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Monthly Archives: December 2011

Let it be acknowledged that there are serious issues that need to be resolved within government and society. The status quo, no matter the political persuasion one adheres to, needs reform. Observing the Occupy protests firsthand has forced the question upon their activity, when is enough, really enough? The ever-shifting, constantly morphing ideals, ideas, and ideologies of these protesters demonstrates their discontent with the current status quo. What it also makes visible, is their inherent disregard and lack of overall understanding of the forces in the society to which they subscribe.

The proud and thunderous proclamations of the protesters, “This is what democracy looks like!” are washed away when those very same voices say that “it’s not so much about the demands, but using a real democratic process,” whatever that actually means. The Tea Party grew out of similar discord with the status quo of government activity, yet the Occupy participants, who are just as frustrated and angry, seem to be less organized, live where they protest, and rely on outside and non-participating supporters to assist them with basic hygiene. Further, the Tea Party has an organized and cohesive set of goals that consist of demanding policies of responsible, low taxation and limiting the power and size of government. The Tea Party is organized to the extent that they have succeeded in electing representatives to high office. The Occupy movement preaches the virtue of “the mood de jour” and the tenets of how wealthy citizens are inherently evil. Sound messy? It is.

Therefore, let our civilization reflect that fundamental discontent with the status quo is visible on many levels, however the reaction to it has varied drastically. Some elements seek to organize, establish goals, achieve their goals, and even become represented within our cherished democratic institutions. Others find it more conducive to camp out, ask for food, request help with their dirty laundry, and refuse to shower for weeks on end. Whether you agree with one phenomenon or the other, one thing is certain: if you want something, you must work for it. If you need something, you must find it. The culture of dependency is not what makes a more efficient and well-functioning society; it is what enables a crisis to continue. It is easy to tell people to just go out and get a job, but it is even easier to demand that everything must be handed to them, simply because one exists. If great things are to come from this rising generation, it will not be found within the unchecked fears of their hearts, but from the discipline, focus, and strength of their souls.

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The debatable deficiency of many scholars when analyzing Middle East politics is evident with their failure to meaningfully address the pivotal political importance of World War I and the immediate events surrounding it – in this instance the Faisal Weizmann Agreement of 1919. Why did Faisal bin Hussein bin Ali al-Hashemi, descendant of the prophet Muhammad and son of Emir Hussein of Hedjaz, initially sign the Faisal Weizmann Agreement only later to appear to rescind his previous commitment to the agreement? What does this action demonstrate about the document’s post-script and on Faisal’s commitment to the agreement overall? This paper will analyze these questions by scrutinizing Faisal’s original intention on the creation of an independent Pan-Arab state, as well as his response and reaction to Jewish migration in the British Mandate of Palestine post-signing of the agreement. Therefore, the eventual King Faisal I of Iraq never fully intended to support and uphold the items expressed in the Faisal Weizmann Agreement of 1919, as is evident with his Pan-Arab political aspirations, and by his interpretation of the Jewish population and immigration growth within the British Mandate of Palestine.

The Provisions of the Faisal Weizmann Agreement

The Faisal Weizmann agreement is a brief document signed on January 3, 1919 in Paris, France that had tremendous political and social implications.[i] Analyzing the language used by both parties of the agreement, it seems like nothing short of a miracle in relation to today’s rhetorical devices evident within Arab-Israeli relations. The general provisions outlined within the agreement are as follows:

1. Both parties are committed to the most cordial goodwill and understanding, to encourage immigration of Jews into Palestine on a large scale while protecting the rights of the Arab peasants and tenant farmers, and to safeguard the free practice of religious observances. The Muslim Holy Places were to be under Muslim control.

2. The Zionist movement must undertake efforts to assist the Arab residents of Palestine and the future Arab state to develop their natural resources and establish a growing economy.

3. Create a commission after the Paris Peace Conference to agree upon a border between an Arab state and Palestine.

4. Both Parties are to uphold the Balfour Declaration of 1917.

5. Disputes were to be handled by Great Britain.[ii]

In relation to this document, there are relevant events and items that must also be addressed that may have affected the commitment and interpretation of Faisal to this agreement. The McMahon Correspondence between British High Commissioner Edward McMahon and Emir Hussein, Faisal’s father, discussed the creation of an Arab Kingdom in return for British support and an Arab rebellion against the Ottomans.[iii] The correspondence discussed what the Arab Kingdom was to potentially look like, some scholars claiming the future delineation of the British mandate of Palestine was the agreed upon demarcation within the correspondence, and others stating this was not the case. Also, the Sykes-Picot Agreement as well as the French invasion of Syria may have greatly influenced Faisal’s commitment to the agreement, in regards to his personally written condition to the document. Therefore these events will be analyzed within the context of Faisal’s Pan-Arab aspiration in conjunction with his written condition upon the original agreement. The condition said the following:

“If the Arabs are established as I have asked in my manifesto of 4 January, addressed to the British Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, I will carry out what is written in this agreement. If changes are made, I cannot be answerable for failing to carry out this agreement..”[iv]

This condition, which was not explicitly outlined or concurred upon by both parties of the signed agreement, will be the center of focus as to possibly why Faisal abandoned his commitment to the agreement’s provisions, even after writing post-scripts to the document such as:

“We Arabs… look with the deepest sympathy on the Zionist movement. Our deputation here in Paris is fully acquainted with the proposals submitted yesterday by the Zionist Organisation to the Peace Conference, and we regard them as moderate and proper. We will do our best, in so far as we are concerned, to help them through; we will wish the Jews a most hearty welcome home… I look forward, and my people with me look forward, to a future in which we will help you and you will help us, so that the countries in which we are mutually interested may once again take their places in the community of the civilised peoples of the world.”[v]

Emir Hussein and Faisal’s Quest for an Arab Kingdom

The place to start, regarding the intentions behind Faisal’s desire for an independent confederation of Arab states, is with his father the Emir Hussein of Hedjaz. The British began a correspondence with Emir Hussein in 1916 from their offices in Cairo in an attempt to establish an Arab army that would assist the British war effort against Constantinople. The Young Turks, now in power over the Ottoman Empire, never fully trusted the Emir Hussein given his influence and control over the holiest sites of Islam in Mecca and Medina.[vi] The British were informed by Hussein and other agents, [even the deceitful fraud al-Faruqi], that the local Arab populations would rise up and revolt against the Ottoman Empire given their seemingly second-class status within the affairs and governance of the empire.[vii] The Turkish were in the process of sending a small army to Hedjaz in the hopes of ousting Emir Hussein from power, and making Constantinople the protector of Islam.[viii] The Emir knew his forces were relatively weak compared to the Turkish and therefore played both the British and the Ottoman officials when failing to publicly support the British, but privately entertained the idea in the McMahon-Hussein Correspondence.[ix]

The correspondence alluded to the fact that the Arabs [an undefined body of ethnically and culturally different peoples] would support the British war efforts against Constantinople in exchange for British military relief and most importantly, British support for the creation of an independent Arab kingdom [which was to be ruled by Emir Hussein].[x] Thus, the desires and belief that the Arabs were able to secure an independent kingdom or confederation of Arab states began with the political bargaining and aspirations of his father the Emir of Hedjaz with the British.

The Sykes-Picot Agreement and Faisal’s Syrian Reign

The Sykes-Picot Agreement was concluded by British, French, and Russian foreign officials in 1916, and was leaked a year later in 1917 by the newly formed Russian Bolshevik government.[xi] The agreement centered on the future spheres of influence each country would administer within the Middle East once the war was won by the allied powers. The three nations had outlined that the southern parts of Turkey and northern parts of Syria were to go to France, while the northern parts of the Arabian peninsula and modern day Iraq were to go to the British.[xii] The provisions outlined in this agreement greatly disturbed Faisal and other Arab counterparts due to their intention of establishing an independent Arab entity to be ruled by Arabs after the war was concluded. The Sykes-Picot document seemingly negated the fundamental aspirations of Faisal as well as appears to contradict the word of the British who were expressly committed [McMahon-Hussein Correspondence] to the concept of Arab independence.[xiii] Therefore one possible reason Faisal had hand written the condition upon the Faisal Weizmann document was due to the nature of the Sykes-Picot agreement and the blurred intentions it potentially portrayed regarding what Europe was seeking to implement within the region.

France’s Enduring Commitment to Syria and Faisal’s Dilemma

The same year the Faisal Weizmann Agreement was signed, elections were held for the Syrian National Congress.[xiv] The results amounted to about 80% of the congress to consist primarily of conservative Arab officials who wished to establish an independent Arab state.[xv] There was tremendous unrest within the region of what was known to the Arabs as Greater Syria, especially within Lebanon where the Arabs feared they were to be dominated by Christians in the newly established French mandate of Lebanon.[xvi] Furthermore, the Syrian National Congress had become greatly alarmed by the signing of the Faisal Weizmann Agreement, which essentially supported the implementation of the Balfour Declaration and ensured an uninterrupted flow of Jewish migrants to Palestine. As a result, the Syrian National Congress rejected the provisions of the agreement, claimed Palestine to be apart of Greater Syria and declared Faisal as the King of the Arabs.[xvii] While the unrest had been steadily growing since 1919, the French were awarded the mandate of Syria in 1920 at the San Remo conference in Italy.[xviii] What was a tumultuous situation before the creation of Syria became worse as the French insisted on directly governing the region and its people.

This confrontation between the Nationalist Congress in Syria who supported Faisal and the French who sought to implement the Syrian mandate, ended with the resignation of Faisal from power.[xix] After much bloodshed from both sides had been spilt, the Franco-Syrian war ended in victory for the European power. The determining factor of this brief Syrian national affront was at the Battle of Maysalun in 1920.[xx] The French forces were 3 times the size of the Syrians, and their superior technology and organization was no match for the local Arab fighting force.[xxi] King Faisal quickly realized that his situation was no longer tenable and fled the Syrian mandate to Great Britain who sought to empower him in Iraq.[xxii] The English believed he could be of assistance to their governance in Iraq given the British’s difficulty in maintaining a stable control within the region.[xxiii] Therefore this forced departure from the Arab nationalist agenda in Syria considerably contributed to Faisal rebuking his agreement with Weizmann and the Zionist Organization, as well as question Europe’s commitment to the concept of an independent Arab state. The Syrian National Congress had a clear Arab independence agenda and therefore the breakdown of the congress appeared to Faisal as potentially nothing other than European meddling that negated the condition on the Faisal Weizmann Agreement.

The Reign of Faisal I of Iraq and Jewish Migration Patterns in Palestine

After the British had decided their more direct form of governance over the area of Iraq was no longer feasible, they asked Faisal to become king of the mandate, which was supported by a 96% vote of the immediate population.[xxiv] In August 1921, Faisal was crowned as King Faisal I of Iraq. The newly crowned king still harbored aspirations of an independent Pan-Arab state, therefore he encouraged former Syrian officials to assist him in Iraq in order to maintain old connections as well as foster better relations between the Arab people of both the Iraqi and Syrian mandates.[xxv] Another aspect of Faisal’s Pan-Arab aspirations were visible with his desire to create a universal military service policy within Iraq, while simultaneously pursuing an Iraqi oil pipeline that would extend to the West toward the Mediterranean [thus establishing a greater reliance of the East Arab territories within the region].[xxvi] The new Iraqi king also became increasingly certain that his condition upon the 1919 Faisal Weizmann Agreement was essentially void given his mild public opposition, but grave personal discomfort, on the 1930 Anglo-Iraqi Treaty that further politically divided Syria and Iraq, as well as Iraq’s joining the League of Nations in 1932 once the British Mandate had officially expired.[xxvii] As King Faisal I of Iraq, the leader’s most visible lack of commitment to the Faisal Weizmann Agreement [concerning his written agreement] was demonstrated with his grievance issued to the British Government concerning Jewish migration patterns in the mandate of Palestine.

In 1933, right before his death in Switzerland, King Faisal I went to Great Britain to give his sincere concern about the Jewish situation in the mandate of Palestine in regards to the present and potentially future Arab position.[xxviii] The Faisal Weizmann Agreement laid out two provisions, one that would recognize the Balfour Declaration [establishment of a Jewish Homeland] and the other than would allow a steady flow of Jewish migration to Palestine.[xxix] Therefore this paper will quickly address the Jewish population levels and growth in Palestine from 1890 to 1947, a year before the Israeli War for Independence began.

1890 – 43,000 Jews

1914 – 94,000 Jews

1922 – 84,000 Jews [11.14% growth]

1931 – 175,000 Jews [16.90% growth]

1937 – 386,084 Jews [27.91% growth] etc..

1947 – 630,000 Jews[xxx]

If Faisal had intended to truly commit to the provisions outlined in the agreement between him and Weizmann, then these growing population levels in Palestine would have never been as concerning as he expressed them to be in Great Britain in 1933. Reading again the post script at the end of the second section in this paper, as well as reading over the provisions outlining the support of Jewish migration on a large scale and supporting the Balfour Declaration, why did this phenomenon concern Faisal? What did he expect to actual achieve by issuing the hand written condition upon the agreement in regards to what it actually called for?

An Impossible Condition and a Lack of Commitment to Peace

The Faisal Weizmann Agreement and the condition written by Faisal, was a tricky diplomatic endeavor from the start. For example, the Syrian National Congress in 1920 had rejected the agreement but still claimed that Faisal, the Arab who had signed the document, as the legitimate King of the Arabs. Furthermore, Chaim Weizmann was a representative of the Zionist Organization and had little relative influence regarding the measures proposed in the Sykes-Picot agreement of the major European allied powers. Any European activity in the region was out of the direct control of Weizmann, and therefore Faisal had written the condition post-signing as if the Zionist Organization did have the ability to directly control European intentions, and thus Faisal avoided being bound by the Agreement’s provisions. Lastly, the written condition of Faisal, in regards to Weizmann’s potential interpretation of it, was non-binding. In other words, Faisal had written the condition to the agreement, only after both parties to the document had signed their consent to the positions clearly expressed within the final copy of the agreement and by that logic not on Faisal’s condition. Therefore the subsequent grievance Faisal I presented to Great Britain about Jewish migration patterns demonstrated how he never fully intended to support the provision of the agreement that called for Jewish migration on a large scale as well as fulfilling the Balfour Declaration.

Furthermore, Faisal had inherited his father’s intentions on creating an independent Arab state and therefore wanted to ensure that this became a realization. He potentially used the Faisal Weizmann agreement as leverage against the European powers to uphold their support for an independent Arab entity however, as history demonstrates, this clearly failed to influence any European decision making and only forced a conflict to ensue when Faisal began to openly denounce Jewish activity in Palestine. Regardless of the post-hand written condition of Faisal on the agreement, if the son of the Emir Hussein had any intention on fulfilling the provisions outlined in the document his political activity would have looked very different. Therefore, and in conclusion, King Faisal I of Iraq never fully intended to commit to his signing of the Faisal Weizmann Agreement as is evident with his pan-Arab political aspirations, as well as his inherently grave concern for Jewish migration patterns toward the end of his life. What would have been an enduring prospect for peace, ended up being a deceitful operation of Faisal’s, on behalf of the entire Arab population.


[i] “The Weizmann-Feisal Agreement.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. <www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents/The+Weizmann-Feisal+Agreement+3-Jan-1919.htm>.

[ii] Ibid.

[iii] Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. 2nd Holt pbk. ed. New York: H. Holt and Co., 2009. Print.

[iv] “The Weizmann-Feisal Agreement.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. <www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents/The+Weizmann-Feisal+Agreement+3-Jan-1919.htm>.

[v] Sicker, Martin. “Reshaping Palestine: from Muhammad Ali to the British Mandate, 1831-1922”. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. Print. p. 147

[vi] Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. 2nd Holt pbk. ed. New York: H. Holt and Co., 2009. Print.

[vii] Ibid.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 1. ed. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

[xii] Ibid.

[xiii] Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. 2nd Holt pbk. ed. New York: H. Holt and Co., 2009. Print.

[xiv] Pipes, Daniel. Greater Syria the history of an ambition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] Ibid.

[xvii] Ibid.

[xviii] Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 1. ed. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

[xix] Ibid.

[xx] Moubayed, Sami M.. The politics of Damascus, 1920-1946: urban notables and the French mandate. Damascus: Tlass House, 1999. Print.

[xxi] Gelvin, James L.. Divided loyalties nationalism and mass politics in Syria at the close of Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Print.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. 2nd Holt pbk. ed. New York: H. Holt and Co., 2009. Print.

[xxiv] Ibid.

[xxv] Ibid.

[xxvi] Ibid.

[xxvii] Ibid.

[xxviii] Stein, Leslie. The hope fulfilled: the rise of modern Israel. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003. Print.

[xxix] “The Weizmann-Feisal Agreement.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2011. <www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents/The+Weizmann-Feisal+Agreement+3-Jan-1919.htm>.

[xxx] Pergola, Sergio. Demography in Israel/Palestine: trends, prospects, policy implications.. Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, 2001. Print.

Bibliography

Fromkin, David. A peace to end all peace: the fall of the Ottoman Empire and the creation of the modern Middle East. 2nd Holt pbk. ed. New York: H. Holt and Co., 2009. Print.

Gelvin, James L.. Divided loyalties nationalism and mass politics in Syria at the close of Empire. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1998. Print.

Moubayed, Sami M.. The politics of Damascus, 1920-1946: urban notables and the French mandate. Damascus: Tlass House, 1999. Print.

Pipes, Daniel. Greater Syria the history of an ambition. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990. Print.

Pergola, Sergio. Demography in Israel/Palestine: trends, prospects, policy implications.. Jerusalem: Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Harman Institute of Contemporary Jewry, 2001. Print.

Schneer, Jonathan. The Balfour Declaration: the origins of the Arab-Israeli conflict. 1. ed. New York: Random House, 2010. Print.

Sicker, Martin. “Reshaping Palestine: from Muhammad Ali to the British Mandate, 1831-1922”. Greenwood Publishing Group, 1999. Print.

Stein, Leslie. The hope fulfilled: the rise of modern Israel. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2003. Print.

“The Weizmann-Feisal Agreement.” Israel Ministry of Foreign Affairs. N.p., n.d. Web. 7 Dec. 2011.

<www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Peace+Process/Reference+Documents/The+Weizmann-Feisal+Agreement+3-Jan-1919.htm>.

Overview –

This report will cover a wide range of material to establish a clear construct as to how Connecticut’s taxation policies are to be understood as violent by identifying specific behavioral rationalizations. Concerning the state’s constant taxation debate however, whether listening to organizations such as Connecticut Voices for Children, Better Choices for Connecticut, or the Yankee Institute for Public Policy Analysis, there is a major inquisitive theme addressed by all relevant organizations alike – “who is paying their fair share?” The former organizations tend to say that the wealthier citizens are not paying their fair share, while the later group indicates that this is clearly not the case. The focal point regarding the nature of the Connecticut taxation debate will be around the theme, “who is paying their faire share,” given the frequency it is used within public debates from within and outside the state’s government. It becomes visible then how special interest groups within and outside the government participate in understanding and thus potentially shaping what the state’s taxation policy is to be every two years [CT passes a biennial, or two-year budget][i]. The basic structure of the overall debate can roughly be formulated as follows:

 

(taxation) x –> (should be) y while the other side insists, y –> z

 

Therefore, insisting that violence can be understood in a more evolved manner, whether if it is public rhetoric used within a policy debate or by actual means of wealth extraction through budgetary measures [taxation and spending], allows us to question this traditionally understood phenomenon as ultimately a turbulent, intense and at times furious action[ii] – hence violent.

The word violence often tends to conjure up images of destruction, war, and other vividly horrific notions, however in this particular instance is it possible for the word to take on another form of understanding? Is it possible to assert that the taxation policy of the state of Connecticut is violent? This analysis will demonstrate how the Connecticut taxation policy’s overall structure is inherently violent by understanding the behavioral motivations behind it. This will not be the typical inspection into Connecticut tax policy seeking to analyze institutional structure and procedure or independent economic trends, but rather insist on a dissection of the very foundational items of the phenomenon through both a philosophical and concrete lens. In other words, this analysis will evolve the current popular notions as to what violence is, where the violence comes from, and how it is to be applied to the state’s taxation policy’s effect on the health of the economic productivity. How is it then that a taxation policy can create violence?

Utilizing the theme of the state’s taxation debate, “who is paying their fair share,” enables this report to dissect the basic philosophical concepts present within the rationalization of those individuals who ultimately formulate and implement the taxation policy of the state. Keeping to the established taxation debate theme, in addition to the general formula/structure of the debate itself, the first section of this analysis will focus on scrutinizing the basic components of “pay” and “fair.” From this dissection will emerge the fundamental philosophical rationalization of government officials in how they interpret, influence, and then shape taxation policy. This paper does not seek to critique government institutions and procedures as the major causation of violent tax policy, but rather identify and focuses upon the fundamental source which formulates policy, individual people. If “fair” was to be simplified, “equality” emerges as the fundamental concept in the taxation debate. Looking at “pay” then allows the concept of equality to be put into specific context regarding the individual thought on one side of the debate and the other. Given the economic nature and implications of taxation policy in general, the subsequent simplification and overall understanding of the taxation theme can be asserted to a psychological or behavioral normative – Envy.

The second section of this report will outline how the distinct rationalizations of government individuals on the notion of equality, within the context of “pay” or “material possession,” is determined by their behavioral disposition relating to Envy. In Latin, the word for envy is invidere, which broken down means “to see.”[iii] The most basic understanding as to the origins of the meaning of envy is an individual ‘taking notice’ or ‘seeing’ another individual or group with some “thing” that might invoke a mild discomfort or potentially a fitful fury; thus invoking a response of some sort. For this analysis envy will be generally described as, “that passion which views with malignant dislike the superiority of those who are really entitled to all the superiority they possess.”[iv] From this understanding of envy, it will become evident how government officials, as well as groups within the taxation debate rationalize the formulation of the taxation debate; and thus, how their specific taxation policy conclusions affects the health of the state’s economy. Selected case studies of the state’s tax policies’ effects of various economic activities within the state of Connecticut will accompany the two major sections of this report throughout. These case studies will be analyzed utilizing the established tax debate theme alongside the construct of violence caused by envious behavioral characteristics. Therefore this paper will argue that Connecticut’s state taxation policies are violent in respect to its relationship with the structure, functioning, and economic developmental capacities of the state’s economy; and said violence, in particular to its derivation, are a direct consequent of the persons’ [those whom have participated and shaped said taxation policies] innate behavioural characteristics of envy.

 

Section One:

Paying Your Fair Share – What Does It Mean?

Who is paying their fair share? This has been the question of taxation policy not just within the state of Connecticut, but nationally as well. Given the frequency in which this theme is expressed from both sides, regardless of interpretation at this juncture, indicates that it is certainly a central theme to Connecticut taxation policy in general. Therefore, it will be used as the starting point to understanding the basic rationalization of various government individuals, who seek to interpret, influence, and formulate the state’s tax policy. The first focal point will be “fair” and how this is to be simplified into an understanding of “equality.” This simplification will then be placed in the context of the theme by analyzing and simplifying “pay” as essentially nothing more than identifying a group or person regarding their “material possession.” The analysis of this section will produce two understood forms of equality that effect the rationalization of individuals who influence and formulate taxation policy, in regards to the established tax debate theme. The first notion will identify “natural equality,” or the understanding of equality based upon a moral disposition guaranteed by nature itself. The second notion will outline what is to be called “economic-equity materialism,” [EEM] which is the abuse of Law in order to guarantee equality of results by the Law, and its sole aim is to adhere all individuals to a pre-established level of material possession, or “justice.”

It is a cornerstone of the democratic principles of the United States that, “all men are created equal.” Since the creation of the nation, equality has been a subject of great debate and sought understanding. Traditionally however, the notion of equality has been understood as, “like in quality, nature, or status.” This essence of equality is based more upon the disposition of natural understanding, or deriving from a system that is governed by nature and therefore is universal to all peoples. In other words, within the confines of a lex naturale focus, this essence of equality refers to the understanding and rationalization of human nature within the context of a binding moral conduct or behavior, which is determined by nature itself.[v] In order to place this definition into a more immediate context, Sections 1, 6, 10, 18, 19, and 20 of Article I of the Connecticut Constitution will be addressed.

Essentially the same [in content] as the 14th, 15th and 19th amendments of the United States Constitution, the sections of Article I of the Connecticut Constitution outlined previously, all together embody the just and proper notion of the traditionally natural essence of equality. After the American Civil War had ended and with the issuing of the Emancipation Proclamation, the United States insisted on ridding the horror of slavery and bringing to right the just and natural essence of equality. In 1868 and 1870 respectively the 14th and 15th amendments were ratified which enabled all men to vote, and blacks to be considered as full American citizens.[vi] Additionally, the 19th amendment finally had freed women from the shackles of political restriction. The sections 1, 6, 10, 18, 19, and 20 eventually embodied natural equality after 1984, when the Connecticut General Assembly amended Section 20.[vii] The several sections outlined the following:

 

In section 1,

“All men when they form a social compact, are equal in rights; and no man or set of men are entitled to exclusive public emoluments or privileges from the community.”[viii]

Section 6 and 10 briefly state:

“In all prosecutions or indictments for libels, the truth may be given in evidence, and the jury shall have the right to determine the law and the facts, under the direction of the court.”

“All courts shall be open, and every person, for an injury done to him in his person, property or reputation, shall have remedy by due course of law, and right and justice administered without sale, denial or delay.”[ix]

Sections 18 and 19 read:

“No hereditary emoluments, privileges or honors, shall ever be granted, or conferred in this state.”

“The right of trial by jury shall remain inviolate.”[x]

And lastly, Section 20 states:

“No person shall be denied the equal protection of the law nor be subjected to segregation or discrimination in the exercise or enjoyment of his civil or political rights because of religion, race, color, ancestry or national origin.”[xi]

With the completion of the amendment to section 20 of Article I of the Connecticut Constitution, in conjunction to the aforementioned sections, the overall conceptualization of natural equality was politically complete. No longer was any form of ascriptive identity a justifiable item to use in seeking to restrict a person’s natural rights. The fact that each of these amendments addresses that race, color, and gender, among others, are no longer suitable ascriptive qualities to hinder the inherently inalienable rights of a person, establishes that by birth all people regardless of their identity are equal before the laws of the state. Furthermore and to conclude, the sections 6, 10, 19, and 20 ensured that all people are given due process under the Law. Therefore, equality has traditionally been understood, and rightfully so, to be that all people regardless of their ascriptive qualities, are viewed as the same before the laws of the land, enacted to preserve the Common Good[xii]; and that each is ensured due process in relation to those laws. Thus everyone is the same before the Law, and awarded the same protection under the Law.[xiii] By this logic, the only thing a person therefore has in life are their rights, their integrity [word], and their merits before the Law, hence all equal according to their actions within the context of the Common Good.

Assessing the current rationalization of equality in regards to the theme of the Connecticut tax debate, another interpretation of equality has emerged that is not at all compatible with the traditional and natural understanding of equality previously outlined. Those who are argue for more tax increases tend to argue that the wealthier citizens of the state are not “paying their fair share.”[xiv] For example, in a recent report issued on July 2011, the Connecticut Voices for Children stated that the wealthiest 1% of Connecticut residents “will still pay only half as much of their income in state and local taxes as the poor and middle class.”[xv] Therefore if we take the word “pay” from this sentence and simplify its fundamental meaning, “material possession,” and/or “wealth,” then we can attempt to understand how these government officials and non-governmental organizations rationalize the taxation process. The notion of “fair” [equality] is ultimately being connected to “material possession,” or simply, the amount of wealth a person obtains. Therefore this essence of equality is not based upon any natural disposition of a person, [i.e. the inalienable natural rights of a person by birth], but a distorted perception that disregards the context of lex naturale, and instead seeks to implement an entirely new notion altogether. What will be called “economic-equity materialism” [EEM] is essentially a form of philosophy that disregards natural equality, a person’s integrity, and merits before the Law, and instead seeks to manipulate the Law in order to have equality of results guaranteed by Law, regardless of the person’s integrity, or more importantly, merit.

— — — — — —

Case Study No.1: Connecticut’s Budget Debate & Total Taxation Figures:

There are several organizations and government representatives in the state that are at the forefront of the tax debate. This past April, when lawmakers were negotiating the state’s budget deficit of $3.5 billion[xvi], more than 65 state representatives argued for tax increases on the wealthier and middle class tax brackets.[xvii] During the same period a group of lawmakers wrote in a letter, “We strongly believe that the upper income brackets in the governor’s proposal did not go far enough.”[xviii] Furthermore, as was mentioned previously, non-governmental organizations and coalitions such as Better Choices for Connecticut, and one of its member associations, Connecticut Voices for Children, among many others concluded that this proposal was reasonable. The Connecticut Voices for Children report released in July 2011, also stated that the “wealthy still pay the smallest share of income in state and local taxes.” What followed was an intense and turbulent public debate as to whether this argument was valid.  Therefore, this case study will first very briefly offer a glimpse of tax revenue typical for the state of Connecticut since 1991 [the year the personal income tax was conceived][xix].  After assessing the traditional revenue statistics for the state the figures of both the Connecticut Voices for Children who argue for tax increases, and the Yankee Institute of Public Policy Analysis, which argues for no or limited tax increases will be contrasted.

Connecticut Tax Structure:

In the state of Connecticut there are five major state tax components that contribute a substantial portion of the state’s annual revenue generation:

 

(i)             The personal income tax (PIT);

(ii)           The corporate income tax (CIT);

(iii)          The general sales and use tax (GSUT);

(iv)          Several selected sales or excise taxes, and;

(v)           The inheritance and estate taxes (IET).[xx]

 

While these are the five substantial tax components, there are more than three hundred and forty-seven different taxes and fees that the state government relies upon for its overall annual revenue generation. The five tax components listed above are described as substantial to the general revenue collection of the state, however out of the total amount of state taxes and fees there are only fifteen separate taxes that amount [on average] to more than ninety percent of the overall revenue generation to satisfy the state’s total expenditures in the budget. The following are the top fifteen sources of revenue generation for the state of Connecticut as of fiscal year (FY) 2009:

  1. Person Income Tax (PIT) – $6,385,856,437
  2. General Sales & Use Tax (GSUT) – $3,194,863,688
  3. ARRA-Increased Medicaid FMAP – $2,579,965,883
  4. Medical Assistance-Title XIX – $2,579,965,883
  5. Corporation Tax (CIT) – $566,017,816
  6. Gasoline Tax – $369,068,334
  7. Cigarette Tax – $312,403,962
  8. Dependent Children – $290,246,485
  9. Lottery Ticket Payment – $283,000,000
  10. Inheritance & Estate Tax (IET) – $238,336,664
  11. Mohegan Sun Gaming Payments – $200,651,342
  12. Mashantucket Gaming Payments – $177,153,621
  13. Motor Vehicle Licenses – $175,476,461
  14. Electric & Power Company Tax – $153,897,278
  15. Administration-Social Services – $144,099,512

Total: $17,475,526,905[xxi]

The expenditures of the state budget for FY2009 totaled $18,410,000,000[xxii]. Taking the total revenue generation of the top fifteen taxes and subtracting that from the total expenditures of the state budget, leaves roughly some $930 million extra needed to be borrowed, taxed, or the use of various stabilizer mechanisms to be utilize in order to balance the budget [a state constitutional requirement]. In other words, the top fifteen sources of tax revenue satisfy roughly ninety-five percent of the total budget expenditures. Furthermore, according to the Yankee Institute for Public Policy Analysis, “the state could eliminate the two hundred smallest taxes and fees [out of the three hundred and forty-seven] for just $22 million in revenue” on an average $19-20 billion state budget.[xxiii]

Remembering the tax debate theme of “who is paying there fair share,” the Connecticut Voices for Children indicated that the state’s low- and middle- income families will pay between 9.6% and 11.4% of their total incomes in state and local taxes, while the wealthier brackets will pay only 5.5% of their total income.[xxiv] The key component of their argument is evident with their choice of wording, “pay” or contribute x portion of their “total income.” Therefore it is simply because the citizens within the higher tax brackets have more wealth to potentially pay out in taxes, indicates that it is “just” and feasible for them to do so given the total and steadily growing amount of annual government expenditures. These types of organizations, which primarily rely on donations and charity[xxv], are quick to call for higher tax increases on those who labored for their total property. The following graph compares four items: population growth since 1972, median income growth since 1975, and real gross state produce growth and real expenditure growth since 1972;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Chart provided by the Yankee Institute for Public Policy Anaylsis

The red line, which represents expenditure growth since 1972, is vastly disproportionate to the overall population and median income growth of about the same initial time period.[xxvi] Therefore, why is Connecticut Voices for Children and other related groups not questioning whether state government spending is also in order to be reformed, versus simply the taxable wealth needed to pay for the bloated and every increasing rate of state expenditures?

The “80/20” Rule and Income Tax Breakdown – Is it Fair?

What is the actual break down for those who pay taxes in the state of Connecticut? For this question, and in regards to this paper’s established tax debate theme, the state income tax breakdown will be analyzed. The state income tax is Connecticut’s single biggest source of revenue, which contributes more than 50 percent of all General Fund revenue collected directly by the state (excluding federal grants). The Yankee Institute for Public Policy Analysis claims that there is the “80/20” rule to the state’s income tax breakdown.[xxvii] In other words the bottom 80 percent of taxpayers – those filing at under $100,000 – accounted for 20 percent of income tax revenues, while the top 20 percent of income earners paid 80 percent of income tax receipts.[xxviii] Further, the institute also claims that the top 6 percent of taxpayers – those earning $250,000 and more – paid over half of all income tax receipts; and finally the top 1.3 of taxpayers in the state paid a total of 35 percent of all income tax receipts. Put another way: the wealthiest 1.3 percent [23,067 filers] earning more than $1 million a year, paid $2.1 billion alone in income taxes [FY 2007], that is an average of $93,865 per person. [xxix]

To conclude we will take both positions and decide as to whether or not it follows the established formula of the tax debate and decide whether its effects upon the citizens and economy is violent, and if it is inherently “fair.” The Connecticut Voices for Children claim:

 

[personal income taxation] x (should be) –> [a higher percentage for the wealthier] y

While Yankee Institute for Public Policy Analysis argues:

[a higher percentage for the wealthier] y (should be) –> [not as disproportionate as it currently is, and therefore not increased] z

 

Utilizing the established definition of violent – an intense, turbulent, and furious actions of sorts – clearly is visible within the tax debate formula. Both sides not only disagree but their two views are incompatible entirely. Connecticut Voices for Children in their report attempts to neutralize counter arguments for their tax increase proposals claiming “taxes are simply not a significant factor in decisions about where to move compared to much more important factors like home prices, employment opportunities, and community networks.”[xxx] The Yankee Institute of Public Policy Analysis conducted a survey in 2009 and found that 45% of Connecticut citizens have “considered moving out of state due to high taxes.”[xxxi] Therefore again we have an intensely violent debate that creates political division and causes uncertainty within the state’s economy. Those who have been identified in this case study for proposing tax increases on the wealthy, ignore the concept of natural equality, and discriminate and distort legal measure in order to force a standard of material possession for all citizens, regardless of merit. It appears by the positions taken on each side there is no means of compatibility or compromise. Taking notice to the statistical evidence given in this case study, the question must be asked how and why do groups like Better Choices for Connecticut and its affiliate Connecticut Voices for Children pursue such clearly misleading and violent proposals?

— — — — — —

The Connecticut Voices for Children, Better Choices for Connecticut, and other related groups, including their government representatives have distorted the actual revenue capacity of the state. Essentially what happens by pursuing a philosophy of “economic-equity materialism” is that individuals will argue, or government officials will formulate, a taxation policy [through the budgetary process] that establishes a minimal standard of living and/or an amount of wealth a person must obtain by necessity. In Connecticut’s particular case, any person who is classified as “poor” is typically the beneficiary of various taxation policies and bloated government budgets. To be classified as living in poverty depends on the individual or couples combined income and number of their total dependents. The average family size in Connecticut is 2.52, and so if it is rounded to an average size of three, then the poverty level is any person making $18,310 annually.[xxxii] Taking into consideration Connecticut’s total population of 3,588,218 in relation to the state’s total poverty level of 8.7[xxxiii] percent indicates there are roughly 306,091 people classified as poor.[xxxiv]

Achieving the established standard of “wealth possession” is translated as an end goal, or ultimately “justice,” for the individual in poverty. The state will help those less fortunate receive that necessary materialistic justice. Therefore it seeks to establish equality of material possession for all citizens by taxing those who visibly “have more,” [i.e. wealthier citizens], and awarding it through government expenditures [through budgetary means] to those below the established standard of justice. Essentially EEM pursues a three-step strategy: (1) extraction [of wealth from those who are above the standard of economic ‘justice’]; (2) spending [the wealth on individuals who are perceived below the established standard in order for them to achieve ‘justice,’] and; (3) repetition of steps (1) and (2) indefinitely. Step (3) is the most vital part of the process because without the extracted wealth to spend on the less fortunate, those below the standard of justice would be unable to potentially reach that standard of living and all the amenities that go with it [i.e. health insurance, better house, food stamps, etc].

This three-step process begs many questions to be answered. Is this type of system sustainable as it is? What if the wealthier citizens either run out of material [i.e. wealth] to contribute, or decide to leave for a more healthier and suitable climate to the results of their labor? According to an American Legislative Exchange Council study published in 2009, 1,100 people a day move from the nine highest income tax states to the nine states without an income tax. This is clearly a damaging prospect to follow, destroys the natural essence of equality, and seeks to distort and manipulate the Law for a materialistic end that has no foundation on personal merit in relation to wealth received from this type of process. Visible in the previous case study, the legal distortion of budgetary measures allows for a disproportionate extraction of wealth, to fund a bloated government budget, that potentially threatens wealthier citizens to migrate, resulting in an overall greater loss of government revenue that otherwise would have remained for annual collection. Therefore what is the rationalization of individuals involved in the EEM system within the taxation policy debates and formulation process? Given the nature in which the individuals who pursue an EEM policy process, villains are made out of the wealthier citizens using rhetorical devices within the public debates on the state’s taxation policy, [i.e. the wealthy are selfish, greedy, etc.], and therefore, given the established definition of envy, such action can be reasonably deduced to the behavioural quality of envy.

 

Section Two:

The Dichotomy of Envy – The Destroyer and the Creator

As mentioned previously in this report’s overview, envy will be described as “that passion which views with malignant dislike the superiority of those who are really entitled to all the superiority they possess.” This notion of envy was written by the late 18th century economist and philosopher Adam Smith in his book, “Wealth of Nations,” and given the focus of wealth, money, and related items, his definition is quite relevant to the subject matter at hand.[xxxv] As the title of this section indicates, envy is a dichotomy, in that, depending on the internal disposition and rationalization of the individual, envy can be channeled either benignly or maliciously. In other words, one rationalization of envy in relation to the individual’s perception of their external environment may cause them to enable either a stagnant or productive atmosphere. There are two major pieces to the “envy puzzle”, the first is what motivates the initial actions of an individual, and another determines how that action is to be defined. To further the point, the first piece involves the understanding that all human activity, which derives from human consciousness [cogito ergo sum], has two foundational pillars: pleasure and pain. Regardless of one’s ascriptive qualities, all human activity translates to the wont of maximizing pleasure and minimizing pain. The second piece is centered on talent. Therefore this section will seek to demonstrate how the concept of our biological disposition in conjunction with the inner capabilities determine which path individuals will pursue within the confines of envy.

1. Pleasure versus Pain:

Many political and philosophical commentators of have alluded to the “state of nature” as being the primary motivating principle behind all human activity. The “state of nature”[xxxvi] being that biological disposition that compels every person to maximize their pleasure and to minimize their pain.[xxxvii] Since pleasure is desired [by the necessity to maximize it] then it is reasonable to conclude that it is “good;” and because pain is undesired [by the necessity to negate it] then it is “bad.” No honest or internally conscious person will claim that their sincere desire is to maximize their pain. For example, people go to work either because their profession brings them great personal satisfaction, or it rewards them with an income, which increases their pleasure by acquiring items with that wealth, or in some instances both. It is extremely difficult to recruit a person to a cause that is openly hateful and destructive unless it is either camouflaged under a moral pretence in the public sphere, and/or followed by individuals who are either not conscious of their internal disposition regarding their state of nature motivation in relation to the “cause” or phenomenon they support.

2. The State of Nature and Talent in Relation to Envy:

A person’s consciousness of their internal disposition is the motivating factor as to why one person experiences benign or malicious envy. Furthermore, it is not their consciousness of the state of nature motivation, but rather their internal awareness of their inherent talents that will assist them in being more successful within the state of nature construct. Therefore what is benign and malicious envy in relation to understanding how consciousness of inner talents is what determines an individual to pursue one type of envy over the other?

In his book, “On Violence,” Slavoj Zizek indicates there are two types of envy, amour-de-soi and amour-propre.[xxxviii] These two conceptualizations of envy correlate directly into the theoretical framework of Erik Erikson’s description of human development and subsequent rationalization regarding envious behavior. Erik Erikson eloquently states that the experience of benign envy enables a motivation of the individual, with the goal of improving their position; whereas those who experience malicious envy commit to the opposite, aimed at damaging the position of the superior other.[xxxix] Amour-de-soi and amour-propre, or in layman’s terms, “that love of self which is natural” and the “perverted preferring of oneself to others in which a person focuses not on achieving a goal, but on destroying the obstacle to it,” is the contrast that Zizek outlines regarding what Erik Erikson describes similarly as benign and malicious envy.[xl] Zizek cites Saint Augustinian’s work and provides an example of how this may manifest itself directly within general human behavior,

“Let’s return to the … scene of a sibling envying his brother who is suckling at the mother’s breast. The subject does not envy the Other’s possession of the prized object as such, but rather the way the Other is able to enjoy this object, which is why it is not enough for him simply to steal and thus gain possession of the object. His true aim is to destroy the Other’s ability/capacity to enjoy the object.”

The fact that “the Other is able to enjoy the object” has created a view in the first brother’s mind that his pleasure is being negated by his brother’s action, therefore he must rid of his brother to gain access to his coveted desire.[xli] This is assuming that the coveted desire of the brother is obtainable in the first place. Away from this example and to put it bluntly, is the coveted desire just that or is it actually obtainable for the individual based upon their ability to acquire various “things”?

This is the potential dilemma, and the reason as to why two types of envious individuals exist. Slavoj, on page 76 of his book, offers what “Nietzsche and Freud share: the idea that justice as equality is founded on envy” –

“on the envy of the Other who has what we do not have, and who enjoys it. The demand for justice is thus ultimately the demand that the excessive enjoyment of the Other should be curtailed so that everyone’s access to jouissance is equal.”

The philosophy of the person experiencing malicious envy [amour-propre] seeks to rid of an obstacle in order to gain “access” to a coveted desire. The person who experiences malicious envy hates the other who is enjoying some pleasure, because they believe the Other’s act of enjoyment is causing them pain, and to diminish their pain they destroy the Other experiencing the pleasure.[xlii] Instead of finding an internal process or talent to acquire that same pleasure, they seek to destroy the obstacle instead.[xliii] A person who resorts to benign envy is able to not only be internally aware of what is causing them pain [the visible enjoyment of another], but are also aware of their innate talents to assist them in acquiring that same pleasure and thus enjoyment of that pleasure.[xliv] For example, using the story from Genesis regarding the brothers Cain and Abel may give insight into the phenomenon of envy.

Cain failed to grasp his envy when looking upon his brother Abel’s preference to God. Cain thought of his brother Abel as the source of his pain, when in reality it was the fact that God did not show him equal favor for his sacrifice. He believed that by killing his brother, out of envy for his situation and the favors stowed upon it [his perceived obstacle to pleasure], he would be ridding the source of his pain. The story finishes, after Cain has killed Abel out of envy, “therefore you shall be banned from the soil that opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand. If you till the soil, it shall no longer give you its produce. You shall become a restless wanderer on the earth.”[xlv] Cain immediately responded realizing the gravity of his actions, “my punishment is too great to bear.”[xlvi] When Cain committed to killing his brother in order to destroy the perceived source to his pain, he ended up securing for himself more hardship and pain.

Therefore what is the relevant quality of envious individuals who attempt to remove obstacles instead of acquire pleasures? It is talent. By definition, talent means both, “general intelligence or mental power; ability,” and, most strikingly, “the natural endowments of a person.”[xlvii] If one person has talent as previously defined, then a person might feel the natural inclinations of envy respective to more successful others, but ultimately will acquire that which is to their profit or pleasure on their own. Here is the root cause that creates the distinction between malicious envy and benign envy. An individual who constantly is seeking to rid the Other of their enjoyment is suffering from their vivid vision of coveted desires, and thus construct mental justifications to remove those who enjoy acquired pleasures. Since the individual acts upon the fundamental notion to maximize their pleasure and minimize their pain, if their knowledge or sight of the Other with a pleasure or success is causing them pain, they potentially believe it proper to rid of the individual rather than acquire the pleasure. The individual commits to this course of action in order to create a malicious and false sense of equality to their own talentless efforts to acquire pleasure or success on their own merits. A person, who experiences benign envy, may look at another successful individual and be jealous, but then seek through his or her own talent to acquire the same success as the Other.

It is the person that is endlessly suffering from malicious envy that finds no other reasonable course of action than to destroy and take away the other’s acquired talents because the envious person never had the means to do the same themselves. It is from the brother’s consciousness in the Augustinian example, that he is not “capable and well endowed” to commit to and enjoy the suckling of the mother’s breast, which forces him to rid of the brother rather than to become capable of the acquiring the pleasure. Malicious envy, stems from a philosophy not only of hatred for the Other and their talents, but also the hatred of their talentless self. To conclude however, does this report mean to indicate that there are “talentless” and “useless” people in the Connecticut state government and general population? No, however any person that is not conscious of their talent acted as though they never had any talents in the first place, therefore the person resorts to a set of actions based on malicious envy. It is not that talentless people exist, however if certain internal dispositions prohibit these talents from being recognized, they are never used, and so it is as if they never have existed.

3. Dichotomy of Envy on the Public Stage:

Paying homage to the expression that perhaps everyone is an infant that eventually learns how to behave in public, these two distinct forms of envy are thus translated into the public sphere in different ways. The public sphere in this instance involves state government officials who formulate and implement taxation policies, as well as the various economic interests groups as outlined earlier in this section. Given the democratic principles Connecticut state government is founded on, these economic and other interest groups elect government representatives that will potentially serve their interests. Traditionally this type of grouping has been generally observed through the lens of political party affiliation, however the creation of these two “envy camps” [benign and malicious envy] in the state government and economy is the result of independent behavioral traits and not political ideology. It is the political party ideology that is often manipulated and thus ultimately used respectively by groups or individual people within the public sphere as potential means to an end regarding taxation debates based upon their envious disposition.[1]

In order to clearly define when a tax policy from the Connecticut state government is having a violent effect upon the general economy, there needs to be indicators or levels of measurement to accurately identify the quality of the action. Therefore the manner in which the envious camps, and thus their visibly violent attributes are translated within the public sphere is either by identifying specific rhetorical devices within taxation policy debate; or, when taxation policy enables a visibly anti-business climate, stagnation of human capital and subsequent job growth, preservation of underemployment and under-utilization of resources[xlviii], as well as the migration of wealthier citizens from the state’s economy. Some of the rhetorical devices that will be addressed are “who is paying their fair share” [how this established taxation policy theme is structured will depend on which side of the tax debate is using it], etc. There are more rhetorical devices that will be addressed and explained further within each specific case study and therefore the “types” of rhetorical devices appropriate for use is not subject to a permanent and predetermined series of specific words or phrases.

The manner in which this report is able to deduce that items such as an anti-business climate and stagnating job demand are the result of violence, and by that token, envious violence, is by understanding the fundamental quality and thus potential consequence of the two distinct envy camps. In other words, malicious envy and benign envy can be broken down simply by the following reductions:

Malicious Envy:

 

Pleasure Identified –> Not Conscious of Talents –> Malicious Envy

Malicious Envy –> Hatred –> Covet –> Destruction –> Stagnation

Benign Envy:

Pleasure Identified –> Conscious of Talents –> Benign Envy

Benign Envy –> Impartial Recognition –> Acquisition –> Development –> Creation

Given our explanation as to what human consciousness is [pleasure v pain], then it is understandable how the logical reduction of pleasure is desired because it is sought to be maximized, therefore it is good, or pain is undesired because it is sought to be minimized therefore it is bad; directly correlate to each camps’ final reduction of either “creation” or “stagnation.” To put it another way, “good” correlates directly with “creation,” while “bad” correlates directly with “stagnation.” Lastly, because the people who experience malicious envy tend to rid of a painful obstacle rather than acquire a pleasurable item, their very nature tends to be more destructive. In other words, instead of acquiring a pleasure, which results in developing their previously lacking situation and establishing growth in their possessions, the person with malicious envy seeks to destroy the Other experiencing pleasure, thus [if successful in destroying the Others’ jouissance] establishes a reduction in overall pleasure being enjoyed. Therefore, taxation policies that shun away wealth and business opportunities, as well as maintain stagnate job growth, can be interpreted as being the perpetrators of envious violence because of the previously outlined nature in which malicious envy operates.

— — — — — —

 

Case Study No.2: Stagnate Job Growth & Non-Existent Job Training 

Relating to business development and subsequent job growth in any economy is the expression, give a man a fish, he eats for a day, teach a man to fish, he eats for a lifetime. This is clearly the opposite case in the state of Connecticut, which has had no net job growth in 22 years. Adding together the retired 13.9% (464,414 citizens) of CT’s population, and the 23.0% under the age of 18 (809,206 citizens), there remain a total of 2,244,668 of the total population left. Subtracting the state’s official number of eligible citizens for the CT workforce from the 2,244,668 leaves a remainder of 351,268 citizens.[xlix] This is also excluding the total population of those, by law, eligible for work between the ages of 16 and 18 altogether, but given the abysmal teen youth employment rates on a national level (less than 50%) their exclusion only potentially lessons the total number of those who simply “do not work”. Therefore, disregarding the portion of the established population of 351,268 who may be potentially impaired or disabled, what are they doing? The answer could be several things, but one thing that is certain is that they could be doing more for themselves if only the state began to spend tax money in a more beneficial and productive manner that creates jobs and increases incomes, rather than shuns jobs and decreases overall citizen income.

Connecticut spends $5,000,000,000 per year on social services, and yet poverty, unemployment and underemployment persist, particularly within immigrant and urban minority populations.[l] To make matters worse, the Connecticut population is aging and young college graduates are moving elsewhere to start families, careers, and businesses. Immigrants and minorities experience the highest unemployment levels.[li] Growing populations are concentrated in the poorest cities where economic development, employment opportunities and other quality of life factors are grim.[lii] In fact, if the total number of those in poverty established previously, 306,091, was subtracted from the total number of those who “do no work,” discovered in the previous paragraph, 351,286, then we can see that a majority of those excluded from the state’s calculation of the workforce are simply suffering from the “culture of dependency.”[liii] Or in other words, a life characterized by receiving state benefits[liv] and therefore simply never work. Are these people who are living in poverty born to live this way or is their life, which is characterized as receiving meager state benefits subduing their full potential? Let the following chart illuminate the disparity between the incomes of those in the poorest cities in Connecticut to those of the more affluent towns and cities:

 

 

 

In fact many advocacy groups such as Connecticut Voices for Children as well as relevant state government agencies [Social Services, etc] express their public commitment to eradicating poverty within various times frames [the most recent being to reduce poverty in half by 2014]. The data on poverty within Connecticut offers a different story completely. In 1970, the total poverty rate of the state was 7.2 percent out of a population roughly of three million, resulting in a total of 216,000 people living in poverty. Today’s rate of 9.2 percent, which out of a population of three and half million results in a total of 253, 316 total persons living in poverty. Taking the present total and subtracting the total of 1970 from it, indicates that poverty has actual increased by 37, 316 people instead of decreased.[lv] That is the equivalent of the entire population of the town of Norwich, or Shelton.[lvi] Therefore are these social services resulting in billions of public money expenditures by the state, reducing poverty and increasing the standard of living of people as some entities and officials claim they are?

Is there a relationship between those who are not “eligible to work” compared to those who are living in poverty? If so, are the current measures of “challenging the culture of dependency” and eradicating poverty thus effective and is the under-employment of many sectors of the state’s economy a result of a lack of adequate job training programs for the poor? According to the Yankee Institute of Public Policy Analysis the problem is the result of not awarding the less fortunate an opportunity to learn an essential new trade and potentially rise above their life characterized by meager wages and state benefits. A November 2007 report from the Yankee Institute claims,

“Through demand-driven job training programs, Connecticut’s neediest citizens and taxpayers may receive maximum values from each dollar spent on social services.”[lvii]

The health of a state’s workforce is crucial in determining the quality of life of the state’s residents. According to the Economic Resource Center, young workers are not replacing the state’s aging population, and without a change of direction, Connecticut will become even less competitive in the future. Therefore, by investing in job training programs, instead of promoting evidently failed state dependency programs is worthwhile because when one person becomes financially independent through employment, “family, community, and state feel the benefits.”[lviii] By helping the less advantaged and poor citizens gain employment, or a higher paying form of employment through job training programs is a positive for the taxpayer but also for the jobless individual in poverty who acquires a consciousness of their talents and therefore are able to gain more by their own labor. Instead of promoting their level of poverty for political and potentially monetary purposes, the state should invest in job training which will help reverse the state’s 22 year history of no net job growth as well as help individuals realize their talents, as well as increase their standard of living by their own merits and not by a forced philosophical rationalization of “material equality.”[lix]

— — — — — —

Conclusion: A Violent End With a Hopeful Future.

The state of Connecticut at times enacts taxation policies that are detrimental to the growth and health of the state’s economy. It is from an envious rationalization of individuals within and outside the state’s government that seek to support various proposals which in turn violently target the wealthier citizens of the state. This report was not meant to demonstrate that there is a permanent placement of poor and rich, malicious and benign, but rather that through critical observation, internal consciousness to one’s externally consequential actions and determination may foster a potential for greater growth and efficiency, not just for the state’s governance but also the economy’s productivity. If a person’s talents are recognized as the source to what enables a person to be a positive and productive member of a society, then there will be fewer individuals who, whether consciously or unconsciously, destroy and force stagnation on an otherwise potentially prosperous state. It is time to reassess what violence means and realize that it is not simply an action within war or some other horrific crime, but can also describe the nature of everyday events, in this instance taxation policy in the state of Connecticut.

Having an action that is intense, turbulent, and furious be classified as violent describes the nature of the phenomenon rather than forcing the word to be understood by a more subjective and gore-filled term. Stagnate job growth in the state correlates directly to the nature of operation of individuals who experience malicious envy and thus promote stagnation, while the growth in the economy correlates directly to that of benign envy. Individuals who experience benign envy and subsequently promote an environment of development and creation, are encourage to considered as villains who “don’t pay their fair share,” in order for the opposition to camouflage their potentially talentless selves. Just as the envy camps will never be able to reconcile with each other, as is evident in the formula of the state’s taxation debate [xà y against y à x], so may too be the state’s taxation policy forever violent. These characteristics of each envy camp in relation to the nature of the tax debate create an anti-business climate, force people to remain in poverty, and waste taxpayers money.  As the great achievements of the human species in technological innovation progresses, the question to ask is whether or not the rationality and subsequent maturity of the human species will advance and evolve as well. If we are too have a more effective, decent and hardworking government, the state must learn to support ideas and individuals that are effective, decent and hardworking.


[1] For example, many of the government officials who potentially support interest groups such as Connecticut Voices for Children often times adhere to the Democratic Party, however regarding the group’s proposal for tax increases is not always headed by members of that political party. This is evident with State Representative Kimberly Fawcett – D – Fairfield, who opposes tax increases on the wealthy to solve budget crises, simply because they have more wealth.


[i] “Office of Fiscal Analysis.” Connecticut General Assembly. Web. 25 Nov. 2011. <http://www.cga.ct.gov/ofa/BudgetBooks.asp&gt;.

[ii] “Violence – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 25 Oct. 2011. [Definition 3] <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/violence?show=0&gt;.

[iii] “Envy – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/envy&gt;.

[iv] Smith, Adam, and Edwin Cannan. The Wealth of Nations. New York, NY: Bantam Classic, 2003. Print.

[v] Finnis, John. Natural Law and Natural Rights. Oxford: Clarendon, 1980. Print.

[vi] Hennessey, Jonathan, and Aaron McConnell. The United States Constitution: a Graphic Adaptation. New York: Hill and Wang, 2008. Print.

[vii] “The Connecticut Constitution.” Connecticut State Library Home Page. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.cslib.org/constitutionalamends/constitution.htm&gt;.

[viii] Ibid.

[ix] Ibid.

[x] Ibid.

[xi] Ibid.

[xii] Finnis, John. Natural Law and Natural Rights. Oxford: Clarendon, 1980. Print.

[xiii] Ibid.

[xiv] Connecticut Voices for Children, “After 2011 Tax Reforms, Connecticut’s Wealthy Still Pay Smallest Share of Income in State and Local Taxes.” July 2011. <http://ctkidslink.org/publications/bud11whopays.pdf&gt;

[xv] Ibid.

[xvi] “Connecticut Governor-Elect Dan Malloy Prepares Budget For $3.5 Billion Deficit « CBS New York.” CBS New York – News, Sports, Weather, Traffic and the Best of NY. Web. 31 Oct. 2011. <http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2010/12/31/conn-gov-elect-preps-for-3-5-billion-deficit/&gt;.

[xvii] Lockhart, Brian. “House Democrats’ Letter Urges Tax Increase for Wealthy – Connecticut Post.” CTPost.com – Connecticut Post. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/House-Democrats-letter-urges-tax-increase-for-1342519.php&gt;.

[xviii] Ibid.

[xix] “Connecticut’s Tax System Staff Briefing.” Connecticut General Assembly. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www.cga.ct.gov/2005/pridata/Studies/CT_Tax_System_Final_Report.htm&gt;.

[xx] Ibid.

[xxi] “Nickels and Dimes 2010: Connecticut’s Taxes.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 14 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2010/05/nickels-and-dimes-2010-connecticuts-taxes/&gt;.

[xxii] Ibid.

[xxiii] Ibid.

[xxiv] Connecticut Voices for Children, “After 2011 Tax Reforms, Connecticut’s Wealthy Still Pay Smallest Share of Income in State and Local Taxes.” July 2011. <http://ctkidslink.org/publications/bud11whopays.pdf&gt;

[xxv] “Funders.” Connecticut Voices for Children. Web. 17 Dec. 2011. <http://www.ctkidslink.org/about_funders.html&gt;.

[xxvi] “Growth of State Gov’t Graph.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 15 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2010/08/growth-of-state-govt-graph/&gt;.

[xxvii] “A Look at Who Pays Connecticut’s Income Tax.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 5 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2009/05/a-look-at-who-pays-connecticuts-income-tax/&gt;.

[xxviii] Ibid.

[xxix] Ibid.

[xxx] Connecticut Voices for Children, “After 2011 Tax Reforms, Connecticut’s Wealthy Still Pay Smallest Share of Income in State and Local Taxes.” July 2011. <http://ctkidslink.org/publications/bud11whopays.pdf&gt;

[xxxi] “Last One Out Turn Off the Light.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 6 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2009/09/last-one-out-turn-off-the-light/&gt;.

[xxxii] “2009 Federal Poverty Guidelines.” Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation, HHS. Web. 25 Nov. 2011. <http://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty/09poverty.shtml&gt;.

[xxxiii] “POVERTY INCREASE IN CONNECTICUT WAS LARGEST IN NATION, CENSUS DATA SHOW – Jonathan Kantrowitz – Connecticut News.” Connecticut News – Connecticut News. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2009/09/29/poverty-increase-in-connecticut-was-largest-in-nation-census-data-show/&gt;.

[xxxiv] “Connecticut QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau.” State and County QuickFacts. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. <http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09000.html&gt;.

[xxxv] Smith, Adam, and Edwin Cannan. The Wealth of Nations. New York, NY: Bantam Classic, 2003. Print.

[xxxvi] Hobbes, Thomas, and C. B. Macpherson. Leviathan. Harmondsworth, Eng.: Penguin, 1985. Print.

[xxxvii] Bentham, Jeremy. The Principles of Morals and Legislation. Buffalo, NY: Prometheus, 1988. Print.

[xxxviii] Žižek, Slavoj. Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. New York: Picador, 2008. Print.

[xxxix] Erikson, Erik H. Childhood and Society. New York: Norton, 1993. Print.

[xl] Žižek, Slavoj. Violence: Six Sideways Reflections. New York: Picador, 2008. Print.

[xli] Ibid.

[xlii] Ibid.

[xliii] Ibid.

[xliv] Ibid.

[xlv] The New American Bible. Nashville: Catholic Bible, 1987. Print.

[xlvi] Ibid.

[xlvii] “Talent – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 1 Nov. 2011. <http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/talent&gt;.

[xlviii] “CONNECTICUT JOB GROWTH RANKINGS (1990-2005).” Connecticut General Assembly. Web. 5 Nov. 2011. <http://www.cga.ct.gov/2006/rpt/2006-R-0179.htm&gt;.

[xlix] “Connecticut QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau.” State and County QuickFacts. Web. 29 Oct. 2011. <http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/09000.html&gt;.

[l] Kindred, Natalie. “Help Wanted: Serving Connecticut’s Neediest Citizens through Job Training.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 7 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2007/11/help-wanted-serving-connecticut’s-neediest-citizens-through-job-training-2/&gt;.

[li] Ibid.

[lii] Ibid.

[liii] “POVERTY INCREASE IN CONNECTICUT WAS LARGEST IN NATION, CENSUS DATA SHOW – Jonathan Kantrowitz – Connecticut News.” Connecticut News – Connecticut News. Web. 3 Nov. 2011. <http://blog.ctnews.com/kantrowitz/2009/09/29/poverty-increase-in-connecticut-was-largest-in-nation-census-data-show/&gt;.

[liv] Stephen, Leslie, and Leslie Stephen. The English Utilitarians. Honolulu, HI: University of the Pacific, 2004. Print.

[lv] Ibid.

[lvi] “DECD: Research.” CT.gov Portal. Web. 01 Dec. 2011. <http://www.ct.gov/ecd/cwp/view.asp?a=1106&gt;.

[lvii] Kindred, Natalie. “Help Wanted: Serving Connecticut’s Neediest Citizens through Job Training.” Yankee Institute for Public Policy. Web. 7 Nov. 2011. <http://www.yankeeinstitute.org/2007/11/help-wanted-serving-connecticut’s-neediest-citizens-through-job-training-2/&gt;.

[lviii] Ibid.

[lix] Ibid.