I just wanted to share this timely quote from Abraham Lincoln:
The world has never had a good definition of the word liberty, and the American people, just now, are much in want of one. We all declare for liberty; but in using the same word we do not all mean the same thing. With some the word liberty may mean for each man to do as he pleases with himself, and the product of his labor; while with others the same word may mean for some men to do as they please with other men, and the product of other men’s labor. Here are two, not only different, but incompatible things, called by the same name -- liberty. And it follows that each of the things is, by the respective parties, called by two different and incompatible names --liberty and tyranny.
The shepherd drives the wolf from the sheep’s throat, for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as a liberator, while the wolf denounces him for the same act as the destroyer of liberty, especially as the sheep was a black one. Plainly the sheep and the wolf are not agreed upon a definition of the word liberty; and precisely the same difference prevails today among us human creatures, even in the North, and all professing to love liberty. Hence we behold the processes by which thousands are daily passing from under the yoke of bondage, hailed by some as the advance of liberty, and bewailed by others as the destruction of all liberty.
-- Abraham Lincoln, in a speech at a Sanitary Fair in Baltimore, MD, on April 18th, 1864
(Here’s the full transcript of the speech: http://teachingamericanhistory.org/library/index.asp?document=1067)
In short, corporations and billionaires use the wolf’s definitions of Liberty and Freedom, and fill the airwaves with propaganda that they’re the victim of a government and workers (unions) who are too powerful and malevolent (and paid too much).
For me, and my fellow Progressives, the sheep’s definition is much more apropos; that our Government – We, The People – is the only force capable of keeping the wolves from eating the entire herd of sheep (and eventually starving themselves, when there are no more sheep!).
IMO, our Government’s role is not to protect all sheep -- but rather protect enough sheep to maintain a balance that allows both sheep and wolves to thrive, and neither to drive the other to extinction. This was the case during the 30’s through the 70’s, when the balance of power favored individuals and workers, wages and salaries were high, marginal tax rates for the wealthy were >50%, a school teacher or janitor could afford a house, college for the kids, and take a vacation; unions were strong, especially in the private sector; and corporations still did very well! Oh, BTW, that economy, and those policies, allowed us to nearly pay off a national debt from WW2 that was over 110% of GDP!
It’s our Government’s ability to “protect sheep” that enrages corporations and billionaires – enough for them to “starve the beast,” shrink our Government so that it can’t regulate the activities of corporations, and turn our Government from a protector of The People to a protector of the corporations and billionaires (which is Fascism, according to Mussolini’s definition).
In the Baltimore speech, Lincoln’s “wolf” was the slave owners & plantation owners in the South; but today’s multinational corporations are effectively engaging in slavery – or hoping to, if they have their way.
In the U.S., they’re using the legislative process to bust unions and drive wages down for all workers. Even today, there are GOP politicians who are raising the issue of eliminating our child labor laws! And outside the U.S., their embrace of foreign workers is tantamount to slavery. U.S. consumers simply aren’t exposed to the conditions under which workers in the rest of the world make the products we buy. Of course, the end result of these policies is the elimination of the U.S. Middle Class. The corporations and billionaires are in the process of killing the goose that laid the golden eggs, and blaming their victims – U.S. workers – for it.
"Party of Lincoln," my ass!