What The H— Is Wrong With America? – Part Two

CLICK HERE TO READ PART ONE

I mentioned in Part One that there can be no political autonomy without financial autonomy. I think the collapsing of American political autonomy is clear to the most casual observer, but what exactly is financial autonomy?

If I have a job and can pay my rent and have enough money for food until my next pay check – isn’t that being responsible? Aren’t I free to do as I please?

What Is Financial Autonomy?  1828_b

Let’s take a minute and really drill down on this definition.

Financial refers to the monetary resources of a government, a company, an organization, or an individual; revenue.

Autonomy is of Greek origin and literally means “having one’s own laws;” self -governing or not being subject to outside control. It refers to a kind of independence or freedom known to few in America today.

The word “free” has Saxon and Hebraic roots.

In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of the English Language, free is defined as, “being at liberty; not being under necessity or restraint; not enslaved; not in a state of vassalage or dependence.”

Since our language has the capacity to describe a certain state of being – that of financial Autonomy, I ask the question – Why are so few Americans financially free?

Why are so many of us, a pay check or two away financial disaster? America is the freest nation on earth…or is it?

We certainly have the freest system of government, the freest system of protection of rights, and a culture more free of a class system than any in the world –but if we voluntarily place ourselves under the control of another power, the freedom guaranteed by our system of government is meaningless.

If we structure our lives in such a way as to be constantly dependent or at the biding of institutions, what does it matter that our politically rights are intact–if we never use them.

One of the first indications of a dependent people is that they stop asking questions and challenging norms. To question and challenge (which was a virtue 100 years ago) established money and government systems was at the very heart of the American Revolution–just read the Declaration of Independence–it is right there in print. But today it is almost unpatriotic to not have your money in the bank or to insist on paying-off debt or being debt free.

Misery really does love company.

downloadWhen debt is a normal part of daily life, when governments have debts that are impossible to pay-off, when businesses cannot survive without debt, when it is normal to carry an on-going (usually maxed out) credit card balance even for things such as clothes and food, that society is dependent on and indeed in vassalage to whomever is providing the money.

Speaking of government or other powers, Alexis de Tocqueville said:

Above this race of men stands an immense and tutelary power, which takes upon itself alone to secure their gratifications and to watch over their fate. That power is absolute, minute, regular, provident, and mild.

 

It would be like the authority of a parent if, like that authority, its object was to prepare men for manhood; but it seeks, on the contrary, to keep them in perpetual childhood: it is well content that the people should rejoice, provided they think of nothing but rejoicing.

 

For their happiness such a government [or bank] willingly labors, but it chooses to be the sole agent and the only arbiter of that happiness; it provides for their security, foresees and supplies their necessities, facilitates their pleasures, manages their principal concerns, directs their industry, regulates the descent of property, and subdivides their inheritances: what remains, but to spare them all the care of thinking and all the trouble of living?

Financial Autonomy then can be defined as the ability to fund your life by-way of private business or investment, without dependence on governmental subsidy or corporate salary.  This does not mean being rich, but it does mean living within one’s means, or having achieved enough monthly residual income from private sources to meet monthly expenses independent of any outside influence.

Financial Autonomy means avoiding the trap of Clason’s Law – always living right at or above your income. By the way, if you have little or no savings (60% of Americans have less that $25,000 saved for retirement) or lack a solid  retirement plan (minimum of $1.5 M) or if you have a long-standing credit card balance–you are living Clason’s Law.

HOLDING A LOAN FOR 3 DECADES IS NOT THE SAME AS HOME OWNERSHIP

HOLDING A LOAN FOR 3 DECADES IS NOT THE SAME AS HOME OWNERSHIP

Technically, if you hold a balance on a mortgage or are making payments on a car or a boat, you are in the clutches of Clason’s Law.

Being independent means just that—being dependent on no one or institution.

So if I have a job, am I independent or not?

I have heard this question a hundred times, “Well if I don’t have a job, how will I get money?” Therein lies the problem.

Remember, we fought a war over this very issue 239 years ago, renewed the concept during the American Civil War, and again we revitalized the idea during WWII and the subsequent Cold War. (By, the 1990’s our wars were not being fought for independence but rather, they were wars fought to maintain the very institutions predicted by Tocqueville above).

In fact, the pre-American and American civilization and culture of the 1700’s and the 1800’s and into the first quarter of the 20th century were in complete abhorrence to Clason’s Law. The first credit card was not available until 1952 and consumer credit was seen as a very bad idea until the 1980’s. Americans lived a comparatively lower standard of living during this time, but American 18th, 19th, and early 20th century quality of life and psyche of liberty were much higher than today and very much in tune with our definition of Financial Autonomy.

Part three coming soon….

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