Hugo Salinas Price on the Nature of Money and Why Silver Should Be Legal Mexican Currency

May 31, 2010

Courtesy of The Daily Bell

(Editor’s Note: Hugo Salinas Price, 75, is a successful, retired businessman who lives in Mexico. He has been a follower of the Austrian School of Economics since his youth. He has written three books in Spanish on how and why silver should be instituted as money in Mexico, in parallel with paper money, and numerous related articles in English and Spanish, posted at his website. His organization, the Mexican Civic Association Pro Silver, is actively lobbying the Mexican Congress to approve legislation, which will institute the pure silver “Libertad” ounce as money.

Hugo Salinas-Price

Mr. Price’s quest is exactly what a seceding state must do to create a new money. This is the proof that one man can make a difference.)

Daily Bell: What is your campaign in Mexico for sound financial policy?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I actually avoid discussing “sound financial policy” because one can argue about that till the cows come home. During the last fifteen years I have devoted my efforts to one single aim, and that is to achieve the monetization of a silver ounce coin currently minted by our Central Bank. This coin has no engraved monetary value and is called the “Libertad” coin; it can very easily be turned into a monetary coin, that is to say, a coin with a monetary value. As such, anyone owning such a coin could, if he or she wished, be able to pay any bill or debt denominated in Mexican pesos.

The monetary value of this coin would be slightly higher than its bullion value; the monetary value would not fluctuate according to the price of the silver ounce, but its monetary value would be raised if the bullion price of silver rose and closed in on the monetary value. The Central Bank would give the coin its monetary value, according to a formula in the proposed legislation.

If the price of silver fell to $1 dollars an ounce, the monetary value of the coin would remain where it was last pegged. (But it would still be better money than any paper or digital money in the world!)

On the other hand, if silver should go to $50 dollars an ounce, this coin would remain in circulation, useable as money, because then its monetary value would be about $57 dollars, and stay there until a further rise in the value of bullion silver.

The monetized silver ounce would be an excellent refuge for savings and would attract them irresistibly. You don’t need a bank account, you don’t even have to know how to sign your name, to invest your savings in this simple and inflation-proof way.

This coin would be better money than the US dollar and I expect many Americans would be wanting to own these “Libertad” ounces once monetization is realized.

Daily Bell: Has Mexico always suffered from an unsound economy? Does Mexico now have a stable political structure?

Hugo Salinas-Price: The first question is like asking me “When did you stop beating your wife?”

Seriously, I think the Mexican economy is sounder than the US economy – which isn’t saying too much. The Mexican economy is much less complex than the American economy. Think of the Mexican economy as a low, wide pyramid or mound. The American economy is by comparison a skyscraper. Personally, I don’t like to occupy hotel rooms above the 12th story, thinking of the possibility of a fire. Think also of all the things that can go wrong for a skyscraper: a power outage, and you and your family are on the 30th floor. No elevators, no water, no refrigerator…you get the idea. The American economy is vulnerable in ways that the Mexican economy is not.

Mexicans have mostly fully-paid housing – the house may be very modest, such that most Americans would not care to live that way, but – it is paid for! Mortgages are not widespread; during recent years there was an increasing use of mortgages but on the whole, the Mexican population lives in housing that is paid for.

Mexican indebtedness is not as great as in the US; because until recently, 70% of the population did not have bank accounts – which given the behavior of banks in general, is a very good thing.

Mexicans, unlike Americans, are used to bearing with hard times. They can “cope” with situations which would drive an American to despair. We do not have a government that prints the World’s money, so we haven’t been as coddled by all levels of government, as the American people.

About political stability: I don’t think American political stability is stronger than ours. We don’t have Tea Parties and we don’t think about taking up guns and holing up in our houses. Matter of fact, I think I see a Revolution brewing right in the old U.S. of A. But of course, we can always be the object of “Regime Change” by the Powers That Be in Washington, D.C. It’s happened before, though most Mexicans are not aware of the fact that our Glorious Revolution of 1910, was a “Regime Change” Operation, carried out covertly by the U.S., because Mexico was getting too prosperous and inviting European Capital into the country, in preference to American Capital. So, it can happen again – any excuse will do. How about: “The Drug War in Mexico threatens American security”? That ought to do the trick.

Daily Bell: Give us some background on yourself. Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school and how did you get interested in business?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I grew up in Mexico City, the eldest of six kids. My father was a Mexican from Monterrey, Mexico. My mother was an American from Bryn Athyn, PA. Our family all spoke both English and Spanish from childhood. We still slip from one language to another when we talk. Most of my friends as a boy were sons of Americans living in Mexico. I went to High School in my mother’s home town, which is a religious community, and enjoyed it greatly. I tried three different Universities looking for a career, and dropped out of all three. I was particularly unhappy at the famous Wharton School of Business and Finance, at the U. of Pa.

After three strikes I was out and decided, at the ripe old age of 20, that I better get to work and stop wasting money. So, I got a job from my father. Two years earlier, he had set up a small company manufacturing radios and I got the job of manager. So I started at the top and did what I could to stay there! Well, fortunately we had a bright man as engineer, he was a Mexican who had been interested in electronics since he was boy. One day, this man asked me “Mr. Salinas (no employee of mine has ever called me by my first name) why don’t we manufacture TV sets?” I said, “Are you out of your mind? That’s a terribly complicated technology, we can hardly make good radios…” But he insisted, “No, we can do it; it’s not such a big problem.” So I said, “Well, build a sample; if you can build a TV set, I’ll give you a new car…”

So we got into TV business, and that saved that tiny company. If we had not done that, in not more than two years we would have gone broke. I didn’t realize this until many years later. In 1954 I married; my wife and I fell in love at first sight, she was 15 and I was 18. The very best decision I ever made in my life!

Elektra couldn’t sell our sets by selling to retailers – there were a dozen manufacturers offering retailers their goods, with well-known brands; our brand was unknown. So, we went to direct sales.

Once we were in direct sales, we added other household goods to the stuff our salesmen could offer the public. Our salesmen were heroic, they knocked on doors from morning till night, and got us our orders.

In 1959, I began to set up our stores, where salesmen could take their customers to view the merchandise. So that’s how we got into retailing. We sold on terms – credit up to 24 months. How to sell on credit – and collect! – was something learned from my father, who learned it from his father. That’s what we are still doing today, with about 1,000 stores.

Daily Bell: How big did Elektra get – and was it your biggest achievement in business?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Elektra has gotten rather large – stores in Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras, Salvador, Panama, Peru, Brazil and Argentina. (Argentina is the pits, let me tell you.) Elektra owns a bank, which has a very large deposit base among the same people who are its customers. Very solid bank, I am pleased to say. Our Systems department is vast – one of the largest in Latin America. I started up our Systems in 1968, on a ten-year plan to get the company wholly computerized. This finally happened in 1983. We are totally up-to-date in this technology.

Well, my biggest achievement in business happened in 1987, when I was 55. I didn’t know it was that, at the time. What happened was that – I got myself out of the way. Elektra had 59 stores, no debt, was running just fine; my eldest son, who was 32, had been working at Elektra for the past seven years, and he knew everything there was to know about it and was much more active and energetic than I; so one fine day, I just up and resigned, to everyone’s great surprise. Cancelled all Powers of Attorney, Bank signatures, the works. Son Richard took over that day and – that was the best business decision I ever made!

Daily Bell: Is it easy to build a business in Mexico? Why did you decide to retire from it?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Maybe it’s hard, maybe it’s easy. For those who have the knack, it may be easy. I don’t have that knack. Let me tell you I see a family that sells tasty food out of a pick-up truck at around 11 a.m. weekdays; they set up business outside of the building where I have my office. That family pays zero taxes and is raking in money every day, customers galore. A lot of Mexico lives this way, under the taxman’s radar, Praise God!

Now why did I decide to retire? I am not really a businessman. I got a job and worked at it “in my fashion” – never got a degree. I enjoyed my work very much, designing radios and TV sets and “Combos”, and opening stores. Actually I am more of a thinker than a man of business. I have very few friends. Don’t play golf. I have a large library, I like to collect books. I saw that Richard had much more push than I did, that he knew exactly what was going on in the business and more enthusiasm than I about running the business. So, I just handed over the reins. I have never missed not being No. 1. And I never will. It appears that very, very few men are willing to give up being No. 1.

Daily Bell: Does Mexico have a large middle class? If not, why not?

Hugo Salinas-Price: No, I guess I would have to say we do not have a large middle class. I am worried that our middle class may begin to contract in numbers, given the world situation of excessive debt everywhere.

Why is our middle class in danger of contracting? First of all, I have to express my opinion that the US middle class that prospered so much after WW II was to a large extent based on an expansion of credit which took place in the US after WW II and up to 2007. So, as that expansion appears to be over, you may see an unpleasant phenomenon take place – people who thought they were in the middle class, reduced to poverty. Present US policies are headed toward that outcome.

The problem for Mexico has been that, as in all countries everywhere, its governments have attempted to stay in power by spending money they don’t have in order to get the votes. So this spending hits the value of our money and cancels the savings of those who would make up the middle class. This policy hits us harder than Americans, because our money is not welcome outside of our borders, unlike Americans whose Fed can print up money and allow Americans to export it to buy a lot of nice things all over the world.

Daily Bell: Is Mexico a bifurcated state between upper class and the poor? [If so] why is it?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I think that a “bifurcation” – in other words, a division into two – is one of the objectives of Communist agitation: to promote “class consciousness” through envy, mainly. This way of advancing in politics has been going on for centuries. Julius Caesar used it and it worked for him – and he was no Communist.

I can truly say that I do not feel we are in a “bifurcated state” – to promote this feeling is the policy of Chavez in Venezuela, as it has been the policy of Castro in Cuba. My opinion is that there are always and everywhere, rich and poor, but this only becomes a problem when a politician or a political party wants to create the problem for their own advancement. Perhaps we shall face that problem further on – as you well may, yourselves.

Daily Bell: How bad is the drug war in Mexico? Do you think drugs should be made legal?

Hugo Salinas-Price: The drug war is mainly between those who are in the drug dealing business and are fighting over territory. But this war also breeds criminals who take up other ways of getting money, by assaulting peaceable citizens. A US President once told a Mexican President: “Mexico is the spring-board for drugs into the US.” To which our President at once replied: “If we are the spring-board, you are the swimming pool.”

Legalization of drugs would greatly diminish the problem of outlaw drug lords in Mexico – but I mean, legalization in the US. We have a drug war, because drugs are illegal in the US and thus fetch a very high price. Legalize the business in the US and the price of drugs will come down to the price of corn. Mexicans will go back to raising vegetables. Remember, it was Prohibition that made Al Capone rich.

Daily Bell: Is the drug war Mexico’s fault, America’s fault or both? Is Mexico a failed state?

Hugo Salinas-Price: We had marihuana in Mexico when I was a boy. Only a few people indulged in it. Nobody cared if they did. Cocaine was in use in the US in the 30’s – Cole Porter wrote it into one of his songs: “I Get a Kick Out of You”.

Personally, I blame the artificiality of life in our times – caused by funny money, which distorts all aspects of human life – for the hunger that people feel for drugs, to forget their insecurity.

Mexico a failed state? Not yet, by any means! The US may be a failed state long before Mexico falls into such a condition. If we can monetize a silver coin – and believe me, it is quite possible we shall be able to do this – can a State which has silver money be called a “failed State”? Note well: our politicians are far, far less corrupt than yours! Ron Paul, a noble exception among US politicians.

Daily Bell: Would a more stable currency help Mexico?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Undoubtedly. But all currencies in the world are essentially unstable since they are all fiat currencies. There can be true stability only under a gold standard.

Daily Bell: What is your plan for the silver Mexican dollar? What is it called?

Hugo Salinas-Price: My plan is to have the Mexican silver ounce monetized, i.e., turned into ready money. It is called the “Libertad”. This coin would come into circulation in parallel with paper and digital bank money.

People would then have the option of obtaining this coin for their savings – on which no interest would be paid; unlike deposits in banks on which the banks pay interest, people would save these coins even though they pay no interest. This is as it should be: there is no reason for people to expect interest on their savings, if what they are saving is worth saving.

Policy all over the world today, is to promote consumption. This is total nonsense! Savings must come before, long before consuming.

Families who have savings are happy, satisfied people. They are secure in the knowledge that they have solid savings for emergencies and for their retirement. This makes for a happy nation. And that should be the object of politics.

Daily Bell: Will your plan come to fruition in the near future? Does it have much support?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I think there is a good chance it will come to fruition in the near future. We were almost there, late last year. The terrible condition of the world, in monetary terms, is a plus for the silver coin. I have a book out just recently, where I mention all the warnings I made before the present chaos, announcing the coming disaster. The Mexican Congress made a poll of public opinion, last year, and found that 81% of the people want silver money.

We have wide support in the Congress, both Houses. Just yesterday I had a very heartening meeting with one of the leaders, he is all for the measure. He is President of the Mexican College of Economists and influential. I have met with energetic women in the Congress who are all for silver. (Silver is a tradition in Mexico, not yet forgotten.) Yes, there is lots of support. The main opponents are those arrogant individuals who have Post Graduate degrees in Universities such as Stanford, Princeton, Yale, Harvard, etc. who think that what they learned in the US is Gospel Truth. Their minds are closed. Not so the majority of our Congressmen and women, who still enjoy common sense.

Daily Bell: Why did you decide to devote your life to this cause?

Hugo Salinas-Price: When I was a boy, I had an excellent man as teacher. He was an Englishman born in the Victorian era. He made us memorize poetry every week. Do you remember this:

“Tell me not in mournful numbers
Life is but an empty dream.
For the soul is dead that slumbers
And things are not what they seem.

“Life is real, life is earnest
And the grave is not its goal.
Dust thou art, to dust returnest
Was not spoken of the Soul” …

“Let us then be up and doing,
With a heart for any Fate.
Still achieving, still pursuing,
Learn to labor and to wait.”

Daily Bell: A Psalm of Life by the great poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. You are obviously a literary person, as your many articles illustrate. Are you a critic of Mexico as it is?

Hugo Salinas-Price: No, I don’t think I am a critic of Mexico as it is. Why write about our defects when we are all conscious of them? What I attempt to do is to inspire our people to rise to what they can and should do, and specifically, to inspire them to the greatest possible thing they can do: monetize a silver coin.

Daily Bell: What does Mexico have to do to become a successful state in your opinion? Is America the problem?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I wouldn’t say that Mexico is an “Unsuccessful State” at all. It has problems which are common to the whole world and which mainly arise from the world’s having abandoned real money by stages, beginning in 1909, or 1873 if you want to go back that far, when the US government decreed that the Treasury would no longer continue to accept all the silver offered to it and return it minted into dollars.

I must admit that the US has forfeited its leadership in the world, over which it had such mighty power after WW II, by unwise behavior in the sphere of banking and money. You have an oligarchy in power, actually running the US Government behind the scenes, and they want to retain their power at all costs, even sacrificing the American People to their ends. Together with their brothers in the UK, they are the prime obstacle to a reform and renewal of Finance and Money, to put the world on a path to sustainable prosperity. I believe they have put a rope around their own necks due to their obstination and avarice. The rope is closing in on them – note the rising gold price.

A strong state is a generous state. As the US has become weaker and troubled, it has become easier for people to take out their frustrations on minorities. Thus the illegal immigrants are in for it. The politicians approve of this – it distracts people from thinking about the true causes of their troubles. Not that I blame Arizona for the legislation it is putting into place regarding illegal immigrants. This measure has provoked wrath in Mexico, but the fact is, Arizona is clearly within its rights.

Daily Bell: Is America becoming a failed state?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I don’t think so, not yet. But popular discontent may cause a lot of grief in the US. Americans are not used to hardship.

Daily Bell: Are you an Austrian free-market economist?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I am an economist without a degree. If I had a degree in economics, I would probably not be an economist. Yes, I consider myself an Austrian economist – but a Neo-Austrian economist. You see, Professor Antal E. Fekete of Budapest, has improved some points of the Austrian theory as left to us by the eminent Ludwig von Mises and Murray Rothbard. He is the founder of a Neo-Austrian School of Economics. Those who have accorded Mises and Rothbard iconic status, don’t think there can be any improvement upon their theories. I disagree and I think that Mises, a fine gentleman of my acquaintance when I was young, was great enough to accept well-founded observations which improved upon his basic ideas, without discrediting their underlying value.

Daily Bell: Are free-market economics having an impact in Mexico?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Yes, but the impact has not been favorable. Because “free market economics” was thought up when gold was the only money that existed. Economists of that time could not imagine a world without true money such as we have today!

It turned out that a free-market without the gold standard caused the de-industrialization of the US, Britain and Europe – and Mexico, too.

Deindustrialization causes unemployment, of course. Since the deindustrialization occurred while we were trying out “free market economics”, the deindustrialization has been blamed on “Free Market Economics”, when the real cause was going off the Gold Standard. Very, very few anywhere, see the relationship. I have written briefly about this, in my article, “Gold the Protector and Creator of Jobs.”

You see, if we had the gold standard, Americans and Mexicans could simply not buy from countries that did not buy from the US and Mexico in return; that being the case, if the gold standard were reinstated jobs would sprout like mushrooms in a matter of months. Protectionism is only a Band-Aid.

Daily Bell: Where does Mexico go from here?

Hugo Salinas-Price: There is going to be terrible turmoil in the world. No one can know what is in store.

Daily Bell: Where do you go from here?

Hugo Salinas-Price: This is my last decade! From here, the grave.

Daily Bell: Are you optimistic about Mexico’s economy?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Not too optimistic – unless we monetize the silver coin. I think it will be a seed from which a multitude of good things will grow, beginning with an awakening of a spirit of confidence and pride in our country.

Daily Bell: Are you optimistic about the West’s economy?

Hugo Salinas-Price: Without the gold standard, we are at a dead end. A very dangerous place to be.

Daily Bell: Is America headed for a depression or hyperinflation? How about the EU?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I think the US is already in a Depression, but the Media are keeping the news from the people. If Bernanke’s creation of massive amounts of money ever gains traction by the money filtering down to the people, then inflation will take hold, and Bernanke will not be able to stop it, try as he may. The genie will be out of the bottle!

Europe is in for a bunch of trouble. I do have a suspicion that the EU was deliberately attacked by US Finance. Certainly, Europe dug its own grave with their version of funny money, although they kept up appearances pretty well until given a strong push by the rating agencies. Perhaps the European Monetary Union will fall apart and the euro may disappear as things unravel.

Daily Bell: Will the EU and the euro survive?

Hugo Salinas-Price: The euro is a fiat money construct and is destined to fail eventually. The EU was a good idea, but based upon sand. I remember that von Mises wrote that the Austrian Empire, which was a collection of nations with different languages, religions and customs, was held together by the gold coin of the Empire. When that went, the Empire was doomed. I suspect that unless the EU wakes up and initiates a move to a European gold standard, they too are doomed. The buying of gold in Europe is a signal that instead of being fought or ignored, it should form a part of planning for the future of Europe.

Daily Bell: What’s the biggest problem in the world economically today?

Hugo Salinas Price: Without a doubt, the enormous “structural problems” which the economists talk about – imbalances of trade, where some countries export lots of stuff and other countries buy quantities of that stuff but have nothing, or little, to sell to the exporting countries – this problem has caused China for instance, to accumulate enormous “reserves” of dollars and euros, while the US and the West in general have lost their industries. This is the main problem in the world today and it cannot be remedied without the gold standard.

Only through the gold standard can the world achieve peace and harmony in economic relationships. Only the gold standard can prevent a huge country like China, from devastating the industries of the “developed world”.

Daily Bell: Is that the biggest problem in South America and Central America too?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I certainly do think it is the biggest problem today. However, I wouldn’t go so far as to say it’s the only problem. People have different sets of values, you know. Not everyone everywhere wants to live in a suburban home with two cars, grass in the front yard, two kids that are going to go to college, etc. etc. Strange as it may seem, some people in this world – and they are not a few – prefer to live simple lives, working only when they have to and perhaps as little as possible. “Work” is not such a great thing everywhere. Some people like to be what we call, lazy. They like to take a nap in a hammock after lunch.

So the idea of a world-wide middle class with a similar standard of living must be an illusion founded on misconceptions about people. There is great deal of harm done by “Improvers”, who are always thinking of ways to improve upon what people actually want if they are let alone.

Give them sound money, and let each work out his destiny, I say. A couple of years ago, a poll was taken to find out who are the happiest people in the world. Guess what? Mexico was Numero Uno!

Daily Bell: Any English books or articles you have written that you recommend?

Hugo Salinas-Price: I have not written any book in English – the readers I write for are Mexicans and I really have no business talking about the rest of the world, including the US. If I translate some of my articles into English, it is because I feel a few people may be interested in what is, after all, a unique project with no similarity to anything being proposed in the rest of the world.

You can find my articles in English at my website, Thank you so much, for taking an interest in my opinions!

Copyright © 2010 Daily Bell

* * * * * * * * * * * * *

Money, backed by gold and silver, will make secession an obtainable goal in our lifetime.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore.

Put Gold and Silver In Your IRA or 401k

May 30, 2010

“It’s called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe it.” George Carlin

In my opinion, any consideration about investment income right now is a big mistake. Your NUMBER ONE CONCERN should be protecting the purchasing power of your money.

Buy gold and silver coins and keep them in a safe at your home. Then, with your retirement accounts, transfer your positions in money markets, bonds, mutual funds and stocks into gold and silver.

Do you remember the old rule of thumb about investment income? That is, if you could get only 5% interest on your money, and you had enough assets, you could live on the interest and not touch the principal.

So, using this rule of thumb, a person with $1,00,000 in an IRA or 401k could receive $50,000 per year in investment income without touching the principal. That was achievable…not so long ago.

But today’s investor has watched the value of their retirement accounts dissolve over the past five years. The investor has also watched as return on investment has slowed to a drip, and interest rates on savings instruments has evaporated down to about 1%…if you’re lucky.

Many people who were already retired, living on their investment income, have seen it evaporate. Many have had to go back to work.

So, in order to receive $50,000 in income from one’s investments now, an investor would have to have assets totalling $5 million. How many people do you know that have an retirement investment portfolio of $5 million?

So, how does a person protect his wealth today?

Smart investors are placing physical gold and silver in their Individual Retirement Accounts (IRAs). With the global economic collapse becoming more and more certain, gold and silver have become a rapidly growing choice for IRA, 401k, 403b, and Pension Plans.

A precious metals IRA is known as a “self-directed IRA,” so you control the investments in your IRA.

Gold and silver in a retirement investment account are the ultimate assets. Precious metals have NEVER been worth nothing, but most currencies have inflated to collapse over history. They are the purest form of money. They are the best form of wealth preservation and capital preservation known to man. Gold and silver are accepted real money the world over.

Back in early 2000s, gold prices were about $350 per ounce. Today, the price is about $1,500 per ounce. And the price of gold is projected to drastically escalate as the economic situation deteriorates. In the same time frame, silver traded at about $8.50 per ounce. But today, you can buy silver at about $17.00 per once. So, you can buy a lot more silver per dollar than you can buy gold. A good mix of the two precious metals could be best for your retirement account.

How To Place Gold And Silver Into Your Retirement Account

If you have an IRA now, and want to shift your assets to gold and silver, you can do it easily. But if you take physical possession of gold or silver, that transaction qualifies as a distribution. So to avoid IRS penalties and taxes, you’ll want to have your gold and silver stored at a depository. The depository provides safe keeping for your precious metals and also provides easy access when you do finally need to take possession of your precious metals.

If you want to open a new precious metals IRA, simply work with your financial advisor to compete the necessary paperwork to set up your new IRA. Your precious metals dealer should be able to help you ship the coins or bullion to the depository. Then, any time you wish to deposit more precious metals, the dealer can do that shipment also.

Depositories customarily have storage fees. Find out those fees before a transfer.

Note that only 24-karat gold bars are permitted in a precious metals IRA, and each must have a NYMEX/COMEX-approved refiner/assayer hallmark. Same 24-karat requirement for gold coins. However, one exception is the 22-karat US Gold Eagle coin. 18k or 14K gold does not qualify for an IRA.

You may also add silver coins or bars (0.999+ fineness only) to a precious metals IRA. You can even include platinum or palladium bars or coins (90.9995+ fineness only).

Please realize it’s more difficult to transform an employer’s 401(k) plan while you’re still employed by them, but it is possible.

Act Today

Don’t wait until it’s too late. If you are unfamiliar with precious metals IRAs, talk to your favorite investment advisor. But don’t be surprised if they try to talk you out of creating a precious metals IRA. They might be losing commissions if they help you. Best to speak with an advisor that doesn’t earn commissions on your IRA transactions.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

What is Freedom?

May 29, 2010

by James P. Harvey

The word “Freedom,” applied to the interaction of human beings, is a misnomer. There can be no absolute individual freedom to do things that hurt other people and expect peaceful interaction. Even if groups separate into clans of like-minded people, there is no peaceful freedom if one clan adopts a practice amongst themselves that incites hatred from their neighbors. Retribution is sure to follow if my neighbor decides he is free to injure, kill or rape any person that crosses his property. This is only one example out of many hundreds of reasonable demands that society must consider if peaceful co-existence is the goal. If my neighbor claims the right to do anything he pleases, let him never be without the means to kill me. For when his actions hurt my loved ones, or make it impossible for me to live with my conscience, I will surely kill him.

These are the things that humanity has had to deal with from the beginning, and I see no end in sight. If human beings are going to live together, or even in close proximity to one another, they must conform to an agreed set of principals. Certain geographical boundaries that are designated as States have the same responsibilities to other States, as they are nothing more than groups of people.

Remove this requirement and pandemonium will result. Make no mistake about it. I will not let my neighbor be a monster, and I will not live among people who will. One does not have to be a tyrant to co-exist, but one must respect his neighbor.

These are the reasons governments disintegrate, and why the most powerful try to control everyone else. Differing opinions on what is and is not acceptable behavior will never end as long as humans live in THIS life. Since human beings will not accept God as their sovereign, they will be subjected to this calamity. That statement identifies me in most peoples mind as one who believes the Christian Bible is the only acceptable standard for humans to co-exist; not so. Humans will never co-exist in peace in THIS life, but we are required to try.

If God’s requirements are not acceptable to any man, then let him consider the problem of trying to survive in a society where no restrictions exist.

Now let us consider the ever present problem at hand. How do we, who mistakenly assume we are in agreement with the majority of other humans in America, get control of our future? Do we continue to participate in the present system of government that has left us with over a hundred years of evidence that it is not following the wishes of the majority of citizens? Do you still believe the election process is legitimately working? That is the first set of propositions to consider. If you believe it works as designed in the Constitution, please prove it! The absence of that possibility is enough proof for me.

Next, let us consider the possibility of getting the attention of our government, and elucidating our concerns and solutions. Is anyone reading this that naïve? How about getting the majority of voters to agree on changes that need to be made…do you think that will work? I’m beginning to think we’re too many to agree!

Does anyone agree with that? If not, do you have a better solution than separating from the central government, and retracting into smaller State governments that assume the responsibility of negotiating a working agreement among each other?

Seriously folks, consider the possibility of every State agreeing on just one thing for starters, and that being that every State has the authority to secede without recourse from the federal government. A show of unity to the monster in DC is a sure way to discover if I’m right. I believe that they would rather kill us than part with their power.

How much more evidence do you need than seeing one seceding State attacked by the feds? And may I remind you of the civil war? How much more proof does one need, than to recall the atrocities committed by Lincoln and his supporters? Do you believe that every State was intended to be a permanent part of the whole? If so, you are ignorant of the history of our country. The perpetuity of the States union was dependent on the States legislatures. And, if you believe all we need is for Congress to follow the Constitution, then tell me why the highest law of the land cannot be enforced.

“Just throw the bums out,” you say! Please tell me how that’s possible. And how would we manufacture that much unity in the first place?

The tea party folks are trying to resurrect the dead. They still hold a fool’s dream that the Federal Government is fixable.

If this article, the history of lost rights, and the present state of the Union does not convince you we need to do something drastic before it’s too late, I fear you desperately need to become more informed about the future existence of anything resembling a republic, or even a democracy, surreptitiously called the UNITED States of America.

By placing a requirement on men of higher intellect to write a dissertation on how to reconstruct a homogeneous system of governance, we could begin to form separate States that agreed on the necessary principals to co-exist in peace. In the intervening period we could all study the history of man’s attempt to co-exist in peace by a system of governance, and a plebiscite of our future attempt could be organized.

James P. Harvey

Memorial Day 2010: How About A New Meaning?

May 28, 2010

(Editor’s Note: This is an article from last Memorial Day, revised for 2010.)

The Memorial Day 2010 weekend is upon us. Many will use this weekend as the first short vacation of summer. Picnics, boating, traveling, family gatherings, and dedication to enjoyable activities are the rule this weekend.

But Memorial Day is meant to honor the men and women who died in military service to the United States of America. Formerly known as “Decoration Day,” it was first established in 1868 to decorate the graves of the Civil War (War of Northern Aggression) dead.

This weekend, there will be memorial services and parades across America in town squares, churches and at cemeteries. Flowers will be strewn and American flags will be in grand display. Politicians will walk the route, and veterans will don old uniforms and walk with them. Twenty-one gun salutes and taps will echo among the headstones. Empassioned speeches will be delivered to patriotic crowds on the goodness of America and the honor and bravery of the fallen soldiers and sailors.

And Americans will be remembering all the wrong things.

How about a reality check?

Those who fought and died (over 364,000) in Lincoln’s Army died invading another sovereign nation, the Confederate States of America. The CSA, who lost over 139,000 soldiers, was defending itself from the aggression of a foreign nation. It would have been no different morally if the Northern Army would have invaded Canada. So, Northern mourners should remember the shame of the North, not just that their loved ones died in battle. And Southerners should forever laud their sons who valiantly died in an attempt to thwart a foreign invasion and protect their homeland.

The 3,500-plus military personnel who fought and died in the Spanish-American War of 1898 died invading Cuba and the Philippines against Spain. Last time I checked, neither country was a state of the Union and did not require defense from a foreign aggressor. The war was perpetrated by the McKinley Administration and an expansionist Congress, assisted by Theodore Roosevelt and fomented by propaganda in the Hearst newspapers.

The American war dead of World War I (1914-1918), numbering over 116,000, died fighting a war between European nations. America had absolutely no business becoming involved, but as George Washington predicted, our treaty obligations dragged us into war.

World War II (1941-1945) devoured over 407,000 American military personnel. President Franklin D. Roosevelt baited the Japanese into attacking us, and after they did, Congress (in its last constitutional act of war) declared war. FDR was itching to get into the war, and got his way. Once again, treaties and war-hungry politicians cost this nation its sons and daughters.

The “police action” in Korea (1950-1953) started by the United Nations cost America over 54,000 military deaths. A cease fire was negotiated in 1953 which continues to this day. No constitutionally-declared war. No defense of American borders.

The Vietnam War (1958-1975) cost over 58,000 American lives. No declared war, no Vietcong in American streets trying to take over our nation. Finally some Americans protest a war! The US military gets its ass whooped and runs for home.

On 24 April, 1980, President Jimmy Carter sent a strike force into Iran to rescue the 52 American hostages held by Iran since 4 November 1979. The mission was a complete cluster fornication, and 8 men died.

In 1983 President Ronald Reagan sent 1,200 troops into Lebanon as “peace-keepers.” 220 Marines and 9 other servicemen are now resting in peace. No constitutionally-declared war. No constitutional justification.

In April 1986, President Ronald Reagan ordered air strikes in Libya against President Mohammar Ghadhafi. Ghadhafi still lives…2 American airmen died.

The invasion of Grenada (October to December, 1983) cost 19 American lives. 10,000 American troops joined forces with about 300 terrifying shock troops from Caribbean islands like Antigua, St. Kitts, Dominica and Saint Lucia to liberate Grenada. (Yes, that last sentence was sarcasm.) The struggle led to the deposition and execution of Grenada’s Prime Minister Maurice Bishop. Anyone find a declaration of war or reason for America’s involvement….anyone? Bueller?

On May 12, 1987, the frigate USS Stark was attacked by an Iraqi missile while in the Persian Gulf. Thirty five sailors died in the blast. The Persian Gulf is not the territorial waters of the USA, is it?

Gulf War I (8-90 to 2-91) costs another 378 deaths as the USA protects its oil interests in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia. None of the other neighbors of Iraq consider this worth a fight without the arm-twisting of President George H.W. Bush, especially since Kuwait formerly belonged to Iraq. Our Congress passes “resolutions” subordinating their constitutional authority to declare war to Bush, and he took it seriously. Still, no defense of America was involved here.

Panama was invaded by US military forces on December 20, 1989 under the order of President George H.W. Bush. Twenty four American military personnel died in the invasion. Bush said that protecting 35,000 Americans in Panama was cause for the invasion, as well as “defending democracy and human rights” in Panama. General Manuel Noriega was captured and tried on drug charges, ending up in a Miami prison. Did Congress declare war?

The Bosnian War (1992-1995) was prosecuted by President Bill Clinton in conjunction with the United Nations. He sent over 20,000 troops to Bosnia, and there were no official American casualties. Still, where is the declaration of war? Why are our troops deployed outside of the United States? Were the Serbs attacking Cleveland?

In September 1994, President Bill Clinton sent US troops into Haiti to restore the regime of ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristede. It cost 4 American lives.

The USS Cole was docked at the port of Aden, Yemen, on 12 October 2000 when it was attacked by suicide bombers. Seventeen sailors died in the incident. The Gulf of Aden is not part of the territorial waters of the USA, is it?

War in Iraq and Afghanistan (2001-present) was started on a web of lies by President George W. Bush and his minions. It continues bolstered by more lies. Once again, no constitutional declaration of war, no honorable reason for our military to be in either country has ever been found. So far, over 6,000 military personnel have been killed. The totals are actually much higher, since the Defense Department does not count combat deaths that occur after a wounded soldier leaves Iraq or Afghanistan, or the hundreds of suicides of both active duty and veteran personnel.

I may have missed some obscure deployment of troops in that history lesson. But I think the message rings loud and clear. In case you may have missed the overwhelming ringing sound, here is what it means.

Except for the Congressional declaration of war in 1941, which started our dubious involvement in WWII, no other military action since the Confederate States of America defense of 1865 has been a lawful use of military force. And, when you consider that America had no business fighting in WWII, our involvement should be considered immoral.

So, over 1,147,000 American sons and daughters have fought and died in military actions that can be considered both immoral and unlawful.

Please do not misunderstand me here. I do not suggest that the surviving families of dead military personnel should not mourn the loss of their sons and daughters. Surely the loss of a child, husband, father, mother, friend or loved one should be mourned.

I am not diminishing the dead’s courage, bravery, sacrifice or valor. I do not minimize their love of country, love of liberty and sense of duty.

What I am saying is that the REASONS that they died do not withstand scrutiny. The REASONS they were deployed outside our shores were illegitimate and founded in lies. The REASONS for ALL military action, save the defensive actions of the Confederate States of America, were in fact illegal, immoral and unlawful.

Our sons and daughters were deceived into military service, where politicians used their feelings of patriotism and trust as weapons against them, and their bodies as cannon fodder. And we Americans keep telling ourselves the same lies about defending freedom and “supporting the troops,” even when our troops are carrying out immoral and illegal orders from their superior officers. This self-deception allows us to live with ourselves and our seared consciences.

I do not hold the dead entirely at fault. Did they not come from our own homes and schools, where this false sense of patriotism was taught from the cradle onward? We the living are the ones most guilty. We did not teach our children how to discern truth from lies. We failed to teach them to question ALL authority. We neglected to infuse them with a love for the rule of law.

The greatest hypocrisy of all is the craven military worship that is found in the churches of America. Parents willingly offer their young on the altar of the State to murder and destroy while wearing a uniform. That makes violating God’s laws acceptable. The church should be the worst enemy the State could ever have. Instead, organized American religion is the State’s greatest cheerleader.

Therefore, here in the Memorial Day weekend of 2010, may we at long last accept the tragic truth that more than a million of our children gave their lives as sacrificial lambs on the blood-soaked altar of the God of the State? May we finally accept that additional hundreds of thousands were maimed and disabled on the same altar? Truly, they did not die to protect the American homeland. They did not die to protect our freedoms. They did not die defending “the Constitution of the United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic”…words found in their Oath of Service.

They died in vain. They died for nothing.

That is what we should mourn this weekend.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

All You Need Is About Four Percent

May 27, 2010

The general consensus about Colonial history is that the colonies rose up in a united front to secede from the British Empire. The stories we hear get us thinking that all the colonists were fed up and wanted to be free from the King’s tyranny. But that’s not what really happened.

Some scholars have determined that as few as 10-15 percent of the colonists supported the secession and Revolutionary War. You must remember that colonists were FIRST British subjects, then became secessionists. There were big chunks of the colonies that supported the King and wanted nothing to do with separation from England.

So, history shows us that liberty can be won for all by a select minority.

The Texas Nationalist Movement is currently pushing a petition drive in Texas. The TNM wants to force a “yes or no” vote on whether or not Texas should secede from the Union and become an independent nation. They are working to amass hundreds of thousands…perhaps millions of signatures of Texas citizens on petition sheets. They intend to stage a media event on the first day of the 2011 session of the Texas Legislature, at which they will present the petitions to the proper authorities in Austin.

This is a well-planned, well-organized effort by the TNM. They are light years ahead of any other American state in which citizens are contemplating secession. If the strategy to force the vote is not successful, it will not be for a lack of heroic effort.

I’d like to offer a ray of hope as the TNM moves forward: To all in the TNM leadership, and all of the TNM members working to get those signatures, keep in mind that you don’t need 50% plus 1 of the voters.

All you need is about 4 to 6 percent to win.

Here’s a little something I learned from a wizened old political consultant. It’s a formula on how most elections pan out. Local or national, the numbers work about the same, and they’ve worked this way for decades.

Let’s draw a target…kind of a bullseye. Then we’ll sort it out and see what the rings mean. Forgive me for my freehand drawing skills, but I think you’ll get the idea.

The outer ring represents 100% of the population of Texas.

The next ring represents the 60% of the population that is eligible to vote. Notice that I did NOT say “Eligible Voters.” I’m saying the people over 18, not in jail, not convicted felons, not resident aliens, not illegals. That group is about 60% of the population, which means that about 30% plus one is a majority. But you don’t need that many.

The next ring represents the registered voters, which are 40% of those eligible to vote. That means 20% plus one is a majority. But you don’t need that many.

The next ring represents the actual voters at about 24% of the eligible voters. So, 12% plus one is the majority. But you don’t need that many.

In our broken two-party system, roughly 40% are Republicans and 40% are Democrats. So their voting blocks effectively cancel each other out. It’s the same when you look at the actual voters. Of the 24% in the inner ring, 8% are Republicans, 8% are Democrats, cancelling each other out.

That leaves the swing voters at 8%. They are the “undecided” voters that you have to convince to vote with you.

So, in order to win the referendum on Texas independence, the pro-independence side only needs about 4% plus one vote to win. You could say that, since we’re talking rough numbers, the pro-Texas side needs 4% to 6 % to win.

With 24 million residents, my calculations are that the TNM needs to deliver about 461,800 of the swing voters to submit “Yes” votes.

My numbers could be off, but the example I’ve shown is not wrong. Perhaps the subject of this vote…Texas independence…will cross party lines. That remains to be seen. But the example I’ve given here has held true for decades in all manner of small and large elections and referenda.

Hey…if I’m wrong, point it out to me. I’m open to correction.

But if this example is accurate, the TNM could actually bring about an historic referendum and outcome. Just think…Texas Independence in our lifetime!

The mind fairly boggles.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

How Many Times You Gonna Wash That Duck?

May 26, 2010

This article isn’t about secession.

I saw a film clip today about catching and cleaning waterfowl in the Gulf of Mexico. And it occurred to me…aren’t the duckwashers just releasing those birds when they get through giving them a bath? So, how many times you gonna wash that duck? Won’t he be going right back out into the Gulf and getting crude on himself over and over? I’m not saying that they should not wash ducks. But they could be in for a long stint of waterfowl washing…crane cleaning…pelican primping…duck dunking…loon loofas…and seagull scrubbing. There’s probably not enough Dawn dishwashing liquid in the world for this job, and it’s only a month old.

And that brings me back to the oil-gushing environmental disaster in the Gulf.

Here’s a little experiment you can do to give yourself some perspective. Throw an open bottle of red wine into a swimming pool and let it sink to the bottom of the deep end. Your mission…should you choose to accept it…is to cork the bottle. But you can’t get into the water. You must stand on the edge and watch that red wine leak out of the bottle while you use a long stick with a clothespin on the end that holds the cork. Good luck.

Now think about corking a gushing pipe a mile down in the ocean where the water temperature hovers in the low 40s.

Most of the news stories I’ve seen do their best to paint BP as an uncaring corporate monster. But do you really think that BP WANTED this to happen? They had PEOPLE on that rig that died in the accident. The Deepwater Horizon rig itself was worth $560 million. I have a real hard time believing that BP was negiligent, but I haven’t seen the evidence yet. Sometimes, bad stuff and accidents just HAPPEN, no matter how careful you are. Pumping oil is what they do best. Cleanups are difficult enough when the drilling rig is on land. But when you’re drilling A MILE DOWN in the ocean…on a floating drilling platform, massive complications set in. The only things that can work at that depth are submersible robots. The live footage of the gusher is like looking at a train wreck…you can’t look away. But that’s what TV lives for. BP could go broke cleaning up this mess. You don’t really think that oil prices WON’T rise after this, do you?

Want something else to worry about? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administrations reports that there are 3,858 oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico. Knowing this, and knowing that there has not been a spill like this in the Gulf in my half-century memory tells me that the oil companies have a great safety and environmental record. But how many of them COULD have an accident? Any or all of them? We just don’t know.

Out of the 6 billion people on earth, only a few thousand are petroleum engineers. Normal people have no possible concept of how to drill for oil a mile down in the Gulf or the North Sea. The very fact that it can be done at all is magical in its appearance. Most everyone just pulls their vehicles up the petrol point or filling station and just expect cheap product to flow out when they turn on the pump. So the deadly mixture of hubris, breathtaking ignorance and the willingness of the TV talking heads to say nearly anything creates another toxic spill…coming from our TV sets.

The oil spill in the Gulf just ain’t that simple, friends. But most of the people I’ve talked to in the last 30 days have developed a seething hatred for BP…based on what they’ve seen on TV. And they certainly don’t even consider that they have an indirect responsibility for this mess.

The people of this planet have made a conscious decision that oil is the best, most cost-effective product to power our lifestyles. Bringing oil up from the depths, whether on sand or salt water, entails a degree of risk. The world has accepted the risk so it can have as much oil as it needs. And no matter how big this Gulf spill becomes, it will not change the demand for oil. The only thing that is going to change demand is a superior technology, like turning water into hydrogen and oxygen to run internal combustion engines. Petroleum supplanted whale oil, didn’t it? Someday, it will be petroleum’s turn to step aside and take a back seat.

It’s just like air travel. We humans know deep down that occasionally, an airliner full of passengers is going to crash. It can be pilot error, or maintenance errors, or parts that wear out, or weather, or birds sucked into engines that causes the crash. But we accept the risk and pray we’re not on that plane. Most people DON’T stop flying.

Same for the automobile. Every week, hundreds of people are killed in auto accidents in America. Most weeks, the weekly death toll is buried deep in the newspaper in a single paragraph. We as Americans are so inured to auto crash deaths, we hardly notice anymore. But we accept the risk because vehicles are such a part of our lifestyle. Most people don’t stop driving.

And autos, airplanes and nearly every other form of mechanized transportation is powered by a petroleum product.

I’m not trying to minimize the disaster at the Gulf, or any other method whereby humans lose either their livelihoods or lives. I just want to offer some perspective on a horrible situation made worse by ignorance.

I encourage you to try your best to be compassionate toward EVERYONE involved, and don’t run your mouth about who’s at fault until all the evidence is in. At the same time, see what you can do to help. Maybe the best help you can offer is to just stay the hell out of the way…and shut up.

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Time To Get Serious About Secession

May 25, 2010

By Wilton Strickland, Esq.

As America enters the second decade of the twenty-first century, it is becoming painfully apparent that her historical march of progress not only has ground to a halt, but has reversed course and is heading back to a place from which the founders struggled to escape. It is a place where government acknowledges no authority higher than itself, brandishing the sword at home and abroad for purposes not ordained anywhere in the supreme law of the land. Law itself has been stripped of its noble purpose to restrain both the government and the governed, now functioning as a weapon for government to transgress against our lives, liberty, and property.

Worse yet, every transgression begets more misery, and every misery begets more transgression. Government prosecutes unjust and undeclared wars abroad that provoke terrorism, then claims it must oppress us for our own safety. Government imposes pervasive controls that distort the mechanisms of the marketplace, then claims it must assert even more control because the market has “failed.” Government takes from the productive to subsidize (and thus foster) the unproductive, then claims it must do more to combat growing poverty. Government spends far beyond its means and its enumerated powers, then claims it must raise taxes and debase the currency to help pay the difference.

This feedback loop of lawlessness has become so shrill and terrifying that many Americans are finally taking notice. For the first time in a long time, America is asking serious questions about the legitimacy of the government’s activities. Secession is a serious answer.

There is a psychological hurdle, to be sure, in giving secession the consideration it deserves. The very word causes many people to flinch because it conjures up images of slavery and civil war. Even some of the fiercest critics of the federal government have not given up on the electoral process because they see signs of hope in the Tea Party movement, and they take heart that outsiders such as Rand Paul have proven they can compete at the ballot box. In truth, it may be the worst possible outcome if such outsiders make electoral gains, because it will lull everyone into believing that real change is upon us. It is not.

Think for a moment what would have to occur for the federal government to obey the Constitution and restore fiscal sanity. “Mandatory” spending on unconstitutional wealth transfers such as Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid would have to be eliminated or at least phased out. “Discretionary” spending that legislators love to funnel to their constituents would also have to be deeply slashed, not merely to balance the budget but also to terminate unconstitutional wealth transfers to corporations, universities, farmers, and countless others who lobby furiously for this pork. Congress would have to cease legislating on roughly 70%-80% of the subjects it now arrogates to itself in violation of the Tenth Amendment.

The President would have to stop issuing “executive orders” that carry the force of law despite lacking congressional consent, and he would also have to suspend all war operations until securing a declaration of same from Congress. The Supreme Court would have to disavow precedent from the past three generations that, among other things, enables federal courts to interfere routinely in local matters under the guise of the Fourteenth Amendment; that gives a blank check to congressional and presidential assertions of power under the guise of “interstate commerce” or “spending for the general welfare”; and that has distorted “judicial review” into a power of amending the Constitution rather than enforcing it.
And let us not forget the hordes occupying the bureaucracy, most of whom would have to quit their jobs and halt the printing presses from churning out tens of thousands of unlawful regulations that Congress never voted on.

To put it mildly, this is not going to happen. People from all walks of life have a vested interest in the unconstitutional status quo and will never vote to relinquish it. Welfare recipients, Social Security dependents, federal employees, high-flying banks, both major political parties, mal-educated college graduates, and the indolent majority will never budge. We could hold elections from now until doomsday without seeing reform that comes anywhere near to accomplishing what the Constitution requires.

Neither the Reagan Revolution in the ’80s nor the Contract With America in the ’90s made a dent in the federal juggernaut, and nor will the current fervor to re-take Washington even if it “succeeds.” Moreover, what does it say about a country when it requires a massive electoral effort to achieve even a modicum of lawfulness in the government? Constitutional compliance is where all political campaigns should begin, not where a few of them should end. Voting bestows unwarranted legitimacy on a system gone rotten.

The good news is that even if we cannot persuade most Americans into lawfulness, we can ignore them. This is secession, and it means simply that a group of people will thereafter govern itself rather than be governed by others. From a historical perspective, secession is legitimate because it is how America was born out of Great Britain, not to mention how the Constitution was born out of the Confederation – recall that nine states disregarded the Articles of Confederation and founded their own government, leaving the remaining four states to decide what to do next.

Modern secession is hardly unprecedented in the American experience, let alone radical. (The misnamed Civil War punished those who sought to exercise the right of secession; the war did not disprove the right itself, no more than censorship disproves the right of free speech.) From a logical perspective, secession is legitimate because all states are human creations that include some humans and exclude others — there is no reason that a state deserves less legitimacy simply because it is new or contains a different set of inhabitants.

From a moral perspective, secession is legitimate because government is only a means to achieve human happiness, not an end that requires sacrificing our happiness on a government altar. Even from a legal perspective, modern secession would be legitimate because it seeks to honor the Constitution and reject a renegade government that desecrates it. It is a fundamental principle of law that a party who breaches a contract may not demand contractual compliance from the other.

In the same vein, modern government clearly has breached the constitutional contract, so government has no legal argument to keep us from leaving. I venture that a new American republic carved from the old one would serve the Constitution’s ideals more faithfully than anything we’ve witnessed in our lifetimes.

Yet the psychological hurdle remains, largely out of the fear that a seceding territory will prove racist, corrupt, or oppressive. The strongest response to qualms of this sort is that secession creates more choices, and membership is optional. A new republic carved out of the old one would not compel anyone to join or penalize anyone for trying to leave (something that the current regime cannot say for itself). There are no slaves to liberate this time around, so idealistic rhetoric cannot prop up another war of conquest. Speaking of conquest, a seceded territory could never hope to match the federal government in terms of corruption, extortion, pillage, or plunder.

Such a territory would lack the raw materials necessary to inflict the magnitude of abuse that the federal government has made its stock-in-trade. Given the opportunity to exist, this new republic would likely prove more attractive than the old one, which is precisely why it will be resisted tooth and nail — governments are monopolistic and hate external competition, the only proven method of restraining political power. Internal restraints can be shredded or rendered meaningless by prosaic pronouncements from the judiciary, as we have witnessed time and again. It is thus absurd to fear what a small government might do when we already endure what a huge government actually does to us and the world on a daily basis.

One more reason for secession cannot go ignored: it is the wave of the future. The past few decades have witnessed the collapse of bloated centers of power, yielding a constellation of new nation-states with no need or desire to assert the global dominance that the American political class clutches to its chest. This sort of dominance is a relic that cannot withstand the new competitive environment or the onrush of technology that further empowers us to exchange ideas, goods, and money as we see fit. The financial crisis represents a collapse of the house of cards that our politicians have built, and all of their outrageous measures to sustain it reek of desperation.

Deep down they sense their legitimacy ebbing, and at least on that score they are correct. Ours is a world of decentralization, flexibility, and choice. To secede is to look forward; to support a Byzantine and unlawful empire is to look backward. Yes, my friends, it is time to get serious about secession.

Wilton Strickland is a Florida-born personal injury attorney that now lives in Missoula, Montana. He has written the books “Unlawful Government: Preserving America In A Post-Constitutional Age,” and “Unlawful Government: The Gathering Threat Of Global Hegemony.”

Article originally posted at

Secession Scenario: Here Is How To Secede From The Union

May 24, 2010

A reader recently pointed out to me that I’ve provided most of the possible reasons why any state should secede at DumpDC. But she said I haven’t given a step-by-step procedure on how secession should work. I started this process in my article entitled Secession The Hope For Humanity, but I’m fleshing it out here. This is not complete by any stretch of the imagination. But it’s a place to start a lively dialogue about the steps to secession.

You may think that this article is too simplistic, and omits important issues. Perhaps. But I submit that if secession is not made so simple that a child can understand it, it will not happen in your state. Its logic has to be made so unassailable that only a fool would resist it.

So, here it is, my friends:

How To Secede From The United States of America

1. Philosophy

Each individual must come to his or her own conclusion that secession is the only way to regain liberty, and each state must make its secession decision independent of any other state.

2. Initiation

Secession should be solemnly deliberated by the elected representatives and the state citizens. Secession should be initiated at the moment that any state reaches the point at which it will no longer accept the despotic tyranny and laws coming from the US Federal Government in Washington, DC. Or, secession should be initiated upon a collapse of the Dollar, or the imposition by Washington DC of martial law in the event of social upheaval.

There is no written, formal method for initiating and completing an act of secession. If history can be our guide, we see that the states of 1860 completed their secessions by specially-elected conventions or by referendum. But the secession could also be initiated by a Governor and the State Legislature in assembly.

It would be excellent if a seated Governor would lead his state into secession. The easiest way for a state to secede would be for the State Legislature, either unicameral or bicameral, to draft a Declaration of Secession document and an Ordinance of Secession document. Then the Legislature should take a roll call vote and pass a Joint Resolution of Secession in legislature assembled, and have the Governor sign the Resolution instantly upon its passage. This process should be done on live TV, with all proceedings televised and recorded. Allowing the world to view this process in non-edited real time would be one of the most exciting and historic TV broadcasts ever made. The eyes of the world would be fixed on the TV feed and little else would be reported or discussed on its programming. Hell, run commercials and make some money for the state. Why should the networks get this historic event for free?

If the Legislature and Governor refused to support secession, a petition initiative could garner enough signatures of registered voters to force a referendum. Each state has statutes about petition initiatives for referenda. The Texas Nationalist Movement is doing a petition initiative right now, with the intent of presenting the petitions to the Legislature on day one of the 2011 legislative session. Follow the law in your state.

If there was a statewide referendum on secession it could be a simply worded ballot question like: “Shall the citizens of the State of XXXX repeal the 1788 ratification of the Constitution of the United States of America by the State of XXXX, and shall the citizens of the State of XXXX resume all the rights and powers granted under said Constitution?” A simple “Yes” or “No” vote will suffice.

If that’s too flowery for you, here’s an even simpler question: “Shall the citizens of the State of XXXX secede from the United States of America?” A “Yes” or “No” vote will suffice.

A simple majority of votes would pass the referendum.

The referendum should only be done with paper ballots that will be counted by hand, no machines, no electronic voting. Further, the referendum should not be scheduled for only one single day, but over at least three days, preferably a weekend…to facilitate the greatest possible participation by registered voters. Finally, a photo ID should be required as verification of identity for eligibility to vote. This ain’t the American way of widespread voter fraud…this is the state’s rights secession way. It’s also my article, and I can write the rules any way I choose.

Another method of moving secession along in your state might be to organize on a county-by-county basis. The County Commission could either call for a countywide referendum on the question of secession, or could nominate a delegate to participate in a Secession Convention.

3. Secession Convention

Each state’s Secession Convention, formed to contemplate, design and complete the process of secession, should draft a Declaration of Secession.

Many of the seceding states of 1860 wrote and ratified a Declaration of Secession, also known as a “Declaration of Causes.” Each Declaration enumerated that particular state’s reasons for secession, in like manner to the 1776 Declaration of Independence sent to King George by the Colonists.

Once the Declaration of Secession is prepared, the Chair of the Secession Convention or the Governor should deliver signed original copies of the document to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate (televised live of course).

4. Ordinance of Secession.

Then the seceding states must prepare an Ordinance of Secession. Here below is the simple, succinct wording of the South Carolina Ordinance of Secession of 1860:

AN ORDINANCE to dissolve the union between the State of South Carolina and other States united with her under the compact entitled “The Constitution of the United States of America.”

We, the people of the State of South Carolina, in convention assembled do declare and ordain, and it is hereby declared and ordained, That the ordinance adopted by us in convention on the twenty-third day of May, in the year of our Lord one thousand seven hundred and eighty-eight, whereby the Constitution of the United States of America was ratified, and also all acts and parts of acts of the General Assembly of this State ratifying amendments of the said Constitution, are hereby repealed; and that the union now subsisting between South Carolina and other States, under the name of the “United States of America,” is hereby dissolved.

Done at Charleston the twentieth day of December, in the year of our Lord one thousand eight hundred and sixty.

That is the sum total of all the words necessary to complete the secession.

Once the Ordinance of Secession is prepared (televised live), the Chair of the Secession Convention or the Governor should deliver signed original copies of the document to the President of the United States, the Speaker of the US House of Representatives, and the President of the Senate (also televised live).

That is the process of secession from the United States of America. That was the easy part. Then the REAL WORK begins.

The first thing the new sovereign state should do is to form a Constitutional Convention, and create a new government. See how I would do it at The New Corporate Model of Governance.

Questions? Do I see questions?

Question: What if Washington files a Federal lawsuit or injunction in Federal Court to stop the state from seceding?
Answer:Once the state formally secedes, it is no longer subject to US Federal Court jurisdiction, is it? Is it not a sovereign nation after secession, just like any other nation of the world? So, the seceding state could answer any legal maneuver by rejecting the jurisdiction of the US Federal Courts. Remember, Washington doesn’t OWN your state. Washington was formed by the states to be an errand-boy for the states. Who runs who?

Question: What if Washington invades our state with military forces?
Answer: That is the reason that your state needs a well-trained state militia. And when I say “well-trained,” I do not mean trained to fight on a 3rd Generation battlefield (like WWII or Vietnam). I mean a militia trained to fight with guerilla warfare (4th Generation) tactics, with a heavy emphasis on the tactics of General Sun Tzu, author of The Art of War.

Question: What will we do for money?
Answer: The state must make gold and silver the only legal tender in your state. See how I deal with this in Sound Money And Limited Government.

Secession is little more than breaking up with your girlfriend or divorcing your spouse. It’s a lot like being a card player in a big card game, then folding your cards, cashing in your chips and leaving the game.

Isn’t the process of secession much like writing this short note to end a relationship?

Dear Washington: It’s over. We’re leaving. We ain’t asking your permission to leave. We ain’t asking for a legal divorce. We’re just ending this relationship right here and now. We’re rescinding the authority we gave you in 1788. Leave us alone. Goodbye.

In conclusion, try to envision yourself and your family in a new nation created by secession. All the people you meet are excited and breathless in their anticipation of the future. The general opinion of the populace is pure unbridled optimism. The new nation’s economy is booming, the money is backed by gold and silver, and there is no inflation. “Now Hiring” signs are in all the shop windows. The newspaper’s “Help Wanted” ads are packed full. Prices for goods and services are low, and the stores are loaded with goods. Manufacturers are streaming into the new nation to take advantage of the rare pro-business atmosphere. Wages are climbing steadily in manufacturing jobs as companies compete for the best and brightest for their employees. New businesses are being created at a fever pace. Residential and commercial construction is at a high level to meet the demand of the new residents.

All because one state recognized this historic opportunity and realized the dream of liberty through the process of state secession.

Secession is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Rand Paul: The Tea Party Can Have Him

May 23, 2010

So Dr. Rand Paul, son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul, is the newly nominated Kentucky Republican candidate for US Senate. Dr. Paul wants to be a DC criminal and is fighting hard to get his chance.

Think that’s too harsh? Sorry to ruffle your delicate sensibilities. In my article entitled Criminal Congressional Compromise, I show that accomplices and accessories to crime are entitled to the same sentence as the main perpetrators. And plenty of crimes come out of the US Senate.

The drive-by media has had its collective panties in a big wad since Tuesday’s primaries. Paul has been labeled the “Tea Party Candidate.” From what I’ve seen of the Tea Party movement, and the things that Rand Paul believes, they seem to be made for each other.

But not made for individual liberty and property rights.

Dr. Paul still thinks that the nation can be saved. He believes that the solution is to simply get the Federal Government to operate within the limits of the Constitution, and then everything will work out all right. That’s the message coming from the Tea Party movement. Seldom mentioned are the seditious words “secession” and “nullification.” Oh mercy, no. Electing better politicians is the Tea Party answer, and that’s right up Rand Paul’s alley.

I went to Rand Paul’s candidate website and read his positions on various issues. Here are some quotes from his posted positions, followed by my caustic comments:

Rand on Immigration: “Millions crossing our border without our knowledge constitutes a clear threat to our nation’s security. I will work to secure our borders immediately. My plans include an underground electric fence, with helicopter stations to respond quickly to breaches of the border. Instead of closing military bases at home and renting space in Europe, I am open to the construction of bases to protect our border.”

Editor: So clearly you favor spending money the Federal Government doesn’t have. This administration is overdrawn just this year by a couple TRILLION dollars. There is no money for an underground fence, Rand…any more than there was money to build a fence along the length of the Mexican border. There is no money to build new military bases along the border with Mexico, either. Closing the foreign bases is good, but spending the savings is bad.

Rand on the Federal Reserve: “For too long the Federal Reserve has operated behind a shroud of mystery. As Senator I would make sure that all Americans understand the dangers of unsound monetary policy and shed light on this secretive organization. Given this incredible power given to a semi-private institution, one wonders why we don’t hear more about the Fed and its actions from the Congress. As Senator I would make sure that the Federal Reserve is held accountable and restore transparency to our monetary system.”

Editor: How exactly are you going to “make sure ALL Americans understand” ANYTHING? We don’t need transparency, Rand. America needs to abolish the Fed. Period. And from the news reports about HR 1207, the Transparency Act your father sponsored is dead…smothered to death by the guys you’re going to be working with. The Federal Reserve is the world’s largest counterfeiter, and the funny money needs to stop…even though it’s too late. If the Fed stopped printing money today, the money in circulation is guaranteed to cause hyperinflation soon.

Rand on National Defense: “I believe that the primary Constitutional function of the federal government is national defense, bar none. I believe we try the terrorists captured on the battlefield in military tribunals at GITMO. I do not believe in trying them in civilian court. I believe that when we must fight, we declare war as the Constitution mandates and we fight to win. That we fight only under US Commander and not the UN.

I believe that defending this country is the primary and most important Constitutional function of our federal government.”

Editor: My God, where do I start? (a) “National defense” is not invading other nations or having military bases in over 130 other countries. (b) People defending their own countries are not terrorists. America invaded THEM. (c) When has the US actually needed to defend its own borders since 1812? Rand, you’ve drunk deeply of the neocon Kool-Aid. (d) Tea Party member love guys who love the military, and you’re their guy. (e) GITMO is one of the blackest marks on the American character since Japanese-American internment during WWII. By supporting GITMO, you also support torture, since torture is a daily functional tool at GITMO. Thanks for clearing that up for us.

Rand on Energy Policy: “As Senator, the only question I will consider is whether government involvement is the most efficient approach to energy innovation. I will vote to cut taxes and lift regulations on companies developing new sources of energy.”

Editor: The only question you should consider is how quickly you can sponsor legislation to dissolve the Department of Energy, Rand. Washington has no Constitutional authority to regulate the exploration and production of any type of energy whatsoever. It is usurpation of state sovereignty. Did you miss that when last you read the Constitution?

Rand on Sovereignty: “We are a nation of laws. Our allegiance to foreign institutions sacrifices our autonomy as a nation by transferring our legal authority to unelected and unaccountable leaders. Our fiscal, trade, and monetary policy should be in the hands and best interest of ‘We the People.’ The US Government must answer only to the Constitution and the citizens protected by it.

Editor: We started as a “nation” of states. Now we are a nation governed by elected and unaccountable “leaders”…a position to which you wish to attain. The US government should be tightly controlled by the states and operate within the strictures of the Constitution. Even better would be the states simply opting out of “the Union” and becoming sovereign nations themselves. But Dr. Paul wants to be a part of the criminal element of Washington, not a state patriot. Remember, the moment Rand is elected and sworn in, he gets his paycheck from Washington, not Kentucky.

Rand on Inflation: “Dr. Paul will demand far greater transparency and accountability from the Federal Reserve, whose monetary policy has devalued our Dollar by approximately 95% since its inception in 1913. By restoring fiscal responsibility and honest monetary policy, we can regain our financial independence from China and other foreign lenders. Rand will fight to strengthen the value of our Dollar so our purchasing power is not destroyed by the sneakiest tax of all: inflation.”

Editor: Like the Federal Reserve item above, Rand…you need to dissolve the Federal Reserve’s authority to print money and manage monetary policy. Who cares about accountability? Get rid of the counterfeiters! And another thing…China holds $877 billion in US debt, and Japan holds $769 billion. “Transparency” at the Fed is not going to pay off the total American debt load of over $14 TRILLION that many experts say can never be repaid, even if the IRS collected 100% of the income from all Americans for years into the future.

Rand on Campaign Finance: “I propose mandating a clause in all federal contracts over $1 million that requires the recipient to pledge not to lobby government or contribute to campaigns during the terms of the contract. Companies that have willingly entered the public sphere by taking taxpayer funds should not be allowed to use part of that money to secure more funds.

But this proposal is only part of the answer. While it is important to cut down on the demand for lobbyists, the supply side is even more important. Washington, D.C. has a supply of money and power that it can dole out to the highest bidder. As long as this golden goose exists, people will find ways to take advantage of it. The problem is not the abuse of power, but rather the power to abuse.

The only answer to that problem is for Congress to reduce severely the size and scope of the federal government, so that the market is allowed to operate according to the free forces of a laissez-faire economy. Regulations, price controls, and political cronyism only distort the economy, foster corruption, and decrease our wealth as a nation.”

Editor: Forget campaign finance, Rand. That’s the least of your worries. Besides, you’re not going to change anything as a freshman Senator. DC does not have a “supply of money” of its own. DC plunders the American taxpayers and then prints fiat money or borrows money to make up the difference. Concentrate on forcing the Federal Government to only spend money on Constitutional things. Better yet, lead Kentucky to draft a Declaration of Independence and Ordinance of Secession and leave the Federal Government altogether. That would solve all the problems you naively enumerate at the Federal level.

Dr. Rand Paul may become the next Senator from Kentucky, but he will not lead Kentuckians into more individual liberty. He will be just like all the other Senators…receiving lobbyist funds, raising campaign cash for himself and others, and presiding over the last days of The United States of America.

Isn’t it amazing, friends? There is still a long line of people at the employment office of the USS United States…eager to be an employee on the last voyage of the ship as it sinks.

Secession…not new Senators…is the hope for humanity. Who will be first?

DumpDC. Six Letters That Can Change History.

© Copyright 2010, Russell D. Longcore. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Tom DiLorenzo on Secession

May 22, 2010

by Scott Smith

(Editor’s Note: I met Tom at a Campaign For Liberty convention in Atlanta in January 2010. We are both contributing writers for, so we instantly hit it off. He and I sat together in many sessions. Tom is a delightful gentleman with a warm smile, a quick wit and a brilliant mind.)

The Daily Bell is pleased to present an exclusive interview with Thomas DiLorenzo.

Daily Bell: You’re prolific and widely read. So please excuse the repetition of our questions. Tell us a little bit about your background and how you became interested in economics.

Thomas DiLorenzo: I was an economics major at Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pennsylvania, where in my first semester the professor used as a “supplementary text” a little book of essays on current economic events by Milton Friedman. They were a collection of Friedman’s Newsweek magazine columns, which he wrote in the 1970s. I loved how he used economics to explain just about everything about the economic world and economic policy. I also admired his very persuasive writing and speaking styles, and spent years in school trying to emulate it (and that of others who had similar talents). I also discovered The Freeman magazine, published by the Foundation for Economic Education, while a freshman in college, and reading through the back issues introduced me to the whole classical liberal tradition of scholarship, especially the free-market economists like Ludwig von Mises, F.A. Hayek, Israel Kirzner, Friedman, and others. I earned a Ph.D. in economics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, where one of my professors was James M. Buchanan, who won the Nobel Prize in economics for being one of the founders of the “Public Choice” School, which uses economic theory and methodology to analyze politics and political institutions. One of the textbooks I used in my first semester at VPI was Human Action by Ludwig von Mises. That course was my real introduction to Austrian economics, which I then pursued mostly on my own.

Daily Bell: You’re a valued member of the Mises Institute. When did you join?

Thomas DiLorenzo: When I was an assistant professor of economics at George Mason University in the early 1980s I received a flyer in the mail from Murray Rothbard and Lew Rockwell announcing the creation of the Mises Institute. I sent them a check for $35, which I suppose made me a “member.” I soon began sending them articles for their monthly publication, The Free Market, and presented papers at some of the early Mises Institute conferences. I’ve been teaching at the week-long Mises University that is held every summer for almost twenty years now. In short, I’ve been associated with the Mises Institute from its very beginning.

Daily Bell: How did you arrive at your insights about Lincoln? Explain, in a short summary if you can, what they are.

Thomas DiLorenzo: As for my research and publications on Lincoln, Civil War history was a hobby of mine for years, and I began thinking about how I could combine my profession, economics, with my hobby and get a few things published. I was struck by the fact that for his entire adult political life Lincoln was almost exclusively devoted to Hamiltonian mercantilism – high protectionist tariffs, other forms of corporate welfare, a central bank modeled after the Bank of England to pay for it all, and political patronage and matching politics. It made no sense at all that his ascendancy to the presidency had nothing to do with these issues, as America’s court historians say, or that these issues had nothing to do with the reason for the war. In fact, in his first inaugural address he literally threatened “invasion” and “bloodshed” (his exact words) if the Southern states that had seceded refused to continue to pay the federal tariff on imports, the average rate of which had just been doubled two days earlier. The entire agenda of Hamiltonian mercantilism was put into place during the Lincoln administration – along with the first income tax, the first military conscription law, and the creation of the internal revenue bureaucracy, among other monstrosities.

Daily Bell: You write about Lincoln from an economic perspective. Shouldn’t more history be written this way? It seems a natural marriage.

Thomas DiLorenzo: Most historians generally know nothing at all about economics, but that doesn’t stop them from writing book after book on economic topics, including the economics of the Civil War. There are a lot of books out there in university libraries that contain the facts about Lincoln, but these facts rarely make it into the textbooks that American children use. Education is dominated by the state, after all, and the state only criticizes past politicians who were not sufficiently statist (like Warren Harding, for instance). Being an economist and a libertarian gives one a very different lens with which to look at this information. Historians simply don’t understand the importance of how the American political economy was transformed by the Lincoln regime, and most of them are rather buffoonish, excuse-making court historians when it comes to Lincoln who is, after all, the face and image of the American empire.

Daily Bell: Was it difficult to write a revisionist history about Lincoln?

Thomas DiLorenzo: As a libertarian, I saw it as my duty to spread the truth about what a horrific tyrant Lincoln was, with his illegal suspension of Habeas Corpus and the imprisonment of tens of thousands of political dissenters in the North; his shutting down of over 300 opposition newspapers; his deportation of the leader of the congressional opposition, Democratic Congressman Clement Vallandigham of Ohio; and his purposeful waging of total war on civilians. He destroyed the voluntary union of the founding fathers and destroyed the system of federalism that was the hallmark of the original constitution by using military force to “prove” that nullification and secession were illegal. Might makes right. Unlike England, Spain, France, Denmark, Holland, Sweden, and other countries that ended slavery peacefully in the nineteenth century, Lincoln used the slaves as political pawns in a war that both he and the U.S. Congress declared to the world in 1861 was being waged for one reason only: to “save the union.” But as I said, he really destroyed the voluntary union of the founders.

Daily Bell: Was the Civil War popular in the North? What did people think of Lincoln in his day?

Thomas DiLorenzo: Lincoln was immensely unpopular during his time. How could he not have been, with having imprisoned tens of thousands of people in the North without any due process, shutting down hundreds of newspapers, handing thousands of Northern men death sentences in the form of military conscription, and generally ruling as a tyrant. Even with the South out of the union he only won the 1864 election with 55% of the vote, and that was after federal troops were used to rig the elections by intimidating Democratic voters at the polling places.

The Civil War was immensely unpopular in the North. That’s why Lincoln had to imprison so many dissenters and shut down most of the opposition press. It’s also why he resorted to the slavery of military conscription. There were draft riots in New York City and elsewhere. In the July, 1863 New York City draft riots Lincoln sent 15,000 troops who fired into the crowds, killing hundreds in the streets. Entire regiments of Union Army soldiers deserted on the eve of battle again and again, and tens of thousands – probably more – deserted.

Slavery could have been ended peacefully as all other nations did – and as the Northern states did – in the nineteenth century. There were still slaves in New York City as late as 1853. The real purpose of the war was to end once and for all the ability of American citizens to control the federal government by possessing the powers given to them by the Tenth Amendment, including the power of nullifying unconstitutional federal laws, and secession or the threat of secession. Thomas Jefferson believed that the Tenth Amendment was the cornerstone of the Constitution. Lincoln, who was the political son of Jefferson’s nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, removed that cornerstone by orchestrating the murder of some 350,000 fellow American citizens, including more than 50,000 civilians according to historian James McPherson.

Jefferson’s dream of an “empire of liberty” was ended once and for all, and America was on the road to becoming just another corrupt, mercantilist empire like the British and Spanish empires.

Daily Bell: We notice that municipal corruption began right after the Civil War. Were eruptions such as Tammany Hall mere coincidences or a symptom of something deeper?

Thomas DiLorenzo: It was no mere coincidence that the post-war Grant administration became notorious for political corruption associated with the government subsidization of the transcontinental railroads. American politicians had debated the constitutionality of granting taxpayer-financed subsidies to corporations ever since 1789. The biggest opposition to the subsidies came from the South: presidents Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, and Tyler all opposed them, or insisted that the Constitution be amended first to permit them. Northern politicians were always the biggest supporters of corporate welfare.

Daily Bell: Did the Civil War mark the end of the US as a republic and the beginning of the US as an empire?

Thomas DiLorenzo: In The Real Lincoln I quote the historian Leonard P. Curry as saying that after the war there were no longer any “constitutional scruples” about squandering taxpayers’ money on corporate boondoggles. The railroads were only the beginning of what is on display today with multi-trillion dollar bailouts of Wall Street, General Motors and Chrysler, and even now the Greek banks (which Wall Street must be heavily invested in).

Daily Bell: Did British and European bankers secretly back the North during the Civil War even though the perception was that Britain was sympathetic to the South?

Thomas DiLorenzo: There was no secret conspiracy of British bankers to support the Lincoln regime. The Lincoln administration financed the war with tax revenue, the printing of “Greenbacks” (which created massive inflation), and borrowing, including borrowing from European bankers. It was all out in the open. This is how governments always finance wars.

Daily Bell: Why didn’t the South just stand down? There’s a theory that if the South had simply declared its independence and walked away that there would not have been much the North could do. Why did the South willingly embark on a shooing war?

Thomas DiLorenzo: The South did not “embark on a shooting war’” Lincoln did. The states were sovereign, and therefore had a right to secede, as they do today. Article 7 of the Constitution proves this by stating that the Constitution is to be ratified by political conventions of the states. No human being was harmed, let alone killed during the bombing of Fort Sumter. South Carolinians considered the fort to be their property, paid for with their tax dollars, and erected for their protection. Lincoln responded to Fort Sumter with a full-scale invasion of all the Southern states that ended up killing some 350,000 Southerners. For this he is hailed as “a great statesman” by our court historians.

Daily Bell: Still, there are those who believe it was a mistake for the South to have initiated hostilities at all.

Thomas DiLorenzo: Lincoln had sent warships to Charleston Harbor, and successfully duped the South Carolinians into foolishly firing on the fort. Afterwards, Lincoln wrote a letter of thanks and congratulation to his naval commander Gustavus Fox for assisting him in getting the war started in this way. It was the biggest political miscalculation in American history: Lincoln (and many other Northerners) believed the war would be relatively bloodless and last only a few weeks or months.

Daily Bell: It was a terrible tragedy and still evokes strong emotions today. Have you brought anyone in mainstream academia over to your side?

Thomas DiLorenzo: There are many American academics who have thanked me for writing my books on Lincoln, and they are using them in their classrooms. But the “Lincoln Cult,” as I call it, is a lost cause. These are people whose human capital is entirely wrapped up in the spinning of fairy tales and myths about Lincoln; revealing the truth about the real Lincoln destroys their life’s work, so I am not the least bit concerned about persuading any of them. My books are written for the general public, students, and open-minded academics who don’t have a financial stake in maintaining the false Lincoln myths.

Daily Bell: Has American academia become at least a little more evenhanded as a result of your exposes?

Thomas DiLorenzo: The Lincoln myth has deified not only Lincoln but the American presidency in general. The poet and novelist Robert Penn Warren once wrote that the war gave the North a “treasury of virtue” because of all the myths that were fabricated after the war. In war, the victors always write the history. This false virtue has been used ever since to portray American foreign policy as benevolent, selfless, and saintly. Thus, there are many people with careers, income and wealth dependent upon the propping up of the American foreign policy establishment with the myth of “American exceptionalism.” Anything “we” do is right and just, simply because it is “we” who are doing it.

Daily Bell: Why was Lincoln assassinated? Did he break with the monetary backers of the Civil War in your opinion?

Thomas DiLorenzo: As for why Lincoln was assassinated, I suspect it was simply an act of revenge for having micromanaged the murder of hundreds of thousands of fellow American citizens from the Southern states; burning many of their cities and towns to the ground; and plundering tens of millions of dollars of private property. Southerners also knew that Lincoln had attempted to have their president, Jefferson Davis, assassinated by Union Army soldiers. (Look up “The Dahlgren Raid” on the Web).

Daily Bell: Is the US really several nations? Do states have the right to secede today?

Thomas DiLorenzo: I think secession is not only possible but necessary if any part of America is every to be considered “the land of the free” in any meaningful sense. As Thomas Jefferson said late in life, if the country becomes several different republics, “they will all be our children.” He meant that they would all still be Americans, and he wished them all well. His view of secession was the exact opposite of Lincoln’s tyrannical “pay up or die” declaration from his first inaugural address.

Daily Bell: Has the Internet helped publicize your work? Would your work have received as much attention without the Internet?

Thomas DiLorenzo: One only has to look at the Web site of the Mises Institute to see that there is a great deal of research and publication going on by scholars who are educated in Austrian economics and who consider themselves to be defenders of a free society. My friend Thomas E. Woods has published two New York Times bestsellers (The Politically-Incorrect Guide to American History, and Meltdown), and a survey of will introduce readers to such authors as Robert Higgs, Robert Murphy, and free-market/libertarian “revisionist” historians. What is being “revised” are the lies and misconceptions that plague the obsessively politically-correct history profession. Much of the writing of authors like these is on the Web, which has revolutionized the world of scholarship whereby the politically-correct “gatekeepers” of the Official Truth are routinely ignored and openly ridiculed.

Daily Bell: What other books and resources would you recommend to our readers?

Thomas DiLorenzo: My latest book project is tentatively entitled “False Virtue: The Myths that Transformed America From A Republic to an Empire.” It will be about what the federal government did with all that “virtue” after the Civil War, such as its war of extermination against the Plains Indians, subsidies to the transcontinental railroads, so-called “reconstruction,” the Spanish-American War, etc.

Daily Bell: Thank you for speaking with us. It has been most informative.

Thomas James DiLorenzo is an American economics professor at Loyola University Maryland. He is also a senior faculty member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute and an affiliated scholar of the League of the South Institute, the research arm of the League of the South, and the Abbeville Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in Economics from Virginia Tech. DiLorenzo has authored at least ten books, including The Real Lincoln: A New Look at Abraham Lincoln, His Agenda, and an Unnecessary War, Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Arch Enemy Betrayed the American Revolution – and What It Means for Americans Today, How Capitalism Saved America: The Untold History of Our Country, From the Pilgrims to the Present, and Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe. DiLorenzo lectures widely, and is a frequent speaker at Mises Institute events.

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