‘Government can have no more than two legitimate purposes, the suppression of injustice against individuals within the community, and the common defense against external invasion.’
— William Godwin
Our cook, Marta, appeared at the door just as we were leaving yesterday.
With her was Gabriella, a plump woman of about 40 with a friendly face.
Both were dressed for the cold, with several sweaters and knit caps. Both held bags with knitting needles and balls of wool.
The black gate
‘Can we get a ride to the black gate?’ Marta asked.
‘The gate… You mean the entry gate? Why are you going there?’
‘We’re not going there. We just need to go to the cemetery.’
‘Oh…of course. Uh…why are you going to the cemetery?’
‘It’s been nine days. It’s time we went to pray for Francisco.’
The road to the ‘Black Gate’
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It was still cold outside. But the two women got into our pickup, and we drove them to the windswept, forlorn cemetery.
It sits alone, far from any house or other building, on a rock-littered hillside, surrounded by a stone wall.
You enter through an iron gate. Inside are the graves of generations of Alancay, Guantay, Fabian, Chocobar, Diaz, and Casimir.
Their graves are marked with small, colourful crosses in the South American style, planted in piles of rocks.
And there Gabriella and Marta will sit…knit…and pray for Francisco’s soul.
Francisco, a blind man somewhere in his 80s (no one seemed to know for sure) was the first victim of the ‘Originario War’.
He had supported us; his family had gone the other way. He died, it was said, of neglect.
And so we continue our ‘Short Treatise on Government in the Context of the “Originario War.”’
Here in our little world, a miniature version of an epic battle goes on.
On one side are people trying to earn a living, take care of their families, and get on with their lives.
On the other are people working the angles, applying the techniques of politics to create what they believe will be a better world…at least for themselves.
‘Love afar is spite at home,’ wrote Emerson.
Francisco was a victim of that spite.
According to our sources, he shivered in his bed as his family held long, windy debates in the next room about how to create a ‘Diaguita Community’ [the name the originarios have given themselves] in the valley.
A man loves his country, but despises his neighbours. A woman buys ‘fair trade’ coffee, but treats her Colombian gardener like trash.
Social justice…a guaranteed income…free land for people with the right racial background — there is always a remote, but worthy, distraction.
And so it was that the Diaz family turned its attention away from its patriarch in order to chase wisps of clouds on the distant mountains.
Way of the world
As British journalist and political philosopher William Godwin pointed out back in the late 18th century, government should be protecting us from the originarios who are trying to take our land.
‘Are you kidding?’ began a neighbour.
‘The government is not going to help you. It’s going to side with them. They represent a lot more votes than you and I do.
‘It’s a win-win for the politicians. They get to portray themselves as heroes to the agitators. They get more votes. And they take our land away.
‘If you want to put the government on your side, you’ll have to pay off someone. You probably could pay off a couple of the originario leaders.
‘Give them some money and ask them to pick on someone else. That’s the way it works down here. If you try to do this honestly and aboveboard, you will lose.’
North of the Rio Grande, it is more sophisticated.
Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign raised a record $90 million in donations in July.
She seems to have an almost infinite amount of money to spend on getting elected.
Americans know how it works, too. A politician plays to the masses to get votes. But he plays to the Establishment to get money.
Their pockets full of nearly-free money provided by the Fed, rich and powerful insiders line up behind Ms Clinton.
That’s because they know she is someone they can work with. She is an honest politician: When she is bought, she stays bought.
They know, too, that lobbying and political contributions can pay off.
To give you an idea of just how well they pay, here’s an excerpt from our old friend James Dale Davidson’s upcoming book, The Breaking Point:
‘The Sunlight Foundation — a nonpartisan watchdog group that tracks lobbyist spending and influence in both parties — reported on research it undertook between 2007 and 2012, tracking 200 of America’s most politically active corporations.
‘After examining 14 million records — including data on campaign contributions, lobbying expenditures, and federal budget allocations and spending — it found that, on average, the most politically active corporations in the U.S. received $760 from the government for every dollar spent on influencing politics, for a total of $4.4 trillion.
‘As the figure was rounded up slightly, that translates to a 75,900% rate of return. Compare that to the 0.25% Grandmother gets on her CDs.’
Crime pays; it pays even better when you do it with the help of the government.
And these days, it pays even better still. Thanks to the Fed, bribe money has never been so cheap.
Back at the ranch…
Meanwhile, back at the ranch…
Gabriella and Marta — who are double first cousins — were back at the main house when we returned in the evening.
‘How is everything in the cemetery?’ we asked, making light-hearted conversation.
‘It is fine. Francisco is at peace,’ said Marta.
Then, after a pause, ‘It’s not so peaceful for the rest of us.’
More to come…including a look at just one of those rich guys who supports Ms Clinton and how he made his money.
For Markets and Money, Australia
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