“I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, with the liberty and justice for all.”

Every American knows the words to the pledge.  We learned them in school, public or private, sacred or secular.  Even home schooled children learn the words to the pledge.  We recite the pledge at many public gatherings.  Moreover,  we recite the pledge with conviction.  We really mean it when we utter every word.  Yet.

Yet, there are considerable differences as to what those words mean to different citizens.  What, for instance does “library . . . for all” mean?  At base, liberty means living or acting  with out constraints such as shackles, bars or other physical restraints.  But what about non physical constraints such as skin color, type of clothing—from shabby and dirty to burka –sexual preference, choice of manner of worship—Quaker to Catholic to Hebrew to Islam to Shinto and beyond—manner of speech and language and, not exhausting the non-physical restraints, gender.

Liberty means being able to do what one wishes or what one pleases.  Yet doing what one wishes requires resources and fundamentally one resource, money.  So, poverty is one of the most insidious restraints on people that prevents them being able to experience liberty.  If one wishes to enslave a people, first impoverished them.  For when they are poor they have no options save to do your bidding or die.  It is not by accident that Patrick Henry said “Give me liberty or give me death.”  For the opposite of liberty is slavery.

Today Americans seem to subscribe to the idea that a person in poverty is there because he or she is lazy, morally corrupt, or the like.  In short we Americans blame the poor for being poor.  Interestingly, poor people had poor parents.  So, in part blaming the poor for their poverty is blaming them for choosing the wrong parents.  Yes, children often move to a different economic strata then their parents—up a bit or down a bit—but not far.  Children of the poor do not have the luxury of moving down in economic status.  They start down.

If one were to look at the distribution of the difference in income or economic status between children and their Parents one would find something akin to a bell shaped curve for all classes save the poor.  Children of the poor on this difference variable will show a steep one sided curve.  What this means is the poor are disproportionately “stuck” in their parents socioeconomic situation—poverty.  They are stuck because getting out of poverty requires a dependable resource base—an income or someone to provide resources for training or education and support during that period of learning.  The poor do not have money.  This is not a question of an economic  choice, affording it.  They simply do not have the money.  It takes money to provide for that boost all the other socioeconomic groups routinely supply for their children.

Therefore I conclude liberty requires an income to have any reasonable chance of becoming extant and “for all.”  So, how is that income to become a reality?

We have tried everything every thing from income transfers, charity to work fare.  Everything we have tried in the war on poverty has conditions—restraints on how the poor can use what we grudgingly doll out.  Funny, we want to get the poor out of poverty, but we don’t give them the liberty to do it without severe constraints, nay draconian restraints.  We want to judge what is “good” for them.  We want to prevent  the poor from making bad choices.  We want the poor to use resources the way we want them to use “what we give them.”  I am sorry that is not liberty, that is a form of imprisonment.

If you want a free people, free them of the shackles of poverty,  give them liberty; give them money.


9 thoughts on “Liberty

  1. Obviously, things have changed somewhat, since 1776. Those with money soon realised that they needed poor people to do the menial tasks that make life bearable. Empty the trash, clean the toilets, work in heavy industry, or on the land. Even cut the grass and water the plants.
    Poverty, or at best just enough to get by, is essential to maintain this pool of obligatory labour that will carry on working for you, or just waste away. Then again, even back in 1776, many of those worthy writers and great thinkers depended on an economy based on slavery of black people, and most managed to ignore the contradiction.

    Things have a habit of going full circle, don’t they?

    Let’s hope that they adopt your idea sometime soon, Theo. But I have a feeling it might already be too late for the next generation.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. US History and Civics education glosses over (often by totally ignoring) the slave ownership of some of those most often cited as a source of the words “liberty,” “freedom,” and “all men are created equal” in our political statements about what America is all about. Not only they, but we manage to ignore the contradiction.

      The words in the Pledge of Allegiance were written in 1892 by an ordained minister who was a socialist. Congress added the “in God we Trust” part in 1954. Potentially their addition is in conflict with the 1st Amendment.

      As for adopting my idea, Pete, you are the only one who seems to know about it.

      Warmest regards, Theo

      Liked by 1 person

  2. It’s inherent with any form of government that there will be those who have and those who have not. I can only answer for America (and even at that, I can only answer for myself) but it seems to me the “poor” is a generalized composite of people with many different stories to tell for why they are at, where they are at.,, and most of the reasons have little to do with having been somehow treated “unfairly” by a system that allegedly caters to the rich. No one truly WANTS to be poor.. yet because of medical maladies, mental health (a HUGE part of the problem), and certain cultural proclivities of preferred or accepted living standards (African-American enclaves, for example.. we used to call ghettos), people fall into the poverty mix. So, limitations are indeed profound with many who are classified as being poor and on welfare. BUT.. also having said that, people DO manage to escape poverty.. or at least, escape the welfare system. What makes them different? A desire, followed by the ability. We have freedom of choice in this country and that idea is typically exercised by those able, both in will and by conviction, to want something more. I believe that, if able, people should accept the responsibility for their own futures and quit blaming real or contrived inequities in the economic or political system. Those that can’t “interact” in that way deserve our benevolent compassion in order to satisfy our human trait to help our fellow man, and to stabilize social order and maintain some status quo.


    1. Thank you for your comment. I suspect I read your comment in a way that was parallel to how your read this segment of Democratize Money. I have only one belief–all people are created equal. All other beliefs are still open to empirical support or one hell of a good presentation. 🙂


  3. Everything in life is subjective, relative, or, as in the case of our new Dear Leader, incomprehensible. But somehow we muddle through (with the grace of the Almighty… um, the other one.) 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Interesting he is “Dear” and not “fearless”; oh wait, he is “fear-mongering” . As FDR said, “We have nothing to fear but fear itself” (except when our Pestilence is around, he wants us to fear rather than think.)


  4. Yeah.. the more we fear the more we should be dependent on him to save us. Typical demagogue. All we can hope is that cooler minds impeach.


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