Doug Smith: On Thievery and Philanthropy

14 Jul


Doug Smith is an opinion columnist, historian and social editor for Free State Patriot

July 14, the 2019


Remove justice, and what are kingdoms but gangs of criminals on a large scale?  What are criminal gangs but petty kingdoms? A gang is a group of men under the command of a leader, bound by a compact of association, in which the plunder is divided according to an agreed convention.

If this villainy wins so many recruits from the ranks of the demoralized that it acquires territory, establishes a base, captures cities and subdues peoples, it then openly arrogates to itself the title of kingdom, which is conferred on it in the eyes of the world, not by the renouncing of aggression but by the attainment of impunity.

For it was a witty and truthful rejoinder which was given by a captured pirate to Alexander the Great.  The king asked the fellow, “What is your idea, in infesting the sea?”  And the pirate answered, with uninhibited insolence, “The same as yours, in infesting the earth!  But because I do it with a tiny craft, I’m called a pirate; because you have a mighty navy, you’re called an emperor.”

 St Augustine of Hippo, The City of God

I have been reading Dan Jones’ The Plantagenets: The Warrior Kings and Queens who made England. It led me to consider 2 millennia of thievery. First the Norsemen came to raid Normandy and the British Isles, then later the Normans, mixed in with Norsemen who had stayed, in the person of William the Conqueror conquered England in 1066. It was the grandson of William (also known as the Bastard, depending on the tome you read) Henry II, who established House Plantagenet, and, by all accounts, England.  (Watch The Lion in Winter), Richard the Lionheart, King John (of Robin Hood and Magna Carta fame), his grandson Edward, (Longshanks, of Braveheart infamy), Edward, The Black Prince (you saw him in A Knights Tale). See, you know these guys. What you don’t know is that they were broke, and had expensive hobbies. Their hobbies were France, Wales, Ireland, and Scotland. For while their main endeavor was conquering new lands to provide income to themselves and their sons, they had no source of income, no viable skills to trade, other than being very good at war, and, from time to time, at making laws. Laws, taxes, and the point of a sword were their stock in trade. No one who raised crops or shoed horses came to them and offered silver in exchange for a new set of laws, so they had to borrow and tax to finance their wars to obtain further lands from who to obtain further taxes. Et Cetera, ad nauseam.  These Wars included the aptly named Hundred Years War. Almost without exception, they amassed fortunes, spent them on wars to acquire other territories, to get the income from them, to get more territories, and died leaving the nation in debt. For purposes of this article, we won’t dwell on the bones bleaching at Agincourt, just the money. Henry says of himself, in James Goldman’s The Lion in Winter, “My life, when it is written, will read better than it lived. Henry Fitz-Empress, first Plantagenet, a king at twenty-one, the ablest soldier of an able time. He led men well, he cared for justice when he could and ruled, for thirty years, a state as great as Charlemagne’s.” He cared for justice when he could, but his skill, his raison d’etre, was fighting. So how did he get the money to “rule a state as great as Charlemagne’s? Institutionalized thievery, at the point of a sword. He gave laws, and molded the outline of England, but he took the money to do so at the point of a sword.

Does all this bear on our modern world?  Consider a politician who today makes $ 174,000, but a year ago made barely 26,000, has student loans to pay off, and can’t afford a place to stay, offering to give away free stuff that will cost 5 times as much as all the money produced by the entire United States economy in 2017. Who will pay for it?

Henry could tell you. The bankers who lent to his grandsons and were bankrupted could tell you. Henry might at least make the argument that for all he cost, he did leave behind a legacy of better laws and justice. Nor would he couch it in terms that he was only doing it for the people. No, he was straightforward about his ambitions to rule.


One can respect his attitude as true, even while resenting his taxes. But question with a jaded eye the one who is “only thinking of the folks”.

Free medicine. Who pays the Doctors? Or are they to be slaves?

Free housing? Who pays the builders? Or are they to be slaves?

Free Education? Oh this one is rich. Will they make slaves of the NEA and University Administrators?

Green New Deal. Now that is a good one. Who pays for that? The cost, by conservative estimates, is over $ 93 Trillion dollars. Who pays? Or who becomes a slave. These are, understand, the only options.

When Andrew Carnegie, who was, at the time, the wealthiest man in the world, began to put his money to use building libraries (including the one in Huntington, WV. Look at the cornerstone on the original building sometime. It reads, A gift of Andrew Carnegie to the people of Huntington. ) Universities, he was a philanthropist. He believed that money, wealth, was best spent helping people help themselves. And to that end, he gave away over $ 350,000,000 before his death in 1919, the equivalent of 5.3 Trillion today.

Franklin Roosevelt, with his original New Deal give-aways, never touched his own fortune. Instead, he spend, in 2019 dollars, 900 Trillion taxpayer dollars by 1940. The future obligations of those give-aways are over 50 Trillion. Who paid for that? Or who will pay for that? And who will pay for the free stuff encompassed by the GND?

Well, of course, the Left will tell us, we will simply tax the evil, greedy rich. But consider. The total net wealth of everyone in the United States, including the wealthiest, is hovering around 88 Trillion.  So, to take all the proposed free stuff Democrats politicians are bandying about, conservative estimates are a cost of 243 Trillion dollars. If we enact a 100 percent tax and confiscate everything owned by everyone, that still leaves us well over 100 Trillion short. And remember, estimates of the cost of government programs are always low, usually by huge margins. We have another problem as well. If we go to the 100% wealth tax, that is the last dollar the government ever brings in. Period. No one has a car to go to work. No one owns a factory to hire employees. No one can afford to make widgets, or buy them if they were made, or plant a crop. The economy comes to a halt, because no one has any money, except for the government. If history has taught us anything, it is that they will quickly consume their feed corn.

So, when a politician offers to give things away, unless they are offering to give away their own money, we have the answer to the question: Who becomes a slave? Everyone. Me. You. Your children. They own it all, and we get only what they bestow on us, only if we do exactly what they approve of. That is the definition of slavery.

Now, let us consider this.

Of the current crop of potential candidates for President in 2020, which is proposing to give away a great deal of money that they don’t have, by the simple expedient of stealing it from anyone who does have it, so that they can control it, and, regardless of their promises, dole out whatever they choose? Everyone running for the Democrat nomination.

And of this same crop, which has donated their entire salary to various causes for over 2 years?

If you are a Lefty, or a Never Trumper, you should stop reading now. No, really I mean it, I’m warning you. Really, don’t do it.

Ok, you asked for it.

That would be President Donald Trump.

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