Can a constitution put limits on a government?

american-billofrights

John C. Calhoun, was one of North America’s first political theorists and he wrote about the inability of a constitution to limit government. He points out that no document, not even if written on a hallowed piece of parchment, has the inherent power to bind officials to read it correctly or follow its strictures. As time goes on it gets even weaker in this ability as language changes and governments build up their power.

In his A Disquisition on Government, Calhoun explains the problem:

A written constitution certainly has many and considerable advantages, but it is a great mistake to suppose that the mere insertion of provisions to restrict and limit the powers of the government, without investing those for whose protection they are inserted with the means of enforcing their observance, will be sufficient to prevent the major and dominant party from abusing its powers. Being the party in possession of the government, they will… be in favor of the powers granted by the constitution and opposed to the restrictions intended to limit them. As the major and dominant parties, they will have no need of these restrictions for their protection. …

The minor or weaker party on the contrary, would take the opposite direction and regard them as essential to their protection against the dominant party. … But where there are no means by which they could compel the major party to observe the restrictions, the only resort left them would be a strict construction of the constitution. … To this the major party would oppose a liberal construction—one which would give to the words of the grant the broadest meaning of which they were susceptible. It would then be construction against construction—the one to contract and the other to enlarge the powers of the government to the utmost. But of what possible avail could the strict construction of the minor party be, against the liberal interpretation of the major, when the one would have all the powers of the government to carry its construction into effect and the other be deprived of all means of enforcing its construction? In a contest so unequal, the result would not be doubtful. The party in favor of the restrictions would be overpowered. … The end of the contest would be the subversion of the constitution… the restrictions would ultimately be annulled and the government be converted into one of unlimited powers.

Nor would the division of government into separate and, as it regards each other, independent departments prevent this result… as each and all the departments—and, of course, the entire government—would be under the control of the numerical majority, it is too clear to require explanation that a mere distribution of its powers among its agents or representatives could do little or nothing to counteract its tendency to oppression and abuse of power.

The weakness of limits on governmental power guarantee that a state will grow in power. After all, why would you expect a criminal gang like the nation-state to honor its own rules and founding documents? It is the nature of the government of a nation-state to grow in power and control day after day until it becomes a tyranny. The U.S. government is becoming a Dystopian nightmare — a vast police state of unimaginable brutality and power. Every village in the land has a SWAT team now! This was never the intention of the document called the U.S. Constitution — or at least that is what the authors claimed back then.

When I was young there was a military draft in the U.S. in spite of the fact that the 13th Amendment to the Constitution states:

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Back in the early 20th century there was a court case over this issue during WWI. The draftees challenged conscription on the grounds that being forced to serve in the military was a form of involuntary servitude and hence is clearly unconstitutional under the 13th Amendment. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the question in Butler v Perry (240 US 328 [1916]) thusly:

The 13th Amendment introduced no novel doctrine with respect of services always treated as exceptional, and certainly was not intended to interdict enforcement of those duties which individuals owe to the state, such as services in the army, militia, on the jury, etc. The great purpose in view was liberty under the protection of effective government, not the destruction of the latter by depriving it of essential powers.

The U.S. Supreme court gets to “interpret” the words of the written document in whatever manner it so chooses; and hence the words themselves are no barrier to the nation-state doing whatever it pleases to do. While the document might slow the state down in times of great public outcry, there is no protection to be found there. Consider that since 1945 the U.S. has been continually at war and yet the constitution has not been followed in any of those aggressive, illegal, and undeclared wars. What good did the Constitution do in those instances? It is for this reason that those who advocate for a smaller government should place little faith in the power of a “god damn scrap of paper” (the Constitution) to constrain the state. That is true even with brand new amendments or even a whole new Constitution written in the clearest, most modern prose possible. To restrain politicians in their pursuit of power and control is beyond the power of a piece of paper.

Progressives, Cartelists, the FED, and trust busting

Murray Rothbard wrote about the vastly wealthy in America fooling the progressives and then re-writing history as to what happened in a small article in 1999. Here is a short portion of that article:

The Federal Reserve Act of December 23, 1913, was part and parcel of the wave of Progressive legislation on local, state, and federal levels of government that began about 1900. Progressivism was a bipartisan movement that, in the course of the first two decades of the 20th century, transformed the American economy and society from one of roughly laissez-faire to one of centralized statism.

Until the 1960s, historians had established the myth that Progressivism was a virtual uprising of workers and farmers who, guided by a new generation of altruistic experts and intellectuals, surmounted fierce big business opposition in order to curb, regulate, and control what had been a system of accelerating monopoly in the late 19th century. A generation of research and scholarship, however, has now exploded that myth for all parts of the American polity, and it has become all too clear that the truth is the reverse of this well-worn fable.

In contrast, what actually happened was that business became increasingly competitive during the late 19th century, and that various big-business interests, led by the powerful financial house of J. P. Morgan and Company, tried desperately to establish successful cartels on the free market. The first wave of such cartels was in the first large-scale business — railroads. In every case, the attempt to increase profits — by cutting sales with a quota system — and thereby to raise prices or rates, collapsed quickly from internal competition within the cartel and from external competition by new competitors eager to undercut the cartel.

During the 1890s, in the new field of large-scale industrial corporations, big-business interests tried to establish high prices and reduced production via mergers, and again, in every case, the merger collapsed from the winds of new competition. In both sets of cartel attempts, J. P. Morgan and Company had taken the lead, and in both sets of cases, the market, hampered though it was by high protective, tariff walls, managed to nullify these attempts at voluntary cartelization.

It then became clear to these big-business interests that the only way to establish a cartelized economy, an economy that would ensure their continued economic dominance and high profits, would be to use the powers of government to establish and maintain cartels by coercion, in other words, to transform the economy from roughly laissez-faire to centralized, coordinated statism. But how could the American people, steeped in a long tradition of fierce opposition to government-imposed monopoly, go along with this program? How could the public’s consent to the New Order be engineered?

Fortunately for the cartelists, a solution to this vexing problem lay at hand. Monopoly could be put over in the name of opposition to monopoly! In that way, using the rhetoric beloved by Americans, the form of the political economy could be maintained, while the content could be totally reversed.

Monopoly had always been defined, in the popular parlance and among economists, as “grants of exclusive privilege” by the government. It was now simply redefined as “big business” or business competitive practices, such as price-cutting, so that regulatory commissions, from the Interstate Commerce Commission (ICC) to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to state insurance commissions, were lobbied for and staffed with big-business men from the regulated industry, all done in the name of curbing “big-business monopoly” on the free market.

In that way, the regulatory commissions could subsidize, restrict, and cartelize in the name of “opposing monopoly,” as well as promoting the general welfare and national security. Once again, it was railroad monopoly that paved the way.

For this intellectual shell game, the cartelists needed the support of the nation’s intellectuals, the class of professional opinion molders in society. The Morgans needed a smokescreen of ideology, setting forth the rationale and the apologetics for the New Order. Again, fortunately for them, the intellectuals were ready and eager for the new alliance.

The enormous growth of intellectuals, academics, social scientists, technocrats, engineers, social workers, physicians, and occupational “guilds” of all types in the late 19th century led most of these groups to organize for a far greater share of the pie than they could possibly achieve on the free market. These intellectuals needed the State to license, restrict, and cartelize their occupations, so as to raise the incomes for the fortunate people already in these fields.

In return for their serving as apologists for the new statism, the State was prepared to offer not only cartelized occupations, but also ever-increasing and cushier jobs in the bureaucracy to plan and propagandize for the newly statized society. And the intellectuals were ready for it, having learned in graduate schools in Germany the glories of statism and organicist socialism, of a harmonious “middle way” between dog-eat-dog laissez-faire on the one hand and proletarian Marxism on the other. Big government, staffed by intellectuals and technocrats, steered by big business, and aided by unions organizing a subservient labor force, would impose a cooperative commonwealth for the alleged benefit of all.

And that transformation of a “roughly laissez-faire economy and society” to one of “centralized statism” came just in time to begin over a century of war and empire expansion that continues until this day. We have seen how the government can use the central bank to inflate money and pay for things they could never get with just taxes or borrowing (as bad as these two are). The main point of that Rothbard post is the idea that the progressives brought you the wonders of central banking which funds endless war and control by the rich.

ETFSigns6

Steven Horwitz Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University tells us:

Like other legislation of that era, the Fed was a government intervention supported both by ideologically-motivated and well-meaning reformers and by the industry being regulated. Rather than being this as some sort of unique conspiracy to take control of the US monetary system, it was a story very similar to those found in the history of everything from railroad regulation, to meatpacking regulation, to the regulation of monopolies and trusts as historians from Gabriel Kolko onward have documented. Unique historical factors in the monetary system affected the particular form the Fed took, but its broad history places it squarely in the tradition of the Progressive Era. If the Fed is the product of some nefarious conspiracy, so is a whole bunch of other legislation passed around that time.

The Fed emerged not as a response to failures of a free market in banking, nor as the result of shadowy banking conspiracies, but instead as a response to the failures of the National Banking System (1863-1913) that preceded it. The US banking system has never been a free market, as the National Banking System (NBS) was itself a response to pre-existing state-level regulations on banking. Under the NBS, and many of the state systems that came before it, banks were subject to three major regulations: 1) limits on the ability of banks to operate branches; 2) minimum reserve requirements; and 3) requirements that banks that produced currency buy up certain bonds or other financial assets as collateral.

The first and third of these regulations were particularly problematic. The limits on branching varied. During the pre-Civil War years, branch banks of any kind were illegal – banks could only operate one office. During the NBS, interstate branching was illegal, as no state would allow branches of banks chartered in other states to open up in that state, and some states still prohibited banks from opening branch offices within their state. The result was a banking system with few inter-bank institutions and too many banks that were too small and not sufficiently diversified, and therefore overly prone to failure.

The bond collateral requirements were also a problem. Before the Civil War, they often served as a form of crony capitalism as some states required that banks buy the bonds of railroads and other nominally private enterprises instead of, or in addition to, government bonds to serve as collateral. In the NBS, federally chartered banks were required to buy federal government bonds as a way of financing the Civil War. Regardless of whose bonds were required, forcing banks to purchase bonds when they want to expand their issues of currency became a problem as the required bonds were sometimes found to be either worthless or in short supply. One result was periodic currency panics that continued throughout the century.

In this episode of twisted fate, we see the progressives built the very edifice that they would then spend more than a century decrying. Now that is irony. They were had by a shell game played by the most wealthy class in America and they lost even as everyone celebrated their apparent victory. The central factor that the progressives failed to understand is that the monopoly is a product of government privilege and does not arise via laissez-faire free market forces. The “leaders of industry” got tired of so many newcomers competing successfully with them and their business concerns and so looked to government to protect them.

Friedrich von Hayek won the Nobel Prize for his theory of the business cycle and that theory puts the blame for the boom-bust business cycle squarely on the shoulders of the government and its controlled banking system. When government encourages bank credit expansion through its central bank and control of the banking system, this causes price inflation as well as increasing malinvestments. Most importantly this credit expansion encourages unsound investments in capital goods and underproduction of consumer goods. In spite of this knowledge, most Americans still believe that the monopoly control of their money by government is somehow a “good thing”. The progressives were fooled into giving the government the means whereby they could finance a world wide empire as well as dominate the domestic economy to everyone’s disadvantage.

It was the same thing with the idea that the government needed to be in the “trust busting” business. This hoary old canard hangs on till this day and you will hear it anytime you talk to a progressive or even most public school educated Americans. They really think that without their protector government the corporations would grow without bound until only a few, or even just one, dominated the whole world. They simply don’t understand competition nor have they read the history of the USA in the 1800s and 1900s. If they did understand, they would realize that it is government itself that helps the largest corporations to grow and dominate us. (crony-capitalism)

Big-business interests did try in the late 1800s to establish predatory high prices and reduced production and failed to do so. They tried the mergers that modern liberals tell us would lead to their total control of the people without government to stop them; and yet, they tried and the large business interests all failed due to market forces.  In every case the merger collapsed due to competition just as Hayek, Rothbard, and Mises have demonstrate must happen. Even hampered by the intervention of government through protective tariffs the market nullified these attempts by private concerns to create monopoly. And so the state was called upon to do by force, coercion, and intimidation what the big business moguls could not do by themselves.

The American big business leaders knew well that governments can hand out monopolies. The knew about the English monopolies in the period just before the industrial revolution. As Rothbard has pointed out; the creation of monopolies reached its climax in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He quoted the words of historian Professor S.T. Bindoff, “… the restrictive principle had, like some giant squid, fastened its embracing tentacles round many branches of domestic trade and manufacture,” and “in the last decade of Elizabeth’s reign scarcely an article in common use – coal, soap, starch, iron, leather, books, wine, fruit – was unaffected by patents of monopoly.”

In the 1900s, as in America today, we have seen that lobbyists use the lure of monetary gain to obtain government sponsors to fight for their petitions for grants of monopoly. The American businessmen knew that using the law to secure their place was far easier and safer than competition! And once granted their privileges the monopolists proceed to loot the public just like Ma Bell of old. Now don’t be fooled, today’s grants of monopoly are crafted to make it look like they are promoting competition even as they do the exact opposite. There are many “barriers to entry” into an industry and mountains of expensive regulations that hold down new competition and allow the businesses protected to whine about “government regulation” even as those very regulations protect them. The propaganda of the government, lobbyists, and big business is far more sophisticated than is was in the 1900s and the manipulators are still fooling the common man — especially the “progressives”.

Ironic evil is the evil good men do while they think they are doing good. Many well meaning but economically ignorant men and women have helped get the USA to this sad juncture in its history. I hope more people will study Austrian Economics and arm themselves with the knowledge of how the world really works. Ron Paul has tried his best to explain economics to the masses and has done a great job of it; but all of us need to study more and to tell our friends and family.

Do you know about the Waco massacre?

For years my wife has been saying that if you want to really get people in trouble in America make everyone believe they are a ‘cult’. I think she has a point, but younger people might not because they might not know what happened at the Waco, Texas siege back in 1993 when the government murdered men, women, and children in a “photo-opp” invasion of private property.

A fellow named Anthony Gregory has done many essays and short histories on the event and one could do a lot of good research reading his work. His latest essay on what happened is here. He has listed at the bottom of his latest post a convenient list of links to many of his past articles on the subject and you might want to look at some of those if you find the time. I lived through those days and remember a lot of it even these twenty years later, and so, I would like to share some of my remembrances of those days since this is the twentieth anniversary of that atrocity and since the Boston Marathon Bombings bring to mind major disasters/slaughters of the past.

The Waco Siege is important because it showed Americans, those with their eyes open at least, the truth about American law enforcement. Many of us already knew what the American government was capable of due to close observation of our many invasions and brutal occupations overseas over the decades, but Waco clearly showed the utter lawlessness, brutality, and sadistic nature of the domestic side of the American government. Unfortunately the Americans that were alive and observant in 1993 grow older by the day and the event is becoming a myth written by government historians that papers over the real nature of the horror. I guess it is always like that.

Anyway, on to the story as I remember it and as others have recorded it. It all began with several scandals that plagued the ATF (Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms) federal agency. There was a sexual harassment scandal  and there was a racial discrimination scandal. Especially in the 90’s the charges of sexism and racism inside a federal agency were explosive and damaging. There was some talk of reducing the agencies scope and budget hearing were coming up. So, the agency looked for a “photo-opp” situation to improve their public image. [UPDATE: A friend left a comment to remind me that “… the internal codename of the BATF assault was “Operation Showtime”. — yes, and what an arrogant and revealing code name it was]

The first step was to demonize the Branch Davidians which were a weird Protestant group that originated in 1955 from a split from the Seventh-day Adventist Church which itself is often seen as a “cult”. They were accused in the papers of child abuse, gun law violations, and other unsavory matters. They kept to themselves and lived on a secluded ranch which itself is suspicious to most urban Americans. Their leader was David Koresh who was their “prophet”. Koresh often came into town and knew the local sheriff well. His group did make some money buying and selling guns but that was not unusual in Texas in the 1990’s. Koresh had always cooperated with the sheriff and had even had beers with him at a local tavern.

The ATF decided to execute a public raid on the campground home of the Branch Dividians on TV. They invited the press and proceeded to stage a militarized raid on the home of these peaceful people on February 28, 1993. Gunfire ensued and after it was over there were ATF agents shot, but the Dividians stopped shooting as soon as the government stopped shooting. Reports later indicated that some ATF agents shot their own people in what is called “friendly fire”. Remember, there were many women and children inside this building. The government choose to invade the home of a large group of peaceful Americans guns a blazing rather than just take Koresh into custody on one of his many, many trips into town. The local sheriff later said that he could have produced Koresh any day with a simple phone call, and so then came the now famous standoff.

The FBI took over from the ATF and America witnessed a military operation against the Dividians. The FBI used psychological torture methods including blasting the compound with loud, obnoxious music and blinding lights for starters. Their water was cut off. They were denied communications with the outside world. All across America this group were demonized by the press with unsubstantiated (and later disproven) charges of child abuse and sexual immorality.

Finally after many days and weeks the FBI was ordered by President Clinton’s Attorney General Janet Reno to put an end to it. On April 19, 1993 the FBI pumped flammable and poisonous CS gas into the Branch Davidian’s home. This gas is banned internationally for use in warfare! And yet the American government incinerated men, women, and children with this illegal gas. The FBI and the Clinton Administration knew well that innocent women and children were trapped in the section of the home exposed to this gas. The government pumped this illegal gas into the compound for 6 long hours.

628x471

The government continued to deploy gas for almost six hours.  As Anthony Gregory pointed out:

Chemistry professor George F. Uhlig testified in congressional hearings that he estimated there was a sixty percent chance that the gassing alone killed some children. “Turning loose excessive quantities of CS definitely was not in the best interests of the children,” Uhlig said. “Gas masks do not fit children very well, if at all.” He said that the gassing could have transformed their surroundings “into an area similar to one of the gas chambers used by the Nazis at Auschwitz.”

If that was not enough, the FBI then used an Abrams tank borrowed from the Army to attack the home. At the time the laws (Posse Comitatus Act) preventing the military from operating on US soil were still being honored and so the site of this tank being used to flatten a home in America was a very unusual sight. The FBI latter lied over and over to the press about what had really happened that day, and since they used the tank to destroy evidence by flattening the compound they were able to hide the reality for a short while. But the fact they used internationally banned gas did come out in the press. It is recorded that more than seventy people died that day at the hands of the FBI. Everyone of these men, women and children (more than twenty children died) had never been charged with any crime. As the fire was burning the home and with children trapped inside, the FBI prevented the fire department from trying to put out the fire. Think on that for a moment.

There was a show trial of the few survivors and many went to jail to satisfy the government’s lust for revenge on any group that would dare try to protect itself and make the government look bad. There was a whitewash report issued by congress absolving the Clinton administration of all blame and the nation moved on to other matters as it always does.

Folks, that Waco incident mean to me that the US government is lawless, brutal, sadistic, and totally without redeeming feature. The only good thing to come of that sub-human atrocity was that many, like me, saw the true nature of the government in all its horror. I recommend to you, gentle reader, that you study reports of that brutal assault on innocent men, women, and children and look into the eyes of the beast. The Waco Massacre shows us the truth about law enforcement and brutal nature of the state itself as well as the often demonstrated propensity of the authorities to blatantly lie to the public over their actions.

The Mises Institute and my journey

I was asked to write a little post about what the Mises Institute has meant to me and this is my attempt to tell my readers about the Mises Institute and my intellectual journey leading to my present love of the Mises Institute.

ludwig-von-mises

In the 60s and 70s I was anti-war and somehow I knew that meant that I was anti-State but I had no intellectual foundation to support that position other than just my inborn morality. I had many family members, friends and acquaintances who served in the Vietnam War and came home to tell of the utter horror that blunder of a war was. I have always been an avid reader and so I knew some of our real history and it was not what our political leaders where saying. I knew I  was being lied to. I felt alone in a way, being anti-State could be lonely in those days in the south. Luckily for me, I loved used book stores and could be found there many weekends with my wife. I have found many interesting books in those stores that are now disappearing from the American scene. I have found many books in those stores that I was certainly not looking for as I walked in. It was though a series of books over time that I came to know the Mises Institute and the site LewRockwell.com.

I read “Democracy in America” by Alexis de Tocqueville in the early 1970s. That work resonated with me because Tocqueville explained why a Republican form of government was working in America in the 1830s even as Democracy had failed in so many other places. But by the time I read it, there was no “Republican” form of government left that was like what Tocqueville had described. We had long been on the wrong road. Some years later in the 70s I read “The Road to Serfdom” by F. A. Hayek and it is a wonderful book on how dangerous the government is. Hayek described the dangers of leaving “Classical Liberalism” behind.

One day in the early 80s I found a book by Ludwig von Mises called “Human Action“. Now that book is an eye opener! I still have that book even though I am now an e-book reader and have let a lot of my old dead-tree library go to save space. And so, I had found an author that I knew I wanted to read. I found “Bureaucracy” by von Mises and it is a wonderful book. That little volume made a tremendous impact on me. I guess by this time you could say that I was a Classical Liberal of the von Mises variety.

Then one day Murray Rothbard sent me a form letter. He wanted me to subscribe to a new newsletter called “The Rothbard-Rockwell Report” A New York Jewish fellow was asking a southern boy to read his mussing each month. And who was this Rockwell guy? For some reason, I thought they sounded like my sort of people and I sent off a check to get the newsletter. I loved the RRR. Over time I considered Rothbard’s argument that there was no way to constrain a government and that our Constitution had always been doomed to failure. I distinctly remember in some essay or the other that he said: all governments will over time move leftward and become a tyranny. Over time I saw that market anarchism was the only hope for peace and prosperity for the masses.

2741

Time went on and I read more books by von Mises and Rothbard. Technology changed and the internet was born. In due course a new resource opened up. Lew Rockwell started a small site to showcase essays by anarcho-capitalists and other like minded people. It was there that I learned about the Mises Institute.

The Mises Institute has become the world’s foremost think tank for liberty. It is as simple as that. The Institute did not change my thinking as I was already a Rothbardian market anarchist long before they opened their doors, but it is a place where I can read essays, books and out of print newsletters concerning our love of freedom and liberty. In addition they have all sorts of videos for those that like that sort of thing — I am still a text based person in most regards.

The Mises Institute has kept the flame of Rothbardian anarchy burning even as Rothbard and his beloved teacher von Mises have both left this earthly scene. I praise Lew Rockwell for starting the Institute when most men would have told him he was sure to fail I bet.

I wish the Mises Institute had been around in the 70s, it sure would have helped my intellectual journey. Today, I often use a link to the Mises Institute in my own posts here and that helps me a lot. I was worried that when we lost both von Mises and Rothbard that the movement might die, but with the Mises Institute and two campaigns by Ron Paul our beliefs have gone nationwide as ZZ Top would say. Well, worldwide really.

We have a long battle before us to educate the masses in economics and political philosophy so that we can overcome the long march toward collectivism. The Mises Institute is a rock we can depend on as we battle the forces of tyranny.

ron-paul-revolution

For an Optimistic Libertarianism

There are many and complex reasons for believing that the long term trend of history reflects well for libertarianism. I know many of you are thinking I have jumped the shark on that idea, but I think I can lay out a decent case. Let me give you one sweeping generalization I saw someplace as a starter today: in an age of mass affluence; economic development and individualism go hand in hand.

We need to think about the long term trends and not what mad scheme the Obama administration has dreamed up this week. Libertarians seem to be unduly pessimistic these days. This post was prompted by two fellows on Twitter who are wonderful voices for freedom and liberty; but took exception to my assertion that we are, indeed, winning the battle of ideas. I think the long-run economic and social trends favor libertarianism even as the short term trends tell us that our opponent, the State, is still strong.

One example of the long term trend that I see lies not inside the United States but outside. Consider the country China. In my youth China was 100% communist and the government impoverished the country while murdering millions upon millions of innocent citizens. Now they no longer believe in communism and central planning. They are no longer communist even if the ruling party keeps the outer form of the old government. The people have seen what individuals working for themselves can do — and so has the world.

Or consider the old USSR. It is gone. It fell apart as a result of central planning. After 70 years or so of trying to build the “New Soviet Man” the people saw that the ideology of complete government control just does not work.

Consider the ever optimistic Murray Rothbard. He started out in the 50s with very few allies and very few outlets for his writings and ideas. By the 90s he was world famous and the leader of a huge wing of radical libertarian thought. The Mises Institute promotes Rothbard as well as von Mises and their analysis of government and economics. Not only that, but many scholars have arisen to take their place and extend the libertarian philosophy.

We also have The Ron Paul Movement which will continue even though Ron Paul is retired from the House. We have the Antiwar.com, Free State Project, Zero Hedge, the Mises Institute, Laissez Faire Books, Twitter, Liberty Classroom, and a host of other important voices for liberty. But much more importantly; we have the internet and millions of diverse voices teaching each other the philosophy of liberty. We are a decentralized movement that has no one leader for the statists to destroy. We are legion.

Hans Hoppe wrote:

“…the task of supporting and keeping alive the truths of private property, freedom of contract and association and disassociation, personal responsibility, and of fighting falsehoods, lies, and the evil of statism, relativism, moral corruption, and irresponsibility can nowadays only be taken on collectively by pooling resources and supporting organizations like the Mises Institute, an independent organization dedicated to the values underlying Western civilization, uncompromising and far removed even physically from the corridors of power. Its program of scholarships, teaching, publications, and conferences is nothing less than an island of moral and intellectual decency in a sea of perversion. …”

The Austrian School is enjoying its most spectacular surge in growth in my lifetime. Ron Paul awakened many to the ideas that the Austrians have been putting forth ever since its founding by Carl Menger. Now a new generation of young people are reading Austrian economics. The economics of the Austrian school tells these young folks that government is the eternal enemy of peace, prosperity, and liberty.

murray-rothbard-enemy-state

Rothbard once told us that before the 18th century in Western Europe there existed an identifiable Old Order called the Ancien Régime. It was feudalism marked by “tyranny, exploitation, stagnation, fixed caste, and hopelessness and starvation for the bulk of the population.” The ruling classes governed by conquest and tricking the masses into believing that it was divine will that the Kings should rule and plunder. The Old Order was the great and mighty enemy of liberty and for a score of centuries it did not appear it could ever be defeated. We know better now that the classical liberal revolution triumphed in the 18th century (in the West at least). We can win again and next time we will know not to allow even the seed of old order to remain. We must pull out the idea of the old order root and branch.

We don’t face as hard a task as the original classical liberals did in the 1700s for we now know that it can be done. We have every reason to be optimistic for the long run even as we fear the brutality and horror of the short run as the dying beast can be very dangerous in its death throes.