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Posts Tagged ‘socialism’

I have engaged in an interesting chain of discussions lately that led to an further interesting chain of thoughts.

One of the first conversations dealt with the American Civil War and the effects it had on the 9th and 10th amendments, state’s rights and federalism.  One of the responses from someone at work to this comment was that it started long before, and that basically the civil war was just a final nail in the coffin.  And it is true, the fight between Federalists and Anti-Federalists started very early in our country’s history and led to the adoption of the Bill of Rights as well as it’s inclusion of those two amendments.

A subject that seems to come up a lot lately is the nature of the Federal Reserve system and possibly putting an end to it.  Yet problems with central banks aren’t new either.  Andrew Jackson fought against the National Bank (founded with help from Alexander Hamilton) for reasons very similar to what we are hearing today in regards to the Federal Reserve.

Other discussions ongoing over the last few years focus on the ‘redistribution of wealth‘ issues.  These too have included reference as far back as the founding fathers, even going back to church dogma in the gospels of Christ and before.

Another, more recent conversation focused on the ‘great unwashed’ speaking of people who tend to abdicate individual responsibility to instead follow charismatic leaders.  Instead of thinking for themselves, they echo whatever viewpoints ‘feel’ the most compelling to them.  This discussion focused on the fact that such people always seem to exist and without compelling them in the right direction, even the best ideas of morals, ethics, governance and the like will never have success.

In other words, ignore the people who act as sheep and someone else may not be as willing to ignore them and may ultimately sway them against you.  Looking back over time, the method of governance historically speaking, generally involves ‘popular’ movements and exercising of force.

The gist of the second discussion was that a sound government will not continue to exist if you cannot maintain popular opinion in support of it.  That opinion may be founded in the minds of irrational individuals who do not consider the philosophical issues and do not think beyond reciting what others say.  Being ‘right’ and ‘objectively accurate’ in both your arguments and conclusions will not do you a lot of good if no one listens to your arguments or shares those conclusions.  Or at least supports your right to exercise them freely.

Do all the right things, earn your own way, take responsibility for yourself and you will still be left with nothing if someone convinces a mob that they have the right to the results of your hard work.  Minding your own business will only take you so far.  You still need to live in a world where other people will ‘let’ you mind your own business.  To this end, it becomes necessary to play a role in influencing public opinion as a facet of your own self-interest. (whether it be ‘right’ or not that you need to do so.  Is what is – wish all you want, an inspired mob can still overpower a righteous individual by force)

Thus came up the subject in these discussions, “if these forces have been at play for so long, why are they becoming an issue ‘now’?”  And by ‘now’ in that context, I refer to the past century.

If you take the end of the Civil war as a general turning point, you can see a steady, downward trend in state’s rights, individual rights, individual freedoms and expanding government.  Sure, you can see some forms of it before that, but the rate of change seems to be increasing.

There was Theodore Roosevelt and the introduction of progressive policies, the adoption of the 16th amendment establishing a federal ‘income tax’, Woodrow Wilson and the Federal Reserve Act,  Franklin Delano Roosevelt and the New Deal, Lyndon Baines Johnson and the Great Society, James Earl Carter and the creation of the Department of Education all way up to ObamaCare.

So why is it becoming more problematic within the last 100 years? What I arrived at was one word.  ‘Frontiers

All those things I listed above followed the expansion of the US over geography of what pretty much constitutes the modern US borders.  Prior to that chain of events occurring, there were still large expanses of unclaimed, undeveloped or otherwise frontier based land.

Why is this important?  Well, if you didn’t like what government was doing in your particular state or part of the country, you could pack up your bags, load up your wagon and head for the American Frontier to take your chances and start anew.  We’ve all heard the stories about the ‘Wild West” – all the stories about people creating their ‘own law’ or being outright lawless, all the stories romanticizing the good guy vs. the bad guy, the black hats vs. the white hats, even the frontiersman vs. the native savages (with all due respect to native Americans, I refer more to the symbolism of the civilized/rational world versus a barbaric/primitive world view).

But now the frontiers are gone.  People and nations are forced to draw their lines in the sand.  Yeah, these forces against individual freedom and liberty have always existed, but we are running out of places to go to get away from it.  People are increasingly being confronted with the nature of government as they can no longer escape it.

I’d like to make a few predictions.  If new frontiers open, be they space or living on/in the oceans or in the sky, people will flock to them in droves to form newer, freer societies.  If new frontiers do not open, it will result in the ultimate confrontation between the state and the individual – and will suck the entire world into that fight.

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

Q: Do ‘you’ support socialist reforms?

On a number of occasions recently I have found myself explaining various choices in my life that for lack of a better way of putting it have been akin to the ‘Life of Galt”. Even true fans of Rand will still point out to me that “it’s simply a work of fiction”, to which I explain that they were choices I was making even before reading the book.
What kinds of things am I talking about? Well here’s a short list of examples:

  • I have not watched more than 30 minutes of ‘network’ television or purchased a mainstream newspaper in going on 4 years
  • I no longer have any bank accounts or credit cards. My money is tied up in either tangible assets, utility based assets and a couple of money market accounts (not run by ‘banks’). I do have debit-cards tied to the money markets but seldom use them.
  • I only purchased one ‘new’ vehicle in my life time and probably never will again. I take my time when I need a new car, buy used and pay cash.

There are plenty of other items I could list, but I just want to set a basis for what I am about to address.

OK, so what?

A lot of folks that could be classified in the ‘hard working’ and ‘honest’ category of life complain about government, socialist reforms, taxes, etc. They should! They work hard for what they earn and people with political power are taking increasing portions of it.  The current complaint is about increasing social welfare or, in essence, socialization of America.  It is important, however, to examine the cause.

Ideas like socialism don’t exist because poor people want what belongs to the rich. “Crime” exists because poor people want what belongs to the rich. Socialism is proliferating because rich and powerful people either allow it or promote it – and the two are distinct and separate groups (the allowers vs the promoters). Then, in turn, socialist reforms ‘succeed’ in gaining support for the obvious reason: the poor like how it sounds… “Free stuff!”

When making arguments against socialist reforms, the ‘hard working’ folk implore the beneficiaries (welfare recipients, etc.) to ‘do for themselves’. If the implication is that the recipients of social welfare are lazy, then would it not stand to reason that ‘working’ to them would be tantamount to a ‘sacrifice’? If you don’t like work, and someone is handing you free stuff… why work???

But guess what, free stuff isn’t free. It has to be paid for.

And who’s paying for it? The hard working folks!

And why do you work hard? Any number of reasons;

  • to get what you need or want,
  • for the sense of achievement,
  • to achieve specific goals or gain respect,
  • to achieve enough wages and goods to feel more secure

any or all which equate to “it is of value to you to earn for yourself”.  So why are you upset? Because another beyond your control is taking what you find of value.  Did you ever stop to think that maybe a lazy person in some twisted or subconscious way finds value in their laziness?

For right or for wrong, therefore, asking them to ‘work for themselves’ is asking them to give up their value to seek your value in ‘working for yourself.’  It just makes sense right?  OK, so why then are you are not willing to give up your value (the sense of achievement, security, property, etc.) to stand for what you believe as well?

ManCarryingBoxOnBackI may not be the best at communicating this concept, but it just strikes me as odd that the achievers are asking (rightfully so) for those in the position of receiving social welfare to do what can amount to a ‘lot’ (overcoming various hardships, social stigmas, adverse circumstances and simple ingrained patterns of behavior) to arrive at their (the achievers) ideal… but at the same time the achievers will just blindly accept being enslaved to support policies they abhor just to maintain their own sense of right.

Does this sound extreme?  In essence it is saying ‘stop achieving!’  Most would not think of it – it goes against all they believe.  Or does it?

Has anything else you have tried done anything to achieve your desired ideal? Complaining about it has done little to slow the growth and support of social reforms as the last century or more can attest. More and more people are gaining an ‘entitlement’ mentality. Going to the voting booth hasn’t seemed to slow it either.

The reality is, those that ‘achieve’, support the growth of socialist policies!  And whatever power(s) they have left are doing little to abate the growth of further social reforms.

Would it not make more sense to re-examine your ideals, re-visit the realities of this growing movement, consider your own role as it’s enabler and then figure out how you can make ‘personal sacrifices’ (free choices) as not to be it’s willing participant?

If weeds are growing out of control in your garden because you put down fertilizer to feed your plants, would you continue to fertilize the whole thing (and thereby promote more weeds) or would you find a way to kill the weeds first?

Think about it!  Any man (or woman) that is resourceful enough to excel in art, science, business, etc. should be able to find more than enough creative ways to not allow the ‘system’ that is growing out of control to make them a willing participant.

When the greek god Atlas challenged the status quo of the gods of Olympus, he was relegated to use his strength to support the entirety of the heavens and the universe at the behest of Zeus. Rather than continuing to defy the gods, he accepted his fate carrying the burden of all existence on his shoulders.

But what if Atlas had merely shrugged?

(see also: “I’ve been workin’ on the railroad“)

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Change is something that a great many people resist even if it is called for or necessary. Traditions represent ‘comfortable expectations’. Even if the end results of traditions could be improved by making changes, people generally tend to favor old routines.

First you have to represent a need for change. Most people will seek change amidst hardship. Wait for a crisis or at least create the perception of one. (or perhaps even create one) Unemployment, the recession, poverty, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, crime, education, global warming, ozone depletion, global famine, natural disasters, global threat of terror, etc. etc. etc.

Second, denounce old ways of doing things. Slowly but surely build up disdain and apprehension for traditions and past times. In an information age, media technology is now mightier than either the pen or the sword.
Negatively taint the notions that once inspired pride. Champion and repeat ad nauseum any notions that support the change or that will help demonize the alternative. Infiltrate mechanisms that help facilitate such promotion, and limit access to those mechanisms for opposing views. Even change the meanings of words themselves.
Profit is bad, taxes are good. Selfishness is bad, sacrifice is good. Individual prosperity and freedom (when others are suffering) is bad, prosperity (as defined by the movement) for the masses is good. Being accountable for one’s self is bad, depending on government for everything is good…. Really???

Finally you need to gain support for the suggested change. Demonize people who support opposing ideals or back traditional means. Treason! Traitor. You hope change fails? I hope your kidneys fail. (paraphrased) We’ve all seen the stories. Who are the demons today? Limbaugh? Hannity? Beck? Lavin? O’Rielly? Coulter? Even Joe the Plumber and Miss California, Carrie Prejean got pulled through the ringer for just saying one sentence that didn’t fit the mold.

America is great, not because we all bow down to a flag or kiss up to a leader. America is great because it was founded, guided and has always been based upon certain ‘ideas’ and ‘ideals’. Ideals that work and make sense; personal responsibility, personal accountability, individual liberty, right to expression, right to associate, right to write about all of the above.
And yes, America can remain great if and only if we remember that this list includes and requires the right and responsibility to defend against any and all challenges to any and all of the previous!

America will NOT remain great if ‘change’ represents advocating personal responsibility and accountability (to the government), taking away individual liberty for political expedience or (government-provided) ‘security’, limiting expression to what is ‘politically correct’, preventing association if it is not ‘all inclusive’ (as spelled out by government mandate) or restricting the press to what is deemed ‘fair’.
And no, it will not remain great if we limit the ability to defend it to a chosen few, again, selected and appointed by government.

Don’t buy it, don’t fall for it. Think for yourselves. Learn for yourselves. Choose for yourselves.

Yes we can? NO we shouldn’t!

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There’s a lot of talk and the start of action to the end result of ‘changing’ America. So what would it take to ‘change’ America? Rather than focusing on the actual steps of change, let’s focus on the pre-requisites.

Change is something that a great many people resist even if it is called for or necessary. Traditions represent ‘comfortable expectations’. Even if the end results of traditions could be improved by making changes, people generally tend to favor old routines.

In case you haven’t figured it out by now, I tend to look at the world philosophically. I don’t simply do to do, I stop an try to examine why. Whether that be for the purposes of repeating honored traditions or before venturing to take part in a change to those traditions. If a change would be an improvement, then by all means do it. If a tradition makes sense, then “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”

It is more than likely that although I can’t say I recognize as much introspection and skepticism in most Americans, I do see at least a general desire to ‘do what is best’. Unfortunately the lack of the former misleads the latter. So, how do you set about ‘changing America’?

First you have to represent a need for change. Most people will seek change amidst hardship.

There are many types of people in this world, and in addition to those that want to ‘do what is best’ there are also those that have other motives. Perhaps ‘do what is best for them’ or to do what is best as defined by some idealistic view they have. If you desire change when most others do not, taking advantage of a crisis is a good time to interject your ideas. (Something else to consider, if you are already in a position of power sufficient enough to present and possibly implement changes, in lieu of a crisis to help facilitate them it might be in your self-interest to either create one or belay preventing same)

Second you have to represent that the ‘need’ for change is necessary by a given party in a situation. i.e. do we need to change how we behave, or perhaps the problem is the result of how another behaves therefore we need to change how we prepare and ultimately react or respond to their behavior.

Third, you need to get the individuals involved to feel a personal responsibility in one way or another; be it complicity, complacently or as a result of apathy – whether you use guilt or idealistic rhetoric. You need to convince people that they can or should make a difference in what they support and what they do and generally make them feel responsible for either what they have done or what they failed to do.

Finally you need to gain support for the suggested change. It has to be shown as better (or the alternative shown as ‘worse’) than the traditional way of doing things. If there are other suggestions, you have to show your suggestion as superior (or the others worse). This is an important epistemology here!

———-

So to change America:

* wait for a crisis or at least create the perception of one. (or perhaps create one)

Unemployment, the recession, poverty, drug abuse, alcohol abuse, crime, education, global warming, ozone depletion, global famine, natural disasters, global threat of terror, etc. etc. etc.

* denounce old ways of doing things, focus on the negative, ignore the positive.

Slowly but surely build up disdain and apprehension for American traditions and past times. This is a big one because we live in an information maelstrom where the media technology is now mightier than either the pen or the sword.

Capitalist is a bad word

Capitalist is a bad word

Demonize or otherwise negatively taint the notions that once inspired pride. Build a cloud of suspicion or questions of morality up in regards to defending the status quo – twist the notions being brought up when defending or supporting those ideals.
Champion and repeat ad nauseum any notions that support the ideals behind any changes proposed or that will help demonize any alternative. Infiltrate or take control of any mechanisms that might help facilitate such promotion, and in the process limit access to those same mechanisms by any means possible for opposing views. “stack the deck” in your favor as it were.
Make the words themselves that support your principles all but holy and the words of the opposition evil or even banned. (PC anyone?)
Profit is bad, taxes are good. Selfishness is bad, sacrifice is good. Individual prosperity and freedom (when others are suffering) is bad, prosperity for the masses (as defined by politicians and even when there’s no real basis to assume achieving it) is good. Being accountable for one’s self is bad, depending on government for everything is good.

* demonize people who support opposing ideals or back traditional means.

Treason! Traitor. You hope change fails? I hope your kidneys fail. (paraphrased)
You’ve all followed the stories. Who are the demons today? Limbaugh? Hannity? Beck? Lavin? O’Rielly? Coulter? Even Joe the Plumber and Miss California Carrie Prejean got pulled through the ringer for just saying one sentence that didn’t fit the mold.

Far be it from me to support notions of nationalism. I agree with Penn Gillette on this one. “Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country? I don’t owe Jack Shit to my country!!” Don’t support causes – whether they be causes for change or causes for tradition – without asking why, and examining the facts. Don’t fall for the hype, learn the basis, seek prior examples, review the analysis then decide for yourself!

America is great, not because we all bow down to a flag or kiss up to a leader. America is great because it was founded, guided and has always been based upon certain ‘ideas’ and ‘ideals’. Ideals that work and make sense; personal responsibility, personal accountability, individual liberty, right to expression, right to associate, right to write about all of the above.
And yes, America can remain great if and only if we remember that this list includes and requires the right and responsibility to defend against any and all challenges to any and all of the previous!

America will NOT remain great if ‘change’ represents advocating personal responsibility and accountability (to the government), taking away individual liberty for political expedience or (government-provided) ‘security’, limiting expression to what is ‘politically correct’, preventing association if it is not ‘all inclusive’ (as spelled out by government mandate) or restricting the press to what is deemed ‘fair’.
And no, it will not remain great if we limit the ability to defend it to a chosen few, again, selected and appointed by government.

Don’t buy it, don’t fall for it. Think for yourselves. Learn for yourselves. Choose for yourselves.

Yes we can? NO we shouldn’t!

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

Many forces in society strive to make life more hassle free. We see everything from safety standards and litigation to rules and regulations. There are drug laws which although meant to address collateral damages from drug abuse, also exist to prevent people from damage to themselves from using them. There are OSHA standards, labor laws, health inspectors and review boards. Cigarettes for years have had warning labels and the past few decades have seen extremely large lawsuits with large financial settlements to smokers.
Some would like to see the abolition of personal ownership of firearms, and although they cite crimes committed (generally with guns obtained illegally and obviously ‘used’ illegally) with guns but the same people also regularly cite accidents and crimes-of-passion in their arguments. The past has seen prohibition. Generations have lived through a growing welfare state. (yet no real reduction in poverty)
In just about any case, regardless of the rules in place, things still go wrong, people still do bad or foolish things and get hurt. But why stick to just health and safety issues while we are at it?

Well, of course, if some had their wait we wouldn’t. Recent years have seen talk of restricting fat in foods and perhaps even punishing makers of foods deemed ‘bad’.

Many people make choices for any number of different reasons. I can recall back in high school taking a skills evaluation – a couple of them in fact. Just about every one I took recommended that I should probably become an accountant. Maybe I should have been required to become one? How wonderfully utilitarian!
Now we see a government that is willing to decide what legal advice is deemed good and bad, and gesturing to levy real punishments for that they denote in the ‘bad’ category. The same can be said for investments and profiteering.

We are being told how to be responsible for the environment – green is in! We are told what we can throw away and how, told what we can drive and what fuels our vehicles can use, told how to eat, how to prepare our food, what is good and bad to eat – not simply what’s good for us, but what is moral and right! They tell us how we should protect ourselves and our families, how to manage our health care, what is deemed good business, how to invest and save for retirement, how not to get sick, how to travel abroad, what to do in a storm, when to wash our hands, what words are proper to say and what words are not, what entertainment we ‘should’ be listening to, how to treat other people!

Of course people have advice and criticism all the time. It is the nature of the human condition. “Opinions are like assholes” someone once said – “everyone has one and most of them stink!” But the modern equivalent of an opinion evolves into a government program, which equates to a mandate backed by penalty – whether that penalty is penal, fiduciary or through severe social and personal repercussions. Where does it all end? Do they really think they legislate away stupidity?

Freedom means the right to do as you choose, even if that choice is not the best choice! If you support the cause of freedom, you must stand up for the right of people to make (and require them to live by) the wrong choice or the bad choice right along side the righteous and good!

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This post has come up a few times recently – no one that supports social-reform has even ventured an attempt at answering the question so I thought it was worthy to repost.


Our country is seeing a growing support of socialist (marxist) policy changes. Just about any way you cut it, such governance is taking from one that ‘has’ to give to one that ‘has not’. Last time I checked, taking from someone is stealing. Progressive taxation seems to be the current method (and euphamism) being used (taxing more the people who earn more). Are not the people who earn more the people who work harder or are the most successful in most cases?
And when it comes to taxation, even though the connection is more subtle when applied to a people who try for the most part to abide the law of the land, the fact is taxation ultimately comes down to government taking from the governed at the point of a gun. (don’t believe me? refuse to pay your taxes, refuse to answer the summons you receive as a result and see how long it takes for someone with a badge and a gun to show up at your door)
Besides the obvious insanity of punishing achievement, how can you morally justify taking from one group and ‘redistributing’ it to another?

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Originally posted to Facebook Notes
Published in the Ann Arbor News
We’ve all heard the outrage from the current majority in the congress about the bonuses being received by AIG executives. The rally cry is to give it all back. So let’s take a look at one of these groups and examine the facts…. 

The group to which I refer have managed to get into leadership positions and are obviously taking advantage of those positions for great personal gain. Most of them started out wealthy and are using their authority to leverage lucrative bonuses to further expand their wealth. The average salary is about $160,000 but the average ‘self-worth’ of this group ranges around 18 million dollars and has been steadily increasing.over the last few years. In addition to the benefits these folks receive as a result of their jobs they also utilize their position to leverage other wealth through investments, writing books or doing speaking engagements.
Their retirement plans are the envy of most ‘common’ americans. Yet they still keep asking for more while taking advantage of the organizations they work for and the people who depend on those organizations. And of course it is public funds that are being used to keep their salaries at these rates.

Am I talking about the CEO’s at AIG? No I am not. I am talking about the United States Senate. As long as they are pointing fingers at the ‘evil rich’ it is about time we hold them to their own standards! Demand your senators to give back what they made last year and see how long it takes for them to hang up the phone on you!

http://www.opensecrets.org/pfds/index.php

Average wealth for members of the US Congress

Average wealth for members of the US Congress

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes

Our country is seeing a growing support of socialist (marxist) policy changes. Just about any way you cut it, such governance is taking from one that has to give to one that has not. Last time I checked, taking from someone is stealing. Progressive taxation seems to be the current method being used (taxing more the people who earn more). Are not the people who earn more the people who work harder or are the most skilled in most cases?
And when it comes to taxation, even though the connection is more subtle when applied to a people who try for the most part to abide the law of the land, the fact is taxation ultimately comes down to government taking from the governed at the point of a gun. (don’t believe me? refuse to pay your taxes, refuse to answer the summons you receive as a result and see how long it takes for someone with a badge and a gun to show up at your door)
Besides the obvious insanity of punishing achievement, how can you morally justify taking from one group and ‘redistributing’ it to another?

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Originally posted to Facebook Notes

I have always had a problem with militant environmentalism. Especially when such extreme activism is nothing more than a facade for anti-industrialism or anti-capitalist socialism. But there is something more fundamental in those words that I have a problem with. This involves two preconceptions that those words represent.

The first preconception is that the ‘world needs saving’.

I have no doubt that there are areas of the world could use some help. I have seen for myself, as well as volunteered for, many projects dedicated to improving environmental conditions in various places around my community. Whether it be the River Rouge clean up, Paint Creek revitalization or building trout structures on the Ausable river. But the whole world???

Part of this stems from the limited capacity of the human mind as well as the arrogance of the human ego. The arrogance itself is also two fold. One part being the arrogance to assume that we, as a civilization that has existed in an industrialized state for less than 2 centuries can ‘screw up’ something that has been self-maintaining for 3.5 BILLION years. The second being, that if the entire world was in trouble, that we, as a civilization could do anything to stop it.

This does not mean that we can’t screw up small portions of it or that we shouldn’t try to clean up those parts we screw up. But this also does not equate to ‘saving the world’.

The second preconception is more subtle, but as a result, more insidious. Pure and simple, it begs the question that ‘if’ the world does need saving, it needs saving from whom? In short, the words are anti-humanistic. The only possible subject in that statement is to ‘save the world’ – from guess who – us!

As a result, I am highly suspect and critical of any group that asks me to ‘save the world’

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Originally posted on Facebook Notes
Published in the Ann Arbor News*

I have been trying to spread a new notion to anyone that will listen. There is a problem inherent in our culture that is allowing a dangerous kind of thinking to resonate. It is a misinterpretation embedded within the very mythos that makes up modern thinking….

The best example comes from the story of Robin Hood that is one of the truly unique mythologies of western culture. I start by asking people if they are familiar with the story of Robin Hood then asking them what his claim to fame was?

Most people will answer this question by replying “he stole from the rich and gave to the poor” – and herein lies the problem. That is a misconception, and that is the reason certain types of political suggestions take hold. Re-examine the story of Knottingham and re-learn it’s message.

Robin Hood was in essence a tax evader. Robin Hood was basically a grass roots motivator who led an anti-establishment rebellion. What he and his merry men were known for doing was not stealing from the ‘rich’ but “taking back” from the government what rightfully belonged to the people. He did not, in fact, steal from the rich to give to the poor, he stole from the oppressor to give back to the oppressed!

Most people view the story of Robin Hood as noble, heroic and just – and they should! But until people begin to understand the truth of that story they will not be able to comprehend the truth of what really is noble to be doing now.

Pass this along with my permission!

(*for some reason the ‘author’ on the archive of piece is mis-attributed now that the Ann Arbor News is no more and it’s op-eds nothing more than an archive.  I have contacted their webmaster but they don’t seem very responsive when it comes to correcting the archived content, but I assure you that  I was the author.) 


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