De-Label America

“Its time to start peeling …”

“Careful- Someone might read your woods and waters post and think you’re a closet greenie.”

That text message came to me this week during the debate over the federal debt limit and the so-called government “shutdown” – one of the most thoroughly depressing, dysfunctional and dumbed-down discourses in the history of Western Civilization.

It was sent in reference to an article I wrote about a camping trip to rural South Carolina, in which the majesty of creation (and cheap, mesh-roof tents from Target) was boldly proclaimed.

Anyway the note – which came from a top environmental advocate – got me thinking.

Am I a “greenie?” And more importantly, what does it mean to be a “greenie?” And most importantly “what’s with all these labels we have in America these days?”

First, I am a “greenie” in that I believe in the Biblical notion of stewardship – of respecting “woods and waters” and all other places (indoor or out), and leaving things better than I found them upon my arrival. You know, like jam band leader Dave Matthews told a crowd of thousands in Central Park, New York – giving them instructions to “leave only (their) footprints” when departing a concert.

But I also believe in dominion – the right of human beings to take from the land what they need to survive so long as they do not waste or needlessly kill.

Of course I absolutely reject government subsidization of alternative energy sources – just as I reject government subsidization of conventional energy sources. The creation of clean, renewable energy is a desirable goal economically and morally – and the free market is working toward that objective. But we cannot and should not waste tax dollars in its pursuit.

Authentic “greenies” no doubt disagree with that statement … and so whether I am – or you are – a “greenie” depends on one’s definition.

And that’s the point of this column …


In case you hadn’t noticed, America is loaded with debt … but it’s also loaded with labels of dubious definition. Literally everywhere you turn – especially on our brain-dead television airwaves – people are slapping familiar labels on themselves, other people and specific events.

But do these labels mean what we think they do? Or anything at all, for that matter? And is their ubiquitous misapplication burying the truth?

Exhibit A? The “Republican” Party.

“We believe in the power and opportunity of America’s free-market economy,” the GOP proclaims. “We oppose interventionist policies that put the federal government in control of industry and allow it to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”

Really? Then what’s this?

The GOP platform also claims to “reject the use of taxation to redistribute income, fund unnecessary or ineffective programs, or foster the crony capitalism that corrupts both politicians and corporations.”

Okay … then what’s this?

At the local, state and federal level there are literally thousands of elected officials who label themselves as “Republicans” – yet they explicitly reject their party’s most fundamental beliefs. They don’t oppose interventionist economic policies and redistributive taxation, they embrace these positions.

They lie, in other words.

And when “Republican” isn’t sufficient, many of these politicians label themselves “conservative.” Others say they’re “Tea Party.”

None of it means a damn thing … because it’s all based on expediency as opposed to ideology.

Vigorously enabling these self-labelers is the undisputed king of label-making in America – the mainstream media establishment. With default presumptions of bureaucratic benevolence and effectiveness, any effort to curb unchecked government growth is deemed “cruel” or “reckless.” Meanwhile any effort to empower the private sector is lambasted as “greed” – even though government policies under fiscally liberal president Barack Obama have created the greatest upward concentration of wealth in human history.

The MSM pulled off its greatest coup over the last two weeks – convincing the country its government had “shut down” and was going to “default” if it didn’t borrow more money. It was a full-scale crisis with “catastrophic” repercussions – and the people to blame for creating it were, oddly enough, the only ones displaying anything resembling a shred of common sense in the debate.

Even the Heritage Foundation – a “conservative” think tank led by former U.S. Sen. Jim DeMint – folded like a cheap lawn chair under the pressure.

Labels, labels, labels …

What did the MSM neglect to discuss during the #Shutdown/ Debt drama?

Its cost …

Or its total failure to solve anything …

Labeling may make for dramatic television and bold headlines, but it ignores the real issues – the dollars and cents consequences of unsustainable government growth on tens of millions of American taxpayers (and their children and grandchildren).

“Somebody’s gotta pay for this show,” my Uncle Robert Folks (a good Southern Democrat) used to say, and he’s right.

Somebody does have to pay for it …

I gave a speech recently to a group of fifty or so young professionals in my home town of Columbia, S.C. and was asked by one very astute commenter for an “action item” in response to my various doom and gloom pronouncements.

“What do you want us to do about all this?” she said.

I didn’t have an especially good answer at the time, but I do now.

“Ignore the labels – and follow the money.”

Cui bono, in other words.

Specifically … where is the largesse coming from? Where is it going? How much is being spent? What is it supposed to be accomplishing? And could that objective (whatever it is) be achieved another way? A way that didn’t involve further bankrupting the country?

Those are critical questions to ask of any government expense at any level.

Like it or not, the federal government is already in fiscal default. No matter how many times it kicks the can down the road, nothing can change that now. But the events of the last few weeks have also seen a “default” on truth in this country … with hard numbers and unavoidable realities buried under an avalanche of meaningless labels.

Its time to start peeling those labels back …

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? October 17, 2013 at 11:17 am

A-1 write up my friend. Kudos to you.

Centrist View October 17, 2013 at 11:26 am

” First, I am a “greenie” in that I believe in the Biblical notion of stewardship – of respecting “woods and waters” and all other places (indoor or out), and leaving things better than I found them upon my arrival. You know, like jam band leader Dave Matthews told a crowd of
thousands in Central Park, New York – giving them instructions to “leave only (their) footprints” when departing a concert.

But I also believe in dominion – the right of human beings to take from the land what they need to survive so long as they do not waste or needlessly kill.”

So how do you feel about landfills and garbage dumps? The garbage remains long after we are all gone.

? October 17, 2013 at 11:33 am

Not that I speak for Will, but in a society where private property is emphasized and respected, someone would be making money on landfills/dumps…probably generationally…and all the associated issues could be handled on the basis of harm(or not), etc. Have gov’t run land fills eliminates any aspects of “harm” restitution because generally speaking they are immune from responsibility.

How does our society to get such a place today? I have no earthly idea.

That being said, it’s always good to examine the “ideal”(which we all don’t agree on) and go from there.

Anita Umbrella October 17, 2013 at 3:13 pm

I find it amusing he invoked Dave Matthews as he quite literally dumped a $hit$torm on those poor tourists in Chicago.

SparkleCity October 18, 2013 at 11:24 pm

Fuck a bunch of Dave Matthews (the panty wasted favorite of Mark Sanford and his minions including Will Folks = big surprise there)!!!)

If it ain’t Led Zepplin,Jimmy Hendrix,The Allman Brothers (when Duane was alive),Muddy Waters,Elmore James,Robert Johnson or Leadbelly it ain’t shit.

Everything else is pure copycat or day-old cold oatmeal!!!

Kyle October 17, 2013 at 11:49 am

“…government policies under fiscally liberal president Barack Obama have created the greatest upward concentration of wealth in human history.” – That’s a really disingenuous statement, even if the current divide between the rich and the poor could be easily explained based on a mere five years of governance. Sure there was the stimulus spending in 2009, but since then we’ve had enormous cutbacks to federal and state government spending nationwide, including the sequestration measures which most economists would credit for weakening our economic recovery. And I’m sure you would agree that, looking at the numbers alone, the nation has gradually been consolidating wealth at the top of society over the last 50 years, not just in the last 6. Blame liberalism if you want to, but laying the blame at the feet of one administration is a rhetorical move quite similar to the mis-labeling you are bemoaning in this post. A liberal’s two cents, anyhow.

EJB October 17, 2013 at 12:26 pm

Ha ha ha ha ha ha

“Sure there was the stimulus spending in 2009, but since then we’ve had enormous cutbacks to federal and state government spending nationwide”

Oh, please, stop you’re killing me.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha

idcydm October 17, 2013 at 12:41 pm

If we’ve had these “enormous cutbacks” shouldn’t the debt be going down?

Jan October 17, 2013 at 2:12 pm

Actually most income groups saw comparable gains in income and wealth from the end of the Great Depression through the first half of the 1970s. The divergence in income and wealth gains between the top 5% and the rest of the country, accelerated dramatically during the Reagan administration and has essentially continued to accelerate ever since. Maintaining that trajectory is what Citizens United, the new Supreme Court case where Republicans are asking the court to eliminate all restrictions on contributing money to politicians, restrictions on voting rights, etc. are all about.
The only people receiving any attention in this country is the very rich and the poor. Its time for the country to refocus on making the middle class successful. That is the key to prosperity, and you do not do that by cutting taxes on the rich and paying for it by raising taxes on the middle class and cutting programs designed to support middle class stability and security. Unfortunately that is exactly what the Republican Party wants to do.

katfay October 17, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Are you saying the success of the ‘middle class’ depends on political parties? Hmm…. I thought my success depends on what I do. So who do I thank for my success…er…blame for my failures….being that I am at the mercy of a political party?

Jan October 17, 2013 at 3:20 pm

What a stereotypical Tea Party question. No, each person is responsible for his success and failure. However, not all government is bad for success. Believing that is the mistake the Tea Party has made. We can have good government,and good government can enhance the ability of groups to compete and prosper. For, example, roads and highways enhance the ability of Transportations companies to succeed. A stable society enhances the ability of business to prosper. Government does not have to be an adversary.

All Government spending benefits someone, but the benefits of government are not uniform. Mostly now the government benefits the wealthy and wealthy companies, and that has been the direction our government has been moving for the past 30 + years. However, that has not always been the case. I am simply suggesting we try to get back to government that concentrates its efforts more on Main Street than Wall Street. And no that is not what the Tea Party was all about. The Tea Party was created by Republicans as a way to turn out Republican voters. It just got out of control.

Tea Party Bogeyman October 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

Boogity! Boogity!

The Teabaggers are coming out to get you during Halloween this year!

katfay October 17, 2013 at 5:02 pm

This response seems to be a ruse, it’s so foolish. It’s a remarkable hodgepodge of absurd emotional ranting, while entertaining, completely irrelevant to my post. My questions disturbed you, did they?

Characterizing a person’s individual trait or conduct, by group
indicates the writer’s propensity to bigotry, by justifying righteous
attachments and hatreds behind nonsensical arguments. Instead of responding to my questions, you deflected, fabricated an association or sentiment for my post with the TP so you could rant about that group. Are you a TP groupie?

Your post infers an implication my posts would never ever suggest. I don’t waste my time with such trash – opinion on
what constitutes the subjective concept of ‘good’ or ‘bad’ gov.

But, thanks for the entertainment.

Gregory Geddings October 17, 2013 at 2:53 pm

Dammit, Quit confusing Will’s readers with irrefutable facts!

CL October 17, 2013 at 4:25 pm

As Margaret Thatcher explains in the attached, I don’t care much about what the gap is doing as long as everyone is moving up. Liberals would rather make us all poorer out of envy of the successful.


Or maybe an old joke from the Soviet Union expresses the point better:

“During my stretch in the Soviet Union (1986–1991), there was a popular joke making the rounds among the Russians. It seems there were two subsistence farmers, Ivan and Mikhail, both equally poor. Then one day, Ivan somehow acquires a cow. His life immediately improves. Instead of the wife, the cow pulls the plow; the cow gives milk; it produces calves for meat and the market. Quickly, Ivan far outpaces Mikhail.

One night, starving and miserable, Mikhail drops to his knees and prays. ‘Oh, God,’ he implores, ‘Ivan and I were always equal. And now look at him — rich, like boyar. So God, please, make us equal once more.’ There’s a sudden thunderclap and suddenly Mikhail hears the Voice of God. ‘Your prayers will be answered,’ says the Lord. ‘You shall once more be equal again.’

Mikhail practically screams with joy. ‘Great!’ he exclaims. ‘You’re going to kill Ivan’s cow!’”


Black Label October 17, 2013 at 6:14 pm

“Liberals would rather make us all poorer out of envy of the successful.”

Yes, but they couch this as wanting “equality”.

It’s not equality of opportunity mind you, it’s equality of condition.

Their particular subset of sheeple don’t understand the difference between the two.

Same ol' Same ol' October 17, 2013 at 11:50 am

Your hat’s on backwards.

idcydm October 17, 2013 at 12:05 pm

“They lie, in other words.”

“These days, the only time politicians tell the truth is when they call each other a liar.” ~Alfred E. Newman

Gregory Geddings October 17, 2013 at 1:10 pm

More schmaltz B.S. from a hack writer and paid off shill for corporate governance. There’s a label for you, Will. But, then again, what do I know? You labeled me a no-talent ass clown in a recent article and, judging by the comments, that pretty much backfired on you.

How about an article about the stenographer in congress who berated our elected officials. Some of her comments were a little too close to home?


MashPotato October 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

“No talent ass-clown” was an observation, not a label. Know the difference.

Gregory Geddings October 17, 2013 at 2:50 pm


Jesus H. Christ@ October 17, 2013 at 1:14 pm

Does this mean you’re going to stop slapping “RINO” labels on everyone you disagree with?

Hahahaha, just kidding.

katfay October 17, 2013 at 1:46 pm

It’s certainly true practicing what you preach is not required when the preacher makes no pretense to practice, consistency, or message substance. There’s no hypocrisy that FITS articles uses labels ‘liberal”conservative”RINO’ instead of measurable, quantifiable data, to support the personal opinions to which writers love to jump. You’re never said FITS wouldn’t use the labels you assert it’s time for America to peel back, nor have you ever advertised FITS follows real journalistic standards. As long as people are willing to buy oceanfront in Arizona, there are people who will sell it.

Gregory Geddings October 17, 2013 at 3:07 pm

How many times have you seen this clown refer to people as ugly, fat, drunk, etc. then come out with a hypocritical POS article like this? Cut the crap, Will and recognize that name calling and personal attacks have been an honored and integral part of human communication since God knows when.

Mark Twain, Dorothy Parker, H.L. Mencken…to name a few…not to mention others whose names were lost to history…

“Cursed be your mother’s anus. Cursed be your father’s testicles.”
-Traditional Yoruba verbal duelling curse

“I love Wagner, but the music I prefer is that of a cat hung up by its tail outside a window and trying to stick to the panes of glass with its claws.”
-Charles Baudelaire (1821-67) on Richard Wagner

“Actually I always loathed the Viennese quack. I used to stalk him down dark alleys of thought, and now we shall never forget the sight of old, flustered Freud seeking to unlock his door with the point of his umbrella.”
-Vladimir Nabokov (1899-1977) on Sigmund Freud (1856-1939)

For more of my favorite personal attacks click link. Don’t forget to read the obituary for William Jennings Bryan by H.L. Mencken. It is a priceless attack on a pompous ass by a masterful American writer…


Tom October 17, 2013 at 2:25 pm

I would expect an effort by the Teapublicans to de-label, given what they have done to their brand.


CL October 17, 2013 at 4:19 pm

The Republican brand is damaged, to be sure. But these things happen. Kind of like how the whole eugenics and fascism thing soured the progressive name and led to the use of liberal. Then liberal went out of fashion and lefties are back to progressive. The circle of life, I suppose.

SparkleCity October 18, 2013 at 11:01 pm

All I can say is my Rottweiller would eat up your Lab………………..

How many more Southern panty-assed dudes do I have to see with their arms wrapped around a Labrador Retriever with their “master” wearing some kind of head covering do I have to see???

The only thing missing it the bandanna around the Lab…………

If I’ve seen this type of picture once. I’ve seen it over 100 times

Hug your friendly Lab all you want but this picture is so damn played……………..

But then again, this is what passes for South Carolina “Coolness” which is only 5-10 years behind everyone else!!!

Let alone the Charleston “Bros”

Wish I had a dollar for every time I’ve seen it………….

Shave your beard,ditch the sunglasses and let your fucking hair grow out.!!!!

You Gen X’s,Y’s and Millennials don’t have a clue

SparkleCity October 18, 2013 at 11:14 pm


Anytime you want to take a big “slag” of water from the Broad River flowing from your beloved Columbia,SC I’ll be more than willing to pull that said “slag” bring it to you and watch you drink approximately 250-500 milliters of said “slag”

When do you want me to pull the “slag” for you since you are such a “greenie”

No shit, I’ll drive down from Spartanburg just to personally pull the “slag” just for you

Just let me know since its all about personal responsibility – because there is no reason not to drink the water straight our of the Broad River – Right?????

Actually how about any stream south of the NC line for that matter.

You name the stream and I’ll pull the “slag” for you===== no shit

As long as you drink that “pure natural South Carolina water” straight from the source – I’ll do ‘er for ya!!!

SparkleCity October 18, 2013 at 11:28 pm

Or I suppose everyone could just slash their wrists since its so damn fucked up…..


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