By Richard Bleil
Feudalism is the ancient medieval form of government wherein some form of nobility, a king, a duke, a knight owns a parcel of land and is the Lord of that land. When I say the Lord owned the land, he (typically male) owned everything on the land, including the people who worked it. Those people, in turn, owed the Lord a portion of their crops and to upkeep the land. The resources the Lord gathers on the back of the people is used to support and pay his staff, servants, and army. In return, the people were protected by the armies the Lords of other lands who are, presumably, far worse than theirs.
Better the devil you know that the devil you don’t.
Some people were free to travel the lands. Bards (storytellers) and musicians were hard to come by and therefore not only allowed, but encouraged to travel the lands bringing their skills to the various Lordships, just as skilled workers like masons. People with rare skills were the only ones free to travel and seek a living wage, but the rest of the people belonged to the land, and the land belonged to the Lord. They simply could not leave.
Today I find myself in Omaha looking for a new apartment. My new business is in consulting, and between Omaha, Sioux Falls to the north, Lincoln to the west, Des Moines to the east and Kansas City to the south, it’s a nice central location surrounded by opportunities for a scientific consultant. Unfortunately, I don’t think it will happen. See, what I am running into are questions about my background, previous places where I’ve lived, and currently place of employment.
Let’s review a bit. I started my new business because I was fired from my last and cannot seem to find a new one (over fifteen hundred applications, and three interviews is not good). I’ve been living with friends for the past year to save money as I searched. My credit rating, no doubt, is in the toilet because I’m behind on my car payments. And my current employment has no guaranteed income. Because it’s so new, I don’t even have a history of sales.
I knew it would be a problem. I found leads around $450-500 a month, which I’m sure I can make, but with no guaranteed income, I can’t even get a tour of the available properties.
They won’t even give me a tour.
So, what are the options? Basically, I’m being told to stay where I’m at, emotionally, economically and physically. Stay with your current Lord, you’re not allowed to move.
I’m not looking for pity. One way or the other, I’ll find a way. But, with the trouble I’m having, with my doctorate in theoretical chemistry, my experience in academia and industry, my training in a high demand field, imagine a new graduate.
My friend’s daughter recently graduated with three bachelor’s degrees, but unfortunately, she has been struggling to find a job (great economy, eh?). For the last year or two of college, she has been living in an apartment, paying regularly, never missed a month, never late. And yet, when her lease came due, they insisted that she re-apply rather than simply renewing it. And in that application, she doesn’t have a guaranteed steady source of income.
We’ve reached a stage in our society, a stage where the only value people have is the money they can make for somebody else, a stage where landlords don’t even trust themselves. This is not a good place to be. She is being forced to move back in with her parents, despite never missing a payment. She is no longer wanted on the Lord’s lands, go somewhere else.
Nationally, parallels can also be made. If you want to travel to foreign lands, you better be able to prove that you belong to this one before trying to return, and a passport may not be enough as recent events on the southern border have demonstrated. If you belong to this land, you’d better be ready to pay your dues, roughly thirty percent of any money you make (and that’s income; never mind sales tax) going to the Lord of the land. Don’t try to move out of the country because nobody is going to want you on their land, and if you don’t belong to this land, we don’t want you. And in return? You get a great military to protect you from the other Lords who, believe us, is far worse than the one you know.
I don’t want to imply here that I have a problem with the military; I really don’t. I’ve written on the respect, the courage and the job our men and women are doing, but it is equally discouraging to me that it feels as though the only export we still have is military. We build bases in friendly countries, we sell arms, and we provide trainers and troops. Our educational system is in decline, our technology has been improved by others, and the current administration is making sure that other countries find alternatives to our crops and our manufactured goods. If you look at our policies, greed, the challenges facing our young people, we’re moving, but not forward.