The Freedom That Communism Brings

By Glen Wallace

Before embarking on the organizing of a political system we need to ask the question of what is the role of the government.  For a blanket general answer I would say the role of government is to act as the shepherds guarding and maximizing the freedom and lives of the earthly realm of human beings.  The freedom and life of our human existence for every life should be held by government with a certain level of sacredness.  We then need to delve into the realm of determining what motivates humans and how can we maximize freedom while maintaining the necessary motivation for those humans to create an economic system that provides the material foundation that makes that freedom possible in the first place and allows maximal exploration of the human potential in exploring that freedom. 

Without the existence of widespread communism in this country our lives would be much more restricted and less free than they our today. Imagine a world where as soon as you walk out of your front door, having to pay a toll just to walk on a sidewalk. And that's if your lucky enough for a vendor to have created the sidewalk. Maybe the owner of the property outside of your front door doesn't like pedestrians or anyone for that matter and has put 'no trespassing' signs everywhere, causing you to be a prisoner in your own home! What an awful world. But that is just the sort of world that you might face if the supporters of free enterprise capitalism had there way. But it's not the sort of world I want to live in. I love being able to stroll down the sidewalk anytime without having to swipe my credit card at every intersection just to pass through. I love having beautiful parks, full of nature where people like myself with little money can visit and be with the towering trees that birds flutter about in. Anyone can look up property records online and see that most city parks have valuations in the millions of dollars that I'm sure some greedy capitalist would love to get there hands on to bulldoze and turn into a high-rise condo with big iron gates surrounding the property to keep out the unwashed masses like myself. I'm sure it also irks many capitalists that I can go the public library and be able to check out a book or movie without providing the least bit of revenue to some profiteer.

The communism that I'm suggesting be implemented is not absolute but rather broadening of its implementation in this country and abroad. It would be a broadening because this country utilizes a lot of communism already. Not only does communism already exist in the USA, most people use and enjoy it, without thinking that they have become the least bit of a 'pinko commie.' What I'm referring to is the publicly owned property that nearly all of us use such as sidewalks, the freedom of the open (public) road, parks, bike paths, libraries, lakes, rivers and streams. Those properties are owned by the community for all to use and therefore to advocate and support the continued creation and maintenance of community owned land and infrastructure is to support communism. Remember, the term 'communism' is derivative of such terms as 'commune' and 'communal.'

But I recognize that there can never be a practical, nor desirable, absolute and completely communal society. For an absolute communist system to exist, there would be absolutely no room for privacy, for every space and possession, no matter how personal would be rightfully accessible to everyone equally. Every house, apartment and bedroom would be freely available to all to enter and use at their pleasure. Such a state would be absurd and completely unacceptable to virtually all members of society. Therefore, a balance needs to be drawn between maximizing communal freedoms while retaining what individuals cherish as personal and private.

I'm advocating for collectivism for the sake of individualism. This is what I call transcendental communism. In many ways transcendental communism is the polar opposite from the Hegelian communism that was the foundational philosophy for the Marxist systems such as those found in the cold war era countries behind the 'iron curtain' that we usually associate with the term 'communism.' With Hegel the goal is to somehow use the citizens as vehicles to create a great mind or spirit of the people as a whole as it progresses through a dialectic to some Hegelian utopia. For Hegelian communism, the whole is more important than the parts and thus justification was achievable for all the human rights abuses that occurred in such places as Stalin’s Soviet Union. While Marx may have claimed that religion is the opium of the people, I would counter that Hegelianism is a religion in itself. Whenever presented with the teachings of Hegel, I would think to myself of what a interesting construct it was, but it was still merely a construct of Hegel’s imagination. Hegel would go on and on with these long convoluted sentences that are difficult to follow, but in the end, he merely has come up with an ontology of history and society that could be the case, but nowhere in my readings did I find him even attempting to provide any kind of compelling justification for believing that his version of reality is the case. It seems as though we are supposed to accept Hegel’s teachings based on a combination of faith, appeal and maybe some intuition of it being correct. But for me, I have no faith in Hegelianism, nor do find it the least bit appealing or intuitively spot on. And yet I'm told that Hegel has had a profound influence on the development of history not just in communism but also with capitalism around the world from the time of his writings to present. The thing is, I don't know how this happened where someone whose writings are so difficult to comprehend, and whose ideals don't seem all that idealistic could ever have been adopted by so many in positions of power. I suppose if my reactions to Hegelianism were so unique and just about everyone else loved his concepts then I would understand. But I don't think that is the case. Instead, I believe that, in general, Hegelianism runs counter to the unwritten social contracts of civil etiquette and ideals of fairness and social harmony. I believe that transcendentalism is much more consistent with the dreams, ideals and social contracts of most members of society especially here in America. Transcendentalism values the breaking of barriers that prevent our full pursuit of self actualization and achievement. Transcendentalism treasures and values the individual, but does so in the context of the individual as metaphysically connected with all the other members of not only fellow members of humanity but also with the rest of the universe. While transcendentalism values social harmony, Hegelianism values societal conflict as a necessity for societal development. While Hegelians may think that there is a valuable conflict here with transcendentalism as the antithesis to thesis of Hegelianism, I would contend that transcendentalism is superior on its face and should have been adopted as the foundational philosophy in the ordering and development of governments around the world instead of as has been the case with the intractably faulty Hegelianism. With transcendental communism, the priorities are the reverse of Marxist/Hegelian communism insofar as with transcendental communism, public ownership is maximized in order to maximize every individuals freedom.  The role of the state should be, as much as possible, to create a blank slate on which its citizens can paint the tapestry of their lives. 

When touting the benefits of wealth, very often at the top of the list of benefits is the freedom that wealth brings. Wealth is said to allow the freedom to travel, sample different fine cuisines, pursue hobbies, live anywhere one chooses, enjoy the arts. Poverty, on the other hand, is a shackle of economic tyranny that strictly restricts freedom. If freedom, then, is a moral ideal, then is it fair to have in place a system of economics that allows so much poverty that prevents access to that ideal?

Some may argue that wealth disparity is necessary to provide motivation to work and come up with ideas that will either lift someone out of, or avoid poverty. The argument continues that those acts of work and idea generation that were used to avoid poverty also helped develop the rest of civilization that we all enjoy today but would not exist without the threat of poverty always hanging over the heads of those workers and idea generators and risk takers. I would counter that to make such an argument is to make the jackass fallacy that underestimates and over simplifies human nature as that which is only motivated by base instincts such as the pursuit of material wealth or avoidance of its lacking. All sorts of ironies can be found in the jackass fallacy, one of which is the fact that many of those activities that are considered the freedoms that wealth affords also involve a considerable amount of work. Sports such as squash that the wealthy are known to widely love involves a great deal of work, but those wealthy squash players never expect to be paid for all that work – instead the opposite is the case – they usually fork over a hefty sum of cash every month in a health club membership just for the privilege of engaging in all that work . While society may not benefit much from people playing squash, there are all sorts of hobbies, like woodworking for one that builds things of both practical and aesthetic value that people build without any compensation whatsoever. Another irony can be found in the fact that the wealthy, free-market advocates also seem to just love the philosophy of Ayn Rand. The irony there is that Rand did not herself commit the jackass philosophy, but instead touted the drive in individuals to create and achieve greatness in action. According to Rand, that 'drive' comes from within, not from without by way of the lure of wealth and avoidance of poverty. Nor where the heroes from the novels of Rand's favorite author, Victor Hugo, greedy, money hungry individuals. Something from within that was much greater and more noble than greed drove Victor Hugo's characters. With transcendental communism, the goal is to harness that noble drive to build the utopian ideal. All we have to do is create a government that gives people the opportunity and means to do the sort of work that each individual is driven to do. As an example, there could be government centers of invention, where the inventive minded citizens could be provided all the tools, supplies and space they need to build their prototypes. What those inventors create, if deemed useful, would then become public domain as far as intellectual rights go. No inventor would become rich off of their inventions, but I don't believe that greed is what drives inventors in the first place. I think one of the greatest inventors of all time, Nikola Tesla said it best when he stated "I do not think there is any thrill that can go through the human heart like that felt by the inventor as he sees some creation of the brain unfolding to success... Such emotions make a man forget food, sleep, friends, love, everything." As you can tell, I'm also using a rather liberal definition of the term 'communism.' I do not believe the government has to own all of the means of production for that government to at least be partially communistic. I recognize that competition can be a good motivating force. However, private ownership is not necessarily the only route to a healthy competition between producers of goods and services. There can always be some way of measuring performance between two or more government owned producers along with all the same pageantry that goes along with an athletic competition. The winner then would get bragging rights that could be cherished at least as much if not more than profitability by competing private companies. Additionally, in a competition for competitions sake, with the competing government companies, the employees would be more apt to share in any victory much the same as team members do in an athletic team achieving victory. With the current capitalistic system of private companies competing among themselves, the rank and file employees often don't feel much sense of victory or satisfaction even when their employer does better than any of its competitors. Most of the employees feel like mere grunt servants and are just happy to be able to keep their job as they live desperately from paycheck to paycheck. And when it comes to the top executives, many of them have more money than they could ever know what to do with and so it becomes primarily the challenge of the competition itself between their fellow executives that is what is now motivating them, not money. Not only do many have more money than they know what to do with, the list is long of individuals touted as some of the greatest and richest capitalists of all time that have lived a rather modest lifestyle that would be best described as upper middle class at most. Their motive clearly wasn't money. Their motive seems to be rather competition and the challenge itself of building a business. Well, couldn't that same sense of challenge also exist for building a government owned business? I don't see why not. Also, there is a distinct disconnect and confusion in the field of medicine where in the capitalistic system it is recognized and glorified that many if not most people who go in the field of medical research do so primarily out of desire to help others in finding a cure or better treatment for some horrible disease. And at the same time the medical field is still fundamentally profit motivated with the prevailing assumption persisting that the only way to motivate people to come up with cures is to provide the profit incentive, not the charitable incentive that is touted as the reason so many are trying trying to find a cure! So which motive is the one driving medical research? Money or altruism? The response one might hear is that altruism is motivating. Well, I believe that charity is enough of an incentive for researchers and profits get in the way of, more so than helps, in finding cures. Therefore, in the field of medicine, I believe the means of production should be much more government owned so that the pesky nuisance of constantly having to search for profits is no longer an obstacle and the focus can be solely on helping patients. Seeing how capitalism gets in the way of medical progress, there is clearly a need to expand socialized medicine well beyond what is currently employed. In medicine the people should indeed own all the means of production, and if necessary, distribution as well. Then all the focus can be solely on letting the researchers, scientists and visionaries in the field of medicine focus solely on finding cures without having to be pestered by the relentless bean-counters of capitalism.

I think whenever someone sees the term communism, people tend to automatically assume the word is referring to the system used by the so-called communist states of the former eastern block and some Asian nations. I say so-called because they are/were pseudo-communist nations that merely paid occasional lip service to communist principles to help build what was in reality a tyrannical oligarchy that only cared about gaining power and cared nothing about the welfare of the community they were governing.

Perhaps the biggest mistake was to use Karl Marx's philosophy on the relationship between a worker's labor and the material wealth created by that labor as a complete playbook for how to run an entire government system. I don't know if Marx ever even intended for his philosophy to be used as a complete system, but some did, and in doing so, left the door wide open to the abuse of power. And when it comes to political power, if you give an inch they take a mile - and a Marxian system gave several feet of leeway to the bureaucrats. And it's now historical record that the bureaucrats that got that leeway used it in such a horrific manner that the some of the pseudo-communist perpetrators such as Stalin and Pol Pot have become rightfully vilified as ordering some of the worst cases of mass murder not just in modern history, but in recorded history as well. The solution then is to implement a communist system measured by libertarianism. While most people automatically consider libertarianism and communism to be mutually exclusive, close examination reveals that not to be true at all. Instead, utilitarianism; the belief that it is acceptable to sacrifice justice for a few individuals for the betterment of the society at large, is the antithesis of libertarianism. But in a true communist system, there need not be any sacrifice of principles for the sake of the greater community good. If one is living within a civilized society then by doing so, the citizen agrees to an unwritten social contract to behave in a certain way based on the need for the society they live within to be labeled civilized. In any social contract there is never any allowance for the breach of any individuals inalienable rights for the sake of the common good. Built into the rules of the social contract are a respect for the rights of the individual insofar as the reason for civilization is as a vessel for precious souls sharing the experience of life. It is understood by the citizens that civilization is not the end in itself but rather the means to the end of an ideal for the individual to explore life. The so-called free market economy has never encouraged the greatest amount of freedom for the individual as the name implies. The term 'free market' is simply the re-branding of the out-of-favor term 'laissez-faire .' The term 'laissez-faire' went out of favor because it rightfully implied that that form of economy was designed to help the wealthy elite. One might wonder what the difference is between a free market economy and a laissez-faire economy and the answer is 'there is no difference.' It just sounds so much better to the common man a term that uses the word 'free.' Additionally, the common man has little to no inclination to go out of their way to be politically active in an effort to create an economy that will benefit primarily the elite as a laissez-faire system clearly does. But everyone wants to be free. And a cursory look at what the proponents say is a free market, one might think that getting the government off the backs of business will allow for more freedom in general. But in fact the opposite is the case insofar as the government is the only thing stopping business from exploiting workers and the environment to the point where the common man is a slave to the corporation that owns all the land to point where there are no more parks where the common man can roam free. Only a few plutocrats who own the remaining private land left have the ability to roam free in nature. Everyone else in a truly maximally free market is now in bondage to their owners who now own the workers and all the land. A free market encourages a sort of economic Darwinism where instead of survival of the fittest you end up with survival of the evilest where the business owner willing to stoop to the lowest moral level in aggressive tactics corners the markets and becomes indistinguishable from a mob boss.

It is ironic that free market proponents treat property rights with such a level of sacredness that they do when property rights are determined by the government. There is no necessary equivalency between legal property rights and moral property rights. Don't forget that slaves were considered legal property in the United States and Colonies for hundreds of years before it was made completely illegal. While some might argue that slavery violated obvious moral rights of the slaves themselves, I would counter that the hoarding of wealth and property in such a few hands violates the moral rights of the destitute cohabitants of the same land as the wealthy few. And Marx did a plenty good job arguing why the workers deserve a greater share of a nations material wealth than would necessarily occur under a market capitalist system. I think a case could be made that much of Marx's works were of an normative nature, arguing how things ought to be rather than just allowing for things to fall into place in a certain way according to an economic Darwinistic scenario. If we take as a given that to be a conservative means to conserve traditional moral values, then it should follow that Marx was a conservative insofar as he advocated for the conservation of the traditional value of fairness in the treatment of workers. And conversely it is the advocates for a free-market/laissez-faire economic system who are the liberals insofar as they advocate for the abandonment of the traditional value of fairness and instead allow for the return to a nihilistic state of nature system where 'might makes right' where predators are rewarded and the humble and meek are punished.

There has never been any mutual exclusivity between the communism I am advocating for and all types of capitalism. It should be clear from what I already wrote that communism already exists in the US, and capitalism obviously also has coexisted with communism in this country since this nations inception. In fact it has been communism that has allowed for commerce to flow as freely as the publicly owned freeways and waterways that act as medium for the commercial trade of material goods. It is no accident that communism and commerce have the same prefix. Commerce is simply a system that the community has agreed to foster because of its benefits to society without necessarily violating any of the citizens inalienable rights. There is a general consensus amongst the community that there is a certain degree of healthiness to competition that spurs on the sort of boot-strap entrepreneurial business building that helps create both opportunities for the entrepreneur and the customers of that businessperson in the community. There is no opposition from the community mindset against having a genuinely meritocratic system in place that rewards for innovation and hard work in bringing better products and services to the market. Correspondingly, a degree of allowance is made for risk-taking being built into the product or service cost that should be paid back to some degree upon purchase. Unfortunately, in modern capitalism, what has been done is a great deal of exaggeration of the risk-cost of any product or service to the extent that allowed for a rewarding for some businesspeople above and beyond the risk-cost of a product or service. That exaggeration of risk-reward balance has led to the sorts of wealth imbalance we have seen in western capitalist countries. It is rather the psuedocommunist states that glorify and demand obedience to a single figurehead that is mutually exclusive to a true communist state. By putting any one individual so far above all others you have a monarchy that goes against the social contract principles of a community acting in each others interests without violation of personal rights. It also goes against the general principle of equality for there to exist the worship of any one individual as has been the case in many of the psuedocommunist states in history where such reverence has been encouraged to the point where huge multistory posters of government figureheads have been put up in public places. When that happens, the society has devolved from being a commune to being a cult. And there are big differences between a commune and a cult. In a commune everyone has equal rights and equal say where consensus rules and nobody is held above others as is the case in a cult.

Utilitarianism has been, and continues to be used, as a justification for restricting the freedoms of individuals, in order further the goals of both capitalist and pseudo-communist systems. While many may be very familiar with the ways utilitarian principles have been used to justify communist tyranny - sending dissident writers to the gulag was justified by the belief that their authors beliefs presented an obstacle to reaching a utopian Marxists state, but few realize how often utilitarianism is used to justify restrictions on freedom because exercising that freedom is believed to result in lower revenue for certain industries. The most obvious example of this is the efforts by the music recording and motion picture industries to restrict the freedoms of individuals to copy, share and manipulate digital works as the individual sees fit in the privacy of their own home. The recording industry argues that it is OK to sacrifice the freedoms of the individual owners of copies of artistic or intellectual works, because if freedom were allowed in that case, society as a whole would lose out on future works because the creators of those works would no longer have the incentive to create because the guarantees of profit from those works would be gone. The problem with that argument is twofold. First is the mistake of prioritizing values whereby specific freedom of action is given a lower priority to vague theories about both to the benefits to society as a whole in the form of better arts and entertainment and improved profits garnered from sales that would have been lost to file sharing. Second, no attempt is made to prove that people would no longer create music without the incentive of money. Rather the theory is put forth and the legislatures consider the theory, especially a theory coming from large campaign contributor, sufficient justification for restricting the freedoms of individuals handling digital works. Therein lies the problem with utilitarianism: some theory about the benefits to society as a whole can always be thought up to justify any given restriction on freedom and justice for individuals. And typically there isn't any demand by lawmakers that the theories about societal benefit be in anyway corroborated with evidence. Rather if the theory makes any sense at all, by the principles of utilitarianism, it is justifiable to impose any degree of draconian laws that impose tyranny on a people, if it can be successfully argued that in the long run society will be better off for it. What ends up happening though is the government or corporate official puts forth the appealing utilitarian argument for the tyrannical measures while at the same time, being motivated by entirely different, selfish reasons for implementing the measures. If utilitarianism is allowed any acceptability by society, all that is required by the ruling elite to impose a harsh draconian tyranny onto the populace, is merely a little creativity to generate a useful fiction that the people will buy.

While some may argue that the injustice faced by those that can no longer file-share pales in comparison to the injustice endured by the millions of individuals sent to Stalin's gulags, I would counter that, in a way, we already effectively have our own sort of gulag system in this country in the form of the prison industrial complex. And there are many capitalists that benefit tremendously from our prison system, that since the start of the war on drugs, this country has incarcerated millions of citizens for engaging in the non-violent act of merely possessing or selling a substance that people wanted to use out their own free will in their own bodies. Industry groups that act either as vendors for government run prisons or operate privately run prisons, have lobbied legislatures to pass laws recommending or mandating longer prison sentences for non-violent drug offenders. The utilitarian justification presented for the longer prison sentences is that society as a whole will benefit by limiting the scourge of narcotic drug intoxication but undoubtedly the real reason for desiring the longer prison sentences is that it will result in more prisoners requiring more product and therefore more profit for the prison vendors and private prisons operators. It may be a very poor justification for the grave act of taking away someones freedom and putting them in a cage for years at a time, but therein lies the problem with utilitarianism - any excuse, reason or justification that has some appeal to the public can always be found with it for implementing tyrannical measures. But the actual reason for measure that would be unappealing to the public, can remain hidden by the tyrants.

Freedoms are something that should be held with a high degree of sacredness by those who are responsible for managing them. In a free society, it should be the freedoms that come as a first priority, and it should then be the problem of business and police to find ways to deal with the requirement of citizen freedom, not the other way around as it is quickly becoming in this country. In the communist system I envision, a society is organized to allow the most freedoms possible with the understanding that there is a certain degree of necessary scarcity in the world. In any given community, there is only so much space for roads, sidewalks and natural park areas on surface lands within the confines of that community. I think there is a degree of unwritten understanding by individuals of that fact already and has resulted in the open, widespread willingness of citizens to think there is a need for public roads, sidewalks and parks to use and enjoy and not think they should be converted to privately owned and operated entities with the same accompanying property rights by the owner as a homeowner has. But in a society that values capitalism and free enterprise while decrying communism so much, the properties owned and used by the public are rarely referred to as the 'peoples' as in 'the peoples sidewalk', or 'the peoples library'. Instead the leading term 'public' is used even though both 'the peoples' and 'public' used in the same contexts mean basically the same thing, regardless of whether you live in a communist country or a free market capitalist one.

I would contend that Stalin and company perverted and thus gave a bad image and reputation to the term 'communism' in much the same way as the Nazi's perverted the swastika symbol. Just as the swastika is one of the oldest known symbols that was used by mankind for literally thousands of years before the rise of the Third Reich, communism as a form of ordering society was used for thousands of years before the Communist Party was ever formed. In fact, communism is such a natural and fair way of running a community, that I believe it has been used throughout human history, recorded or not. I believe most native American societies were using a form of communism before the invasion by western Caucasians. Communism was such a common sense idea to the first nations peoples of this continent that they didn't really have a conception of land ownership like the colonists did. Rather, it was intuitively obvious to the native American peoples that the land was created for everyone to use in a responsible and respectful manner.

Ironically, it is our current system of income taxation that tends to drive the greatest anti-government sentiment among the populace that is also one of the most anti-communist policies ever invoked. For, it is through income tax as the primary source of federal government revenue that capitalistic enterprises are able to avoid the burden of funding the government through having their own profits taxed. Communism is communal, where consensus is the author of the social contract that writes government policy. The universal dislike of income taxes among the community of this country is the mandate for policy change whereby income tax becomes the last resort for government revenue rather than the first resort as is the current policy. There is a plethora of potential revenue streams other than income tax that are either not leveraged sufficiently or not accessed at all. The lack of effort to even bring to the table by either party any other significant revenue besides income tax demonstrates the entrenchment of crony capitalism within professional politics in this country. For there is two primary sources of potential government revenue, either from the worker or the capitalist. Both Democratic and Republican politicians have shown whose side they are on by largely letting the capitalists be freeloaders while burdening the hard workers of America with funding the government. One simple means of increasing government revenue would be to better leverage natural resource extraction from federal government owned lands. A good way to think of federal land is as being communally owned by a large investment group, namely, the citizens of the United States of America. While I generally support preserving rather than exploiting natural ares, if it is decided to extract natural resources from federal lands, it would make sense to maximize the return on such an extraction. But from my understanding, the mode of revenue generation from resource extraction on federal lands is to hold no-reserve auction for the rights to extract the resources from a given segment of federal lands or waters for a set amount of time and then let the private party winner of the auction reap as much bounty as they can from their segment, regardless of how much they paid for the rights to the segment. A private group of landowners, however, likely would never agree to such an arrangement as there would be no assurance in such a setup that their returns would be maximized. The land owners could literally be sitting on a gold mine and be giving away all the rights to the mine for a few thousand dollars. But it seems as though such an arrangement is par for the course when it comes to agreements that allow for private companies to come in and engage in natural resource extraction from our communally owned, federal lands. Don't forget that every dollar we as a people could save by maximizing our returns in any business arrangement is one less dollar that has to be extracted from the hands of the laborer through the taxation of labor.

Now the question arises as to how we can mover closer towards a communist system that maximizes individual freedom.  Mainstream libertarians today often make the mistake of confusing restrictions on large corporations with restrictions on individual citizens.  When anyone thinks of freedom they typically will have in mind the freedom of the individual to act in a certain way, whether that involve religious belief, political speech, or medical treatment for oneself and ones family members.  How many citizens, when they hear the word freedom, wax in their minds visions of allowing a large corporation the freedom to exploit the environment and workers and the freedom to pay their executives millions of dollars every year?  How many would see it as an outrageous violation of billionaire's inalienable rights if every one of them in this country were suddenly subject to a 90 percent asset tax.  Few would be outraged.  Instead, I think watching our most spoiled citizens throw tantrums as they watch their toys and vast fortunes get taken away would be so entertaining for the masses, it would be worthy of pay per view!  But nonetheless, we shouldn't rely on the entertainment value as a means of justifying any action by the government.  Fortunately, there already exists plenty of already accepted justifications for wealth redistribution that just need to be implemented to trigger the act of more fairly spreading the wealth and free the masses from the shackles of poverty or the dark clouds of potential poverty.  

I will next proceed with an attempt to first, justify a system of mass wealth redistribution and then second, provide some ideas for how to implement it.
Thesis
Given that it is inherently unfair that a small portion of the population has legal rights to a disproportionate amount of material wealth, modifications to the laws are necessary to correct the wealth imbalance. Careful modifications to the law will entail transferring a portion of some given legal rights from a wealthy party to poorer parties.

Justification

One of the primary barriers to direct wealth redistribution is a general belief by the public that taking the steps necessary are morally wrong. Of course, the plutocrats are all the more happy to perpetuate such a misconception. But, it must be kept in mind that there is not necessarily a congruence between the moral laws as set by the norms of society and the civil laws set by a legislature. The moral laws of society are the authors of the social contract that we all try to abide by. If there is a conflict between the moral laws and the civil laws, then, given that moral laws are necessarily following norms, then the imperative is to abide by the moral laws at the expense of the civil.

Due to the general frustration and lack of esteem and confidence in the US Congress, is it reasonable to believe that, in general, members of congress are acting fraudulently as representatives of their constituents? How could it be true that they are acting as our representatives and at the same time rank so low in public confidence polls? It would appear that, indeed, that lack of confidence is well earned given the poorly kept secret that members of congress are acting in their own self interested pursuit of campaign contributions in exchange for legislative favors. Congress then is engaging in fraud on the people just the same as an operator of a Ponzi scheme is engaging in fraud on the investors. In the case of a Ponzi, the schemer is said to be engaging fraudulently because he is dishonest in presenting to investors an investment that would be in the investors interests but instead is using the investors money to perpetuate the perpetrators lifestyle at the expense of the duped investors. In the case of congress there is a difference from a Ponzi in terms of where the fraud is occurring. With a Ponzi scheme the fraud is not using the investors money as the schemers claim. But in the case of congress, how the public's money is spent is a matter of public record and generally is presumably an accurate and honest accounting. The fraud perpetrated by Congress then, is in the goals of our legislative representatives. We elect the representatives to re present the interests of the group of citizens that form the state or congressional district that the congressperson is supposed to re present. The congressperson, then, is acting in a manner similar to lawyer that has been retained by a client to represent the clients interests. The law demands that in such a situation, the lawyer makes a good faith effort to achieve an end that matches the client's interests. Basically the fraud on the people is that Congress has as a goal to meet not, as they present, their constituent group's interests, but rather the goals of a select group of campaign contributors. Therefore, congress has a similarity to a Ponzi scheme insofar as they are using the investment of constituents votes not for the benefit of the voters as presented to them but rather towards the congressman’s own interests of prestige and the lifestyles that goes along with being a member of the US congress at the expense of the citizen's, the shareholder's of the United States. In the case of a Ponzi scheme, fraud prosecutions typically is a congruence between the social contract moral laws and civil laws mandating a clawback of any funds that investors, typically early investors, may have acquired above and beyond the funds that they put into the Ponzi scheme. Those early investors that got more out of the scheme than they put in are said to have benefited, albeit unwittingly, by way of fraud and therefore do not have the legal right to retain those extra dollars. Instead those early investors have to give back those extra dollars to the victims of the Ponzi scheme who ended up with less, usually much less, money than they put into what they thought was an investment.

We are currently living in a plutocracy that is fraudulently being presented as a representative democracy. A number of Americans have benefited tremendously from that fraud by becoming filthy rich at the expense of those citizens that have invested their lives in a country that they were misled into believing governed in a manner that was in the interests of all the constituents and not just a select few rich and powerful citizens. The current plutocratic system has been brought about by way of cronyism between elected politicians and business people acting as representatives of capitalist businesses. The cronyism has resulted in favoritism and protectionism of certain business interests that creates an unfair competitive business environment. This publicly sponsored racketeering has created a system that has not merely allowed a few bad apples to proliferate, but has pervaded the whole macroeconomic world so completely that it becomes impossible to extract those individuals and businesses that have acquired their fortune through fair and just means and not wittingly or unwittingly benefited from a corrupt and fraudulent system.

A wealth redistribution plan would therefore be a clawback from those members of the wealthy elite that have materially benefited from our plutocratic system that has been fraudulently misrepresented to the citizens as a democracy. Given that it is impossible to get extremely rich in America without taking advantage of the plutocratic fraud, all members of the extremely rich class shall be subject to clawbacks of their personal fortune.

Additionally, there already has been a strong case for the implementation of reparations for the long history of slavery in the United States. Wealth redistribution would simply be the an implementation of something like a 'reparations lite.' While in the case of slavery, the goal is to make up as completely as possible for the complete lack of compensation along with the obvious civil rights violations of slavery, wealth redistribution would amount to an attempt to make up for the difference between what the workers in the history of the United States made in compensation and the wages they should have received for their work. Some may argue that the cases of slavery and paid workers is completely different because slaves are forced to stay on the job and workers always have the option to leave the job that is unfair in its compensation and find another, better, fairer paying job. I would counter that there are enough similarities between slavery and supposedly voluntary employment to justify reparations in both cases. For one thing, the options of workers are often very limited by a number of factors, including where the workers may find themselves living, either by accident or birth. Some locations are effectively company towns where all the paying jobs are too low and the company owned retailers charge too high prices to the point where all the workers are living paycheck to paycheck and never are able to save up enough funds to afford to move out of that company town.

Additionally, built into the counter argument that a worker could just change jobs is an acknowledgment that some jobs do not pay a fair wage. And even if there was another job paying a fair wage available that any worker who applied, would get hired for, that fact in no way rights the wrong of the employer that pays an unfair wage. If any action is morally wrong, then the failure of any potential victim to protect themselves from that wrong, does not in any way absolve the wrongdoer from victimizing their easy prey. Might does not make right. If it did then those big strong adults that victimize children in various ways would be justified in doing so because the adult, of course, is mightier than any small innocent child. Thus, if it is acknowledged that a fair wage exists for any given job, then it is imperative that the employer pay at least that much regardless of the tendency, or lack thereof, for the worker to 'shop around' for the same job from different employers.

While it should be fairly easy to determine who is and who is not a descendent of slaves in the US, the task of determining who is a descendent of, or currently is, an unfairly paid worker would be rather daunting, at best. The past and present unfair compensation of workers, should then be merely another in a long list of justifications for the general practice of wealth redistribution. Going forward, this new policy of mandatory fair pay will never allow the policy to turn into a lazy hazard. (I have, of course, made up my own term of 'lazy hazard' to replace what I believe to be a flawed term 'moral hazard.' I always thought the word 'moral hazard' was vague, at best, in conjuring up an idea of what was being referred to based on the two words in the term. I mean, given the great myriad of possible instances that might fall under the term 'moral,' couldn't a better term at describing the hazard involved, be arrived at.) I think that the assumption that a fair living wage would be guaranteed for all jobs would lead to the lazy hazard of complacency among employees who would now think that they no longer had an incentive to work hard to get ahead and achieve that well paying job, by way of merit, commits what is known as the jackass fallacy. The jackass fallacy is the belief that humans, like an animal such as a donkey or lab rat only behaves according to either the carrot of compensation dangling in front of them to chase after or the stick ready to swat the behind of the jackass if he starts going too slow. The jackass fallacy is a fallacy because it ignores the complex nature of human nature and corresponding motivational factors that play into human behavior. I find it very interesting and ironic how it is these financial 'bean counters' that are so respected for their opinions on complexities of human motivation – it is as though being a master of spread sheets and financial charts somehow provides some deep insight into the human mind – how that could be possible, I have no idea. It is like giving a heavy weight of importance into a treatise on human nature written by the pre-epiphany Ebeneezer Scrooge. I think something other than the carrot or stick is what drives human behavior. I think, we can look to current and past human behavior to recognize the non-monetary motivations are predominant.

Implementation

Whether the process be called a 'claw back' or 'reparations,' my proposal is to initiate the following:

  • Redraw the border lines of factory farms in such a way that a portion of the land that what was titled to the wealthy landowners, whether they be private individuals or some organization such as multinational corporation, will now be titled to a cooperative of small organic farmers. Much of the parcels within the new cooperative shall be designated for those new or returning to farming after living in an urban setting but wishing to live and work the land in the country. Every attempt will be made to draw the new borders in such a manner that the best land for suited for small scale farming will be reserved for the new cooperatives. While the new land may not be organic, the farmers in the cooperative will simply need to demonstrate that they growing in an organic manner and thus will achieve the official status of organic farming as quickly as the standards and laws governing organic farming allow. Additionally, every attempt will also be made to find locations for the new farms that are as close as possible to existing small town farming centers. In doing so, hopefully a symbiotic relationship can be achieved between the new residents that need the goods and services that a town provides, and a small town that likely will dearly appreciate the new found business income that the residents of the new cooperative would provide (the income would be new because those factory farms had few if any human resident tenants tending the land, whereas the cooperatives would be resident dense due to the small size and high number of parcels, each tended by at least one human.) While some may wonder if there will be enough individuals to fill all the new cooperative parcels, I think there is a surprising number of people who yearn for the halcyon days of the small family farm that were so commonplace throughout this country's history up until the modern era. This sentimental vision of the small family farm and the associate small country town that seems to permeate the collective conscious and unconscious minds of so many Americans, could be awakened and enhanced through a marketing campaign designed to fill the parcels with tenants eager to leave the hectic lives of urban living and return to their heritage roots of a quieter, more tranquil existence on the serene country farm.

  • Many of the wealthy citizens might tend to complain about all the hassle that would be involved in determining whether or not they would be subject to redistribution of the property that the law up to now has designated as being in their name – their complaint would be that they are effectively being forced into doing their taxes twice. To avoid such an undo hardship on the wealthy, the government shall do all the work of determining what material wealth will be redistributed, how much, and where all that wealth will be redistributed to. The government will also take care of the payment of these new wealth redistribution taxes. By taking care of the payment for the individual or organization subject to the tax, I mean that the individual will simply be notified about how their wealth will be altered and then the government will simply either make an electronic funds transfer from the account of the previous wealthy owner to the poorer recipient or the municipal property records will be altered so that all or a portion of the land will change the name of the property owner from the name of the wealthy individual to the poorer individual or individuals. It will be made to be a very easy process for the rich people for whom there likely will be no material change in their existence, but for the recipients of the distributions, the material changes will be very noticeable and enjoyable.

  • Due to their long history of tax avoidance and environmental degradation, the entire oil industry shall be subject to clawbacks and reparations that will amount to the entire industry changing ownership over to either the general public or to the specific victims of the oil industries exploitations. Any landowner that is not already wealthy and has had oil rigs on their property not owned by them but has been at that location longer than ten years as a leaser shall take possession of the oil rig and the rights to all the future oil derived from the rigging. Otherwise, all oil refining facilitates, oil rigs, both on and offshore, pipelines, tanks, freighters, shall be transferred over to the general public as owners.

  • Every effort will be made to allow wealthy owner occupied domiciles to continue to be occupied by the owner of that property. However, especially extravagant mansions may have to be partitioned into low income apartments. Fortunately for the rich person who now finds his mansion subdivided into apartments for poor people, while he wont receive any rental income from those new tenants, he will be allowed to continue to live in the nicest parts of the house. Additionally, good sound proofing of the walls adjoining the owners section and apartments will be utilized. As an added plus, separate entrances will be provided for the owner and tenants. The new tenants will also be discouraged from pan handling the owner.

  • Any wealthy individual that deliberately engages in the hiding of wealth for the purposes of wealth redistribution avoidance, will not be subject to criminal prosecution but shall be subject to civil actions potentially carried to point of evictions from their own homes and being rendered homeless. In order to avoid such civil actions from being too Draconian, the newly homeless wealthy individuals shall be assigned a mentor that is an ongoing seasoned veteran of homelessness and thus will be able to 'show the ropes' to the plutocrat so that he or she will be able to live on the streets with some degree of comfort and street smarts.

  • While some of the funds will be directly deposited into individual and organizational accounts, a large portion will be devoted to direct public employment programs for those that either could not find work in the private sector or would prefer civil service. Many of these new positions are jobs typically done by either volunteers or individuals serving community service court sentences. However these new positions would expand into areas that involved work done by the traditional public employee if it was done at all. While a great deal of new jobs would need to be found to achieve a goal of virtually full employment, fortunately there is a plethora of things that need to get done that would make the world a better place. But for a lot of those jobs that need to be done there is currently either not enough volunteers and public workers or not enough public dollars to get anywhere near full completion of all those jobs. Some of those jobs shall include:

    • The abatement of buckthorn and other noxious invasive plants from public and private lands. So far despite the best efforts of volunteers, private landowners and public parks departments, buckthorn continues to nearly over run a great deal of our countries woodlands. Buckthorn has become so pervasive that it almost seems like its full abatement could temporarily provide full employment for the entire unemployed masses of this country.

    • Litter and garbage removal along rivers and streams.

    • Painting and general upkeep of public structures from mail boxes to bridges.

    • Filing and other paperwork relief for traditional government office workers.

      • Gardening and landscape work on public grounds.

      • Various odd jobs around government offices and land.


 


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