Friday, May 06, 2005

The Three Worst American
Enemies of Freedom


The mainstream press is no longer free. We wonder why the press is such a lapdog to the Bush administration. Are reporters lazy? Busy? Maybe some are lazy. All are likely busy. But there are threats hanging over their heads. Look at what happened to ace reporter Gary Webb. He was out of a job for years. He recently died, reportedly having committed suicide by two gunshots. (Two? Are we really sure it was a suicide?)
And consider what is happening to reporters who refuse to disclose (read rat on) confidential sources. Some have wound up in prison after breaking no law, like the New York Times and Time Magazine reporters who gallantly refused to name sources of information about the leakage of a covert CIA agent's name. And, now, recently, there is a move to include bloggers under the provision of the obviously unconstitutional McCain-Feingold.
I am not a reporter. But in addition to the new blog I do post an occasional Zine to the Internet and am proud to be politically incorrect. I think that being factually correct and independently thinking is a lot more important than being politically correct, come what may.
I am about to issue a series of Zines and will be the first to admit that some feathers are going to be ruffled. Some bubbles will be burst. But please understand that my own was too while I was learning.
This series will be on the three people who I believe are the worst American enemies of liberty. Each will be the worst enemy of one of three centuries, the 19th, the 20th, and the 21st so far.
The decision to do this series came out of an investigation of the many facets of the "New World Order" that has been in the works for decades and that the Bush administration is now pushing us into. Economic and political power have been gravitating toward establishment interests in general and, in particular, political power has been gravitating to the White House.
As mentioned, the mainstream media kowtow to the Bush administration. The difference between "left-slanted" and "right-slanted" reporting is in the detail only. Both are slanted towards big, powerful government, the difference being only in emphasis.
Big Business and the Bush administration are so closely knit that I don't think anyone denies that any more. The only question is, is Big Business running the Federal government, or has the Federal government turned Big Business into a puppet? It could be some of both, but I think it matters little when so much of the money and power are concentrated in one place. Even inside the federal government the balance of power is upset; the executive branch seems to have the lion's share now.
So I had to wonder, how did all this get started? History was my worst subject in school, so I didn't know. I started learning. Early on I learned the most important lesson. That lesson was that what they teach in most schools that passes for history is one long praise-a-thon for government. So, I guess I am now ‘way ahead of the "A" students.
The schools teach that the Civil War, or the War for Southern Independence, was about slavery, and that the slaves were freed when gallant Northerners rode in and defeated those terrible Southerners.
That is not true!
And, when I went to school in the Northeast, we were not even told about the internment of Americans of Japanese (and other) descent. We were told that no person in America was ever denied any freedom.
We were also taught the patently ridiculous falsehood that the New Deal ended the Great Depression.
That is not true either!
Now, schools are teaching, and many still believe, that the attacks of September 11 were carried out by perpetrators who are jealous of our freedom and prosperity, and not because so much anger has been generated by our imperialism and our playing policeman of the world for the last century.
How wrong can that be?
The New world Order is based on propaganda and lies that have been fed to us for more than a century and a half. I intend to do my part to dispel these lies, and a good way to start might be to choose three of the most dreadful American enemies of liberty who have been heroes in the minds of the majority, and to show why they should not be heroes at all to anyone who believes in the Founders' principles and who favors individual liberty.
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There will be four more segments to this Three Enemies series, and they will be quite long. You can read them all on my blog. The blog is at
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The Worst 19th Century American Enemy of Liberty

As I stated before this series is very contrary to establishment dogma and I do hope that I don't lose any friends over it. However, I do have to tell it as I believe it is. I see and hear with libertarian eyes and ears, and consequently my interpretation of events is thoroughly libertarian.
Generally speaking, this country started out as a basically, but not entirely, free country. There were a few low taxes and tariffs, and some restrictions on civil and economic liberties, but these were nothing in comparison to what existed in other parts of the world, and to what we have here today. In fact, the taxes, tariffs, and regulations that were imposed by the British and that triggered the American Revolution were very benign compared to what we have been saddled with for decades now.
Very few could vote in the beginning, but taxes were low and government was largely absent from every aspect of life, so possibly individuals were not that concerned about the vote. I personally would be willing to stop voting if I could stop paying taxes and stop the adverse effect of books and books of statutes and regulations that affect me directly and indirectly. Actually, if we are going to have voting at all, I think it should be universally permitted, and we are moving in that direction, but that is another topic for another Zine.
Democracy does not guarantee freedom. Actually, liberty has diminished as suffrage has increased.
As for the loss of liberty, has it gradually occurred, or have there been some definite turning points?
There have been turning points, and in my opinion three of them have been major.
One major turning point was at the middle of the Nineteenth Century. It was at that time that freedom took at least two very mighty blows from which it never even began to recover.
The person who was primarily responsible for these two blows to liberty was one I consider to be the greatest American enemy of freedom of the Nineteenth Century.
He was Abraham Lincoln.
Now, this is certainly quite a shock to libertarians and others who have always believed that Lincoln ended slavery in this country. Needless to say, every libertarian on this earth vehemently opposes any form of slavery. However, Lincoln did not end it, nor did he even try.
Lincoln made it quite plain that he did not care one way or the other if slavery existed. He also was what we today would consider a vehement racist; he considered whites superior to blacks and he did not think blacks should be permitted to vote, serve on juries, or even mingle with whites (1). Like all racists, Lincoln placed his own race in the superior position.
Therefore I will move on from that issue and describe the two hard blows Abraham Lincoln dealt to liberty.
The first blow was an end to the relatively free market system we had been enjoying. The free market brought about a prosperity never before known. By today's standards, Americans were dirt poor, but we must remember that this was before most technological development. Almost everything had to be done by hand or by rudimentary tools, which left little time to invent and make new tools. A lack of tools (capital goods) means an increase in the amount of work done, a decrease in the amount of goods produced, or, more likely, both. There was only time for necessary work. Over time, however, people were able to set aside the time and resources to obtain better tools that, in turn, freed up more time and resources (2). Under our almost-free market at that time, government did not stand in the way.
Beginning with the Lincoln administration, however, economic liberty was greatly curtailed. Lincoln was a big admirer of another American enemy of liberty, Henry Clay, who had come up with a set of ideas he called the "American System." This system was no more American than was the British system that provoked the American Revolution.
This "American System" Clay was calling for was pure mercantilism (3). He was a Whig, the Whigs being forerunners of the present Republicans. Clay and Lincoln were both Whigs and they worked for about thirty years to replace the free market with mercantilism (4). The Whigs called themselves "Whigs" to make themselves appear to oppose centralized government and to fool the public (5). The earlier Whigs of the Eighteenth Century had been classical liberals, i.e., libertarians. In order to ram their program through, the Whigs needed to fool the public, since at that time it was generally known that a concentration of power is inimical to liberty. True to their mercantilism, debt and pork barrel projects were the Nineteenth Century Whigs' hallmarks.
These pork barrel projects, or "internal improvements" as the Whigs insisted on calling them, were chiefly beneficial to Northeastern establishment industry and were paid for by tariffs which hit the South especially hard. (This ties directly into Lincoln's second blow to liberty.)
This is glaringly inimical to liberty. When Henry Clay was in Congress sponsoring pork barrel projects, the great Founder James Madison was president and he vetoed these bills.
Now, just exactly what is this "mercantilism" that enraged the Founders, and that Abraham Lincoln and his mentor, Henry Clay, were trying to reinstate?
The great economist, Murray Rothbard, in Making Economic Sense (P. 183-184), defines mercantilism, the system of western Europe in the Sixteenth through Eighteenth Centuries, as big government with high taxes, large bureaucracies, and massive regulations, the point being to grant monopolies, cartels, and subsidies to favored groups. Political favorites of that time were those who gave the king something in return, or were possibly friends or relatives of the king. Analogous today would be major contributors to political campaigns, either directly or through soft money or volunteer work. Corruption is certain.
The Whigs, and later the Republicans, led by those like Lincoln and Clay, worked hard to institute this system. Like the Jacobins, the Republicans favored this authoritarian agenda even as they couched their rhetoric in the language of freedom, i.e., they thought nothing of lying in order to increase their power (6). To their credit, the Democrats at the time (before they gave up their Jeffersonian roots) stood for the separation of economy (and just about everything else) and state. They were the true liberals (i.e., classical liberals) much as today's libertarians are (7), and fought hard to fend off this major blow to the Constitution and to freedom.
However, once Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860, mercantilism prevailed and the major blow was dealt. Murray Rothbard lists some specifics including, but not limited to, high tariffs, high excise taxes on alcohol and tobacco, railroad subsidies, an income tax (fortunately later repealed), an end to the gold standard, and quasi-nationalization of banks.
Abraham Lincoln was warming up in the bullpen for his second major blow to freedom. The cause of this major blow can be summed up in one word:
Tariffs are Constitutional, of course, although most free market economists oppose them, and this history is good reason to oppose them. Their distortion of the economy is only the beginning of the problems they can cause, and in the case of Lincoln's tariffs, they alienated people so much that it caused a war.
To see how this happened, we need to follow the money, which drifted away from the South toward the North, and to Lincoln cronies.
Prior to Lincoln and Clay's dreadful "American System," the Industrial Revolution had really taken hold in the North and most people were really prospering more than they ever had. In the South, there was an agricultural economy and not much industry, so the South had to bring in a lot of things from elsewhere. They could either buy these things from Northern companies or from overseas. If they bought from overseas they had to pay a tariff, which was purposefully kept high enough to make importation prohibitively expensive. So, all else equal, they could get their supplies cheaper if they bought from the North. Of course, that encouraged Northern businesses to charge higher prices, higher, but not high enough to lose customers back to overseas companies. So, money flowed from the South to the North and its big guys and their mercantilist buddies, who made out like the bandits they were.
Southerners were stuck. Even though the market was most likely free enough that Southerners could build their own factories, they apparently found that it would not pay to do so. For reasons known only to them, they opted not to do this; rather they took other steps to solve the problems they faced due to tariffs.
Left-wingers today who justly complain about corporate power are advised to read up on what happened during the Lincoln administration, as this is when the government went out of Constitutional bounds and formed partnerships with business. Abraham Lincoln and his mentor, Clay, were the main culprits. Most of the tariff money was spent on pork-barrel projects lining establishment pockets even more.
The South was, understandably, alienated by the tariffs, especially in 1828 when the "Tariff of Abominations" was passed. This tariff, which imposed different rates on different goods, was obviously tailored to cater to special interests. This was the last straw for South Carolina, which nullified the tariff in that state.
Nullification of a Federal law by a state was regarded as a Constitutional right up until that time. The Founders were wise enough to realize that any government that is allowed to determine the extent of its own power will eventually assume unlimited power. Even though tariffs are Constitutional for revenue purposes, South Carolina exercised its right to nullify this tariff on the grounds that it would enrich some at the expense of others and that would violate the General Welfare clause (8).
South Carolina had grown impatient and exercised its right because Fort Sumter in Charleston was where most of the tariff was collected, enforced by federal troops stationed there. However, the situation cooled down for a while as the Feds backed down on the tariff in 1832. But things heated up on another front. The mercantilist Whig party went belly-up because of internal disagreements on Western territories and in 1854 the infamous Republican Party was founded by advocates of tariffs and centralization, including Abraham Lincoln and Henry Clay. They also took a divisive stand on slavery in the Western territories. They wanted slavery outlawed in these territories, not because of any anti-slavery beliefs (we already know that Lincoln was a rabid white supremacist who cared not at all if every black person was permanently enslaved [9]) but because they feared that free white labor could not compete with slave labor.
In 1860, the new Republican Party adopted a platform calling for tariffs and "internal improvements" (meaning for making the South pay for Northern pork barrel projects) and it nominated Lincoln as its presidential candidate.
South Carolina became angry again because of this and exercised its right to leave the Union on December 18, 1860. The federal government promised to evacuate Fort Sumter, but instead sent provisions to the troops there. South Carolina fired warning shots. The same kind of thing was happening in Florida at Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay, and Florida also left the Union on January 10, 1861. These seceded states did not want federal troops at these forts any more than the Americans wanted British troops here during the American Revolution.
Lincoln had not been in office even a month before he sent troops to Fort Pickens, by secret executive order bypassing Congress. This was regarded by the South as an act of war, especially since the South had tried to negotiate a settlement. By that time, five more states had left the Union.
In my opinion, the South really had no choice about the firing on Fort Sumter. The right to secede from the Union was beyond question, for there is nothing in the Constitution that said this could not be done. Besides that, these states obviously existed before the Union did. Once they had bowed out, Washington had no more business in their jurisdictions than it had in Canada. But the federal (Northern) government dug in its heels and gave the South no choice but to fire on Fort Sumter.
Four more states seceded as a result of Lincoln's use of military force (10). Lincoln apparently had totally forgotten what he had said only a few years earlier about the right to get rid of an old government and form a new one being a most sacred right (11). This kind of change seems to go with the territory of being in a position of power.
The whole Northern establishment was further galvanized against the South because of jealousy as well. The new Confederate Constitution called for very low (if any) tariffs and very low taxes that, of course, caused the economy to boom in the South and stagnate in the North (12).
But, let's stop here for a general discussion of secession.
The military attack on the South was the beginning of Lincoln's second major blow to liberty. It was the beginning of the end of the United States as a republic, meaning it was the beginning of federal government dominance over the states. This was directly in contradiction of the Tenth Amendment and resulted in the gravitation of political power to the federal (read central) government and away from individuals and localities. Of course, politically, Lincoln had no choice either, because if he allowed secession he might have gone down in history as a weak president. So, to appear strong, he dug in his heels and fought even though it was in total disregard for the supreme law of the land. He engineered the situation in such a way that the South would fire the first shot. Besides that, a war unites and at the time the country was divided, Lincoln was low in the polls, and the Republicans had been whipped pretty badly in elections (13).
The right of a state to secede is based upon the fact that the Union is a voluntary pact among sovereign states. What really gives teeth to this right is the fact the Constitution is silent on the matter and does not deny the right. However, it does say in the Tenth Amendment that the federal government can only do what it is expressly permitted to do, and no more. All other rights are reserved to the states or the people.
Most anti-secessionist arguments come from Lincoln's first Inaugural Address of 1861 (14). He said that every government rejects the idea of its own termination. Well, don't we all? But that does not make anything permanent. Lincoln also claimed that the constitution is a "contract" rather than like a treaty. How? I do not remember signing it. Do you? We could bow out. The people of any state could decide to bow out. He gave other arguments but none can stand up to the Tenth Amendment.
One major argument against secession is that the states implicitly gave up that right when they joined the union. They did? Do we implicitly give up the right to leave any organization when joining? Do we have to call for a vote to be allowed to leave? Since when?
According to anti-secessionists, Union victory in the war settled the issue. I have just shown that it did not. Anti-secessionists also argue that, in Texas vs. White, the Supreme Court settled it. But I think it was wrongfully. The Supreme Court, which is made up of human beings like the rest of us, can be wrong. Even if the issue is settled from a legal standpoint, it is far from settled morally.
In such “settled” matters as the Dred Scott decision, the Supreme Court eventually reversed itself. Scott Peterson has "settled" the issue of Lacie and Connor Peterson's futures, too, but is it right?
The fact that the Constitution is silent on this issue implies to me the right of secession is assumed. As someone who interprets the Constitution very strictly, I believe the right of a state to secede from the Union is absolute and is one right that guards all the other rights of a state and the people in it.
Therefore, when Lincoln "settled" the issue of secession in the manner he did, he dealt the second major blow to liberty, which ended state and hence individual sovereignty.
The sorry state of Lincoln's damage to freedom and decentralization could be left at that, but I would like briefly to describe some of his specific infringements on liberty that were precedent setting.
The South was no threat to the North. Lincoln could have let it go, but he was determined to punish. Congress never declared war, so when Lincoln went to war it was illegal and unconstitutional, besides being uncalled for. (15) John V. Denson, in Reassessing the Presidency, claims that this made Lincoln "America's first dictator" (16). This began a major assault on constitutional rights, beginning with the suspension of habeas corpus and the arrest of a judge who did not agree.
Then, with Southern Congressmen now out of Congress, Lincoln and the Republicans went right to work in enacting the Republican agenda, i.e., the Clay "American System" that we have been saddled with ever since.
Lincoln allowed martial law to be declared and had more than thirteen thousand people arrested in the North without warrants and convicted without any due process in military courts. That is a large number of people, especially when the population was so much lower than it is now. Some of these cases were overturned, but the idea that this can be done in the first place is appalling.
Lincoln also ordered the arrest of state legislators who he feared might vote for secession in their legislatures. Railroads were nationalized, and more than 300 newspapers that opposed his policies were closed.
Some opinions are that these policies started us on the road to imperialism and were the precedent for presidential war powers, which give a president unlimited powers during a war (17). I could add that the end of states' rights is also the end of natural rights, the central government and the president becoming deified.
The above rights violations were, at least in part, the reason that the Cherokee Nation supported the South (18).
On the economic front, Lincoln kept signing more tax and tariff bills. Additionally, his National Currency Acts began central banking which students of economics know causes inflation which is really a back-door tax through money depreciation (19). Bonds were sold. The printing up of new money was deemed necessary to finance the war.
New bureaucracies were set up to administer the new taxes and other areas the rapidly growing government was encroaching upon. The military-industrial complex was born (20). The "imperial presidency" was here.
After the war, the assaults on freedom did not end. The seceded states, once pulled back into the Union, were treated like mere provinces rather than states.
The behavior of the Union soldiers in the South during the war was not to the standards that had been followed by European warriors for about two centuries. These standards called for leaving the civilian population alone (21). It makes sense to leave them alone as, not only are they not involved in the war but a soldier cannot tell which side, if any, a given civilian is on. It is naive to think that every citizen of a country unconditionally supports his or her government in every war. Individuals do have the God-given ability (and right) to think for themselves and there were certainly those Southerners who opposed secession. But Union soldiers, like spoiled brats, purposefully went right ahead and destroyed civilian property and civilians themselves to the equivalent of bombing them back to the stone age.
Union General William Sherman was the worst offender. He allowed (or ordered) troops to commit crimes so dastardly against the Confederate population that even conventional, mainstream history touches on it. This behavior was so unacceptable in the Nineteenth Century that even Sherman himself admitted that according to his West Point training, he could have been executed for it (22).
There were more examples of this sort of thing on the North's part. But, in all fairness, Southern soldiers were not totally innocent either. In fact there probably has never been a war where atrocities against the innocent have been uncommon. This by itself is a good reason to oppose war.
Though President Lincoln possibly did not order the atrocities, he allowed them, which proves yet again that he had no regard for the rights of the individual or any state, meaning no regard for the Constitution except to trot it out when it served his purposes.
I could stop right here as my point is proven. But, I will forge ahead.
Lincoln thought ahead to what he would do about the seceded states after the war. His belief, contrary to the Constitution which was meant to be strictly interpreted, was that secession was impossible; therefore the states had not actually seceded. He seemed to think of them as runaway slaves, to be brought back to his plantation and severely dealt with.
My first response is: Therefore secede again! Lincoln might have thought of that. All he demanded was loyalty oaths from certain people (23). His death occurred before he could do much more, so he cannot be blamed for what the federal government did to the South during reconstruction.
But, because it was his Republican party that was in power, I will briefly list some major rights violations.
After the seceded states had jumped through all the hoops that they were required to by the Andrew Johnson administration (Vice President Johnson had become president upon the death of Lincoln), the reconvened Congress refused to seat the representatives from those states. This refusal was an authoritarian one-size-fits-all, rather than a case-by-case refusal. It was blatantly political. The Republicans wanted to stay in power. The same goes for their plans for the enfranchisement of the freedmen. This had less to do with fairness than it did with bolstering the Republican vote.
It was the passage of the Fourteenth Amendment that was the worst thing the federal government did after the war. Now, the Fourteenth Amendment had some really good content such as "equal protection of the laws" and other superior ideas. But my focus here is not on the content of the Amendment. Regardless of the merit of the ideas, it is still inimical to freedom because, for one thing, it set yet another precedent for federal power over the states. The states were compelled to adopt the ideas therein. If the states were compelled to follow the Fourteenth Amendment, then no telling what the federal government could and would shove down their throats later on behalf of this amendment, not to mention other federal laws that might be passed.
Another reason to oppose it was the way the Fourteenth Amendment was "passed." Only one in the eleven former Confederate states would ratify it.
In response, Lincoln's Republicans passed some laws that would call for martial law and military governors in the other ten states until they "ratified" the Amendment, among other things. This means that, morally, the Amendment is null and void having been ratified involuntarily. Even if the forced ratification could morally count, voting irregularities would make it illegal anyway (24).
To his credit, President Johnson vetoed these means of coercion, the Reconstruction Acts, on the grounds that they only proved the point the Southerners made when they seceded in the first place. Of course, he was right. Over-ridden, but right (25).
President Johnson made some statements that were leaning very heavily in the libertarian direction and make me wonder how he ever became Lincoln's running mate. Perhaps this "balanced ticket" nonsense showed that then, as now, stands on issues took a back seat to party loyalty.
To recap, Abraham Lincoln was the worst Nineteenth Century American enemy of liberty because of the two major blows he dealt to liberty.
One was the replacement of the relatively free market that had brought about unprecedented economic prosperity for the common person with the tired old mercantilist system that favored government and establishment interests at the expense of the common person.
A person who has not studied economics will counter that people were far poorer before the Lincoln administration than they were after. This is true, but the reason is the technological progress we have made thanks to inventive individuals who could envision cheaper and more efficient ways of getting consumer needs satisfied. Harnessing electricity for light and power tools, the internal combustion engine for faster transport, refrigeration for comfort and food preservation, the telephone and the computer chip are but a few of the thousands of ideas that have come to fruition thanks to individuals who think and take the initiative.
And, more is to follow if there is sufficient freedom. The above improvements will become obsolete as new ones are developed to serve consumer wants better. A clean environment is one thing that consumers demand, and if government will just get out of the way, inventors and entrepreneurs will rise to that challenge.
The American people were still relatively independent, self-reliant, and frugal in the Nineteenth Century. They had the insight to save and invest for the future and enough freedom left to make it possible to do so. A large portion of the gross national product was invested in capital goods (tools of production), creating higher productivity (26).
Mercantilism and its sibling, the welfare state, have done nothing at all to bring any of that about. In fact, mercantilism has curbed progress by its many taxes, regulations and prohibitions.
So, when we are discussing how the Lincoln administration affected prosperity, we must not compare the economic well-being of before Lincoln to that of after Lincoln. Rather, we must compare what we have to what we would have had if the market had remained free. We do not know what we would have had, but we would have had a lot more than we have except for the number of hours necessary to work in order to feed our families.
The other major blow dealt by Lincoln was the blow to state and individual sovereignty in favor of a more powerful federal government. Power and money started their gravitation to Washington and this trend has never slowed down. States are now stuck in the Union, like it or not, and are ruled from Washington. The common person has no real voice as he or she might at the state or local level, since it is impossible to get one voice heard in Washington. The person's money does go there, by force, in large amounts.
We are not a free country today as a result.
(1) Woods, Thomas E., The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Regnery Publishing, 2004, Washington, D.C., P. 66-67.
(2) Rothbard, Murray N. Man, Economy and State, with Power and Market, Scholars' Edition, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2004, Auburn, Ala., P.47-52 ff.
(3) Rothbard, Murray N. Making Economic Sense, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1995, Auburn, P. 183-184. Hallmarks of mercantilism are big government, high taxes, large bureaucracies, and massive regulation, the point of which is monopolies, cartels, and subsidies to favored groups.
(4) Denson, John, ed. Reassessing the Presidency, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001, Auburn, P.203-204.
(5) Ibid, P. 211
(6) Denson, John, ed. The Costs of War: America's Pyrrhic Victories, Transaction Publishers, 1998, New Brunswick, P. 159.
(7) See
(8) Woods, P. 37-40
(9) Denson, Reassessing the Presidency, P. 242-243.
(10) Woods, P. 61.
(11) Ibid, P. 63.
(12) Denson, Reassessing the Presidency, P. 252.
(13) Ibid, P. 250.
(14) Dorf, Michael C. "Does the Constitution Permit the Blue States to Secede? With Permission, Perhaps; Unilaterally, No."
(15) Denson, Reassessing the Presidency, P.270.
(16) Ibid, P. 274.
(17) Ibid, P. 280.
(18) Woods, P. 70-71.
(19) DiLorenzo, Thomas J. "An Abolitionist Defends the South."
(20) Denson, The Costs of War, P. 28-31.
(21) Woods, P. 71-73.
(22) Woods, P. 73.
(23) Woods, P. 77.
(24) Woods, P. 88-89.
(25) Woods, P. 86-87.
(26) Higgs, Robert, Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government, Oxford University Press, 1987, New York, P. 79.

The Worst 20th Century American Enemy of Liberty

Following the disastrous Lincoln era, the country stepped back and reinstated certain liberties, but certainly not to the extent that liberty was completely restored. The income tax and the draft were repealed and the central bank was closed. Posse Comitatus came into being and the Bill of Rights was partially revived (1).
The people of the late Nineteenth Century had all of that to be thankful for, but thanks to Lincoln's never-ending legacy, the country had begun its decline into despotism.
As the Twentieth Century began, a parade of liberty's fierce enemies began. It was very difficult to decide who would be the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twentieth Century. After the century began, we were once again saddled with the income tax (this time for good), the Federal Reserve (this time for good also) and the draft (off and on), and added to that were Federal prohibition of alcohol (partially lifted) and narcotics, Federal control of foods and drugs, "progressive education" (pretty Neanderthal in my opinion), curbs on other personal behavior, an imperialist foreign policy, censorship (again) and the incarceration of dissidents (again).
It was indeed very difficult to decide who was the worst enemy as it took many to fool the public into believing that the above were improvements and to institute them.
My pick for the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twentieth Century was a man who landed two more fierce blows to liberty, right into the fist-prints of Abraham Lincoln. A part of one of these blows hit home to me personally, and I consider this to be a major detriment to my entire life.
That man was Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
If I believed in reincarnation, which being a Christian I do not, I would be positive that these men, along with the worst American enemy of liberty in the Twenty-first Century so far, were one and the same. They certainly all have the big-government, imperialist mentality.
There are many specific comparisons between Lincoln and Roosevelt (2). They could both use rhetoric to sway large numbers of people. They both oversaw, and won, great wars that have been shown to be unjust, and of course wars always unite the majority who do not have time to or will not question the government propaganda.
The most important thing the two had in common was how they ruled the country. There is no doubt in my mind that FDR studied Lincoln and took many pages out of his book, but not having been there, not having been anywhere at the time in fact, there is nothing specific that I know.
Franklin Roosevelt's first mighty blow to liberty, like Lincoln's, was economic. However, unlike Lincoln, he did not deal the blows quite simultaneously, even though they did overlap.
When Roosevelt came to office in 1933, the Great Depression had begun. We now know, of course, that the stock market crash in 1929 was caused by the Federal Reserve's intervention in the economy in the form of bank credit expansion (3). I will not dwell on that, but if it is not generally known it should be.
Republican Herbert Hoover was president at that time and he dove right in with interventions which were picked up and expanded on in 1933 by President Roosevelt and these interventions caused the Depression to go on and on for about seventeen years. History books say that it went on for about ten years, but in my opinion that is wrong. Reasons will be given below.
It is an establishment article of faith that Roosevelt's interventions in the economy (actually a government takeover of the economy plus significant infringements on civil liberties) "saved capitalism from itself." On the contrary, the great economist Murray Rothbard shows that an unfettered economy would have prevented the problem in the first place, but the economy was anything but unfettered. This "saved capitalism from itself" would be stand-up comic material if it were not so serious. First of all "saving from itself" is an insult to the intelligence of anyone who has any marginal brain activity as it makes no sense at all. Secondly, what capitalism? Ever since Henry Clay's "American System" had been ushered in by Lincoln, capitalism (which really means laissez faire) had been at least partly stomped out in favor of mercantilism.
Mercantilism had been built upon steadily, especially since the turn of the Twentieth Century and had laid the groundwork for Roosevelt's nearly fatal blows to liberty.
Dr. Rothbard points out (4) that if a depression or recession does occur, the best way to alleviate its effects and restore normality as quickly as possible is to keep government's hands off. Roosevelt (and Hoover before him) must have had a premonition of Rothbard and the other great economist, Ludwig von Mises, as he did the very things that they said would deepen and prolong the Great Depression. Had he wanted to worsen the situation and gravitate wealth and power toward establishment interests (as Lincoln did), he couldn't have done a better job.

The Great Depression was the crisis that Roosevelt used to rally support for what was called the "New Deal," a militaristic and corporatistic top-down regimentation of the entire economy that was modeled after the fascist Mussolini system in Italy (5). As power was centralized in the federal government, graduates of "progressive education" rallied behind it. But, there were those on the right and the left who were independent enough to oppose it, and since FDR just happened to be a Democrat, those are now called the "old right." Ironically, Roosevelt warned the country that if these dissidents got their way and turned the country away from his Mussolini-type course, it would put the country at risk for fascism.
As a staunch believer that rights come from God and accrue to the sovereign individual, and that the ownership of (and therefore complete control over) one's body along with one's real and personal property is the chief of these unalienable rights, meaning I, as a libertarian, hardly know where to begin when discussing Franklin Delano Roosevelt's "New Deal"! It must have been a libertarian's worst nightmare (6).
The entire program was harm heaped upon harm to individuals. And, obviously, since society is made up of individuals, to harm individuals is to harm society as a whole. Insult was literally added to injury when the American people were told that all of this was "for their own good." The harm continues to this day in both general and specific ways.
The general harm that continues to this day that has stood out in my mind over my whole life is the attitude of the American people toward paternalistic authority or the "nanny state." A loss of freedom for more "security" is welcomed. If something is mandated or prohibited for reasons of health, safety, or financial security, people welcome government intervention rather than resent it. I believe this is a sickly, not a healthy, way of looking at things, and I believe the Founders would agree with me on that. I also believe the turning point from individual self-reliance to the seeking of government protection came during the Roosevelt years, the seeds having been sewn by "progressive education," (in quotes because it was neither progressive nor education).
This does not mean that a person who participates in voluntary society is dependent. Far from it. The person who takes the initiative to buy, sell, trade, and seek pleasure by interacting with other unique individuals is just as independent as the recluse. But this initiative is often lacking today, as people wait for or consult government (or lawyers) to tell them what they can and cannot do. They don't trust themselves to understand the difference between right and wrong and think things through for themselves.
As for a specific example of how the New Deal still forces individuals into dependency to this day, I will come to that later as I show how I have personally been gravely harmed, and so have you if you have a speck of independence.
Back to the New Deal itself: It was a whole slew of economic fallacies that aggravated and prolonged the Great Depression. As an advocate of the gold standard I will begin with Roosevelt's treatment of gold. A gold standard serves as an anchor of sorts, keeping the ship of monetary policy from drifting into currents of a wildly fluctuating (usually rising) money supply. Of course, a greater money supply does not cause prosperity. What causes prosperity is a greater supply of goods and services. Absent those, being knee-deep in dollar bills will not help. Dr. Rothbard treats this subject very well as I have pointed out.
Roosevelt abandoned the gold standard, thereby cutting the chain to the anchor. The whole idea of that was to raise prices in the marketplace, a counterproductive and wrong-headed approach per Rothbard. Up until this time, gold coins had been our standard money (7). Not only that, the Federal government confiscated (euphemistically "bought") all gold, except for jewelry, fillings, and the like from the people.
One thing I would like to find out about this gold confiscation is why anyone in his or her right mind obeyed. Any reader who can remember back that far and can tell me that is welcome to contact me. It seems to me that, defiant attitude aside, it would be in one's economic self-interest to hide the gold for profitable sale later.
Also came the abominable Agricultural Adjustment Act (or AAA) and the National Recovery Administration (or NRA) that turned the entire economy into a couple of government-run cartels with all of the efficiency of the Postal Service and all of the compassion of the Internal Revenue Service. These, as I stated, were modeled after the Italian fascist system.
The purpose of the AAA was to cartelize agricultural markets and the purpose of the NRA was to cartelize industrial markets. This cartelization stifled competition, which is essential to bringing higher quality goods at lower prices to consumers. And, during the Great Depression, people were actually going hungry, so lower prices and a greater abundance of goods were particularly important to consumers.
However, true to the bogus economic hypotheses of John Maynard Keynes and against the wisdom of the great economist Ludwig von Mises, and against my own simple logic, the Roosevelt administration was determined to increase government, raise prices, and cut productivity.
I do not believe I need to tell you why raising prices and cutting productivity during a depression is idiotic. But I might need to point out that increased government spending is wrong. It is because the taxes required will decrease individuals' ability to save and invest, which helps to end a depression. (Taxation also, obviously, takes away money they may need for the necessities of life.) (8)
The methods employed to cut productivity need to be pointed out. Not only did this keep food, clothing and other goods away from the needy, but it was also a very severe infringement on civil liberties. Thomas DiLorenzo points out in Reassessing the Presidency that detailed and hairsplitting rules and regulations were made that were strictly enforced with severe penalties. Work hours were curtailed in productive (private) sectors while cushy jobs were handed out to favorites in the non-productive (government) sector. One of the single worst instances was, while children were going hungry, the government was paying farmers with their parents' money to burn crops and slaughter livestock. This was a PR disaster, of course, so they began to pay farmers to not produce in the first place (9) or to meticulously regulate the crops allowed. (10)
Fortunately, for the country, we had a Supreme Court at that time (before FDR managed to pack it) that had a small handle on freedom. In 1935, after government tactics gave rise to a protest (there were still enough people then who still believed in freedom), the Supreme Court ruled that both the AAA and the NRA were unconstitutional. But this did not at all faze the worst Twentieth Century American enemy of freedom.
Undaunted, President Roosevelt forged on towards destruction with his "Second New Deal." This brought on a host of new assaults on the badly beaten economy and comatose freedom. This time it was aimed at the average wage earner. I hardly know where to begin, but let us begin with something most people favor, and that is the Fair Labor Standards Act, which decreed a minimum wage.
Now, we all want to see wages rise, and under the minimum wage, some wages will rise. However, other wages will go down to zero as some employees will be laid off because employers no longer find it worthwhile to hire them. These employees are the very people who need work the most. Now, with this law, they are prohibited from working at wages below the minimum. They have two choices: to find someone who will hire them at the higher wage or not to work at all. They always had these choices, along with the choice to work at the lower wage. Now the third choice has been taken away which hurts those who would have made that choice for one reason or another (usually because they just could not find anything better). Unemployment is the result of the minimum wage.
A corollary to that was the National Labor Relations Act (aka the Wagner Act) which gave special privileges to labor unions. Of course, special privilege for one means an infringement on the rights of another. One special privilege the unions received under this act was to be able to compel someone to join the union. No club, church, or sewing circle that I know of can do that. It would be unthinkable because you and I have the right not to join. However, this union special privilege takes away this right not to join. The unions could make workers in their particular trade join, they could make employers allow union officials trespass on employers' private property to look at employers' books, they could mete out damage and injury with impunity, and they could do more. In other words, unions were (and still are to a large extent) above the law. At the same time, government control over labor relations was basically similar to that under Hitler and Mussolini (11).
The state (meaning the Roosevelt administration), along with its establishment cronies benefited greatly to the major detriment of everyone else.
And, that boils down to one thing: The individual, the building block of the whole thing, simply did not count under Roosevelt. All this effort that was (allegedly, anyway, that is if you believe Roosevelt was really trying to improve things) put into lifting society from depression was for naught because individuals were ignored. Individuals always pursue their own and their families' interest, but they were kept from doing so in the name of society, and, of course, because society is the individuals in it, society was not helped.
Another program, but the last one I will touch upon here (there are many more and I could write a whole book), is the dread Social Security Act which dealt a terrible blow to freedom of Americans yet unborn, and insulted their intelligence besides. This is the thing that adversely affected me personally, possibly more than any other single thing.
The best I can muster to say about Social Security is that it is a Ponzi scheme. It takes earnings out of the pockets of younger workers and gives this money to retirees (that is, what is left of the money after a hefty overhead). It is actually a transfer program, but what we are told about the program is an insult twice over.
First, we are told that the money taken from younger workers is held in a "trust fund" to be given back to them over time after they retire. This is insulting, first, because we are expected to believe this when we know, or should know, full well that it is really a transfer program whereby the money goes directly from worker to retiree, with a hefty percentage going for administration, meaning to government bureaucrats who do not produce any real goods or services. We need to keep in mind that government jobs destroy private sector jobs (12). In the Social Security "fund" there are only IOU's (13).
Secondly, it is insulting because the program is compulsory and we are told it is for our own good. Individuals have the God-given right to make that decision. If an individual puts that money in a bank account, even with interest rates as they are right now in early 2005, very low, he will be ahead of the game financially. After all, it is the individual's responsibility to look ahead, and if one fails to do that, there are churches and charities to help. Proper tax reform would fill up those offering plates.
We also need to remember two promises made to us at the beginning of Social Security. One was a ceiling on the amount to be taken, which was 3 percent. The other was that the Social Security number would never be used as a national identification number. We all know what happened to both of these promises, and most other government promises.
Another thing that most people do not seem to understand is that we are told that our employer must kick in a matching contribution and that is a "freebie." It is not a freebie, since, to make our employment worthwhile to our employer, we must produce enough to cover the cost of this employer contribution.
I personally deeply resented this intrusion into my life, but found no way to both earn an honest living and opt out of Social Security without sacrificing other principles even dearer to me. So, the harm was done and I am that much worse off. Money that could have been saved and invested over the years is gone and so are opportunities to do some good with it. Will I get anything back? For years I assumed that would not, but now it looks like I might get something back. And, if I do, true to a vow I made when I learned there was no way to avoid being harmed so much "for my own good," I will make sure every penny of it goes to one or more organizations that are actively fighting to restore our liberty in general, and this liberty in particular (14).
I am determined that this particular harm will be turned around to do something good, no matter what.
Meanwhile, the New Deal(s) sank the country even deeper. Government spending grew which, as I stated, made things worse because money spent by government bureaucrats cannot also be spent according to consumer preferences in the private sector. Government spending "crowds out" private spending in areas which the consumers have decided are the more important areas. Plus, government spending is just that: spending (meaning consumption). Government propaganda notwithstanding, it is not investment or saving, both of which are actually of paramount importance for lifting an economy out of a depression (15). Therefore, reduced government spending and tax cuts are called for, but true to form, the Roosevelt administration did not do that. Rather, it taxed and taxed, spent and spent, creating many pork barrel projects (16).
The pork projects were typical as they were aimed at Western swing states during election time rather than the poorer Southern states that were Roosevelt strongholds (17). In other words, like pork barrel projects from the sorry beginning of organized civil governments, their real purpose was to aggrandize establishment interests.
In fact, the entire New Deal was political! It had to be. Roosevelt had all those advisers, and anyone who has studied even freshman-level economics understands that there is no way for such a program to improve the economy. This is not rocket science.
The second major blow dealt to liberty by Roosevelt was very similar to that of Lincoln, only it was very likely worse.
It was the U.S. participation in World War II, a war that was totally unnecessary and actually caused by our totally unnecessary and wrongful participation in World War I.
What happened was that our participation in World War I and our signing of the Treaty of Versailles gave rise to Hitler (18), and Roosevelt really dug in his heels on the Treaty, thus making some Treaty opponents sympathetic to Hitler. Eventually it resulted in the declaration of war on the part on England and France. After Roosevelt's campaign promises not to do so, he and Winston Churchill conspired to draw the U.S. into the war in a Lincolnesque manner by falsifying information, tampering with elections and other means (19), not to mention provoking Germany and then provoking Japan into the first shot at Pearl Harbor (20). I think it is generally known now (or at least it should be) that Roosevelt knew that was coming and even provoked it, just as Lincoln anticipated and provoked the attack on Fort Sumter. In fact, I would highly recommend chapter 16, "Roosevelt and the First Shot: A Study of Deceit and Deception" in Reassessing the Presidency. This gives a complete and well-documented rundown of why and how Roosevelt provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and saw it coming.
Over a year before Pearl Harbor was hit, and once Hitler had conquered France, polls were showing that the American people were very afraid of Hitler and preferred our getting into war to allowing him to win a war with England (21). While Roosevelt wanted to get into a war and the "progressively educated" populace sheepishly followed, some dissented. Many of these dissenters were the same people who realized how unworkable and downright wrong-headed the New Deal was. Of course these people were demonized and some wound up in prison.
Roosevelt wanted to get into the war "to help the British" defeat Germany for the usual reasons presidents get into wars, which is to increase their power and prestige. He was also interested in help from Britain to get a world organization started. This was something just about all libertarians, including myself, fiercely oppose: the United Nations. We see it as a threat to our national sovereignty and to the supreme law of the land, the U.S. Constitution.
After the "surprise" attack on Pearl Harbor, Roosevelt formed a commission to investigate what happened that allowed the attack. The commission was to investigate it at the Hawaii end only, and not at the Washington end, where provocation and anticipation of the attack were known (22). The cover-up continued on and on (23). The top military officers who were in charge were scapegoated, but posthumously exonerated.
All those people, more than 2,000 (24), were killed that day because Franklin Delano Roosevelt had become a power-hungry, imperial president and had dealt a severe blow to the face of liberty in the fist-print of Abraham Lincoln. He would have said he "haaaaad" to go to war, and "haaaaad" to impose all the economic policies, thus sounding like a sheep.
Had we stayed out of World War II, maybe two of the worst dictatorships that the world has ever seen (Hitler and Stalin) would have fought until they both went belly up, saving the lives and life-styles of millions and making world peace a possibility.
Of course, what was going on here at home during the war could only be described as a dictatorship. International (imperial, or world police) power is not the only reason a president would want to get into war, as we saw during the Lincoln discussion. Lincoln had set the dangerous precedent of presidential war powers at home and Roosevelt exercised these unconstitutional powers to the fullest extent. It was not that difficult. The economy had been regimented through most of the 1930s and the "progressively educated" populace bought into the myths about the New Deal being the solution to the Great Depression and about U.S. entry into World War II being what finally ended the Depression.
The Depression was not over by any means. People were still having grave difficulties, and the only reason the unemployment rate went way down was because so many men went to war and so many other people were hired to administer the bureaucracies. This did not end the Depression any more than throwing a rock through a window will bolster an economy when it gives a window-repair person a day's work. The idea that war is good for an economy is what Nineteenth Century classical liberal economist
Frédéric Bastiat called the Broken Window Fallacy (25). The American people were ignorant of sound economic policies and woefully ignorant of the great libertarian principles of the Founders. They had become used to being told what to do and were now totally united behind the president, at least as far as the war was concerned. Of course, people are prone to human nature, and the cost of the war was always passed to someone else whenever possible (26).
So, Roosevelt and his accomplices got away with everything a power-monger could ever want. They lost no time in exercising "war powers" and covering up the cost.
Of course, those who decided to get into war were not the same people who were to fight it. If they were to go themselves, maybe they would have taken a more sensible approach. Rather, in the same spirit as the years of economic compulsion, the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, or the male draft, was passed. Some groups of men were exempt, public officials being one. (Wonder why?) In addition, the Act called for businesses to fill government orders on a priority basis, a possible eminent domain-like proceeding being a penalty along with fines and jail time.
The draft involuntary servitude was also used to shame the rest of the citizenry into sacrifices on the grounds that their sacrifices were "lesser."
So much for civil liberties.
On the economic front (although, as pointed out, the draft law did impact businesses), the Federal government got itself involved in every aspect of business. In fact, in many areas it was downright socialist. Roosevelt tried to tell the American people that the loss of life, limb, and property were not a sacrifice, but a "privilege." With privilege like that, who needs Communism? In fact, with privilege like that, it is time for individuals to assert their rights!
And, just as they were in Communist Russia and Nazi Germany, these "privileges" were backed up by iron-fisted methods. Congress compliantly gave Roosevelt the powers he was craving. We had a full-blown socialist command economy (27).
The cost of all of this to government was enormous. So, rather than raise taxes, which would have been poor in the PR department, the government inflated the currency. One or the other has to be done to cover deficit spending. Inflation actually is a hidden tax. Then the government tried to hide inflation by way of price controls (28), while it continued its drunken-sailor spending on the military, bringing about the military industrial complex as it crushed the economy and dished out more power to the president (29).
It cost the average person even more. Of course price ceilings always produce shortages. So, when wages were exempt from the ceilings, mainly to please unions, causing more unemployment, regular people were not helped. Rationing was tried as a solution, but that only gave rise to favoritism and corruption on the part of handpicked members of rationing boards. At the end of the day, the government was making all decisions, and the military came first.
I had a co-worker who was a pre-schooler at that time. Like so many small children, she had an ear infection. Penicillin had just been introduced and this would have cured a painful earache. However, it was not available to little children. Soldiers came first. Soldiers who should never have been in a war that should never have happened got priority over innocent children who could have been maimed for life. This is an example of how government decision-making can affect an individual.
And to think that all this authoritarian centralization was for the purpose of whipping National Socialism!
And, unlike their brave actions taken when they struck down some New Deal programs as unconstitutional, this time the Supreme Court did nothing to defend freedom! Of course, by that time Roosevelt had packed the Court with his own collectivist appointees.
And as far as state nullification was concerned, that had been long forgotten!
The most outrageous act of the Supreme Court justices, however, was when they turned their back on 110,000 men, women, and children of Japanese ancestry (and others), most of whom were law-abiding American citizens (30). This was truly an all-time low.
President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066 that would take three years of life away from these 110,000 people by sending them to internment camps with absolutely no due process of law whatsoever, no opportunity to protest, and almost no time at all to get ready (31). This act was proof positive that Franklin Delano Roosevelt had absolutely no regard for the rights of the individual and thought in terms of collectives, just as Abraham Lincoln had done before him in his attitudes toward the blacks. This is racism, pure and simple, and this and all other types of collectivism are entirely wrong.
What is truly the most incredible thing about the internment of these law-abiding Americans is that while I was growing up in the Northeast, we kids were never even told this had happened. Of course, I cannot remember the actual time, but when I was in grade school it was not really that long after World War II.
I am positive that why we were not told is that the schools were constantly praising our great government's gallant defense of freedom. I went to public school through junior high and firmly believe that my time would have been better spent swinging on tree branches like a monkey. Even an 8-year-old in second or third grade could easily see a major disconnect between the internment and the alleged defense of freedom.
But what of the adults? What did they know? I have not done so yet, but I will be asking my elderly relatives about this later this year when I visit the Northeast. Now, I know that the generation of the day was profoundly obedient, thanks largely to "progressive education" (read one-size-fits-all mass indoctrination in "good citizenship," group first, cooperation, team playing, and other such collectivist nonsense), and either the lapdog news media did not report the internment at all or sugar-coated it the best they could.
The government can twist around the news in such a way as to get people to go along. It did under Lincoln (non-conforming editors faced prison), and now it was doing so under Roosevelt. But internment camps? Perhaps they were less crowded, cleaner, and more comfortable than Auschwitz, perhaps families were not separated, and perhaps more food and medicine were available, but the people were confined there, like it or not so, realistically, this was a major violation of rights that cannot possibly be justified.
Once the war was over, the peace dividend kicked in and the Great Depression finally lifted. Much of the government intervention in the economy ended as did the use (waste) of time and resources on war materials and the populace, with unspent money, started to save, invest, and spend. Of course, Roosevelt was out of office in early 1945 to the immense joy of freedom lovers, not that Truman was a model libertarian, but at least "that man" was gone.
Fortunately at that time, most people still understood the benefits of frugality, so they did not spend all they had; rather they put a lot of their money into banks to be invested in capital. The rest of their money, what did not go to charity (Europe was in desperate need of help and Americans were very generous) was spent on needed items, which were snapped up as they rolled off the assembly lines.
The left will be quick to point out that women, who had done a top-notch job filling in for men at work while the men were overseas, were let go from these jobs in many cases when the men returned. While this must be judged on a case-by-case basis, I do agree that there is a major issue here in light of the fact that women can do everything men can do (aside from those requiring more muscular strength on average). However, we must remember that over time people have since learned to be more realistic.
Unfortunately, we did not live happily ever after. People had been trained to do what their government told them to do. The federal government made many inroads in the demise of liberty, which included a precedent for confining large numbers of law-abiding citizens in camps, and paved the way for bigger and worse things. Government was bigger and more powerful than it ever had been in the U.S., and big government was here to stay.
President Roosevelt was not content with confining his quest for power to the U.S. He wanted to rule the world!
It was Franklin Delano Roosevelt who introduced the country to intrusive international policy and globalism (32) just as Lincoln introduced it to the mercantilist economic system. Woodrow Wilson, the other main contender for worst Twentieth Century American enemy of liberty, had entered and fought World War I to "make the world safe for democracy" and proceeded to make the world impossible for freedom. Now, during the trouncing of Americans' economic and civil liberties nearly to death, Roosevelt wanted to export the whole thing. He determined to do a couple of terrible things: to establish the United Nations that, as we know, would later push and be pushed by the establishment to become a world government (subordinating our Constitution), and to make major concessions to Communist dictator Stalin, who was in the process of killing by starvation, execution, and by other means tens and scores of millions of people and impoverishing hundreds of millions more.
Roosevelt, like Lincoln, was power-hungry, and he admired (and perhaps envied) Stalin. He covered up for Stalin a particularly gruesome atrocity that took place in 1939, called the Katyn Forest Massacre, in which the Russians murdered 15,000 Polish soldiers for no reason and then left their bodies there. Years later they were found by the Germans. When the Red Cross wanted to investigate, Roosevelt suppressed it (33). For all we know, this is not the only such incident. For every such thing that sees the light of day, we do not know how many remain hidden. Sugar-coating rights violations in Russia made it possible for the American people to accept the Soviet Union as an ally.
The U.S. extended material aid to Russia during the war through Roosevelt's "Lend-Lease" proposal to send arms and supplies to them with no strings attached.
And, of course, all this time he was lying about his intentions of getting into the war. He swore up and down that he would stay out, even as he was looking for an excuse to get in. Once that excuse came, American taxpayers, whose children were crying for food and medicine, not only had to finance that, but also had to finance increased aid to the Soviet Union.
And, once in the war, Roosevelt talked of a German "unconditional surrender" which prompted Hitler to dig in his heels. Japan also would not consider "unconditional surrender." Clearly, Roosevelt wanted to get into war and stay there. He played with the lives of people all over the world to stay in the war and to please his buddy Stalin. As a result, half of the world's population wound up under the yoke of Communism (34) and there was no way that much, if any, of the rest could be described as "free." Everybody (except top establishment cronies) was poorer as a result.
Some historians claim that Roosevelt had naively been sucked in by Stalin, but my opinion is that Roosevelt had hordes of advisors at his service, and if I can figure this out, he could. There is no excuse for either Roosevelt or Lincoln.
To fight and win that war and to establish the U.N. (which did not happen until later, of course, but it did happen), which were Roosevelt's goals, along with his idea of the U.S. as the world's policeman to keep Communism at bay, were most detrimental to liberty.
In closing, Roosevelt's mighty blows to liberty were, in the fist prints of Lincoln, first in authoritarian, collectivist, centralist domestic policy which devastated individual liberty in the U.S., and second in imperialist, interventionist warmongering which caused the deaths of hundreds of millions, destroyed unknown amounts of property, and shattered or at least reduced individual liberty all over the world (35). His legacy is deeply reflected in the platforms of both branches of the Authoritarian Party.
(1) Gregory, Anthony, "Are Current Bill of Rights Erosions Unprecedented?"
(2) North, Gary, "Lincoln and FDR"
(3) Rothbard, Murray, America's Great Depression, Richardson and Snyder, 1983, New York. The whole book, especially Chapter 1. If you read only one thing to understand economic upturns, downturns, booms, recessions, and depressions, please make sure it is this chapter. You can read this and other great books online at Also see other works by Dr. Rothbard such as What Has Government Done to Our Money? and The Case Against the Fed. To obtain these, see "catalog" at
(4) Ibid P. 25-26
(5) Denson, John V., ed., Reassessing the Presidency, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2001, Auburn, Ala., P.435.
(6) Ibid, Chapter 15. The entire chapter, "Franklin Delano Roosevelt's New Deal" by Thomas DiLorenzo, gives a very good rundown of all the various New Deal programs.
(7) Ibid P.434. Also Rothbard, Murray N., Making Economic Sense, Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1995, Auburn, Ala., P. 298-300.
(8) Rothbard, America's Great Depression, P. 28.
(9) Denson, P. 434.
(10) Rothbard, Making Economic Sense, P. 85-88. Some of these rules were still in effect when Dr. Rothbard published his book, and may still be now, thanks to government-enforced farm cartels.
(11) Denson, P. 441.
(12) Ibid. P. 443.
(13) (Please make sure you pick up the entire URL) Adamo, Christopher G., "Why Liberals Abhor True Social Security Reform" explains this. Problem is, he seems to favor President Bush's plan that will, I think, only make matters worse.
(14) One might simply refuse to accept the money, which I did consider. But why leave it in the hands of those who would spend it to kill Iraqi kids or perpetuate the insane war on drugs? So I will apply for it. Yes, you do have to apply for it, and you start 3 months before you become eligible by calling the nearest Social Security office.
(15) Rothbard, America's Great Depression spells this out very well.
(16) Denson, P. 444-445.
(17) Ibid, P. 446.
(18) Higgs, Robert, Crisis and Leviathan, Oxford University Press, 1987, New York, P. 198.
(19) Denson, P. 486-491.
(20) Denson, P. 496-501. Also see Woods, Thomas E. Jr., A Politically Incorrect Guide to American History, Regnery Publishing, Inc., 2004, Washington, D.C., P. 174-176.
(21) Higgs, P. 199.
(22) Denson, P. 515.
(23) Ibid, P. 515-517. In this important chapter, Denson (the book editor who wrote this chapter) credits Robert B. Stinnett's Day of Deceit: The Truth about FDR and Pearl Harbor with bringing this to the light of day.
(24) Woods, P. 181.
(25) Hazlitt, Henry, Economics in One Lesson, Laissez Faire Books, 1996, San Francisco, P. 11-12. A very good beginning book on economics that appeals to reason, aimed at the rugged individualist.
(26) Higgs, P. 198. This whole chapter is an excellent source of information on Roosevelt's wartime domestic policies.
(27) Ibid, P. 204-211.
(28) Rothbard, America's Great Depression, P. 29
(29) Higgs, P. 212.
(30) Ibid, P. 225.
(31),GGLD:2004-6,GGLD:en&q=%22Executive+Order+9066%22 There is a wealth of information here.
(32) Denson, Reassessing the Presidency, P. 528.
(33) Ibid, P. 530.
(34) Ibid, P. 542.
(35) Woods, Chapter 14, entire chapter.

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

The Worst 21st Century American Enemy of Liberty So Far

There is one particular person who stands out in the early Twenty-first Century whom I designated as the worst American enemy of liberty so far. I say "so far" because the century is young and I greatly fear that a worse enemy of liberty will come along. The worst American enemy of liberty in the Twenty-first Century so far is such a formidable enemy that I really don't see how there could be a worse one later, but I have learned that no matter how bad things get, things can always get worse. (Of course, they can and do get better, too, and we can always hope for that.)
I was born at a time when the Republican Party was on a liberty kick. I cut my libertarian teeth on a strong support of Barry Goldwater for president in 1964. I read everything he wrote and it seemed that the word "individual" appeared in every line.
This, to me, was conservative Republicanism. Well, history was my worst subject in school, juxtaposed to lunch and gym. And it is just as well, because history was taught the way the establishment wanted it to be taught.
Obviously I have learned a great deal since then, and most of it I have relayed in this series. The Republican Party is anything but conservative, much less libertarian (that is, if conservatism is conserving the libertarian principles of the Founders). Except with that little one-night stand with freedom, the GOP has always gone out of its way to complete its own founding mission: to end the Founders' principles and replace them with the contrary, i.e. authoritarian, centralized, mercantilist, ever-growing, strong, top-down government. In fact, in 2004, the House of Representatives overwhelming passed a resolution praising Franklin Roosevelt and his legacy. The GOP had a majority and the clout to stop something like that, but they didn't. Disgracefully, only four Republicans joined libertarian Ron Paul (R-Texas) in voting against it (1).
The Republican Party found the person who can best promote its mission.
That person is the worst Twenty-first Century American enemy of freedom so far.
The worst Twenty-first Century enemy of liberty so far is the President of the United States, George W. Bush!
I am going to try not to make a long dissertation of this segment, although so much comes into my e-mail box, and even the mainstream news, every day that shows how hard President Bush and his administration are working to take more freedom away, that I could literally go on for years.
There is really no need to do more than point out some rather randomly selected examples of freedom lost in the past four years under this administration. Of course, under Clinton freedom sank. In fact, during Clinton’s term I looked forward to seeing him out. Little did I know! This is why I know enough to say that Bush is the worst enemy of freedom "so far." I thought Clinton was rock bottom, but he was far from that.
But, under Bush, our freedom has been falling like a stone thrown out of an airplane. Because we are all living with this administration, seeing it on TV, hearing it on the radio, and reading about it in the papers, and, I fervently pray, reading about it on the Internet, I do not need to relate a blow-by-blow account as I did (however briefly) with Lincoln and Roosevelt. The Internet is particularly important as this is the only place where you can get opinions that truly differ from the politically correct, pro-Bush (albeit some meekly critical of Bush), establishment opinions. Most of my references are therefore Web pages.
If you are a libertarian or leftist, you already know that Bush is totally against anything even remotely connected to freedom. If you are a Bush supporter, you are either overtly anti-freedom or you do not understand freedom.
If you are pro-Bush and think you are pro-freedom, I urge you now to go to and obtain some work by Lew Rockwell, Murray Rothbard, or other authors listed. This is because I, as a born-again Christian, fully believe you are on the wrong path!
Having said that, let us examine a few of the ways George W. Bush has seriously undermined freedom, what little there is of it.


The assault on liberty in education is mighty. Although President Bush preaches choice in education, the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) says something entirely different (2). First of all, Bush is very much a believer in public (read government) schools, which simply means that the government should educate the children.
Why should government, which has been shown to be most inefficient and biased, be entrusted to educate? It probably depends on how one defines "education." Let's check Webster's 1979 Pocket Dictionary (which I happen to have on hand) for the word "educate." It says to "educate" is to develop knowledge, skill, or character. It seems to me that to teach a person to think things through independently for himself would be included. Can government do this? I suppose it can, as there are really some very good teachers in the public schools. But does it? Not as a rule, I believe, but maybe it does at some local levels if the schools are independent and decentralized enough.
But, No Child Left Behind is on the federal, not local, level. Remember, this is the same federal government that has been shown to strictly micromanage the whole country with no regard for the individual.
This is not even touching on the fact that nowhere in the Constitution does it say anything about federal involvement in education. That makes NCLB automatically unconstitutional!
All the talk about greater leeway and flexibility is empty when the Act calls for standardized testing, which would encourage rote learning in preparation rather than independent thought, and "corrective action" for schools where students do poorly on the tests.
NCLB also calls for some programs for pre-schoolers. This may sound good to families where both parents work, but I hear a major alarm when I think of placing children in government care during years that are highly important to the child in learning the difference between right and wrong, and forming habits and opinions that will carry over into the child's entire life. I believe that pre-schoolers need to get a good dose of opportunities to begin learning self-reliance and independent thought under the individualized guidance of their parents. Learning in a group from an agent of the state at this point is going to send the wrong messages, not just to the child, but to the parent.
Of course, all this comes with hefty federal funding, out of your pocket, of course.
Some states are now shying away from NCLB. This is one area where state nullification should be revived and used.
I may also mention that President Bush favors school vouchers. Now many libertarians, which included myself a decade or so ago, believe that these vouchers will help parents and students choose private education. They might indeed make it possible for families to pay for education in institutions other than public schools. But, one needs to remember that government money is always accompanied by government regulation. Vouchers, which help families pay for education, are like food stamps that help people pay for food. Parents present them to the school for tuition. However, only approved schools can accept the vouchers. To be approved, a school must meet certain requirements. This insinuates government intervention into private schools and tends to help compliant schools and hurt independent ones.
I am dwelling on this education issue because if we are ever going to become a free country again, people have to think for themselves. We have to be able to look at issues from many angles, not just one or two politically correct points of view. And, as long as government funds education, particularly at the federal level, this is not going to happen.
This is the real reason the Bush administration favors vouchers, and the reason libertarians, and everyone else, should oppose them.
There are a couple other points about Bush and education. One is that the government schools are now being used as a captive audience for military recruiters. Recruiters and their high-pressure, half-truth sales pitches are actually present on high school campuses, and high schools are even being required – as part of the NCLB Act – to send lists of upperclassmen to the government. (This is of course in addition to the mandatory self-registration with Selective Service for 18-year-old men.) Even the mainstream news has acknowledged this.
Also, the Bush administration is pushing for the compulsory "mental health" evaluations of all students, including preschoolers. This is a very dangerous proposition that will benefit no one but the drug companies (who manufacture the drugs given to, or forced on, those labeled "mentally ill") and other establishment interests.
Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas), a libertarian and the only member of Congress who consistently favors freedom (and therefore opposes Bush at every turn) has been fighting this tooth and nail (3).
The student evaluation program is to be modeled after the Texas Medication Algorithm Project. Now, the word "Medication" in it should send up a red flag immediately. There was a very informative article on this in a recent Mother Jones which every parent and teen should read (4).
It is bad enough that school kids be subjected to this intrusive testing and, possibly forced to use psychiatric drugs. This scheme may spread to other sectors of the population, such as seniors (5). I will be a senior in the not too distant future (not to mention a dissident which some consider pathological in itself). You will be a senior too some day. So, as the song says, "What are you going to do when they come for you?"
Private education, as long as it is truly free market education, is bound to be the best. Because parents have different ideas on child rearing and since children have very different temperaments, aptitudes, and learning abilities, it is important to have great diversity in schooling. If the market can provide 31 different flavors of ice cream (plus home-made ice cream), it can provide 31 styles of education to parents (plus home-schooling) to choose from. After all, how much more important to parents is education than ice cream? Home-schoolers can cooperate and form neighbor block schools, or do whatever their unique needs call for. They don't need government to tell them what to do. But the Bush administration wants all decisions centrally made in Washington.
One is bound to ask, how are people going to pay for this? In the absence of exorbitant taxes, and in the presence of more charitable giving (due to donors' lower taxes) this problem would be at least partly solved.


University professors are being pressured to toe the politically correct line. Now, this might or might not be coming directly from the Bush administration or even the federal government, but the trend to take the middle of the road and not stand out definitely originates from government, especially in government universities.
Professor Ward Churchill of the University of Colorado at Boulder (6) and Professor Hans Herman Hoppe of the University of Nevada at Las Vegas (7) are the most publicized cases of professors who have spoken their minds and taken severe consequences. Dr. Churchill has written a politically incorrect piece on why he believed the 9-11 terrorist attack occurred. Dr. Hoppe made a politically incorrect but very reasonable statement by any standard about economic time preferences (i.e. present vs. future orientation). These caused a firestorm among the speech police at their respective universities and caused both of them anguish and financial cost, and could have cost them their jobs, even though both institutions swear up and down a reverence for academic freedom.
There is academic freedom all right, until you rock the boat.
There seems to be an atmosphere of intimidation and line toeing. What is happening in the classroom is also happening in newspaper editors' offices. The mainstream media, for the most part, will not deviate from the party line (or the two party lines, if you prefer, the liberal and the conservative, which are both pro-big government, the difference being in the details only). The assumption is that the government is the solution to problems, and that, in election years, the only candidates worth reporting on are the two Big Government party candidates.
You would think that the law profession and the federal government would be getting along fabulously. In some ways, they are, for so many laws are on the books now that it is almost impossible not to run afoul of the law, and it is only a matter of time before one needs legal help for all manner of issues, ranging from making a will to being defended from a murder accusation, and all things in between such as ascertaining compliance with the crazy-quilt of hair-splitting regulations, or with increasingly complicated tax laws.
Lawyers, like undertakers, are virtually guaranteed a clientele. So, they have reason to love big government. However, lawyers are now being intimidated by the government to be careful about the kinds of cases they take on. If a lawyer defends someone in court who is accused of being a "terrorist" (whether or not there is any actual evidence that the defendant may actually be a terrorist, or has simply been labeled a "terrorist" because someone in power does not like him), the lawyer may be prosecuted himself. The lawyer, of course, is only giving the defendant the legal help he is legally entitled to in making his case for the trial that the Constitution guarantees. But lawyers are now being intimidated into refusing to accept certain cases, such as those involving "terrorism" (broadly defined by the law) and drugs. It is a blatant attempt to stifle dissent.
Take Lynne Stewart, for example (8). She defends such clients, and as a dissident, who knows, I might need someone like her some day. So might you. Of course, most of us cannot afford a high-profile lawyer like Ms. Stewart (although she does do some pro bono work), but some day we might need someone who dares to buck the system. Dissidents, especially minorities, are going to go down. We have seen precedents for locking up dissidents and minorities. If dissident lawyers are convicted of conspiracy for having worked for a client, they are canaries in the coal mine whom the rest of us will follow.


Now, it is generally believed that President Bush took us to war in Iraq on false pretenses. Knowledgeable people thought so from the start, but this is not actually the main reason to oppose the war. There never was any evidence that Saddam Hussein had any weapons of mass destruction, but Bush proceeded anyway, and now he has been forced to admit the truth. However, he still claims that it was right to go to war in Iraq!
Bush is now claiming that the removal of Saddam Hussein from power and the ushering in of democracy were the main objectives, even though Saddam was no threat to the U.S. (even though Bushites described Saddam as "another Hitler,” thus trying to scare the American people again). Bush seems to want us to think the war was a mission of mercy and that the Iraqis are better off now that we have removed Saddam. That is, at least in part, highly questionable.
Obviously, the loss of life, particularly innocent life, is the most important reason to oppose war. But there is another reason that is a close second. That is the inevitable loss of freedom. The Founders knew this. They also knew better than to get into entangling alliances, as they understood that meddling in the affairs in other countries would only cause trouble.
But the American people are as docile now as they were during the Roosevelt administration, and they are being fooled in all the same ways. They are rallying behind Bush, using mindless slogans, and are sometimes more than implying that we who are questioning the Bush policies are unpatriotic.
The meddling and playing policeman of the world has done nothing but ruin lives and make enemies. Some of these enemies will sink to the level of the 9-11 terrorists. I believe strongly that this was the main cause of the 9-11 attacks. Had we minded our own business this previous century, not only would those 3,000 people still be alive, but millions more would be too, and we would all have a far better quality of life.
The Civil War and World War II are the two cases I have used to show that war causes political power to gravitate to central government. And, like Lincoln and Roosevelt before him, President Bush is anxious to accumulate as much power to himself as possible. This war is clearly about power. As the left points out, it is about oil too; oil is power. And, in order to get into the war, the American people were deceived again (9).
It has become abundantly clear that this Iraq war is to benefit Bush's big business cronies (Halliburton is but the most conspicuous example), his top administration cronies, many of whom have big business ties, and himself. Also, he wants a jump-off point in the Middle East from which to launch wars on other nations in the area.
The war is being justified by the prospect of "democracy" and "freedom" which we are told will make life better for the Iraqi people. To cram this form of government and a dose of the American system (remember Clay?) down their throats is of the infamous Jacobin tradition (10), along with the lies that are told to fool the public into accepting the Bush rhetoric.
We are also being told that a "capitalist" economic system will bring prosperity to Iraq. Of course, as we have seen, the Bush administration and most of the public do not have a clue what capitalism is, and we might as well read "mercantilism" or even out-and-out socialism.
This paternalist approach has never worked, and an American imposed government is more than likely to be overthrown by Islamic fundamentalists, instituting a dictatorship worse than that of Saddam Hussein. This is what happened when the Ayatollah overthrew the Shah of Iran.


The Bush administration, as we all know, is up to its eyeballs in drug control. I will not touch on the bulk of the insane war on drugs except to say that it is an egregious assault on liberty (not to mention your pocketbook) that has landed millions in jail. In fact, the U.S has the highest prison population per capita than any other country, which is generally known. What is not generally known is that about half of these people are there only because of the insane war on drugs (11). My own opinion is that this insane war has never prevented one person from using one drug even one time, but it has ruined many lives. Having said that, there are a couple of specifics that I want to deal with.
One is that the insane war on drugs has invaded doctors' offices (12). Doctors have been harassed and prosecuted for prescribing pain medication that the Drug Enforcement Administration has arbitrarily decided on a one-size-fits-all basis is too much. This has intimidated doctors into under-prescribing or even avoiding pain management altogether. This means needless suffering for patients as law enforcement agents are telling doctors how to prescribe.
The other thing is that marijuana has been found to be an excellent medical treatment for a variety of serious illnesses. My very good friend, Steve Kubby, is an adrenal cancer survivor of thirty years. Adrenal cancer is always fatal in five years or less, but Steve survived, and doctors are sure it is because of the marijuana (13).
Many states have passed propositions by very wide margins to legalize the use of marijuana under a doctor's supervision. These state laws are all tiny baby-steps toward freedom, but the Bush administration, like the Clinton one before it, is enraged. In complete defiance of the Tenth Amendment, the DEA has raided many legal growers and even hospices, and arrested both doctors and very sick patients (14). The federal government will not even consider allowing or conducting research (not that it is a legitimate function of the federal government to conduct scientific research), much less rescheduling the drug in a more reasonable way. In fact, quite the contrary. Ever since the plant was banned in 1937 under Roosevelt's watch (why am I not surprised?) enforcement has waxed and waned, but today under Bush it is stricter than ever (15).

(There is an exception to what I just said. From a few years ago, this AP story: MEDICINAL POT PIONEER ROBERT RANDALL DIES IN HIS HOME JUNE 2, 2001 - Robert Randall, who made history in 1976 when a court gave him access to government supplies of marijuana to treat his glaucoma, died at his home of AIDS-related complications. He was 53. A federal court ruled 25 years ago that Randall's use of marijuana was a medical necessity. Two years later the government cut off his access to marijuana. Randall sued for reinstatement of the drug and won. He kept on smoking pot with federal permission until his death.Supposedly there is a farm in Mississippi where the feds grow their marijuana.)

This would make another case for state nullification.
We need a free market in medicine. The federal nanny state, both paternalistic and sternly authoritarian, only stands in the way of doctors’ trying to help patients regain their health.
As this was being completed, I read that Canada is about to permit the use of what is being called "liquid marijuana" (16), which is an extract from the cannabis plant. This really pleased me, not only because it is a major victory for patients, but it is a mighty blow to the Bush administration from the north.
Drug prohibition is particularly ironic when we realize that the Bush administration, as we saw above, is gearing up to dispense psychiatric drugs involuntarily to school kids.


I touched on the media in the segment on academic freedom, as both are covered by the First Amendment.
Newscasts are obviously slanted in favor of big government. This has been going on for decades. The government looms big in the news as though it were the center of the universe. Recently it has become overt. The prohibition of drugs is assumed as if it were a law of nature like gravity. More money is assumed to be the cure for poor student performance. Gang violence is assumed to be the result of not enough money for police on the streets or too many guns in the hands of private citizens. The crowded conditions in prisons are assumed to be because there is too little money for prison construction. In other words, the deeper government digs in your pocketbook and the bigger it grows, the better things will be.
This needs to be questioned. The fact that drugs and guns are illegal gives rise to a black market in both, raising the prices of both so much that buyers must rob and steal to have enough money to support their drug habits or defend themselves from rival gangs. The proliferation of unnecessary and unconstitutional laws, as I have stated already, is putting people in prison who really do not belong there. But the mainstream media will not question the party line.
An example: I live near an Air Force base. Often one can hear their military planes roaring overhead. A local newscaster described this as "the sound of freedom." Say what? Another example: About three years ago a local woman, driving drunk, caused a serious accident that killed a woman and disabled the woman's sister. The newscaster said that she had driven under the influence a few times before, and had been let out of jail simply because the jail was too crowded. Again, what? Nobody questioned why the jail was so full.
Meanwhile, a LSD violation can get one put away for life, and the Bush administration is trying to get a law passed that would mandate five years for anyone who gives marijuana to a person under the age of 21.
Not only that, very often the news that is covered is secondary to more important issues. Rather than keeping close track of what the Bush administration is doing, the media cover items that divert the public's attention. While the PATRIOT Act was being hammered out by freedom arch-enemy John Ashcroft and others behind closed doors for a Congress-stooge to introduce, while the Homeland Security Department was being planned and salivated over by Bush (despite his empty protests), and while the Intelligence Reform Act was in the works, the media was focused on Scott Peterson, Michael Jackson, runaway brides, cats in Wisconsin, how wonderfully we are doing to free Iraq (yeah, right) and other such items. Now, as long as people are interested, these are indeed news items (the true ones, that is), but how important are they compared to our precious Bill of Rights? The Bush administration is sneaking around whittling away at our rights, and our attention is diverted.
Radio and TV stations have to kowtow to the federal government for licenses. Penalties are very severe for the most insignificant violation, or even being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Look at the fines imposed on TV stations that happened to carry the Super Bowl in 2004. During half time, as we all know, Janet Jackson's bare breast was shown. It happened suddenly and no TV station could know to block it. But that doesn't matter; our gold-digging government slapped hefty fines for this inadvertent crossing of the censors' line. This was big news, not because of this assault on the First Amendment, but because the "progressively educated" simpletons get their tails in a king-sized knot over God's most beautiful design, the human body.
We need to remember that the power to censor programs that you think are indecent, or send a bad message, is also the power to censor programs that you believe send a good message (17).
The mainstream media is cowed. This was made obvious during the 2004 election when almost nothing of third party candidates was heard.
McCain-Feingold has intimidated political advertisers even further by censoring ads by non-incumbent candidates. Harry Browne and Ron Paul went to court to end that censorship, but lost (18). Now, attempts are being made to use this law to censor blogs, such as my own. (Guess I should save up for some fines, because the Alice Lillie blog will not be censored.)


The establishment has nearly everybody fooled about gun rights. I want to dispel a few superstitious myths about guns.
For one thing, guns are inanimate objects. They have no will and they cannot do anything any more than your table knives can. Therefore, they do not commit crimes, nor are they dangerous. What do commit crimes and are dangerous are certain people. It is those people that need to be stopped and not any inanimate objects.
A gun is a very good tool for self-protection from those dangerous criminals. People who carry guns are much less apt to be crime victims. If people are allowed to carry open or concealed guns, everyone is safer, and that includes those who choose not to carry. If the criminal knows that law-abiding citizens often carry, he or she will think twice before committing a crime. He does not know who is carrying and who is not, and he is not about to ask.
It is the responsibility of the individual to know what he or she is doing when handling a gun. It is also the responsibility of a parent to teach a child, and to decide when a child is old enough to handle a gun. It is also an individual's responsibility to make sure the gun stays out of the hands of careless or ignorant people. There does not need to be a single law on the books regulating guns and gun owners. There are already laws on the books holding people responsible for what is theirs and for the safety of their young children.
Not only that, but the Second Amendment is very clear on the subject. "A well-regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free State, the right of the people to keep and bear Arms shall not be infringed." The last time I checked, "shall not be infringed" meant shall not be infringed. And the Second Amendment applies to individuals, not any collectives. All the other rights listed in the Bill of Rights are individual rights, and so is that one. The idea that the right to bear arms is a "collective right" is pure nonsense.
President George W. Bush is against the right to bear arms. Make no mistake about this. He said so himself on a few occasions. One time I particularly remember was his acceptance speech after being nominated as the Republican Presidential candidate in 2000. I saw this with my own eyes and heard it with my own ears (live on TV). And that is what I consider proof positive. He said that he would call for the enforcement of all the federal gun laws on the books. The Convention cheered mightily. The Republican Party is for gun control, just as the Democratic Party is (19).
There are 20,000 federal gun control laws on the books. Every last one of them is unconstitutional and a threat to the freedom and safety of every person in this country, and President Bush wants them enforced.
More recently, the "Assault Weapons" ban expired. The establishment tried to get it renewed, but it was, fortunately, stalled. Bush made it clear that he would sign it into law and had his pen all ready.
As I have been saying, and as my 2004 candidate for president, Libertarian Michael Badnarik said, there is absolutely nothing good about the PATRIOT Act (nothing Constitutional, either) and it must go. However, there is one thing in there that is not so bad, and should be improved upon and passed by itself. That is the one thing in the Act that the Bush administration is dragging its feet on. It is a provision that airplane pilots can carry guns in the cockpit.
I have always thought that the horrendous terrorist attacks of 9-11 could have been averted completely, or at least minimized if someone on those planes had been armed, but they were not. The terrorists committed their crimes with box cutters. Box cutters! All these law-abiding citizens were helpless! And look what happened!
The Bush administration is reluctantly allowing a few armed pilots, but a pilot needs to run a terrible gauntlet, which includes much personal time and expense, to say nothing of a psychiatric exam, to be certified. So, in reality, no progress has been made in that area.
What more proof could you ask? Bush is for gun control, and it has nothing to do with a good aim either.
Then, there is the left. As sophisticated as they are compared to Bush supporters (that is not saying much), they have been snookered into believing that gun crime is caused by too many guns on the streets rather by than criminals who commit the crimes. They want to ban guns, and then maybe gun crime will go away. Well, if guns did not exist, there would be no gun crime. True. But, to ban and confiscate guns will not reduce gun crime. The criminals will evade the ban one way or another. Only the law-abiding will obey the ban, making them more vulnerable than ever.
The left is calling for a situation where only crooks and government officials (sometimes the same thing) will have the guns. This is a major disconnect. The left is always, and often correctly, criticizing government actions: police brutality, unfair courts, laws skewed to favor the powerful, etc. Why do they want that bunch to have all the firepower?
It is the responsible, law-abiding citizen who should be armed, and should have to seek permission from nobody! This will add exponentially to our street safety, not to mention keep our government in line!
Of course, Bush does not want the people to keep the government in line. He wants the government to keep the people in line, and that is the real reason he favors gun control.


Because President George W. Bush is solidly against the rights of the individual, it is a sure bet that his appointees will be too. We know the records of appointees in the first four years Bush was in office.
I will briefly discuss a very few of his most prominent recent appointees, but in my opinion our greater fear should be of his lesser ones, such as federal judgeships, for if you are accused of a victimless crime or a crime you did not commit, and you are a dissident, God help you if the judge is a Bush appointee.
Michael Chertoff is the appointee as head of the juggernaut Homeland Security department. He is known to be against any individual rights at all. He helped to write part of the PATRIOT Act that has even some Republicans worried about freedom (20).
The most recent nomination of Bush (and at this writing his appointment is not secure) is John Bolton to the post of United Nations Ambassador. The left is saying that Bolton is "anti-U.N." and that this appointment shows that Bush is not really pro-U.N. (21). This is the wrong appraisal in my opinion. President George W. Bush is extremely in favor of world government, and while the U.N. is a very long stride in that direction, it does not have to be by the U.N. I think Bush would just as soon see the world governed from the White House, even though I am sure he realizes it will not be by him because of the time it would take to accomplish this. He knows that if this does happen, he will go down in history as Lincoln and Roosevelt did, an American icon who was tough, decisive and did ever so much "good." Right now, John Bolton is just the person to get the ball rolling on this goal. Bolton's "opposition" to the U.N. was based on the fact that the U.S. was not unilaterally calling all the shots rather than being based on a desire to decentralize decision-making and maximize individual liberty. As a fringe benefit to the Bush agenda, Bolton may add to the unrest the war is causing, opening the door wider for the Bush administration to crack down further on civil liberties on the home front.
Another note about John Bolton: Some gun-rights groups have praised his nomination because he apparently sympathizes with gun rights, and the U.N. is about as anti-gun as it is possible to be. By "disarmament," they mean the disarmament of you, not any government. However, I doubt that Bolton's pro-gun stance will be helpful. For one thing, that is just one issue and it will take a back seat to other issues. Not only that, Bolton may cave on the issue. I know only what I have read about him, and not him personally. Therefore, I must assume he will be likely to cave. After all, consider who appointed him!
John Negroponte is President Bush's choice for "Intelligence Czar." Negroponte was deeply involved in the war in Iraq, from the deception regarding weapons of mass destruction to the bombing of Fallujah (22). I might as well also point out that the Presidential Commission on Iraq that "investigated" the deception in early April, 2005, found no guilt of pressure on the part of anybody instigating the war (23). Well, surprise, surprise. Who do you think appointed the commission? Negroponte is reputed to condone outrageous human rights violations (24).
Alberto Gonzales, newly appointed to freedom's archenemy John Ashcroft's old post of attorney general, has been in the Bush administration since its start in 2001. He was Bush's White House Counsel, and one of his first acts was to help President Bush do away with the requirement that non-classified presidential records be made public twelve years after the end of the president's term. This law, the Presidential Records Act, was passed in 1978 in the wake of freedom-enemy Richard Nixon's crimes. Gonzales covered up some of President Reagan's papers that would have embarrassed some Bush administration higher-ups (25). President Bush issued an executive order on November 1, 2001, that overturned the Act. Gonzales is now being vocal in his call for the extension of the PATRIOT Act.
Porter Goss became CIA head honcho under Bush. His dream is for the president to be able to direct CIA agents to arrest American citizens in law enforcement operations right here in the States without notifying Congress and, accordingly, Goss had a bill introduced to that affect. Currently the CIA is only allowed to function outside the country (26).
It is abundantly clear from the staff Bush is lining up and the laws that are being passed (27) that many major blows to liberty have been dealt and are being dealt by the Bush administration. What will the future hold? Because we have more than three years left for the Bush administration, I cannot be very optimistic. And, because it has been shown that neither of the major parties cares at all about individual rights, and because the lapdog media will not bring the public's attention to alternatives, there is no light at the end of the tunnel.
It is incumbent on individuals to do what they can to stay out of the line of fire even as they work for the revival of liberty.
(1) Snyder, Kent, "Republicans Praise New Deal Socialism." Also see
(3) Paul, Ron, "Forcing Kids Into a Mental Health Ghetto"
(4) Waters, Rob, "Medicating Aliah." This article shows what is really going on with the TMAP and gives one child as an example of what can happen to an individual. I deeply fear that this child's entire life will be adversely affected, that is if she is lucky enough to have what can be described as a life at all after what was done to her by the state of Texas, whose ex-governor is none other than the worst Twenty-first Century American enemy of liberty so far.
(5) Santora, Marc, and Benedict Carey, "Depressed? New York Screens People at Risk"
(9) Paul, Ron, "Who's Better Off?" before the House of Representatives 4-6-05. This is a must read! It really says it all when it comes to war. Also see Paul, Ron, "The Crime of Conscription," 12-9-03.
(10) Ryn, Claes G. America the Virtuous The Crisis of Democracy and the Quest for Empire, Transaction Publishers, 2003, New Brunswick, N.J.
(11) This shows the rise in the number of marijuana arrests for this versatile and innocuous plant alone.
(12) Balko, Radley, "Bush Should Feel Doctors' Pain," April 4, 2005.
(15) This gives a rundown of marijuana prohibition F.D. Roosevelt through G.W. Bush.
(19) The Libertarian Party is also for gun control, the right kind: "Aim!!"
(20) Briley, Patrick, "Chertoff Created Terror Pretexts for U.S. Police State," Feb. 21, 2005. is a wealth of information and ideas.
(21) Barry, Tom, "The Armageddon Man." April 12, 2005. Bolton, a GOP loyalist for decades, is a real neo-conservative hawk and is a Bushite in most other respects as well. However, the article says he is opposed to "the U.N. and all global governance...not controlled by the U.S. government" (emphasis mine) and that the U.S. government disclaimer is the main point. This is what President Bush wants, world government by the U.S. government. Also, see (This is a long url so be sure to pick it all up.) Harris, Francis, "Bush's Nominee for U.N. Post 'Abused and Threatened his Staff,' Congress Told." April 13, 2005.
(22) Wanniski, Jude, "Keep Your Eyes on John Negroponte." April 14, 2005.
(23) (Another long url.) Margolis, Eric, "Bush Rewards His Failures." April 10, 2005.
(24) "The Case Against John Negroponte."
(25) Bovard, James, "Bush's Presidential-Papers Power Grab." April 16, 2005.
(26) Isikoff, Michael, and Hosenball, Mark, "Goss's Wish List."
(27) On April 21, 2005, the U.S. Senate unanimously (99-0) passed President Bush's request for an "emergency" $81 billion to fund continuation of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Very often bills, hundreds or even thousands of pages long, are passed by Congress without even being read. The White House can and does sneak a number of anti-freedom measures into these bills. This has turned our Congress into a rubber stamp. is promoting a bill requiring the word-by-word reading of future bills.