And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations.
— Isaiah 61:4
By Franklin Sanders
Maybe I’m just getting old and cynical, but today’s America leaves me stone cold disgusted. It’s a lot of noisy people yelling at each other without actually talking to each other, or doing anything. Everybody knows something is wrong, that “the wheels are coming off,” as Peggy Noonan wrote in a Wall St. Journal editorial, but all their knowing and talking never changes anything. They just keep spewing the same worn-out rhetoric and clichés while making sure they get their share before the wheels really do fall off.
Everybody can see America sliding into a police state, our industry being shipped overseas, our country inundated by immigrants who will never assimilate, our most basic rights stripped away, personal & public morality a shambles, and our legal and political system a joke. Yet what are we offered as a cure? Republicans and Democrats. Might as well throw an anvil to a drowning man.
The opposition above, has all the ferocity of a dead sheep. Conservatives, as R.L. Dabney already observed in the 1880s, are worthless. “American conservatism is merely the shadow that follows Radicalism as it moves forward towards perdition.”
Oh, they start out well enough, but soon they get their feet under the king’s table and then all they think about is being “players” in the grand game of national politics. Nor are conservatives any exception. The same has happened to the environmentalists, to the pro-life movement, to the so-called Christian right, and even to liberals. The System digests them all, and never even burps. The System doesn’t shoot people, it buys them. That’s what makes it so hard to fight.
How system survives, expands
I’ve seen the pattern played out a hundred times. Some leader arises, some spokesman for a reform. He’s absolutely right, so he gathers a following. Then he founds an organisation, and begins soliciting donations. Pretty soon, he’s not talking about the real reform any more, but doing “what’s possible.” The organisation learns the art of self-promotion, and raises more money. At last the organisation discovers its own importance, and hence they must move to Washington to be at the center of the action. Besides, that’s where the king sets his table.
Before you write me off as some crotchety old complainer, consider that vast, grand, all embracing edifice, The System. It is designed to digest – to co-opt, corrupt, and defuse – all efforts at correction, precisely by offering those efforts a “seat at the table” where they can be controlled. The System awes me.
What I call The System is the power that truly rules America, the power that truly won the War between the States, not North, not South, but business. As Calvin Coolidge stated it with such succinctness and so little embarrassment, “The business of America is business.” Business owns and runs government — federal, state, and local — for its own profit, not for justice, not for democracy, not for anything else.
I used to think in terms of conspiracy, but the System is more successful, more embracing than any mere conspiracy. It eats our children by public education, it bends all our efforts at prosperity and independence to its own purposes, it buys off complainers with subsidies and tax exemptions, it replaces morality with bottom-line pragmatism, it wears down all resistance, and it leaves no one behind and no pocket unpicked. The final result will be like Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World, but without the spice or fun, a nation of mindless eunuchs who do what they’re told, willingly, and automatically hate any voice raised in protest. That is, if it lasts that long.
Hey, but what about the Internet? Isn’t that an alternative voice of protest? Is it? Or is it just a safe place for malcontents to blow off steam so they can feel like they’re doing something without running the risk of actually doing anything? It’s the dead end of virtual activism.
Oh, I’m not for overthrowing the world. History teaches too clearly danger of loosing unrestrained the “dogs of change.” It’s essential to mind the difference between revolution and reformation. Yet things have gone too far – the economy, morals, politics, law, social issues, even religion – to reform. Reforming what we have now would be like putting a fresh coat of paint on a whorehouse – no real change. A fundamental renovation is what we need, a new building. And at the risk of being charged with arrogance, I will state the obvious (my only gift) and make a short list of issues that tell the crucial difference between rhetoric and renovation. Without actual progress – not mere rhetoric — towards these goals, it’s just another gallon of paint.
1. End war on Christianity
Western governments, in particular the United States, have for more than two decades been waging war on Christianity. It’s not religion they want to rub out, but Christianity. This expresses a curious and suicidal self-hatred, since the defining character of the West historically has been its Christianity. For the West, waging war on Christianity is shooting your mother and opening a vein at the same time.
Any real renovation will call a halt to governments’ war on Christianity, and return to Christianity as the only lasting foundation of life and government.
2. The right to life
Recently the U.S. supreme court upheld an Oregon right-to-die law. We have now reached the end-state of breaching the right to life, and guess what? The “slippery slope” argument was right. Those who argued that “legalizing” abortion would destroy the right to life for every age were right.
The most fundamental human right is the right to life. Once that right is breached in principle for any age, it is breached for every age, and sooner or later it will be applied to every age. Once you grant in one case that somebody else has the right to terminate a life, you must eventually grant it in all cases.
At first the breach is only applied to those who are too weak to defend themselves, in this case, the unborn. But if the argument can be made that the unborn have no acceptable (to somebody) “quality of life,” or in the future they will have an unacceptable quality of life, or they are practically not human and a burden, then why not the very old?
Obviously that applies as well to the comatose, and, while you’re at it, the severely handicapped. And once we’ve rid ourselves of all them, why not the mildly handicapped? And how about all those ugly people, too? And the lazy ones? And the irritable? The argument will keep on working all the way down the line, until someone with authority – the government – must step in and make those decisions for everyone, which will be the final solution to the right to life.
Without an unbreachable and inviolable right to life, human society – as I understand the term “human” – simply can’t exist. It degenerates quickly into a pack of predators. So the first item on my list of indispensable things that must be done for renovation, is to restore the right to life, completely, unequivocally, inalienably.
3. The right to property
The necessary corollary to the right to life is the right to property. Without property, freedom simply can’t exist. As Mencken correctly observed, freedom of the press is limited to those who own one.
The Supremes also finished abolishing property rights in Kelo v. City of New London in June, 2005. In that case they ruled that a quasi-governmental development agency (always a convenient front for business interests) could seize property under eminent domain as long as the seizure promised some vague “economic” benefit. Thus “eminent domain,” which originated as an emergency measure to ensure the nation’s survival in wartime, has become the catch-all tool for those holding government power to steal from their neighbours.
I say the Supremes finished abolishing property rights because the process has been well under way for 150 years. No one today owns – indefeasibly owns – any property. If you doubt what I say, don’t pay your property tax bill for a year, and see if the real owner doesn’t show up to claim it.
And it’s not just real property that you don’t own. There’s hardly any property you can name – car, factory, building, tools – that government doesn’t regulate. If you can’t use property as you see fit – assuming you don’t wrong your neighbour with it – then you simply don’t own it. You’re just managing it for the real owner.
4. The right to freedom
There’s no word in America more misused and misunderstood than this little word “freedom.” We have freedom to fornicate, freedom to commit sodomy, freedom to defraud our neighbour by usury, freedom to kill our offspring, freedom to speak our minds (as long as we don’t say anything the Great Mind doesn’t like), but none of these are freedom. They are the counterfeits designed to destroy freedom.
As long as I am not free to sell the milk I produce to anyone who wants to buy it, I am not free, and neither are you. As long as I am not free to use my money to enter any business or trade I desire, I am not free. As long as I am not free to make my own decisions and my own mistakes and bear the benefits and consequences, I am not free. Economic freedom is freedom, too, and it is chiefly by stealing our economic freedom that government – or rather, those who control government – has stolen our other freedoms.
Freedom is not the right to do anything I want, but to do anything I have the moral right to do. Everything else is license, and the counterfeit of freedom. However, if government can forbid me to do what I have a moral right to do, then they have destroyed not only rights, but morality as well.
Freedom includes – as Magna Carta guaranteed – the right to travel. As long as I must fear being stopped, hindered, and harassed by police state officials when I travel, then I am not free. As long as any petty functionary can stop me with a demand to “show papers,” then I am not free.
5. The right to honest money
If I can create money out of thin air, eventually I will own all the property in the country. You can never compete with me, because you have to work for your money, and I by legal privilege closed to you create out of nothing as much money as I like.
As long as we have no money with an independent value – no gold and silver money – as long as some people can create money out of thin air and by law force the rest of us to accept it, we will be the slaves and serfs of those who create the money, namely, the banking system and the Federal Reserve System.
Without restoring the right to gold and silver money, there can be no reformation in this country.
6. The right to guns
I won’t be coy. The man who can’t defend himself from thief or government is not free. The right to own weapons is not about hunting, collecting, shooting, or anything else. The right to own weapons is the bottom line of freedom, the palladium of liberty, the sine qua non of a free society, the standing warning to tyrants that we will fight back – effectively. Once they take away your right to own guns – once they begin to regulate that right – you are no longer free. Any renovation that does not include full freedom to own the weapon of your choice is a sham.
7. Freedom from corporations
This may surprise you, but corporations have not been around since the Garden of Eden. In this country the corporate form of ownership is only about 170 years old. We made ’em, we can unmake ’em.
A corporation confers two benefits, perpetual life and irresponsibility. Now I grant that “irre- sponsibility” is usually called “limited liability,” but having no gift for subtlety, I must call things by their obvious names. With perpetual life, corporations have no death to die, no heirs to divide property among, and so no end to the wealth they can accumulate. Eventually, governments – a form of corporation themselves – and privately held corporations will own all the real property in the country. Do you doubt it? Look around you. In the county where I live paper companies own a fourth to a third of the land. Do you think it’s different where you live? Look around.
The outcome of limiting the liability of corporate owners ought to be obvious. Edward, First Baron Thurlow and Lord Chancellor of England (1731-1806) said it plainly.
Did you ever expect a corporation to have a conscience, when it has no soul to be damned and no body to be kicked?
Yet these same corporations – owned and run, it must be noted, by those beyond the reach of liability – have amassed vast wealth, and, for all intents and purposes run America. With no natural life, theirs is still the only voice governments live to hear.
Freedom or corporations – you can have one or the other, but not both. The corporate form of ownership must be abolished.
8. Freedom from debt
This may sound strange to your ears, but we must once again protect our people from the usurer. The Scriptures define it plainly: “The borrower is the lender’s slave.” As long as banks can create credit by a mere bookkeeping entry, and force us to pay 17, 19, even 28% a year interest, we will be their slaves. As long as car-title discounters and check discounters can charge 750% interest, someone will be their slaves.
Think about it: What do banks and loan sharks loan? Not money, but credit. Nothing of substance, nothing earned, nothing real. Yet this fiction enslaves us all.
Wait, wait, if you put legal limits on the rate of interest, won’t there be less credit? Right. Absolutely right, and less credit means less borrowing and fewer debt slaves, in other words, less theft.
In a nutshell
I know mine is a short list, but it’s a telling one. Without achieving these reforms, the country will keep skidding down the tubes. This is not about “restoring the constitution.” The constitution is dead as a hammer, has been for 150 years. Something new has to come, because the old can’t be fixed or reformed. We need a renovation.
And come it will, as God lives.
Used by permission. Originally published January 2006. Franklin Sanders is publisher of The Moneychanger, a privately circulated monthly newsletter that focus on gold and silver and the application of Christianity to economics, culture and family life. We have subscribed to this newsletter for more than 20 years, and consider it a must read. F$149 a year. Franklin is an active trader in gold and silver (he’ll swap your green Federal Reserve rectangles and give you real money in return). He trades with savers and investors outside Tennessee. Subscribe to his daily price report and market commentary on the website.