The Constitution is the casket in
which the Declaration was buried.
Where Did It All Go Wrong?
by Jim Davidson
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
“The war is not meant to be won. It is meant to be
People sometimes ask me where in history things went wrong, so that we ended up where we are. And that is an excellent question, in some ways. In other ways it is a sort of careless view of history. So let's take the first approach, then the second.
The sentiments of the Declaration of Independence were fairly thoroughly attacked during the Whiskey Rebellion of 1795. By then the new government of Hamilton and Washington had nationalised state debts, created a national bank, imposed an enormous tax on whiskey, and taken steps to have perpetual warfare against native American indigenous peoples through the next two hundred years. Bill Buppert is right when he says “the constitution is the casket in which the Declaration was buried,” and his view echoes what L. Neil Smith wrote in 1978 in The Probability Broach. Federalists, Whigs, Democrats, and Republicans have proven to be various sorts of the same evil of authoritarianism, control, and profit from cronyism.
There really were some serious efforts in the period from 1970 to 1980, inclusive, to rein in government, disclose abuses, and change the culture. The Pentagon papers. the Watergate hearings. the special committee on assassinations. the Church hearings on espionage agencies. the foreign corrupt practices act, zero baseline budgeting. the deregulation of four major industries. the pardoning of the draft avoiders. the deliberate ending of conscription for military service. and cultural phenomena like punk rock and streaking are examples I'd be willing to point to of people choosing to take radically different paths.
Americans really did not like the “secret” bombings in Cambodia and elsewhere with which Nixon and Kissinger profited enormously from the slaughter of about 7 million people in Southeast Asia. Americans really did not like the sleazy politics of Spiro Agnew, Richard Nixon, Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and the rest. People in high public office served prison terms, and richly deserved to serve those terms. Nixon was actually forced to resign. Ford followed up his evil behaviour as a member of the Warren whitewash commission by pardoning Nixon so that there were never any actual consequences for the high crimes and misdemeanours Nixon committed.
There really was a backlash against the extreme violence, degradation, corruption, and evil of the CIA, NSA, and FBI, agencies which should never have been created and which should have been utterly destroyed in 1977, but were not. They should be utterly destroyed now, of course, though that ship seems to be sailing into the sunset.
Foreign corrupt practices by mega corporations like United Fruit were very destructive to many countries, and needed to be ended. The cronyism between the USA national government and these big businesses which was firmly in place by 1898 for the Spanish American war and was sustained thereafter with the Federal Reserve and the numerous fascist and racist policies of the Woodrow Wilson administration led to the endless array of regulatory agencies, which, starting in 1977, were in the case of four major industries, cut back. There was also a sincere effort to end the abuses and usurpations of the espionage agencies, to forbid assassination as a “tool” for evil men and women in the CIA and other covert agencies, and to put some oversight over their black operations budgets in the imaginary view that any sort of limit to power can be established by people over other people. Especially over scum like J. Edgar Hoover and his successors who were proven to have files (during the Clinton FileGate controversy in case you weren't aware) on every major politician in the country, and most minor ones - the extortion was in full view, and used to cause some embarassment in Mordor on the Potomac.
The concept of zero baseline budgeting was that no government agency should expect to continue to exist without justifying its existence. Each expenditure should be justified rather than continued.
A rookie congressman named Ron Paul wanted to see whether the gold in Fort Knox was really there. He also had trenchant criticisms of the Federal Reserve at a time when Alan Greenspan was still in favour of a gold standard.
Conscription is an evil form of involuntary servitude, and avoiding the draft is a natural behaviour, based on the individual's fundamental right to be free. Anyone who does not believe in freedom from conscription from military service is an authoritarian and should reconsider their moral philosophy. Or go jump in a lake. Pardoning the draft avoiders was the right thing to do, and was done.
One of the cultural phenomena that was not widely embraced was the space movement, the desire of people to settle the space frontier. “I Want to Go” shirts and groups like the L5 Society and Space Studies Institute represented a frequently voiced desire to go out and live on other planets, but it was not taken seriously by very many people outside of the science fiction community. I believe in 1988 the combined membership of Werner von Braun's Nazi-inspired National Space Institute and the freedom-oriented L5 Society was on the close order of 35,000. I served on the board of directors in 1989-90 so I have reason to know.
A very popular cultural phenomenon was streaking. Lots of people showed up at events and took off their clothes and ran around naked. Entire sporting events took place on college campuses in which all of the runners, dancers, wrestlers, and other participants, including many in the audience, were as naked as the Greek Olympians of two thousand two hundred years ago.
Also very popular was punk rock, a school of music that opposed hierarchy, coercion, and the oppression inherent in the system. Punk rockers objected to everything from monarchy to taxation to government ownership of assets to people objecting to things. It was raucous, loud, fast paced, and frequently accompanied by enthusiastic dancing. Heavy Metal was a related and in some ways similar phenomenon. And in many ways very different. Some great music came out of those days.
Then What Happened?
Where did it all go? Right in the midst of some of these reforms, the CIA was busy lying to the congresisonal committee on assassinations, and ultimately persuaded them not to release all the data about the JFK, RFK, and MLK Jr. assassinations, among many others. Congress gave in to the preposterous claim that the people involved should be shielded from exposure. So no one was ever held accountable, and instead of actually proving that congress would hold people accountable, congress proved that it never would.
The nasty scum in the deep state attacked and destroyed Iran's government so they could show how important it was to intervene in foreign countries. A moral “majority” of hypocritical preachers espousing hierarchy and dogmatism opposed all evidence of the human form, in a direct immoral attack on the shape God designed (according to their own documents) as if people ought to be ashamed of God's creation. There were actual episodes of conservative Christians burning books and records in large gatherings in the late 1970s. It happened near my home.
The people with much money used their power and influence and clever lawyers to circumvent all the new rules, which were badly conceived in any event, and corrupt practices continued. Reagan was elected so lots of wars and lots of funds for deep state projects were suddenly available. Reagan tried to stem the tide of new regulations, and for about 7 years he froze the regulatory structure - so effectively that even the post office figured out how to post a profit by 1988. Then evil villain deep state enthusiast and mass murderer George Herbert Walker Bush came to power and eradicated the freeze on new regulations. Other evil people did other evil things, and all the deregulated industries were soon consolidated and re-regulated, under various pretexts.
In short, as dramatically predicted by Robert Heinlein in several fiction and non-fiction books (“Take Back Your Government” remains excellent reading on this topic) the reform movement utterly failed, was counter-attacked, and was wiped out.
It's Been Wrong for Millennia
It has come to my attention recently that there really is a great deal of evidence for ancient civilisations of fairly advanced capabilities. Places like Gobekli Tepe illustrate that advanced techniques in astronomy, stone carving, community building, and agriculture were on the scene 11,600 years ago, long before the dynasties of Egypt or China, well before what historians of the mid-20th Century were willing to credit for the Indus Valley, way before the 4400 BC date I was taught for the first settlements in Mesopotamia in a class in the early 1970s.
There are reasons to believe that actual events 11,600 years ago led to a mass extinction of North American mega fauna. the sudden and dramatic melting of the ice caps, a dramatic rise by hundreds of feet in sea levels as two mile ice sheets over North America and Europe melted into the sea (Meltwater Pulse 1 B) and the drowning of many coastal cities. Graham Hancock has pointed out, I believe correctly, that the date Plato gives for the destruction of Atlantis, about 9,000 years before Plato's ancestor Solon, who lived in 600 BC, is quite consistent with the aforementioned events.
What has gotten much less attention, but has been pointed out by Paul Rosenberg (author of the crypto-anarchist novelisation “A Lodging for Wayfaring Men,” nearly every practical book on electrical installation or fibre optics, and essayist for The Freeman's Perspective) is that for thousands of years up until about the time of the Sumerian civilisation, people lived in communities with trade, commerce, and without war. People lived in what would today be called an anarcho-capitalist, laissez faire, free market paradise for thousands and thousands of years, with limited and mostly isolated conflict.
Sceptics may say that we don't have historical records of those years, but, in fact, that turns out to be false. We have extensive records in ancient Sanskrit, ancient Chinese, and other ancient languages. Even the Greek alphabet apparently tells the story of the civilisation that preceded Atlantis, during a much earlier ice age, on the continent formed by New Guinea and Australia, among other islands when sea levels were again lower. The thing is, we are told that these are all myths and fantasies and we are instructed not to take them seriously by mainstream anthropologists and archaeologists.
There is a text by Manetho who lived in Egypt which provides a king list that runs back 30,000 years. The most recent several thousand years of the king list are corroborated by the other records which are accepted as historical and true, but for whatever reasons, we are expected to believe that all the rest of it is so much nonsense. There is a building in Egypt with texts describing events very similar to Plato's story of Atlantis.
There are endless manuscripts describing ancient events. Some of these were found in the 20th Century at places like Nag Hammadi and Qumran. Others have been known for centuries by scholars in monasteries in India, Tibet, China, Burma, and elsewhere. There are numerous foundation and origin stories.
So, I think it is reasonable to suppose that certain people have determined to rule, to be ruthless, to be violent, to hurt everyone they possibly can, and to destroy the records of our past great civilisations and great millennia of peace. It is incontrovertibly fact that the Mongols on sacking Baghdad threw the entire libraries of the Houses of Wisdom into the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the waters of which ran black for months and months due to the water soluble ink dissolving. It is fact that the Arabs and the Romans, among others, burned the library at Alexandria on various occasions. It is fact that authoritarian regimes have burned entire libraries. The Nazi book burnings were not the only ones, though they were certainly notorious. The Catholic church eradicated entire libraries of Aztec and Mayan writings. For thousands of years, those who seek to rule have sought to keep the rest of us ignorant.
When, then, did things start to go wrong? When people were first subjugated in war, when people learned to treat other people as objects, when the vicious mental conditioning of “basic training” was first developed, perhaps around 5,000 years ago.
A far more interesting question, though, is when do you intend for things to go right? When are you going to take your part in building a civilisation of peace, prosperity, and plenty?
What do you want the future to look like for yourself and your descendants a thousand years from now? Aubrey de Grey of the Methuselah Foundation insists, and I think he has extensive reasons and evidence from which to insist, that people who are alive fifty years from now will include some that would still be alive a thousand years later. Which includes many of the people now reading this essay.
Imagine, then, that you are not bound by the past. Imagine that all these events that took place in history, in pre-history, in ancient times, in neolithic ages, in past aeons, do not bind you. Design things the way you would have them, from first principles like zero aggression and free markets. Embrace the chaotic and quantum nature of reality. Fulfil your obligation to yourself to make your world what you want it to be. And don't stop until it looks right, while you are able to draw breath.
Imagine it. Realise it. Live it. And enjoy it. After all, it is your future.
Jim Davidson has a degree in history from Columbia University and a master of business administration in entrepreneurship and marketing from Rice University. He is the author of four books: The Atlantis Papers, 1994; Being Sovereign. 2010; Being Libertarian 2011; Space Scout Field Manual Parody 2016. He has been an entrepreneur since age 8, a private equity expert since 2016, author of business plans since 1986, worked with astronauts and engineers in the space industry, worked with entertainers on stage and film, and is the vision director for the Houston Space Society. He is also chief financial officer of Dialogue Key.
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