TOP CENSORED STORIES OF THE LAST 25 years, (Includes one censored from a list of “most censored” stories.

by Jim Britell

Some years ago I wrote a piece giving my candidates for the most censored stories of the last 25 years; it got published in papers all over the country; but the most important item somehow disappeared in the editing! Here is the original version of the piece.


A few years ago a columnist friend of mine had a story placed on Sonoma State’s “most censored story of the year list”. I wrote him and proposed my candidates for the most censored stories of the last 25 years! He took my piece and ran it as a segment of a long magazine piece over his by-line (I said it was OK) and then it ran, in a shorter form in newspaper syndication around the US.  Unfortunately the one item I thought the strongest disappeared from all published versions.  Here for the first time is the original piece as I wrote it,

1. Between 1965 and 1985 slavery was successfully reintroduced into the United States.
In 1960 a college graduate with a C average could find a job and earn enough to buy a house with three bedrooms, a garage, basement and an attic, a two-year-old Chevy, and raise four kids without to having his wife work. Today a college graduate can scarcely afford to share a room in an apartment. (What earlier generations called living in a rooming house.) The upper classes have succeeded in enslaving the middle and lower classes. Or perhaps the older generation has enslaved the younger. Job and working conditions are horrific today with the basic freedoms to speak, assemble, and freedom from unreasonable search denied working people. Looks like re-enslavement to me.

2. America badly needs land reform.
 United States is a more likely candidate for land reform than the countries in central and South America. Most of the land in the United States was acquired by theft. This is why the United State’s “basic rule” is that nobody can take your land as long as you stole it fair and square. Or put another way “No one is allowed to steal back land.” To commence land reform the tens of millions of acres the Railroad’s stole should be Re vested, (taken back), because the owners have violated the terms under which they acquired them.

Incidentally National forests are merely lands that were thought too worthless to bother to steal in the earlier part of this century and the last. In recent decades timber companies have been attempting to correct their earlier oversight.

3.The “takings” issue is really a “givings” problem.
 The radical right generates much noise over the “takings” issue where the government is allegedly taking property rights without compensation. This actually masks the real problem which is of course the “givings” problem where windfall land value increases are created by government actions, roads, sewer lines, light rail, rezoning etc. etc. The people should share in the ballooning in value of land from actions of the public and from public investment. The issue is really threefold “takings”, “givings”, and “Puttings”, the latter being the revolutionary idea that people who own land should put something of value back for the value they withdraw. We could finance the costs of “takings” by taxing the windfalls from “givings”.

4. It is easy to pay off the national debt.
It just can’t be done by taxing income, only by taxing assets. The right wing continually correctly asserts that if we increased the tax on high incomes even if we taxed away all the “income” of millionaires and billionaires we would only raise “chump change” This is not because it is futile to tax the rich, but rather because it is futile to increase the tax on the taxable income of the rich. They do not receive much taxable income. Moreover income tax only applies to what you got last year and ignores all the money accumulated in prior years. Debt elimination can only come from one source, taxing assets.

It is futile to demand that a billionaire stand and deliver his W-2 form. Only saps get W-2’s. If America had a left it would be demanding asset taxation. At the very least we could demand the return of 100% of the loot that was plainly stolen in S&L scandals, oil lease tax evasion, energy price manipulation etc. But beyond that, since it is a free country we should be able to confiscate wealth if we want to.

5. Corporate planning is an utter failure.
Virtually nothing of worth to the country has come out of corporate planning. It is merely serving as a tool to increase centralization, commodification, and domestication. It is an American adoption of the worst feature of Stalin’s Russia - central planning. Things that are worthwhile to humans have been produced organically, through incremental development and inspiration. Of course people should think ahead and have dreams and be logical and systematic, but these blessings of the human condition are perverted by formal structured planning systems that reduce people to inputs and outputs and mere dependent variables of a master plan has produced the current reign of quantity over quality has been created by utopian procrustean quantification

6. The Nation is not a left wing magazine
There is no left wing or left wing press in the United States. If there were they would be dealing with problems like the above. The two political parties are two arms of the business party and the press and media are creatures of it too. There was more left wing analysis in a single Mad magazine circa mid-fifties than in the combined output of left wing publications in the US in 1992. This is because left wing people are generally killed or silenced in one way or another in the US.

One of the reasons why a left wing debate is impossible is because the words and phrases that one would use to communicate left wing ideas have been trivialized into a subset of raving. (Merely voicing them creates reflexive rolling of eyes and smirking). Totalitarian regimes put policemen with guns on every corner; democracies of course can’t do that so they install “smirking screens” inside our heads. Here try some: “class struggle”, “lower classes”, “plutocrat”, “malefactors of great wealth” “the left”,

7. It’s the engrossment stupid.
From AD 1025 until 1844 an unpardonable sin was "engrossment" - snatching private gain by exploiting public necessities. This was an excommunicable offense whose remedy was “disgorgement” and also a civil crime for which the third offense was "pillory and ruin".

Since 1844 the civil contract assumed that people who accumulated a lot of money, like Andrew Carnegie who built the nations libraries, would undertake charitable acts on a grand scale. However today the upper 10% of the country contributes less to charity than the lowest 10 %. Old families like Mellon and Rockefeller should take the newly made Reagan and Bush I and II billionaires off for a talk about rich people’s responsibilities. Entirely rebuilding the inner city school systems might be good for starters.

Today we are going back to a Lord-peasant social structure, which only works if Lords follow the ground rules. Alas, today’s Lords eagerly assert traditional medieval rights of Lords such as: the upper classes will hold society’s assets; and peasants must not encroach on those above them. But they shirk corresponding obligations such as: peasants are the Lord’s responsibility in sickness and old age; one never works a peasant till he drops and of course the basic rule that Lords must not despoil peasants.

This guitar disgorges engrossers,

©2002 Jim Britell
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