In a Single Word

Column by Paul Hein.

Exclusive to STR

From time to time you may encounter the suggestion: describe (blank) in a single word. If “blank” is “Christianity,” a suitable answer might be “repentance” or “salvation.” If “blank” is “science,” it might be “hypothesis” or “experimentation.” What if “blank” were “government”?

Ah, the possibilities! Perhaps the first word to come to mind is “corruption.” Maybe “cronyism” should be considered. Or, perhaps overly broad, “evil.” My suggestion would be “money.” Government is all about money. In particular, it’s about YOUR money, how you can be persuaded to part with it, what the Rulers plan to do with it, and what punishment they can impose should you dare attempt to keep it.

Consider such a mundane thing as your automobile. You went to an automobile dealer, made your choice, bought it, and drove it home. Simple, right?

Well, not quite. If you want to be able to drive it when and where you please, you must first get the permission of The Rulers. They call their permission a “license,” which sounds ever so much friendlier than a “payoff.” To secure their permission—i.e., “license,” however, you must first pay the sales tax on the car, which will be a very substantial amount. You pay it gratefully, mindful of the assistance provided by The Rulers in making the purchase. 

Now you are entitled to buy what is, in fact, proof of their actual ownership of “your” car, the required “license”: a metal plate to be affixed to the vehicle, identifying it as state property. Unlike the sales tax, this tribute must be paid annually, for obvious (to whom?) reasons. 

You are behind the wheel at last! Well, not so fast. If you were foolish enough to buy the car on or after January first, you will,—at least in my state--be presented with a property tax bill for any automobiles owned on January 1. (It’s amazing how many cars are bought on December 31st.) The gang member assigned to collect this money will tell you how much you are to pay his syndicate, and when. You may reply to his demand by questioning the propriety of it, and the amount demanded, only to learn, however, that he will ignore you. You will eventually pay, or he will reclaim his property--and after all you paid to acquire it! And you will pay it yearly for as long as you “own” the car.

But, finally, you can use “your” car! Well, again, not quite, but you’re getting close. True, the car has been duly taxed, licensed, and taxed again, but now YOU must be licensed. You realize that you, as well as your automobile, are property of The Rulers. So, of course, you present yourself to the appropriate authorities to obtain their permission--i.e., “license,”--to operate “your” car.

If you pass the tests which they have deemed necessary and important in determining your ability to satisfy them, you may obtain the desired permission--in return, of course, for a suitable fee, to be renewed at intervals of their deciding, in perpetuity. Keep it with you at all times when operating the automobile, lest a costumed member of their organization stop you and demand to see it. Should you have left it at home, you will need to pay them another fee to assuage their displeasure. Treasure that bit of plastic--never be without it! Some things, after all, are important!

NOW the time has come! With you and your vehicle suitably taxed, you may set out on the open road, but be sure not to drive faster than The Rulers deem prudent, lest you be required to pay them another tribute, even if you have endangered no one. Don’t park where they don’t want you to park, change lanes without signaling, or do any of the myriad things they could term an “offense.” And of course, you will pay a substantial tax on fuel, but having it built into the price of the stuff, it won’t hurt so much. 

This may be the “land of the free,” but don’t take that too seriously. Christians (remember them? an all but extinct sect) believed that true freedom lay in living in conformity with the will of God. Today, Americans—and most other people--believe that freedom, or what passes for it, consists in living in conformity with the will of The Rulers. And their will is that you give them money, without which they would have almost no power whatsoever.

A word to the (wordly) wise is sufficient! Pay up!

Your rating: None
Paul Hein's picture
Columns on STR: 150