- The Washington Times - Monday, January 3, 2000

Paul Craig Roberts doesn't tell the whole story in "A future darker or brighter?" (Commentary, Dec. 26). Overt government power has created a "bloody century," but it also has given us, at least in our form of a federal government, a means to prevent the abuses of government.

For the most part, our government still represents "We, the People of the United States," and whatever it does, good or bad, is basically sanctioned by the majority of Americans through the electoral process. Until such a government exists at the global level, more abuses can only be expected.

Most Americans believe it is right to "dispossess the rich of income and wealth," at least a fair portion of it so that the lives of others and the internal stability of our nation will not be lost. Poverty remains the greatest killer in the world, and just the fear if it and its lethal consequences will bring people to violent ends. President Franklin Delano Roosevelt recognized this and he was re-elected three times.

Worldwide, a lack of access to heath, education, shelter, clean water and sanitation is still an annual death sentence to about four times the number of people deliberately killed by governments in overt or covert war or genocide combined.

Without directly addressing this lethal force and ensuring some level of security for its people, any form of government is not sustainable. Taxing, especially the rich, is a way of softening the ruthless consequences of unregulated capitalism. It provides the basis of security for the rich to stay rich, grow more rich and enjoy at least a majority of their profits. That side of freedom has a cost.

Mr. Roberts and the Wall Street Journal are correct in labeling the U.S. government "as the worst disrespecter of law." A few members of Congress have trampled the hopes of a majority of others who believe that the law provided by international conventions protecting the rights of women and children and international institutions capable of indicting those who commit crimes against humanity are laws worth supporting.

Let's face it. There is no law on the global level. This small group of conservative lawmakers in Congress trashed any hopes of establishing the roots of such law that would benefit all humanity. Courts can stop government abuse but only where there is government and when a court exists. On the international level, we have neither.

Finally, Mr. Roberts is correct in that laws do allow "plunder." But the current trend is toward chaos, not socialism. By establishing "legal" offshore accounts, U.S. corporations now avoid paying more than $250 billion a year in U.S. taxes, forcing the unwary U.S. electorate to pay even more to try to maintain what little security our federal government now provides.

Without the "rule of law" on the global level with laws created and enforced by democratically elected officials, enforced equally upon all people and based on the protection of basic inalienable rights, there may not be a 21st century that even the rich will want to live in.

A concern greater than socialism should be people like Mr. Roberts who refuse to see or concern themselves with the whole story.

CHUCK WOOLERY

Rockville

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