In addition to my staff job as roving correspondent, I’m working toward an advanced degree here at BPI. I like the classroom work better than the roving correspondent gig, because there’s no travel involved. But I have to write a thesis and that’s almost as bad as traveling.
Of course nothing is as bad as traveling, especially when you travel as BPI’s roving correspondent. BPI is too cheap to get me a seat on the plane, so I end up in baggage with the pets. Do I look like a pet? I’m working! Anyway, no movie and no food, not even those stale airline peanuts. Plus BPI is also too cheap to get me a hotel room, so I end up perched in unfamiliar trees, listening to nuts but not having any to eat because those nuts are not even remotely edible. And you know how I get when I’m hungry.
Hold on. I need to brush some crumbs off my Blewberry. Okay, back. Those crumbs were bigger than the buttons. That’s what I get for letting the baby use my Blewberry to visit his MyTree and Furbook pages.
Anyway, I was researching for my thesis on 21st Century Political Nuttitude and came upon this Wikipedia article on feudalism. Most of it was useful, but look at the very last sentence:
“Feudalism” has also been used in modern political commentary as a label for programs (such as bailouts and stimulus programs) in ostensibly capitalist societies that serve to bind corporate “barons” to a central authority.
And what is footnote 10? A cite to a video blog at WorldNetDaily. Are they kidding? Still, in the interest of academic rigor, I followed the citation and watched the video. After all, maybe that blogger presented a carefully-researched, thoroughly-sourced argument. Even an intellectually blind human finds a fact once in a while.
Or not. The blogger mentioned exactly one source: the dictionary.com definition for “capitalism.” So much for carefully-researched and thoroughly-sourced.
In fact, that sentence in Wikipedia is false. The video blog only mentions the stimulus bill and GM bailouts in passing. His main point is that property taxes and eminent domain are “feudalism” because they limit “private ownership,” which he says is central to capitalism. He implies all of this began with Franklin Roosevelt. But the Wikipedia sentence is equivalent to “some people say.”
And it’s true that some people say that. Some people also say the world is flat. Those groups have something in common. They’re both ignorant.
Since this ignorant human titled his video blog “For the Record,” let’s look at the record. He says “the U.S. hasn’t had true capitalism for a very long time.” Well, if he defines “true capitalism” as having no taxes, we’ve never had it. The federal and state governments have levied taxes since before the birth of our nation. In fact, Article I, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution begins with:
The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States[.]
This ignorant human also claims that the power of eminent domain is “feudalism.” But way back in 1875, the U.S. Supreme Court said eminent domain is inherent in state sovereignty, and that the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause limits rather than creates that power, making it subject to due process of law and just compensation.
“For the Record,” private property can exist in two ways: (1) you enforce your claims of ownership with your own private army; or, (2) government records, resolves, and enforces claims of ownership through law.
“For the Record,” humans tried that first way for a long time. Local property owners built forts and raised armies and spent much their time fighting other local property owners. Some owners got big enough to kill or drive away rivals, and became Big Owners. They controlled enough property that they parceled it out to Small Owners. In exchange for that property, the Big Owners demanded promises from their Small Owners: to provide troops to help the Big Owner chase off invaders, keep the peace within the Small Owners’ property, and don’t fight (too much) with neighboring Small Owners. Some of those Small Owners controlled enough property that they in turn parceled it out to Smaller Owners, subject to the same promises.
“For the Record,” that was “feudalism.” And without tax-supported government to record, resolve, and enforce claims of property ownership, you humans would be back to claims of ownership enforced by private armies. That would mean Big Owners, Small Owners, Smaller Owners, and the rest of … “feudalism.”
So yeah, some “modern political commentary” does sort of say what the Wikipedia article claims. And I’ll cite him in my thesis … as an example of the ignorance that typifies 21st Century Political Nuttitude.
Speaking of nuts, I better let the baby check his MyTree and Furbook pages. And I gotta eat something. After all, you know how I get when I’m hungry.