Tribalism in Politics

My first introduction to tribalism was when my mother called my brother’s group of friends a tribe. They were the poor kids in a rich town, and spent most of their youth trying to get high and making trouble. In the end, most of them ended up moving out west together. The core group of friends live in the same town- across the country from where they started. They had ups and downs over the years, fights and reconciliations, but they still have each others’ backs.

As a kid growing up poor in a rich town and with zero social skills, I envied my brother his tribe. I saw so much shallow bullshit from the people around me. The upper-middle-class people around me growing up seemed to hold friends as acquaintances, chips to be traded around in power games. A family whose kid was in trouble with the law would lose social standing and be shunned a bit. A family with money was more sought-after socially. No one stuck by those their friends in rough times- that might drag down their own social standing.

I knew that I didn’t want that in my life. I have no use for single-serving friends. Anyone I feel is worth my time is worth fighting for. Otherwise, I’d rather be alone. I ended up marrying someone with very similar ideals. Though we had much to work out, we stuck together because we both believe that loyalty is the highest virtue.

As a child, I always envied my brother his tribe. As an adult, I’ve begun to build a tribe of my own. I rather dislike most of the human race, and my husband and I have chosen a few people we think are worth our time. We are trying to build up the other people around us. My dream is for my daughter to grow up in a tribe, as we believe this is the optimal state for human health and happiness.

To us, a tribe is no more than 20 or so adults and their children. The obligations of mutual loyalty would become onerous beyond a small group of people with similar ideals. We ally with broader social movements as we feel our interests demand. As union workers, we tend to favor the improvement of working conditions and pay for workers. As a tribe with ties to transwomen, we oppose the mistreatment of our friends. We oppose the use of racial sentiments to allow the setting of precedents which allow police brutality.

Our respect is not based on nationality or color or gender or sexuality. We respect a Mexican family man who has the courage and drive to come here and get whatever work he can to support his family. We do kind of wish we could send worthless Americans back to Mexico in exchange, but that’s not likely.

Overall, we are a group of people trying to work in our own interests. We are not racist, sexist, or homophobic. (Quite the opposite, in fact.) The other tribe I know of is my brother’s tribe, and while they tend to be a bit less liberal than my tribe, they are far from neo-Nazis.

All this makes me very upset by the current push by neo-Nazis to appropriate tribalist ideas. To be clear- a tribe is a tribe, in my view living in accordance with Dunbar’s number- so no more than a couple of hundred people. There are likely at least a billion “white” people in the world. Just from a purely tribalist perspective, the idea that “white” people form a tribe which requires mutual defense is ludicrous. There has never been and never will be a tribe of a billion people.

Furthermore, “white” people screw over other “white” people all the time. I’m “white” and my ancestors were kicked off their lands in Ireland and England under the Acts of Enclosure by “white” people. Then they were kidnapped and sold as indentured servants right beside the “black” people. It was “white” people who kept my ancestors out of businesses with signs reading “No dogs or Irish.” It is mostly “white” people who benefit from exploiting my labor in the current day. A “white” person or a company owned by “white” people owns my student debt, so they are currently screwing me. Why would I support a social grouping that has historically benefited from the oppression of my ancestors and continues to benefit from my current oppression?

The white supremacists seems to be using tactics used by many indigenous tribes for hunting. Many hunters in the days before guns would dress up as the animal they were hunting, covering themselves in the target’s dung to cover their scent and even wearing antler headdresses when hunting deer. It was a way of telling their prey “Hey, don’t worry about me, I’m just a deer like you. We’re buddies.” Then the hunters would creep close enough to kill the deer.

Similarly, white supremacists appeal to our “sameness”. But their end goal- like that of hunters- is to avoid defense mechanisms so they can divide us and stab us in the back. White supremacists also use herding tactics- getting the unwary panicked about something scary over in the bushes so they will run blindly off a cliff or into a corral to be slaughtered. It is the “herd mentality” white supremacists appeal to when they attempt fear-mongering tactics about their imaginary “war on whites” and “invasions” by refugees. I’m not a bison to be stampeded, and I reject the nonsense of fear-mongering politics.

There are tribes with which my tribe has connection- for example, my brother’s tribe. But even the big network of people who have the right to expect aid from me in times of trouble numbers less than a hundred people. Outside of that network, my tribe supports political and social issues depending on what they can do for us. Based on research, we generally tend left-ward in our politics, but that is not a hard and fast rule. We’re not going to be tricked into giving up our rights to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, cruel and unusual punishment, and a fair trial because those trying to deny us those rights are “white” and they are setting the precedent on “black” people. Once the precedent is set, the law won’t care about race.

I’ve recently heard a lot of noise about “tribalism”, which seems to mean different things to different people.  Some of the left seems convinced that a tribalist is automatically part of a neo-Nazi Wotanic wolf-cult. Some of the right seems convinced that “tribalism” means acting like a billion people of European ancestry constitute a tribe.

In my opinion, both are missing the mark by a wide margin. To me, tribalism is the only sensible reaction to a world where we are divided to make us weak. Our culture no longer values family, and our society is in the grip of what I call “The Cult of the Twenty-Something Consumer”. To me, tribalism means taking care of family and friends, regardless of what anyone else thinks of them. At the heart of tribalism is personal loyalty. That has nothing to do with race, gender, or any other external factor. The only important factor to us when deciding whether a person is worthy of consideration for tribal membership is whether they will show the same loyalty to us that we would show to someone in the tribe. (And they have to have decent taste in music…) No one is given false worth for pale skin that they did nothing to earn.

I’m speaking out here to try to reclaim tribalism for people who have researched tribes and have a basic conception of what it means to be part of a tribe. A tribe is not a political party nor is it a group of people with a particular skin tone. A tribe is a group with common values supporting one another.

As paganism matures, I suspect more people are going to see the benefits of a tribe in surviving as the system around us breaks down. Those who are making it in today’s world are the families and friends that stick together. Sticking together is humanity’s first line of defense in a hostile world.

 

 

My thoughts on landwights

A woman mixes flour and water in a bowl and sets it outside. After a few days, there are bubbles in the mixture and she brings in inside. She takes half of the mixture and mixes it into her dough, which rises and bakes up into delicious sourdough. She adds more flour and water to the bowl every week, feeding the mixture. In exchange for her gifts, the yeasts and bacteria in the culture change dough into bread to be baked every week for her, even helping glutenin and gliadin combine to form the protein gluten.

The woman also makes cheese from milk, using a culture of yeasts and bacteria to preserve and add nutrients to her food. Many foods are preserved by fermentation, which adds the nutritional value. The cultures benefit from being provided with food, and so the benefit is mutual. When the hard work of storing food is done, the woman sits down to dinner with her family, and they pass a horn of mead around. This mead is produced by a slightly different culture of yeasts feeding on honey and water collected by the humans.

As the food the family has eaten is digested, it is broken down by intestinal flora, which are bacteria which live in their guts. Without these bacteria living inside their intestines, the family would soon die because their bodies would be unable to properly take up (or in some cases create) some nutrients without this flora.

Outside the house, the compost pile is being digested by bacteria, fungi, and insects. In the soil in the fields, fungi and bacteria and increasing the productivity of the land. In the bean patch the family planted in the spring, the plant roots have nitrogen nodules produced by nitrogen-fixing bacteria. These nodules will decompose and provide bio-available nitrogen for next year’s crop of wheat. The family will eat the beans and plant more beans next spring, preserving their own lives and furthering the life cycle of the legume.

In the forest surrounding the farm, the trees maintain a social network. According to this forester old stumps are supported by living trees. All over the forest, herbivores eat plants and are eaten by carnivores, who in turn die and are decomposed by colonies of fungi and bacteria. Every part of the ecosystem relies on cultures of bacteria and fungi. In some areas (such as the Malheur National Forest in Oregon), individual fungi set up colonies ranging over several square miles that survive thousands of years.

Microscopic fungi or hundred year old trees, our world is populated by beings which maintain relationships with one another. We know that a wolf pack works to maintain the good of the whole and we can easily see that dogs and wolves have a spirit (by which I mean that they have some sort of existence beyond the physical- they think, they feel). Dr. Wohllben’s research in German forests suggest that trees also have a community, and many cultures have assumed that they have spirits also.

My understanding of the wights is that they are the spirits of things. While heathens a thousand years ago didn’t have microscopes to see bacteria and fungi, they weren’t dumb. They knew that something made the land fertile, something made bread rise, and that forests might have spirits that deserved respect. Probably any people making a living off the land would have observed the effects of organisms too small to see. Most cultures seem to have developed some sort of belief in land spirits, anyway.

My thought is that we are most able to experience the spirits of things which are closest to us. It is relatively easy to see that a chimpanzee has a spirit. Even the spirit of a dog is relatively obvious. I have a harder time with the spirits of trees, but some people claim to see them. A fungal or bacterial culture is farther away from a human experience, and is also harder to see as having a spirit. If they think and feel, it is in a way so alien to ours that we can’t even perceive it.

Obviously, this is simply my opinion on the nature of wights. It could be absolute BS. I have no idea whether the spirits of things are conscious entities or personifications of the forces of nature. Nor do I think it matters. Whether a species of bacteria mutates and adapts because it has a spirit directing its evolution or whether it is a random chance mutation that is selected for by the environment, the result is the same. Whether feeding a sourdough culture is merely a mechanical process or part of a gifting cycle is irrelevant compared to the benefit gained by both sides in the exchange.

A question I’ve considered is whether each tree (or fungi or whatever) has a spirit or whether there is a general wight, like a forest wight for trees in an area, or a culture wight for a culture. I think the answer is probably similar to the same question for groups of humans- does each person have a spirit or is there a spiritual force for the entire group? In the case of humans each person obviously has a spirit, but there is also an overarching group identity. I would guess that the same is true of trees, cultures, and packs or herds of animals. Each component has an identity, but it is (ideally) concerned with the good of the whole group. I think we are most likely to relate to the spirit of an entire group, especially in the case of cultures, since the group a whole has similar interests (reproducing itself and continuing its way of life) to the goal of a human group, making it more relatable.

As far as this concerns me, it means that I try to think about honoring the wights in the context of what the wight would want if it were the “collective consciousness” of the entity. For example, to honor a field from which I harvested food, and to return a gift for the gift which I received, I might give a day of my labor spreading manure (which will certainly benefit if not please the bacteria and fungi which keep the land fertile). To honor a forest from which I harvested wood from, I might apply some sort of natural tree fertilizer near the stumps of harvested trees.

I might be a nutty tree-hugger, but I think that this view of the world (as being alive, with each thing having an existence beyond the physical) encourages right action. If I have respect for my tools, I’ll clean them and take care of them and they will last twice as long. If I have respect for my dishes, I’ll wash them and live in a cleaner home. If I respect my domestic animals, I’ll give them room to roam. This translates into better quality food for me when I eat them or their eggs or milk. By buying into the gifting cycle, I create a better life for myself and my family, and this is worthwhile to me, even if I’m a nutty tree-hugger.

Decoding Slut

I really liked the logic and thought behind this piece.

mainer74

man-woman-at-barRecently I heard a joke which seemed to both capture our societal attitude towards female sexuality, and struck me in a very heathen sense as being deeply wrong. The joke compared men to keys and women to locks and concluded that a man whose key opens many locks is awesome, while I woman whose lock opened to many keys was worthless.

Everyone seemed to find it funny, but what strikes me as strange funny, rather than amusing funny, is this joke would make total sense to ISIS, whose belief that women are property can thus view a woman’s sexuality as being her husband’s property, and infringing on those property rights would make that property less valuable.  As deeply offensive as that attitude is, it is at least consistent with their misogynist ethic.

Whether you stone sluts or merely make jokes about them, the acceptance that women who have the same…

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Notes On a Lost Flute: A Fieldguide to the Wabanaki Review

I’ve decided it is time to stop keeping a gem to myself. My grandmother gave me a copy of Notes on a Lost Flute: A Field Guide to the Wabanaki several years ago for Christmas. It has since become one of my favorites. I re-read occasionally simply because it puts me in a good mood.

Notes on a Lost Flute is a book exploring the pre-contact (with the Europeans) culture of northern New England (Maine, in particular). Kerry Hardy, the author, obviously writes from a deep interest in and love for pre-contact culture. He is an ecologist by training, and he considers the relationship between the land and the people. He presents the Wabanaki as an integral part of the land, burning to maintain fertility and living well off the richness of the land. It is an amazing insight into what it must have been like to be part of the land.

One of my favorite chapters about the Wabanaki “food year”. It is amazing to see how much food the Native Americans had access to without recourse to intensive agriculture.  To realize that many food plants and trees still grow wild gives me hope that someday we will be able to develop a similarly close relationship with the land. It also inspires me to learn about how to find free wild food in my own area.

Kerry Hardy makes the Wabanaki come alive as insightful naturalists with a keen sense of humor. Hardy himself has a sense of humor, and excerpts passages from missionaries and other people who were in contact with Wabanaki culture that are rather amusing at times.

Overall, Notes on a Lost Flute is one of my favorite books of all time. The pictures and artwork are amazing. Kerry hardy is an engaging writer and while the book is informative, it is not dry. Notes on a Lost Flute was not written to turn the reader into an expert on Wabanaki culture, but to give the reader a sense of what life was like. Kerry Hardy does this very well. Notes on a Lost Flute is definitely worth the read.

Recent Developments and My Take on “PC”

So I have taken a step back from this blog and decided to trash some posts. I feel that I have been getting too political of late. While there is a time and place for politics, and I love a good donnybrook over them, I started this blog to share some of my philosophy and to connect with other people. I may start a separate blog in the future for my political stuff, but I wasn’t happy having it here. I’ll still have some political stuff here, but I want to present facts and question values rather than make arguments.

It felt as though I was arguing for my religion to apply to other people’s lives, something that I am generally against. I also don’t want to make it seem to non-heathens that heathenism implies one political ideology. I have a political ideology and it is informed by my religious beliefs. However, many people who hold the same beliefs form opposite opinions.

That said, I do have a political comment to make. There has been tons of reaction on heathen blogs to certain statements made by certain public figures. I’m not going into specifics, because I suspect the statement in question was deliberately sensationalist and intended to garner attention. Plenty of people have commented eloquently on why such comments are inappropriate. My two cents would be redundant.

However, I will throw in my two cents on the reactions I’ve been seeing to these reactions. I’ve seen a lot of people accused of being “politically correct”, or “social justice warriors” for stating that they disagree with the above mentioned statements. It appears that it is now politically incorrect to be politically correct. My brain is starting to hurt.

The whole point of opposing excessive “political correctness” was originally to keep free and honest dialogue open. Now the specter of being called “PC” is being used to keep people from stating their opinions. This is BS. We don’t need any thought police telling us what we are allowed to object to. I’d far rather be “PC” than let someone else define my religion in a way I find offensive and then scare me into silence with the threat of being called names. If I’m “PC”, I’m “PC”. Better I be honestly “PC” than a closet racist who taints the reputation of everyone else by refusing to come out and acknowledge racist ideology and be challenged on it.

As far as I’m concerned, a part of heathenism is about being what you are and being honest. I’ve been concerned with the way our country wastes money on foreign wars and corporate subsidies while ignoring internal problems like lead-contaminated water for years. You know what? I AM a “social justice warrior”. And I’m proud of it. “SJW”s got us the weekend, workingmen’s compensation, an end of child labor in this country back in the 1890s-1930s. “SJW”s during the 1960s and 1970s opened up American minds and culture enough that heathens can practice a non-Christian religion without too much overt interference from the government and mainstream society. SJWs have given heathens (and everyone else) a lot (like weekends to hold blots on). We’ve made a contribution to society and have earned the right to a voice.

I’ve studied the issues. I’ve read hundreds of books on politics, history, and economics. I’ve read both Adam Smith’s The Wealth of Nations and Karl Marx’s Das Kapital. I’ve also taken college courses in economics. I have a very informed opinion which is based on ten years of research. I think that I’ve earned the right to air my opinions if I choose.

Now, as I’ve said, I’m backing things off politically here on this blog. But I felt as a final hurrah, that I would point out that making it politically incorrect to be politically correct is making my brain hurt. I am who I am and I refuse to apologize for being concerned with making our country more tolerant (especially when I’m a member of a minority religion directly benefiting from that tolerance). Now I want to get back into my thoughts on creativity and how my research into heathenism is lining up with my research into other subjects like psychology.

The Worth of a Human

(Note: I use “man” for person in this post to avoid annoying pronoun awkwardness. However, weregild was also paid for women. So just keep in mind than “man” means person, and “he” means he or she. Also, please read the star notes at the bottom.)

What is the worth of a man? According to ancient heathen law, if a man was slain, his killer had to pay weregild to his family. In general, there was a generally accepted price for the death of a free man. Chiefs and kings might require greater compensation*, while the killing of an outlaw carried no burden of compensation at all.

The weregild was set often set by custom, but it was subject to acceptance by the family of the deceased. They could demand a higher weregild based on the circumstances, or refuse to accept weregild at all and seek revenge instead. In this way, the process of restitution was based somewhat on general values set by community and somewhat on the inclination of the injured parties.

The custom of weregild was far more than a quaint way of settling disputes. It has much to tell us about how the ancient heathens saw life and what they valued. An outlaw had no value. A person much beloved by their family or community might command a higher weregild than someone who was not respected.

This suggests that the value of life is in the connections a person has to those around them. The more that the community relied upon a person, the harder it would be to make restitution for their death. A chief was supposed to be someone who gave to the community. He would be the most respected person in the district, and respect was given on the basis of what one contributed to the community. To lose someone respected for their work on behalf of the community would be a terrible loss. Mercian law stated that half the wergild for a king was to be paid to his family and half to his community. This was to compensate the community for the loss of someone who was supposed to be relied upon by everyone.*

On the other end of the spectrum, no compensation was required for the killing of an outlaw. Someone who had been declared no good had no value. In becoming an outlaw, a man was severed from his connections to the community. Someone with no connection to the community, who made no contribution to the good of the whole, was considered utterly worthless.

The ancient heathens did not share the Roman idea that all crimes are crimes against the state. Cases were not prosecuted by public prosecutors but by individuals or families who felt they had been wronged. Therefore, if someone was killed who no one cared to claim weregild for, the case might never reach the Thing (the court). Therefore the only way a person could ensure that he would not be unjustly killed was to have someone who would care enough about him to sue his killer or take revenge if that failed.

A person’s worth in heathen society was determined by what they gave to the community and by who they were connected to and had relationships of mutual obligation with. The value of a life was based upon a person’s place in their family and community. This has profound implications for heathens today.

The first is that we are not meant to be solitary. Our value is determined by our family. Heathens should make their best effort to meet family obligations. If our blood families cannot accept us or hold values that are morally corrosive, it is up to us to form our own families (not necessarily blood) as groups with mutual obligations. We should have other people as a part of our lives and be a part of other people’s lives. We were never meant to be solitary creatures. While our religion provides good guidance for a person alone, it is clear that our goal must be to be a part of a healthy community.

“The pine tree wastes which is perched on the hill,
nor bark nor needles shelter it;
such is the man whom none doth love;
for what should he longer live?” Havamal 50

Many heathens find comfort in heathen groups, but there is no requirement that our ‘families’ be religiously homogeneous. The important binding principle of the community is mutual obligation and loyalty. In the old days these ideas were expressed religiously, but there are many ways of following these values, often expressed in different religions. The worth of a man’s actions is of far more importance than the words he chooses to justify them with. By heathen tradition our “tribe” is made up of those we routinely exchange gifts with.** The ancient heathens certainly had no objections to marrying or otherwise accepting people of other religions, so long as all agreed to respect the traditions of the others.

The second implication is that our value is determined by our community. This doesn’t mean that we must be loved by every soccer mom in the school district. It means that we must find the contribution we have to offer our community. Some people are gifted in leadership. Others are gifted in science, discovery, thinking, art, music, or some other area of life. By making a contribution to the life of the community, we add value to our own lives. We might be respected for our music, our ideas, for contributing in local politics, for teaching, or for community service. The point is not what we do. The point is that we be known for something worthwhile.

There is a third way of valuing a man, which was too obvious to be explicitly stated in the old law codes. It is also a private and personal thing, not something which old law codes could legislate. That is the relationship a person has with the land and the spirits. Our relationship and responsibility to the land is an important part of who we are. After all, if relationships are defined by the exchange of gifts, then what greater relationship could we have than with Earth who has literally given us everything- from the water in our blood to the minerals that make up our bones? Does that not imply obligations upon us in turn?

Star Notes:

*I’m assuming that the chief or king here is a good leader who serves the community. History rarely bears that out, so I’m just including the caveat that I DO NOT support the notion that some rich asshole has more worth than a peasant. That said, I also suspect weregild for a king was higher because they were mostly likely going to be killed by someone who was also wealthy. Therefore for the compensation to be a real hardship on the killer, the weregild had to be higher. If you were rich and could just kill the king and pay the fine, then there wouldn’t be much of a downside to killing the king.

**Which might be each member of a family making dinner for everyone in turn, or one spouse fixing the car while the other cleans the house. The gifts we exchange that bind us are not Christmas-present type gifts, but the balanced flow of things done for the good of the whole. The old custom of barn-raising is a good analogy here. The community comes together and raises a barn for one family with the expectation that they community will do the same for them. Big gifts cannot buy one friends, it is in sharing what we have that we build strong relationships.

“Not great things alone must one give to another,
praise oft is earned for nought;
with half a loaf and a tilted bowl
I have found me many a friend.” Havamal 52

‘Socialism’ and High Taxes (Or, you get what you pay for)

Let me preface this by saying that this is not really a religious post. I don’t want anyone to think I’m trying to say that being heathen means you have to be a socialist, or any other ideology. I just get annoyed when people ignore evidence and use faulty logic. So this meant as food for thought, and hopefully a counter to the incomplete logic so popular among politicians.

You know the old saying “You get what you pay for”? Well, it applies to governments as well as commodities. Every time I or someone else suggests that America catch up to the rest of the first world and start offering universal health care or free tuition to our citizens, someone comes along and complains about how much our taxes would go up. What I want to consider is if it would be a bad thing if our taxes went up to pay for investing in our human capital in this country. After all, educating people, keeping them healthy, and providing food for the children of the poor are all investments in the future and economy of this country- not charity.

Does the average American is actually saving money by having lower tax rates than a ‘socialist’ country like Germany or Norway? When we count in the cost of healthcare in this country, it turns out the average American isn’t really saving any money at all. Those ‘socialists’ are simply paying their government for a service we buy privately. No money saved, really. When we consider that 60% of bankruptcies in this country are caused by illness, and 75% of those people who went bankrupt had insurance,[1] it becomes obvious that our healthcare payer system is not only just as pricey as other countries, but it also completely worthless.

So, down to the numbers:

Consider that the average American spends $9,596 on healthcare in a year.[2] Out of an average annual salary of $45,230 per year[3], that works out to a whopping 21% of their salary. Due to the crazy state-by-state system of taxation America uses, it is a bit difficult to get good data on what the average American pays in taxes total. I usually figure in about 20-30% for my annual budgeting, so I’m going to run with that.* It seems reasonable or on the low end for a middle-class American. (I just had a conservative quote me 33%, but I can’t find a source for that, so I’m still a bit clueless.)

Let’s compare our tax rate to a country like Germany or Norway, both of which pay college tuition for students (in the case of Germany, for international students as well) and have universal health care. A quick Google search reveals Germany’s tax rate: it tops out at 45%,[4] with lower brackets for those who make less total income. Norway’s is slightly more complicated, requiring me to add municipal, national, top, and social security taxes. It works out to a top bracket tax (the most you have to pay assuming you’re very wealthy) of 47.8%.[5]

So let’s assume that I’m a middle-class American, smug about my 20-35% lower tax rate. Add in the 21% of my income I spend on healthcare, and suddenly my minimum tax rate is more like 41%. Compare that to the 42% tax bracket that most middle-class Germans fall into. So basically, I’m paying the same amount of taxes as any citizen in a “socialist” country, and I don’t get free education or the guarantee that a medical problem won’t bankrupt me despite all the money I’ve spent on insurance. If I assume my taxes are closer to 30% (which is more likely), after adding in the cost of healthcare, I am paying 51% of my income in taxes and for social services provided by taxes in ‘socialist’ countries. That is a higher income percentage than most ‘socialist’ countries.

That’s the numbers. I like numbers. I’m a mathematics major, and I would feel bad if I didn’t present the hard evidence people should (but hardly ever do) base their opinions on. (And please, go check out this stuff for yourself. I’m an honest person, but I can make mistake just like the next person.) I think there is another aspect to this as well. That is the philosophical, values-based angle.

We live in one of the richest countries in the world. We spend billions of dollars every year on the military, on subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies and agribusiness. No one makes a budget issue over drone strikes or bombings in other countries (like Syria). But let one politician suggest that we offer single-payer healthcare or free education to our citizens, and a hundred politicians and pundits bemoan the expense.

This tells me that in our current culture, it is acceptable to waste money on war, but unacceptable to spend tax money on ensuring that in one of the richest countries in the world, every person has access to basic healthcare. This seems like a horrible inversion of values to me.

*I find it interesting that a Google search quickly reveals Germany’s tax rates by income, while our system is so convoluted that I keep getting contradictory answers to the point where I just don’t trust anyone’s guess on what the average American pays in taxes. But that is beside the point I can’t help but wonder what they are trying to hide….

Sources:

[1] “Medical bills prompt more than 60 percent of US bankruptcies” CNN.com http://www.cnn.com/2009/HEALTH/06/05/bankruptcy.medical.bills/

[2] “The Average American Spends This Much On Healthcare Every Year — Do You?” Fool.com http://www.fool.com/investing/general/2015/03/15/the-average-american-spends-this-much-on-healthcar.aspx

[3] “The Average American Monthly Salary” Houston Chronicle. http://work.chron.com/average-american-monthly-salary-8614.html

[4] “Personal Income Tax in Germany” Confederation Fiscale Europeenne. http://www.cfe-eutax.org/taxation/personal-income-tax/germany

[5] “Your Europe” http://europa.eu/youreurope/citizens/work/taxes/income-taxes-abroad/norway/index_en.htm