There has never been an idea so threatening to the banking and political establishment than freedom. Imagine a pension system that can be passed down through the generations so that it can grow and become the foundation for the family tree to grow. Imagine a banking and credit system that encourages households and businesses to take on minimum debt and to pay it off so that assets can grow in value rather than be forever encumbered as like this generation of financial tenants. Imagine a political system where elected representatives are not lawyers, but rather business professionals who actually understand the ramifications of proposed bills and can anticipate each unintended consequence.
The array of subgroups that make up the Tea Party suggests the rise of the people. They are understandably angry and feel disenfranchised. They are fiscal conservatives and libertarians, who value freedom. They also want to take the country back from liberal progressive ideology that took the federal government away from the nation’s founding documents – the U.S. Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Among the subgroups are Second Amendment die-hards and conspiracy theorists. Those conspiracy theories, once the domain of the fringes, have come into the mainstream, and serve as the bonding glue. They dovetail with each to form a cohesive and comprehensive alternative explanation for the complex world around us. Their significance in 21st century America is rooted in a fundamental fact: We’ve lost faith in the mainstream media, the corporate sector, and government. We see them as being in bed with each other, and therefore, alternative explanations are more satisfying than more misleading propaganda.
Each passing news cycle suggests that radicalization in America is becoming more prevalent. Consider these three instances. In June 2004, Marvin Heemeyer of Granby, Colorado rampaged through town in a bulldozer that was fitted as a tank over zoning disputes and liens that put a hurt on him and his own business. When it was over, he committed suicide. In February 2010, Joe Stack of San Marcos, Texas slammed a small plane into an office building that housed the Internal Revenue Service. His action resulted in the injury and death of other(s). In these two instances, death was preferable to life. Also in February 2010, Terry Hoskings of Moscow, Ohio bulldozed his house out of spite to the Internal Revenue Service and RiverHill Bank. His actions, fortunately, only amounted to significant property damage. According to an Internet poll conducted by WLWT News, which reported the Hoskings story – an overwhelming 78 percent responded with good for him, 9 percent responded with not a good idea, and only 13 percent said that he should be prosecuted. These people were not political radicals and they were not domestic terrorists like Timothy McVeigh or Ted Kaczynski (the Unabomber). Instead, they are society’s symptoms that suggest just how fragile we are in the face of government agencies and financial corporations that do not think, feel, breathe, or care.
Radicalization, however, does not need to follow the paths of these people. Imagine a world where groups of people have the power to wage creative destruction safely and on their terms for everyone’s best interests. Citibank, America’s zombie bank, issued the following statement:
“Effective April 1, 2010, we reserve the right to require (7) days advance notice before permitting a withdrawal from all checking accounts. While we do not currently exercise this right and have not exercised it in the past, we are required by law to notify you of this change.”
Radical times demand radical economics. The logical answer to this too big to fail bank is to pull the plug by closing accounts, and transferring funds elsewhere. Consumer choice of this nature is more powerful than a tank, plane, or bulldozer to send the message that we recognize that monster corporations are a threat to America. That pariah of an institution has ruined lives, fortunes, and the American economy. Because Citibank is a corporation that does not mean it is assured life in perpetuity. Out of this type of creative destruction will come better business models and real competition. That may sound radical, but it is what people need to do. As voters, tax payers, and consumers we are the ones who have the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness … not monster corporations that continue to threaten our lives, freedoms, and our economy. Freedom is radical and it is liberating.
Author of Mortgaged and Armed
Coming late-July 2010