I think the meaning is, that black people feel something is owed to them, which may be true, but also it is possible that they do not feel any ownership of this land, that it is their home, and that the keeping of it neat and clean is their pride....
I think this concept is better extended to the poor in general, but of course allowing for exceptions. I think you are on to something here. Imagine a man who lives in a city owning nothing
or next to nothing. Even where he sleeps is not his own but must be payed for continually or accepted as charity. All around him is owned by others, and arguments concerning this are managed by the police who just might favor the respectable man, the man with money. And indeed, the man with money and property probably won't do this sort of thing, except when it comes to business. Then he treats the air or the river with little or no respect. There are fortunately exceptions, I'm sure.
---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 04:58 PM ----------
Reasonably, when so much of this country's wealth has been put into private hands without a vote of the people, it must have been done for a certain good, as Aristotle says of government -that they are created for good... Well, whether property is in public hands or in private hands it must still support the population which is the original, and ultimate title holder...
I agree. Property is a dangerous abstraction, useful within sane bounds. I don't object to a measured inequality, as some are more efficient and disciplined than others. But too much inequality tips the boat. We all understand a natural version of property, such as our intimate objects, our homes, our little patch of privacy. This seems natural and sane. But for one man to claim property that is a million times the size or worth of another man is not so natural. An honest man who is willing to work should not lack for his own little piece of security and privacy. This is obvious, I think, beneath our abstractions. But as you say, values are infinites. And those who have a little aren't worried in the short term about the long term effects of severe inequality. I'm guilty of this selfishness myself. Not that I have much to give, but I wonder what if anything can or will be done.
---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:07 PM ----------
People pay taxes as their way of delivering up the goods of the land to the commonwealth... I cannot help it that people think, or have been misled into thinking property rights are absolute, but I know they have always been in flux, and have never, ever been absolute...
I think we have some complex issues here. The more alienated the people feel in regards to the government, the more they resent taxes. If those in power start wars that one's conscience can't approve of, then taxation becomes more odious. Because one is not paying for the commonwealth but for an empire one feels guilty about. How much tax money goes toward the making of bombs that the taxpayers don't want dropped? But many taxpayers do
want the bombs dropped. This is related I think to the media, which is owned by you know who, those who profit from starting wars. The "culture wars" are connected to this. It seems to me that both major parties are all too eager to give tax-money to the rich.
Those who have enough aren't eager to risk what they have, because they see the poor, and don't want to be them. Of course in the long run, a tolerance of this sort of thing will perhaps slide them slowly in this direction. A strong middle class seems essential, doesn't it? And elimination of poverty as well. The poor function as a sort of scarecrow. A threat to those who won't shut up and pay for the next war. The conservatives are right that welfare culture is a terrible thing, and it exists. I've seen it. I think that this welfare culture is an exaggerated doppelganger of the general attitude. Every man for himself, and money is money.
---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:18 PM ----------
The rich have no more claim to absolute rights than anyone else...The fight they are making to avoid paying their share in society brings them closer to the moment they will lose life or property or both... Dead men only need enough space to be buried in, and even that space in not their own...
The taxes the rich pay they pay for the extra rights, the privilage of property...And I own some, and the ability to stray were other cannot wander is worth some taxes... The road comes by here, and the sewer too, and the school bus, and the ambulance going to a public hospital... What kind of fool would expect that the advantages of civilization come without a cost???
Well said. Perhaps the reason this isn't mentioned much is that many of us dream of nothing but exactly this. We are all going to win the lottery somehow, and then we
will be the demigods who claim miles and miles of the country as ours, and only ours. And if others have not even a square foot, that's there fault!
Obviously, being poor doesn't make one virtuous. And growing up without confidence that one can attain the white picket fence is not going to bring out the best in a person. Nor is the half-conscious knowledge that the rich can't afford
to let the poor starve. A starving man is dangerous, of course. The starving man only believes in food, not in property rights. Was the French Revolution caused more than anything by hunger
We have so much entertainment today that if a man can get a little food and a bed to rest on he can spend his whole life as a sort of marginal character, owning nothing, depending on others for everything. If we demand a person to work 40 hours at some menial labor to survive, that might be reasonable, but not if this work won't make one safe, and well-fed, with access to medical care. Why slave away, one might think, if all this work only marginally increases ones advantages? Do we really expect the dirty work to be enthusiastically embraced by those who see others living in luxury without sweating? If this dirty work doesn't even insure one real access to medicine and protection against old age?
It's as if our decency and sense of justice were obscured by this abstraction money. Because we can now afford to hide away in boxes and see the world through our magic box, it's easy to forget that we depend on one another for safety and survival. Money the tool has become money the master. I know it's not that simple.
---------- Post added 05-27-2010 at 05:23 PM ----------
can you please explain why you think this. what in libertarian writings makes you think people are forced into some sort of slavery?
I see it this way. If one is born into a world where everything is owned and nothing is free, not even dirt to build or plant on, what is one forced to do to survive? Works for others, beg, or steal. One needs paper, the green paper, to survive. If we had a frontier, a poor man could claim a little capital. But if all is owned, and one is born without property, and even education is expensive, we are dealing with a sort of slavery. Admittedly, some can and will work themselves out of this slavery. But it's a fair question to ask if the jobs even exist that pay enough for all working honest citizens to really make it. And I just mean the ownership of a little house, decent health care, the ability to save for old age.
I won't deny for a minute that most of us squander what little paper we have on junk, on addictions. This problem is deeper than just economics. It's a problem of value and attitude.