Rants in the Pants, Episode 30-Protection

When I was a youngster, the word, “protection,” was inextricably married to the word, “racket.” The word, “racket,” would inevitably bring up the word, “gangster.” The mere mention of protection would bring up visions of gangsters shaking down shop owners for money to “protect” them against terrible things happening to their business and their families. Those terrible things were usually connected to the actions of the gangsters who were asking for protection money. It was a protection racket. They started out squeezing just a little bit, but being criminals, they couldn’t stop there, so they squeezed every last penny they could. Keep this in mind.

A couple of decades later, the gangsters took a back seat to the new meaning of protection: condoms. They were to protect you against sexually transmitted diseases. I’m not sure how criminals profited from this, but if there was a way, you can be sure they did. This meaning is still in use and way down the list, the gangster’s protection racket is also still in use, though both have been overwhelmed by the next change in usage.

The next big change in the word’s usage came in the insurance industry. They started claiming that they would protect you from loss. The word “protection” was used profusely in their advertisements. You can insure almost anything and have it protected. Does this mean that if you protect your life by buying their life insurance, they will jump in front of a speeding truck to keep you from being run over? No. It simply means that if all parameters of the original contract are fulfilled, your beneficiary will be compensated for your loss as long as you or your beneficiary did not throw your body in front of the truck and your policy payments were up to date and a host of exclusions such as war or war-like activity are not involved. In the meantime, they will happily sell your car, home, business, boat protection, and even protection for your body parts should you have some that are making money and need protection. But keep in mind, none of these policies actually protect you.

With this in mind, understand the insurance industry is there to make profit. In order to do that, they will squeeze you like a gangster to get every penny they can. A case in point happened to me recently. I bought protection for my computer four years ago and paid $4.95 a month for the policy. Now I knew the policy was coming to an end and the computer was getting too old for them to continue it. They also sent me a notice to remind me of this and advertise a brand-new computer I could buy and protect through them. I paid what I thought was the last bill, resisting the urge to buy a new computer.

That should have been the end of it, but the next month the company sent me a bill for sixty-three cents. My first thought was, “What the hell? It must have cost them more to send this notice than they were going to get out of it.”

My second thought was, “What is this for? It’s going to cost me more to send the money than what is billed.”

My third thought, and yes, I can have more than two thoughts per day, was, “If I don’t pay this, they will tack on $20 late fee then notify a collection agency and my credit score will suffer.”

So, I paid the sixty-three cents. I paid it using the one-time payment option on the internet. At least I saved the postage, and they didn’t charge me for using the internet to pay like some do. This incident illustrates how the usage of the word protection has changed, but it is still married to that other word, “gangster,” and gangsters still want to squeeze every penny they can out of you, even if it costs them. Gangsters. Racket. Protection. See how that works?

Overall, the racket became so profitable that others noticed it and copied the gangsters’ methods. Who do you think would do such a thing? Your government, of course. To understand this, we must answer the question, “what is the purpose of government?”

The short answer is protection. Sure, we think of rules, roads, and schools, but the first issue of government is to protect against others, that is, other groups who might be a threat. Without that initial protection, we can’t have the other protections government affords. This is great when the government responds to you and other people who live under it, but unfortunately, over time every government has groups that gain control over it and the economics of the country. It is then that they use that power to gain more power and wealth. War is the most profitable game on the planet, especially for bankers who lend to both sides. You need a certain amount of war capability to keep other countries from attacking you. In order to keep that capacity growing, those with the power to do so influence the government to create agencies that, under the excuse of gathering intelligence to keep us safe and out of war, actually foment conflicts in a number of ways. Since these people also own the media, they use it to influence the population to see threats that must be met. This, of course, inflates the military budget and brings in a lot of money. Meanwhile, taxpayers are squeezed for the money. Sound familiar? Not surprisingly, it is similar to the racket mentioned in the first part of this piece.

Don’t believe me? Well, go look up the most decorated war hero this country has ever had, General Smedley Butler. See what he has to say about it. He wrote a short book, War Is a Racket, and videos of his speeches can be found on YouTube.

Protection, it’s a racket and it’s run by gangsters.


  1. Paul D on June 1, 2024 at 1:43 pm

    Please delete my prior comment, Ira. I neglected to proof read the AI version of what I typed. What I intended to write is: I wish I had a butler named Smedly. Better yet, I wish I had a maid named Yvonne.😏

  2. JORGE on May 29, 2024 at 3:14 pm

    you got one commen Rants;n Pants

    • Ira White on May 29, 2024 at 3:53 pm

      I wrote it for you. You were the one who turned me on to Smedly Butler.

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