Saturday, April 21, 2012
Related to this is another contradiction peculiar to Liberal peace advocates—their unthinking embrace of tax-supported government progams in the name of equality, justice, etc. Liberals seldom seem to acknowledge that behind the tax collector is someone with a gun ready to put you behind bars if you don't pay up and to kill you if it comes to it. As Voltairine de Cleyre put it one hundred years ago: " ... even when the State does good things, it finally rests on a club, a gun, or a prison, for its power to carry them through."
Lost, too, is the lesson of Mohandas K. Gandhi: "The State represents violence in a concentrated and organized form. The individual has a soul, but as the State is a soulless machine, it can never be weaned from violence to which it owes its very existence." And as Paulo Freire wrote more recently: "Welfare programs ... ultimately serve the end of conquest. They act as an anesthetic, distracting the oppressed from the true causes of their problems and from the concrete solutions of these problems. "
American Liberals ought to embrace the political approach of Conservatives who don't want tax funds used to support abortion and apply that to their opposition of US foreign wars but that's unlikely to happen. If Liberals embraced that principle they would have to reject their paternalism and embrace of force as a means to their ends.
Any way I digress. What set me to thinking about all this was something I read today in Samuel Noah Kramer's History Begins at Sumer: Thirty-Nine Firsts in Recorded History (U Penn Pr, 1981). At least 3,762 years ago, some Sumerian scribe wrote down this bit of wisdom:
You can have a lord, you can have a king,
But the man to fear is the tax collector!
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