A lot of people got really angry with a character named Joe the Plumber in recent days. He not only had the unmitigated gall to ask Barack Obama a question; he asked him a hard and rather loaded one. And that, according to the Martha Stewart Set, is not a good thing.

So this low-brow, Chris Daughtry-looking plumber asks Barack Obama whether he wanted to raise his taxes or not. Silly Hillbilly – engaging in serious political debate is for the cool people. Presumably, arrogant, self-selecting, elitist creeps that the Joe The Plumbers-in-Training of the world badly want to stuff in the High School Cafeteria garbage bin during their formative years.

The media, both MSM and blog-driven, gave Joe the Roto-Rooting of his life. The local authorities in Toledo, Ohio want to make sure the man can’t earn a living in the city where he currently lives. The internet commode known as the Daily Kos overflowed, and spewed Joe’s home address and phone number to the world. Diane Sawyer wants to know what Joe’s beef is.

“Well, I just want to ask you now about the issue that was raised, because it’s been a little confusing to me as I try to sort it out here. To get straight here, you’re not taking home $250,000 now, am I right?”

“No. No. Not even close,” confessed Joe.

And that should close the case right then and there. Some sweaty, cretinous Moorlock in fly-over land doesn’t understand that Barack Obama will give 95% of all Americans a tax break. Providing they sit on their butts, and agree to do absolutely nothing.

Well, that’s what Joe understands and Diane Sawyer doesn’t get, will never get, and even with a gun to her head; wouldn’t want to ever get. What Joe the Plumber was asking Barack Obama was whether hard work was commendable, or a form of misdemeanor. That is the question that legislatures here and throughout the world answer when they design a system of taxation.

Barack Obama tells Joe the Plumber that he wants to spread the wealth. This is supposed to be morally commendable? Umm, it’s not even close.

Let’s say Machine Gun Tommy mugs Joe the Plumber in an alley, steals his wallet and goes to see which ladies will spread for the bread at Pokar de Azez strip club. We should all owe Tommy a debt of gratitude. He’s spreading Joe’s wealth in a fashion quite similar to how America’s system of progressive taxation and earmarked appropriations works.

Senator Barack Obama’s tax plan will supercharge that amoral process the way The Cream and The Clear helped Barry Bonds go yard. Senator Obama is not being generous, or even decent, unless that wealth he’s out there spreading was originally his own.

Part of why Barack’s Doberman-Pincher Media sacked Joe the Plumber in voracious fashion, was because Joe stopped talking about the present economy and asked Barack Obama a hard question – about what it all will be like in the future. He’s deciding whether Barack Obama’s America is a place in which he should bother.

In some people’s minds I went left on the Right Wing blogs by arguing that we had a patriotic duty to not go John Galt. This Joe the Plumber thing, and the reaction he triggered from the Left, has me challenging my own precepts. It’s gotten beyond tax policy and expanded further, into the realm of philosophy.

When Joe asks if you can still get ahead in America without being handicapped for it and penalized, he may just really be asking if America is still going to be good. We’ll still be great; nobody wants a piece of our navy and the world buys dollars more, since AIG cratered. But, I return to Plumber Joe’s implicit question: “Does Barack Obama’s America intend to be good?”

That makes those of us who still think “good” has relevance outside the realm of opinion start arguing over what “good” is. While that’s one step up from arguing over what “is” is, it still can be a dirty epistemological job. This involves ethics, and there aren’t a whole lot of people left in Washington, DC who understand that concept.

It also involves our future. This isn’t a popular topic for someone heavily invested in running against the present. Thus, Joe the Plumber gets the punishment meted out to all smart people who don’t know better than to ask inconvenient questions.

Joe’s hang-up seems to be that regardless of who wins this tawdry goat-fornication of an election; he’d like to remain an American in the traditional sense. Can he still do that without a license from the City of Toledo?