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When the Middle is Gone

There once was a country known as the United States of America. It was built upon a solid foundation of freedom delineated by a set of rules collectively known as “The Constitution of the United States of America.” It was called this because to “constitute” something is to form it, or make it up — in essence, to create it. Thus, the Constitution of the United States created the United States. Without that document, which describes exactly what the United States is and how it works, there would be no United States of America.

And that’s why, today, there is no United States of America.

In its place is a government stolen from the People. Without legal justification, a growing number of politicians have stolen our nation from us. They have put in its place something which our Founders would have easily recognized as a tyrannical form of government.

And it’s time we got rid of it.

A lot of people who hear me say that think I’m engaging in hyperbole.

I’m not.

If you want my full opinion, I’m saddened by the idea that it may have become necessary to kill people. But the fact is that unless we reach the point where people die — and so you’re not left guessing, I’m mean “people who work for the government that has usurped the name and power of the United States of America” — unless and until we reach that point, we probably have no hope of ever regaining our country.

Now, I don’t know how we’re going to get to that point. For one thing, though I’m “brave enough” to say these words, I’ll admit right up front I’m not brave enough to be the first to go out and start shooting government agents. Or maybe I’m just not — yet — callous enough that I could do it. The idea of bloodshed does, actually, make me sick to my stomach.

As the libertarian writer Claire Wolfe allegedly said,

America is at that awkward stage. It’s too late to work within the system, but too early to shoot the bastards.

But there is one other way I can see the government that has stolen the name of the United States go under, without the immediate need to shoot government agents, and that is the end I have been directing most of my attention towards.

We can bankrupt it.

For me, right now, that means taking the counter-intuitive approach of supporting the Republican Party. From what I can see, there never was a more hard-hearted, backward-thinking unthinking, even hateful, political party in the United States of America. The most amazing thing about it is the number of dupes who comprise the party: people who think it benefits them when Republicans talk about not taxing the rich in proportion to their earnings, or who think that cutting basic government programs that provide a safety net to make up enough of what the rich take from the poor to avoid uprisings is actually good for the middle class.

It’s not, because those safety nets — Social Security in particular — don’t just protect the poor; they are what have made our large middle class able to exist.

And without a middle class, our government cannot continue to exist — its appetite is too rapacious and cannot be supported on the backs of the poor. The Republicans refuse to allow any reform in the laws that might make the rich pay their fair share of taxes. American corporations, in the last year for which data has been compiled (2004), paid a mere 2.3% in taxes.

Consequently, the middle class is disappearing. And for no other reason than the fact that if the rich won’t carry their share of the load — and the poor, by definition, cannot — then no one is left but the middle class. But as the burden on the middle class increases, middle class individuals begin to slip. The lower middle class begins to swell the ranks of the poor; the upper middle class come to define the new middle, although some lucky few — and I do mean few — manage to escape by moving in the other direction.

Upward mobility really is more rare than most Americans realize. It always was rare — why do you think the richest Americans have consistently had between 40 and 50 percent of the nation’s wealth, while the rest is divided between the “middle” class and the poor, and yet these “richest” Americans are made up of just 0.1% of all Americans?

The rags-to-riches story has been the pipe-dream of every American since before there was a United States of America. It is a pipe-dream for nearly every American nonetheless. Once upon a time it was entirely possible, when America held more free (i.e., not already owned by someone with the power to keep them) resources than people. Today it is virtually unachievable for those who haven’t inherited. The chances of making something from nothing are all-but-nonexistent.

One of the primary reasons for this comes back to the usurpation of the title and power of the United States of America: we are no longer the land of the free, nor are we the home of the brave. We are shackled by this new government — no longer restrained by the Constitution’s grant of limited powers — which has taken root on American soil and we are such scared chicken-shits that we can do nothing about it.

I suppose we are rightly-scared. I mean, I certainly don’t want to die. I don’t want this tyrannical government to kill me for resisting it, just because it has stolen the United States and therefore can.

And though the lack of a limited form of government extends into both the economic and civil rights arenas, I — as well as a number of other Americans — have enough freedom left that I can still do most of what I’d ever want to do. I mean, I’m not a pot smoker, for example. So I don’t have to worry — until the feds move on some other consumable substance that I might like, such as fish, or chicken, or coffee — about the fact that I’m not allowed to put whatever I want into my own body. (Which raises an interesting question: whose body is it, really?) Similarly, most of what I want to do with my own property — most of what I have time and money to do with my own property — I can still do. I might have to do it differently than I would otherwise — maybe buy my kids a helmet with their bicycle, or wear my own on my motorcycle — but I can still do it.

So why should I be prepared to die for the rights we’re losing by fighting back against this imposter-government which has taken over the United States?

Now, if I were poor, or living “on the fringe,” so to speak — such as those the government classifies rightly or wrongly as “gang members,” or marijuana “profiteers,” or some other group the faux United States likes to crack down upon — then I’d probably be willing to die to take back the country. But the government doesn’t have the resources to make everyone’s life miserable, so for the most part I’m safe, as are a number of others who still can lay claim to being “middle” class.

But, as I look around, it becomes increasingly clear that the middle is disappearing. The poor have been so thoroughly raped that there is nothing left which can be taken from them. The upper class has become so rapacious — it is, after all, merely second nature for the majority of them, and all of them believe it a necessity — that they can consume one another, or they can consume the middle.

It’s easier to consume the middle.

But when the middle is gone, the nation which has usurped the name and power of the United States of America must fall, because the bridge to civilization is completely useless without the middle.

There have been and always will be kings and queens among us who consume more than their fair share. And even Jesus the alleged-Christ noted that the poor will never disappear. But the middle can disappear. The last time it was virtually non-existent in Western Civilization was called, for good reason, “The Dark Ages”:

The absence of a vibrant middle class meant that society was composed of the nobility, a fusion through intermarriage of aristocratic Gallo-Roman and German families who owned and exercised authority over large estates, and the lower class coloni, who were bound to the land.

The lower class, bound to the land to survive, were constantly exploited by the rich — and the only time the rich ever provided protection from harm to the poor was when it threatened to deplete them of people to exploit.

Today, the middle class is disappearing at an alarming rate. Even the Wall Street Journal recognizes this– as do large corporations such as Proctor & Gamble. Unlike the lords and barons of old, they are apparently not smart enough to protect the herds they exploit; they simply look for a new way to exploit the more-limited resources the herds possess.

But America as we have known it — as the history books present it — cannot exist without a large, active, and moderately-prosperous middle class. As unfair as it may be, constitutional freedoms in America have always been spotty for the lower classes, and unnecessary for the upper class. It is for a “middle” class, one which, as Aristotle knew, “a constitution based on the middle class is the mean between the extremes of oligarchy (rule by the rich) and democracy (rule by the poor).”

That the middle [constitution] is best is evident, for it is the freest from faction: where the middle class is numerous, there least occur factions and divisions among citizens.

Factions and divisions, which lead to the imposition of the will of one group over that of another. That’s what our Constitution — the Constitution of the United States of America — was meant to prevent. The disappearance of our middle class is connected with the disappearance of our constitutional rights. The only real question is “which comes first? the chicken, or the egg?”

When the middle is gone, it won’t matter. Without a middle class, there are no constitutional rights for anyone.

On the plus side, though not everyone agrees, “freedom’s just another name for nothing left to lose.”

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