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Saturday, December 1, 2012

Page 3 - Ben Franklin

And it isn't even page 3 of the actual Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, it's only the foreword.  Already there are noteworthy things to comment on.  The first: "For him it (writing his autobiography) may have been an act of defiance, a celebration of himself and his county as they had been before a heedless set of British officials tired to change them."  His 'country' was a British colony that had no problem being under the aegis of the British Crown.  The issues began when Parliament began taxing at a rate that was unacceptable, and without representation in British government.  Franklin was visibly upset that he was losing freedom.  It was both this loss of independence and having a busybody nanny state taxing his every move.  I thought this was relevant because of 2 things:  1) the tax rates that were placed on items (there was no income tax) were around 1 - 3%.  Juxtapose that with the 35% that the middle class pays in income tax now.  2)  The middle class not only allows themselves to be taxed as such a ridiculous rate, it doesn't bother them.  This, and the invisible tax of inflation on paper fiat currency leads me to believe that Americans today are both docile and economically inept.

Franklin ruminates about how the British ruined a successful system by their overreach: "It should have been British policy to avoid alienating a people whose submission to British direction depended only on their satisfaction with it."  There is a parallel today.  The amount of tax, surveillance, propaganda, injustice, force, fraud and coercion has reached a fever pitch.  I have always thought that if our Overlords would have just kept these things at a 1999 level they could have continued siphoning wealth and controlling the masses for eternity.  But no.  The Empire apparently must attempt to shackle the whole planet and impoverish everyone - hence the state we're in today in the "most free" country on Earth.  Many people are noticing that things are bad.  Even docile and bovine herdmembers are looking up from the trough because they're being poked and prodded at levels heretofore unseen.  Franklin's comment from the mid 1700's echoes perfectly today.  Our system survives because people are satisfied with it and they don't understand leverage.

John Taylor Gatto has always mentioned that The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin is a seminal book to read, not for the story but for the details.  How the youngest of 17 children of a candlemaker became a multi lingual world renowned renaissance man BEFORE there was a school system is telling.   Gatto has always said not to read it for the story but with a pen in hand to note how Franklin was 'educated' - so that's what I'm doing now.

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