Paine and The Painful Brother Hitchens

Iran,Political Philosophy,The West


“A nation of nose jobs, not nuclear war,”? is how Peter Hitchens describes the Iranians. Hitchens offers a much-needed corrective to the neoconnery’s perspective: they’ve been itching for a fight. Iranians are a modernizing people, with Western sensibilities to match their demographic youth. But, contra the “cake-walk,” they’ll-greet-us-with-bonbons-and bouquets-crowd, “that will not stop [the Iranians] fighting like hell if we are foolish enough to attack them.”

Peter’s lesser brother, the Trotskyite-turned-neocon Christopher Hitchens, is more at home shedding darkness. He has a new book out: Thomas Paine’s “Right of Man.” Christopher has dedicated it, “by permission,” to Jalal Talabani, the President of Iraq. Trotskyites share with neocons an ahistoric approach —to say nothing of philosophical Alzheimer’s —that has made it quite acceptable to compare the neocon-initiated carnage in Iraq to the constitutional cramps of early America. But, as I have pointed out over and over again, there is absolutely no philosophical link between the feuding Mohammedans and the American founders, followers of John Locke and Baron de Montesquieu.

Although he wrote some great libertarian tracts, Paine was too much of an acolyte of the French Revolution for my tastes, at one stage nuzzling up to the Jacobins (until they turned on him), and writing in opposition to Edmund Burke’s condemnation of that blood-drenched revolution.

Paine’s emphasis on the universality of political rights is also so French Revolution. I believe that all men are imbued with natural —but not political —rights. I believe taxpayers alone ought to have the vote. Not tax consumers. And that goes for politicians, who pay taxes out of what they loot from the taxpayer. As the very American John C. Calhoun explained in “A Disquisition on Government,” a sizeable majority of the people “receives in disbursements more than it pays in taxes.” The minority funding the orgy “pays in taxes more than it receives back in disbursements.” The latter, not the former, should have the vote.

But even Paine should probably not be paired with Talabani and his paired-down, uninspired mission: staying alive politically and literally. But then what would Hitchens know.

8 thoughts on “Paine and The Painful Brother Hitchens

  1. Franklin Hill

    “I believe taxpayers alone ought to have the vote. Not tax consumers.”
    I completely agree with you on that… and since I accept Social Security, that includes me.

    [I’m no expert on Social Security, but it is my understanding that you cannot opt out from the plan. So, from the fact that a worker is forced to contribute to SS, it doesn’t necessarily follow that he, overall, consumes more tax money than he contributes.]

  2. Dan Maguire

    One cannot legally opt out of paying into Social Security. I do not know if one can voluntarily opt out of receiving benefits. Seems to me that Uncle Sam would let a chap opt out of the receiving end if that’s what he wanted.

    I’m in my late ’30’s. I am not factoring SS into any retirement plans. That’ll be gut-check time. I oppose the unconstitutional beast, but I am not so sure that I’m principled enough to decline any $ that may come my way when I’m a geezer.

    Of course, it is doubtful that the program will exist in its present form by then. It is likely that the dollar will be a little b**ch by then as well.

    In absence of killing the program, which would be best, I’d say raise the minimum collection age to at least 70 immediately. Needless to say, I’m not running for president.

    Only tax-payers vote….I like that idea! Ilana Mercer for president.

  3. james huggins

    Only taxpayers vote? I have often stolen the quote, can’t remember the source, “Then one robs Peter to pay Paul, he will always have Paul’s vote.” If the Pauls of the nation can’t vote we will see the politicians getting hernias trying to get people off wellfare.

  4. Pam Maltzman

    Actually, I think there are or were a few groups of people who are or were able to opt out of Social Security. I thought I read that congresscritters were able to do that (well, they have lavish pensions anyhow). Also read that some group of public employees in Texas or somewhere was able to do that, and they had a very lavish pension system also that was not part of social security. Not sure of any more details, and of course the loopholes were closed at some point for the rest of us.

  5. Eric Zucker

    There is a way at least for the self employed to opt out of paying Social Security and it is quite simple. Incorporate and don’t pay yourself a salary. Instead pay yourself out of the corporate account and label the checks “profit distribution”. There is no Social Security on profit distribution only on wages. You’ll still owe income tax on the checks after your deductions but not Social Security.

    Small business corporate owners do this all the time. I know lots of them. Many lawyers do it.

    If your employer will allow you to change your relationship so that you are a subcontractor you can then incorporate and do it too.

  6. Eric Zucker

    I forgot to mention that your employer should be willing to pay you at least 6-1/2% more as a subcontractor since he will no longer have to contribute his share of your old Social Security payment. He also won’t have to make payments for other benefits so your raise may be even more substantial and you can decide how you want to spend that benefit money.

  7. Dan Maguire

    Eric, thanks for the information. I wasn’t aware of those facts.

    I know we’re getting far afield of the original blog, but I’m curious and intrigued by this possibility. I’ll have to do more research on it. I find it hard to believe that a self-employed lawyer or doctor would be able to incorporate and change his wages to profits as a pure definitional change. Seems to me that Uncle Sam would crush that loophole pretty quickly if too many people tried it.

    Finally, even if your salary remains unchanged after incorporation, that itself would be an automatic 6.5% raise. It does not necessarily follow that your employer would also give back his extra 6.5% to you. In fact, given that you’re already working at the lower wage, I suspect that in many cases the extra 6.5% of the employer’s dough would go to the employer and, ultimately, the consumer of whatever product it is you’re producing.

    Social security…what a HUGE cost of production. An additional 12% beyond the labor costs associated with producing a product. How many jobs are being killed by this ravenous beast?

    Kudos to those who are self-employed for both having a skill that they can use to their own benefit and for the potential to escape this trap.

  8. Max Bleiweiss

    I’m afraid I’m going to sound like an elitist but I also believe people should not be allowed to vote unless they are able to pass a test on how our government and economy work (or supposed to work) It annoys me to no end to see uneducated people rounded up, put on buses and hauled off to the local polls to vote for some socialist who is promising them freebies.

    [A desired state-of-affairs, but not to be enforced by law. Property is the key.]

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