Thursday, April 9, 2009

How Freedom Was Lost

By Paul Craig Roberts

Envy, one of the seven deadly sins, is not unknown to Americans.

My last column noted the absurdity of Obama lumping the upper middle class in with the rich. The income distribution in the US is so skewed that the rich are found in the top one percent. The truly rich with the accoutrements associated with that class are in the top half of one percent.

Those points were lost on those Americans who regard anyone slightly better off than themselves as "rich." A slightly bigger house in a better neighborhood, a BMW instead of a Toyota, and the ability to go on vacation without going into debt is all it takes to be rich in the minds of those whose eyes are green with envy.

This observation led me to the realization that freedom has been lost to envy.

Americans no longer know what freedom is. Historically, the definition of a free person is one who owns his own labor. Serfs and slaves were not free, because they do not own all of their own labor.

An income tax is inconsistent with the historical definition of freedom. Today in America government has a claim on every person’s labor, just as feudal lords, the government of that time, had claims on the labor of serfs and nineteenth century plantation owners had on slaves.

Read the rest of the article.

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