What at first was plunder assumed the softer name of revenue. Thomas Paine, Rights of Man
In the Roman Republic, tax collection was done by private contractors called publicans. They bid on contracts to collect the taxes. The high bidder (i.e. the one who promised to collect the most taxes) was awarded the contract. If they collected anything above their bid, they got to keep it as profit. It was a system that was employed for centuries, but it was rife with corruption. Publicans often forced people to pay taxes above what they were legally required to pay. Under threat of violence, citizens paid the excess to the greedy publicans. It seems like many progressives in Massachusetts would gladly take the job of the Roman publican. They’ve come up with an ill-conceived scheme that exposes their greed.
Progressives in Massachusetts have proposed a 4% millionaires’ surtax that will appear as a ballot question in November. This is no ordinary ballot question though. It is a constitutional amendment. The Massachusetts State Constitution does not permit graduated income taxes, so supporters of the proposal had to craft an amendment.
In 2016, a billionaire hedge fund manager sent New Jersey’s budget into turmoil. How did one private citizen accomplish this? He moved to Florida. David Tepper was, until December of 2015, New Jersey’s wealthiest taxpayer. No one knows for sure whether Mr. Tepper was only seeking warmer weather, but we do know that New Jersey was soaking him for all it could get. Some estimates said that Mr. Tepper was paying as much as $300 million in income taxes to the State of New Jersey. The state has a graduated income tax that tops out at 8.97% for income over $500,000.
Massachusetts Proposition 80 has several serious flaws, beginning with the fact that many wealthy people already own homes in lower tax states and can often shift income from one state to another or, if necessary, shift their residency. The amendment requires that the taxes collected be spent on public education and transportation infrastructure. Apparently, the authors of this amendment have no idea how the Massachusetts Legislature works. Tax dollars are fungible. Funds currently spent on education and infrastructure can be moved to other budget items, resulting in no increase in education and infrastructure spending. The legislature can repurpose what they now spend on roads and education to other needs that they feel are more pressing like healthcare and courts. To believe that the Legislature will spend the new tax dollars as intended is naïve..
According to the Tax Foundation, the top 0.5% of taxpayers in Massachusetts accounted for 19% of income tax revenue in 2013. Just as with Mr. Tepper’s departure from New Jersey, the loss of just a few of these taxpayers will have a huge impact on state revenue. A report done for New Jersey found that the tax loss from losing a single $1 million taxpayer filing with single status is equal to 59 taxpayers earning $50,000.
Voters in Massachusetts have a long and proud history of rejecting tax increases via referendum. Six previous attempts for a graduated income tax have been defeated by the voters. We can’t depend on this history to defeat Proposition 80 though. So far, there is no organized committee against this question. Supporters have already raised almost $2,000,000. Three polls done by WBUR in 2017 found that Mass. voters support this tax by a 3 to 1 margin. There is a lot of work to do before November.
Last month, the Worcester Tea Party leafleted the Republican State Convention in Worcester to publicize Proposition 80. We need to keep spreading the word about this destructive amendment to the state constitution. We will be looking for you help as we continue to educate voters on this ill-conceived referendum question.
A very important film is in limited release currently, and it is worth seeing for the important case of government abuse and it highlights the heroism of those who fought the good fight. LITTLE PINK HOUSE is based on the true story told in the book Little Pink House: A True Story of Defiance and Courage by Jeff Benedict.
Susette Kelo (wonderfully played by Catherine Keener) was a woman who was winding down her second marriage, and she bought a run-down house and made it into her dream home. It wasn’t glamorous, but it was modest and had a nice view. And it was HERS. She put a lot of work into it and was proud of what she had accomplished. She was living her American Dream – working hard, saving, taking care of yourself and making a good life for yourself.
The Fort Trumbull area was not a garden spot – it was a working class area. There was a dilapidated state park and there was a sewage treatment plant. The neighborhood was filled with many elderly and people of modest means. As you hear again and again in the movie and book, many of the residents were born there, and many husbands and wives and parents had spent their whole lives there and they wanted to die there.
Life was good. Then – the government got their grubby hands into it. The Republican Governor John Rowland (played by Aaron Douglas) was looking to make a positive impression in an economically under-performing Democratic community, New London, Connecticut. He saw an opportunity for redevelopment. He and his chief of staff select a surrogate, New London civic leader “Charlotte Wells” (played by Jeanne Tripplehorn). She brings into the equation the president of Pfizer Pharmaceuticals who just happens to have a brand new product. Yes, the movie goer is treated to a short version of a commercial for a “little blue pill” (Viagra) which will enlarge many things, including their business, bottom line and need for additional office and research space.
Note that many of the characters identified do not have their real names in the movie. “Charlotte Wells” is actually Dr. Claire Gaudiani, who was president of the New London Development Corporation (NLDC) and also president of Connecticut College. I am assuming this is to avoid lawsuits about their portrayals on the big screen. Some of the “behind the scenes” actions of the “bad guys” are unknown, so individual acts of evil can only be guessed. But their ultimate evil ends which are inflicted upon the residents of Fort Trumbull were VERY REAL.
Susette Kelo and her fellow “good guys” can, of course, be named. There is a property and store owner Billy Von Winkle (played by Colin Cunningham) and antique dealer/second-hand store owner Tim Leblanc (nicely played by Callum Keith Rennie) who eventually becomes involved with Susette. They lead a normal life until they start hearing about the plans for change in Fort Trumbull. When they start hearing about eminent domain, a “trailer” that was played for “Little Pink House at the Anthem Film Festival Trailer” has a good clip from the movie about how this was an outrageous abuse of Eminent Domain – it was not for a “public good” but simply a taking for another private party (NLDC on behalf of Pfizer).
At this point Susette Kelo starts becoming an activists, and asks Lloyd Beachy (Garry Chalk), the mayor of New London, to help them. He brings in the Eminent Domain – a non-profit legal .foundation which works on behalf of issues involving free speech, economic liberty, educational choice, property rights and liberty. Here is a link to their information on the Kelo case: Kelo Eminent Domain – Institute for Justice. The lead attorney in the case is Scott Bullock (Giacomo Baessato), and some of the other “good guys” are Dana Berliner (Miranda Frigon) and IJ President Chip Mellor (Gardiner Millar). [NOTE: Institute for Justice also took on the Motel Caswell Civil Asset Forfeiture (IJ.org link) case from Tewksbury Massachusetts – and won!].
Well, not to give the whole movie away… They took the case to court, there was a “half win” (half the families keep their homes;half do not). A very much divided (4-3) State Supreme Court verdict, NOT in Kelo’s favor. And then, because there just happened to be a similar (with an opposite outcome) case in Detroit, their chances went from one in a hundred to – fifty-fifty. And thenoff they were to the Supreme Court.
There are many moving parts in the movie, that make you want to gasp in horror, and when, if you are an empathetic person, you want to cry for some of the tribulations Susette goes through. She is a reluctant activist, a plain spoken person who does not feel comfortable in the spotlight. And you should read the book – she is much more of a hero than the movie lets on. (I’m not putting the movie down at all – there are only so many things you can fit into a movie).
The movie covers about two thirds of the book. The remainder of the book tells further tales of struggles and heroism, of battling big and out of control government. About the activism undertaken by the Institute for Justice – part of their “Liberty in Action” efforts. It is summed up in some of the post script portions of the movie – about the 40+ states which have enacted laws to reign in Eminent Domain abuse (including New Hampshire; but excluding Connecticut).
I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. For my first viewing, because it was not in the Boston area, I went to Fort Trumbull, to the “scene of the crime.” It is still an empty lot, where a community had once stood. The Fort Trumbull State Park looks better than described, and you can see the views that were stolen from Susette Kelo. I took a few “souvenirs – a couple of brick fragments, a broken piece of pottery. Just a few artifacts from this tomb where some of our freedoms died. Then I went to the Kelo House – reconstructed by moving it board by board to a location roughly a mile away. Including the stone pillar with “NOT FOR SALE” carved into it!
The second time I saw it was in Cambridge, to help refresh my memory for writing this review. The only reason I mention this is that playing at the theater was the movie RBG – #RBGMovie – singing the praises of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Ironic – on one theater screen, she is being lauded, and in the other, she was playing (in my mind) an agent of a major evil.
See the movie, and cheer. Read the book, and be motivated to become or continue on as an activist. All government abuses must be fought, and if citizens of the caliber of Susette Kelo continue to stand up, we can continue to attempt to reign in out-of-control government.
Normally reviewers are reluctant to give out “5 stars.” At a minimum it deserves 4.5 stars. Since the producers included a scene they idealized about where the disgraced governor was when he finds out the results of the Kelo verdict, I’m bumping it up to 5 stars. (you have to see the movie to find out what the reference is about).
Some other tidbits:
John Stossel has followed the case for years, and has a great case update and review: Stossel: Little Pink House – Reason.com. Link: LITTLE PINK HOUSE Official Trailer. The Kelo Case – several update videos from the Institute for Justice: Kelo: Five Years Later The Story of Susette Kelo Kelo and Its Aftermath: 10 Year Anniversary. From the Cato Institute: Kelo v. City of New London and The Kelo Decision Ten Years Later. A link about the movie being made: Reason.TV – Kelo Decision Coming to Big Screen in Little Pink House – YouTube. Link regarding the Kelo House on its current site: Historic Buildings of Connecticut » Blog Archive » The Kelo House (1890).
Reviews and news of Little Pink House – with pictures of Susette Kelo’s home where it should still be, but is not: Hartford Courant: George F. Will: Go See New London’s ‘Little Pink House‘ Mercury News: ‘Little Pink House’: The real story behind the movie USA Today: ‘Little Pink House’ eminent domain case deserves more attention Today show: This woman’s ‘Little Pink House’ was taken away by the government – TODAY.com
– Patrick Humphries – President of the Greater Boston Tea Party
Marvel’s latest movie, Avengers: Infinity War will open up every American’s eyes to the horror being imposed upon the United States and all countries via the United Nations’ Sustainable Development initiatives. Also referred to as Agenda 21 and Agenda 2030, the new Avengers’ movie addresses this somewhat complicated topic in a thrilling and entertaining way. The Worcester Tea Party strongly recommends this fantastic film.
The supervillain of the movie, Thanos, parallels exactly the immoral justification of the UN planners’ efforts to impose the misnomered “Sustainable Development” initiatives upon every sovereign nation. The underlying concept is based upon the belief that the human race is destroying the planet, and therefore our proliferation and use of the Earth’s resources must be controlled by a centralized authority.
In the real world, this would be the Elites and Globalist that comprise the United Nations. In Infinity War, it would be the antagonist, Thanos. Both equally as evil.
In an exchange with Gamora, a woman he viewed as his daughter, Thanos proclaims, “I saved you,” in which Gamora replies tearfully that her people were happy the way they were, but regardless Thanos murdered half of them. Thanos then justifies his actions by claiming it was, “A small price to pay for salvation . . . Going to bed hungry, scrounging for scraps? Your planet was on the brink of collapse. I was the one who stopped that. You know what’s happened since then? The children born have known nothing but full bellies and clear skies. It’s a paradise.”
Gamora replies simply, “You’re insane.”
The justifications for Agenda 21 / Agenda 2030 and the disposition of the entire UN Sustainable Development initiatives are founded in the idea that the middle class and our single family homeownership creates environmentally unfriendly “sprawl” because each home must have its own septic, water supply, and “greenspace” (land) to exist. Read more
April 15 marks the 9th anniversary of the first Tax Day Tea Party rallies. It was a time of incredible passion for the Constitution, limited government, and fiscal responsibility. Thousands, perhaps millions, of people who had never done anything more political than vote or write a letter-to-the-editor, joined in rallies, marches, and campaigns. They called talk shows, collected signatures, gave money, and even ran for office. What happened to that passion? Where are the thousands who fought so hard against bloated government?
Did the Tea Party live up to its promise or
did it wither in the hypocrisy of political partisanship?
Last week, a Republican House, a Republican Senate, and a Republican President passed and signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill that funds the government through September. It includes a treasure trove of liberal spending, along with dramatically increased defense spending.
The Atlantic Magazine said of the bill:
“President Obama finally got a Republican-controlled Congress to fund his domestic budget. All it took was Donald Trump in the White House to get it done.”
According to The Atlantic, “Congress eliminated none of the 18 independent agencies Trump wanted to scrap, including the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. And several of the programs he wanted to zero out won huge increases instead. Take the TIGER grants, an infrastructure program created by Obama’s 2009 economic stimulus package. Congress had allocated $500 million to it each of the last several years, despite annual Obama requests to boost it to $1.25 billion. Trump’s budget called for axing it entirely, but lawmakers went even higher than Obama, giving $1.5 billion to TIGER. Or the Community Development Block Grant, a federal housing program that had been receiving $3 billion from Congress annually. Obama actually proposed cutting its funding by $200 million in 2016, while Trump called for chopping it altogether. In the end, it received $3.3 billion—a 10 percent boost.”
This legislation is an insult to the thousands of Americans who have fought for fiscal responsibility over the past nine years. But, where are the protests? I see vigorous discussions on Facebook. Has this replaced the real activism of the patriots who rallied and marched in 2009 and 2010? The lack of real response leaves the Tea Party movement subject to accurate labels of hypocrisy.
The Republican majority in Congress, President Trump, and all who support them should be ashamed of this spending bill. “Senator Ben Sasse of Nebraska accused his party of hypocrisy. “Every Republican would vote against this disgusting pork bill if a Democrat were president,” he said in a statement.” said The Atlantic. President Trump and the Republicans promised balanced budgets. Instead they’ve continued to saddle our children and grand children with never ending debt.
Liberals and Progressives make themselves easy targets because of their expected and blatant hypocrisy. Millions of people marched around the country, in Washington, DC, and in Lincoln Square to protest bank bailouts and President Obama’s stimulus bill (which was a puny $831 billion over 10 years compared to this $1.4 trillion over 6 months). When so-called fiscal conservatives fail to live up to their promises, we must hold them responsible. An (R) after their names should provide no protection from their lies.
Worcester Tea Party
Mid-March brings us parades, green beer, shamrocks, and green attire in commemoration of the death of St. Patrick, patron saint of Ireland. This once solemn day has morphed into an Irish-American cultural festival and has lost much (perhaps all) of its religious importance. Not wanting to miss out on what seems like a great holiday, St. Patrick is now honored with parades all around the world, including some of the most unlikeliest places: Russia, South Korea, and Malaysia. Even the International Space Station celebrates St. Patrick.
St. Patrick remains a mysterious figure. He is known best for the myth that he expelled snakes from Ireland (never mind that there likely were never any snakes there to expel). His real accomplishment was in converting the pagans of Ireland to Christianity. The Irish love their patron saint, but lost in this focus on St. Patrick is the work of many other important Irish men and women.
The descendants of Irish immigrants have proven to be among the most important and influential Americans. Of our past 10 Presidents, 9 had Irish blood (Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, Carter, Reagan, Bush 1, Clinton, Bush 2, Obama). Ford is the only President missing in that chain. President Trump has no known Irish ancestors, but he may be the only one who had a mother that spoke Gaelic. She came from an island off of Scotland where the Irish language was spoken.
I recently listened to The Immortal Irishman: The Irish Revolutionary Who Became an American Hero, by Timothy Egan. The book is about Thomas Francis Meagher (pronounced Mahr). A hero of the Irish Rebellion of 1848, Meagher led an amazing life. He defied death several times. He was sentenced to be hung, drawn, and quartered for his revolutionary activities. From the dock, he taunted his judges with defiance:
“Proceed, then my lords, with that sentence which the law directs—I am prepared to hear it—I trust I am prepared to meet its execution. I shall go, I think, with a light heart before a higher tribunal—a tribunal where a Judge of infinite goodness, as well as of infinite justice, will preside, and where, my lords, many, many of the judgements of this world will be reversed.”
Of course there wouldn’t be much more to say about Thomas Meagher if he had been executed. The Queen gave him a reprieve and had him shipped off to the prison colony of Tasmania (known then as Van Diemen’s Land). He escaped from there, but almost lost his life after spending four days at sea in a lifeboat.
Saved by an American whaling vessel, Meagher was brought to San Francisco and eventually made his way to New York. There, he made a living giving lectures and continued his revolutionary zeal.
During the Civil War, he was a brigadier general and he recruited and led the 69th Irish Brigade, one of the most fearsome brigades in the Union Army. The “Fighting 69th” suffered more battle deaths than all other brigades but two. Under its war cry “Faugh a Ballaugh” (clear the way), Gen, Meagher developed a reputation that terrified his southern opponents.
Barely surviving the Civil War, Meagher became Acting Governor of Montana Territory, but at the young age of 43, he mysteriously fell overboard from a riverboat on the Missouri River. Some have speculated that he was murdered by political opponents from Montana or by British agents intent on silencing the Irish revolutionary or perhaps by Confederate veterans seeking revenge.
Meagher is a hero to the Irish. Statues of him sit in his hometown of Waterford and in his final home of Helena, Montana. There is a monument in his honor at the Antietam battlefield and his name adorns many public spaces in Ireland and in the United States, including Meagher County, Montana.
While we celebrate the many myths of Ireland’s Patron Saint with green beer this month, let’s also remember the many Irish heroes who have helped shaped our country with their words, their actions, and their blood.
Worcester Tea Party
The popular and critically acclaimed movie, Black Panther, is a fantastic opportunity for the Tea Party to finally review a movie that portrays extremely well the horrors of collectivism, paranoia, racism, and any non-capitalist government. The movie from the outset is firmly settled on a foundation of monarchy and wholly concerned about the racist concept that a person’s genetic makeup or their family right is a license to rule over others. The film even goes so far as to state that the power vested in the land should be used to protect “people who look like us” from their oppressors, further underscoring the racist and collectivist overtones of the movie.
The plot reinforces these concepts by a strict adherence to family rule, and the fact that the only option to transform leadership is by initiating force and defeating the king.
Much of the movie is set in the Kingdom of Wakanda, which is idolized as a paradise; joyous and prosperous because of an all powerful alien mineral buried in their land from a meteorite that smashed into the Earth centuries prior. The mineral, vibranium, is the foundation of their leaders’ great power and the foundation of the super science they were able to create.
The Kingdom, though, is isolated by its paranoia and desire to conceal its great gift. Wakanda’s only export is spies, so they can keep the secrets of their super science and their limitless supply of vibranium to themselves. Read more
The film 15:17 to Paris is a very unique film by Clint Eastwood. Although the plot was nothing very new, the fact that the heroes in the movie were not played by actors but the actual men who witnessed the event, made the movie appear more authentic and true to the events surrounding that day.
In a nutshell, the movie is about the events of August 21, 2015 that transpired on a train between Amsterdam and Paris where three Americans disarmed and stopped a terrorist attack and preformed first aid on an injured victim. The film attempts to fit an event that encompassed 20 – 30 minutes into a two-hour film, so much of the movie focuses how the men met as children and their lives growing up. This made the film slow at times, particularly when one intends to see an action film.
Tea Party-wise, it is the underlying theme that makes this movie special. As Tea Party activists, we can relate and understand this theme better than others. This quote from the movie sums it up perfectly:
“Do you ever just feel like life is catapulting you towards something, some greater purpose?”
In our case, this of course extends to our fight to restore our republic to its capitalist roots so that our children will know and understand the blessings of liberty. In the movie, it was these men and the great courage and strength they exemplified to save hundreds of passengers on a train.
The movie, at its core, is an ode to the common man, the average everyday people who rise to the occasion and do great things. In keeping with that concept the film has a wonderful Cinema Verite feel to it and it is devoid of tricky camera work, special effects, or CGI. It is a remarkable cinematic event, and speaks to the fact that people are capable of ruling themselves as well as speaks to many of the core foundational principles that our nation was founded.
The Tea Party gives this film 3 out of 5 stars. Although a wonderfully courageous story with a very realistic twist by having the actual heroes play their own parts in the movie and a nice sub-theme all Tea Party supporters understand, the gaps in action made the movie hard to sit through at times.
By the beginning of February, almost every American worker will see a jump in their net income because of the recently enacted tax cut and reform legislation. While the tax bill (burdened with the unfortunate name “To provide for reconciliation pursuant to titles II and V of the concurrent resolution on the budget for fiscal year 2018.”) is far from perfect, it is the first major reform in personal and corporate taxes in many years. We are already seeing an enthusiastic response from companies who are sharing the benefits of the tax bill with their employees, repatriating overseas profits, and investing in capital improvements and employee training.
Taxes are probably the most enduring contentious issue in any political body. The philosophical view of property rights and social obligations are ingrained in our political views and are most obvious in our positions on taxes. Who has a right to the fruits of my labor? What obligation do I have to share in the common needs of our society. What are the limits on how my tax dollars are appropriated? While we may revel in the passage of this bill, the battle for our wallets will continue unabated.
In “The City of God”, St. Augustine tells the story of a pirate who was brought before Alexander the Great. In defense of his crimes, the pirate points out the hypocrisy of one of history’s greatest plunderers.
“Justice being taken away, then, what are kingdoms but great robberies?
For what are robberies themselves, but little kingdoms?”
All governments are inherently flawed, forced to take from its citizens to administer its works. They pretend that they have moral authority because they operate under the fabricated illusion of voluntary consent by its citizens. We know from almost every recent election, this authority is granted by bare majorities. Forty-nine percent have not consented. Lacking that consent, do they still have the moral authority to take our wages?
St. Augustine believed that the state was challenging the authority of individual free will and that of God. Yet, like us, he recognized the need for the state. This recognition did not blind him to the potential and likely abuse of the (mostly fictitious) authority of the state to tax. He understood that people joined by will or by force under a common cause allowed them to be robbed of some of the freedom.
In referring to the government, St. Augustine said:
“The band itself is made up of men; it is ruled by the authority of a prince,
it is knit together by the pact of the confederacy;
the booty is divided by the law agreed on.”
Unless we can find a piece of land on which to hermit ourselves for a lifetime, we have no choice but to concede that the state, with all of its flaws, is a necessary evil. As with any evil though, we should never falter in our resolve to keep it contained. The new tax cuts and reform will move us incrementally in the direction of restraining the government, but this win will be short lived. The state and its worshipers will be back for more.
It is our duty to stop these pirates.
Worcester Tea Party
Tax is Theft!!
. . . Is a common refrain that we could hear at any Tea Party meeting. There is the obvious way in which taking taxes from someone is similar to theft such as the Sheriff of Nottingham taking the crops from the people of Sherwood Forest. But there is a deeper and more insidious way that taxation is theft. It is not as direct as the sheriff with the club demanding your produce, but it is just as damaging to our society.
People often will accept paying high taxes because they believe the taxes go to do “good.” Those same people believe they have done enough “good” because they have paid those high taxes.
When Scrooge was asked to donate to the poor he said he had already done enough because his taxes paid for orphanages and poor houses. The ghost of Scrooge’s partner howls a warning: “Mankind was my business. The common welfare was my business; charity, mercy, forbearance, and benevolence were, all, my business.”
Since Dickens’ time there are more government programs to help people, but we can see they have only a few successes and many failures. Executives of the VA are given hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money in bonuses for good performance, while our brave veterans wait, and wither, and die for lack of care. In our Commonwealth, Auditor Bump has published lists of how poorly the DCF has served the families of at risk children. But when confronted by the hard facts, politicians and bureaucrats insist that the problem is that you don’t pay enough in taxes.
“The definition of insanity is doing the same thing,
over and over again, and expecting a different result.”
Citizens of the Eurozone handed over more of their income to their governments and they have given up their responsibility for taking care of their neighbors. They have also suspended their belief in their own judgment and ability to do so. Conversely, the citizens of the United States not only give more to charity than those European governments, we do so voluntarily; unlike Europe that takes so much more of their citizen’s wealth and give so little in return.
Wealth and prosperity begets charity,
not coercion and politicization . . . i.e. taxes.
One of the reasons why Americans give more money to charities than people in Europe is because in the United States we feel a personal responsibility to help our neighbors and we also have a healthy skepticism of the positive effects of big government.
Our world is rich with people who are pursuing their passion to serve their fellow man, but time after time governments get in the way. Good men and women are crafting new ways to help us all advance into a prosperous and peaceful future. Mindless bureaucrats will arrest good Samaritans for giving sandwiches to the homeless without a license. Big Government requires individuals to make themselves smaller. When we shrink governments, we return power to individuals. Only with truly limited government can we have truly unlimited individuals empowered to do good.
Worcester Tea Party
Historically, Star Wars perpetuated the concept that a person’s lineage and “bloodline” was a major factor in a person’s abilities; a concept rooted in racism. Although this was likely not the intent of those who wrote the Star Wars scripts, this concept was always an underlying theme through each trilogy.
The Star Wars writers cannot separate themselves from this concept entirely, but The Last Jedi makes a sincere attempt to show that others not born to people with special attributes can achieve great things. The main characters Finn, Rey, and Poe thus far are not portrayed as superheroes propped up by their genetic inheritance, making The Last Jedi the more morally sound iteration of the saga, and therefore better from a capitalist’s perspective.
Curtailing the Focus on Racist Undertones of Bloodline Determinism
Fortunately, the newest Star Wars saga turns away from this concept to a larger degree than in the past, and yet continues to paint individuality and freedom in a negative light. Still we witness that the most powerful characters in the movie, Kilo Ren and Luke Skywalker both are inheritors of The Forces due to their ancestry and not their desire to cultivate it by their own effort.
As with all Star Wars iterations, the movie was enjoyable in many different ways. The Last Jedi has an expansive sense of cinematography that is very visually exciting. There is a lot of adrenaline pumping action. The plot is familiar and most of the familiar characters return, and The Last Jedi introduces several interesting new ones as well.
Ascribing a Negative Connotation to Individualism
Our heroes Finn and Rey of the Resistance find a scoundrel code hacker necessary to flee a trap set by the Empire. Named DJ, it has been claimed the hacker’s name is an acronym for his memorial declaration in the movie, “don’t join.” After they escape from the casino planet Canto Bight aboard a stolen spaceship, they take a moment to review how the owner of the ship gathered all his wealth. DJ hacks the ship’s commuter to find out that the owner was an arms merchant and had sold weapons to both the First Order and the Resistance. It is at this point DJ delivers the best line in the film in which he proclaims the reality we see today politically, implying there is evil on all sides of the war and in turn proclaims, “It’s all a machine, partner. Live free, don’t join.”
In the same way that the Democrats have tried to change the brand of liberal to progressive, in this movie the Sith Lord changed the brand from the Empire to the First-Order, while keeping all the interstellar oppression and warmongering. Conversely, we see a rebranding of the Jedi movement from the Rebel Alliance to the Resistance (alluding to present day politics possibly?).
The idea of not choosing sides may not seem to fit with the overall principles of the Tea Party Movement, but any true and honest capitalist must conclude that in modern politics BOTH parties have evil and immoral elements. Therefore, despite DJ’s eventual betrayal of good, the concept of being loyal to one’s values and not a group or team is the foundation of Tea Party principles.
Overall, the Worcester Tea Party sees The Last Jedi as an entertaining movie and truly in the spirit of Star Wars that so many of us anticipate with great eagerness. But in light of how we have matured since our younger years of enjoying Star Wars films, and our witnessing of the true dangers of collectivism and conformity, we cannot give The Last Jedi a very strong Tea Party rating when considered through the spectrum of a capitalist and moral society.
2.5 out of 5 stars.