Monday, March 9, 2015

History: The Year is 1532

I've uploaded year 1532 to the TSP Wiki...

Here are some one liners...

A Good Liberal Now, A Mean Liberal Later -- "The Prince" is published 5 years after the death of Machiavelli. I talk about liberalism, giving away goodies (the good liberal) and limiting the goodies later (the mean liberal).

Fewer "First Fruits" for Rome and Tax Freedom Day -- The Church tax is about 33% and is eating up the bishop's operating costs so the Reformation English Parliament limits the tax to around 1.65%. I also talk about Tax Freedom day and the problem with minorities and Social Security.

Pizarro and the Fallacy of the Noble Savage -- The Spaniards capture the Emperor of the Incas but if you think the Incas were innocent babes running tra-la through the woods, think again.

A Good Liberal Now, A Mean Liberal Later

Niccolo Machiavelli has been dead for 5 years now, but his famous book, "The Prince" is finally published this year. The point of the book was to ingratiate Niccolo to the ruler of Florence. It is unknown if the Prince ever received a copy and with Niccolo's death there seemed no point now, but someone was impressed enough to get the book published. It will remain a classic into the modern day, but like many Great Books in the modern day it will be quoted more than read. [1] [2] [3] [4]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
I've read three books that are quoted by smart people who have apparently never read them: Uncle Tom's Cabin, Democracy in America and The Prince. The Prince brings to light many uncomfortable political truths. For example: Being a good liberal requires self-effacing, anonymous do-gooding on behalf of the people. As a religious ideal it can work because God knows what you are doing without having to see it on the news. But in the secular world, government do-gooding must be public, requiring taxes for the sake of the greater good. When the money runs out, the government must be mean for the sake of the greater good. In Germany, during World War II, the government could no longer write the check for social services so the sick and elderly were "painlessly" gassed as a cost-saving measure. In the 1500s Niccolo Machiavelli predicted that government do-gooding would go wrong. Anyone who had read the book would have realized it and not started it in the first place. [5] [6]
"Those who will be kind when they should be cruel will one day be cruel when they should be kind." -- probably from the Midrash.[7]

Fewer "First Fruits" for Rome and Tax Freedom Day

At this time the Church in Rome is almost a world government and a government needs taxes run itself. The "First Fruits" annate is effectively an annual tax of one third off the top of all collections made to the bishoprics around the world. The English bishops are complaining that the tax leaves very little left to serve the needs of the poor and helpless of England. A commission by King Henry the 8th finds that a considerable amount of the wealth of England is being transferred to Rome each year. Therefore, the Parliament passes the Act in Conditional Restraint of Annates which reduces the Church's "tax" to approximately 1.6%. (Don't marry these figures. Just know that the King is putting serious pressure on the Pope.) The Reformation Parliament will impose further restrictions in the years to come. [8] [9] [10]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
In the United States, Tax Freedom Day is when your accumulated income for the year to date equals all estimated taxes for the year. In 2014, that day was April 21st and the total estimated taxes were 30.2%, federal, state and local. For comparison, in 1920 (the Roaring 20's) Tax Freedom Day was February 13th and the annual tax estimate was 12.0%. There were severe limits on taxes in those days but there was a corresponding limit on public services. There was no Social Security so the elderly were forced to depend on their children for help. Actually, they still are. Now the cost is hidden in the taxes and the unused portions mostly paid by minorities who die short of retirement age. At least private, inheritable retirement funds could go to their children rather than a nameless collective. Yet "Social Security über alles" is the motto of the US government and of most voters, it would seem, and saving the retirement of longer-lived... well... non-minority people.[11] [12] [13] [14] [15]

Pizarro and the Fallacy of the Noble Savage

Francisco Pizarro lands near Tumbez in what is modern day Peru. What he finds is confusion as civil war has broken out between the Incan Emperor and his brother. This allows Pizarro to take some advantage. He has already beaten up the rebels on the Island of Puná so he is perceived as supporting the Emperor. With a small army of 200 soldiers facing thousands, Pizarro ascends into the highlands. The Emperor sends a message to Pizarro, thanking him for taking care of those nasty rebels and he replies by essentially saying, "At your service." They agree to meet, each thinking that they have the advantage over the other. Within an hour, the Spaniards have captured the Emperor and routed the Incan troops. [16] [17]
My Take by Alex Shrugged
The Emperor walked right into it... all because he was following Inca rules and the Spaniards were following Spanish rules... and with Spanish rules there are no "do overs". The Emperor had communications with Pizarro previously and without the normal "white flag" understanding of negotiations both sides were free to take whatever advantage they could. The Inca Emperor thought he had the advantage over Pizarro and if he didn't think that, he would have killed every Spaniard and used Pizarro's head for a bowling ball. Don't think he wouldn't have. The idea that the Incas were somehow "noble savages" is the worst kind of liberal pap. It causes us to leave the rain forest "pristine" and the natives in their "natural habitat" as if they were some sort of monkey and not thinking human beings who might like a cell phone and a flush toilet if you'd just ask them. [18]

This Year on Wikipedia

Year 1532, Wikipedia.

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