April 23, 2011
© 2011 LewRockwell.com (Link to article)
With the 150th year of the start of the American “Civil War,” it is necessary to point out that, not only was it not a war to “free the slaves,” but a war to force seceding states back into a union involuntarily, and a war to strengthen the federal government’s economic control over the people.
For whatever reasons the Southern States had to secede from the “Union,” they had an inalienable right to secede. All people have a God-given right to associate or not associate with others, voluntarily. If the people of a particular territory want to separate from a federal union of states, they have every right to separate, just as the Founding Fathers had a right to separate from British rule.
No institution or authority has the right to compel any individual or group into association or contract involuntarily. To believe that the federal government had any moral right to force the people of the seceding states to return to federal association involuntarily is to believe that some people with armed power have a right to claim ownership and control of other people, pure and simple.
The argument that the association of states within the federal union is based on some sort of contract – the U.S. Constitution – is misleading, because the people living in 1861 who had been compelled to abide by the contract did not actually participate in the forming of terms and the signing of the contract. People of later generations are not in any way bound to the terms of any contract agreed to by previous generations. 19th Century individualist and entrepreneur Lysander Spooner explains that further in No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority.
To bind future generations to a contract to which they themselves did not agree or sign is itself a form of enslavement, just as the politicians in Washington currently continue to enslave future generations with debt.
What Lincoln’s war to compel people into association involuntarily did was literally to reverse the American Revolution. In the Revolution, people fought to free themselves from the tyranny and enslavements of King George III and his British dictatorial regime. The Revolutionaries fought for their independence.
In contrast, Lincoln’s war effected in compelling the people of the Southern States back into centralized control over them by federal bureaucrats, and further empowered the centralized authority in Washington. Lincoln’s war had nothing to do with “freeing slaves.”
Economically, two important moves by Abe Lincoln to further strengthen the federal government’s control over the American people were the National Banking Acts and legal tender laws. The National Banking Acts gave Wall Street – in collusion with the federal government – the power to coordinate inflation (despite the then-nonexistence of a federal central bank). And legal tender laws force Americans to use only government-issued currency as their sole medium of exchange. These two restrictions on Americans’ right to voluntary exchange and voluntary contracts – including the right to provide free competitive banking to consumers and the right of the people to control and use private property as they see fit – were at the heart of Americans’ monetary bondage and government-imposed schemes of redistribution-of-wealth from lower classes to the wealthy from which we continue to suffer.
Lincoln’s Bank Acts and legal tender laws were the precursors to the Federal Reserve and its valueless paper “notes” that Americans are compelled by law to use for exchange. The Fed’s money printing benefits the earlier receivers, the financial and banking elites, and causes the later receivers of the “notes,” lower- and middle-class Americans, to deal with the higher food, clothing and energy prices caused by the Fed’s inflationary policies. This government-mandated scheme literally enslaves those on fixed incomes and of the lower economic classes – through their extra labor – to serve the increasingly rich, politically-connected corporatists.
And during Lincoln’s presidency was the first time the U.S. government imposed a federal personal income tax, including on “any professional trade, employment, or vocation.” That income tax was repealed but the income tax returned with a vengeance in 1913.
It was so important to the federal government bureaucrats to permanently institutionalize the compulsory labor amongst the citizenry to serve the federal government, that the Washington politicians had their income tax become a part of the U.S. Constitution!
Many people scoff at the criticism of the income tax as a form of “involuntary servitude.” But that would have to be because they just haven’t given it much thought, or it’s because they work for the government.
First, part of the income tax is a seizure of some of the earnings of one’s labor. That is the government’s demand that one does a certain amount of labor to serve the government. Second, income tax on investment dividends or capital gains on property sales is a way of government bureaucrats to confiscate a portion of property rightfully belonging to the individual receiving a profit or earning on investment. It is the way for government bureaucrats to steal others’ wealth or property, in the same illicit manner that the Federal Reserve’s inflation allows the government-banking cartel elites to steal from the lower classes.
Compulsory Federal Reserve “notes,” legal tender laws, the income tax, forcing Americans to do extra labor to serve the government – all these policies reinforce the government’s ownership of the individual. One’s labor is primarily owned by the government now, one’s employment associations and contracts are all under scrutiny and supervision by the government.
There are no more voluntary relationships in America. The individual does not own one’s private contract with an employer or employee – the government does. And the individual does not own one’s association or contract with one’s doctor or patient – the government owns the doctor-patient relationship, especially cemented by the dictatorial ObamaCare.
And these perversions of society have permeated all levels of society now, in the collective’s ownership of the individual, and in the individual’s serfdom under federal, state and local governmental regimes.
A most recent example of how government employees subjugate their non-government neighbors was in Wisconsin. The teachers’ unions have been actively protesting to strengthen their power to expropriate more of Wisconsin taxpayers’ earnings to fund the teachers’ overly extravagant benefits and pensions – enrichments that their counterparts in the private sector could never possibly get in the actual free marketplace.
And anti-competition protectionist legislation and regulations also shackle potential start-ups and make business extremely difficult for existing small business owners, to protect the profits of established firms, and to protect Big Business.
In New York City, for example, if an individual has a car and wants to provide a taxi service, he must now pay an average price of $607,000. On a fundamental level, if the individual really owned his life and his car, he would have a right to put the sign, “TAXI,” on the car and drive in the city and offer people a ride for a fee, and it’s no one else’s business. But the city’s real interest is in protecting established cab companies, by locking out those in need of a job, particularly among the lower-class, from that potential opportunity to provide for themselves. This kind of protectionism has especially affected inner-city minorities.
Minimum wage laws are also an egregious example of how the government prevents people, especially teenagers and especially minority teens, from even having a job in the first place. Employers who can’t afford to pay a worker the government-mandated minimum wage simply eliminate those jobs. As Future of Freedom Foundation President Jacob Hornberger pointed out,
Which is better: working at $1 an hour and learning a trade and a work ethic and watching how a business is run or being prohibited from working at all?
But there is another important factor involved here. Not only does the minimum wage lock poor, inner-city black teenagers out of the labor market as employees, it also prevents them from opening up businesses to compete against the already-established, well-to-do businesses run by white people and others.
In other words, the minimum wage serves as a government-granted privilege to already established businesses, protecting them from competition, including from poor, inner-city black teenagers.
“Liberal” policies such as minimum wage are literally shackling Americans and preventing them from prospering. And now, college students are “debt serfs.”
The “Civil War’s” reverse Revolution institutionalized the government’s enslavement of not just black Americans, but all Americans. We are all serfs of the State.
There are many other examples daily of Lincoln’s legacy in government’s directly treating the people like slaves and prisoners. With the TSA, if an individual does not want to go through the airport X-ray scanner – out of a legitimate concern that such radiation exposure increases one’s risk for cancer – or if an individual does not want his child to be sexually molested by degenerates, and if the individual wants to instead leave the premises, he is apprehended, detained and questioned by TSA agents or police.
The pervasive mentality that the government owns the individual and one’s property was immensely strengthened by President Lincoln’s unwillingness to let people be free, in his war against seceding states in general, and from his institutionalized economic enslavements.
Unfortunately, the average American does not seem to grasp the idea and importance – the inalienable right – of nullification: the right of the people to nullify intrusive laws that violate one’s person or property.
As Leviathan continues to enslave us, with the thefts of taxation and Federal Reserve, the dictatorial commands of regulations and the wars on drugs and terrorism that continue to crush our civil liberties and right to due process, we must begin to withdraw our consent to each and every law, regulation, tax and policy that violates our persons and property and our livelihoods.
President Abraham Lincoln’s war against seceding states was to put the states in further bondage of the federal regime’s total authority, as well as constrain all individuals to the collective’s will and to the State.
The Founders had a Revolution for their independence and freedom. Lincoln reversed that Revolution, and is time to reverse Lincoln’s Revolution-reversal, through peaceful, voluntary, non-violent non-compliance, secession and nullification.