Glass Tax., Etc....and Other Acts of Villianage
By: Glenn Randall
What ever happened to the use of words like tyranny and despotism in the American vernacular? Those were words and concepts which the Founding Fathers used daily and probably even mumbled in their sleep. Have we forgotten what our Declaration of Independence is all about? It seems like we have! Since we have chosen to forget the past we are now confronted with the same situation as our forefathers, but far worse.
In feudal England serfs who were protected by the Lord of the Manor were required to hand over one-third of their produce as a form of tax or tribute to the Lord of the Manor. They were considered slaves by some members of the ruling class and payment from the rabble was mandatory.
During the pre-Revolutionary days of Colonial America the British imposed a plethora of taxes upon the colonists'. It wasn t the taxes the colonists rebelled against as much as the way that England went about it! Lackeys for the King and Parliament were appointed and sent to the colonies to collect taxes. Sometimes the tax collectors were colonists' who had financial difficulties and needed a source of income. Of course there was the matter of taxation without representation which is not something they really wanted. They didn t want to be represented in Parliament, they wanted home rule.
The list of those taxes (to wit: Molasses Act, Sugar Act, Currency Act, Stamp Act, Townshend Acts', Declaratory Act, Tea Act, Intolerable Acts, Massachusetts Government Act) conjured up by the King and Parliament were extensive, intrusive and touched almost every aspect of life at one time or another.
England was burdened with a large amount of debt in her attempt to manage an Empire. The French and Indian War was one source of England s financial woes and one in which they could blame on the colonist s. After all weren t the colonists also beneficiaries of England s efforts to neuter the French and rid them from the North American continent? Shouldn t the colonists appreciate the protection afforded to them by England? Didn t the colonists realize the value of natural resources that no longer would be shared with the French? What a lot of ungrateful striplings those colonists' were.
Taxing the colonists' was a way to ameloriate the situation. One of the taxes that precipitated the revolution was a tax on glass. The Townshend Acts' created a tax on paper, red and white lead, glass, paint and tea. It was instituted as a sort of compromise with the colonies after the Stamp Act was repealed.
Recently I visited Brandywine Station with my beautiful Walking Glamour Puss . As we walked through the once private residences belonging to Patriots which served as the HQ s for George Washington and Lafayette we learned from the tour guide that windows were taxed.
I must admit that although I knew about the glass tax the thought that windows were a taxable item never occurred to me. Only wealthy denizens could afford to own or build a home that had many windows. The rest of the population had to resort to the use of shutters on the outside and inside which, as the tour guide explained, were pretty much useless against the onslaught of winter winds and temperatures. As far as England was concerned if you didn t have the money to pay the tax then you could freeze in the dark.
However creative and imaginative England was in removing the property from the pockets of the colonists by the long arm of the British government their action pale to what is experienced by the American people in the year 2002.
Needless to say taxes in America are out of control and have been for the last 50-60 years. In Washington, D.C. and in various state capitols new taxes are being invented almost everyday by fiat by our "Representatives". Often un-Constitutional, taxes are legal theft of our estates. The creativity of the elite in government and their propensity to tax would make England of 1776 proud and our progenitors livid. If serfs were considered slaves because of their payments, then what are we?
In communities through out the country cops are revenue collectors by the use of petty and devious speed traps. They could and should be enforcing the laws that prohibit illegal immigration by rounding them up and sending them back to where they came from! By ridding the landscape of this invasion of law breakers it would help eliminate a lot of necessary government spending (i.e. taxes) in the form of entitlements which are paid for by American citizens. Illegal aliens and the numerous entitlements they are given is the source of many taxes needed to provide freebees and hand-outs when they are not suppose to be in this country in the first place!
Communities are placed under duress by the influx of these hordes who occupy classrooms, yet because they rent they do not contribute adequately to school budgets and classroom shortages occur. More often then not an epidemic of drugs and related crimes are introduced into neighborhoods that were once safe and secure. Drug abuse and other societal problems are eventually the fruits of our porous borders.
Our wages are stolen by our employers and given to anyone who can sneak across our borders undetected, or not so undetected. Their talent and ability to steal from us is unprecedented and there is really nothing we seemingly can do about it. Our Representatives turn their collective heads away from the problem, or worse encourage illegal immigration for their own selfish desire to get reelected to office.
It is certainly time for Americans to wake up and smell the tyranny. At the very least we should recognize the "soft despotism" that de Toqueville warned us about. Like England of old our government couldn't give a damn about us. They want our money and will do whatever it takes.
Even if it means breaking the law to do so!
Glenn Randall graduated from the New York Institute of Technology with a BA in Broadcasting and Journalism after four years in the Navy. He is presently employed in Manhattan for the news department of a major television network and has been since 1981. Glenn is a new columnist for Ether Zone.
Glenn Randall can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the September 6, 2002 issue of Ether Zone.
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Reprinted with permission. Published originally at EtherZone.com; republication allowed with this notice and hyperlink intact.