L. Neil Smith's
THE LIBERTARIAN ENTERPRISE
Number 278, July 4, 2004
"It would be worse than dying."
A Survey of History, Part 2
Exclusive to TLE
Last week, we examined the fallacious statement that "the American people will never stand for in indefinite state of war" by having a short overview of the facts of the history of war and undeclared war in our nation's history.
This week we are going to discuss the brain dead statement: "We live in a free country, don't we?"
Remember the old story of the frog and the boiling water? Put a frog in boiling water, and he will immediately jump out. Put the frog in cool water, heat it up slowly, and the frog will boil to death, never realizing what is happening until it is too late.
On November 15, 1777, the Articles of Confederation were signed. In 1781, after the close of major hostilities in the American Revolution, the Articles became the governing creed of the new nations on the North American continent. And yes, I said nations, since each state was sovereign, the Articles were more in the nature of a treaty of alliance than anything else.
Primarily due to economic concerns, in 1787, a constitutional convention was held, with the stated purpose of modifying the Articles of Confederation in order to make cooperation between the sovereign states more amicable and refine some of the more contentious aspects of the Articles.
The result of this convention was our present day Constitution. Rightfully fearing the potential dangers of a centralized government, most of the states refused to ratify the Constitution until a "Bill of Rights" was added. Actually, 'Bill of Rights' is a misnomer. The Bill of Rights does not grant rights. What it does is forbid the government from interfering with or infringing certain rights the people already have! In other words, distrusting both a central authority, and the aims of a man who quite unabashedly wanted the office of the presidency to be a king in all but name, the states refused to grant unbridled authority to the new central government. Unfortunately, they forgot or were outmaneuvered in one aspect: they didn't put an enforcement clause in the Bill of Rights.
Finally, in 1789, after much political wrangling, the Constitution came into force. Almost immediately, the new central government started passing taxes, and in less than 7 years, the first tax revolt began. This is known to history as the Whiskey Rebellion, which began as a result of dissatisfaction with a whiskey tax. Tax collectors were tarred and feathered, armed conflict broke out. Hamilton immediately began to commit the same offenses which had led to the American Revolution, forcing farmers from the frontier districts to come to Philadelphia (the capitol at that time) for trial. Washington sent over 10,000 conscript troops to deal with a few hundred farmers. Without going into a lot of detail, the rebellion failed, and the centralized superstate was born.
There were many other quasi rebellions and attempts at secession in the intervening years, but the next real jump in the water temperature occurs in 1860, when Abraham Lincoln was elected president. To most Americans, Lincoln is the hero who freed the slaves, saved the Union, and was murdered by a two-bit actor named John Wilkes Booth. They either don't know or refuse to realize that Lincoln actually was no more than a failed neurotic who couldn't even run his own business, had had several nervous breakdowns, and couldn't possibly have cared less about the slaves except as a cynical motivation for promoting his own imperial power. I won't go into a LOT of detail here, but look it up. You'll see I am right in all particulars. Lincoln basically declared himself king, disregarded the constitution, vilified, exiled and imprisoned those who disagreed with him, and encouraged a war which killed or maimed over a million of our citizens. (Probably much over, but no real records exist of how many civilian deaths occurred as a direct result of the War of Northern Aggression and Lincoln's imperial policies.) One direct result of the civil war is the racial and factional hatred which still exists to this day in many parts of the country.
Now jump to Woodrow Wilson, and the 16th Amendment, which authorized the taxing of incomes. This one law has caused more harm to our country than any other, with the sole exception of the Patriot Act, by giving the government the money to consolidate it's power and position. I won't even go into the allegations of fraud and treason which surround this amendment, but again, I encourage you, look it up yourself, PROVE to yourselves that what I am saying is true.
Now let's jump ahead to the Great Depression and the Bonus Army. We have a large group of peacefully protesting veterans, unarmed, who have assembled to ask congress to address an issue that no one could have foreseen, the need to pay a bonus promised these veterans for their service in WWI early. One of the leaders of this 'army' was Major General Smedley D. Butler, one of the very few men who has won the Medal of Honor more than once, and one of the even fewer who has won it for separate actions.
Shamed by the presence of these veterans, Hoover ordered General Douglas MacArthur to remove them from the area. MacArthur, along with Majors D. D Eisenhower and George S. Patton forcibly evicted the unarmed veterans, burned their shelters, and tear-gassed their wives and children. (Hmmm, sound like anything else you might have heard of?)
As a result, Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president, and began the longest period of presidential imperialism since Lincoln. It can be quite conclusively proven that FDR incited the Japanese attack on the US, then used the resulting wartime 'emergency' to garner more power for the executive branch of government. He imprisoned hundreds of thousands of American citizens for no other crime than being of Japanese ancestry. At his death in 1945, FDR had had the longest consecutive stretch in power of any single man in American history, a record unlikely to be broken, unless congress at some point repeals the 22nd Amendment.
Now let's move ahead to today. I am not even going to discuss federal abuses at Ruby Ridge and Waco, other than to urge those non-libertarians who might read this to look at both sides of the issue, and see where the major fault lay. today, our major concern is the so-called Patriot Act, passed by a panicked and cowardly congress in the wake of 9=11. This act totally supercedes the Bill of Rights, and in a strictly legal sense, is totally unconstitutional. In fact, a very good case could be made that by passing the Patriot Act, congress has voided the contract under which the various states entered the union, making the entire federal government null and void, in a legal sense, or even criminals.
What do you call it when one party in a contract unilaterally changes the terms of the contract for it's own benefit, then holds the other party to the contract by force of arms? Just imagine your landlord raising your rent without notice, then telling you if you try to move, or don't pay, he will shoot you. The difference is only in degree, not in kind.
There are many, many more examples I could use, some of which I used in another article for TLE in issue #251, but again, my purpose here is to inspire you to do your own research, to prove to yourselves that I am telling you the truth. If all I did was give you things to memorize, I would be no better than the public school system, and have about as much effect on your own level of knowledge.
So, answer the question yourself. Do we live in a free country?
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