It's that time of year again to play "MCAS for Adults." Today's subject is history, civics and economics. Following are the questions in the various categories:
National and international affairs
1. The June 11 Wall Street Journal reported on a national survey commissioned by Columbia Law School. This was the survey question:. "Who said 'from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs'"?
Answer: This is not multiple choice: every American adult should know the answer cold.
If you answered Karl Marx, founder of Communism, you are right, and in the minority. Almost two-thirds of Americans responded that "it was or may have been written by the founding fathers and was included in the Constitution."
Sure, first Thomas Jefferson wrote about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness at someone else's expense, or what is left of life and liberty after you work hard just to have your earnings stolen by the eternally needy. Then the U.S. Constitution picked up the theme in its preamble, which we memorized in school, right?
"We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union
(read "slave state," consisting of all those who will work to provide for the needs of
others), establish Justice (herein defined as what's mine 'cause I earned it, is yours 'cause you need it) ... provide for the common defence
(with those who can shoot a gun risking their lives so anti-gun, anti-defense dreamers are free to hold hands while singing the 'World Anthem' at high school
graduations), promote the general Welfare (especially the welfare of the politicians who get elected by distributing the earnings of the able to whoever they define as needy, including their friends and
contributors), and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posterity ...."
2. Define "Blessings of Liberty."
Answer: This is an essay question, and you can visualize whatever you want for blessings as long as you remember the definition of "liberty", which includes me making my own decisions on blessings, and how much of my ability-earned money I want to share voluntarily to provide for your potentially unlimited needs.
3. Which large country was forced to live with Karl Marx' theory and how did it do?
Answer: The former Soviet Union enforced its motto with barbed wire on its borders, concentration camps, torture, censorship and sometimes the murder of citizens who preferred the blessings of liberty. Politicians took from the citizenry to support their own needs for vacation homes on the Black Sea and caviar for their friends.
1. Massachusetts is a representative republic. This means that decisions on Beacon Hill are made by a.) your and my representatives, elected by us every two years; b.) Tom Finneran in the House and Tom Birmingham in the Senate.
2. The House and Senate have just hiked our taxes by over $1 billion. True or False: All that money from the able is going to help the truly needy who truly need it more than the able and their families do.
Answer: False. Finneran and Birmingham cut services to the truly needy while spending your money on their members' pensions, perks and pork to help get themselves reelected. By the way, in this political arena, the vacation homes are on the Cape and lobster, not caviar, is more likely to be served.
The Soviet Union is no longer a theat; its economy couldn't survive its philosophy. This doesn't mean that the Marx theory isn't still dangerous; just listen to budget debates in the Massachusetts Legislature. If you were "able" enough to have capital gains this year, you will be punished by a retroactive tax hike that you couldn't anticipate before you sold your assets.
Also note the new tax to be assessed on self-paying nursing home residents. Guess they had too much ability to earn and save.
1. The able who vote for a Proposition 2½ override in order to take more money from their sometimes needier neighbors so it can be spent on their own children are a.) inconsiderate and selfish; b.) the same people who think the Founding Fathers put Marxist theory in the U.S. Constitution; c.) missing the point of Marxist theory.
Hey dummies: that's FROM the able, TO the needy; not FROM the taxpayer on a limited income TO your favorite cause.
Answer: a.) and c.), maybe b.).
If you didn't pass this test you can get yourself tutored by actually reading the writings of the Founding Fathers, the U.S. Constitution, and Marx's "Communist Manifesto." Or ask your kids, and hope someone has taught them something valuable about the blessings of liberty before it's too late to preserve them.
Those of you who passed, ask your older kids at dinner tonight who said "from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs." High school seniors and college students should know. If they don't, you might have a question to ask your local school committee.