After getting home last night, I did a little link chasing until I stumbled across an article of leftist coveting posted by Les Leopold on the Huffington Post website titled “The Forbes 400 Shows Why Our Nation Is Falling Apart.”

It’s great to know that during the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans, according to Forbes, actually increased by $30 billion. Well golly, that’s only a 2 percent increase, much less than the double digit returns the wealthy had grown accustomed to. But a 2 percent increase is a whole lot more than losing 40 percent of your 401k. And $30 billion is enough to provide 500,000 school teacher jobs at $60k per year.

Collectively, those 400 have $1.57 trillion in wealth. It’s hard to get your mind around a number like that. The way I do it is to imagine that we were still living during the great radical Eisenhower era of the 1950s when marginal income tax rates hit 91 percent. Taxes were high back in the 1950s because people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression. (Well, what did those old fogies know?)

Why use President Eisenhower as the benchmark? Leopold could have chosen the highest tax rate of 94% which fell 1944-1945, but that would be mentioning Democrat Presidents Roosevelt and Truman. Instead, he chose a Republican. Gee, I wonder why he chose a Republican instead of the higher rate under two previous Democrats.

So, were taxes that high in 1944-1945 and again from 1951-1963 because “people understood that constraining wild extremes of wealth would make our country stronger and prevent another depression”? Really? So the high taxes from 1932-1986 made the country stronger, so we didn’t get affected by the recessions of 1937, 1945, 1949, 1953, 1958, 1960-61, 1969-70, 1973-75, 1980, and 1981-82? Golly, good thing the government was confiscating 50-94% of the wealthiest Americans’ incomes during that time, or we’d have really been up poop creek without an implement of movement!

Quite simply, a tax is a punishment, so a tax on income is a punishment for earning money. When the government punishes an action, like earning money, the people respond by doing less of it. So Leopold thinks a massive income tax makes the country stronger by encouraging people to work less, and that’s a good thing? And here I thought the whole depression/recession thing is what you get when there is a reduction in the productivity of the nation. Well, what does this old fogy know?

Had we kept those high progressive taxes in place, instead of removing them, especially during the Reagan era, the Forbes 400 might each be worth “only” $100 million instead of $3.9 billion each. So let’s imagine that the rest of their wealth, about $1.53 trillion, were available for the public good.

What does $1.53 trillion buy?

It’s more than enough to insure the uninsured for the next twenty years or more.

It’s more than enough to create a Manhattan Project to solve global warming by developing renewable energy and a green, sustainable manufacturing sector.

And here’s my favorite: It’s more than enough to endow every public college and university in the country so that all of our children could gain access to higher education for free, forever!

Ah, the classic liberal dream of “I could spend your money better than you can.” Maybe, just maybe, Leopold could spend the money with far more wisdom than the 400 Forbes billionaires, but he misses one key point: their money is not his to spend. But Leopold has become successful in breaking the Tenth Commandment:

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s. Exodus 20:17 [emphasis mine - CM]

Other people’s money most certainly falls under that part of not coveting anything that is our neighbor’s. Now it’s true we can play the game of imaging just how much better we could spend another person’s money, but at best it’s just so much mental masturbation since it gives us a nice feeling, but nothing productive actually happens. But playing this game has a bad side leading to feelings of jealousy, rage, and calls for the confiscation and outright theft of other people’s money “for the common good.” Walter E. Williams sums it up well in his book More Liberty Means Less Government on page 182 of my copy.

Liberals are about control. Jealousy is their powerful instrument for the politics of envy. By getting us to covet that which belongs to our neighbor, we in turn give them the power to confiscate what are perceived as ill-gotten gains of others and pass it around. In the process we all wind up being less free, less prosperous, and less moral and become a nation of thieves engaged in the attempt to live at each other’s expense.

Leopold waxes on about the warm and pleasant feeling his mental wankfest grants him as he contemplates the theft of other people’s money. He says that “please let’s not call it socialism,” and he’s right. There is a much better term for the progressive tax he lusts after, and that word is Marxism. After all, a progressive tax is the third of Marx’s Ten Planks proposed in his Communist Manifesto.

With the recent battles over the Ten Commandments in Alabama, the way the Christmas holiday is morphing into “Winter Festival,” and the panicked way liberals chant “separation of Church and State” at every chance, you’d think that Christianity and other religions were a massive threat to your safety and liberty. Have you noticed that the phrase is normally given a high level of importance by calling it “the Constitutionally mandated separation of Church and State?” But that phrase does not appear in the Constitution. It was penned by Thomas Jefferson years later in a letter. The part about religion that does appear, when liberals get around to reading the Constitution, is in the 1st Amendment: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…”

But what does that mean? It’s simple, really. Congress can do nothing either in favor of or against a religion. The Founding Fathers had seen the way state-sponsored religion, in the forms of the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church, had disrupted the peace of England. Up to the reign of Henry VIII, the state religion of England was Roman Catholic, but when Pope Clement VII nullified Henry’s second divorce and excommunicated him, Henry broke with the Catholic Church. Parliament declared Henry “Supreme Head of the Church of England” in 1534. Henry’s son, Edward VI, succeeded him in 1547 but died shortly in 1553, and this left England with the choice of two of Henry’s daughters: Mary Tudor and Elizabeth I. The people supported Mary as queen, and she promptly made the Catholic Church the state religion again. This was not done peacefully, and to this day she is often referred to as “Bloody Mary.” Five years after the death of Edward VI, Mary Tudor died childless, and her half-sister Elizabeth I became queen. She removed the Catholic Church from power and reestablished the Church of England, albeit with closer theological ties this time and less bloodshed.

All in all, these were times of turmoil and death in England, and the country lost much political power in Europe along with its last properties in France. It is no wonder that the Founding Fathers did not want to establish a national church in the newly-formed United States. They had seen the horrors that can come from one.

But did they restrict the individual states from making an official state religion within their borders? No. They did not. “Blasphemy!” screams the modern liberal. But it is true. The 1st Amendment states that Congress shall make no laws either for or against religion–but Congress is not the states. The 9th and 10th Amendments specify that any rights not already given to the United States (the federal government) or expressly forbidden the states or people, belong to the states and people. This means that the right to form a state religion does belong to the states. The Founding Fathers wanted the individual states to have enough autonomy to work out their own success. You may think of the United States today as fifty state laboratories each working away trying to do their best. If something works well in one state, it will be noticed and copied by others. Likewise, if something fails miserably it will be rejected by other states–well, that is, unless the failure is propped up by liberals. So by what right can a federal judge order a state judge to remove the Ten Commandments from a courthouse in Alabama? If you said “none,” you are correct. Remember, “Congress shall make no law” applies to the federal government, but how can it apply to a state and a member of the judicial branch? The constant and ill-informed carping of “separation of Church and State” by liberals has muddied the waters in this debate, and it is clear that people do not understand the underlying reasons why the Founding Fathers put this amendment in place any more.

Redefining a word or phrase and then legislating from the new definition is a common tactic among the liberal left. The Founding Fathers are plain about the purpose of the 1st Amendment in their writings. They wanted a freedom of religion to prevent it from being meddled with as it was in 16th-century England. But modern-day liberals have redefined this as freedom from religion. And now that they have redefined this in the minds of the people, they want the judiciary to enforce their new definition. You see this in the constantly outraged left decrying anything Christmas- or God-centered. A nativity scene is now an establishment of religion, and saying “under God” in the Pledge of Allegiance is somehow a violation of people’s civil rights. When the Breen Elementary School in Rocklin, California posted “God Bless America,” the religion-hating ACLU objected to this “hurtful, divisive message.” This mistaken idea even leads to such silliness as the Golden Corral restaurant in Tyler, Texas posting “Bless America” because adding “God” to that phrase might offend someone. God save us from the perpetually offended!

But this is a good thing, the liberals tell us, because we do not want to have some religion forcing its beliefs on us. That would be just terrible, they cry. Really? How many laws have been written because of religion? Other than local “blue laws” regarding liquor and shopping on Sunday, can you name any religious laws enforced in the United States? But there is a group of people who have forced their beliefs on us via the law and judiciary: liberals.

Want to buy a 3 1/2-gallon toilet so you don’t have to flush two or three times? You can’t. Liberals don’t want you to flush away that much water. Want to buy an efficient freon-based refrigerator? You can’t. Liberals don’t want you to destroy the ozone with nasty CFCs. Never mind that CFCs are at least four times heavier than air, so how are they making it up to the ozone layer in the first place? Want to drive a large car? You can’t. Liberals have mandated the MPG and energy efficiency of cars, so America no longer produces the large, powerful cars of yesteryear. On every front liberals have been telling us what to do, where to go, how to eat, what to buy, how to believe. But they scream and pitch a fit whenever someone brings up the idea that God might be important in our lives. Why? Because they cannot attack our God-given rights if God still exists. But once God is out of the picture, then our God-given rights become government-given rights. And what government giveth, government also taketh away. Are you comfortable with that? I am not.

We live in a democracy. After all, we make our political decisions based on majority rule, right? Wrong! We do not live in a democracy, regardless of what the “learned” people say; we live in a representative republic. That means we elect people who then make the political decisions for us. The Founding Fathers carefully examined the various political societies recorded in history, and they specifically did not set up this nation as a democracy. They realized that democracies, while good, tend to be fairly short-lived. About the time a democracy realized that they could vote themselves largesse from the public treasury, that society was doomed and died shortly afterwards.

A direct democracy was one of the ideas put forward by Ross Perot during his runs for the Presidency. He wanted all the people to be able to vote on the various bills presented each year. While this idea may sound nice, democracies have a common problem, termed the Tyranny of the Majority. I may not take your stuff just because I want it. That is theft. It is also theft if a million people vote to take your stuff. But with majority rule, this scenario is quite possible. And once the minority feels it is being unfairly treated by the majority, this situation swiftly degrades into violence. The Founding Fathers realized this, so they configured this nation to be a republic where the voice of a majority in a location could elect a representative who would then vote on behalf of the people. They also outlined specific responsibilities for the branches of the government and wrote down some rights of the people. These two steps help keep the threat of majority rule by the people at bay, but interestingly, they allowed for majority rule to be sufficient for most things in government.

Because the United States protects the rights of the minorities as actively as it does, something else is possible: the Tyranny of the Minority. This may also be called the “Rule of Whine” rather than the “Rule of Law.” Texas state law requires the legislature to redistrict the state based on the US Census taken each decade. It requires only a simple majority vote of the legislature for this redistricting to take place. But something is different this year in Texas: the Republicans control the state legislature for the first time in about 130 years. Rather than accepting this loss of power, the minority Democrats have abrogated their responsibility and fled the state. They are guilty of an adult version of “if I can’t be the boss, then nobody gets to play” tactic of spoiled children. These few people are unwilling to accept that they are not in power, so they are counting on the “Rule of Whine” to get what they want. It does not matter to them that they are not fulfilling their responsibilities or serving the constituents who voted for them in the first place. They want their way, and the required redistricting can just wait until they feel up to it and get their way.

This childish behavior is not only exhibited by the Democrats in Texas, but it is also seen in the actions of the Democrat senators in Washington D.C. A simple majority of senators is necessary to confirm a judge or cabinet member put forward by the President. But Senator Tom Daschle, the Minority Leader of the Senate, is demanding that these appointments need a majority of 60+ senators. He is counting on his whining and complaining to make this happen. This is the tyranny of the whining minority, and sadly, this political temper tantrum seems to be working. It is ironic that when he was the majority leader in the Senate, Daschle said, “The Constitution is straightforward about the few instances in which more than a majority of the Congress must vote–a veto override, a treaty, and a finding of guilt in an impeachment proceeding. Every other action by the Congress is taken by majority vote.” But Constitution be damned, he wants his way now, and if he cannot have his way by being in the majority, he will gladly force his way by obstruction.

In a third example, a minority of people are trying to remove a monument from the Alabama Supreme Court building that contains, among others, a listing of the Ten Commandments. Opponents are claiming that this violates the Constitutional separation of church and state–never mind that this is not actually a phrase used in the Constitution. The relevant part of the 1st Amendment states, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” They say that this monument is creating an “establishment of religion” there. Really? Which religion? Christians, Jews and Muslims all respect and honor the Ten Commandments, and many of these tenets are commonly held by all other religions. So what is the problem? The problem is the small, whiny minority that does not like religion or the mention of God in any context. If these people get their way, then their voices count for more than the majority. And in removing the Ten Commandments on the basis of not “respecting an establishment of religion,” the courts are trying to force the establishment of one religion, that of anti-theists.

I listened to about four hours of discussion on this subject while driving home last week. One person asked if the people in favor of the Ten Commandments would be just as in favor of placing a statue of Buddha in the Alabama Supreme Court building. Personally, I would not mind if it could be proven that Buddha and his teachings have had as great an influence on our laws, society and culture as the Ten Commandments have done. Is the placing of the Ten Commandments an attempt to convert everyone to Christianity, Judaism, or Islam? Or is it a recognition of our Western heritage of laws and common experiences? It is obviously the latter, but this does not matter to the whiny minority that abhors any mention of God.

Are the rights of the atheist violated in any way as he walks past that monument? No, but he is offended, and that is sufficient for him to invoke the “Rule of Whine” and demand that his will reign supreme–the tyranny of the minority.