Historical

Not forgetting the lesson from the past.

England’s Levellers: The World’s First Libertarian Movement

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Source: https://mises.org

By Roberta A. Modugno

England’s Levellers: The World’s First Libertarian Movement

 

6704The first-ever libertarians were the Levellers, an English political movement active in the seventeenth century. The Levellers contributed to the elaboration of the methodological and political paradigm of individualism, and they are at the origin of the radical strand of classical liberalism. While the Levellers are often characterized as a quasi-socialist movement, closer examination shows that the Levellers had much more in common with advocates for free markets than with socialists.

This interpretation of the Levellers is supported, among others, by Murray N. Rothbard who considers them as “the world’s first self-consciously libertarian movement.” Rothbard notes that

[i]n a series of notable debates within the Republican Army — notably between the Cromwellians and the Levellers — the Levellers led by John Lilburne, Richard Overton and William Walwyn, worked out a remarkably consistent libertarian doctrine, upholding the rights of self-ownership, private property, religious freedom for the individual, and minimal government interference in society. The rights of each individual to his person and property, furthermore, were natural, that is, they were derived from the nature of man.

One of the most important of the Levellers’s contributions to the theoretical foundation of the libertarian doctrine was, according to Rothbard, that they, “transformed the rather vague and holistic notions of natural law into the clear cut, firmly individualistic concepts of natural rights of every individual human being,” including fundamental tenets of libertarianism. This included the right to self-ownership, methodological individualism, individual natural rights theory, sound property rights, and economic freedom.

Lilburne defended natural law as “Nature and reason” and “the grounds of all just laws” and that “therefore against this Law, prescriptions, statutes, nor customs may not prevail. And if any be brought in against it, they be no prescriptions, statutes nor customs, but things void, and against justice …”

In 1646 while Lilburne was imprisoned for high treason, Overton wrote A Remonstrance of Many Thousand Citizens, and other Free-Born People of England, to their own House of Commons, urging that Lilburne be freed. The Remonstrance became a great Leveller manifesto.

“We are well assured, yet cannot forget, that the cause of our choosing you to be Parliament-men, was to deliver us from all kind of bondage, and to preserve the Commonwealth in peace and happiness,” Overton wrote. “But you are to remember, this was only of us but a power of trust, which is ever revokable. … We are your principals, and you our agents.”

Overton advocated religious tolerance, even for the much-reviled English Catholics, and also denounced the practice of impressing men into the army and navy as a form of enslavement.

Moreover, the Levellers advocated property rights and the freedom to contract and trade, as against monopolies and privileges guaranteed by the state. They celebrated the benefits of economic freedom to society and opposed the government taxes, customs, excises, and regulations that inhibited competition.

In May 1652, Walwyn presented to the Committee for Trade and Foreign Affairs a defense of free trade against the Levant Company, urging the abolition of monopolies and trade restrictions by the government. In Walwyns Conceptions; For a Free Trade, the author vindicates free trade as a common right conductive to common good. More than a century before Adam Smith, Walwyn directly linked freedom of trading to the public good. Exalting the benefits of competition, he holds that the results of free trade and competition are more and better goods, lower prices, more ships, plenty of men becoming useful members of the community, and more wealth for active and creative people.

Walwyn explored the question of whether leaving foreign trade “equally free to all Englishmen would be most profitable for the Common wealth,” and he concluded “that for foreign trade to be universally free to all English men alike, would be the most advantageous to the Common wealth.”

Walwyn criticized Parliament for carrying on the oppressions of the monarchy by maintaining all the monopolies and the privileges granted by the Crown in the field of trade. The right to trade freely, Walwyn maintained, is an ancient, natural, claimed right of all Englishmen and it is much more profitable than any government restrictions and privileges.

Continuing his analysis of competition, Walwyn notes that, “the numerousness of merchants will occasion a strife and emulation among them, who shall produce the best ordered goods.” And he underlines the advantages for the laborers, pointing out that the competition will produce, “greater price for work; whereas merchants in Companyes have noe need of such diligence … and workmen must worke at what rate they please.”

Walwyn, as well as Overton and Lilburne, attributed lamentably low wages to monopolies, hampered trade, and excise taxes.

The Levellers were concerned with economic rights and these economic rights were a direct consequence of the right to self-ownership and included individual property rights, freedom to produce, sell, buy, and trade, and to do all this without license, monopolies, regulations, and arbitrary taxation. That is to say, they advocated a free market economy. The right to trade freely was considered a natural right by Lilburne, or a “native liberty” as in Overton’s Remonstrance.

Arguing from the theoretical supremacy of natural rights, Lilburne rejects any form of regulation of trade.

Elizabeth I abolished some monopolies, but by the time the Levellers were writing, the old monopolies had been restored to support the economic and fiscal desires of the Crown. Lilburne considers such trade restrictions illegal from an ethical standpoint. Moreover they created state privileges for bankers, aristocrats, chartered companies, and corporations.

Charles I created new monopolies and privileged concessions under the name of licenses, and the Long Parliament, and subsequently Cromwell, confirmed the most relevant monopolies such as the right to export woolen cloth, the privileges of the Merchant Adventurers, and the privileges of chartered companies such as the Levant Company.

In turn, Lilburne protested against the monopolies of coal, soap, and woolen clothes. The economic concessions by public authorities paved the way to the creation of privileged positions of supremacy in public institutions and to the violation of the individual birth rights to equal opportunity to compete freely. Lilburne realized that the opposite of competition is privilege.

By the eighteenth century, what is now known as classical liberalism would draw heavily upon the work of the Levellers and their support for individual natural rights theory, property rights, economic freedom, and free trade, and the Levellers’ libertarian opposition to government privilege, government monopoly, and the suppression of free trade remains as instructive today and as it was in the seventeenth century.


 About the Author
Modugno2008Roberta A. Modugno

Roberta Modugno is professor history of political thought at the University of Roma TRE (Rome – Italy). A scholar of American libertarianism, she is the author of several works on Murray N. Rothbard and edited the collection of Rothbard’s papers, Rothbard versus the Philosophers: Unpublished Writings on Hayek, Mises, Strauss, and Polanyi

 

Image credit: https://mises.org

Three Who Made A War

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Three Who Made A War

 

Paul Craig RobertsThe Spanish-American War was caused by three people: Teddy Roosevelt, Henry Cabot Lodge, and William Randolph Hearst. The war, which killed a number of Spaniards and Americans, including some prominent Harvard “Swells,” was based entirely on lies and machinations of these three men and served no purpose other than their personal needs. Princeton University historian Evan Thomas calls these three monsters The War Lovers.

Hearst needed a war to build his newspaper circulation. Roosevelt needed a war to
sate his blood-lust and desire for military glory. Lodge needed a war to reinvigorate American manhood and to enlist American manhood in his “Large Policy” of American Empire. Between them, thanks to the ignorance and stupidity of the American people, they pulled it off.

Their adversary was Speaker of the House, Thomas Brackett Reed, “the Czar,” the most powerful politician in Washington. Reed, an honest and incorruptible politician, saw Lodge’s policy of “American exceptionalism” as naked imperialism that stood in total opposition and in great danger to American purposes. Reed saw Roosevelt’s war lust as a diversion of national purpose from the reconstruction of an economy that increasingly served a shrinking minority at the expense of the American people. But Hearst, Roosevelt, and Lodge made “peace” an epithet. The American people, whose gullibility is never-ending, were captivated by war-lust. Reed lost confidence in the American people whom he so well served. Reed could find no moral purpose in pushing the country toward war over nothing but fake news reports by “yellow journalism.”

Only a few years previously, Reed had had to halt the Cleveland administration from going to war with Great Britain over a British boundary dispute with Venezuela concerning mineral-rich land claimed by British Guyana. Somehow this boundary dispute, which had no more to do with US security than Honduras, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, Pakistan, Somalia, Yemen, Georgia, Ukraine, and the South China Sea have today, was seen as a “threat to US national security.”

Roosevelt and Lodge were ecstatic over the possibility of War with Great Britain. War was its own goal. Roosevelt wrote to Lodge: “I don’t care whether our sea coast cities are bombarded or not; we would take Canada.” Fortunately, or perhaps unfortunately, hard facts prevailed over American war lust. The American navy had 3 battleships. The British had 50. If only Washington had gone to war with Great Britain over a British boundary dispute with Venezuela. The total destruction of the American navy and coastal cities might have taught Americans a lesson and made the population less lustful for war and more suspicious of Washington’s war lies: the Gulf of Tonkin, Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, Iranian nukes, Assad’s use of chemical weapons, Russian invasion of Crimea, etc.

Roosevelt and Lodge searched for a weaker adversary than the British navy and settled on Spain.

But how to bring about a war with a declining and tired 400-year old empire far removed from American interests?

Hearst, desperate to sell newspapers, knew what to do. He hired the artist, Frederic Remington, a painter and sculptor much worshipped by American conservatives today. Remington provided a drawing, filling half of the front page of Hearst’s New York Journal, of a comely nude young woman surrounded by sinister Spaniards. Hearst alleged that three lady passengers on the US mail steamer Olivette were strip-searched in the Harbor of Havana, Cuba, by leering Spanish males.

America had a rare moment of rational thought and philosophical reflection during the brief period of its Founding Fathers. Ever since America has been a country of pulp romances and court histories written as “chivalric derring-do.” Hearst asked where were the knightly American males who would rescue womankind from these indignities at the hands of cruel, wanton, Spaniards.

Hearst repeated the story with Evangelina Cisneros, “a beautiful young woman from the gentlest of families.” In Hearst’s story Evangelina went to the Island of Pines to beg for her elderly father’s release from the cruel Spaniards. As she resisted the sexual advances of the leering Spanish prison commander, she was thrown into a squalid prison for prostitutes.

Having created his heroine, Hearst rushed to rescue her. Hearst hired the son of a Confederate cavalry colonel, Karl Decker, to rescue the fair lady. Thousands of words were printed to describe Decker’s daring rescue, but what really happened is that Hearst bribed the Spanish guards to let her go from her comfortable hotel room. Having freed “one Cuban girl,” Hearst wanted to know “when shall we free Cuba.”

Teddy Roosevelt wanted to be the star of the event. Senator Lodge and the American newsman Richard Harding Davis made it so. Teddy charging up the hill, leading the Rough Riders, not urging from behind, defeated the Spanish all by himself and won the war.

What did it mean for the Cubans, a mixed and varied peoples, who had been fighting the Spanish for independence for years before self-righteous, self-serving Americans saw the opportunity to advance their interests and careers?

For Cubans, it meant swapping one master for another.

General William Shafter, the American in charge of the invasion force, declared: “Why these people [Cubans] are no more fit for self-government than gunpowder is for hell!” Calixto Garcia, who had been fighting for thirty years for Cuba’s liberation from Spain, was not allowed to be present when Spain surrendered Cuba. It was purely an American show devoid of the revolutionaries in whose name the war had been fought.

Roosevelt wrote home that the Cubans had fought badly and were not responsible for their liberation from Spain. It was Teddy and his Rough Riders who brought freedom to Cuba. The Teller Amendment passed by Congress in 1898 guaranteeing independence to Cuba was superseded by the Platt Amendment of 1901. The Platt Amendment gave Washington the right to intervene in Cuba whenever Washington pleased.

It finally dawned on Cubans that “civilization,” a word used by Americans, meant “denying the darker races the power to govern.” In 1908 Cubans who had fought against Spain formed an independent political party. They were massacred by the thousands by the Cuban government now more sensitive to pleasing Washington than to the voice of its own people.

The story of American intervention is the same everywhere. American intervention has never benefited any peoples except those allied with Washington and American corporations.

Hearst’s rival in yellow journalism was Joseph Pulitzer, whose name ended up on a prestigious journalism award. Today the entire US print and TV media engage in the yellow journalism of the Hearst/Pulitzer era. Yellow journalism has helped to keep America in wars as nonsensical as the Spanish-American war ever since the 21st century began. The neoconservatives have resurrected Lodge’s “Large Policy” of American imperialism justified by the doctrine of American exceptionalism.

If Americans were to read three history books, they could free themselves from their self-righteous delusions that endanger all life on earth. Those books are: A People’s History of The United States by Howard Zinn, The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and Peter Kuznick, and The War Lovers by Evan Thomas.

No one who reads one of these books will ever again believe that the US government in Washington is the “light unto the world,” the “exceptional and indispensable” government that brings “freedom and democracy” to the conquered provinces of the American Empire.

Washington is the home of warmongering self-interested parties that have no concept of compassion or justice and serve only their own power and enrichment. Americans are as indifferent to the populations that their government bombs as Teddy Roosevelt was to the prospect of his own country’s coastal cities being bombarded. As Russia’s President Putin reminded the world on March 18, 2014, the US prefers the rule of the gun to international law.

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available. [/wpex]
 
 

      

 

Austrian Economics with Glenn Jacobs

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Glenn Jacobs spoke to a group regarding Austian Economics several months back in the video shown below which I had intended to share.  Today I realize that despite the best of intentions and saving the video I had not yet posted the presentation by Glenn Jacobs, published by messengersforliberty, which I would encourage all to watch.  Should you have the opportunity to attend a meeting featuring Glenn Jacobs as speaker I would recommend attending, as you will find him to be a highly personable and intelligent individual, and that you will find your time very well spent.

 

Austrian Economics with Glenn Jacobs

 

2-9-2014 11-38-41 AM

 

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Published by messengersforliberty

This economic presentation with Glenn Jacobs, aka Kane, was documented on September 5, 2013.

“It really ticks me off when I hear leftists and statists talk about how the free market causes wealth inequality, the free market doesn’t. The free market though out history has allowed poor people to pull themselves up and has given people more socio economic ability to move up and down the socio economic ladder, up, than anything else in history.
Paul Krugman, who is a keynesian economist par excellence, just wants to inflate like crazy, but yet he writes a column for the New York Times and it’s called ‘Conscience of a Liberal’, because he loves poor people despite the fact that he’s the guy that’s killing them, but then he’ll look at someone like me and say you hate the poor. I don’t hate the poor, I hate the fact that they’re poor.”
—Glenn Jacobs

Follow Glenn Jacobs on Twitter: @JacobsReport

 

Happy New Year 2014 and the Popular Posts of 2013

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Wishing all a very Happy New Year! Let us hope we have learned from the past to make better informed decisions that will lead to a more peaceful, prosperous, healthy and fulfilling 2014. I wanted to take this moment to say a heartfelt thank you to those that have visited, offered feedback, commented by adding additional insight, opposing views and sometimes a bit of humor, and to those that shared any links throughout the past year.  Also, thanks to those people sharing links visitors arrived to this site from 157 countries last year!  That reflects your work and networking, much more than I could accomplish alone.

Much appreciation to the numerous sites that are referring time and again and to those who are truly doing the needed research and crunching the data to create the information shared here.  Be sure to follow the links and visit their fine sites as well to show support and encourage their future efforts.

 

Finally, a thank you and mention to the 5 most active commenters to the site in 2013.

  1. Leslie Green
  2. thetruthmaster1
  3. Doug Nusbaum
  4. JamesAt17
  5. sharonsj

 

Remember, the sole purpose of this site is to pass along information that may inform, educate, entertain and stir curiosity to research any of the subject matter on your own to gain a better understanding of the times we find ourselves in.  If you find a post or topic of interest the odds are your friends may be interested as well.

 

Below are some of the most popular posts based on your views from 2013.

 

What Is Happening To Alaska? Is Fukushima Responsible For The Mass Animal Deaths?

Perseid meteor shower promises lots of fireballs

What You Need to Know About the Reversal of the Sun’s Magnetic Field

Forget Passwords: Take a Pill & Let Your Body Log You In

Fukushima Aftermath? 98 Percent Of The Pacific Ocean Floor Covered By Dead Sea Creatures

Confirmed U.S. banks will go Cyprus. Paper prices separating from physical.

UPDATE! Assumption Parish Louisiana (Bayou Corne) Information – Sinkhole growing

Warning About Car Door Locks

Regulators Discover a Hidden Viral Gene in Commercial GMO Crops

MasterCard Leading the Path Toward “A World Beyond Cash”

Entire Audience at NJ Gun Hearing Disobeys Senators Orders, Recites Pledge

Obama Allows Great Lakes Water To Be Sold To China As Half The U.S. Faces Extreme Water Crisis

Forget Student Loans…Introducing Day Care Loans

China Announces That It Is Going To Stop Stockpiling U.S. Dollars

The Secret History Of Western Education – Charlotte Thomson Iserbyt

2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse

8 quotes from a cancer surgeon that will set your hair on fire

 

Image courtesy of satit srihin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

2014 Will Bring More Social Collapse

 

2014 is upon us. For a person who graduated from Georgia Tech in 1961, a year in which the class ring showed the same date right side up or upside down, the 21st century was a science fiction concept associated with Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film, “2001: A Space Odyssey.” To us George Orwell’s 1984 seemed so far in the future we would never get there. Now it is 30 years in the past.

Did we get there in Orwell’s sense? In terms of surveillance technology, we are far beyond Orwell’s imagination. In terms of the unaccountability of government, we exceptional and indispensable people now live a 1984 existence. In his alternative to the Queen’s Christmas speech, Edward Snowden made the point that a person born in the 21st century will never experience privacy. For new generations the word privacy will refer to something mythical, like a unicorn.

Many Americans might never notice or care. I remember when telephone calls were considered to be private. In the 1940s and 1950s the telephone company could not always provide private lines. There were “party lines” in which two or more customers shared the same telephone line. It was considered extremely rude and inappropriate to listen in on someone’s calls and to monopolize the line with long duration conversations.

The privacy of telephone conversations was also epitomized by telephone booths, which stood on street corners, in a variety of public places, and in “filling stations” where an attendant would pump gasoline into your car’s fuel tank, check the water in the radiator, the oil in the engine, the air in the tires, and clean the windshield. A dollar’s worth would purchase 3 gallons, and $5 would fill the tank.

Even in the 1980s and for part of the 1990s there were lines of telephones on airport waiting room walls, each separated from the other by sound absorbing panels. Whether the panels absorbed the sounds of the conversation or not, they conveyed the idea that calls were private.

The notion that telephone calls are private left Americans’ consciousness prior to the NSA listening in. If memory serves, it was sometime in the 1990s when I entered the men’s room of an airport and observed a row of men speaking on their cell phones in the midst of the tinkling sound of urine hitting water and noises of flushing toilets. The thought hit hard that privacy had lost its value.

I remember when I arrived at Merton College, Oxford, for the first term of 1964. I was advised never to telephone anyone whom I had not met, as it would be an affront to invade the privacy of a person to whom I was unknown. The telephone was reserved for friends and acquaintances, a civility that contrasts with American telemarketing.

The efficiency of the Royal Mail service protected the privacy of the telephone. What one did in those days in England was to write a letter requesting a meeting or an appointment. It was possible to send a letter via the Royal Mail to London in the morning and to receive a reply in the afternoon. Previously it had been possible to send a letter in the morning and to receive a morning reply, and to send another in the afternoon and receive an afternoon reply.

When one flies today, unless one stops up one’s ears with something, one hears one’s seat mate’s conversations prior to takeoff and immediately upon landing. Literally, everyone is talking nonstop. One wonders how the economy functioned at such a high level of incomes and success prior to cell phones. I can remember being able to travel both domestically and internationally on important business without having to telephone anyone. What has happened to America that no one can any longer go anywhere without constant talking?

If you sit at an airport gate awaiting a flight, you might think you are listening to a porn film. The overhead visuals are usually Fox “News” going on about the need for a new war, but the cell phone audio might be young women describing their latest sexual affair.

Americans, or many of them, are such exhibitionists that they do not mind being spied upon or recorded. It gives them importance. According to Wikipedia, Paris Hilton, a multimillionaire heiress, posted her sexual escapades online, and Facebook had to block users from posting nude photos of themselves. Sometime between my time and now people ceased to read 1984. They have no conception that a loss of privacy is a loss of self. They don’t understand that a loss of privacy means that they can be intimidated, blackmailed, framed, and viewed in the buff. Little wonder they submitted to porno-scanners.

The loss of privacy is a serious matter. The privacy of the family used to be paramount. Today it is routinely invaded by neighbors, police, Child Protective Services (sic), school administrators, and just about anyone else.

Consider this: A mother of six and nine year old kids sat in a lawn chair next to her house watching her kids ride scooters in the driveway and cul-de-sac on which they live.

Normally, this would be an idyllic picture. But not in America. A neighbor, who apparently did not see the watching mother, called the police to report that two young children were outside playing without adult supervision. Note that the next door neighbor, a woman, did not bother to go next door to speak with the mother of the children and express her concern that they children were not being monitored while they played. The neighbor called the police. http://news.yahoo.com/blogs/sideshow/mom-sues-polices-she-arrested-letting-her-kids-134628018.html

“We’re here for you,” the cops told the mother, who was carried off in handcuffs and spent the next 18 hours in a cell in prison clothes.

The news report doesn’t say what happened to the children, whether the father appeared and insisted on custody of his offspring or whether the cops turned the kids over to Child Protective Services.

This shows you what Americans are really like. Neither the neighbor nor the police had a lick of sense. The only idea that they had was to punish someone. This is why America has the highest incarceration rate and the highest total number of prison inmates in the entire world. Washington can go on and on about “authoritarian” regimes in Russia and China, but both countries have far lower prison populations than “freedom and democracy” America.

I was unaware that laws now exist requiring the supervision of children at play. Children vary in their need for supervision. In my day supervision was up to the mother’s judgment. Older children were often tasked with supervising the younger. It was one way that children were taught responsibility and developed their own judgment.

When I was five years old, I walked to the neighborhood school by myself. Today my mother would be arrested for child endangerment.

In America punishment falls more heavily on the innocent, the young, and the poor than it does on the banksters who are living on the Federal Reserve’s subsidy known as Quantitative Easing and who have escaped criminal liability for the fraudulent financial instruments that they sold to the world. Single mothers, depressed by the lack of commitment of the fathers of their children, are locked away for using drugs to block out their depression. Their children are seized by a Gestapo institution, Child Protective Services, and end up in foster care where many are abused.

According to numerous press reports, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 year-old children who play cowboys and indians or cops and robbers during recess and raise a pointed finger while saying “bang-bang” are arrested and carried off to jail in handcuffs as threats to their classmates. In my day every male child and the females who were “Tom boys” would have been taken to jail. Playground fights were normal, but no police were ever called. Handcuffing a child would not have been tolerated.

From the earliest age, boys were taught never to hit a girl. In those days there were no reports of police beating up teenage girls and women or body slamming the elderly. To comprehend the degeneration of the American police into psychopaths and sociopaths, go online and observe the video of Lee Oswald in police custody in 1963. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4FDDuRSgzFk Oswald was believed to have assassinated President John F. Kennedy and murdered a Dallas police officer only a few hours previously to the film. Yet he had not been beaten, his nose wasn’t broken, and his lips were not a bloody mess. Now go online and pick from the vast number of police brutality videos from our present time and observe the swollen and bleeding faces of teenage girls accused of sassing overbearing police officers.

In America today people with power are no longer accountable. This means citizens have become subjects, an indication of social collapse.

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

 

 

100 Years Ago: Why Bankers Created the Fed

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Source: https://mises.org

By

100 Years Ago: Why Bankers Created the Fed

 

6616The Democratic Party gained prominence in the first half of the nineteenth century as being the party that opposed the Second Bank of the United States. In the process, it tapped into an anti-state sentiment that proved so strong that we wouldn’t see another like it until the next century.

Its adversaries were Whig politicians who defended the bank and its ability to grow the government and their own personal fortunes at the same time. They were, in fact, quite open about these arrangements. It was considered standard-operating procedure for Whig representatives to receive monetary compensation for their support of the Bank when leaving Congress. The Whig Daniel Webster even expected annual payments while in Congress. Once he complained to the Bank of the United States President Nicholas Biddle, “I believe my retainer has not been renewed or refreshed as usual. If it be wished that my relation to the Bank should be continued, it may be well to send me my usual retainer.”

No wonder these people were often pummeled with canes on the House floor.

It is little wonder that early Democrats garnered such popular support and would demand Andrew Jackson end America’s experiment with central banking. Jackson called it “dangerous to the liberty of the American people because it represented a fantastic centralization of economic and political power under private control.”

It’s hard to believe that guy who said that is now on the $20 bill.

Jackson also warned that the Bank of the United States was “a vast electioneering engine” that could “control the Government and change its character.” These sentiments were echoed by Roger Taney, Jackson’s Treasury Secretary, who talked of the Bank’s “corrupting influence” and ability to “influence elections.” (The Whigs would later get revenge on this future chief justice when Abraham Lincoln, in response to a written opinion with which he disagreed, issued his arrest warrant.)

But the courtship between the political classes and their cronies would continue in the decades following Lincoln’s assassination. Those politically well-connected groups that benefited from early central banking continued to benefit from government finance, especially off of “internal improvements,” which is the nineteenth-century term for pork. National banking would appear during the War Between the States, setting in place a banking system in which individual banks would be chartered by the federal government. The government itself would use regulations backed by a new armed U.S. Treasury police force to encourage the banks’ inflation and protect them from the market penalties that inflation would otherwise bring them, such as the loss of specie and the occurrence of bank runs.

The boom and bust cycle, explained by the Austrian School in such detail, became worse and worse in the period leading up to 1913. And with the rise of Progressive Era spending on war and welfare, and with the pressure on banks to inflate to finance this activity, the boom and bust cycles worsened even more. If there was one saving grace about this period it would be that banks were forced to internalize their losses. When banks faced runs on their currencies, private financiers would bail them out. But this arrangement didn’t last, so when the losses grew, those financiers would secretly organize to reintroduce central banking to America, thus engineering an urgent need for a new “lender of last resort.” The result was the Federal Reserve.

This was the implicit socialization of the banking industry in the United States. People called the Federal Reserve Act the Currency Bill, because it was to create a bureaucracy that would assume the currency-creating duties of member banks.

It was like the Patriot Act, in that both were centralizing bills that were written years in advance by people who were waiting for the appropriate political environment in which to introduce them. It was like our current health care bills, in which cartelized firms in private industry wrote chunks of the legislation behind closed doors long before they were introduced in Congress.

It was unnecessary. If banks were simply held to similar standards as other more efficient industries were held to — the rule of law at the very least — then far fewer fraudulent banks would ever come about. There were market institutions that would penalize those banks that over-issued currencies, brought about bank runs, and financial crises. As Mises would later write:

What is needed to prevent further credit expansion is to place the banking business under the general rules of commercial and civil laws compelling each individual and firm to fulfill all obligations in full compliance with the terms of contract.

The bill was passed fairly easily, in part because the Democrats had a larger majority in both Houses than they do today. There were significant differences that were resolved in conference, with one compromise resulting in the requirement that only 40 percent of the gold reserve back the new currency. So instead of a 1-to-1 relationship between gold and currency issued — a ratio that defined sound market banking since the time of Renaissance Italy — the new Federal Reserve notes would be inflated, by law, at a ratio of 1-to-2.5.

The bill that was first drawn up at Jekyll Island was signed by Woodrow Wilson in the Oval Office shortly after the Senate approved it. At one point during the signing ceremony, as he reached for a gold pen to finish signing the bill, he jokingly declared “I’m drawing on the gold reserve.”

Truer words were never spoken.

Central banks always result in feeding those forces that centralize and expand the nation-state. The Fed’s policies in the 1920s, so well documented by Rothbard, would provoke the Great Depression, which, in the end, wrenched political power from cities and state governments to the swampland in Washington. Today people take seriously the claim that there can be a viable federal solution to every problem thanks to the money printed up by the Fed, while each decade has seen a larger proportion of the population become dependent on its inflation.

And yet Andrew Jackson’s beliefs about the perniciousness of the Second Bank of the United States are just as applicable to the Federal Reserve today.

Here’s to hoping we’ll see Jackson’s hawkish nose and unkempt hair on a gold-backed, privately issued currency in the not–too-distant future.

Editor’s Note: This article is based on a speech delivered at the Mises Institute’s Birth and Death of the Fed conference in Jekyll Island, Georgia, on February 26, 2010.

 


About the Author

Christopher_WestleyChristopher Westley

Christopher Westley is an associated scholar at the Mises Institute. He teaches in the College of Commerce and Business Administration at Jacksonville State University. Send him mail. Twitter @DrChrisWestley 

 

 

Image credit: https://mises.org

 

Japan pays respects to Kennedy on 50th anniversary of shooting

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Japan pays respects to Kennedy on 50th anniversary of shooting

 

AFPTV video capture

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Published by AFP news agency on Nov 23, 2013

About 100 Japanese people gathered in a church western city of Toyama on Saturday to attend a Catholic mass to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the assassination of US President John F. Kennedy.

 

The Kennedy Assassination (November 22, 1963) 50 Years Later

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Source: http://www.paulcraigroberts.org

By Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

The Kennedy Assassination (November 22, 1963) 50 Years Later

 

November 22, 2013, is the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The true story of JFK’s murder has never been officially admitted, although the conclusion that JFK was murdered by a plot involving the Secret Service, the CIA, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff has been well established by years of research, such as that provided by James W. Douglass in his book, JFK And The Unspeakable, published by Simon & Schuster in 2008. Ignore Douglass’ interest in the Trappist monk Thomas Merton and Merton’s prediction and focus on the heavily documented research that Douglass provides.

Or just turn to the contemporary films, taken by tourists watching JFK’s motorcade that are available on YouTube, which show clearly the Secret Service pulled from President Kennedy’s limo just prior to his assassination, and the Zapruder film that shows the killing shot to have come from President Kennedy’s right front, blowing off the back of his head, not from the rear as postulated in the Warren Commission Report, which would have pushed his head forward, not rearward.

I am not going to write about the assassination to the extent that the massive information permits. Those who want to know already know. Those who cannot face the music will never be able to confront the facts regardless of what I or anyone else writes or reveals.

To briefly review, the facts are conclusive that JFK was on terrible terms with the CIA and the Joint Chiefs. He had refused to support the CIA organized Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. He had rejected the Joint Chiefs’ “Operation Northwoods,” a plan to commit real and faked acts of violence against Americans, blame Castro and use the false flag events to bring regime change to Cuba. He had rejected the Joint Chiefs case that the Soviet Union should be attacked while the US held the advantage and before the Soviets could develop delivery systems for nuclear weapons. He had indicated that after his reelection he was going to pull US troops out of Vietnam and that he was going to break the CIA into a thousand pieces. He had aroused suspicion by working behind the scenes with Khrushchev to defuse the Cuban Missile Crisis, leading to claims that he was “soft on communism.” The CIA and Joint Chiefs’ belief that JFK was an unreliable ally in the war against communism spread into the Secret Service.

It has been established that the original autopsy of JFK’s fatal head wound was discarded and a faked one substituted in order to support the official story that Oswald shot JFK from behind. FBI director J. Edgar Hoover and President Johnson knew that Oswald was the CIA’s patsy, but they also understood, as did members of the Warren Commission, that to let the true story out would cause Americans to lose confidence in their own government at the height of the Cold War.

Robert Kennedy knew what had happened. He was on his way to being elected president and to holding the plotters accountable for the murder of his brother when the CIA assassinated him. A distinguished journalist, who was standing behind Robert Kennedy at the time of his assassination, told me that the killing shots came from behind past his ear. He submitted his report to the FBI and was never contacted.

Acoustic experts have conclusively demonstrated that more shots were fired than can be accounted for by Sirhan Sirhan’s pistol and that the sounds indicate two different calibers of firearms.

I never cease to be amazed by the gullibility of Americans, who know nothing about either event, but who confidently dismiss the factual evidence provided by experts and historians on the basis of their naive belief that “the government wouldn’t lie about such important events” or “someone would have talked.” What good would it do if someone talked when the gullible won’t believe hard evidence?

Secret Service pulled from JFK’s limo
http://www.lewrockwell.com/2013/11/james-huang/must-watch-video/

Zapruder film
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ufvmHYqfdbU

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1q91RZko5Gw

James W. Douglass, JFK and the Unspeakable, Simon & Schuster, 2008

Operation Northwoods: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Northwoods

Reprinted with permission from www.paulcraigroberts.org


 

About Dr. Paul Craig Roberts

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury for Economic Policy and associate editor of the Wall Street Journal. He was columnist for Business Week, Scripps Howard News Service, and Creators Syndicate. He has had many university appointments. His internet columns have attracted a worldwide following. His latest book, The Failure of Laissez Faire Capitalism and Economic Dissolution of the West is now available.

 

The Mises View: “Our Enemy The Fed” | Glenn Jacobs

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The Mises View: “Our Enemy The Fed” | Glenn Jacobs

 

11-18-2013 9-38-55 PM

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Published by misesmedia

Glenn Jacobs explains why understanding the Federal Reserve System is one of the most important tasks facing Americans. Jacobs is an American professional wrestler and actor, known by the ring name “Kane”. For more information, visit the Mises Institute online at mises.org.

 

On This Day In History, Oil Prices Have Never Been Higher

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Source: http://www.zerohedge.com

Submitted by Tyler Durden

On This Day In History, Oil Prices Have Never Been Higher

 

The recent drop in WTI crude oil prices has brought out the ubiquitous “well, that’s a tax cut for the US consumer” recency-biased talking-heads always looking for a silver-lining to justify something. What they fail to notice, is at $103.57, this is the highest price WTI crude oil has ever been at the end of September. The reason timing is important is the annual cycle of oil prices means comparing Summer with Winter and so on is misleading. So is the highest price ever for oil in the Fall still a positive for the economy?

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Of course, gas prices have fallen recently – helped by the collapse in the duopolized RINs market – tracking oddly close to 2011′s pattern… but once again 2013′s gas price is still massively more expensive than 2010′s

 

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Image credit: http://www.zerohedge.com

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