June 26, 2010
Copyright © 2010 by LewRockwell.com. Link to this article at LewRockwell.com
America will soon be celebrating Independence Day, a reminder of how the American Founders became independent from British rule and unshackled their serfdom. But given the U.S. government’s growth in its size and intrusiveness, just how independent are Americans now?
When Friedrich Hayek wrote The Road to Serfdom, I don’t think that Hayek considered that government’s monopolies could lead a citizenry into serfdom. But it may be that the government’s monopolies of territorial protection and monetary production have been paving that road to serfdom, as they have been also causing widespread economic turmoil and less security.
Whether the government-monopolized production of money is constitutionally mandated or not, the assumption that only the State should control the commodity of money – a universal means of trade and commerce – needs to be questioned. And so far, I have not heard a reasonable explanation of why Americans must be forced to be dependent on only the government’s provision of security without competition.
The original intent of the American Founders was for the federal government to be limited in its size, scope and power. Except for Alexander Hamilton most notably, most of the Founders opposed the use of paper money and government monopolized central banks. And the Founders by and large opposed “foreign entanglements” and imperialistic expansion of the U.S. government on foreign lands.
By default, governmental actions will have the reverse effect of what their proponents intend, in domestic and foreign affairs. This is because of the government’s legally protected monopoly that restricts participation of competitive agents. Monopolists lack incentive and market prices to make sound long-term decisions. In modern America’s immediate gratification culture, government bureaucrats’ decisions are guided by short-sightedness.
By default, when there are problems as a result of intrusive governmental actions, rather than recognizing the real causes of the problems, the typical solutions have been to do more of what has caused the problems.
For example, rather than repealing all the regulations, taxes, bureaucracy and other intrusions that have caused Americans’ medical matters to be dysfunctional, the solution of the Democrat-controlled Congress has been to increase all those regulations and taxes, and the Republican minority’s solution is to reduce them only to a degree that’s politically acceptable in the short term, but not corrective in the long-term.
As 19th-Century Hamiltonian central banking and Lincolnian legal tender laws wreaked havoc in Americans’ economic and financial matters, the answer was for more government control and intervention with the creation in 1913 of the Federal Reserve. Subsequently, rather than recognize that it was the Federal Reserve’s control and manipulation of money and the federal government’s interventions into private economies that led to the Great Depression, the solutions of Herbert Hoover and FDR were to impose more interventions, and greater expansion of the federal government, all of which deepened and further extended the Depression. And in 2010, rather than recognize that it is government interferences with and intrusions into America’s financial and banking matters that have virtually put the whole country into bankruptcy, the answer has been to increase the intrusions, which will expand the corruption, dysfunction and our impoverishment.
And, rather than recognizing that it’s the decades of intrusions of the U.S. government into foreign lands that have been motivating and radicalizing various groups in Middle-Eastern countries, instead of stopping the counter-productive intrusions, the bureaucrats’ answer to the terrorism has been to increase those intrusions. Americans have been passively accepting years of government-issued and media-dispatched propaganda, rather than facing the facts of history.
Unfortunately, for many years the U.S. government, which consists not of competitive entrepreneurs but of career bureaucrats and other parasites, has been in collusion with other governments, to our disservice. America’s foreign policy has been guided by those foreign entanglements and has served the bureaucrats’ corporate welfare cronies and not the American people.
Many Americans are currently experiencing downward mobility as governments have expanded. As the wealth and mobility of the actual producers of goods and services have decreased, the wealth and mobility of the parasites have moved upwards. Eventually, the producers will be outnumbered by the parasites, and the country will then collapse. But it need not happen.
With the compulsion of an entire nation of 300 million people spanning thousands of miles to be dependent on centralized bureaucratic monopolies, it is all too common that the politicians and bureaucrats use such monopolies for political purposes, for the compulsory State monopolist has the power to be above the law, as well as lacks the incentive to make sound long term decisions.
Because Americans have been compelled by law to submit to the Federal Reserve’s authoritarian top-down control over monetary matters without any competitive alternatives allowed, all economic matters in America have been severely distorted. This federal control over money has led to further dependence and usurpation of Americans’ economic matters by the federal government’s enmeshments with foreign governments and their central banks, and agencies such as the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank.
And there is an interconnection between that compulsory monetary dependence on the U.S. federal government (and possibly soon a more global governmental monetary structure) and the internationalism and globalism of the Global War on Terrorism. It is not an exaggeration to say that such an enmeshment of the U.S. government and foreign governments has diminished each American citizen’s individual liberty and America’s national sovereignty.
That situation of compulsory dependence of Americans on the dictatorial controls by political parasites is extremely out of bounds of what the Founders intended. It is this compulsory government monopoly and manipulations of money for which non-government-cartelized banks and private providers of competitive currencies would be jailed, and it is the compulsory government monopoly of territorial protection that has consisted of invading and manipulating other societies for which private providers of territorial protection would also be jailed, and that has kept Americans in bondage as serfs of the State.
Rather than freeing people as the American Founders had done – and more freedom creates more prosperity as well as better security – the mainstream answer has been massive expansion of government and reversing of freedom that has caused America to become a dependent, dysfunctional society.
As American Independence Day approaches, we can celebrate the independence the Founders had after they separated from authoritarian rule, but to suggest that we Americans enjoy the independence that the early Americans enjoyed is unrealistic at best.
There are consequences of economic and monetary authoritarianism and of trespassing on foreign lands. Because of short-sightedness, the bureaucrats in Washington continue to make more laws and regulations each day, and print more valueless fiat paper money out of thin air that can only lead to hyper-inflation and economic collapse.
Laws forbidding theft and trespassing really should be absolute, with no exceptions, including intrusions into private economic matters and private property as well as intrusions into foreign peoples’ territories that are contrary to the Founders’ original intent.
Societal chaos can be prevented by allowing for competing currencies and repealing all the government regulations and programs whose authoritarian governmental dictates, lack of market incentives and natural corrupting consequences have led to such dependence and serfdom.
The “road to serfdom” is paved with a centralized, bureaucratic, all-powerful federal bulldozer monopoly, and the result will naturally be catastrophic, as we witnessed with the collapse of the Soviet Union, and we are now seeing with the collapsing of the centralized, debt-ridden European Union and now the U.S. To restore order, freedom and prosperity, America needs to privatize much of what the federal government does, and let the States have the sovereignty and independence that the Founders originally intended for them to have.