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PROSPERITY: Economic Policy | December 9, 2004



A Posting in "Comments From Left Field"

By "The Scarecrow" *

Greetings, ye on the Left! It is I again, The Scarecrow, returned from the grave to avenge the wrongs perpetrated by the Right!

A word to the wise is sufficient...or so said that sage of your country, back in my century, one Benjamin Franklin.


Franklin and the other Founding Fathers, and Mothers (for men had not a monopoly on arms or reason), fought in the Colonies the same enemy as my brave band fought back in the Mother Country; namely, King George and his henchmen.


But verily, the tyranny that oppressed us both was much greater than that imposed by one demented man (the mind of our monarch was becoming increasingly affected by the disorienting effects of a disease of Venus that I believe he had contracted during a misspent youth).


Our enemy was the aristocracy, moreover the entire frame of mind that holds some men and women -- and their entire lineages -- as somehow more worthy of property and liberty and wellness and justice than others, who are condemned -- often from cradle to grave -- to a status not unlike that of the beasts who bore our burdens.


In your present age, my most modern friends, there does, happily, seem to be more opportunity for one of humble birth to achieve a more comfortable position in society...although that seems to be less and less a possibility for more and more hard-working individuals with each passing generation. It reminds me not only of our aristocracy in Old England but also of the "caste" system in our old Crown Colony of India.


In my day and place, King George kept power by ensuring, as through the distribution of the burdens of taxation, that not only the highest aristocrats but also the next several tiers of landed gentry were kept fat and happy...at the expense of the remainder of the country, whose labor is the source of all wealth -- that according to one of our sages, the great philosopher John Locke.


In your day and place, what I see seems increasingly, alarmingly all too familiar, although with power -- monetary, political, and otherwise -- more in the hands of business corporations than under the control of government institutions: The latter reined in by your most admirable Constitution and its inestimable Bill of Rights; the former -- the power of employers over employees (moreover exercised over the public at large) -- governed by laws and regulations enacted in the wake great depressions and other calls to reason but slashed in more recent, I must say more foolish times.


Your humble servant doth try to speak most truly, to not insult your conscience or intelligence. If I have misread the circumstances of the world in which you live -- as opposed to that mesmerizing, often fantasy-filled world so tantalizingly delivered through those tele-vision and other devices that are seducing as much as informing your world -- then I offer my most humble apologies.


But if I am even in some degree correct, then I offer not my sympathies for your most serious plight -- not unlike the fate that we and your Revolutionaries did face -- but this challenge and admonition: If you who are enlightened, whatever your status in society, do not speak up and stand up for what is true and just, then who will?


My world is gone; your world -- and that of your children and your children's children -- is here and now. Take good care of it, and of you and yours.


Your obedient servant,


The Scarecrow


* My alter-ego, after the classic 18th Century character created in the early 20th Century by Russell Thorndike in his Doctor Syn novels, adapted in various films. No endorsement of my commentaries by any other individual or company exists or is implied.

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