Taxation, Tyranny

Recreating (and advancing) pk’s censored domains: & / Teaching / Society / Social Order / Civilization / Politics /

Any taxation, coerced, is tyranny. Any!

Queen Elizabeth’s courtiers paid for her wars. They all wanted the war, Liz-I was broke, perpetually, the courtiers (Raleigh, Sydney) had some ready cash.
You’re hungry, you’ve got money in your pocket, somebody else has food but they want your money more than they want their food, simple, they sell it to you! That’s not how cavemen lived, but it is how we’ve lived for some time now.

Except that that simple picture is only partly true. It wasn’t until we had food surpluses that we had surplus population. It wasn’t until we had surplus population that money developed.

cowrie shell money
thanx PBS

It wasn’t until money developed that people bought things. Before that, if you were hungry, you looked for food: unless the lion was hungry too, nearby, and sniffing for you! Then you tried to hide, hungry or not.

The thing is, once food surpluses developed, before money developed, centralized authority had developed. Central authority didn’t ask the rabbits, the deer, the worms, the land, if it was alright to grow wheat on that land, and then to irrigate that land, and then to take the next land over once the first land had been exhausted: by too much surplus: wheat, people; no: they just took it. That’s what centralized authority does, it, they, just take.
Well, OK, if they meet resistance, then they’ll try other tactics: language, logicreason.

Thing is: by Tudor times we’d had ten millennia of wheat, and of surpluses, and of taking, but it was still the state’s practice, in England at least, to hope for the money for the war from the people who had some money: and that wasn’t the general excess population; that was the centralized managers: Liz’ courtiers: hereditary managers: bureaucrats in funny collars.

pic with Raleigh, Sydney evaporated

Meantime, Shakespeare’s company put on plays. If you wanted to see a play, boys pretending to be girls getting seduced, and if you had a penny, you could pay your way into the Globe Theater: Shakespeare didn’t come into your house and go through your pockets, at least I don’t think he did, I never heard of it. But when the state really wanted a war, they would learn to: enter and go through your pockets. And now a state like the United States is at war perpetually, and so, a century ago now it learned to put its hand into your pocket and sew it there, training you to want more money than you ever wanted naturally so it can take ever more, have constant war, all over the globe: we’ve run out of good land, good ocean, but we haven’t run out of people to tax. We will, but haven’t yet.

Now: in 1970, the US’ hand in your pocket, world war having metathesized into the constant undeclared bombing of non-Europeans not addicted to centralized authority: the way sheep dogs herd sheep, scaring the shit out of them, Ivan Illich, that greatest of priests, that servant of Christ, preached for human freedom by preaching against coercion:

Resist all ordering of the society into compelled rituals.

Don’t let the Church force your kid to go to Sunday School.
Don’t let the state force you to attend their “history” class.

Gee, what do we have instead?

We’ve got an excess population, now we’ve got cybernetics too: banks, states, fortune corporations lever advantage for their executives (and owners) by keeping digital data bases on computers: open up the computers so that such privileges are shared, become general.

The power to tax is the power to destroy.
Chief Justice John Marshall

Illich designed modern freedom. He prescribed it. His CIDOC in Cuernavaca was an example (minus the main frame computer) of what he was envisioning. I founded the Free Learning Exchange. Illich was among the first trustees. I handed out flyers, sought publicity, saying, “Give me resources. I’ll build the free data bases, voluntary information only, voluntary payment only. I’ll build you an institution which will be the opposite of all the institutions you’ve ever known. Volunteer to pay for your own freedom, then we’ll cut the state’s hand out of your pocket, impoverish the state, don’t pay for more bombs for killing poor people in Asia.”

I asked IBM among others, churches, people, to help me launch. I asked for $100,000, in 1971. The IBM guy told me that $20,000,000 a year would be a better budget for me: for NYC alone. OK, he knew better than I. Still, I said to him, just give me $100,000 to start: I’ll quickly learn how to use $20,000,000 well, lead the world, free everybody for way under a billion: way less than 1% of any kleptocracy’s war budget.

How much did you give? Weren’t there? How much did your Dad give? your Mom?

Meantime: how much did they pay toward the bombs, your Mum and Dad? How many poor Asians did they pay to kill?

We didn’t. We’re screwed. Serves us right.

Bucky Fuller said that we’d figure out how to survive by 1968, or we wouldn’t ever. Too late, missed the last boat. Once you have cancer, it doesn’t matter if you quit smoking. Might as well smoke while you’re dying, don’t waste effort.
Well, I missed the boat too. I was dreaming internet dreams by the middle to late 1960s, but didn’t actually offer the public a cheap internet till 1970. And the public still doesn’t get it: in 2013. Way too late.

You know something funny? I don’t think Bucky got it either! I sent him my FLEX flyer, he wrote back: “Excellent.” But did he see what it was? If he saw it was an internet he should have said more than “Excellent.”
But I don’t think Illich ever understood my internet either. I say I understood his; I don’t see that he understood mine, didn’t see what I’d added to his!

I sure wish I had copies, transcripts of what I said on the subject: answering questions addressed to FLEX, speaking from soap boxes. You’d have been amazed at the volumes I wrote to state university education departments.
They routinely asked if there was a charge, I always said “As much as you can afford.” (In other words, $20,000,000 a year). What I got was nuttin.

That’s what IBM said in 1971. The $100,000 budget I’d submitted to them specified $15,000 a year for me and my family, salary. $8,500 was the most I’d ever earned, it wasn’t quite enough. I imagined that $15K would be more than enough. I never got to find out. Even when I was turning over six and seven figures in business I lived out of petty cash, no salary. There’s never been a budget for pk since I offered a cheap, politically free internet. Had IBM said, “Here’s $50K, you can live on $7,500, tell you wife to keep working, tell your wife to get a second job,” I would have taken it, gladly. And who knows how much the public would have then come up with, as they got used to the idea, found it useful.

I’m not sure what word I first reached for. Once upon a time I would reach and the word would be there, like Nick Adams with cane pole or fly rod, stream-side, always finding a fresh cricket on his perch. Think of smashing the rules into confetti: everything re-order-ed.



About pk

Seems to me that some modicum of honesty is requisite to intelligence. If we look in the mirror and see not kleptocrats but Christians, we’re still in the same old trouble.
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