A little part of me still wants to be a hero. I don’t know why. This nation, these United Estates, was never truly great and probably never will be. And like all previous civilizations there is nothing virtuous on the horizon to prevent their eventual fall.
Before I die I want to be a hero and free the slaves.
As a student of history and digging a bit deeper than most, I’m no longer such an ardent patriotic admirer of the great names in American history like George Washington (slave owner), Thomas Jefferson (slave owner, rapist) or even Abraham Lincoln (lawyer). He freed (the southern) slaves as a desperate act of economic sabotage as anyone would have done in his position. He was losing the war and his back was against the wall. The slaves that he freed were chattel slaves – he did nothing to free the wage slaves, however.
Half-a-lifetime ago I was filing an Income Tax Return (1040). As I sat there puzzling over the paperwork I had to stop and ask myself “Why am I doing this?” I had Tax Withholding because I wanted to avoid the end-of-year scramble to pay up.
My employer withheld a portion of my pay for the Income Tax. They also withheld a portion for Social Security. They paid these funds, duly reporting my total hourly wages to the IRS. I also had a modest Savings Account at the local bank that earned a miniscule amount of interest. That too, was duly reported annually by the bank to the IRS.
I was scratching my head thinking: “If the IRS already knows how much I’ve earned in salary and interest why am I still filling out this stupid form?”
“Is it to make me feel a participant?”
“Is it to make me feel like a big-shot businessman?”
“Or was it to make me feel better about myself for being a wage slave?”
The IRS had all the facts and figures before them ere I sat down, so why couldn’t they just leave me out of it altogether and just cut me that little check for the balance?
I’ve come to the conclusion that the only really tangible difference between a chattel slave and a wage slave is that the wage slave does his own paperwork.
A chattel slave is property. Property that can be bought and sold. A chattel slave is dragged out in chains, kicking and screaming, up the steps to the slave market auction block; either that or is beaten and cowed into utter silence beforehand.
A wage slave on the other hand, mounts the stairs to the slave auction block on his own two feet, and under his own power, seemingly by his own volition – and thus sells himself.
Paperwork; bidding; a Bill of Sale; Supply and Demand; Labor Shortage; Labor Glut; it is all virtually the same.
How to tell if you’re a wage slave? You have no choice. Surely, you can choose which jobs you want to apply for; but then your application is placed upon a tall stack of applications; and in the final analysis it is the employer and not the employee who does the choosing. You are chosen – you do not choose.
No choice of occupations – no say in wages, hours or working conditions; take what you are given or take nothing at all.
There are those who delude themselves, because they are generations-old trade-unionists or bureaucrats ensconced in their hereditary positions and they might even be doing (materially) relatively well as compared to others; but if they try to wander too far from that well-worn path they find out how un-free they really are.
I recall overhearing a conversation among a gaggle of girls who were all all of 18 years old. (This at the height of the Feminist fever.) One of the girls was (like) all excited and telling her friends she had (like) three – three job offers and didn’t know (like) which one to take. Her friend asked (like) which job paid the most but it turned out they all (like) paid the same – meaning the Minimum Wage. It would have been somewhat amusing if it hadn’t been so painful to watch.
You would be doing quite well if you had three jobs to choose from.
So it is choice above all that determines if you are a wage slave.
This got me to thinking about an old television program called Route 66. Two itinerant (unemployed) young men in a (lucky-for-them) hereditary sports car (1960 Corvette), drive across the country along Route 66 and elsewhere picking up odd jobs along the way. Of course the unrealistic logistics of said enterprise is fairly obvious; finding odd jobs here, there, and everywhere is no easy task. What casual labor there was (or is today) would be exploitative, temporary and minimum wage; hardly enough to fill the gas tank (especially these days) much less make repairs on the car and fill your own belly (not to mention laundry and a place to sleep). The logistics of everyday living simply aren’t there. Even the itinerant cowboys of the Old West often went hungry and struggled to find work. Freedom?
Not so fast, pilgrim.
Every Cornfield County crossroads in every part of this country has many men already standing idle. And do you propose to just drive up and say “Hi. I’m looking for work”?
Do the pilgrims (illegal aliens) just sneak into the country without a plan; and without a destination? Of course not. Someone rolls out the red carpet well ahead of them. If that were not the case there would be dead, emaciated bodies lying all over the place.
Most elementary school children know something about chattel slavery from their history lessons; and some adults have a level of awareness of wage slavery, most being in denial. But there is a third kind (and even a fourth – if you include addictive drugs) of slavery: Debt Slavery.
Debt Slavery (we like to start them young):
Student Loans; Car Payments; Credit Cards; Mortgages. Half-a-Lifetime or more of debt. One would have to calculate on an individual basis exactly how much (what percentage) of your toil, time and income actually goes into the payment of interest.
In the whole of your lifetime (as the song goes) – your lucky to break even.
Imagine if you will: whole nations purposely plunged into debt.
April 15th is the nominal deadline for the payment of taxes. I like to call it Brigands’ Day. It is a reference to an old Japanese movie called “The Seven Samurai”. Tax Day, an annual event, is the day when the bureaucracy (the brigands) descend from their hidden mountaintop (suburban?) lairs to collect tribute from the helpless, impoverished citizenry.
But there is another day: Tax Freedom Day (not sure of its origin or history). Tax Freedom Day is a calculated day; the day you stop working for the Government and start working for yourself – if that ever happens at all. For some, adding their total debt load to others – the debt they carry well beyond Tax Freedom Day, and they might be technically free by Christmas.
Which brings me to an etymological question: is there some kind of linguistic connection between the majority of us who live out our lives so slavishly and those relative few who live out theirs’ so lavishly?
As for myself: I know who I am; I am the thing you dread most; I am a surplus wage slave – I am The Twentieth Man.