Saturday, February 12, 2011

American Degeneration:
Legislatures and Privileges

[Legislatures] can make no law which will not have its full operation on themselves and their friends, as well as on the great mass of the society. This has always been deemed one of the strongest bonds by which human policy can connect the rulers and the people together. It creates between them that communion of interests and sympathy of sentiments, of which few governments have furnished examples; but without which every government degenerates into tyranny. If it be asked, what is to restrain the [legislature] from making legal discriminations in favor of themselves and a particular class of the society? I answer: the genius of the whole system; the nature of just and constitutional laws; and above all, the vigilant and manly spirit which actuates the people of America—a spirit which nourishes freedom, and in return is nourished by it.

If this spirit shall ever be so far debased as to tolerate a law not obligatory on the legislature, as well as on the people, the people will be prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty.

(James Madison), The Federalist Papers

Yet the Federal Congress exempt themselves from Social Security, and OSHA, and the EEOC, and their staffs are not Civil Service, and . . . .

And of course we see them handing out tax-exemptions galore to the wealthy and the corporations, the most notorious of which, before "the Bush tax cuts" of 2001/2003—the single greatest transfer of wealth in American history, to the wealthiest from everyone else, championed by "both" political "parties"—were the "depletion allowances" under which oil-well owners and oil companies typically deduct ten to twenty percent of gross incomes from their Federal taxes, just as typically amounting in the end to far more than their capital investments (it must be remembered that both the "depletion allowances" and "the Bush tax cuts" are championed by "both" major American political "parties"—the quote-marks are to indicate the sham of pretending there is any difference between the "two" "parties", "both" being utterly servile to wealth, no matter how corrupt, and whether domestic or foreign).

And of course we are still reeling from the "Enron exemption" in the Commodities Futures Modernization Act, not so much from the fraud and bubble that Enron ran as from what that exemption and additional others became in the hands of the engineers of, profiteers off and coverers-up-afterward of the Oil Bubble of 2006-8.

And, naturally, we see State legislature after State legislature not only aping Congress in similar regards, but even actually handing out exemptions to the criminal laws, such as the usury laws, so that local governments can levy usurious interests upon late tax-payments, and tax-farmers likewise:

Yes, even that most ancient form of racketeering, with its bribery, usury, extortion and grand larceny, battening on those by definition already in financial difficulties, now operates with legal impunity in America . . . .

Plainly, as Madison plainly feared, the American people have long been "prepared to tolerate any thing but liberty."

But he did not extend his argument as far as he could and should have, to the critical point with regard to the Constitution:

Such exemptions and privileges are the very substance of aristocracy, which is prohibited by the Constitution, in Article I Section 9:

No Title of Nobility shall be granted by the United States . . . .

Unless, of course, one interprets that to mean that only formal titles of aristocracy are forbidden, and not the substance.

Keywords: aristocracy, bribery, class, corruption, extortion, grand larceny, legislature, liberty, plutocracy, privilege, racketeering, servility, tax-farming, usury


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