A group of workers gathered with their families to picnic and to hear a speech. Working class trade unions were growing in strength in 1819 and the ruling class in England was terrified. Routed by the authorities, eleven members of the group were killed and another one hundred and fifty were injured.
A young English poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley, was living in Italy when the news reached him. Enraged, he isolated himself in a small attic room and wrote a poem in five days. When completed, he sent it to a friend for publication. At that time, publication would have resulted in the imprisonment of both publisher and author. The Mask of Anarchy wasn’t published until nearly a decade after the poet’s death.
The poem resonates with economic ideas not seriously heard in public until years later. It has been called the finest poem of political protest ever written in our language. Gandhi quoted it in India. During the Tiananmen Square uprising the final verses of its ninety-two stanzas were translated and chanted by students in Beijing, China –
And that slaughter to the nation
Shall steam up like inspiration,
A volcano heard afar.
And these words shall then become
Like oppression’s thundered doom,
Ringing through each heart and brain
Heard again, again, again –
Rise like lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you.
Ye are many. They are few.
Our American Revolution and the words of Thomas Jefferson terrified the ancien régime. The blood of Parisian aristocrats ran in ditches dug for that purpose in the Place de la Concorde. After Edmund Burke’s “Reflections on the Revolution in France” appeared, many apprehensive educated persons who formerly had harbored revolutionary thoughts launched a period of counter-revolution. Shelly was not one of them.
If read at all in today’s public schools, Shelly is best known for Ode to the West Wind and Ozymandias. The latter, a sonnet, recounts a forgotten ruler’s hubris and the fate of his empire.
Empire is a creature of those Few who are driven to exercise power financially and militarily over others. How can the Many, whose makeup does not oblige them to seek power over others thwart the machinations of the Few who seek control, riches, and power and lust after more?
We already have the answer! In his personal papers, contained in a 1798 draft of The Kentucky Resolutions, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “…in questions of power then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the constitution…”.
Shelley was, in many ways, a thoroughly modern man. His revolutionary poem does have a very contemporary ring to it, doesn’t it?
Stewart grew up on his family's farm located in NE Ohio's Summit County. In the middle of his last high-school year he asked his parents to give their permission for him to enroll, as a 17 year-old minor, in the US Naval Air Reserves "weekend warrior" O-2 training program at the Akron, Ohio Naval Air Station.
He graduated near the top of Hudson Township's 1951 class of forty-seven students. After spending part of that summer on active training duty, he commuted from home to Kent State University and to NAS Akron. The following summer his Navy Squadron flew an east coast logistical air wing based at Norfolk, VA Naval Air Station. He has fond memories of flying at 17 - 20 years of age in these Navy propeller-driven airplanes: PBY, SNJ, SNB, TBM, and R4D.
The Navy enabled him to transfer to Ohio State University and occupied his time again throughout the following summer. By December of 1955, at which time he earned his Bachelor of Science degree, the war in Korea had ended. More importantly for him, education and developing personal convictions precluded him from pursuing a military career.
He went to work within a few days of graduation, with a "Q" Security Clearance from the Atomic Energy Commission, in a laboratory at Battelle Memorial Institute, within walking distance of the college. An avid reader, by 1960 he no longer considered an academic or military career, nor a lifetime spent working in the confines of a laboratory. He took a job in Ohio with Lever Brothers Company, a large consumer products marketing firm that offered a two-year in-field sales-training program. After the two years he was promoted and transferred to New York City where he eventually participated in the introduction of new products.
He resigned from Lever after six years to triple his income, switching from marketing consumer products to industrial sales. By 1968 he had become one of the nation's top producing truck-body salesmen, selling to major truck-rental companies. After learning the techniques of successful distributor marketing, he moved on to become regional sales manager of a company for a couple of years and then the general sales manager of a division of a publicly traded company. He drove the business into a profitable position within his first full quarter's accounting period.
In 1976 he decided to go into business for himself and to return to his mid-western roots. In the course of a year he built an early Century-21 real estate franchise into the SE Ohio region's leading office in all areas: recruiting, listings, sales, and profit. Bored with that business, he began to study the way that personal financial products were marketed, especially "savings-type" or "money-back" life-insurance. These were financial contracts that he could never fully comprehend.
After sending away for The Consumers Union Guide to Life Insurance and reading it carefully, it became obvious to him that accurate information was needed from other than the industry's trained salesmen and their clever General Agents.
He then studied several books on the subject, including Norman F. Dacey's What's Wrong with Your Life Insurance, G. Scott Reynolds' The Mortality Merchants, the classic chapter #13 on life-insurance in Venita Van Caspel's Money Dynamics, and Randal A. Hendricks definitive study, "A Legal Analysis of the Sale of Life Insurance", [The Houston Law Review 810 (1969)].
He decided to recruit and train a marketing organization that would accurately inform consumers, enabling them to make financial decisions in the interest of their families rather than in those of already financially bloated life-insurance companies.
He met and joined forces with a couple of older highly successful and experienced sales executives, the men who introduced the marketing of mutual funds to the American public. Together, over the next several years, he worked with the progressive insurance companies for which they designed products his own company marketed.
In 1980 he wrote and self-published Financial Recovery. Advertised in full-page ads in "Life Insurance Selling" magazine, where it received a favorable review, thousands of copies were bought by individual agents and agencies across America where it helped to create substantial industry changes.
From 1980 to 1985 he built, owned, and managed a company that became one of the top volume diversified brokerage agencies in America, marketing selected financial products nationally, including tax-deferred single-premium annuities before the tax-law was changed from FIFO to LIFO effective Aug. 14, 1982, and selling attractive unregistered tax-sheltered investments before the IRS eliminated them with TEFRA. Before the personal computer age, he struggled to learn how to program the TI-59 in order to provide responsible agents throughout the country a means of calculating and presenting replicable and accountable financial product analyses for their clients at the point of sale.
He made the stupid mistake by entering politics. A couple of friends and Stewart picked a slate of state-wide candidates after helping the new Libertarian Party gain Ohio ballot access. He ran for the Ohio Senate, campaigning on rejection of the state income tax, repeal of the federal income tax, and audit of the Federal Reserve System. He put a sign on the back of his motorcycle's seat that read, "Stop the Federal Income Tax". It got a lot of approving honks. In retrospect, he realizes how politically naive he was at the time. He did relatively well at the polls but unexpectedly generated personally destructive and formidable enemies.
His brilliant younger brother Bob, a PhD geologist living in Florida, had for years been encouraging him to move south. In January 1986, during a particularly cold Ohio winter, he relocated to Sarasota, Florida, a community which he loves today as much as he did the first day he found it. He hopes to live peacefully there to age 100 among interesting neighbors. He is best contacted as Stewart in www.emailclub.com
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