Government as God

While my car was getting an oil change, I buried my face in a magazine article.  I was trying earnestly, albeit unsuccessfully, to drown the constant rattling of a young newscaster's pedantic discourse streaming via the flat-screen TV the shop's owner had installed to oblige customers not driven to cultivate the rare skill of introspection.

I was suddenly perked to study the substance of the oft-repeated sound bite blaring in my ear, despite the fact that the frame from which it emanated betrayed the shallowness of a wet piece of toast.

"Who should get the Bush era tax cuts?" inquired the commentator in a pretentiously rhetorical fashion.

Should?  In one mere auxiliary verb, the sprightly news head had succinctly encapsulated the essence of liberal orthodoxy, particularly in the context of what its fiercest advocates believe is the collective moral duty of the most prosperous beneficiaries of a capitalist system.

My main objection was that the handsomely robed anchor implied that the government errs on the side of charity when it puts a temporary halt on the mandatory annual plundering of its citizens' wealth.  Presumably, when the government demands less money, this should be viewed as a kindness on its part for which the workers owe an incalculable debt.

Admittedly, the constant blabber spouted hourly by saucy automatons posing as reporters may not be enough reason for concern over Caesar's growing encroachment in our lives.  But the mindset that posits such questions in the first place is one which casts the ignorant masses as hopelessly dependent upon the edicts of an all-wise and powerful government, which is divinely endowed with the authority to arbitrate who should and should not be granted the "privilege" of keeping a portion of their own hard-earned wages.

I wrestled with a similar sense of bewilderment when I heard our illustrious president warmly reassure the people that in light of the government's undeserved magnanimity toward its citizens, manifested in its willingness to recommend that the Bush era tax cuts be extended, citizens' payroll checks at the beginning of the year would yield a significant bonus.  Hence, we are also to thank the president for persuading our elected officials to let us retain some of our own money.

Not the least of the reasons for this gratitude from victims of the government's splurging is the way in which the latter treats wealthier citizens, towards whom it feels no moral obligation to extend such leniency.  In fact, these well-off citizens deserve to be taxed more than others, mainly because the government, now posing as the supreme moral arbiter of justice, estimates that this coveted segment of society produces and accumulates more profits than they are reasonably expected to spend.  One eminent senator from Vermont even argued this very point recently.

This logic is born of a peculiar resentment toward the rich, an ancestral grudge harbored by many on the left who like to romanticize about the age of cruel and indifferent landlords accumulating wealth on the backs of poor laborers.  Once this grudge is awakened, which happens whenever liberals regain ascendancy, the fact that today the doors of opportunity and success are available to virtually anyone willing to put in the effort becomes a wholly indiscernible reality. 

And so have most citizens now long-conditioned to view taxes as the first fruits of the harvest awaiting proper designation by the government.  It is the government which decides what portion of our profits we are allowed to keep for our own sustenance and what portion constitutes a fundamentally unmerited excess that we are morally obligated to equally distribute amongst our less affluent peers.  A tithe, if you will, that is rightfully demanded by this supreme entity, without whom we would presumably lack the means and the necessary conditions to generate wealth in the first place.

The government has, in essence, taken on the role of such a deity.  As in the scriptures, not to present the tithe offering at God's altar is the same as robbing God of his due, so in Caesar's domain, it is the duty of every citizen to present his or her tithe before the altar of Government.

But unlike God's, this is not a free will offering.  To refuse to pay this tithe is, as we well know, a criminal offense of the highest degree.

Thus has Caesar become a God of sorts -- and not a terribly merciful one at that -- to whom citizens should resign their fate.  Moreover, we are to be eternally grateful that this infinitely wise, coldly equitable master has, for a season, decided to leave the ration paid for its unique services temporarily unaltered.  Yet it does not cease to abrogate the prerogative to resume this purging whenever it sees fit.  Citizens have no choice but to acquiesce to its ever-increasing pecuniary demands.  And why shouldn't they, since the government is a much better administrator of their capital than they could ever be?  Even Orwell himself could not have foreseen a more divinely inspired arrangement.

This is what the long-debunked pipe dream of wealth redistribution has wrought.  But most ironic is the fact that the very people who want to stoke the embers of class hatred, such as the Obama, the Harry Reid, and the Nancy Pelosi clans, are all people of extraordinary wealth.  One thing they also have in common is that they like to spend extravagantly when it comes to other people's money.
While my car was getting an oil change, I buried my face in a magazine article.  I was trying earnestly, albeit unsuccessfully, to drown the constant rattling of a young newscaster's pedantic discourse streaming via the flat-screen TV the shop's owner had installed to oblige customers not driven to cultivate the rare skill of introspection.

I was suddenly perked to study the substance of the oft-repeated sound bite blaring in my ear, despite the fact that the frame from which it emanated betrayed the shallowness of a wet piece of toast.

"Who should get the Bush era tax cuts?" inquired the commentator in a pretentiously rhetorical fashion.

Should?  In one mere auxiliary verb, the sprightly news head had succinctly encapsulated the essence of liberal orthodoxy, particularly in the context of what its fiercest advocates believe is the collective moral duty of the most prosperous beneficiaries of a capitalist system.

My main objection was that the handsomely robed anchor implied that the government errs on the side of charity when it puts a temporary halt on the mandatory annual plundering of its citizens' wealth.  Presumably, when the government demands less money, this should be viewed as a kindness on its part for which the workers owe an incalculable debt.

Admittedly, the constant blabber spouted hourly by saucy automatons posing as reporters may not be enough reason for concern over Caesar's growing encroachment in our lives.  But the mindset that posits such questions in the first place is one which casts the ignorant masses as hopelessly dependent upon the edicts of an all-wise and powerful government, which is divinely endowed with the authority to arbitrate who should and should not be granted the "privilege" of keeping a portion of their own hard-earned wages.

I wrestled with a similar sense of bewilderment when I heard our illustrious president warmly reassure the people that in light of the government's undeserved magnanimity toward its citizens, manifested in its willingness to recommend that the Bush era tax cuts be extended, citizens' payroll checks at the beginning of the year would yield a significant bonus.  Hence, we are also to thank the president for persuading our elected officials to let us retain some of our own money.

Not the least of the reasons for this gratitude from victims of the government's splurging is the way in which the latter treats wealthier citizens, towards whom it feels no moral obligation to extend such leniency.  In fact, these well-off citizens deserve to be taxed more than others, mainly because the government, now posing as the supreme moral arbiter of justice, estimates that this coveted segment of society produces and accumulates more profits than they are reasonably expected to spend.  One eminent senator from Vermont even argued this very point recently.

This logic is born of a peculiar resentment toward the rich, an ancestral grudge harbored by many on the left who like to romanticize about the age of cruel and indifferent landlords accumulating wealth on the backs of poor laborers.  Once this grudge is awakened, which happens whenever liberals regain ascendancy, the fact that today the doors of opportunity and success are available to virtually anyone willing to put in the effort becomes a wholly indiscernible reality. 

And so have most citizens now long-conditioned to view taxes as the first fruits of the harvest awaiting proper designation by the government.  It is the government which decides what portion of our profits we are allowed to keep for our own sustenance and what portion constitutes a fundamentally unmerited excess that we are morally obligated to equally distribute amongst our less affluent peers.  A tithe, if you will, that is rightfully demanded by this supreme entity, without whom we would presumably lack the means and the necessary conditions to generate wealth in the first place.

The government has, in essence, taken on the role of such a deity.  As in the scriptures, not to present the tithe offering at God's altar is the same as robbing God of his due, so in Caesar's domain, it is the duty of every citizen to present his or her tithe before the altar of Government.

But unlike God's, this is not a free will offering.  To refuse to pay this tithe is, as we well know, a criminal offense of the highest degree.

Thus has Caesar become a God of sorts -- and not a terribly merciful one at that -- to whom citizens should resign their fate.  Moreover, we are to be eternally grateful that this infinitely wise, coldly equitable master has, for a season, decided to leave the ration paid for its unique services temporarily unaltered.  Yet it does not cease to abrogate the prerogative to resume this purging whenever it sees fit.  Citizens have no choice but to acquiesce to its ever-increasing pecuniary demands.  And why shouldn't they, since the government is a much better administrator of their capital than they could ever be?  Even Orwell himself could not have foreseen a more divinely inspired arrangement.

This is what the long-debunked pipe dream of wealth redistribution has wrought.  But most ironic is the fact that the very people who want to stoke the embers of class hatred, such as the Obama, the Harry Reid, and the Nancy Pelosi clans, are all people of extraordinary wealth.  One thing they also have in common is that they like to spend extravagantly when it comes to other people's money.

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