“Create ships and sails capable of navigating the
cœlestial atmosphere and you will find men to man
them, men not afraid of the vast emptiness of space.”
— Johannes Kepler, 1610
by L. Reichard White
Special to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
"I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United
States of America and to the Republic for which it stands. ..."
—The Pledge of Allegiance
And how about this —
"We gave you a Republic if you can keep it."
So we’ve pledged allegiance to the Republic the founders left for us. Not the democracy.
What’s the difference? Does it matter?
Despite the Pledge and the founders’ intentions, if you listen to "our" current U.S. politicos and main-stream media, you rarely hear "republic" mentioned. Instead we’re constantly barraged with "democracy." Like this for example —
Clinton declares ’crisis in our democracy,’
Noam Chomsky: Neoliberalism Is Destroying Our Democracy
"These companies must do more than take down one
website. The survival of our democracy depends on it."
—Senator Chris Murphy August 6, 2018
How Wobbly Is Our Democracy?
—The New York Times
Many think our democracy won’t survive Trump.
—The Washington Post
Google — or Yahoo!, Bing, etc. — "our democracy" and you’ll find over four-million other examples.
So are we in a different country than the Republic many of us pledged allegiance to? Does it matter? Should we try to do something about it?
We were warned about democracy. Like this, for example —
"Mankind will in time discover that unbridled
majorities are as tyrannical and cruel as unlimited despots."
—U.S. "Founding Father" John Adams
And this —
"An elective despotism was not the government we
—Thomas Jefferson: Notes on Virginia Q.XIII, 1782. ME 2:163
"Hence it is that such democracies have ever been
spectacles of turbulence and contention; have ever been found incompatible
with personal security or the rights of property; and have in general been
as short in their lives as they have been violent in their deaths."
—James Madison, Federalist Paper 10:
In fact, as you can see from the following U.S. Army training manual, the dangers of democracy were well understood here in the U.S. at least until oh, say, April of 1933 —
Democracy, n. "A government of the masses.
Authority derived through mass meeting or any form of ’direct’ expression.
Results in mobocracy. Attitude toward property is communistic - negating
property rights. Attitude toward law is that the will of the majority shall
regulate, whether it be based upon deliberation or governed by passion,
prejudice, and impulse, without restraint or regard to consequences. Results
in demagogism, license, agitation, discontent, anarchy."
—WAR DEPARTMENT TM_2000-25, issued November 30, 1928, withdrawn and destroyed Spring 1933
Yet everyone from Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) to ironically mis-named "Republicans" are now cheering for democracies, defending them, and trying to force them on others all around the world . What gives?
Luckily for us, the U.S. was mostly a Republic until the early 1930s — in form at least, until oh, say, April of 1933. Unluckily, less and less since.
Wondering about that "April 1933" date? Good, I’ve got your attention.
Here’s the way we were before 1933 — when the U.S. was still mostly a Republic —
...look at the United States [in the 1800s]. There is
no country in the world where the law is kept more within its proper domain:
the protection of every person’s liberty and property. As a consequence of
this, there appears to be no country in the world where the social order
rests on a firmer foundation.
—Frederick Bastiat, The Law
Bastiat did, however, point out that slavery and tariffs "endangered the public peace."
And how is "our democracy" fairing here in 2018?
According to U.S. Rep. Steve King, the US is moving toward a civil war — and a Rasmussen Report finds 31% of those surveyed think one is likely within 5 years . It’s no wonder that Politics keeps 1 in 7 Americans up at night .
Why does this happen to democracies?
The problem is that representative or otherwise, in a democracy, the will of the majority is supposed to prevail. You’ve probably heard it a time or two — "The Majority Rules."
What’s wrong with that?
Here’s a clue —
Imagine "we" — that is all ~320
million Americans — went to Baskin & Robbins (or Ben and Jerry’s) but
collectively we — even the folks who didn’t vote — or even eat — all had to
buy and pay for the winning flavor. Even when less than half voted for it.
Even when less than half voted at all.
—L. Reichard White, What You Mean ’We,’ Paleface?
That’s an example of what I call coercive " winner-takes-all democracy." Coercive because taxes and politicians force you to play. The alternative, practiced by the original North American inhabitants and other "primitive" folks — and in voluntary exchanges — is natural democracy.
The difference is that in natural democracy, the folks who want vanilla get and pay for their own vanilla, likewise the folks who want chocolate, etc. Even the folks who want Bacon or Razzleberry get what they want.
And the folks who aren’t hungry or don’t want ice cream don’t have to pay or even get off the recliner to vote.
On the other hand, they might voluntarily contribute to folks they feel need ice cream.
And so no one gets alienated because they lose a vote and no one is forced to go along with the crowd or pay for its preferences. On the other hand, in coercive winner-takes-all democracy when the majority wins, the minority loses. And pays.
I think you can see that, except in extremely rare circumstances, coercive "majority rules" winner-takes-all democracy is an extremely bad idea and exactly what the founders warned against — "An elective despotism," " unbridled majorities," etc.
Nearly every time a government body passes a law in a winner-takes-all democracy, it creates a pool of potentially alienated losers who are forced to go along. AND foot the bill.
Government bodies in the U.S. pass approximately 40,000 new laws every year , thus creating approximately 40,000 new groups of alienated losers. Every year. And that’s just from the laws and doesn’t include all the new rules, regulations, orders and controls.
This creates a lot of alienated folks who are intimidated into going along. Or maybe not.
Imbibers during attempted Alcohol Prohibition for example, not to mention pot smokers these days. As our elders warned remember, this tends to create a lot of "agitation, discontent, anarchy" etc..
And, as more and more laws, rules, regulations, orders and controls accumulate over time — as they unavoidably do in a coercive winner-takes-all democracy — more and more folks get alienated — and many incarcerated.
Until now (2018 AD), about 1 in 100 Americans has served jail time. And nearly one in three of us are or has been tangled up in the so-called "Justice" system (in prison, on probation or on parole, etc.) This is by far an all-time world record that completely buries the former champs, the East German STASI.
With about 40,000 new laws plus tag-alongs accumulating every year — as of 2013, The Code of Federal Regulations alone includes over one-million (1,000,000) restrictions — no one can possibly know what they all are. Because of this unknowable accumulation, you likely commit — mostly unknowingly — three felonies a day .
This makes everyone vulnerable to government blackmail. And I do mean everyone. Look what they’re doing to super-rich Trump and his buddies for example. Even for dedicated anti-Trumpers, this is NOT a good precedent.
NSA whistle-blower Edward Snowden explained it this way:
"I, sitting at my desk, certainly had the
authorit[y] to wiretap anyone, from you or your accountant to a federal
judge or even a president," Snowden said. "Even if you’re not
doing anything wrong, you’re being watched and recorded. You simply have to
eventually fall under suspicion from somebody, even by a wrong call, and
then they can use the system to go back in time and scrutinize every
decision you’ve ever made, every friend you’ve ever discussed something with.
—Snowden: Leak of NSA spy programs "marks my end" - CBS News
And with 40,000 new laws etc. every year and three felonies a day, you can be sure they can find at least one you’ve committed if they decide to look.
And, enforcing all those laws, the police morph from " Peace Officers" into "L.E.O.s" (Law E nforcement Officers) and begin to assault and kill folks instead of " Protecting and Serving " them.
And if, despite common sense and history, you have a representative winner-takes-all democracy — especially when less than half of us volunteer to vote in most elections — who says what the legislature does is what the majority wants?
As a matter of fact, in "our democracy," it regularly isn’t what the majority wants. It’s what the moneyed folks who can afford to hire lobbyists and make huge campaign bribes — ah, contributions — want.
The lobbyists regularly hijack — and even write — the laws, and the elected politicians don’t read them anyway . Which probably doesn’t matter since it’s the money that chooses your two (usually) ballot choices and also money that determines who wins most elections. And thus it’s money and special interests, not us, which determine what " our democracy " does.
This is almost certainly why certain special interests have been, at least since April of 1933, busily converting the Republic into "our democracy" instead. Claiming "democracy " gives them an excuse to break the rules and thus the ability to use the government for their own purposes, an excuse they don’t have in a Republic.
So, with the money in control of the Government apparatus, what you end up with is a winner-takes-all bogus democracy, run by-and-for money and lobbied-up special interests — with the rich 1% versus the rest of us — even when many of them don’t particularly like it that way .
And, by the way, besides the fact that your "Evil 1 vs. Evil 2" choices have been pre-selected for you in government elections, your one single vote is completely irrelevant anyway, except to you. All it does is fool you into believing you have something to say about what’s being done to you and trick you into going along with it. How many government elections has your one single vote decided so far?
Maybe that’s one of the reasons Politics keeps 1 in 7 Americans up at night. And things will likely get worse in "our democracy" —
"All democracies turn into dictatorships — but
not by coup. The people give their democracy to a dictator, whether it’s
Julius Caesar or Napoleon or Adolf Hitler. Ultimately, the general
population goes along with the idea ... "
—filmmaker George Lucas, Dark Victory from time.com
"Most police states, surprisingly, come about
through the democratic process with majority support. During a crisis, the
rights of individuals and the minority are more easily trampled, which is
more likely to condition a nation to become a police state than a military
—Is America a Police State?, Congressman Ron Paul, U.S. House of Representatives, June 27, 2002
The movie [Michael Moore’s "Fahrenheit 11/9
"] is more comparing us to the Germans, the "good Germans,"
one of the most civilized, cultured, educated, liberal democracies on the
planet Earth. And they went along. ...Hitler’s party won 32 percent of the
parliament in 1932, ...He holds a plebiscite and asks the people, "Yes
or no? Are you OK with us, the Nazis, taking over here? ...and the majority
of Germans voted "yes."
—Michael Moore: Are We Going to Be Like the "Good Germans"
That doesn’t happen in a Republic because the majority doesn’t rule. Instead, government is bound and confined by a set of rules and so in a Republic, we have the old-school "rule of law, not of men." Not even rule by large groups or even majorities of men — or even women.
And NOT that many laws either since the advantages of bogus winner-takes-all democracy aren’t available to the rich and politically connected.
When done right, this protects even the smallest minority, the individual — that’s you and me, bro — from the majority. AND from the bogus "majority" too.
Bastiat explains it like this —
If the law were confined to its proper functions,
everyone’s interest in the law would be the same. Is it not clear that,
under these circumstances, those who voted could not inconvenience those who
did not vote?
—Frederick Bastiat, The Law
So, when done right — with the government "confined to it’s proper functions" — it doesn’t matter if you vote. There’s no coercive winner-takes-all democracy to stick us all with vanilla ice cream — and bogusly "inconvenience" us with the bill.
By contrast, currently (2019 A.D.) in "our democracy," including the so-called "National" Debt ($22 trillion ) and Social so-called "Security" plus Meidcare (about $100 trillion owed to old folks) that bill to the kids, grand kids, and the yet unborn is over $120 trillion ($120,000,000,000) and counting rapidly. That’s T rillion, with a " T ."
That’s the total face value of all U.S. Treasury-bonds, T-bills, T-notes, Social Security bonds, etc., aptly called " Extortion Futures" by columnist Vin Suprynowicz and others because the payments must be extracted in taxes from coming generations.
Intergenerational warfare anyone?
OK, so maybe democracy isn’t so great. But then how is the government "confined to it’s proper functions" in a Republic?
The answer is of course, by binding and confining it with an appropriate set of rules. If specifically designed for the binding and confining job, that’s what makes a country a Republic. Luckily, most of the U.S. founders understood the nature of the machine they were creating and the necessity of binding and confining it.
As you may know, one of them described it like this —
"Government is not eloquence, it is not reason;
it is force, and like fire, makes a dangerous servant and a fearful master.
Benjamin Franklin may have had the nature of the government beast in mind when he warned, "...if you can keep it. "
Since I have anarchist leanings, it pains me to say this, but the founders did a pretty damn good job of writing such a set of binding and confining rules. The U.S. Constitution of course.
If you read it, you’ll notice that with minor exceptions, The Constitution does not impose rules or obligations on we the people, but only on the government and those involved in it. Only on those who take an oath to uphold and defend it or are hired to work for it.
Finally, since Republics are immune from the unbridled majorities and elective despotism Thomas Jefferson and John Adams warned against — and unlike the modern coercive winner-takes-all bogus democracy they’ve been morphed into — Republics don’t become "spectacles of turbulence and contention.
They don’t because there’s no bogus-democracy excuse or government apparatus for the wolves to expropriate and/or create for fun and profit and no future generations of taxpayer sheep they can sheer with their irresponsible "National Debt" spending and bogus Ponzi retirement promises etc.
Without the "democracy" excuse, motivation, and apparatus, there’s very little mobocracy, demagogism, license, agitation, discontent and [the bad kind of] anarchy that otherwise evolve in a democracy, and so there’s little cause for folks to clamor and vote for dictators.
That worked pretty well while the U.S. was still a Republic.
So when, where and how did things go wrong? When where and how did Uncle Sam go bad and become Uncle Scam?
From my particular vantage point, there are two main answers, one suddden and one insidious. We’ll look at the sudden one first.
Remember I suggested that the U.S. was still mostly a Republic until, oh say, April of 1933? That’s because the event most obviously marking the beginning of the end of the Republic was the issuance of Executive Order 6102 (E.O. 6102) on April 5 of 1933 by fool, dupe, and traitor to the Republic, PresideNT Franklin Delano Roosevelt, A.K.A., F.D.R.
"Fool and dupe" because evidence suggests that E.O. 6102 wasn’t the product of his fledgling administration. [*1] That evidence suggests 6102 was written by "experts " and "special interests" — undoubtedly the bankers — and F.D.R. issued it without quite understanding what he was doing or the consequences, potential and othewise.
"Traitor to the Republic" because, as the result of the hard-won experience of the disastrous inflation in all 13 Colonies caused by issuing Bills of Credit or otherwise coining questionable money, the following is written into the body of The U.S. Constitution:
No State shall ... coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; — United States Constitution, Article I, Section 10, Clause 1
Here’s how that essential binding and confining Constitutional rule was completely destroyed by F.D.R. —
On April 5, 1933, Roosevelt issued
Executive Order No. 6102 .
It decreed that all gold certificates, gold coin, and gold bullion, owned by
all partnerships, corporations, and individuals be delivered to the
Federal Reserve on or before May 1, 1933. ... Other "Presidential"
proclamations in April and May of 1933 made it ILLEGAL
for U.S. Citizens, "the freest people in the world," to own or
hold gold, except small amounts in jewelery. Roosevelt made GOLD
a " CONTROLLED SUBSTANCE "
like cocaine or heroin! ... As late as 1969 people were still being jailed
for owning gold without a license.
—L. Reichard White, MONEY, (Brownsville, Penna.: WhiteINK 1997) from Costs of Abandoning the Gold Standard
Such an amazing in-your-face abrogation of Constitutional constraints is, I would suggest, an appropriate marker for the beginning of the end of the Republic.
Is it just a coincidence that the White House reportedly called-in 1928 Training Manual TM_2000-25 — with it’s warnings about democracy — and had it destroyed at about the same time, thus opening the door for coercive winner-takes-all bogus democracy?
Or was that the beginning of an organized campaign that’s been so successful we’ve almost completely forgotten the Republic?
The enormity of the gamble initiated by E.O. 6102 is incalcuable and nearly impossible to understand today. At the time, all commerce — from mega deals like the Great Northern Railroad to the housewife buying pork chops — depended, directly or otherwise, on the gold and silver coin that was circulating at that time and had been the essential basis for trade for well over 100 years.
No one knew what would happen when this was completely replaced by what was essentially unbacked counterfeit privately owned Federal Reserve paper money. And so it was entirely appropriate that, for the very first time, " In God We Trust " replaced " Redeemable in GOLD on Demand " on official printed U.S. paper money.
For the U.S., the final results of this, the biggest heist in history aren’t in yet although its precarious position is clear. However for other countries, the consequences are quite clear. Currently in Venezuela for example.
And then there’s the insidious process that nibbled away at the Republic until it emerged nine-years after E.O. 6102 as full-blown galloping cancer as another result of traitor-to-the-Republic Roosevelt’s "New Deal." It emerged as Wickard v. Filburn , [317 U.S. 111 (1942)], from Roosevelt’s Supreme Court — after he threatened to stack it in 1937 .
The problem in the Filburn case emerged from The U.S. Constitution in what is now called the "Dormant Commerce Clause."
Before it was abused, the interstate part of the Commerce Clause (ICC) — Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3 — was a useful part of The Constitution. It was intended to prevent states from taxing or otherwise interfering with goods coming from other states. That would not only hinder voluntary trade and the evolution of commerce, it would also create friction among the states and their people.
However, along with it’s partner — the so-called " Elastic Clause" — in the hands of the D.C. scofflaws, the ICC was evolved from a friendly Dr. Jeckyl into a Republic-and-freedom destroying Mr. Hyde.
The initial transformation was accomplished when Roosevelt’s Supreme Court — he’d appointed eight of the nine "Justices " himself — asserted the existence of imaginary hidden powers, claiming they had always lain "dormant" in the ICC.
It happened when Ohio farmer Roscoe Filburn challenged a tiny part of Fed-Gov’s New Deal assertion that it could tell farmers how much wheat they were allowed to grow on their own land. Farmer Filburn was fined for growing a separate plot of wheat to feed to his own livestock, not to trade in interstate commerce.
Roosevelt’s New Deal SUCUS (SUpreme C ourt of the US) ruled against farmer Filburn. Their excuse? If Mr. Filburn grew extra wheat for his livestock, even though he wouldn’t sell it in interstate commerce, he wouldn’t buy it in interstate commerce either, thereby indirectly affecting interstate commerce.
No, I’m not making that up.
Now remember, the first outrage is that the Federals thought they could tell American farmers — the "freest people in the world" — how much wheat to grow in the first place. And punish them if they disobeyed.
In the Filburn case, Roosevelt’s SUCUS went much much further and ruled that the ICC gave the Federals the right to regulate activity even if it was only indirectly related to interstate commerce. By that logic, it’s clear that the Federals now think, Republic be damned, they can regulate damn near everything. And they act accordingly.
In a similar case, Gonzales v. Raich, Justice Clarence Thomas, in the minority, nailed it —
"Respondents Diane Monson and Angel Raich use
marijuana that has never been bought or sold, that has never crossed state
lines, and that has had no demonstrable effect on the national market for
marijuana. If Congress can regulate this under the Commerce Clause, then it
can regulate virtually anything — and the federal Government is no longer
one of limited and enumerated powers."
— Clarence Thomas, Gonzales v. Raich
Before the Filburn case, Congress rarely used the ICC at all and only as intended by the founders — to prevent State interference with interstate trade, remember. Since Filburn however, huge chunks of the most objectionable Congressional legislative meddling has counted on this newly imagined ICC power, conjured up by Roosevelt’s SUCUS, most notably in the Filburn case.
The 1990 "Gun-Free School Zones Act" — banning guns within 1,000 yards of schools — is a telling example. I’ll leave it to you, the reader, to conjure up the logic which explains how guns within 1,000 yards of schools affects interstate commerce.
The Commerce Clause is also the source of federal drug prohibition laws under the Controlled Substances Act — which suggests a great perspective before and after Filburn.
Before Filburn, the ill-advised U.S. alcohol prohibition experiment was done Constitutionally, put into affect in 1920 by the formidible task of amending the U.S. Constitution with the 18th Amendment. And as the result of fourteen years of turbulence, contention, discontent and chaos, crime and failure, it was repealed by the 21st Amendment in 1933.
By contrast, failing to heed the obvious lessons from alcohol prohibition — and almost certainly because it’s much much easier to pass a law than to amend the Constitution — the ongoing Commerce-Clause-based drug prohibition is still being attempted after over 70 years of turbulence, contention, discontent and chaos, crime and abject failure.
Our forbearers at least, learned from their mistake after only 14 years.
So E.O. 6102 marks the beginning of the end of the Republic and the heavy demolition work is being done by the misuse of the interstate part of the Commerce Clause.
There’s another telling measure of the degradation of the Republic. Despite the Korean "War," the Vietnam "War," the two Iraq "Wars," the Afghanistan "War," etc., the U.S. Government has not declared war according to The Constitution since the beginning of World War II.
In pursuing these unconstitutional wars, the U.S. Government has killed approximately 5 million men, women and children , and caused untold destruction, creating a reservoir of hate for America and Americans all around the world.
If the scoff-laws claiming to be the U.S. Government can side-step the rules they swore to uphold and defend in making that most consequential of decisions — the decision to put us in harm’s way by going to war — some folks might suggest tar and feathers. Or maybe something even more appropriate . What do you think?
So, "our" coercive winner-takes-all bogus democracy has strangled the Republic and given us fake money, fake war, fake news, and given the Federals unlimited power to meddle in our affairs. And, in addition to taxes, in creating that situation "our democracy " has given our kids, grand kids and the yet unborn $22 trillion in Official government debt — so far — and over $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities — so far — owed to the old and infirm as the Social "Security" Ponzi scheme and Medicare etc.
And then there’s that reservoir of enemies all around the world that will last for generations.
And that’s all set us up for an American Hitler.
So how about it? Do you want coercive winner-takes-all bogus democracy that pretends "the majority rules" but is run for those who can afford to buy it instead?
Or would you prefer freedom and the Republic?
What are you going to do about it?
Don’t sweat it; eventually events will change things and something will occur to you — but in the mean time, you might want to start with What You Mean "WE" Pale-face?
HERE for updates, additions, comments, and corrections.
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L. Reichard White [send him mail] taught physics, designed and built a house, ran for Nevada State Senate, served two terms on the Libertarian National Committee, managed a theater company, etc. For the next few decades, he supported his writing habit by beating casinos at their own games. His hobby, though, is explaining things he wishes someone had explained to him . You can find a few of his other explanations listed here .
[*1] In 1933 new President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed a bill forcing all the American people, to hand over all their gold at base rate. With the exception of rare coins. He disowned himself from the bill claiming to not have read it and his secretary of the treasury claimed this was "what the experts wanted". XAT3, THE HISTORY OF MONEY PART 3
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