Tag Archives: Taxation

Presidential Dictatorship

Sic Semper tyrannis II

Executive orders, undeclared wars, drone hits, assassination of citizens and non-citizens alike, the overthrow of foreign regimes, domestic spying, the abetting of known criminal activities through pardons, economic planning, opening borders, monetary manipulations are just some of the nefarious activities that routinely emanate from the most dangerous political office that the world has ever painfully come to know – the United States Presidency!

The U.S. presidents can and have created a veritable “hell on earth” for their opponents, perceived enemies, and the innocent not only in the country in which they reign, but over the lives and fortunes of peoples and places where they have absolutely no authority to interfere.  While other chiefs of state have theoretically had such power, U.S. presidents have been able to inflict their destruction and chaos because, paradoxically, the nation’s free-market system, for a long time, created immense wealth which could be tapped into.

The tyrannical nature of the presidency was recognized long ago by those politically perspicacious men who opposed both the office and the draconian document which created it.  Few groups in history have been so vindicated for their foreboding as those who vainly argued against the ratification of the United States Constitution than the Antifederalists.

“An Old Whig”* aptly sums up the damage that would come about if the Constitution was ratified and the office of president would come into being:

. . . the office of President of the United States appears to me

to be clothed with such powers as are dangerous.  To be the

fountain of all honors in the United States, commander in chief

of the army, navy and militia, with the power of making treaties

and of granting pardons, and to be vested with an authority to

put a negative upon all laws, unless two thirds of both houses

shall persist in enacting it, . . . .**

An Old Whig saw that the president would become a “king” but without the natural and binding checks that even the most absolutist of monarchs were restrained by:

[The president] is in reality to be a KING as much a King

as the King of Great Britain, and a King too of the worst

kind; – an elective King. . . . The election of a King

whether it be in America or Poland, will be a scene of

horror and confusion; and I am perfectly serious when

I declare that, as a friend to my country, I shall despair

of any happiness in the United States until this office

is either reduced to a lower pitch of power or made

perpetual and hereditary.***

One of the Federalists’ counterarguments to the Antifederalists’ concern over the presidential office was the widely held assumption that George Washington would become the new Republic’s first chief executive and the general knowledge of his impeccable character would assuage those worried of potential executive overreach.  Such a lame response neglected to look into the future when the office’s huge potentiality for despotism would be sought after and won by those who had less upstanding personal traits than the father of the country.

The growing decentralized political movements throughout the world with, for instance, the hopefully upcoming British exit from the European Union, can only be enhanced if the office of the president and, for that matter, all other nation state’s chief executives are exposed as tyrannical institutions which are anathema to individual liberty and collective self-determination.  Presidents, premiers, chancellors, prime ministers, and their like along with central banking are the two nefarious pillars of power of the modern nation state whose continued existence guarantees perpetual war and economic regression.

In this seemingly interminable presidential election cycle, populist, libertarians, conservatives, and all sorts of anti-Establishment types are delusional if they believe the totalitarian direction in which the country is now headed will be reversed through elections or choosing the “right” candidate.  “Making American Great Again” will only come about when the chief executive office and the statist document that created it have been repudiated.

Prior to the presidency’s abolition, its ideological justification must be first debunked.  There is no finer place to start for this most necessary task to take place than in the dissemination of the perceptive and enduring words of the much neglected Antifederalists.

 

*Probably penned by a group of Philadelphia Antifederalists – George Bryan, John Smilie, James Hutchinson and maybe others.  See, John P. Kaminski & Richard Leffler, eds., Federalists and Antifederalists: The Debate Over the Ratification of the Constitution.  Madison, Wisconsin: Madison House Publishers, 1989, p. 18.

**Ibid., p. 86.

***Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

Feudalism: Was it so Bad?

feudal system

One of the biggest misconceptions held among the independent and alternative media is that of feudalism and the political, economic and social arrangements which characterized that unfairly maligned epoch.

Derogatory language is often used to describe feudal times with commentators often suggesting that today’s political and financial elites seek to return mankind to such a supposedly depressed, stagnate and repressive condition.

Those who receive the most animus from alternative media pundits are the authority figures and institutions which reigned throughout the period – knights, dukes, kings, princes, popes, priests, bishops, churches, monasteries, and cathedrals.

Yet, was this the case; was feudalism which existed throughout much of the Middle Ages really that bad?

Politically, despite the distortions found in contemporary history books and political science texts, state power in feudal times can be categorized in one term – decentralized – which in reality meant a considerable amount of individual liberty and freedom for all, including serfs.

Naturally, feudal political conditions across Europe varied, however, a look through Carl Stephenson’s classic work, Mediaeval Feudalism, is instructive:

So far as eleventh-century France is concerned, we may disregard

the royal authority altogether.  The kingdom of the West Franks,

which had never been more than a political makeshift, now seemed

on the point of final dissolution. . . . The ancient rights of the crown

had long since passed to such men as were able, with or without

legal authorization to organize and defend a local territory. . . .

The greater of the king’s alleged vassals never came near his court,

whether to perform homage or to render any other service.  What

respect could they have for a theoretical lord who was defied with

impunity by petty officials on his own domain?1

Professor Stephenson continues with words that should warm the hearts of anti-statists everywhere:

France, obviously, had ceased to be a state in any proper sense

of the word.  Rather, it had been split into a number of states

whose rulers, no matter how they styled themselves, enjoyed

the substance of the regal power.2

In Germany, too, power was radically diffused as Professor Stephenson describes:

. . . in various other ways the rulers of Germany sought to

maintain the Carolingian tradition of a grandiose monarchy.

They even revived the imperial title and made brave efforts

to reign on both sides of the Alps.  But the task was an

impossible one.  The Holy Roman Empire became a mere

sham; and as the prolonged contest between the royal

and the princely authority ended in the complete victory of

the latter, Germany. . . was resolved into a group of feudal

states.3

Despite their aggrandizing efforts, the German kings could never succeed in establishing absolutist rule:

Vainly trying to be Roman emperors, the successors of

Otto I . . . became [as kings] purely elective, degenerated

into a sort of decoration to be borne first by one local prince

an then by another.4

Germany remained, for the longest time, an area of decentralized political authority as Professor Stephenson explains:

From the Rhineland to the Slavic frontier, armies were

made up of knights, society was dominated by a

chivalrous aristocracy, the countryside was dotted with

motte-and-bailey castles, and governments were

organized on the basis of feudal tenure.5

Political and economic theory have demonstrated that power which is diffused typically leads to low levels of taxation.  In the case of medieval feudalism, this certainly was the case:

. . .  if the lord needed military service or financial aid beyond

what was specifically owed by his vassals, his only recourse

was to ask them for a voluntary grant.  He had no right to tax

or assess them arbitrarily, for his authority in such matters was

determined by feudal contract.6

Likewise, law was not “made up” by legislative acts, but was that of custom and tradition based on the natural law which kings, lords, vassals, and commoners were all obliged to live by:

Nor does he [the king, or lord] have a discretionary power

of legislation.  Law was the unwritten custom of the country.

To change or even to define it was the function, not of the lord,

but of his court.  It was the vassals themselves who declared the

law under which they lived; and when one of them was accused

of a misdeed, he was entitled to the judgment of his peers, i.e.

his fellow vassals.7

Warfare, too, was limited in scope compared to the massive human slaughter and destruction of property which has taken place over the past two centuries:

    The general character of feudal warfare may be easily

deduced from what has already been said about

vassalage and chivalry. . . .  when two feudal armies

met, each knightly participant was apt to conduct

himself as he saw fit.  The final outcome would depend

on a series of duels in which the determining factor was

individual prowess.  But battles on a large scale were

rare in feudal Europe.  The characteristic warfare of the

age consisted rather of pillaging raids into the enemy’s

territory, of skirmishes between small bands of knights,

and of engagements incident to the siege of castles.

[Emphasis mine.]8

While there used to be a debate about the conditions of serfs compared to that of modern day wage earners, the argument is now falling apart with studies showing that real wages and corresponding standards of living have actually contracted over the past half century for most.  Where there can be no debate, however, is the moral condition of the people of the feudal past compared with contemporary times where “gay marriage” and other abominations have now been given legal status.  No right-minded person could argue that marriage, the family, and child rearing are in better shape today than they were in the supposed “Dark Ages.”

In nearly every aspect of societal appraisement, medieval feudalism was a far superior social order than anything which has come in its wake.  Those who denigrate it not only show their historical ignorance, but play into the hands of their elite oppressors who understand that a return to such a social order would be a much greater threat to their power than any presidential candidate or his “movement.”

1Carl Stephenson, Mediaeval Feudalism, Ithaca, NY.: Great Seal books, 1942; 1960, pp. 77-78.

2Ibid., p. 78.

3Ibid., 92-93.

4Ibid., 93.

5Ibid.

6Ibid., p. 31.

7Ibid.

8Ibid., pp. 66-68.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas

https://antoniusaquinas.com/

 

A Morally Sound Tax Reform Proposal

US Taxpayer

The Oppressed U.S. Taxpayer

This year, Americans’ day of tribute to their federal overlords falls on April 18.  As calculated by the Tax Foundation, the average American will work from January 1 to April 24 (Tax Freedom Day) to pay his share of taxes to all levels of government with some $3.3 trillion to be forked over to the federal government and $1.6 trillion to state and local jurisdictions.*

While any talk of tax cuts are verboten on the Democratic side of the presidential campaign, the remaining Republican contenders have offered their views on the matter suggesting a flat tax, reduction in corporate tax rates, and a call for the consolidation of the current tax bracket from seven to four.*  Most of these and their variations have been trumpeted before and even if enacted would not permanently undo the crushing tax burden or prevent rates from escalating to even more confiscatory heights.

If real and lasting tax relief is ever going to come, a more fundamental alteration of tax policy needs to be taken, which has not been suggested by any of the presidential contenders, but had once been an integral part of the nation’s political thought.

One of America’s most neglected political theorists of the 19th century was South Carolina statesman John C. Calhoun, who wrote the important treatise, A Disquisition on Government.  Calhoun perceptively saw that politically, society is divided between two distinct groups: taxpayers and taxconsumers.  Obviously, taxpayers are the ones who “pay” taxes while taxconsumers, such as government employees, welfare recipients, state contractors, and all others that receive income from the public trough, “consume” or live off taxation.

Naturally, when it comes to the issue of taxation, taxconsumers will be in favor, or, at least, want to maintain the status quo and, more than likely, would support notions of tax increases.  Taxpayers, on the other hand, would oppose increases or enlargement of the tax base, since they are the ones “footing the bill.”

Of course, politicians of all stripes and colors try to blur this distinction that Calhoun so brilliantly made, especially on tax day by declaring how “they paid their taxes.”  This, however, is sophistry.

In reality, politicians are just returning some of the loot that they coercively took from their fellow citizens.  Federal government employees in essence do not pay federal taxes!  Nor do individual state employees pay state taxes.  This is merely an accounting gimmick to bamboozle the public. And, this is one of the reasons that, for the longest time (and wisely so), citizens of the District of Columbia could not vote in federal elections since most of them were government employees and would, in their self interest, oppose tax cuts or public spending reductions.

When government was limited and the welfare state effected only a small group, voting and levels of taxation did not have a significant correlation.  However, with the number of people working for the government in the millions and those dependent on state largesse in the tens of millions, who votes, and in what numbers is extremely important.

It has been recently estimated that of the total U.S. adult population of some 260 million, only one third (some 79 million) can be said not to be dependent on state support for their existence while 70% of the adult population or 57% of the total population is dependent on some form of state aid.  And, unfortunately, all indicators point to more and more headed for the dependency category, primarily due to the destructive economic policies of the Obama Administration.

All of those who seek to lower the oppressive levels of taxation not only in America but throughout the Western world are foolish if they allow those who parasitically live off others to have a voice in choosing candidates or initiatives in regard to taxation.  Democracy does not trump human nature.  State dependents will vote for those they perceive will continue their subsidies.

Instead of lobbying for the redress of phony grievances against Politically Correct victims and groups, social justice warriors should direct their energies to the long suffering U.S. taxpayers and demand that those who live off them should have no say in either how much taxpayers are to pay or how their confiscated wealth is to be dispersed.

*”No Emancipation This Year.”  The Washington Times.  Friday, April 15, 2016, B2.

**Ibid.

Antonius Aquinas@AntoniusAquinas