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Trumping the Left

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 25/04/2016 - 06:01

What better topic to introduce my new column in this paper than Trump’s visit to Buffalo Monday night?  So there I was, in the press pen, literally walled off from the event with no food, no booze, no nothing.  What a glamorous life the media lead.  Most of the press sat stoically at their laptops, hammering away and rarely even looking up at the speakers.  I had intended to schmooze some of them and get some inside scoops but I wasn’t feeling the warmth.

Trump mobbed by autograph-seekers

I did chat with a few local reporters whom I know.  One wanted to know what the libertarians think.  I said some hate him, some support him based largely on his anti-foreign intervention, America First views.  How many illegal foreign wars has Hillary started or supported, I asked rhetorically.  Only professional spooks know for sure.  Keep in mind that the founder of the modern libertarian movement, Murray Rothbard,  supported (“cheered for”) LBJ in 1964 because he ran as the peace candidate: “We are not about to send American boys 9 or 10 thousand miles away from home to do what Asian boys ought to be doing for themselves.”

My own view mirrors that of editor Justin Raimondo, a libertarian:

“I have never endorsed Trump . . . As I’ve explained many times, I am rooting for him, which is quite different from giving his candidacy political support. I’m much less interested in him as a candidate than I am in his supporters, many of whom are sympathetic to the anti-interventionist views is dedicated to advancing.”

Raimondo has explained elsewhere that when you endorse a candidate, you are taking upon yourself responsibility for his whole program and its results and consequences.  Libertarians are reluctant or loathe to do that as Trump has taken several positions that are not libertarian.  Full disclosure:  I know several people working for Trump and have occasionally passed along ideas I hope will move Trump in a libertarian direction and I will continue to do so.

Another veteran reporter I talked to estimated that the crowd was as high as 16,000.  Other estimates are about 12,000.  Did the overhyping of the event scare supporters away?  In any event, it was a very large and enthusiastic crowd for a Monday night on short notice.  Comparisons to Bernie Sanders crowds are not apt.  Bernie has attracted large crowds by promising to give away lots of free stuff without ever explaining how to pay for it all.  This is typical of uber-progressives.  As I pointed out in Progressivism:  A Primer on the Idea Destroying America, progressives have no theory of costs, which in the real world, is a bit on the crazy side.  Hillary draws micro-crowds even though most of the people there, as in the case of her recent Buffalo event, are hacks who generally make their living off of politics or government.

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The Greatest Actress Plays the Worst Singer

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 25/04/2016 - 06:01

I have waited 60 years for this.

Not really. That’s because I would not, in my wildest imagination, have imagined it could happen.

There is a movie on Florence Foster Jenkins. Even more amazing, it is titled Florence Foster Jenkins.

It doesn’t ring a bell, does it?

It rang a bell for me.

In 1956, I was working at a record store. It was my first regular job. Another employee, Lype O’Dell, who later became an actor, recommended that I listen to a 10-inch LP record. It was titled simply, Florence Foster Jenkins. The cover was a tipoff, but I was naïve. I did not see what was coming. Then he put it on the turntable and had me listen. I could not believe my ears.

I read the liner notes. She was accompanied by pianist Cosme McMoon. That seemed reasonable at the time. It still does.

As a team, they made musical history. Then they were dropped down the memory hole. They were replaced in 1957 by Jonathan and Darlene Edwards, who produced a series of five albums over the next few years.

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America’s Horrific Long War

Lew Rockwell Institute - Lun, 25/04/2016 - 06:01

THE CONVICTION that invasion, bombing, and special forces benefit large swaths of the globe while remaining consonant with a Platonic ideal of the national interest, runs deep in the American psyche. Like the poet Stevie Smith’s cat, the United States “likes to gallop about doing good.” The cat attacks and misses, sometimes injuring itself but does not give up. It asks as the U.S. should,

What’s the good Of galloping about doing good When angels stand in the path And do not do as they should .

Nothing undermines the American belief in military force. No matter how often it’s galloping about results in resentment and mayhem, the U.S. gets up again to do good elsewhere. Failure to improve life in Vietnam, Lebanon, Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya stiffens the resolve to get it right next time. This notion prevails among politicized elements of the officer corps; much of the media, whether nominally liberal or conservative; the foreign policy elite recycled quadrennially between corporation-endowed think tanks and government; and most politicians on the national stage. For them and the public they influence, the question is less whether to deploy force than when, where, and how.

Since 1979, when the Iranians overthrew the Shah and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan, the U.S. has concentrated its firepower in what former U.S. Army colonel Andrew Bacevich calls the “Greater Middle East.” The region comprises most of what America’s imperial predecessors, the British, called the Near and the Middle East, a vast zone from Pakistan west to Morocco. In his new book, America’s War for the Greater Middle East, Bacevich writes, “From the end of World War II until 1980, virtually no American soldiers were killed in action while serving in that region. Within a decade, a great shift occurred. Since 1990, virtually no American soldiers have been killed anywhere except the Greater Middle East.” That observation alone might prompt a less propagandized electorate to rebel against leaders who perpetuate policies that, while killing and maiming American soldiers, devastate the societies they touch.

Bacevich describes a loyal cadre of intellectuals and pundits favoring war after war, laying the moral ground for invasions and excusing them when they go wrong. He notes that in 1975 when American imperium was collapsing in Indochina, the guardians of American exceptionalism renewed their case for preserving the U.S. as the exception to the international law. An article by Robert Tucker in Commentary that year set the ball rolling with the proposition that “to insist that before using force one must exhaust all other remedies is little more than the functional equivalent of accepting chaos.” Another evangelist for military action, Miles Ignotus, wrote in Harper’s two months later that the U.S. with Israel’s help must prepare to seize Saudi Arabia’s oilfields. Miles Ignotus, Latin for “unknown soldier,” turned out to be the known civilian and Pentagon consultant Edward Luttwak. Luttwak urged a “revolution” in warfare doctrine toward “fast, light forces to penetrate the enemy’s vital centers” with Saudi Arabia a test case. The practical test would come, with results familiar to most of the world, 27 years later in Iraq.

The Pentagon, its pride, and reputation wounded in Vietnam as surely as the bodies of 150,000 scarred American soldiers was slow to take the hint. The end of compulsory military service robbed it of manpower for massive global intervention. Revelations of war crimes and political chicanery from the Senate’s Church Committee and the Pike Committee in the House added to public disenchantment with military adventures and intelligence meddling in other countries’ affairs. It would take years of effort to cure America of its “Vietnam Syndrome,” the preference for diplomatic before military solutions.

In the Middle East, President Gerald Ford saw no reason to rescind his predecessor’s policy, the Nixon Doctrine of reliance on local clients armed by the U.S. to protect Persian Gulf oil for America’s gas-hungry consumers. Nothing much happened, though, until one of the local gendarmes, the Shah of Iran, fell to a popular revolution and the Soviets invaded Afghanistan.

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How Much Power Do Foreign Lobbyists Have?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

The Constitution provides for three branches of government: the executive, Congress, and the judiciary – but there have been a few additions lately. With the rise of mass communications, common parlance has designated the media as the “Fourth Estate,” because – in theory – it is supposed to act as a “watchdog” on the activities of the other three. (Although in practice, as we have seen, it often doesn’t work out that way.) And as America entered the age of empire, stepping out on the world stage and exerting its power, a development the Founders foresaw – and greatly feared – became a reality: the rise of foreign lobbyists, i.e. the Fifth Estate, as a power in our domestic politics.

This was inevitable as we took the road to empire. Our foreign clients, protectorates, and sock puppets have a material interest in maintaining the status quo: their life blood depends on the smooth workings of the political machinery that keep the gravy train flowing from Washington to every point on the globe. “Foreign aid,” arms deals, overseas bases that boost their economies, the deployment of “soft power,” and the architecture of entangling alliances that have enmeshed us all over the world – all of this is defended and relentlessly extended by foreign lobbyists who work day and night to protect and expand their very profitable turf.

The latest newsworthy example is the Saudi lobby, which is working overtime these days to burnish the Kingdom’s badly tarnished image. The recent agitation for the release of the censored 28 pages of the joint congressional report on the 9/11 terrorist attacks – and news reports of their horrific war crimes in Yemen – has them on the defensive.

The American people are waking up to the fact that the 9/11  hijackers – who came to this country with little knowledge of English, and few resources – had some significant assistance from at least one foreign intelligence agency, and the Saudi connection, which is the subject of the redacted 28 pages, is now in the spotlight. In response, the Saudi lobby is manning the barricades, with articles like “Saudi Arabia Is a Great American Ally” in Foreign Policy magazine, which basically argues that we need these head-chopping barbarians because Iran is worse. On the legislative front, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-Perpetual War) is blocking a Senate bill that would give the green light to a lawsuit by the families of 9/11 victims to sue the Saudis. Graham and Senator John McCain have long worked hand-in-hand with the Saudis to garner US support for “moderate” Islamist rebels fighting to overthrow the government of Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. And when the Saudis launched their terror-bombing of Yemen, Graham was right there cheering them on – and lamenting that “they no longer trust us” because they didn’t give us a heads up.

The Saudis have threatened to sell $750 billion in US assets if the Senate bill passes. In the meantime, President Barack Obama is in Riyadh, on a trip to repair frayed relations, where he is receiving a “chilly reception,” according to news accounts.

That’s the problem with being the world’s biggest superpower – you have to do a lot of kowtowing.

The Saudi lobby is a vast public relations machine, well-oiled with money and top-heavy with Washington insiders. Former Senator Norm Coleman, who headed up the American Action Fund – a major “dark money”conduit to GOP campaigns – and is now backing Ted Cruz is on the Saudi payroll.

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10 Sci-Fi Dystopias

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

Ray Bradbury once said, “I wasn’t trying to predict the future. I was trying to prevent it.” Really, that’s the whole point of science fiction. The genre has never been about predicting new technologies. Instead, its purpose is to warn us about the dark future to come, if we don’t change our path.

Occasionally, we listen and learn, and then society improves. But other times, we don’t. And while the present day seems quite ordinary to us, the reality is that our modern era was once a horrible, terrifying nightmare that sci-fi writers desperately tried to stop.

10 ‘Number 12 Looks Just Like You’ Warned Us About South Korea’s Plastic Surgery Obsession

When The Twilight Zone first aired on TV, cosmetic surgery barely existed. It was only used for the absolute worst medical cases. The idea of someone getting their face restructured just for the sake of looking pretty still seemed outlandish to most people.

But not to the writers of The Twilight Zone. As it turns out, they knew exactly what was coming.

In the episode “Number 12 Looks Just Like You,” we’re taken to a future where every person is expected to go through a “transformation” at age 18. This surgery completely changes their face to resemble one of a small number of gorgeous models. It’s such a big change that teenagers are appointed therapists to deal with the stress of waiting to become beautiful.

When they wrote it, the Twilight Zone writers were just worried about girls using too much make-up. But in South Korea, the world is more like “Number 12 Looks Just Like You” than even the writers could have predicted.

A shocking one in three girls in South Korea have had plastic surgery, and just like in the story, the results are drastic. So much so that plastic surgeons now have to hand out certificates proving that the attractive girl in question is really the same drab-looking person on her ID.

Just like in the story, plastic surgery is a common graduation gift for girls after high school. It really seems like they’re living in the Twilight Zone. Girls suffering through high school, unable to live up to the unreal standards that adults have created, and then conforming to one of a few faces as soon as they turn 18.

9 ‘The Veldt’ Warned Us About Video Game Violence

When Ray Bradbury wrote his short story, “The Veldt,” televisions were just coming into homes for the first time, and these inventions changed everything, especially parenting. It’s kind of hard to imagine how parents did it before Dora the Explorer was around to help out. Raising a child was a much different thing back in the day . . and Bradbury was terrified about how it might change.

In “The Veldt,” Bradbury writes about a family that uses a “nursery”—basically, an interactive TV—to keep their kids entertained. The children end up being raised more by the nursery than by the parents, and that’s when the kids start going savage. It gets so bad that, when the worried parents finally shut the nursery down, the kids murder them.

Perhaps Bradbury’s story sounds kind of far-fetched. How could TV make a kid murder his parents? Well, the thing is, it actually happened. The exact events of the story played out in real life.

A 14-year-old boy named Noah Crooks was obsessed with video games, and just like in the story, his mother began to worry about how it was affecting him. His grades were going down, and he was becoming more and more prone to violence. And just like in the story, his mother decided to shut the video games down.

Noah didn’t take this well. He erupted in a fit of rage and murdered his own mother.

Sure, Noah isn’t exactly normal, but neither are the kids in the story. They’re portrayed as an extreme symptom of a larger problem. Ray Bradbury wasn’t saying everyone would murder their parents. Instead, he argued that children would lose enough parental guidance that it could possibly happen. And maybe Bradbury was right. Maybe TV and video games have really messed us up, but we’re just so used to them that we don’t even realize it.

8 ‘The Machine Stops’ Warned Us About Facebook Friendships

When it came out in 1909, “The Machine Stops” seemed like a bit of an overreaction. The telephone had just started to enter into people’s homes, and E.M. Forster was already worried that society was somehow ruined. He imagined a ridiculous future where people would spend all their time indoors, sitting at machines, while sending short, pithy thoughts to thousands of “friends” they’d never met, and “liking” things as their main source of human interaction.

Sure, this probably sounded paranoid in 1909. After all, it was just a telephone. But today, our reality is almost exactly like the world in “The Machine Stops.” The story’s depiction of long-distance interactions is eerily similar to social media. The idea of having thousands of online friends you’ve never met is a terrifyingly dead-on prediction of Facebook. And the way people in the story send out short, one-sentence thoughts is basically an old-timey Twitter.

But it’s more than just the inventions, though. The whole culture Forster predicted in 1909 is just like ours. For example, Forster portrayed social media as a form of distraction. When the protagonist of the story starts to feel sadness for her son, she’s immediately pulled out of her thoughts by the ability to “like” things. And according to some people, that’s exactly what happens in real life. Some claim that social media really does distract us from our families and emotions by giving us hard-to-ignore jolts of stimulation.

There’s also our attitude toward the outdoors. In the story, going outside for pleasure is considered weird. Now, most people won’t say that out loud, but it does seem to be our view today. According to one study, only about 1 percent of Americans actually participate in nature-based activities.

The final message of the story is that our connection to nature and our families is what brings us happiness, not social media. Similarly, a study of college students showed that heavy Facebook users are more likely to be depressed, so maybe that message hits home for us, too.

For a story written in 1909, the overlaps are incredible. The only thing Forster got wrong was that he thought some robotic dictator would force us into this scenario. In reality, we were happy to do it ourselves.

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The Moral Foundations of the Modern Social Order

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

I have taken the title from a line in When Money Fails, by Gary North:

Wilhelm Röpke was not the most technically competent free market economist of our time, but he was the most accurate one. He was the one economist in the free market tradition who has forthrightly acknowledged that social theory is broader than economic theory. Economics is a subset of social theory, not the other way around. Röpke spent a great deal of time thinking about the moral foundations of the modern social order.

The issue being addressed is economic, the division of labor society:

This is not a technical issue; it is a moral issue. The division of labor did not increase in the West apart from the West’s social and moral order.

North’s piece is focused on the moral and legal framework that makes the division of labor possible.  I intend to move in a slightly different direction.

North cites Röpke; the subject work is Röpke’s International Economic Disintegration. Röpke wrote the book in the late 1930s, published in 1942.  I will focus on Chapter V, beginning page 67 in the embedded PDF:

THE problem to be discussed here is deemed so important, that it should be used as the starting point of any causal analysis of the present disintegration of world economy worthy of the name.

In reading both North and Röpke, it seems to me the discussion could also be applied to the social order much more broadly defined.  Chapter V is entitled “THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EXTRA-ECONOMIC FRAMEWORK FOR THE WORKING OF THE ECONOMIC PROCESS.”  I will propose considering it in the following context:


As has been remarked earlier, no one will seriously dispute that this traditional spirit of economic science was, and still is, largely coloured by belief in not only the sociological autonomy, but also the sociologically regulating influence of the market economy.

Röpke suggests that a robust market economy cannot survive or thrive absent a framework that is found outside of pure economic science – a market economy cannot function in just any social environment.  One might consider: can the NAP properly function autonomously, without consideration of the broader social framework?

If the answer is yes, then anything goes – the libertines and the dreamers are right.  If the answer is no, one might decide to take Hoppe more seriously when considering the NAP.

Implicitly and explicitly, it was and still is held that a market economy based on competition and essentially unhampered by any agency outside the competitive market is an ordre naturel which, once freed from all impediments, is able to stand indefinitely on its own feet…

Thus the competitive market appeared to be a “philosopher’s stone,” which turned the base metal of callous business sentiments into the pure gold of common welfare and solidarity…

With government (as we know it today) out of the way, is it reasonable to expect that a libertarian order would blossom out of the remains – without any other changes or requirements?  Could the libertarian order stand “on its own feet”…“once freed from all impediments”?

If yes, score one for the libertines and dreamers; if no, Hoppe gets a shout.

So far the competitive market economy was considered sociologically autonomous: it needed no special laws, no special state or special society, required neither a special morality nor any other irrational and extra-economic forces and sentiments.

Can a libertarian society survive and thrive under any conditions, without a “special society” or a “special morality” or any other “forces and sentiments” outside of the NAP? If it can, the libertines and dreamers are correct.  If it cannot…well, you know.

Rarely or never was this belief stated so crudely, but surely few will to-day deny that the general tendency of the liberal philosophy ran—and in some quarters still runs—in this direction.

This is also the general tendency of those who believe a libertarian society can survive and thrive under any social or moral framework.  Maybe they are right, maybe not.

Far from consuming and being dependent on socio-political integration from outside the economic sphere, the competitive market economy produces it—or so runs the argument.

Does the NAP produce an orderly society, or are certain conditions within society necessary pre-conditions for the NAP?  As to economics, Röpke suggests that certain conditions are necessary pre-conditions:

If views like these were ever held at all, it has become obviously impossible to continue to hold them to-day. …we are forced emphatically to deny that this order is anything like an ordre naturel independent of the extra-economic framework of moral, political, legal and institutional conditions…

The world around us tells us that achieving a society grounded in the NAP is far more difficult and far more complicated than achieving a relatively sophisticated division-of-labor economy.  To open one’s eyes is to see this reality.  If extra-economic moral and institutional conditions are necessary for the proper functioning of the relatively simple division-of-labor economy, how much more true must it be for achieving a society that respects the non-aggression principle?

…it is highly doubtful…that economic integration can be sufficiently relied upon to produce automatically the degree of socio-political integration it requires.

The chicken or the egg?  Does this question apply also to consideration of the NAP in a broader social context?

Röpke offers his view:

…it would be a great mistake to think that that would make the market system an ethically neutral sphere. On the contrary, it is a highly sensitive artefact of occidental civilization, with all the latter’s ingredients of Christian and pre-Christian morality and its secularized forms…

Before jumping on me or Röpke, note that he includes “its secularized forms.”


It is difficult to imagine how the leading thinkers of former generations could have been more or less blind to this fundamental truth, which seems so obvious and even trivial to us to-day.

Are Röpke’s thoughts regarding the division-of-labor economy equally applicable to the libertarian political order and to some of the “leading [and not-so-leading] thinkers” of this school?

I just wonder….

Reprinted with permission from Bionic Mosquito.

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Will the Gov’t Loot Your 401(k)?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

401K is a Private Retirement Fund under US Law


I’m still fairly young, so I don’t have a lot saved in my retirement accounts yet, but I’ve been maxing out my IRA for the last few years to get the tax deduction. I worry because I’ve heard you and others talk about congress wanting to steal our 401k and IRA accounts to “save” social security and/or state pension funds. Do you think that is likely to happen, and will we have time to liquidate our retirement accounts before they steal them? What should we watch out for that would indicate congress is getting ready to move on our accounts?

I am not a lawyer, but I imagine this would take an act of congress to accomplish. Do you think something like this would be a swift action where they just seize them outright or a gradual change through a combination of So on this subject, it is a VERY SERIOUS ISSUE. I have reported on “lobbying” efforts that have been taking place behind the curtain from my direct sources. There are states looking for Congress to create some sort of mandatory contribution that would take from people’s private savings to bail out state workers. Nothing has been decided as of yet. However, I would expect this to become more forceful next year when Social Security goes bust.

We will be doing a special written report on this topic with suggestions that will not be provided on the blog. We are investigating alternatives right now. Far too many people read this blog and we do not require registration to enter the site. So this is economic freedom for all, but the price of that is opponents reading the blog as well. So it is best to make such recommendations off the blog so the whole world does not catch wind of this possible solution, which should be for clients only.

Reprinted from Armstrong Economics.

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One Difference Between a Bernie and a Donald Rally

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

I went to a Bernie Sanders rally dressed as a liberal douche and it went exactly as expected. It was in Washington Square Park next to NYU and there were about 27,000 students, hipsters, and Ben & Jerry’s boomers there with pamphlets and buttons and kooky sunglasses. As with the Trump rallies, the audience skewed male, but unlike the Trump rallies, there did not appear to be one person there who was not retarded. “Fuck Hillary,” a towering hipster told me. “She started Bengali.”

It was Bernie’s second talk of the day. Earlier he did a speech backing the Verizon strike. Their workers are mad about the terrible pay they get from a corporation that makes $1.5B a month in profits. I talked to some of the striking workers and asked them if it’s true they make a reported $140K a year. “That’s a lie Verizon is spreading,” one man told me. “It’s only that if you add up all our benefits and health care. The actual money we take home is

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How Long Has It Got?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

The global economy turned down in earnest already in 2006 but with a massive worldwide printing and lending programme, the world has had a temporary stay of execution. But the effect of this fabricated money has now come to an end. And what else would you expect. To print money that has no value or to lend money that doesn’t exist can never create wealth or save anybody. The downturn will soon start to accelerate and eventually lead to a total failure of the financial system and sovereign defaults. But no one must believe that there will be a sudden implosion or a “reset” that solves or changes everything. Instead, what we will experience is a process with things deteriorating at a fast pace but without one single event that overnight changes everything.

It is actually happening all around us right now. Let’s just look at some examples of the stresses within the system. The ECB is facing bank failures in almost every member country. An Austrian bank just had to be bailed-in and the

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Do You Know How To Brush Your Teeth?

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

There is nothing as beautiful as a shiny white smile.

Yet many of us fail to give our teeth the attention they deserve – or are unwittingly brushing our them in the wrong way.

Failing to do this properly can lead to a build-up of plaque – which causes tooth decay and can lead to gum disease.

And gum disease – known as gingivitis to dentists – has been linked with other health issues including heart problems, kidney disease, diabetes and even certain types of cancer.

Just yesterday, scientists revealed a link between harmful bacteria in the mouth and pancreatic cancer – thought to be day released into the bloodstream.

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You Can’t Resist Oppressive Road Police

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

Standing up to bullies is usually the best way to end the bullying. But what if you can’t do that?

Legally, I mean.

That’s the dilemma when it comes to dealing with the Enforcers of the Law. No matter what they do to you, “resisting” is not a good idea. Perhaps later, your family will be able to obtain some money as compensation via a wrongful death civil suit against the municipality.

Provided of course a fellow mundane managed to video your execution. And it got enough attention as to cause sufficient embarrassment to make the Enforcer’s handlers desirous of making the complaint go away.

But the Enforcer himself, will not be held personally accountable, as they are largely immune – as a matter of law – from being held personally accountable for the harm they cause.

The relevant thing is that on the scene – your life in the balance – resistance is not only futile, it is unlawful. That most basic of all human rights – the right to defend yourself – is a nullity when it comes to interacting with Enforcers.

We are legally required to submit and obey.   

To decline – even to the extent of backing away and trying to exit the situation – constitutes the legal pretext for the application of whatever force they deem necessary to obtain our submission and obedience.

So, what do we do?

We cannot fight them.

We must, therefore, learn to avoid them.

I bought a top-drawer radar detector (Valentine 1) for exactly this reason. It has greatly reduced my interactions with Enforcers of the Law – and not just in terms of “speeding” tickets, though that’s huge, too.

The detector also alerts to the presence up ahead of “safety” and “sobriety” checkpoints in time to avoid them. That is to say, in time to turn off the road or turn around before it’s too late to do so. That being defined as getting within a few hundred yards, at which point it will either no longer be possible to discreetly turn around/off (no place to do so) or doing so will arouse “suspicion” and that will result in an Enforcer coming after you.

This, by the way, has nothing whatever to do with a desire on my part to drive “drunk” and “get away” with it.

I hardly drink alcohol at all and never operate a vehicle when I am impaired by alcohol.

My problem is with the presumption of impairment and with this business of having to demonstrate to the satisfaction of an Enforcer that I am not “drunk” – as opposed to the reverse.

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The 12 Most Pesticide-Laden Fruits and Vegetables

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

Each year, the Environmental Working Group (EWG) releases its “Dirty Dozen” list of the fruits and vegetables that rank highest in pesticide residues. This year, strawberries top the list.

For the first time, strawberries outrank apples, which previously headed the list for 5 years running.

For the report, the EWG analyzed test results of more than 35,200 samples of fruits and vegetables taken by the USDA and the FDA. Nearly all of the non-organic strawberry samples – at least 98% – contained detectable levels of pesticides, with 47% having residues of 10 or more pesticides. Some of the strawberries were found to have residues from 17 different pesticides.

  1. Strawberries
  2. Apples
  3. Nectarines
  4. Peaches
  5. Celery
  6. Grapes
  7. Cherries
  8. Spinach
  9. Tomatoes
  10. Sweet bell peppers
  11. Cherry tomatoes
  12. Cucumbers

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One Guy With a Stun Gun

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

Originally published by

Las Vegas, NV – In Oklahoma recently a homeowner was able to chase two thieves away with a stun gun after figuring out the gun the thieves were pointing at him was fake.

The incident happened around 5 p.m. on a Sunday. The resident answered a knock at his door because he recognized the woman outside as a woman from the neighborhood.

From KOCO Oklahoma City:

“Brandon Shelly told KOCO he answered a knock at his door because he recognized the woman outside as a woman he’d seen in the neighborhood. When he opened the door, two men hiding bullied their way in and held a gun to his face.

“They came rushing in with guns in their hands pushing me back. They wanted my money,” Shelly said. “I was begging them, ‘Please don’t do this to me.’ That’s when I realized the gun wasn’t a real gun.”

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Blockbots and Blacklists

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

“Are you, or have you ever been, a supporter of Gamergate, NotYourShield, Sad Puppies, Rabid Puppies, Men’s Rights Activists, Ron Paul, Donald Trump, White Supremacists, etc, etc etc?”

Blacklists have come a long way since the bygone days of McCarthy.

With the power of modern database and data processing systems, a list of targets can be drawn up in a matter of minutes, regardless of the criteria used to populate that list.  And with the Internet, that same list can be in place, worldwide, in hours.

Two fairly recent examples are Randi Harper’s Good Game Auto-Blocker and Vox Day’s SJWList.

Filtering Out Gamergate:  GG Autoblock

The Culture War in a Nutshell

The differences between the GG Autoblock and SJWList are like night and day.

Since the program is built on guilt by association, anyone can land on the GG Autoblock list without even realizing it, just by following the wrong person.  Anti-Gamergate SJWs are perfectly willing to ban ten thousand people from their Twitter feeds to ensure a mere handful are silenced.

If you are a person who wants to hear the viewpoints of both sides and are willing to run the risk of being offended by the words you read, then you also run the risk of being added to the Autoblock simply for trying to listen.

SJWList, by comparison, is specific and detailed.  The criteria are very clear and well defined.  No one listed there should be surprised at their inclusion or confused as to the reason because it attempts to clearly and accurately document past statements and actions.

In other words, like most political correctness/social justice issues, the key difference between the two systems lies in “who you are” versus “what you do.”

The post Blockbots and Blacklists appeared first on LewRockwell.

Call Them Paperman Sachs

Lew Rockwell Institute - Sab, 23/04/2016 - 06:01

The post Call Them Paperman Sachs appeared first on LewRockwell.

Il pendio scivoloso e la grande scogliera

Freedonia - Ven, 22/04/2016 - 10:06

di Francesco Simoncelli

Nell'effettivo è passato un anno da quando la BCE ha lanciato il proprio quantitative easing attraverso il quale sta cercando di rivitalizzare un'economia europea da coma irreversibile. La strategia è quella di scatenare un effetto ricchezza a cascata utilizzando il mandato ufficioso di tutte le banche centrali mondiali: salvaguardare la salute finanziaria dello stato e delle grandi banche commerciali. Si presume che attraverso di loro sarà possibile veicolare all'economia più ampia quegli input necessari per innescare una ripresa economica. Finora non è accaduto niente di tutto ciò. Addirittura non esistono abbastanza bond sovrani che la BCE possa comprare in modo da soddisfare la sua promessa d'acquisto mensile ammontante ora a €80 miliardi.

Di conseguenza il QE è stato ampliato anche ad altri settori. Infatti sono stati inclusi nel QE anche i cosiddetti investment grade bond. Come anticipato in questo articolo, bisognava trovare un modo per dare legittimità al Piano Juncker ed ecco la BCE pronta a monetizzare qualsiasi asset si muova o no nei casinò. I pianificatori monetari centrali stanno cercando in tutti i modi di attizzare il fuoco della domanda aggregata affinché faccia bruciare di nuovo il fuoco della ripresa economica. Finora non abbiamo visto niente di tutto ciò. Perché? Perché se l'incentivo alla base degli investimenti non è genuino, allora la sua sostenibilità sarà messa in pericolo una volta che suddetto incentivo svanirà. Il miglior esempio che si possa presentare a tal proposito, è quello dell'industria dei beni capitali e di come viene distorta dall'iniezione del denaro fiat.


La produzione industriale è una rete di processi le cui singole componenti sono costituite da due input fondamentali: risorse di capitale umano e risorse naturali. Ogni stadio della produzione superiore necessita di quelli precedenti, oltre che ai due input fondamentali. Se dovessi semplificare drasticamente questi concetti, in nostro aiuto arriva la teoria del capitale Austriaca che ci permette di comprenderli appieno. Infatti non c'è esempio migliore del naufrago su un'isola deserta che si ritrova d'improvviso sprovvisto di tutte quelle comodità che in precedenza godeva nella società civile. Una volta compresa la sua situazione deve economizzare l'ambiente circostante e determinare quale possa essere il costo d'opportunità di ogni singola risorsa naturale presente sull'isola. Ovvero, deve decidere quale sarà la migliore allocazione di ogni risorsa naturale a sua disposizione.

Inutile dire che la sua sopravvivenza si baserà inizialmente sulla mera sussistenza, andando a consumare beni di consumo come pesce, frutta, ecc. Non avendo a disposizione una struttura industriale ben definita alle sue spalle, non può godere di beni specifici che potrebbero garantirgli un tenore di vita superiore. Quindi deve accontentarsi, almeno inizialmente, di consumare le risorse naturali. Infatti dovrà dapprima costruirsi un flusso costante di beni di consumo (reddito) prima di poter pensare di investirne parte per elevare il suo tenore di vita.

Questo significa che dovrà raccogliere giornalmente un certo numero di frutta per poter garantire la propria sopravvivenza, utilizzando il lavoro del suo corpo per consumare i beni di consumo. Ma, come abbiamo detto in precedenza, esiste un costo d'opportunità quando si economizzano le risorse naturali, e questo vuol dire che i beni di consumo possono essere utilizzati come beni intermedi (nella produzione di qualcos'altro) piuttosto che consumati semplicemente. Infatti, piuttosto che consumare tutta la frutta che riesce a raccogliere, può rinunciare a parte di essa e metterla da parte nel corso de tempo. In questo modo dividerà in due il suo reddito: parte verrà consumato e parte verrà investito nel futuro. Una volta che avrà a disposizione abbastanza risparmi, potrà smettere di raccogliere frutta e dedicare i suoi sforzi per creare un oggetto che gli permetta di diversificare la sua dieta. Ovvero, aggiungerà uno stadio di produzione alla sua attività industriale. Nel caso specifico, deciderà di costruire una rete per catturare pesci.

Grazie ai risparmi messi da parte potrà sostenere la sua vita nel periodo in cui dovrà dedicare la maggior parte del suo tempo a costruire la suddetta rete. Unendo il lavoro e le risorse naturali che lo circondano, riesce a trasformare un bene di consumo in un bene capitale. Ma quest'aggiunta di uno stadio di produzione porta con sé un altro fattore: la manutenzione dei beni di capitale. Quindi vediamo ora di rendere un po' più complesso il nostro esempio per cercare di capire l'importanza della teoria Austriaca del capitale e come essa spieghi l'attuale stagnazione economica.

Diciamo che il nostro naufrago, arrivato a questo punto, utilizzi 5 ore per raccogliere frutta; 5 ore per pescare; 5 ore per fare manutenzione; 5 ore per preparare il cibo; e infine 4 ore le utilizzi in disutilità del lavoro. Seguendo questo modello di produzione egli riesce a gestire in modo sostenibile le varie attività in cui è impegnato e garantire a sé stesso un flusso costante di reddito. Non solo, ma in futuro potrà aggiungere un ulteriore stadio di produzione quando avrà sufficienti risparmi da parte, riuscendo a creare una vanga con cui seminare piante ad esempio. Si noti che questo processo graduale è in funzione del livello dei risparmi posseduti dal naufrago, questo significa che più ne avrà più riuscirà ad accorciare i tempi tra la creazione di uno stadio di produzione e l'altro. Il punto fondamentale di questo processo è che i vari stadi della produzione non possono essere saltati, poiché la distribuzione delle ore di lavoro e di manutenzione verrebbero stravolte.

Supponiamo che un giorno la marea porti a riva le vettovaglie di una nave naufragata al largo. D'improvviso il nostro naufrago potrà godere di una manna inattesa. Perché lavorare e spaccarsi la schiena quando avrà a disposizione cibo in abbondanza grazie a questo colpo di fortuna? Ridurrà, quindi, le ore dedicate a raccogliere frutta, pescare e fare manutenzione. Per tutte queste attività vi dedicherà solo 2 ore e ridistribuirà le restanti alla preparazione del cibo e alla disutilità del lavoro. L'improvvisa manna non è nata da uno stadio di produzione sostenibile, ma da un evento una tantum che spinge il produttore a consumare i risparmi e i beni di capitale fintanto che il flusso distorsivo della produzione continuerà a fare il suo effetto. Inoltre, più sarà intenso il flusso distorsivo, maggiore sarà il tempo dedicato alla disutilità del lavoro e minore sarà quello dedicato alla manutenzione dei beni di capitale esistenti.

Terminato il flusso distorsivo, il naufrago si ritroverà a corto di risparmi alimentari con cui sostenere la sua vita e con degli oggetti marci che non potrà più utilizzare come prima. Di conseguenza dovrà tornare a quello stadio di produzione originale che gli garantiva un reddito costante  e col tempo gli avrebbe permesso di guadagnare risparmi sufficienti da aggiungere ulteriori stadi produttivi al suo processo "industriale".

Nella realtà, ovviamente, le cose sono molto più complesse, ma questo semplice esempio serve a far capire ai lettori come funziona il processo produttivo a livello industriale e come un flusso distorsivo esterno possa deviare risorse da attività sostenibili ad attività insostenibili. Nello specifico, come il denaro scoperto distorca la produzione industriale e in particolar modo quella legata ai beni di capitale. Infatti i progetti più a lungo termine sono quelli che più risentono di un cambiamento nei tassi d'interessi e di conseguenza quelle industrie in tal campo recepiscono questo messaggio come una "luce verde" nei confronti del loro investimenti. Queste imprese che s'impegnano in progetti la cui realizzazione è distante molti anni dal presente, rendono più circolare la produzione industriale perché attraverso i loro investimenti fanno in modo che il denaro preso in prestito si concentri fondamentalmente in quegli stadi di produzione superiori. Ad esempio, quello delle materie prime.

È così che, ad esempio, è nata la bolla dell'olio di scisto che al giorno d'oggi sta inondando il mondo con un'offerta di petrolio nettamente superiore alla domanda. Le industrie di beni di capitale, a seguito del boom del credito facile alimentato dalle banche centrali, hanno approfittato del calo degli interessi per accedere a nuove linee di credito con cui finanziare le proprie attività. Queste industrie, ovviamente, necessitavano di un grande influsso di materie prime per dare pieno sfogo alle loro catene di montaggio. È così che, ad esempio, la Caterpillar e la Komatsu hanno sfoggiato utili da favola nel post-crisi; e, indirettamente, questo ha significato un boom delle miniere di ferro, carbone e bauxite in Australia per sostenere la domanda di suddette imprese. Questo è un circolo vizioso che alimenta sé stesso fino a quando l'effetto del credito creato ex-novo non raggiunge i beni di consumo. Il canale di trasmissione in quest'ultimo caso sono sostanzialmente gli stipendi dei lavoratori che queste industrie assumono progressivamente.

In sostanza, la storia Austriaca di base è che durante il boom artificiale, la forza lavoro ed altre risorse vengono incanalate in progetti d'investimento non compatibili con il livello generale del risparmio reale. Prima o poi, la realtà alza la sua brutta testa ed i progetti insostenibili devono essere abbandonati prima del completamento. Gli imprenditori realizzano di essersi orribilmente sbagliati durante il boom, ognuno si sente più povero e riduce drasticamente i consumi, e molti lavoratori vengono licenziati affinché la struttura produttiva possa essere modificata alla luce della rivelazione. Questo significa che l'ago della bilancia, una volta che la banca centrale smette d'inondare l'ambiente economico con denaro scoperto, sono esattamente quelle imprese che hanno beneficiato di più dell'espansione monetaria artificiale: le industrie nel settore dei beni di capitale.

La recessione nasce proprio da loro e dura il tempo necessario a riallocare in modo sostenibile le risorse scarse presenti nell'ambiente economico verso quelle realtà che le useranno nel mondo più efficiente e soddisfacente (per i consumatori) possibile. La Grande Deflazione cui stiamo assistendo oggi è l'effetto di una volontà di far continuare quanto più a lungo possibile la fase di boom del ciclo economico ripartito nel 2009. Non è una caso, ad esempio, se le grandi banche commerciali si stiano impegnando a tenere (in qualche modo) solvibili le imprese nel settore petrolifero e zia Janet continua a rimandare il rialzo dei tassi d'interessi iniziato lo scorso dicembre. Ma nel frattempo l'eccesso d'offerta dei prodotti sfornati e i profitti in calo, le stanno lentamente uccidendo e quando accadrà esse rappresenteranno l'epicentro da cui si propagherà la recessione economica. Da quel momento in poi la riallocazione delle risorse economiche scarse, trasformerà la Grande Deflazione in Grande Inflazione.


Le banche centrali stanno facendo di tutto affinché tutto ciò non accada. Continuano a calciare il barattolo sperando di far continuare l'ambiente economico lungo l'ottovolante del ciclo boom/bust in base al presupposto che saranno in grado di gestire qualsiasi situazione. Ma la situazione in cui siamo finiti è un mistero per tutti. Niente di quello che è accaduto dopo il 2008 s'era mai visto nel mondo economico occidentale (tranne in Israele nel 1985). Non è un caso se Draghi, nella sua ultima dichiarazione concernente la politica monetaria della BCE, abbia incorporato nel programma europeo di quantitative easing gli "investment grade asset", rappresentativi del mondo della grande impresa.

La politica monetaria allentata ha reso più ridondanti gli stadi più alti della produzione industriale, andando a gonfiare bolle come quelle nell'olio di scisto e nel settore automobilistico. Infatti il settore bancario commerciale, incapace di trasmettere la politica monetaria della banca centrale all'economia più ampia poiché in condizione di picco del debito, ha "investito" nel mercato ad alto rendimento per proteggere i propri margini di profitto messi in pericolo dalla ZIRP. Questo comportamento ha fornito carburante incendiario a compagnie la cui sostenibilità degli investimenti è stata distorta da questa gigantesca offerta d'acquisto alimentata dalla politica monetaria allentata delle banche centrali. Di conseguenza sono stati sfornati prodotti per cui non c'era domanda reale e ora i nodi sono arrivati al pettine: profitti in calo e capacità in eccesso.

Sebbene questa ridondanza abbia sequestrato lavoro e capitali fornendo all'economia più ampia impulsi di una pseudo-ripresa, Main Street continua a voler percorrere un percorso di deleveraging, rallentato purtroppo dal salvataggio artificiale di entità che sarebbero dovute fallire. Infatti la persistente condizione di picco del debito sta facendo fallire visibilmente i tentativi dei banchieri centrali di reflazionare l'economia di Main Street. Ma attenzione, perché i profitti in calo e la capacità in eccesso stanno portando verso il fallimento quelle società che hanno goduto della manna monetaria delle banche centrali. A meno di salvataggi centrali (come sta facendo Draghi, ad esempio, comprando bond IG), la liberazione di lavoro e capitale da riallocare in modo sostenibile nell'ambiente economico causerà una dolorosa inflazione dei prezzi.

Sin dall'annuncio dello zio Mario d'includere nel suo QE i bond IG, visto il cortocircuito normativo a livello di quelli statali (es. tetto ai deficit), gli investitori sono stati letteralmente contagiati dalla pazzia dei pianificatori monetari centrali e stanno affondando mani e piedi nelle bombe ad orologeria finanziarie per fare front-running alla BCE e godere di lauti carry trade. Dato che la prospettiva dei tassi negativi aleggia da un bel po', gli investitori si stanno accapigliando per entrare in possesso di tutto quel pattume obbligazionario societario e poi rivenderlo alla BCE.

È questo il piano per la ripresa economica? Caricare di ulteriore polvere da sparo le bische clandestine? Diffondere nell'ambiente economico ulteriori investimenti improduttivi in cambio di spasmi di pseudo-ripresa nel breve termine? Parafrasando il buon vecchio Clint Eastwood: "Go ahead ECB, make my day!"


Ironia della sorta saranno esattamente quegli aiuti centrali che rappresenteranno il tallone d'Achille delle banche commerciali. Infatti sin dall'inizio della scoperta delle lande inesplorate della nuova politica monetaria in cui i tassi del mercato monetario sono stati praticamente ridotti a zero, le banche hanno goduto di una manna monetaria artificiale attraverso la quale puntellare i loro bilanci. Queste risorse monetarie, che sono state utilizzate per mostrare ai mercati come i bilanci disastrati delle grandi banche commerciali potessero reggere ad uno shock dei mercati e proseguire la loro normale attività. In realtà queste torreggianti riserve monetarie sono state parcheggiate presso le banche centrali e hanno funto da gigantesca offerta d'acquisto per determinati asset. Principalmente i bond sovrani dei vari governi. Poi si è passati ai mercati azionari.

In questo modo le banche centrali hanno salvato indirettamente tutte quelle entità che ritenevano pericolose per un crollo sistemico dei mercati finanziari globali. Non è un caso, ad esempio, che la FED abbia salvato AIG e Fannie/Freddie attraverso l'acquisto di titoli garantiti da ipoteca. Non è un caso che la BCE abbia iniziato a monetizzare dapprima solamente i titoli di stato europei e poi abbia proseguito estendendo il suo programma di QE ai bond IG e agli ABS.

Queste mosse non sono altro che il frutto malato della nuova politica monetaria atta a sovvenzionare all'infinito carcasse economiche che non fanno altro che sprecare le risorse economiche che sequestrano dall'ambiente economico. Farle restare in vita significa non solo far proseguire la stagnazione secolare in cui stanno finendo le varie nazioni del mondo, ma anche acuire esponenzialmente il dolore economico da sopportare una volta che ci ritroveremo di fronte ad un'inevitabile correzione dei mercati. I bilanci gonfi di pattume obbligazionario/azionario delle varie banche commerciali, faranno aumentare le loro sofferenze a causa dei fallimenti aziendali di cui abbiamo parlato nelle sezioni precedenti.

Non serve altro che il buon senso per notare come l'escalation di misure interventiste non stia facendo affatto bene alle varie economie che, loro malgrado, si ritrovano protagoniste di scenari al limite del folle. Nello specifico, i tassi negativi sono quanto di più folle potessero immaginare la banda di keynesiani che popolano le varie banche centrali. Innanzitutto non considerano una cosa fondamentale: il canale della trasmissione della politica monetaria all'economia più ampia è rotto, soprattutto perché famiglie e piccole/medie imprese hanno raggiunto una condizione di picco del debito. Questo vuol dire che la reflazione delle varie bolle non può passare da loro quando scoppieranno. Fin dal post-Grande Recessione sono stati presi in ostaggi i bilanci di grandi aziende e famiglie benestanti, le quali hanno potuto accedere a nuovi prestiti grazie soprattutto al loro "retaggio" e alla loro disponibilità di liquidità come garanzia.

Ma cosa hanno fatto? Hanno gozzovigliato nelle bische clandestine, incoraggiando pratiche sempre più audaci di ingegneria finanziaria e annullando de facto una ponderazione onesta del rischio e un onesto price discovery. Riacquisti d'azioni proprie, acquisizioni & fusioni, ecc. hanno rappresentato la nuova El Dorado per suddetti soggetti, facendo salire le valutazioni degli asset e delle capitalizzazioni di mercato attraverso illusioni alimentate dal convoglio delle stampanti monetarie. È così che s'è cercato di creare valore aggiunto; è così che s'è cercato di trasmettere la politica monetaria all'economia più ampia, attraverso un presunto effetto ricchezza a cascata; è così che, ad esempio, i settori del lusso hanno fatto registrare una crescente domanda.

A che prezzo? La nascita di bolle più esplosive e più pervasive rispetto alle due d'inizio secolo. Ora ci ritroviamo in un ambiente in cui la maggior parte degli attori di mercato non ha idea di chi possieda cosa e come gli effetti a catena possono facilmente trasferirsi da un soggetto inadempiente ad un altro. I tassi negativi in Europa, ad esempio, stanno portando al limite estremo la politica dei tassi d'interesse a zero. I margini di profitto delle banche vengono erosi se non investono propriamente i loro capitale, quindi vanno a caccia di affari sempre più rischiosi basandosi sull'accomodamento monetario persistente delle banche centrali.

Di conseguenza la vera minaccia all'attuale sistema economico e finanziario non sono altro che le banche centrali stesse.

La loro smania di controllo le ha portate verso un pendio scivoloso il quale culmina con una scogliera. Non riusciranno a smettere di "ficcanasare" nell'economia più ampia, poiché hanno messo in gioco tutto affinché potessero salvaguardare le entità protette dal cartello che loro rappresentano. E così facendo si sono lanciate in un'avventura di cui non ignoravano l'esito. All'aumentare delle loro misure, aumenterà il bacino di elementi che potranno far saltare in aria l'attuale sistema. Non è un caso, ad esempio, se in Italia c'è molta apprensione per quando riguarda la costituzione di un fondo salva-banche. Aspettatevi, per l'ennesima volta, la partecipazione della CDP in questa ennesima buffonata. Sembra ormai che per qualsiasi cosa debba essere finanziata in Italia a livello di "investimento pubblico", ci sia sempre la garanzia finale rappresentata dai risparmi di coloro tanto ingenui d'aver lasciato i loro averi in mano alle Poste Italiane. Questi ultimi sono gli stessi che inveiscono contro quelli che "hanno i soldi in conti off-shore", senza notare come la mandria di buoi stia lentamente venendo trasferita in un'unica recinzione.

L'interconnessione tra tutti questi elementi nel mondo della finanza, rende l'attuale sistema di una esplosività mai vista prima d'ora. In questo contesto la FED sta cercando, a sua volta, di rallentare il corso degli eventi, lasciando salire di 25 bps il tasso pagato per le riserve in eccesso detenute presso il 33 di Liberty Street. Questo non solo è un sovvenzionamento per quelle grandi banche domiciliate sul suolo statunitense, ma anche per quelle estere.

Ma questo significa meno soldi che entrano per il Tesoro a fine anno. Questo significa un deficit in ascesa nel futuro prossimo per lo zio Sam. Questo significa maggiori risorse sequestrate dallo stato a discapito del settore privato. Aggiungeteci una possibile trasmissione dei tassi negativi ai depositanti e i due grafici qui sotto rappresenteranno la falla che farà colare a picco il mito della presunta ripresa.

L'economia più ampia sta dicendo forte e chiaro che l'attuale percorso impostato dallo stato e dalle banche centrali è insostenibile. È una questione di tempo e del giusto catalizzatore prima che l'intero castello di carte crolli vorticosamente.


La continua intrusione da parte delle autorità pianificatrici centrali nel tessuto economico, ha creato una catena di errori economici che ne hanno distorto la produzione. La teoria Austriaca del capitale spiega nel dettaglio come questa distorsione arrechi enormi danni nel lungo periodo. Il processo è messo in moto non appena avviene la prima, leggera intrusione. Da lì in poi si scende lungo un pendio scivoloso da cui non esiste ritorno. Esiste solo una scogliera dalla quale si finirà inevitabilmente nel vuoto. Maggiore saranno le intrusioni, maggiore sarà la velocità di caduta.

I pianificatori monetari centrali hanno spacciato la favoletta secondo cui avrebbero bandito il ciclo economico. Attraverso i vari trucchi finanziari stanno riuscendo a tenere in piedi un castello di carte barcollante. La domanda che pochi si pongono: a che prezzo? Dopo aver fatto fuori famiglie e piccole/medie imprese, la saturazione dei bilanci delle grandi imprese ha rappresentano l'ancora di salvataggio della pianificazione monetaria centrale. Le ha permesso di reflazionare vecchie bolle e di gonfiarne di nuove. Inoltre, pur di inglobare quanti più attori di mercato possibili, ha elargito prestiti quasi gratis all'economia più ampia.

Non esiste più un mark to market onesto. Esiste solo un market maker (es. le banche centrali) che sta tirando fuori dal cilindro qualsiasi espediente per portare verso vette più assurde i mercati finanziari e verso vette più dispotiche la società. È così che finisce un boom insostenibile. È così che finisce un'organizzazione sociale basata sul furto.


Von Mises Italia - Ven, 22/04/2016 - 09:46

Il mio primo approccio con la scuola austriaca di economia risale ai mesi di gennaio e febbraio 2010. Incuriosito dalla crisi in atto e cercando di capire i perché più profondi di questa, smanettavo su internet alla ricerca di qualche spunto interessante. Certo, durante il mio percorso di studi universitari avevo studiato la materia economica, ma quello che avevo appresso mi era apparso da subito lacunoso dinanzi alle problematiche che stavano poco alla volta emergendo.

La lettura di Usemlab di Francesco Carbone ha rappresentato la porta d’ingresso verso un mondo fino ad allora a me sconosciuto: l’università, infatti, non mi aveva accennato nemmeno l’esistenza di una cosiddetta scuola austriaca di economia, ed una volta che ne venni a conoscenza compresi neanche troppo gradualmente il perché.

Dopo Usemlab venne Rischio Calcolato, Ideas Have a Consequences, Freedonia, etc, ma soprattutto i libri dei grandi esponenti di questa scuola.

Con il tempo, i nomi di von Mises, von Hayek, Rothbard, Menger, Bruno Leoni, solo per citarne alcuni, mi divennero familiari ed aprirono i miei occhi sul reale modus operandi del processo economico. Questi stessi nomi, nel contempo, mi aiutarono a comprendere che il testo di riferimento dei miei studi economici, vale a dire Economics di Paul A. Samuelson e William D. Nordhaus, non era, come da più di cinquanta anni asseriva il mondo accademico, perlomeno quello più in vista, una mirabile sintesi di tutte quelle verità che la scienza economica era riuscita ad individuare sino a quel momento, ma un insieme di parole che era bene leggere solamente per sottoporle in seguito ad una devastante critica.

Definire la scuola austriaca meramente come una scuola di pensiero economico è piuttosto riduttivo: essa è più ampiamente una logica ed una epistemologia che si pone a difesa della libertà e della dignità della persona umana. Libertà che si realizza pienamente nel momento in cui ogni individuo può agire in assenza di impedimenti, con gli unici vincoli rappresentati dal rispetto dei diritti di proprietà e di auto-proprietà altrui. Proprietà sulle cose che si acquisisce tramite prima fruizione o attraverso scambi volontari.

L’insegnamento principale che condivide chiunque si sente di appartenere a questa scuola di pensiero è quello secondo il quale per raggiungere il più vasto benessere materiale e per la realizzazione dei fini individuali più vari occorre servirsi del libero processo di mobilitazione di risorse e di conoscenze, meglio noto come ordine esteso di libero mercato. Non esiste “austriaco”, infatti, che non possa condividere questo fondamentale insegnamento.

All’interno di questo insegnamento, non ho la pretesa però di costituire un’etica oggettiva che affermi il valore preminente della libertà in termini assoluti, piuttosto sostengo la libertà sempre in relazione a qualcos’altro. Vorrei poter sostenere la società libera su valori e diritti oggettivamente fondati, ossia che non richiedono alcun confronto perché leggi umane che trovano il proprio fondamento in proposizioni descrittive. Tuttavia, in ossequio alla cosiddetta legge di Hume, non è logicamente possibile derivare proposizioni prescrittive partendo da proposizioni unicamente descrittive.

La proposizioni descrittive ci consegnano informazioni sul mondo vere o false che non necessitano per essere approvate (come, ad esempio, la frase: “quella finestra è aperta”) di ragionamenti deduttivi, esprimenti una relazione od una affermazione nuova. Esse, dunque, sono proposizioni a carattere universale in sé e per sé, cioè che non richiedono per essere accettate una decisione umana.

Le proposizioni prescrittive (come ad esempio, “non uccidere e non rubare perché sono azioni sbagliate”) richiedono, invece, per essere accettate una serie di ragionamenti consequenzialisti i quali implicano delle valutazioni psichiche e conseguentemente delle decisioni umane. Ciò significa che tali proposizioni non possono contenere un carattere universale in sé e per sé, ma la loro universalità dipende dalla stima che ne fanno gli esseri umani.

In sintesi, so di non poter andare oltre la constatazione che i fatti umani in quanto tali non hanno senso e che questi fatti acquisiscono senso soltanto mediante le nostre decisioni. So che le scienze, non solo quella naturali ma anche quella sociali come l’economia, non sono in grado di generare etica.

I fini sono sempre soggettivi come i valori che li sottintendono. I giudizi di valore, quindi, esprimono sempre delle preferenze di carattere soggettivo e non oggettivo. Vorrei poter affermare che il diritto alla proprietà privata ed alla auto-proprietà sono cose buone e giuste perché derivanti da un ordine di leggi naturali suscettibili di essere scoperte dalla ragione. Tuttavia, più umilmente, essendo solo un essere umano e perciò non in grado di accedere a dei criteri per valutare in maniera oggettiva dei giudizi di valore, mi devo limitare ad affermare che il diritto alla proprietà privata ed alla auto-proprietà sono cose buone e giuste poiché rappresentano quei presupposti capaci di assecondare meglio il più vasto benessere materiale e il più alto numero di preferenze individuali.

Asserito quanto, sono però convinto che, accanto al rispetto dei diritti di proprietà ed auto proprietà, l’osservanza, in linea generale, di una certa altra moralità consistente in alcuni sentimenti i quali, facendomi sentire il resto dell’umanità e del creato come una parte integrante di me stesso, mi spingono ad aiutare il prossimo anche qualora non si ottenga alcun vantaggio materiale diretto dal far questo, non può che giovare all’ordine esteso di libero mercato, giacché ciò finisce per evitare, in un senso più ampio, la possibilità dello scatenarsi di ostilità; assenza di ostilità che è elemento indispensabile affinché il libero mercato possa sviluppare tutti i suoi effetti.

Se c’è uno sconosciuto a terra bisognoso del mio aiuto, i miei diritti di proprietà e di auto-proprietà non mi obbligano né ad aiutare né a non aiutare questa persona. Ciò nonostante, il riconoscere che la difficoltà vissuta in quell’istante da quella persona un giorno potrebbe essere anche la mia, mi persuade a prestargli attenzione e soccorso.

Tuttavia, seppur riconosca valore positivo a quest’altra moralità, sto allo stesso tempo attento a non mettere questa aprioristicamente dinanzi alle leggi universali che governano l’economia. In tal senso, non solo il rispetto dei diritti di proprietà e di auto-proprietà altrui ma anche quest’altra moralità nasce come frutto di una serie di convenzioni e, dunque, non come una considerazione a priori.

Ciascun essere umano, di volta in volta, dovrebbe decidere autonomamente quale limite raggiungere con quest’altra moralità e gli altri dovrebbero rispettare tali decisioni. Di conseguenza, se si accoglie tale visione, il comportamento di chi cerca di andare oltre a quello che l’altro ha deciso volontariamente essere il suo limite non può essere legittimamente tollerato.

Per quanto concerne la dimensione economica della vita, c’è necessariamente da dire inoltre che questa non ha come base ultima il desiderio di ricchezza, bensì la condizione di scarsità delle risorse reali. Infatti, il desiderio di ottenere in ogni situazione un guadagno economico maggiore rispetto ad uno minore può essere anche soppresso (ad esempio, a fronte di un guadagno economico maggiore, qualcuno potrà sempre preferire la preservazione di un rapporto affettivo), ma la condizione di scarsità delle risorse reali, invece, non lo potrà mai essere. Non esiste utopia, prescrizione legislativa o morale che possa abbattere tale condizione.

L’essere consapevole e rispettoso delle reali fondamenta della dimensione economica dell’esistenza umana mi induce ad auto-definirmi come un utilitarista. Utilitarista, non perché smanioso in ogni caso e nonostante tutto di aumentare i miei possedimenti materiali, ma perché perfettamente conscio che sono i mezzi e non i fini ultimi dell’azione ad essere economici e conseguentemente perché perfettamente conscio che ogni scelta comporta da qualche parte un sacrificio.

Il processo di mobilitazione di risorse e di conoscenze senza l’uso o la minaccia d’uso della forza dovrebbe essere universalmente inteso da tutti gli esseri umani come il migliore dei procedimenti sociali possibili, giacché consente di scoprire continuamente fatti che, senza di esso, nessuno conoscerebbe o utilizzerebbe. Tuttavia, dobbiamo prendere atto che tale processo, anche nelle migliori delle ipotesi, non è in grado farci pervenire alla massimizzazione in senso stretto di un qualche risultato misurabile, ma più semplicemente riesce a condurre, in condizioni favorevoli, all’utilizzo di maggiori capacità e conoscenze rispetto a qualsiasi altra procedura sociale di umana ideazione. Non siamo, pertanto, capaci di porre in essere una massimizzazione in senso stretto del prodotto globale effettivo dell’economia e della possibilità media di tutti, ma capaci di porre in essere una continua economizzazione di questi due aspetti, seguendo i precetti dell’ordine esteso di libero mercato, questo senz’altro sì.

Sostenere l’idea della massimizzazione in senso stretto ci porta necessariamente a ipotizzare che l’uomo, se posto in determinate condizioni, possa divenire ottimizzatore in qualunque istante della funzione di utilità, ma ciò è assai lontano dalla realtà dei fatti, dato che gli individui non conoscono in anticipo tutti gli esiti che le loro azioni alimentano.

Possiamo avere una conoscenza rilevante per quello che riguarda gli scopi che intendiamo raggiungere ed i mezzi in nostro possesso, ma non possiamo avere una conoscenza rilevante per quello che riguarda tutto ciò che giace e soggiace nell’ambito dell’ordine complessivo. Le relazioni con gli altri e con il mondo esterno sono per ciascuno di noi piene di punti oscuri ed è per questo motivo che la vita, nella sua essenza, rappresenta un viaggio esplorativo verso l’ignoto ed un procedimento di continua correzione dei nostri errori. In ogni caso, ciascun singolo individuo possiede conoscenze sulle proprie specifiche circostanze di tempo e di luogo superiori a qualsiasi altro soggetto e tutte queste conoscenze possono essere utilizzate “al meglio” solo se le decisioni che dipendono da queste vengono prese da chi le detiene o con la sua attiva collaborazione.

Se potessimo accedere a tutte le conoscenze rilevanti in anticipo, l’uomo sarebbe un illuminato calcolatore non tormentato dall’incertezza, dalle paure e dalle angosce e capace contemporaneamente di azzeccare ogni decisione e previsione, anche le più minimali.

Da tutto ciò deriva che il processo sociale possiede carattere prevalentemente ateologico. Gli individui nel loro agire accanto agli obiettivi consapevolmente perseguiti, o addirittura al posto di questi, generano un continuo flusso di conseguenze inintenzionali.

Seguendo il tracciato dell’individualismo metodologico:

ogni azione è riconducibile ad un’azione individuale, poiché gli individui sono le sole unità realmente esistenti del mondo sociale e i cosiddetti organismi collettivi altro non sono che costrutti mentali, concetti ausiliari utili alla comunicazione scritta e parlata degli individui; ogni azione individuale genera esiti alcuni dei quali, se non tutti, possono essere non voluti; i fenomeni sociali (come le norme legislative, i canoni morali, i prezzi, e le istituzioni) nascono, di regola, dall’involontario risultato di un’attività volta alla ricerca di un interesse individuale, visto che, sebbene siano il risultato di decisioni prese da un certo numero di persone, non sono stati tuttavia coscientemente e deliberatamente progettati da nessuno.

La spiegazione a mano invisibile di come normalmente nascono i fenomeni sociali rappresenta, pertanto, l’ovvio approdo dell’individualismo metodologico. A loro volta, individualismo metodologico e processo a mano invisibile non possono che avere come necessario sfondo la teoria evoluzionistica. L’azione umana è carattere proprio della mente di ciascuno. L’assioma dell’azione umana, secondo il quale ognuno di noi con le proprie azioni sceglie dei mezzi per raggiungere determinati fini soggettivi, si confronta quotidianamente con l’esperienza fattuale, generando così un procedimento di condizionamento vicendevole.

Affermare la prevalenza di un ordine inintenzionale non sottintende che l’essere umano sia caratterizzato da una mancanza di consapevolezza. Tutte le azioni umane sono volte ad un fine. Di conseguenza, l’uomo non può essere scusato per il fine che persegue. Tuttavia, ciò non significa che nel perseguire quel determinato fine non si possano generare a cascata delle conseguenze inintenzionali, dato che nessuno è in possesso di quella conoscenza rilevante che concerne l’ordine complessivo, conoscenza che permetterebbe di programmare con estrema esattezza il futuro, ma che è inaccessibile ad ogni uomo in quanto essere imperfetto.

Chiaramente, se ci si prefigge di realizzare dei mutamenti sociali che perfezionino e migliorino la qualità della vita e delle cose esistenti, non si può fare affidamento esclusivamente sulle conseguenze inintenzionali; per far questo, occorre necessariamente anche forza di volontà, preparazione tecnica e scientifica. Ma pensare di poter eliminare queste conseguenze oppure di coartarle forzosamente secondo il volere di un determinato punto di vista, ci fa sfociare nell’iperrazionalismo, vale a dire nell’assegnare un’infinita quanto illusoria fiducia nelle capacità della razionalità umana di poter plasmare a proprio piacimento i fenomeni sociali.

Deficit di bilancio permanenti, inflazione cronica, quote tendenzialmente crescenti dell’economia nazionale direttamente od indirettamente in mano al settore pubblico, continue malversazioni sulla proprietà privata degli individui, persistenti domande di politiche dei redditi, imposizioni tributarie che in alcuni casi rappresentano delle vere e proprie istigazioni al suicidio, organizzazioni statali assunte come depositarie di assolute verità morali, istituzioni religiose solitamente incapaci di dare dei messaggi che vadano oltre dei meri luoghi comuni. A questo si è, al momento, sostanzialmente ridotto il nostro Occidente. Tragedia, non trionfo.

Tutto ciò è il risultato estremo del sistema di pianificazione centrale del capitalismo, sistema anche noto con il nome di interventismo.

Tale sistema consente l’esistenza nominale di un regime di diritti di proprietà privata ma cerca di evitare i presunti eccessi del capitalismo tramite forme di dirigismo.

Finché i diritti di proprietà privata non vengono lesi oltre un certo limite, gli effetti positivi che l’economia riuscirà a generare risulteranno essere quantitativamente maggiori rispetto a quelli negativi. Allorché si oltrepassa quel certo limite, ovviamente, gli effetti negativi avranno la meglio su quelli positivi.

Nel momento in cui si oltrepassa quel certo limite, si instaura inevitabilmente un meccanismo perverso: gli interventi dello Stato per cercare di aggiustare quegli squilibri che lo stesso Stato con le sue decisioni arbitrarie ha in precedenza creato, lungi dal risolvere i problemi, finiscono per dirottare l’intero apparato produttivo e distributivo verso una totale pianificazione centrale. Poco alla volta, il sistema di libera impresa viene annichilito da politica e burocrazia. Le risultanti frizioni e strozzature, infatti, vengono successivamente attribuite, esplicitamente o implicitamente, ai diritti dei singoli sulle loro proprietà e ciò, in ultimo, viene utilizzato per imporre argomenti a favore di ulteriori restrizioni e regolamentazioni.

Questo meccanismo perverso, pertanto, viene portato avanti dalle autorità centrali non soltanto attraverso l’uso della forza o la minaccia d’uso della forza, ma anche e forse soprattutto attraverso la strumentalizzazione del linguaggio: individualista non è più colui che cerca di sottrarsi al conformismo, bensì colui che si comporta come un bieco egoista; l’imposizione tributaria non è più una discutibile pratica sociale coercitiva, bensì una pratica sociale assolutamente necessaria se si vuole affermare poi il benessere generale; l’inflazione non è più la falsificazione del rapporto tra risorse reali messe volontariamente a disposizione dagli agenti economici ed offerta di intermediari dello scambio, o, in altri termini, un eccesso di intermediari dello scambio sulla domanda, bensì un mero effetto di tutto ciò, ossia un aumento del livello generale dei prezzi.

Proprio per evitare di cadere sotto i colpi di tale strumentalizzazione, il sottoscritto ha deciso di non usare più il termine capitalismo per indicare quel processo economico contraddistinto da una libera mobilitazione delle risorse e delle conoscenze, un termine ormai “sputtanato” da anni di propaganda statalista. Al suo posto utilizzo la terminologia ordine esteso di libero mercato, oppure più semplicemente libero mercato.

Il pensiero, se vuole centrare l’obiettivo di essere adeguatamente compreso, deve sempre tener conto delle parole con cui vuole manifestarsi e del significato corrente di queste parole. Per questo motivo, se la maggior parte della gente non lega più il termine capitalismo con le parole libertà e cooperazione sociale volontaria, meglio sostituire la parola capitalismo con altri vocaboli più adeguati alla situazione vigente.

Alla base di questo processo degenerativo che conduce l’umanità verso forme di cattivo universalismo o verso forme di cattivo patriottismo, due facce della stessa medaglia, vi è sempre il monopolio sull’emissione monetaria e la centralizzazione della riserva bancaria. Per mezzo di queste, le autorità centrali sono in grado di porre in essere una gestione della massa monetaria prevalentemente irrazionale dal punto di vista economico, con lo scopo di alimentare il potere dell’organizzazione statale e dei gruppi privati ad essa contigui in modo occulto.

Il monopolio sull’emissione monetaria e l’assenza di una vera libertà bancaria consentono allo Stato di espandersi più di quanto non possa fare se dovesse ricorrere alla sola imposizione tributaria, giacché così operando si possono imporre al mercato o mantenere in circolazione (con abuso di autorità legale) forme patologiche di intermediari dello scambio. Lo Stato mediante o meno una banca centrale eccede nella creazione di moneta per acquisire risorse sociali aggiuntive a quelle che derivano dalla sola imposizione tributaria, dato che stampare denaro in questa maniera altro non è che una diversa modalità di imposizione: invece di privare le persone del loro denaro, si priva il denaro del suo potere di acquisto. In entrambi i casi, ciò viene fatto per avvantaggiare alcune persone a scapito di altre.

La crisi prevede che per riportare la direzione dell’economia stabilmente verso una tendenza all’equilibrio è necessario uno smantellamento di quella struttura produttiva che si è venuta a formare a seguito dell’eccesiva offerta di intermediari dello scambio; tale eccessiva offerta ha sicuramente anche attivato un processo continuato e prolungato di incremento non uniforme dei prezzi.

Assieme allo smantellamento di questa struttura produttiva, devono essere ridotte, se non addirittura cancellate quelle promesse fatte dagli Stati che si sono sviluppate anch’esse sotto il tepore della spinta inflazionistica.

Nel far ciò, tuttavia, è auspicabile non cadere nella tentazione di porre in essere una contrazione indiscriminata dell’offerta di intermediari dello scambio. Infatti, lo scoppio della crisi produce con sé un aumento della domanda di moneta e qualora si giungesse ad una contrazione che ponesse l’offerta di moneta (largamente) al di sotto della sua domanda le conseguenze per l’economia sarebbero assai nefaste soprattutto sotto il profilo della disoccupazione involontaria.

Infatti, in assenza di un meccanismo di compensazione interbancaria, un disequilibrio fra domanda ed offerta di moneta viene corretto attraverso una variazione dei prezzi. Ma tale meccanismo di adeguamento implica effetti negativi, poiché quando l’adeguamento avviene al rialzo la crescita dei prezzi non è mai uniforme e si vengono a costituire strutture della produzione insostenibili, quando, invece, è al ribasso l’eventuale ma allo stesso tempo molto probabile resistenza verso il basso a tale pressione di alcuni prezzi dovuta ai più disparati motivi, direi soprattutto istituzionali, fa in modo che un certo numero di risorse umane rimanga involontariamente bloccata al di fuori della produzione della reale.

La trasmissione dell’informazione basata sul rispetto dei diritti di proprietà e di auto-proprietà e sul sistema dei prezzi rappresenta il meccanismo fulcro dell’ordine esteso di libero mercato. Il rispetto di tali diritti rappresenta l’elemento necessario della cooperazione sociale volontaria; una guida all’azione sociale che ci dice quello che obbligatoriamente non bisogna fare se vogliamo evitare di scatenare ostilità. Malgrado ciò, affinché una società possa essere non solo pacifica ma anche produttiva, occorre affiancare a questa guida necessaria, una guida all’azione sociale sufficiente, una guida che ci dica cosa bisogna fare per rispondere attivamente ai reciproci bisogni e alle preferenze di tutti. Questa seconda guida è il sistema dei prezzi.

La continua fluttuazione dei segnali di prezzo rende possibile il coordinamento spontaneo di progetti, in persistente cambiamento, di innumerevoli persone; persone che, in larghissima parte, tra di loro non si conoscono e nemmeno hanno mai effettuato una qualche comunicazione scritta o parlata. Certo, a volte tale coordinamento fallisce, e con esso la realizzazione di alcuni progetti, e questo avviene perché, come sopra si è esaustivamente esposto, nessun essere umano è in possesso di quella conoscenza rilevante circa l’ordine complessivo. Nonostante ciò, chi pensa che i progetti dei singoli individui possano essere meglio coordinati tra di loro per mezzo di una struttura sociale deliberatamente pianificata che forza i diritti di proprietà e di auto-proprietà e deforma il sistema segnaletico dei prezzi, verrà progressivamente smentito dai fatti. Maggiore sarà l’estensione e l’intensità di tale pianificazione, maggiore sarà l’impoverimento diffuso, il numero dei fallimenti, la corruzione e la servitù.

Si può difendere l’ordine esteso di libero mercato in diverse maniere. A mio avviso, va principalmente difeso perché consente ad una parte tendenzialmente sempre più nutrita dell’umanità la possibilità di condurre delle vite che possano definirsi in qualche modo significative.

Poiché essere imperfetto, l’uomo non può che proiettare in taluna misura questa sua imperfezione nelle azioni e nelle relazioni che continuamente implementa. Tuttavia, se lasciati liberi di agire nel rispetto di quei diritti qui più volte menzionati, gli esseri umani, nel loro complesso, riescono a conseguire più di quanto una singola mente umana potrebbe mai progettare o prevedere.

The post Austrografia appeared first on Ludwig von Mises Italia.

Leave Jackson on the $20

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 22/04/2016 - 06:01

Changes are coming to our fiat currency.  Andrew Jackson will be replaced on the $20 and both the $5 and $10 will also be reworked, ostensibly in the name of “inclusion” and “diversity,” but also to prevent against “counterfeiting.”  Funny because the United States has been running the printing presses nonstop for the last decade in an attempt to “save the economy.”  Nothing like legal counterfeiting to combat illegal counterfeiting.

Alexander Hamilton and Abraham Lincoln will still be featured on the face of both the $10 and $5 respectively, but other images will grace the back of both notes.

I think it’s about time.

But we are choosing the wrong people and the wrong events to feature on both sides of our “money.”

Jackson was once a proponent of central banking, that is until he found out Henry Clay was behind the bill rechartering the Second Bank of the United States.  He also broke the law after he vetoed the re-charter bill by illegally withdrawing United States government deposits and ordering his Secretary of the Treasury, Roger Taney, to funnel them to State banks, took the wrong side in the nullification crisis, favored an illegal force bill to put South Carolina back “in-line,” and favored unconstitutional federal legislation that unilaterally voided signed treaties with the Five Civilized Tribes of the South in 1830.

On second thought, he should stay.

He is in good company with Lincoln, the man who ignored the Constitution for four years while “best subduing the enemy,” and who favored the re-establishing of a central banking system.  Lincoln also followed Jackson’s blueprint for military coercion of a State and ordered the largest mass execution in American history when thirty-eight members of the Dakota tribe were simultaneously hung in 1862.

As for Hamilton, he was the architect of the unconstitutional central banking system, federal subsidies for internal improvements, high direct taxes, and a proponent of paid patronage otherwise known as federal welfare, all the things a growing government needs.

That said, with our current monetary policy, it probably won’t be long before the United States needs to reconsider printing higher denominations of Federal Reserve Notes than the $100.

Critics will call this nonsense and point to a “strong” dollar, but inflation is coming.  It’s not if but when, and Americans should be reminded of those who created the mess when they are shelling over $500 for a loaf of bread.

I would start with removing Benjamin Franklin from the $100 and replacing him with Woodrow Wilson.  Who better to be on the c-note than the man who signed the Federal Reserve into existence?  The Philadelphia State House on the reverse should be replaced with the Jekyll Island resort, the birthplace of the FED.

We will also need to bring back the $500.  Franklin Roosevelt should be on that newly printed greenback.  FDR created a whole new class of federal spending with the New Deal and set the United States on the path to insolvency.  He also hated gold and silver.  Who would be a better reminder that your money is worthless and the government can (illegally) confiscate real wealth than the man who did it…twice?  The reverse should have a pastoral image of people waiting in line to buy sugar during World War II.

Resurrecting the $1000 note would be a necessity once the dollar crashes, and no one would be better to grace that note than “guns and butter” Lyndon Johnson.  It was Johnson’s warfare state and Great Society that ultimately forced the general government to come off a precious metals standard in 1971.  Americans should remember the 36th President for his role in doubling the federal budget and speeding up the process of American bankruptcy.  Perhaps a commemoration of Harry Truman signing up for Medicare or Johnson asking for more federal aid in the Vietnam conflict would be a suitable image for the reverse.

The new face of the $5000 should be no other than Tricky Dick himself, Richard Nixon. The “Nixon Shock” of 1971 unilaterally canceled the Bretton-Woods Agreement and forced the United States into a rapid inflationary period.  Nixon’s own policies contributed to the problem.  His “New Federalism” increased spending and led to greater centralization in Washington D.C.  An image of Nixon delivering his “New Economic Policy” to the American public in August 1971 would be outstanding for the reverse.

The final denomination for these large bills is the $10,000.  This one is special and should include both George W. Bush and Barack Obama on the front.  Who better to remind Americans of the trillions of debt, mountains of unconstitutional legislation, quantitative easing, and massive government created bubbles during their administrations?  The reverse should include a painting of all the FED chairmen and leaders of the political class that contributed to the financial mess that has become the American economy, similar to that of the famous John Trumbull painting of the Declaration of Independence.  The irony would not be lost on those burdened by debt, taxation, and a worthless dollar.

I won’t hold my breath for these changes.

As a consolation, we’ll still be able to slap several Tubman’s for a candy bar because feeling good about our history is more important than actually saving the dollar.

The post Leave Jackson on the $20 appeared first on LewRockwell.

The PC Takeover

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 22/04/2016 - 06:01

As the person who has been asked to deliver this year’s Murray N. Rothbard address, it seems appropriate to relate my remarks to the person being honored. Although the observations that follow may not have come directly from Murray, he and my speech do have some connection. My pleasurable, often edifying conversations with this remarkable polymath, the letters we exchanged, his book America’s Great Depression and, not least of all, his study of American intervention in the First World War strengthened for me beliefs that I continue to hold.

I never truly grasped where we were heading as a country until my encounters with Murray. Nor did I fully assess the worthlessness of the American conservative movement up until that point. Those realizations took place despite the fact that Murray and I did not always agree on all issues. We often debated political theoretical questions, as a mental exercise, without expecting to come to full agreement. But we did hold the same views about the present age, while I deferred to Murray on all economic matters, because unlike me, he was the proven expert. Most importantly, I finally accepted his arguments about the damage inflicted on our freedoms by America’s runaway administrative state.

Well into my forties I was going through a learning experience about the modern American government. In 1980 I was appointed as an alternate delegate for Ronald Reagan to the Republican nominating convention; a few months earlier I had spent primary night in my state, which was then Illinois, with Mrs. Reagan, waiting for her husband to achieve his by then predicted electoral victory. After Reagan’s election as president, I served briefly as an adviser to the Department of Education and urged its immediate abolition, in accordance with a campaign promise made by candidate Reagan. Instead of being doomed to eradication, this department that Jimmy Carter created as a favor to the teachers’ unions, continued to flourish. Meanwhile, Washington was flooded with “conservative” office-seekers, claiming to have come to this “swamp on the Potomac” in order to “dismantle the federal behemoth.”

Needless to say, these supplicants and sycophants had come for jobs and most of them stayed on as “part of the problem.” As late as the early 1980s I believed that the GOP was committed to loosening the government’s grip on our lives and earnings; I also nursed the illusion that something called “the conservative movement” would help in this process. The ease with which the neoconservative master class took over and proceeded to purge the Old Right, or that part of the Right that resisted them, removed any lingering sympathy I had felt for “the movement.” Almost overnight, I noticed the list of conservative heroes changed, from such figures as John C. Calhoun, Robert A. Taft, and Calvin Coolidge, to Martin Luther King, Sidney Hook, and even Leon Trotsky. While I had once wanted to believe that the American Right, like John Randolph, “loved liberty but hated equality,” conservatives were now urged to view “equality as the essential conservative principle.”

I also perceived how the Reagan administration went from talking about containing Soviet imperialism to launching crusades for “our democratic values.” This imperialist mission sounded nothing like what the traditional American Right, and certainly not what the interwar American Right, understood as a realistic or defensive foreign policy. It resembled the world revolutionary vision that I associated with Marxist-Leninist expansionists. It was upsetting that the American Right, together with our Republican president, dutifully followed these positions. And even more regrettably that they became standard Republican ideas.

Murray’s understanding of the American state influenced my book After Liberalism, which was the work of a recovering Republican. The state that he analyzed with scalpel-like precision was the American regime as it had grown since the nineteenth century. It was a structure of power that had vast economic resources, expanded at the expense of local and regional authorities, and engaged in war measures when the governing class thought they were advantageous. According to Murray, quoting Randolph Bourne, the US had become a “welfare-warfare state.” Although this was not intended by America’s founders, it happened nonetheless for reasons that Murray carefully explained.

After Murray’s untimely death I accorded him an honored place in my studies about the managerial state. His examination of the alliance of American public administration with crony capitalism and military expansionists infused my work on multiculturalism and political correctness. Murray’s perceptions also helped explain the rise of Cultural Marxism as the new civil religion in both the US and Western Europe. In these societies, the administrative state furthers its control by enforcing ideological orthodoxy. And the state in question is not the relatively restrained bourgeois Victorian state of the nineteenth century, but something the tentacles of which reach into every social, educational and commercial activity.

This brings me to the core of my argument: The most publicized critics of multiculturalism, whether neoconservatives or “cultural conservatives,” ignore with equal disregard the contemporary state’s role in generating and sustaining the object of their criticism. Allow me to list some of the standard explanations given for the spread of Political Correctness. First on my list, because it may come closest to the truth, is the “cultural conservative” lament, which stresses that our long established values are in free-fall. PC now substitutes for ethics because of our ignorance and moral blindness. We reject the great teachers of the past and those inherited religious teachings that remain relevant for our collective existence, and this has resulted in cultural and social chaos.

Another explanation for the rise of PC treats academic culture as a uniquely corrupted part of an otherwise exemplary America. Perhaps most conspicuously it has been David Horowitz of neocon fame who has popularized this argument. According to Horowitz, our democratic government is sound and our country in every way “exceptional.” But universities have become “totalitarian islands in a sea of freedom.” The government must therefore intervene and make universities conform to the standard of freedom that exists elsewhere. We also hear complaints about the spoiled generation that has now taken over, about pampered little monsters who are running wild. Or this variation on the same theme: “the young carry with them popular culture, and together they’re corrupting our entire society.” Presumably, the self-indulgent young, and their transmission of popular cultural values, are the principal reasons that PC is thriving.

There is also this anti-egalitarian critique that I myself have been known to belabor, to wit, PC is the latest variation on the ideal of universal equality. Although once integrated into orthodox Christianity in a benign form, this poisonous obsession is now running riot. But since some of you have already heard me ranting against equality, I won’t rehash my peeves, at least not this afternoon. Finally, we come to this oft heard an assessment of PC that issues from its least concerned critics. Here attention is drawn to the essential decency of those impulses from whence the ideology arose. Neoconservatives and their dependents maintain that we’ve simply gone a bit too far trying to be just. But we can easily address this by adopting a new government policy. For example, it’s possible to help victims of past discrimination, without engaging in “reverse discrimination,” or we can practice equity feminism instead of gender feminism or affirmative recruitment instead of affirmative action. Curiously those who minimize the social effects of Political Correctness at home often rage against it when the subject turns to foreign policy. Thus the failure to be more confrontational in dealing with a worldwide Islamicist threat or with the figure whom George Will describes as a “thug and war criminal” Russian president Vladimir Putin is attributed to an epidemic of Political Correctness.

Some of these observations do have merit. We dismiss at our peril the great minds of the past. Civilizations, which are an intergenerational human creation, decay unless we protect them. Kids are watching too much mindless TV and are not sufficiently under parental supervision; although their parents may be just as poisoned by cultural toxicity. Moreover, popular culture, as far as I can tell from occasional channel-surfing, has nothing cultural about it. It features uninterrupted vulgarity.

Despite these insights and just censures, none of the critical observations I’ve listed engages what is specifically political about Political Correctness. One might ask why so many people are paying at least lip service to something that anyone with half a mind should find laughable. Although most reported criminal violence against American blacks has been caused by other blacks, the true culprits, we are supposed to believe, are the police, whether white or black. If only the racist police recognized that “black lives matter,” then the contagion of violence in black societies would end.

Gender and racial differences are judged to be social constructs and only tangentially related to what is biologically rooted. And let’s not forget that there are multiple genders, and the same person can experience more than one gender identity within a single day. The media would also have us believe that most domestic terrorism results from white male nativists; and as Ann Coulter recently observed, our journalists, academics, and most TV commentators are “delighted” if reality occasionally confirms their superstition. The evidence is no longer required for any of these daring assertions, providing the appropriate feeling is present. Nor does evidence have to be furnished that a statue of Robert E. Lee in downtown New Orleans that has stood there 131 years has to be removed because its presence is causing mental hardship to local blacks. Here as elsewhere, the PC Taliban are assumed to hold the moral high ground.

Meanwhile, Princeton is about to remove plaques with the name of a former university president Woodrow Wilson, who defended segregation. Yale’s administrators and student body are renaming Calhoun College, which for the last seventy-five years has carried the name of a Southern slave-owner. Little does it matter that the South Carolina Senator who is now in disgrace may have been America’s most brilliant political theorist and as late as the 1960s was considered by John F. Kennedy and most professional historians to have ranked among our greatest senators.

A growing body of protestors, including New York’s Mayor Bill de Blasio, are working to rename Yale University, which commemorates an eighteenth-century London merchant. Yale’s early benefactor, Eli Yale, funded the infant educational institution as a way of fostering Christian learning in the New World. But this merchant may have pocketed money that he obtained, however circuitously, through the slave trade. At Lebanon Valley College, a few miles down the road from me, nationally publicized demonstrations broke out against the name of a particular building. This edifice bears the moniker of a long-dead munificent college benefactor, Clyde Lynch, but his name also bears a phonetic association with a practice once linked to racial oppression. Suitable replacement names have also been provided by the demonstrators but I shall spare this audience the pain of having to listen to them.

The neoconservative New York Post demanded in the wake of the Charleston killing that the racist movie “Gone with the Wind” cease being publically shown. In the same issue, a Post columnist proposed that a tile in the New York City subway that depicts a Confederate Battle flag be torn out. The tile, which shocks neoconservative sensibilities, was the gift of the German Jewish owner of the Times Adolf Ochs. This man’s family, which resided in Chattanooga, had fought for the Confederacy; and the tile in the subway was intended to honor a cause to which Ochs’s parents had been especially devoted. Little did the newspaper owner know how vigilantly our neoconservatives more than a hundred years later would expose this vile act!

Since the audience should get my drift by now, there may be no reason to multiply my examples further. All such illustrations feature claimants to a fictitious moral high ground who revel in bullying others; and since the others offer no resistance, the bullies feel free to go on making trouble. PC’s advocates appeal relentlessly to the ideal of equality, but it is only the white Christian world that is attacked for breaching this ideal. Although all identities would appear to be sacred, in practice only those identities that please designated victims or their self-styled advocates need to be accommodated. If for example, I chose to advocate for a neo-Confederate or secessionist position, neither the state nor its subject institutions would have to honor my choice. A university or employer might even be morally or legally impelled to “discipline” me for being hateful.

If one compares these student and faculty protests to those of the 1960s, certain differences become apparent. In the 1960s students were protesting a sometimes life-and-death issue. They feared being drafted and sent to Vietnam in a bloody war that went on and on. In the 1960s student protestors opposed institutions that often resisted the protestors and sometimes even sent in police to arrest them. Now the kids and their instructors manufacture grievances as the action unfolds. Protestors are for or against the wearing of Hallowe’en costumes on campus, depending on which side can be used to humiliate gutless administrators. They take offense at the name of any dead white man or denounce any form of lookism or micro-aggression, providing the resulting protest permits them to express outrage.

In the early 1960s such things did not happen and for a self-evident reason. Sixty years ago we did not have a vast state apparatus fighting “discrimination,” judging “hate crimes” and by implication “hate speech,” and monitoring the treatment of protected minorities. It’s no surprise that establishment Republicans and so-called conservatives tip-toe around this fact. Those who live off government patronage and from devising government policies are not likely to bite the hand that feeds. And the last thing I would expect them to do is to notice the most powerful institution promoting Political Correctness.

I know the response these arguments are likely to elicit from the political and verbalizing classes, if they spoke to me, which they don’t. I’m oversimplifying a complex problem that has to be addressed in various ways. Such ways would include a new batch of government policies, preferably drafted through Heritage and then implemented by a non-extremist Republican president. I’m also blaming the state for what the “culture” has done. The state only reflects cultural forces that operate independently of politicians and administrators. It supposedly responds to conditions that the “culture” brings about. Finally, I’ve no decent respect for all the good things the American “liberal democratic” state has already done, for example, combatting racism, sexism, homophobia and more recently, popular revulsion for cross-dressers and transsexuals. Without the modern administrative state, women would still be chattel slaves, our electorate restricted to white male property-holders, and women’s “health services” would not be readily available to those who want to dispose of their fetuses.

Such speakers and I would discover that we had irreconcilable differences. Unlike them, I don’t particularly care about pursuing “social justice” or “ending discrimination.” But I am interested in restricting the scope of the modern mass democratic state. Its overreach concerns me far more than creating larger electorates or empowering the federal and state bureaucracies to go after insensitive speakers and micro-aggressors. I am terrified by a public administration that engages in massive social engineering without effective restraints. Thus I’m disgusted when conservatism, inc. tries to have it both ways, as for example when I read the commentary of Republican columnist Betsy McCaughey slamming the Obama administration for forcing employers to hire and promote underqualified women. This is viewed as a continuing abuse committed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. But this justified complaint comes after the qualifying remark: “Race and gender discrimination is already against the law. As it should be.” Given that McCaughey and others of her ilk happily concede vast power to anti-discrimination enforcers, why are we surprised that the government exercises that power to the hilt? Does McCaughey expect the EEOC to ask her to decide what does or does not constitute “discrimination”? As usual government administrators will make such decisions.

If you accept living under a highly centralized administrative state that is aided by unelected judges, then don’t complain about diminished freedoms. After all, it is not Disney Studies or Jay Z who exercises coercive power over our lives. Nor is it Oprah Winfrey or Martin Sheen who can destroy my business, as soon as a black female, homosexual, or some other designated minority member issues a formal complaint.

Woman students on our campuses are now encouraged by the state to accuse male students of rape, and those who have state power on their side are in a position to wreak havoc on those they accuse. Although felony laws protect women who have been physically assaulted in colleges and elsewhere, the Department of Education and other government agencies insist on more stringent guidelines. They mandate sensitivity training for faculty and staff and demand that university authorities give concentrated attention to well-rehearsed grievances. And the government, under both political parties, has created this Inquisition.

The EEOC and the Department of Education, no matter which recent presidential administration, have pushed universities into embracing affirmative action programs and at least implicitly minority studies programs. And let’s keep in mind that the admission of a single student by a “private” educational facility that is receiving government funds renders that facility subject to a slew of anti-discrimination requirements. The feds have the additional power to withdraw a school’s tax exempt status, as happened at Bob Jones University in the 1980s when this institution was considered insufficiently receptive to interracial dating. The government can also unchain the IRS-attack dog to force its subjects into compliance with whatever it wants.

To ask Lenin’s highly relevant question: What can be done? For starters, those who fear the present political order should work to drive public administration out of education and social affairs. This power-hungry intruder monopolizes anything it touches. If government influence on education and other cultural affairs cannot be contained, it should at least be limited to the local level. It is easier for taxpayers to deal with government at this level than it is for them to move out of the country in order to avoid being bullied. But Mayor di Blasio’s fans needn’t worry. If despite my caveats, NYC wishes to accord special rights to polysexual claimants to government favors, then the Big Apple should be left to its own pleasures.

In conclusion, I would note that unlike Murray and many in this room, I have never presented myself as someone who regards the state in any categorical sense as “the enemy.” In historical perspective, I can appreciate the state as a Western invention pulling Europe out of feudal anarchy, promoting safety for its subjects, and providing a political framework for the growth of historic nations. At times the state has been a generous benefactor to humanistic learning; and one can cite as an example the Habsburg rulers of Austria-Hungary, who generously patronized the early exponents of the Austrian School of Economics. I would further note that public support of American education has not always led to its present unspeakable evils. There was a time when the government did not make war on the traditional family, gender roles, and religious liberties.

But that was in the past, and it seems unlikely that we can rein in this regime by electing a Fox-news Republican president or by teaching in our public schools prepackaged “human rights” and “democratic values.” A GOP website that I recently scanned praises the restrained fashion in which the administration of George W. Bush handled the grievances of female students; supposedly this was light years away from what happened under W’s successor. The difference to my knowledge is exceedingly slight: ten years ago those males who were charged with misconduct by accusatory females had minimally more opportunity to defend themselves before they were publically humiliated. Unless there is evidence that assault and battery have occurred, legal recourse should not be available to women making accusations of harassment or sexual misconduct, let alone should the government be tyrannizing male students because of their non-violent interactions with coeds.

I’ve no doubt that PC would still be around even if our managerial, sensitizing regime vanished through some act of divine favor. My point is not that every attack on freedom of thought or the traditional Right originates with the state. It is rather that every cultural threat is made much worse because of state intervention. What is more, the state does not contribute to this problem in a half-hearted fashion. Concerned administrators and progressive judges are morally committed to their mission of fighting-discrimination. Although the state’s sponsorship of PC may not be the only reason for its existence, it should be the starting point for those seeking to understand it. And one may suspect something less than a disinterested perspective when the analyst disregards what in this case should be clear for all to see.

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Put Soapy Smith on the Twenty

Lew Rockwell Institute - Ven, 22/04/2016 - 06:01

Well, I hear tell it’s official: They’re going to put Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. Then supposedly, move the portrait of Andrew “The Architect of the Trail of Tears” Jackson to the flip side, effectively making the proverbial “double-headed coin” of nickel-and-dime bunco scams a reality. But why should we expect less than this from the United States government?

I suppose this move will satisfy the need to have chicks on the money. Every progressive will feel swell and celebrate over quinoa crunch and circle the Priuses for an LED “bonfire” and sing-along. Ok, that’s cool and all, but what’s this going to cost? Aside from that, considering the fact that fiat currency is itself worthless, how about we put Bozo the Clown, Bugs Bunny, Yosemite Sam, and Foghorn Leghorn on the money instead? Personally, I think that would be a more appropriate choice. When I read this in what the government palms off as “news”, I was reminded of the history of the very region of the United States I live in.

I live in what was “The Old West” before it became the “New West” of golf courses in deserts and Segway dork pedestals, I suppose. However, many people think the Old West was all Roy Rogers and Marshall Dillon. Wrong. The real Old West was nothing like that. Be that as it may, we had a brilliant visionary ahead of his time named Jefferson Randolph “Soapy” Smith. Soapy Smith came from the proud Old West tradition of con artists, bunco-steerers, snake oil salesmen, patent medicine frauds, bogus mining company stock, salted gold claims, flim-flam men, rigged faro games, crooked sheriffs, land swindles, smelter scandals, and railroad investment scams.

Soapy ran a scam known as “The Prize Package Soap Racket”. Here’s how it worked: Soapy would buy several bars of soap and unwrap them, saving the wrappers. He would set up a stand at a busy intersection in some Western town like Denver, or Creede, Colorado. He would then start hawking his “wares” of soap, extolling the virtues of his soap. He would take out a wallet and pull out dollar bills, twenty dollar bills, and a single one hundred dollar bill. He would then wrap the bills up into bars of soap and tell everyone they could win these prizes for only a dollar. Now, of course, Soapy used sleight-of-hand to palm the money-laden bars where they would be “won” by shills in cahoots with him. They would loudly exclaim, “I won! I won!” and wave a twenty dollar bill. Soapy would say no one has won the hun-doe yet and, predictably, people would line up for the chance.

The truth was, no one actually won any money besides his shills. They were all in on the scam with him, members of the “Soap Gang”. People like Texas Jack Vermillion, for example. Yeah, you thought he was a great guy in the movie “Tombstone”, right? Again, the “Old West” of Hollywood wasn’t the real deal. But here’s the thing we can learn from the Federal Reserve Note Prophet Soapy Smith: Fiat currency is a sophisticated Soapy Smith racket. Think about it. The government waves a twenty dollar bill, telling you it’s worth twenty dollars. In fact, it’s not backed by a bar of silver or gold. It’s not even backed by a bar of soap! By the time you get that twenty dollar bill, it’s worth probably ten in terms of spending power. Plus, if you earned it by working, the government steals part of it back, calling it “income tax” which is another Old West scam known as the Mining Company Stock Swindle.

The Mining Company Stock Swindle works as follows: Some skilled flim-flam men would print up bogus mining company stock then head to the East looking for rich investors, saying they had a huge gold strike out in Donkey Junction, New Mexico. They’d even take the investors out there to see the salted claim, which they made by loading shotgun shells with gold nuggets and firing them into boulders. They told the investors they needed money to sink a shaft to get at the mother lode. But the stock never paid dividends. Instead, the investors would always be assessed for more mining equipment to sink more shafts, build a smelter, and blah, blah, blah. By the time they figured out it was a scam, it was too late. The swindlers were already printing up stock for yet another mining scam. Remarkably, sometimes the same people that fell for the previous stock scam fell for it a second time from the same crew! Of course, we can see this is exactly what income taxes are. We’re assessed for the military we need to “defend us” and so on and so forth when, in fact, there aren’t any enemies besides the ones the government makes up. We could even call it “The Middle Eastern Country Building A Nuclear Weapon Scam”.

So, the government tells us this twenty dollar bill is worth twenty dollars, but before you even earn it, they’ve already helped themselves to their cut and you’re left with a fifteen dollar bill if one existed. But because it’s fiat currency, that fifteen dollars are worth about eight bucks. Basically, the twenty dollar bill of today is worth about what a buck was worth back in the Old West. The twenty dollar bill is the NEW American dollar bill. How so? In the mining towns of the Old West in the 1880s, a hard rock miner earned about $3 to $4 a day. A day, not an hour. These were good wages for the era, which they had to pay considering the danger of the work. Cave-ins, premature dynamite blasts, missed shots hit by drills then blowing up, runaway elevator cages, and that was just for starters. So the wages were $3 to $4 a day. But this money was backed by gold and silver. Some of it was silver. That’s why those mines were there in the first place.

Am I saying the government is Soapy Smith? Yes, my apologies to Soapy Smith. I submit that we do not need Harriet Tubman on the twenty dollar bill. We need Soapy Smith on the twenty dollar bill. That would be the correct person to represent the “Federal Government Fiat Currency Racket”. Of course, the government gets this fiat currency back through taxes and we’re left with the soap to take a bath with. Literally. If we can afford the soap in the first place. I think people are getting all in a lather for the wrong reasons if you’ll pardon the pun. It doesn’t matter WHO is on the money—the WHAT of the money is the false-face hiding the empty chair.

How can we even be sure the money a bank says exists, actually exists as a physical reality and not as a bunch of numbers on a computer spreadsheet? Do we really believe banks are like Scrooge McDuck and have vaults three stories high full of this paper money? I doubt it. Wasn’t that partially what the Wall Street Whoopsie was back in 2008 and 2009? I think computers say this money exists, but it doesn’t. The push to go to electronic currency means you can literally create money out of thin air. Does anyone realize that’s never been done before in human history? Oh, but we’re America! We can do it! Right, the America of Soapy Smith.

It’s worse than just fiat currency not even backed by bars of soap. The paper money itself does not exist as tangible, physical objects. I bet if an audit was done, the fiat paper dollars and metal coins probably add up to, oh, about one-quarter of the actual money the government and Federal Reserve says exists. In other words, if Scrooge McDuck hasn’t got that thirty billion dollars in a vault, but only on his iPad, then he goes to the bank to get the paper money, it does not exist. I daresay an EMP attack would pauperize the entire nation.

Think about it. If the money does not even exist as pieces of paper, then there is no limit to the amount that can be “printed”. A currency like that could plummet to no buying power whatsoever literally overnight. It’s happened before. What, this won’t happen to us? Right, we’re America. We’re progressive, we’re putting Harriet Tubman on money not worth the proverbial plug nickel. Well, I suppose people can feel good about that. Though why that is, I cannot understand. It’s like selling your spot in a lifeboat on the sinking Titanic. For paper money. “I’m rich! I’m rich! I’m—gurgle, sputter, cough, gurgle…”

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