THE ARK OF FREEDOM
Nelson HultbergRevolutions throughout history have always been initiated by a small minority of highly dedicated contrarians. When any given society has become tyrannical and in need of reform, the overwhelming majority of that society's citizens will be apathetic (and sometimes downright antagonistic) to any cause that upsets their routine in life. This phenomenon is called inertia, and it is one of the more debilitating forces of human existence that weighs upon us all. Contrarians and rebels refuse to let this force govern them. Establishment oriented humans always succumb to its control.
In the last two weeks since the writing of "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates," I have received scores of emails from enthusiastic supporters about its theme of forming a third party to challenge the Demopublicans. And I have also received numerous emails from those who were quite negative and cynical regarding such a third party. Interspersed amidst this support and negativity were a lot of thoughtful questions on how such a challenge of the Demopublicans could be brought about, along with suggestions for improving the plan that I had outlined. What follows is an attempt to clarify the third party plan further, and answer the more important objections that have been put forth.
Crash Must Come First
The number one objection I received was that it will be impossible for a third party movement to induce any important changes until the system crashes. People are not ready to hear about radical policies because they are mesmerized by their SUVs and all the goodies that Consumerland has brought them. The public is comprised of shortsighted establishmentarians that have a limited sense of history, and they will just not give a damn until the system self-destructs.
This is true. Most people will not listen until the system has actually gone belly-up. But the time will come when the Dow is languishing around 3000 on the charts, when the dollar is dropping like a rock in a dry well, when government is stultifying everything in its path, when there is great suffering among the people -- then they will be willing to listen. And that day is rapidly approaching. Sometime before the decade is out, our economy will be in severe crisis. So we need to start building an organization NOW. The time to build an ark is before the raging flood is upon us, not after we're waist-deep in the tides of chaos and despair.
Amidst all the coming tumult, there will be a breakdown of many of the established ways of doing things. When the Kondratieff winter has reached its final destination, the people will be crying for radical change. Our danger lies in the fact that the demagogues of the far left will try to stampede the confused masses into accepting all-pervasive government control of key industries, the gold and silver mines, the banks, etc. Such demagogues will find white horses to ride. They will attack the free-market and smear what few traditions of limited government we have left. They will offer McGovern-like subsidies to everyone who votes for them. They will advocate massive Huey Long work projects for men and women to rake leaves from one side of the street to the other and then back again.
Modern day Upton Sinclairs will be shouting for ruinous "redistribute the wealth" plans like the EPIC (End Poverty In California) movement during the 1930's. Equivalents of Roosevelt's fascist National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration will be championed by desperate Demopublicans in search of straws to grasp. There will be a sequel to what Roosevelt biographer John T. Flynn called the "dance of the crackpots" during the 1930's. Droves of ivory tower eggheads, with not a lick of experience in ever running a business, will try to form brain trusts with Washington honchos to dictate to the most minute degree how American businessmen are to run their affairs.
This dance of Demopublican crackpots will have to be fought. And there is only one way to do that. We must oppose their fallacies with the right ideas. This is our most fundamental asset. We who advocate gold money and equal tax rates have the only rational answers to the problem of government aggrandizement and the economic ruin it is bringing down upon us. This is something that the entire rotted structure of Demopublicanism lacks -- rational solutions. This gives us a very powerful advantage. But the time to start advancing our solutions is NOW. This means commitment instead of cynicism.
In the 1930's, collectivism was on the rise. It was morally aggressive and idealistic, the wave of the future. Professors flocked to it. The brightest students in the universities came to Washington like weevils to the gristmill with Keynesian-Marxist dogmas as their weapons to remake America. Today collectivism is still on the rise, but its vanguards no longer possess their original vigor. Collectivism no longer commands the MORAL HIGH GROUND! It rules by deceit and demagoguery. It has power, yes, but it is a power built on false principle and special privilege. It is a hollow power that can be dethroned. But if we are to be in a position to try and bring about such a dethronement, we need to start building our ark NOW.
The "Impregnability" of the Ruling Class
Another objection I received to the idea of a third party challenge is that it's a colossal waste of time and energy. It will attract only naive Pollyannas who have no idea of the immensity of the forces that are entrenched against them. The country is in the hands of powerful cartels of corporate-banking-bureaucratic interests that will ruthlessly suppress our efforts. Voting will not change things because the voters are already bought and paid for with the bread and circuses that government perpetually sends their way. The ruling class in America will wipe us out of existence before we make even small inroads into their game of fiat money and confiscatory taxes. It's senseless to go up against such an almighty ruling hierarchy. It's better to just resign ourselves to our fate. Be realistic. Individuals can't make a difference in face of such a monster machine of corporate-statism.
I fully realize the strength of the ruling establishment and the odds that a challenge like this is up against. But I see overwhelming challenge as rampant throughout history. I see that all progress in forming better, freer societies only comes about because there are certain people in this world (the Thomas Jeffersons and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyns) who just don't allow immense power structures to bother them or dissuade them.
Why? Because of a very dynamic force that all tyrannical systems lack, and all rational revolutionaries possess -- moral truth! This is what brings the most powerful of tyrannies down. No matter how much monetary or regulatory control they possess, no matter how ruthless they are -- they are always vulnerable in face of men and women who are in possession of truth, and willing to take a moral stand against overwhelming odds. Moral truth connected to unbending human will is what destroys the most entrenched of evil eventually. That's what we have on our side. We just have to design the right strategy to implement it. There are countless Americans out there with the "can do" spirit that originally built this country. They're just waiting for the right mix of political savvy and passion to come along and sweep them up into a crusade.
In 1776, the Tories sat timidly on their hands, hiding behind closed doors where it was safe and popular. They wallowed in pessimism and lamented that nothing could be done. The British were too strong. Why make a big fuss? But the rebels -- men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock, Patrick Henry and Paul Revere -- would have none of it. They possessed only a rag-tag army, but they knew they had moral truth on their side, and that the British Gargantua would fall precisely because of that.
Entrenched authority has to justify itself morally and philosophically. And that is something that today's Demopublican elites cannot do. They are vulnerable as hell. They are rotted from within. They are ripe for a challenge just as the Soviet Politboro was ripe. And they can be brought down. It might take a decade or two to do it. But someone has to start the ball rolling somewhere. My book, Reality's Golden Mean: The Case for Libertarian Politics and Conservative Values (which hopefully will be out by early next year) is all about this moral and philosophical dimension and why the fight must be launched on moral grounds to undergird the political fight. This is why we must attack progressive taxation on the "equality of rights" angle, and why we must attack fiat money on its blatant theft of our wealth to pad the pockets of the elites.
Throughout history whenever tyranny threatens, there are those who hang back in gloom and resignation, and there are those who say -- Let's take the fight to these bastards, and even if we lose, we'll know at least that we fought on the side of truth, rather than settling for the comforts of craven apathy.
The nature of our choice can be explained with a recent example from history. The Vichy government of France and its collaborators quietly tolerated the Nazis in 1940. Yet DeGaulle and a small group of partisans went underground and refused to accept the superior power of the German army. Did they know they were going to eventually win? Hell no, they had no idea whether they could win or not. They only knew that they could not live as collaborators. They had to take the fight to the tyrants, and even if they lost, they knew at least they would be aligning themselves with the forces of truth and freedom. That is the only attitude that will save America. And it will take more than lip service; it will require activist commitment in some way. We need gallant Rebels, not compliant Tories.
Great deeds are accomplished only by those who are impervious to "power structures" and "ruling establishments." History is determined by vibrant men of the mind with the will to bend the social forces they find around them rather than be bent by them. History does not make us, as the collectivists so falsely claim. We make history. Men of great moral conviction formed our nation, and it is only such men again who can save her.
Our society is heading, in the next ten years, into a maelstrom of chaos and misery. The people will be clamoring for some radical voices to lead them. So when the knock comes on your door to ask for your commitment, I hope that you the reader will be getting your musket down from the wall and joining the fight (speaking metaphorically of course) instead of dwelling on how entrenched the Darth Vaders of the Potomac are. It is far better to fight, even if we lose, than to give up and allow the forces of evil to win by default. What course other men will choose to take I cannot determine, but as for myself, I will never give in to the hideous slavery that the New World Order has planned for us.
Our trumpet call must be the words of Thomas Hughes: "Man was sent into this earth for the express purpose of fighting -- of uncompromising and unending fighting with body, intellect, spirit, against whomsoever and whatsoever causeth or maketh a lie. The first requisite of life is courage or manfulness, gained through conflict with evil -- for without such conflict there can be no perfection of character....[W]e are born into a state of war; with falsehood and disease, and wrong and misery in a thousand forms lying all around us, and the voice within calling on us to take our stand as men in the eternal battle against them."
Another objection to my article was that the two pillars of "gold money and equal tax rates" needed to be accompanied by several more planks in order to be effective. Property taxes should be repealed. Social security should be privatized. The Fed should be abolished. Emergency Executive Orders should be rescinded, etc., etc. Sadly these readers missed the whole point of "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates!" All their points I agree with. But the idea is not to become MARGINALIZED. These are all great future reforms. But today, we must concentrate on stopping Gargantua. Tomorrow we can concentrate on cutting him down to size. This means we must get 15% of the vote, which means becoming radical on only the two pillars of gold money and equal tax rates. This is absolutely critical. Just think what would happen to the Federal Government if we could end unlimited paper money creation and progressive taxation. The government would be stopped dead in its tracks. It could no longer expand. This alone would be a monumental achievement for a political cause. But to do this, we must not get bogged down in trying to enact reforms today that are best left for tomorrow. That can only put us out on the fringe of obscurity and ineptitude where all the other third parties presently reside.
Some readers wrote that gold was not the answer to the problem. Money creation had to be taken out of the hands of the bankers totally and given to Congress. This type of thinking stems from the mistaken belief that the Federal Reserve System is a private banking concern, and that only government should be creating money. First of all, the Federal Reserve is not a private bank. It is a government-run fascist cartel. All nationally chartered banks are forced by the government to join the cartel. Greenspan and his board of governors are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed by Congress, and it can be rescinded or altered at anytime by Congress.
Harry Browne wrote in his classic How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation, "Some people claim that the Federal Reserve System is a private enterprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's as much a part of the government as the Internal Revenue Service, the Commodity Credit Corporation, or the Federal Trade Commission. The error probably stems from the fact that commercial banks own 'stock' in the Reserve Banks. This isn't by choice, however; each is forced to put up 6% of its own capital in the nearest Reserve Bank." [Avon, 1971, pp. 48-49]
Browne goes on to explain that the commercial banks only earn a 6% dividend on the capital they are forced to put up, rather than a legitimate percentage of the Reserve Bank's profits. The great bulk of the profits of the Reserve Banks, he explains, are turned over to the federal Treasury. [Ibid., p. 49]
Government is thus a full partner in the Federal Reserve System. While the individual mega-bankers of New York certainly wield extensive power in the system's interlocking alliances -- a power that molds much of our politics -- they are still answerable to the regulatory controls of the Federal Government.
So taking money creation away from a government-run cartel and simply giving it to another branch of the government (e.g., Congress) is hardly substantive improvement. What needs to be done is to eventually, through future reforms, abolish the Fed and take money creation totally away from the government period. Let the marketplace (i.e., the people) choose what form of money is to be used. When the people are left free to choose in the marketplace, they always choose gold. Let the people own the gold, and let them deposit it into private banks throughout the land. Get all forms of government out of the business of money creation period, and define the people's gold deposits in the banks as warehoused property rather than loaned property. This would eliminate the evil of fractional reserve banking. ( See my article on Gold-Eagle.com, "Bringing Down the Paper Aristocracy." And then read Murray Rothbard's "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Backed Dollar" -- available through www.mises.org ).
It is crucial to understand that the corruption of our banking system has nothing to do with capitalism or free enterprise at all. Our banking system is pure Mussolini style corporate-statism, i.e., fascism. It is the ultimate example of what is wrong with America. And it is why the leftists and many populist elements in America are totally lost when they blame capitalism for the evils of the Federal Reserve banking system. True free enterprise would never tolerate a national bank. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson fought vehemently against the big government Hamilton-Clay forces during the early 19th century to try and keep banking on a free enterprise footing in America. Their later disciples finally lost the battle in 1913 with the inception of the Federal Reserve. As a result, fascism now rules the American economy, not capitalism! So to all the leftists out there, get your economic history straight. The solution to our problems is not to fight fascism with socialism and still more government. That's fighting pus with poison. The solution is to restore the vision of Jefferson and Jackson -- laissez-faire capitalism, i.e., genuine free enterprise.
Another objection to my article was that just eliminating the "progressivity" of the income tax would never do. The income tax itself is unconstitutional, and to launch a party upon something so illegal would doom our efforts before we began. I wish this was true that the income tax was UNconstitutional; it would make our job much easier. However, all reputable legal minds accept that the 16th Amendment to the Constitution made an income tax constitutional. But it did not make a progressive income tax constitutional. Any tax that is based upon unequal rates violates our right to "equality under the law" in America. This is where the statists are vulnerable. This is where the battle lies. End progressivity first; then take on the idea of income taxation itself.
Many wrote and endorsed the idea of a sales tax as far superior to an income tax. I am in total agreement. I worked for three years with Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (CATS) out of Washington DC promoting the Schaefer-Tauzin NRST bill presently before Congress. I wrote a book on the subject, Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax and the IRS. But I came to the conclusion that the people are not quite ready for the radical change that switching to a consumption tax would entail. It's too soon to try to politically sell such an idea -- mainly because it is a very complicated sale. People's eyes glaze over once they are immersed in its convoluted arguments. Income taxation is easier to understand, and it is easier to SIMPLIFY. We need merely to enact a flat 10% income tax with absolutely no exemptions, deductions, or privileges for anyone. Accompanying the 10% flat tax would be the elimination of whatever government programs and spending are necessary to make the budget balance within a 3-year period. There is presently $400-$500 billion being spent on totally nonsensical federal programs that could easily be eliminated within 3 years. And no one would be deprived of "crucial" support programs. Several studies have been done on this over the past 10 years. One such study is The People's Budget, Regnery, 1995.
Here is an example of how such a tax would be implemented: In fiscal year 2000, net taxable income for the nation was $7,980 billion. Ten percent of this rounded off would be $800 billion. Our present progressive tax system took in $1,200 billion that year. Thus there is a $400 billion shortfall. So the flat tax would begin at 15% the first year so as to be revenue neutral ($7,980 billion x 15% = $1,200 billion rounded). It would then be phased down to 10% within 3 years as the $400 billion in excess spending is cut. [Budget figures from The World Almanac 2002, pp. 106 &114.]
Liberals will naturally spin all such proposals as inhumane, and try to make us out to be horrible ogres wishing to take milk money away from children. This is their nature and their only hope to shore up the rotted system of welfare servitude they have foisted upon us. One of the important features of the plan is that the 10% flat tax must apply to ALL citizens of the Republic. As I explained in "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates," this is the only way we can stop government growth. All citizens must contribute, or they won't be responsible voters, and the politicians coming before us every Election Day will not be responsible legislators. But just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, liberals will pounce upon a 10% flat tax as unfair to the poor people. So if a floor is to be established under which no one will have to pay the tax, i.e., an exemption for those under the poverty level, then a provision will be included in the tax bill stating that those who are exempted from paying are to also be excluded from voting.
Remember we are trying to restore a RESPONSIBLE electorate and legislature. This cannot be done if voters get their services free. All who vote must pay the tax period! That is the only way they will act responsibly. This is human nature. After all, we deny children the right to vote. Why do we do this? Because they are not mature enough to vote responsibly. The same principle applies to men and women who are exempt from taxes; they will never vote responsibly. They will possess "infinite demand" for government services. Liberals who evade such an easily recognized truth of human nature are living in a delusional world, and it is because of their delusions that we are now in the mess we are in. To continue to listen to their socialist nostrums can only exacerbate the coming collapse and destroy any hope of restoring freedom and sanity to this country in the future. Ours will not be a party that appeals to liberals. Our constituency will come from independents, libertarians, and free-market conservatives.
Americans for a Free Republic
What now needs to be done is to form an organization that will act as a base to attract people to our cause. This I have begun, and it is called "Americans for a Free Republic." A URL has been reserved -- www.afr.org. The next priority is to get a professional website in place, around which men and women who support the cause can coalesce. This will take some time and money to accomplish because it must be done in top commercial format in order to attract the prominent intellectuals and operatives that would be crucial to the success of such a venture. I urge any and all who have the time, money or expertise, and wish to contribute to this next step, to contact me.
Stuart Shoemaker has suggested that the name of the party should be the "Liberty Party" instead of the American Freedom Party. There is in Congress right now a group of about 25 representatives that have formed themselves into "The Liberty Committee." They are headed by Congressman Ron Paul, and their political leanings are right in line with the idea of gold money and equal tax rates. This would make an excellent alliance, and who knows what might come out of it. Maybe Ron Paul could one day be persuaded to run on a Liberty Party ticket if such a party gained traction and rose to a prominent enough position in America. Moreover, there is historical precedent for the name. There was an actual Liberty Party in 1844 headed by James G. Birney. Its platform was "anti-slavery" (becoming more and more appropriate for our situation today). But as of now, no name is set in stone. If another name that is more fluid and descriptive of our purpose can be thought of, we welcome it.
The primary goal of Americans for a Free Republic is to act as an educational forum to spread the ideas of sound money and responsible taxation to all Americans. The launching of a third political party is a natural concomitant to such an organization because it has the potential to speak to 100 million voters rather than just a few hundred thousand libertarian and conservative gold bugs. It has the potential to get the ideas of gold money and equal tax rates into the living room discussions of the entire nation. If this can be accomplished, it would be a monumental achievement.
Those who join AFR would be "advocates of the cause" so to speak. Those with the inclination to do so would recruit their fellow citizens for membership in AFR and our third party challenge. All readers who would like to be a part of this undertaking, please send me your email address to be put on our official mailing list. Send to: email@example.com
For those who are interested in gaining a better intellectual grasp of the primary issues involved, I recommend that you delve into the following books, articles, and monographs:
Charles Adams. Those Dirty Rotten Taxes, Simon & Schuster, 1998.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo. "Economic Fascism," Ideas on Liberty, June 1994. [www.fee.org]
Alan Greenspan. "Gold and Economic Freedom," in Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, New American Library, 1966, pp. 89-95.
G. Edward Griffin. The Creature From Jekyll Island, American Media, 1998.
Ayn Rand. "Man's Rights," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, pp. 286-294.
Murray N. Rothbard. The Case Against the Fed, Mises Institute, 1995. [www.mises.org]
Murray N. Rothbard. The Case For A 100 Percent Gold Backed Dollar, Mises Institute, 1991.
If what has been said here is important to you, join up with us. If you would like to help spread the word, send the following email to everyone in your address book:
[Our nation is in dire need of some radical solutions to stop the juggernaut of Big Government and restore the meaning of America. If you are fed up with the Demopublicans' false promises year after year, if you found Ross Perot's kooky economics no answer at all, if you cannot get excited about the efforts of the political fringe parties -- then check out the following article. Tom Paine lives! www.gold-eagle.com/editorials_03/hultberg042903.html ]
Taking America Back
We at AFR are the new Sons of Liberty. We hope to become the Ark of Freedom. Our spirit exists eternally in the hearts and minds of all those who will not kowtow to tyranny. Our kind of defiance is what formed America in 1776. Our goal is to take back our country from the fascist black limousine crowd and all its collaborators -- the professorial cheerleaders for "social welfarism," the vast legions of bureaucratic leeches, the mobs of unthinking voters -- who are selling the greatest country in history down the river for an illusion of security and wealth via government pork and privilege.
America was meant for the free, for the self-reliant, for those individuals who are willing to live on their own wits, energy and courage. She was never supposed to have paper money and a progressive income tax. She was never supposed to have a powerful centralized maze of bureaucracies regimenting and subsidizing every aspect of our lives. America stood for limited government and personal independence at the outset, and unless she restores that stand, there will be no true liberty or justice for men on this earth in the future.
May 12, 2003
Nelson Hultberg is a freelance writer in Dallas, Texas. His articles have appeared in such publications as The Dallas Morning News, the San Antonio Express-News, Insight, Liberty, The Social Critic, Ideas On Liberty, and The AIER Report. He is the author of Why We Must Abolish The Income Tax And The IRS (laissezfairebooks.com and amazon.com), and is presently finishing a book on political-economic philosophy entitled Reality's Golden Mean: The Case for Libertarian Politics and Conservative Values.
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