It’s the birthday of Russian writer Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, born in Kislovodsk, Russia in 1918 who was thrown into the gulag as a young man for saying that Stalin wasn’t Marxist enough in one of his personal letters. But the Gulag changed his life, because in a strange way, it was only in the Gulag that Russians spoke freely about their political beliefs. Solzhenitsyn later wrote, “You can have power over people as long as you don’t take everything away from them. But when you’ve robbed a man of everything, he’s no longer in your power.” (Writer’s Almanac)
Whatever your conclusions about the events of September 11th, 2001, I suspect you will find this article of interest.
In the picture, he departs from this earth like an arrow. Although he has not chosen his fate, he appears to have, in his last instants of life, embraced it. If he were not falling, he might very well be flying. He appears relaxed, hurtling through the air. He appears comfortable in the grip of unimaginable motion. He does not appear intimidated by gravity’s divine suction or by what awaits him. His arms are by his side, only slightly outriggered. His left leg is bent at the knee, almost casually. His white shirt, or jacket, or frock, is billowing free of his black pants. His black high-tops are still on his feet.
In all the other pictures, the people who did what he did—who jumped—appear to be struggling against horrific discrepancies of scale. They are made puny by the backdrop of the towers, which loom like colossi, and then by the event itself. Some of them are shirtless; their shoes fly off as they flail and fall; they look confused, as though trying to swim down the side of a mountain. The man in the picture, by contrast, is perfectly vertical, and so is in accord with the lines of the buildings behind him. He splits them, bisects them: Everything to the left of him in the picture is the North Tower; everything to the right, the South. Though oblivious to the geometric balance he has achieved, he is the essential element in the creation of a new flag, a banner composed entirely of steel bars shining in the sun.
Some people who look at the picture see stoicism, willpower, a portrait of resignation; others see something else—something discordant and therefore terrible: freedom. There is something almost rebellious in the man’s posture, as though once faced with the inevitability of death, he decided to get on with it; as though he were a missile, a spear, bent on attaining his own end. He is, fifteen seconds past 9:41 a.m. EST, the moment the picture is taken, in the clutches of pure physics, accelerating at a rate of thirty-two feet per second squared. He will soon be traveling at upwards of 150 miles per hour, and he is upside down. In the picture, he is frozen; in his life outside the frame, he drops and keeps dropping until he disappears.
President Cleveland created Labor Day on June 28, 1894 in an attempt to quell a strike by 150,000 railroad workers that had crippled the country’s economy. The striking laborers refused to go back to work and eventually clashed with federal troops. Their leader, Eugene Debs, was sent to prison, where he eventually became a Marxist.
The common ideology of the unions and the socialists made for a profitable long-term alliance. Each sought to overthrow the existing order, each proclaimed an entitlement to the property of others, and each was quick to resort to violence when lawful means were unproductive. Within two years of the institution of Labor Day, a quarter of a million workers in Chicago walked off their jobs, demanding a shorter work week (but the same pay). As so many strikes do, this one resulted in violence when police attempting to disperse the crowd at the Haymarket Square were attacked with a dynamite bomb. Seven police officers were killed. They would be the first victims of the new century of union, socialist violence.
The unions have long cultivated the myth that their reason for existence is the promotion of workers’ rights, but from their earliest days the opposite has been true. Shortly after the Civil War, as black Americans flooded northern industrial areas in search of jobs, labor unions such as The Brotherhood of Railroad Firemen and Brotherhood of Railway Trainmen prohibited the admission of black members. They also banned Catholics. Consequently, the railroads employed almost exclusively white protestants whose wages were kept high not because of the value generated for their employer, but through race and religion-based discrimination which kept a significant number of minorities from competing for the same jobs.
The racism of the unions was not limited to blacks and Catholics in the antebellum period; blacks would be discriminated against by the unions (and federal government), through even World War 1, while Asians were banned from membership in the American Federation of Labor.
As distasteful as the racism and bigotry is, the central premise of the American labor union should be distasteful to every person inasmuch as it is based on little more than envy and theft:
- The labor union boss agitates for more wages, more benefits for less work and threatens violence (real or economic) if the needs are not met.
- “Rights” to jobs are proclaimed-as though a man could have a right to dispose of another’s personal property as he (the claimant) sees fit, rather than as the owner believes is just. That this is a euphemism for theft should be obvious.
- Demands for higher wages are made, not because of the increased productivity of the worker, or of value generated for the employer, but because the worker believes that he is entitled to more, merely through his existence.
- The union worker is never content with the voluntary contract he has entered into with another party and resorts to extortion-and not infrequently violence-to get from another what he cannot obtain justly.
That the union abhors competition is indisputably true, proven through the existence even today, of ‘security agreements’ which obligate workers to join (and more to the point, fund), workplace unions. Despite the efforts in many states to prevent this kind of indentured servitude, so-called ‘union shops’ even require employers to fire employees who no longer wish to contribute to the union’s slush fund. That such a circumstance could be lawful-let alone moral-should be obvious were ours not a culture drowning in envy.
It should come as no surprise that a group of people acting in such a way-not unlike a Mafia-would have an adverse effect on those who are not fortunate enough to be members of their exclusive club. In fact, economists have concluded that the lower productivity of unions has likely cost the US economy more than $50 trillion dollars in the 50 years which the study, by the National Legal and Policy Center and the John M. Olin Institute for Employment Practice and Policy, analyzed. That staggering sum was nearly 10 times the national debt at the time of the report, and even today is more than twice all federal debt obligations.
The union bosses might boast that this cost was necessary, a sort of wealth redistribution to union members that any socialist would defend, except that the evidence indicates that while union members reaped a relative advantage, the consequence of this Robin Hood behavior was a general reduction in all wages.
The study showed that while the redistribution of income in favor of the few resulted in a 15% increase in income for them, the cost was a general reduction in productivity that resulted in an economy that grew so much more slowly that it was as much as 40% smaller than it would have been were it not for the cost of the wealth redistribution. This outcome seems obvious if we realize that taking from the productive and rewarding the unproductive will result in less of the former and more of the latter. As many observers have said, socialism fails always, and everywhere, and this is as apparent in the union mecca of Detroit as it is in the socialist paradise of Venezuela.
Union elites and their allies on the left will argue that these costs were both necessary and justified to create the American dream we all now enjoy, such as it is. And yet, in the pre-union era between 1860 and 1914, wage growth and productivity growth were nearly 10 times what they are today.
The federal government has been a collaborator with the union bosses from the origins of the movement. The creation of a federal ‘holiday’ to commemorate the alliance is logical, and there is no great call for rescinding it. After all the wars we’ve fought, debt we’ve incurred and taxes we’ve paid to create the greatest police state in world history, we may feel like taking a day off (after taking the Sabbath off). But conscientious Americans and all Christians should distance themselves from the substance of this secular holy day and embrace man’s first vocation; voluntary, joyful and grateful labor.
I am either 1/64 or 1/128th or 1/256th American Indian, depending upon which genealogy records you believe and various other
assumptions one might make about the reliability of the white man’s records at a time when denying the purity of an Indian’s blood was a profitable endeavor. Six generations ago there was a Cassman who tangled with the central government, fought business enemies, fathered a bunch of children, made some bad decisions, drank too much, and….well, ended up dead in a hollowed out tree in central Indiana in a snowstorm.
A quote from the Indiana Historical Magazine:
Such facts as are known of him do not honor him in his distinction as the first recorded land owner in this county. He had the Indian thirst for whisky, and had neither the thrift nor industry to develop his land and become a factor of civilization. Examination of documents, however, seems to reveal the more complex picture of a bewildered Indian trying to cope with official red tape, unresponsive agents, and Jacksonian policies in handling Indian affairs. Cassman was hampered by his poverty, lack of education and business acumen; by the white man’s prejudice, greed, and impatience to possess the land; and especially by his own frequent intemperance. Cassman obtained whiskey at stores kept by white men who then hypocritically condemned his use of it.
Maybe you’re thinking, “Well, that explains things”. Perhaps. My father and his father and his father all seemed to be hardworking, law-abiding, humble Midwestern folk who served in the armed forces, led decent lives and were content raising their families and living in obscurity.
What’s the point of this? Well, I’m shocked, shocked to see how our government is treating my brothers on the reservation. Read this:
Like Cliven Bundy, Raymond Yowell operated a small cattle ranch in Nevada, and refused to pay the federal government grazing fees to which they are neither morally nor legally entitled. In May 2002, the BLM mounted a paramilitary operation to confiscate Yowell’s 132-head cattle herd for refusal to pay grazing fees. The rustlers then billed the rancher $180,000, and began to garnish his monthly Social Security check when he declined to honor their impudent demand.
Yowell, 84, is a former chief of the Te-Moak Band of the Western Shoshone tribe. His ancestors were among the signatories of the 1863 Ruby Valley Treaty with the federal government, which recognized the tribe’s sovereignty over a 24 million acre swath of western lands the Shonshone called Newe Segobia – “The Land of the People of Mother Earth.”
As is the case with every such agreement, the federal government acted in cynical bad faith, using the treaty to secure a foothold within a territory slated for assimilation into the continent-straddling behemoth being constructed through Manifest Destiny.
While demanding that the Shoshone refrain from interfering with telegraph lines and stagecoach routes, the Feds did nothing to discourage or deter illegal settlements on Shoshone land. In 1962 – one year shy of the centennial of the Ruby Valley Treaty – the federal Indian Claims Commission proclaimed that this pattern of federally abetted “gradual encroachment” by Euro-American settlers and speculators had “extinguished” all Shoshone claims to their lands.
In the fashion of a rapist who offers to buy his victim breakfast in order to re-fashion his crime into a “date,” the Feds offered to….
I suggest you read the rest. (Don’t follow this link if you are easily upset by evidence the history you were taught in government school might have been…incomplete).