially the Anglo-Scottish variant.
The health and vitality of the middle classes – essentially that body of people ranging from what we would think of as the blue-collar workers to the moderately wealthy – is vital to the presence of liberty in a nation. These classes are neither so poor as to desire the government to intervene to give them what they want, nor are they so rich or powerful as to entertain pretensions of enhancing their own position by force of government. Instead, they generally just want the government to leave them alone in their personal lives and to get out of the way of their ability to advance themselves economically through their own hard work and talents. When the middle classes are large, when there is a sizeable aggregate of these small property owners, businessmen, professionals, and hard-working laborers, that is when the force of government is nullified. Therefore, the middle classes are an impediment to the (re)establishment of this new feudal order.
Why do you think that, despite all of the talk about “helping” the middle classes, so many of our government’s actions, legislative or otherwise, tend to harm and impoverish just these classes?
After all, when the EPA steps in and declares a property a “wetland” or otherwise uses its arbitrary regulatory powers to get in the way of a business or residential use of a property, it almost always happens to a member of the middle class. When a business gets fined for building a parking lot on its own land, which it didn’t even know was a “protected wetland,” it’s a small business to which this happens. The same never seems to happen to the big mega-corporations or international outfits that donate so much cash to the politicians. And it certainly doesn’t happen to the dependency-riddled underclass who doesn’t own any property anywise, but would love to enviously destroy ours.
When the government raises taxes on fuel, or closes down coal-fired power plants, or prohibits new petroleum drilling, who gets hit the hardest? The transnational elite who can easily toss down $50,000 to fuel up their Lear jet, or the working stiff trying to budget in an extra $50 a month to pay for higher gas prices? Again, it doesn’t harm the serf underclass, who simply uses “free” public transportation, also provided off the backs of the productive middle classes. And did you ever ask yourself why the greenies like Al Gore can get away with jetsetting from one climate conference to the next in their huge, gas-guzzling personal jets while using “global warming” as a bludgeon to force us to buy expensive, barely-functional electric cars that we can hardly afford anywise?
Why is it that despite all the professed opprobrium against “raising taxes on the middle class” among the professional politicians, we nevertheless end up being the ones to get stuck with tax increases, whether they’re actually called “taxes,” or just “fees,” and “fines”? While George Soros may not be hurt by new fees on everything from internet access to cell phone usage to taxes on our food (if even pays them, that is), most families trying to live within a budget will be.
The goal is to impoverish the middle classes and to inure us to both this poverty and the government dependence that will come with it.
By doing so, the professional politicians and the transnational elite can nip this whole “liberty” thing in the bud. They can take those obnoxious, annoying “free citizens” and return them to being dependent, subject serfs who can be dealt with more easily and who will come crawling to them for “protection” from everything under the sun. Five centuries of evolving liberty ideology and the extension of freedom to greater and greater numbers of people can be reversed. They can then have free access to run every area of our lives as they, rather than we, see fit.
And they want to. As hard as it may be for liberty lovers to fathom, there really are sociopathic people out there who want nothing more than to run other peoples’ lives and to bring other people into their own power so that they can dominate and control them. The more power they get, the more power they want, which is why there is never an end to the march of “progress,” as these people define it. They want to control wages and access to employment, and have largely achieved it through economically-destructive minimum wage laws and “equal opportunity” rules. They want to control our health care, to be able to even make decisions about who “deserves” life-saving health care and who does not (by the way, Sarah Palin was entirely correct about the “death panels”). They want to tell you what light bulbs to use, whether you can grow a garden in your yard or not, what kind of a car you can drive, and so much more. They want to control our access to freely go where we like, to defend ourselves, to worship as we want, to say what we like, to print what we like, to assemble with whom we want, and all the rest. If these self-styled elites got their way, each of these liberties would disappear tomorrow.
Lord Bloomberg taking away the up-sized sodas of New Yorkers is simply another brick in the edifice of government-engineered serfdom. It’s another piece of the puzzle set in place for how the elites, who generally despise our values and our “pretensions,” are going to acclimatize the rest of us to accepting their rule in our lives, even down to the most minute regulation of everyday matters. While it seems like such a small thing, and one that is “for our own good,” the ramifications of decisions like this on the part of our political elites extend far beyond the momentary enjoyment of a smooth, refreshing iced beverage.
Think of it like a “broken windows” theory of liberty. The reader may remember the theory about crime that was forwarded by another New York mayor, Rudy Giuliani, which basically said that when a city tolerates small crimes like graffiti or vandalism, and when it allows the environment in the city to decay (with things like buildings with unrepaired broken windows and the like), this encourages criminals to bigger and better things, making the crime rate skyrocket and the city that much more dangerous. Similarly, when we the people tolerate “little” affronts to our liberty, such as a political busybody banning our salt or our sodas or our trans-fats, and when we allow continual affronts like these to degrade the environment of liberty in our country, then we only encourage the commission of greater and more intrusive crimes against our freedom.
This is why liberty lovers need to get serious about saying “No” to the political elite as a whole – not just the ones who are part of the “other” Party. We have to get serious about standing up for the social, economic, and political backbone of this country – the small-holding, entrepreneurial middle classes – and the liberty that they bring with them. As Benjamin Franklin once said, “we can all hang together or we will all hang separately.” If we don’t start uniting and fighting for our unalienable liberties, we will lose them to a new “elite” with pretensions to aristocracy, and centuries of real progress in human freedom will be lost.