Starting with first principles and the scientific method
America First Books
Featuring ebooks that find a truer path in uncertain times

Additional Commentary and References

29. Should covert operations require more rather than less civilian oversight?
  One perspective on an ethical issue:  

An opposing perspective on the same ethical issue:
Yes, the modus operandi resembles  
No, evil foreigners outside U.S. laws re-
organized crime and is very dangerous    
require rough handling, other standards
Long run national security means be-  
We must preemptively strike terrorist
ing a good neighbor, not secrecy  
suspects without normal evidence to win
Lack of oversight is tyrannical and of-  
At home we must maximize constriction
  ten cover for forms of corruption    
of civil liberties just to make sure

Sample argument: Covert operations, for all intents and purposes, are almost identical to the modus operandi of organized crime. Military actions bear unfortunate resemblances to serial mass murder. Don't be fooled by the James Bond and John Wayne movies. If anything, we require extra civilian continuing oversight and control over these potential cancers, not less. We need maximum disclosure through national media. In the long run, real national security has to do with being a good neighbor in the world community. It involves the ability to produce valuable things that other peoples around the world want to voluntarily buy from us so that they come to respect our productive values and have more commerce with us. This is no different than the need to be a good neighbor in your own neighborhood. American foreign policy must never focus upon throwing our weight around, which in the long run tends to create more enemies than friends. Rather, the real business of America is to conduct open and fair business dealings. It involves the creation of innovative, quality products. American neo-con leaders have arrogantly cast aside this policy that worked so well for this country in the 19th century. The CIA and Mossad have been heavily involved in the global drug trade and other corrupt dealings that create the very enemies that American military forces are later sent in to suppress. The neo-cons are turning America into a garrison state, and as such America is headed for an imperial implosion very similar to the historical experience of the Spanish and Roman empires and former Soviet Union. Last, but not least, there is overwhelming evidence that dual-loyalist Zionist neo-cons and their Israeli compatriots staged 9-11 as an inside job to create the pretext for wars for Israel and the suppression of critics of Israel at home. Therefore America's real enemies are already inside the gates as foxes guarding the hen house. Their real goal is not the defense of freedom but rather a total coup de etat against the Constitution to serve their own interests. Time to focus on America's domestic problems rather than go abroad in search of bogus monsters to destroy.
. . .

Sample argument: America is fully justified to use preventive aggression and regime change as conscious foreign policy tools. The world has become a very bad neighborhood filled with evil, terrorist leaders. They envy our freedoms. They are willing to risk American full-scale retaliation by killing freedom-loving Americans in sneak attacks. Therefore, we must smell evil-doer suspects where they hide behind bushes and hit them first before they can harm us. This is particularly true of countries such as Iraq and Iran that do not yet have nuclear weapons. It does not apply to a country such as North Korea that can already hit back with nukes. Unless America attacks potential evil-doers first who lack nuclear weapons, we must believe that they will eventually come over to America and battle us in our streets. Then they will be like Third World illegal immigrants who are already battling our police as a consequence of negligent border policies with Mexico. Rather than enforce immigration laws, the Establishment tells us that it is making us more secure by constricting our civil liberties under the Patriot Act, Military Commissions Act, National ID card, and other Orwellian legislation. To promote democratic values abroad, our leaders use "extraordinary rendition" and torture. There is strong evidence our government is also "saving" Americans from terror by killing them in false flag operations related to the JFK assassination, Oklahoma City bombing, and 9-11. It has also openly killed them at Ruby Ridge and Waco. We might conclude that the U.S. Government can kill its own citizens and constrict their civil liberties because unlike North Koreans, they lack nuclear weapons to defend themselves against their own government. Our government has even used mercenaries and active duty soldiers to confiscate privately owned firearms in New Orleans after the Katrina disaster, leaving citizens unable to defend themselves against looters. It has resorted to vote fraud in important elections. This is how our Establishment shows the world that it is firmly committed to defending human rights and fighting terrorism. The ways of the Federal government can be mysterious, to be sure, but nevertheless as good Americans we must keep the faith. It is not for us to question why.


Last updated 23 Nov 2007 by William B. Fox

Ever since the September 11, 2001 attacks, which in the opinion of Mike Piper (and myself) were probably orchestrated by the Mossad, we have seen a major increase in secretive government that employees extraordinary measures. These measures rang from clamp downs on civil liberties to the use of secret torture centers.

As one very specific example of government arrogance in the summer of 2007, please see "Peter DeFazio and the Portland Nuke." Capt Eric May wrote:

An effective grassroots movement is growing in Oregon, and it has pushed Congressman DeFazio in the right direction. Early summer anxiety by his constituents concerned him little, as he then issued assurances that all was on the level with pending federal terror exercises, and the recently enacted National Security Presidential Directive 51, which allows Bush to establish a dictatorship if there is a catastrophic natural event or terror attack.

DeFazio's assurances didn't convince his constituents, though, and soon they didn't even convince him. Just to make sure that everything was on the level with NSPD-51, he asked to see the secret annexes of the document. This was his right as a member of the House Homeland Security Committee, and in his 20 years in Congress he had never been refused access to classified documents.

There's a first time for everything, though. After initially granting DeFazio permission to check into NSPD-51, the White House reversed itself on 7/18/07, and refused to let him take a look. Friday, DeFazio, along with House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Bernie Thompson and Oversight Subcommittee Chairman Chris Carney, sent a letter to the White House. In it, they demand the access so far denied DeFazio -- or a written explanation as to why access has been refused -- by Thursday. This is the day before Congress -- and Congressman DeFazio -- recess and return to their home districts to answer emphatic questions.

Portland has more than a prayer if it and the rest of Oregon keep up the pressure on their local, state and national leaders. At this stage of the Bush regime and its terror-driven global war, there's no shame in conspiracy theory, since it's the only theory that offers consistent, coherent answers to our growing secret government and its terror policies.

Too much of the current national media discussion about covert operations and the need for secrecy gets bogged down in the minutiae about certain hypothetical "bad guy" scenarios. The danger of this approach is that too dependent on very imaginative and paranoid hypothetical "war game" scenarios that justify big pork contracts for defense companies, Israel, and other special interests. Quite often these scenarios are based upon disinformation or fevered imaginations. They typically pay too little attention to the broader social and political picture. They also tend to carry the implicit assumption that government should be more concerned about what is good for itself rather than the people it purports to serve.

Although superficially this may look like a centralization vs decentralization issue, I framed this question as an ethical issue based upon a very simple supposition:

In the very long run, honest people can live with perpetual openness. In contrast, criminals generally require perpetual secrecy.

Hence, when a government requires perpetual secrecy, particularly in peacetime, that right there is a strong indicator that we could be dealing with a fundamentally criminal government --a government that must be replaced by honest citizens.

I agree with libertarians that the burden is upon government to prove to the people that it it not criminal, and that it is not wielding its power in an irresponsible and self-serving manner, before the people grant it special powers.

In my mutualism vs. parasitism article, I explain why it is often very difficult to distinguish between the modus operandi of intelligence operatives and criminals.

All of this creates a very fertile environment for genuinely criminal people to worm their way in and rise to the top. This in itself is an important reason for oversight by honorable civilians over intelligence operations.

Reconciling criminal traits within honest occupations

Another important perspective necessary to understand criminality involves taking honest occupations that are loaded with criminal traits, and figuring out how to distinguish them from criminal occupations loaded with criminal traits.

A prime example of an "honest" or "patriotic" occupation that is loaded to the teeth with criminal traits is spy work. An intelligence agent must perpetually engage in deception to maintain a "cover." This includes planting false flags to disguise operations. Since the most valuable intelligence is typically human intelligence, he needs a good nose for smelling ways to recruit others to betray their countries without giving himself away. (An acronym I once heard in a lecture given by an FBI agent to identify the most common motivations for treason is SMICE, or Sex, Money, Ideology, Compromise, and Ego. These motivations can also be applied to other types of criminals.)

How do we distinguish spies from criminals? Well, quite frankly sometimes there is not much of a difference. The behaviors described in By Way of Deception: The Making and Unmaking of a Mossad Officer and The Other Side of Deception by former Mossad Agent Victor Ostrowsky require some severe mental strain to try to make a distinction in this area. However, Honorable Men by former CIA Director William Colby suggests that making the distinction is possible. "Patriotism" and obedience to a higher authority or a social purpose higher than ones own ego comprise at least one crucial distinction.

There are many useful occupations and roles in society that tend to reward what might be considered "criminal traits" when taken in isolation. As some examples, most sales organizations in America want individuals who are shameless about approaching strangers and are extremely motivated to become a "unique Number One." The same holds true for people who hold math and science or Olympic competitions. An infantry officer in time of war necessarily has to be coldly manipulative in the way he tactically deploys troops and expends lives. A political dissident who defies tyranny may have to endure considerable social isolation. He may have to figure out what has gone wrong with the society with the same cold emotional detachment that a bank robber needs to figure out how to pull a successful heist. This trait might also apply to the analytical methods used by scientists. As some further examples, an entrepreneur who wants to implement a business plan that brings a break-through invention to market probably craves excitement. Hollywood actors and actresses affect different personalities than their "normal" personalities (that is, if there is such a thing as "normal" in Hollywood). As a final example, diplomats, brokers, lawyers, negotiators, and politicians hardly wear their hearts on their sleeves when they put out feelers, hide their weak cards, and bluff in the process of trading off concessions in negotiations. However, it is also true that not all lawyers and politicians are criminals.

An excellent work that documents in great detail an extremely cozy relationship between the Mossad, elements of the CIA, and the leaders of organized crime in America is Final Judgment: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy by Michael Collins Piper.

Covert operations are typically state-sponsored activities, and the federal government itself can become fertile ground for criminal infestation. In my centralization vs decentralization article, I discuss the evolution of criminal government, whereby governments start playing evil games to parasitically feed off the people, and where the highest levels of government can become fertile ground for the rise of complete sociopaths. (This is a very lengthy extract. Please skip down to "It Gets Even Worse With Ponzi Government" if you want to stay directly on the criminality theme without exploring deeper sociological and political background):

Why saying "More Government is Good" is like saying "Greed is Good"

"Government" has unfortunately become a secular religion for most Americans. They have been deeply indoctrinated to believe that activist government has inherent moral virtue. One of the leading early culprits behind this trend was "King Lincoln," who said in 1838 that the Constitution and the laws of the United States had to become the ‘political religion’ of the American nation. This, despite the fact that Lincoln himself was an atheist, and promoted the financial interests of his own political faction even if it meant risking an unnecessary war that got over 640,000 Americans killed. (More on this later).

One can even find this sentiment in a book such as The Constitution of the United States by Thomas Norton, first published in 1941, which dissects the Constitution line by line. Norton's interpretations are framed by the assumption that America needed more efficient central government in 1787 compared to what it had under the Articles of Confederation. According to Norton, the Constitution was designed with checks and balances to prevent excessive power grabs and self-dealing as leaders go about more efficiently guiding the country.

Implicit in Norton's discussion is an underlying belief in a need for energetic political leaders. For all intents and purposes, people who want more "efficient" government oversight also want more "energetic" and "activist" oversight as well.

This reminds me of the character played by Jimmy Stewart in Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939). Most American movie audiences tend to be very sympathetic towards Stewart's extremely energetic, if not utterly dramatic character. While it is true that Smith opposes a corrupt Senator who seeks to make millions in kickbacks on a pork barrel dam project, it is also true that Smith himself energetically pushes through a government program to create a camp for boys in his home state. Hence, this Frank Capra movie classic lauds energetic government involvement in social programs so long as it does not involve kickbacks.

Thomas Jefferson voiced a totally different attitude when he said, "In questions of power, then, let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." Furthermore, when Jefferson received correspondence about a Constitutional Convention to be held in 1787 to create a "more energetic government," Jefferson responded that the last thing he wanted was a "more energetic" Federal government.

Despite all of this, most people might think Jefferson was merely being "cautionary." In fact, these comments were barely the tip of a libertarian iceberg once espoused by sizeable group called anti-Federalists. (I revisit them again later in my discussion of libertarian racial nationalism).

Frank Capra's scripting of Mr. Smith as a folksy, populist politician also stands in opposition to another well-established American folk hero. In his famous "Sockdolager" speech, Davy Crockett argued before his fellow Congressmen that there is so much money available in the private sector for charitable purposes that the government, with all of its fiercesome coercive powers, has no business muscling on making charitable decisions.

Looking deeper below the water line of the libertarian iceberg

An excellent "religious deprogrammer" to help explain the full early American libertarian iceberg below the waterline is Dr. Hans-Hermann Hoppe, Professor of Economics at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. As mentioned earlier, he is the author of Democracy: The God That Failed: The Economics and Politics of Monarchy, Democracy and Natural Order.

According to Dr. Hoppe, government is inherently negative in nature. The healthier a society becomes, the more it should make government irrelevant. Instead of making government more energetic and efficient, the priority should be to simply make it go away.

First, we need to look at government's real function in our society. According to libertarians, one good working definition of government throughout history is it consists of whoever happens to be the monopolist on the use of force in a given territory. George Washington once summed it up when he said, "Government is force. And force, like fire, is a fearful servant and a terrible master."

Force, or coercion, is the negation of the voluntary relations we seek to maximize in an ideal society. When voluntary cooperation breaks down, and individuals and factions can no longer mediate their differences on a private level, they typically call in the government to use force through its courts, police, and military. Force implies the real or threatened destruction of lives and wealth. Hence Dr. Hoppe claims that it is more accurate to say that what government really produces relative to the private sector are "bads" (or negative things) rather than "goods" (or real wealth).

Dr. Hoppe raises a provocative question. Whereas we understand how it benefits us to have the private sector compete in a free market to produce "goods," do we really want to see the same level competitive excellence devoted towards producing "bads?" Do we really need to see the "best and brightest" vigorously compete with each other in "social democracy" to sell us more government programs, which are inevitably followed by more taxes and more government intervention?

A look at early American history gives us an important libertarian baseline. We need to ask how much of our government added since then consists of a slick sales job by professional politicians and special interests, as compared to the lessor amount of government that we probably really need. In other words, to what extent can we compare the taxpayer to a healthy dog, and professional politicians and special interests to swarms of fleas?

Dr. Murray Rothbard, in his history of colonial America, described how most farming communities in 18th century Pennsylvania had virtually no government at all by modern standards. Part of the reason was benign neglect. The ruling British government and its pack of attendants, to include lawyers, professional politicians, and bureaucrats, were across the ocean. Many of them viewed the colonials as basically a bunch of bumpkins barely eking it out battling the wilderness. Nothing of particular interest.

However, while "out of sight and out of mind" for nearly a hundred years, this "bumpkinland" grew into the size of regular European country. Meanwhile, it still had almost no government by European standards. Nevertheless, the colonists did not seem to be missing anything. In fact, in the absence of government, they seemed to be quite a bit happier and more prosperous.

Then the British Government started to wake up and notice a fat economy ready for mercantilist trade policies and tax harvesting. The precipitating event involved the heavy expenses it incurred fighting the French and Indian War. The Crown started wondering why colonists should not help foot the bill.

On the other side of the Atlantic, the healthy tax dog saw the swarms of government tax-collector fleas coming its way and resisted. That, in a nutshell, is what started the American Revolution.

In the first decades of the new American republic, before it served as a Darwinian petri dish for breeding its own particularly virulent strains of homegrown political parasites (not surprisingly the the worst types evolved from lawyers, financiers, and professional politicians), Americans enjoyed great success in keeping government at bay. Dr. Ralph Raico points out in his lectures on classical liberalism that when French observer Alexis DeTocqueville visited America in the 1830's, he noted that his native France had about ten times as many bureaucrats with nearly the same population. Similarly, when the Russian anarchist Mikhail Bukhanin arrived in San Francisco in the1850's after fleeing Czarist police, he commented that he had nothing to offer Americans, because as far as he could see they were already living in his idealized state of anarchy.

Americans communities seemed to exemplify what the nobel laureate economist Friederich Hayek called spontaneous order. Pioneer groups quickly organized all the social services they required on a grass roots level without any central direction. Most Americans belonged to numerous volunteer organizations, such as charities, fire departments, courts, juries, sheriff's deputies, and political affairs councils. They handled everything privately, and given their limited resources, they were amazingly effective.

Early America also exemplified another important aspect of the spontaneous order concept, namely that it ran itself as a complex system from the ground up without central planning. Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo's book How Capitalism Saved America describes how Americans did a much better job creating roads, railroads, and canals with private investment than through government programs.

Most people have this notion that as economies and societies get bigger, they require more centralized command and control. Friederich Hayek argued that in many ways the opposite is true. He observed that once economies achieve a certain level of complexity, they must be run by decentralized decision nodes, and cannot be competently run by central planners. The information inputs and complexities are simply too overwhelming to be handled by humans in central planning positions. There are too many complex interactions at different levels. Furthermore it is impossible to gather enough accurate ground-level information in all areas to make rational decisions. Indeed, in regard to a free market where prices automatically adjust according to supply and demand, this also functions as a highly decentralized information system and clearing house.

Please recollect at the beginning of this article the example provided by William S. Lind. To be successful at maneuver warfare, even Adolf Hitler's armies had to operate on a decentralized level. Some of his top commanders such as as Erwin Rommel were famous for literally living out of their squad cars where they could always remain close to the front lines and quickly react to events as they unfolded in real time.

An important reason why America enjoyed steady solid economic growth throughout most of the 19th century, apart from the high genetic quality of its underlying population and the relative absence of Zionist parasitism, was due to the fact that America remained highly decentralized. It did not suffer from many forms of imposed order found in Europe, which typically did more harm than good. An area called complexity theory that deals with this phenomenon is also very compatible with the "Austrian" or laissez faire schools of economics.

I would personally interject here my own interpretation that all of this was simply a continuation of a much older story. The white population was overwhelming Anglo-Saxon, who are a Nordic/Indo-European people. Other whites in America during the 19th century tended to be Celtic, who are very similar to Nordics on all levels. One sees plenty of evidence of "spontaneous order" with these peoples going back to ancient and even pre-historic times, whether it involves Norsemen who settled Iceland, the Oscian and Sabine tribes from Germany that helped found the Roman Republic, or ancient Ionians and Dorians who swept down from northlands and settled ancient Greece. Northern European temperamental traits, which tend to focus upon individual initiative and creating things of real value, set the tone for America up until the late 1800's.

We can look at parts of Norway, Scotland, Iceland, and other northern European countries from the Middle Ages back to prehistoric times and see how people lived in dispersed, self-sufficient communities where the largest political organization was usually the extended family or clan. There was no real central government by modern standards.

Every so often I come across passages that allude to republican tendencies in pre-Christian Europeans. One example is on p 70. of The End of Kings: A History of Republics and Republicans, where William Everdell writes about the pre-Christian Roman conquest of Switzerland.

The Swiss have no Caesars of their own. They were conquered once by an alien Caesar, Julius himself, in 58 B.C., and were ruled by his successors until A.D. 401. The symmetry is pleasant, for it was the defeat of the Helvetii in the Alpine passes that began Julius Caesar's military career. The career, in turn, made it possible for Caesar to destroy the Roman Republic and inaugerate a millennium of monarch to which the Swiss would eventually become the only exception. Nor did the Helvetii lose ingloriously. Like most barbarian tribes then (and the Romans themselves before Romulus) the Helvetii were strongly opposed to the permanent hereditary rule of one man; so strongly, in fact, that in the very face of Caesar's advance they deposed and executed their greatest war chief, Orgetorix, because he had tried to make himself king.

Unfortunately detailed historical records about many northern European societies did not begin to appear until after they were Christianized. Medieval christian leaders tended to be political centralizers and economic monopolists, often in the name of the forceful conversion of the heathen. Their scribes tended to interpret social phenomenon according to their alien Jewish religious ideology.

One good example of an adverse impact was medieval France, where Christians discouraged bathing, supported heavy-handed Kings, exerted thought control through a confessor system, and where the Church itself gobbled up control of much of the land. According to an article that appeared in the American Atheist, living standards among the common people in France dropped below Neolithic times.

Iceland is a fascinating example of a northern European society that remained quasi-pagan, politically independent, and largely avoided the full brunt of Christian totalitarianism. Icelanders functioned normally within a quasi-anarchistic republican system for many hundreds of years without any real class structure or permanent government bureaucracy.

In many ways the settlement of early America was a "back to the future" exercise where northern Europeans shook off the encroachments of government and state-allied church apparatuses that had begun in the Medieval period. Part of this revolt began in Europe with the Protestant Reformation, which promoted church government decentralization and individual interpretation of scripture. In the American wilderness, their reversion towards their ancient European indigenous type took an extra step.

There was once an age in European evolutionary history when Stone Age white people probably wore buckskin just like the American frontiersmen who came later. In many ways, white people were much freer and happier back then when they functioned in smaller wilderness groups on a racially and culturally cohesive tribal level. The works of the late great British anthropologist Sir Arthur Keith are worth reading to get a better sense of all of this.

Unfortunately early American pioneers were not aware of their real anthropological roots on an intellectual level. Many of them carried Bibles. These scriptures not only failed to educate them about authentic Indo-European traditions of scientific thought, republican theory, and rational ethics espoused by ancient Greeks and other whites, but they also focused the attention of American pioneers on alien ancient Jewish tribal traditions rather than upon their own indigenous ancestral values. There was clearly some subtle brainwashing and theft of heritage taking place here. Despite all this, American pioneers in the wilderness still felt instinctively that they were experiencing something that was very natural and wonderful to them.

As another very critical political point, these Northern European peoples always tended to take free speech for granted since ancient times. Free speech basically meant that people applied the same kind of logical analysis that went into rotating crops on farmland or building a boat to brave the North Sea into openly keeping track of whether or not their political leaders kept their agreements and did things that made sense.

The Roman writer Tacitus remarked that virtually all able-bodied men in ancient Germanic (Nordic) society were armed. If you did not carry a sword or spear, you were simply not regarded as a real man. They were often expected to draw their weapons and duel for honor under rules of chivalry when dishonest men tried to cheat them. The idea of making a living by deceiving people, or by living a double life where one continually swallows and perpetrates lies, or by never daring to say what one really thinks while suffering under arbitrary and devious men in power, was very alien to them. All of this was not foreign, however, to Jewish supremacist infiltrators who moved into America in the late 1800's to foist a central bank, usurp national media, and more recently undermine our civil liberties by exploiting 9-11 to promulgate war for Israel.

It bears repeating that many libertarians are quick to emphasize that the Articles of Confederation and the subsequent United States Constitution and Bill Rights did not give any rights to anyone, rather they simply circumscribed the ability of government to take away our rights. I would add to this that these documents circumscribed the ability of government to suppress behavioral tendencies that early Americans and their ancestors had expressed for tens of thousands of years. The American Revolution was fundamentally a libertarian revolution in which Americans tried to make governmental intrusions go away so that they could get back to their normal affairs. It was not some kind of new political rights revelation handed down to them from the clouds.

Back to Dr. Hoppe

Let me return to Dr. Hoppe. Incidentally, I need to point out that he is an anarcho-libertarian. Such folks tend to refrain from racial analysis. In contrast, I am tilted towards libertarian racial nationalism. I say this just so that you do not confuse his views with my own.

Another key idea emphasized by Dr. Hoppe is the importance of a sense of caretakership. When people lack a sense of long term investment in their own society, this is the same as saying that they have a short time preference in economics jargon. They tend to be greedier and feel a need to plunder as much as they can as soon as they can.

"Democracy" will not necessarily save such people. In fact, it can add fuel to the fire. Dr. Hoppe notes that with the rise of "social democracy" throughout Europe after World War I, politicians began to aggressively promise more social spending and regulation in order to make a name for themselves and get elected. Since they were only allowed to stay in office for a limited number of terms, they knew that excessive social spending and regulation would inevitably get passed on to someone else after they left office. Their excesses would simply become someone else's problem.

Not surprisingly, government as a share of GDP expanded from the 5-10% of GDP range where it had remained throughout much of the 19th century to over 40%-50% of GDP by the end of the 20th century. This was true of most governments in Europe as well as the governments of the U.S. and Canada.

Dr. Hoppe refers to social democracy as "publicly owned government," and contrasts it with monarchy and oligarchy, which he calls "privately owned government." In a privately owned government, its leaders know that they can pass on their political estate to their heirs, and hence tend to have a much longer time preference and sense of caretakership.

Dr. Hoppe makes the really interesting point that a country with a stable, constitutional monarchy might really be a libertarian society in disguise. Consider if the monarch and his cabinet are content to act within traditional bounds and never show an urge towards tyranny. Imagine that their government is content to refrain from increasing regulation, taxation, or spending above 5% of GDP. Clearly, the remaining 95% of the economy is fairly free to do as it pleases. People in the private sector may enjoy vastly greater property rights and real political freedoms compared to people who live in a "social democracy" that has taken over 40% of the economy and continually burdens people with new regulations.

I am not advocating that we install a constitutional monarch here in America. We already have our hands full dealing with a de facto unconstitutional version named King George W. Bush. However, I believe that Dr. Hoppe is correct about the importance of the variables of time preference and caretakership in influencing political as well as economic behavior.

Later on I will discuss republicanism as a defense against for tyranny, and discuss why many libertarian racial nationalists believe that maintaining racial homogeneity can help preserve a sense of long term caretakership for common genetic interests within a republican system. For the moment lets stay with the anarcho-libertarian line of reasoning.

It Gets Even Worse with "Ponzi" Government

It is bad enough that government bureaucracies tend to grown on their own like cancers. Dr. Thomas DiLorenzo, author of How Capitalism Saved America and The Real Lincoln, describes how government can get even worse by degenerating into a big ponzi scheme. I think that it is important to spend some time explaining Dr. DiLorenzo's views, since we see forms of ponzi government everywhere in America today. In addition, Dr. DiLorenzo provides important insights regarding a critical juncture point in American history.

For the un-initiated, the "Ponzi scheme" comes from the 1920's racket where Charles Ponzi solicited funds from investors, claiming he would give them a portion of the in-excess of 400% he was supposed to make on an international postal redemption scheme. Rather than invest the money, he paid part of the funds to himself and sent another part back to investors as "dividends." Since the money was not invested in anything that achieved a real return, the ponzi game continued as long as the scam operator could provide convincing fake investment reports and continually find new investors to contribute more funds.

We can see how Charles Ponzi's game was unsustainable. Nothing productive got added to the system, while he continually extracted funds for his own use. We can also see how the spread of his unsustainable approach throughout America's financial system could ultimately lead to total system collapse.

According to Dr. DiLorenzo, Abraham Lincoln publicly confessed that the central platform of his career was to promote the "Whig program" of protective tariffs, public works, and a central bank This was a centralizing program of special privilege initially championed by Alexander Hamilton and later upheld by Henry Clay. An excellent overview article is "The Real Henry Clay: The Corrupt American Architect of Mercantilism and Protectionism" by Ryan Setlif.

Abraham Lincoln never deviated from Clay's so-called "American System" during his entire career. It was his central purpose. In contrast, he waffled back and forth on the slavery issue, despite his image today as "The Great Emancipator."

As some examples of waffling back and forth on slavery and broader racial issues, Lincoln once voluntarily defended a Kentucky slave owner who sought to retrieve his runaway slave who had fled to Illinois. During the Lincoln-Douglas debates in southern Illinois, where Lincoln played to a large population sympathetic to the South, Lincoln claimed that Negroes were unfit to serve on juries and could never be the full equals of whites. Shortly after he became President, Lincoln supported the original 13th Amendment, which guaranteed slavery in the South, provided that the South agreed to stay in the Union and pay the new high tariffs. Lincoln also openly advocated repatriating blacks to Africa, and defended his Emancipation Proclamation as a ploy to appeal to anti-slavery liberals in Britain and hence help prevent Britain from entering the war on the side of the Confederacy. However, as Sam Dickson points out in his brilliant article "Shattering the Icon of Abraham Lincoln," while it is true that Lincoln spoke out of both sides of his mouth, the general trend of his career was to the left, so we can at least credit him with consistency as an abiding leftist on social issues.

But let us get back to the "Whig program" from which Lincoln never wavered. The problem with this kind of program is that in the hands of irresponsible demagogues, it can foster an unvirtuous cycle of corruption that can ultimately destroy a limited republic. It can send government spiraling along the path towards a spendthrift and ultimately bankrupt Jacobin government, which describes what we have come to at present.

As a first step of this political ponzi system, the political hack opportunistically hunts for unethical business operators who are happy to offer under-the-table kickbacks to the politician in return for his ability to pass pork legislation so that the police power of the state now supports their products against free market competition and forces patronage at higher prices.

Getting back to my discussion about the fundamental difference between the voluntary nature of most business transactions and the involuntary nature of government taxation, here is a case where the proverbial soap, automobile, and toothpaste manufacturers want to figure out ways to get government agents to threaten to blow your head clear off if you do not patronize their products at higher prices. Meanwhile, the political hack gets a kickback for creating laws that compel this patronage, while you the consumer get soaked.

Somehow I just do not think this is the kind of thing that America's Founding Fathers had in mind.

The happy hunting grounds in Lincoln's era for finding crooked businessmen willing to pay big kickbacks in return for state-enforced patronage lay in three main areas:

a) industrialists who benefited from high protective tariffs,
b) contractors who benefited from government-funded public works projects, and
c) bankers who benefited from central bank bailouts.

Let me interject here some qualifications based upon my own personal views. I believe that business interests are entitled to legitimate political representation. In addition, there can be some strong and valid nationalist arguments for protectionist tariffs, particularly when faced with a compelling need to create, jump-start, or revitalize certain strategic industries.

However, anarcho-libertarians are correct that if certain protectionist measures are left in place for too long, they tend to adversely distort free markets, corrupt politicians, and can spoil the competitive edge of domestic industries. Therefore genuinely patriotic nationalists realize that protectionism is heavily "contra-indicated" medicine that must be applied sparingly and with great wisdom and care.

Expressed differently, you may need to put the patient on the operating table, but you dare not leave him unconscious with his body opened up and on life support for too long. Protectionist measures should be generally removed after they have done their job helping certain industries achieve critical mass.

We should also note that a protectionist tariff is nothing more than an excise tax on international trade. In the long run, all taxes are bad. All taxes transfer resources from the more productive, entrepreneurial, and decentralized private sector to the more politicized, bureaucratic, and centralized government sector. In other words, taxes shift economic resources to the government where they tend to get wasted.

This is not to say that tariffs are inherently evil. Income taxes are worse, because they involve collecting private information on individuals. Estate taxes are worse, because they double-tax income. Domestic excise and property taxes are worse because they tax property ownership and internal commerce.

In contrast to all of this, tariffs may have the slightly redeeming quality that they can force segments of American industry to make long term reinvestments in American plant and equipment rather than export jobs and infrastructure overseas. Admittedly, having to force Americans to invest in fellow Americans reflects a pretty sad state of affairs, but when we are hemorrhaging most of our industry and skilled jobs, even medicine with bad side effects may be better than none at all.

Most 19th century politicians viewed tariffs as a least bad form of taxation. During this period the U.S. Governments drew most of its income from tariffs and land sales. The government generally refrained from levying personal and corporate income taxes in peacetime. Therefore, a genuinely patriotic libertarian nationalist favored tariffs only to the extent that he is very serious about eliminating all other types of taxes.

In contrast to responsible nationalists, the political hack is out to install protectionist measures every place he can in order to jingle his personal cash registers. This gun for hire also likes to leave protectionist measures in place indefinitely as permanent cash cows for both himself and his corporate cronies. He could care less about the long term impact on free markets, consumers, industrial competitiveness, or anything else. He is only out for himself.

When Lincoln ran for office, he was clever enough to pose as a folksy populist who cared about the electorate first, and not as someone working for the kick-back. However, according to Dr. DiLorenzo, Lincoln pulled many self-dealing pork whoppers. A major political "fixer" in his state, he helped relocate the state capitol at tremendous cost to Illinois taxpayers in order to benefit only a few business supporters. He also helped locate the terminus of the transcontinental railroad near some land that he owned. Awarded his own private rail car by a big rail road company, Lincoln become wealthy as a lawyer representing big railroad interests. His legal work for common people was mere window dressing by comparison.

The tariff racket

Raising tariffs in America beyond a certain point in Lincoln's era was especially irresponsible and dangerous given that South Carolina made a very serious secession threat following the 1828 "Tariff of Abominations." Despite this, Lincoln campaigned hard for the Morrill Tariff of 1861, which initially pushed the average tariff up to about 36.2% compared to the 18-20% rate that had been the norm in the 1820's. Back in those days, tariffs in the 10-20% range might be considered "normal," whereas tariffs over 40% might be considered hostile acts. Lincoln's high stakes, pork-oriented, political brinkmanship poker game blew up in his face and precipitated the War Between the States that got 640,000 Americans killed.

With only a third of the U.S. population, the South paid about two thirds of the tariffs. A huge portion of the Southern economy involved exporting cotton directly to Europeans. The most profitable and uncomplicated way to carry on volume trade with the Europeans was to exchange Southern cotton for European manufactured goods, and then back haul these goods to America. The increased tariff rate to 36.2% significantly reduced what Southerners could net out for their cotton sales both at home or abroad.

In contrast, many Northern industrialists could not compete very well against English manufacturing. They benefited by keeping European manufacturers out of the U.S. market by forcing consumers to pay higher prices for their tariff-protected goods. These industrialists were Lincoln's primary political constituents.

Many intelligent observers understood all this at the time. In fact, even Karl Marx, who admired Abraham Lincoln's leftist tendencies, observed that the War Between the States was first and foremost a war fought over the tariff issue and not slavery.

The public works racket

Many 19th century American leaders viewed public works projects as a scam because the private sector generally built roads, canals, and railroads much more efficiently than government-sponsored programs. In fact, according to Dr. DiLorenzo in How Capitalism Saved America, public road-building programs got such a bad reputation for their corruption and inefficiency across America that by 1860 most state legislatures outlawed them.

No doubt this comes as a shock to most contemporary Americans, who are conditioned to associate ordinary road and Interstate highway construction with government grants. Maybe this really shows how much we have been conditioned to tolerate corruption and inefficiency without knowing it.

The central bank racket

Thomas Jefferson, Andrew Jackson, and many other early American leaders vehemently opposed the creation of a central bank, and this was not because they were ignorant, archaic, or smoking dope. I have already discussed how the ability of central banks to issue fiat money can be very dangerous. As Voltaire once remarked, fiat money always returns to the intrinsic value of paper, which is zero. Putting fiat money in the hands of politicians and private bankers is like locking alcoholics in a liquor store.

The same is true, incidentally, of a fractional reserve banking system that goes hand in hand with central banking. This allows banks to loan out money they create out of thin air based upon a certain percentage of funds held as deposits. Expanding fractional reserve ratios can create all kinds of opportunities for self-dealing and aggressive lending. It also contributes to more extreme economic cycles as banks go through aggressive credit expansion and contraction cycles. Later I explain how the fractional reserve excesses heated up in 1913 once America got its permanent central bank.

Another major negative behind the existence of a central bank is the way it serves as a lender of last resort. While it may sound barbaric in the short run, in the long run it is much simpler and more honest to allow local banks to fail. This approach is much more likely to punish bank officers who screw up, and simultaneously quarantine bank problems on a local level. During most of the 1800's, when America had no central bank, the failure rate averaged no greater than 1-2% a year. Most Americans found this manageable by diversifying where they held their deposits. Also, they did not suffer when they buried their gold-backed money in their back yards or stuffed it in mattresses. The dollar was worth 50% more in 1912 than it had been a hundred years earlier.

In contrast, central bank bail-out of crony banks means that reckless and incompetent banks survive and prosper, while overall system risk continues to accumulate at the central bank level. Ultimately the entire economy may become vulnerable to a blow-out. As one example we face today, rather than reform the financial system after the Long Term Capital Management melt-down of 1998, the Fed has continued to bail out banks which have now accumulated derivatives amounting to something over twenty times the size of the U.S. economy. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has also declared publicly that he is prepared to inflate the dollar without limit, and as of March 2006 discontinued reporting M3. All of this is very scary. More on all this later when I discuss Vincent LoCascio's excellent book Special Privilege.

What-me-worry so long as I can deal, deal, deal

We need to get a sense about how the political hack helps to spread corruption. Once the public gets conditioned to accept more government interventionism, it becomes a smaller step towards social democracy where the public corrupts itself by accepting ever more social welfare programs. Now instead of working to get kickbacks from narrow business interests, the demagogue works to get kickbacks from the under classes who he buys off by spreading pork to them. In reality, the demagogue is stirring up forms of financial civil war and class warfare.

Once one uses the coercive power of government to redistribute wealth, in essence one group of citizens is using government to raid the pocket books of other groups of citizens. Whether it is done discretely behind the scenes with IRS forms, or done in a crude manner by government troops with fixed bayonets (or French Revolutionary pitch forks and pikes) — in the final analysis it is all pretty much the same thing.

James Madison once wrote that there has never been a democracy that did not murder itself. Once government becomes Santa Claus to both special business interests and the general public, it becomes hard to take back the pork. If anything, pressure continually builds in the opposite direction to provide ever more pork and ever more special privileges. Major portions of the public lose their self-sufficiency and become emotionally and financially dependent on Big Brother government. They become ever more willing to vote for more government to try to solve the problems created by government in the first place. The nonproductive and dependent sector of the economy steadily grows. Meanwhile, growth in government squeezes out increasing portions of genuinely competitive, private entrepreneurial infrastructure.

It is the competitive private sector that can survive and thrive without special privilege that creates most of the real jobs and wealth. As the productive sector steadily shrinks, and the nonproductive sector steadily grows, we can now clearly discern a full blown and ultimately self-destructive parasitic ponzi system.

From Ponzi Government to Evil Government

Ponzi government, as bad as it is, tends to be relatively passive. It thrives in the gray zones where people either do not know or do not care about long term vs. short term tradeoffs in public policy issues. While it is indulgent and morally permissive, it is usually not violent and bloody.

Unfortunately, if not arrested in time ponzi government can turn into evil government. For people who study the true history of America, we have already had a fair taste of this since the Abraham Lincoln dictatorship. This is a situation where the government goes out of its way to artificially manufacture violent crises and kill people to simultaneously justify its existence as a protector and deflect blame from its own failings

In extreme cases, such as in the French Revolutionary Reign of Terror, the Bolshevik Revolution, or the Cambodian killing fields, government engages in mass butchery. However, most evil governments try not to go quite this far since it can undermine their tax base and seriously erode their public image. It is more typical for evil governments to try to hide their fingerprints by engaging in such games as "protection racket," "agent provocateur," "blame shifting," and "wag the dog" operations.

Games that Evil Governments Play

The protection racket

A classic example of a "protection racket" involves a gangster who hires a hood to vandalize a store. Then the gangster approaches the store manager to sell him his protection services from hoods in return for a cut of his business. This is true parasitism at play. Nothing of economic value has been created, and in fact the negative "make work" activities degrade real economic progress.

We may be experiencing an example on a major national political level in America today. Many American libertarians, such as Dr. Paul Craig Roberts, claim that America had no legitimate reason to invade Iraq. Sadam Hussein had no ties to Al Qaida and he had destroyed all his weapons of mass destruction. In addition, there were too many unanswered questions about 9-11, which I link to in my "Critical Issues" section. Therefore, the overblown threat presented to Americans to justify increased aid to Israel and increased expenditures for the military-industrial complex and a newly created Department of Homeland Security constitute a large-scale protection racket.

Agents provocateurs

A more complex variation on the political protection racket can be played with the old political game of "divide and conquer." Here is how it works: Find two factions that have money and simmering hostility. Use agents provocateurs to stir up trouble between them into open warfare. Then sell armaments and defense consulting advice to both sides. Make good money as you watch people destroy each other.

A good example is provided in By Way of Deception by former Mossad Agent Victor Ostrowsky, where the Mossad provided training to both government forces and Tamil rebels in Sri Lanka. He tells the story where troops from both sides happened to be undergoing training in Israel, and someone goofed in the scheduling and had them on the same military base at the same time. Ostrowsky said that the Israeli instructors had some tense moments when both groups were engaged in physical training one day on the same athletic field, and were running towards each other with a fence between them. Fortunately they did not recognize each other as they passed by.

Sometimes this game can be combined with another game called "reductionism." Here is how it works. First, find one side with money, and another side that is a potential threat. Use agents provocateurs to stir up open warfare. Work with both sides. The fact that you are not making money from either one or both sides is counterbalanced by the fact that you like seeing each side destroy each other. Ostrowsky talks about how the Mossad played this game between Christians and Muslims in Lebanon. As another example, in French history Cardinal de Richelieu of Three Musketeers fame was famous for the way he ruthlessly played his real or perceived enemies off against each other, often providing covert aid to each side. He kept hostilities simmering behind the Thirty Years War, which completely ruined his perceived rival Germany.


A slick version of the agents provocateurs game is to attack yourself. Since ordinary honest people find it difficult to fathom government leaders who can sink so low that they are willing to kill their own people and destroy their own buildings, crooked leaders can blame the attacks on their enemies and frequently get away with it. This blame game gives them a justification to go into a warlike mode, which in turn can give them further justification to suppress civil liberties, stifle dissent, and aggrandize their power base.

In my Critical Issues section I discuss the strange anomalies behind the Oklahoma City bombing and the likely controlled demolition World Trade Center Tower collapses.

Many thinking Americans believe that the Oklahoma City bombing was not only intended to falsely discredit the militia movement in America, but also act as a dress rehearsal for 9-11. They also believe that 9-11 was fabricated to falsely blame Arab militants and create a pretext for America's invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

Wag the dog

In the "Wag the Dog" game, government starts hyping perceived threats to a crisis level in order to deflect attention from problems on the home front. . This phrase comes from a fictional movie based on a widely held public opinion that President Clinton ordered some cruise missile strikes against alleged Al Qaeda sites in Afghanistan and increased air attacks on Iraq in an effort to deflect attention on the home front. He faced impeachment over what he got caught doing on the carpet of the oval office with his Jewish intern Monica Lewinsky.

When "Wag the Dog" involves creating a war somewhere, it often gives political leaders an excuse to clamp down on dissent at home. Both the U.S. and Israel have basket case economies, and their leaders may require "wag the dog" to not only to deflect attention, but also to try to save face if either or both economies go into hyperinflationary meltdown.

Rather than secrecy, centralization, and suppression as answers to social and political problems, I explain why political decentralization and openness may be a better long term answer:

Decentralization as a remedy

Libertarians are quick to point out that unscrupulous gamesmanship seems to correlate with increasing size, power, centralization, compartmentalization, and levels of management in government. Few Americans grasp that the same problems and solutions that apply to excessive business centralization can also apply to government.

The vast majority of universities teach macroeconomic theory that justifies a busybody central bank, big government intervention, and corporate central planning. This theory is disconnected from microeconomic theory and business realities. In fact, in his lectures, the late Austrian economist Dr. Murray Rothbard commented that while "microeconomic theory is in good shape," in contrast, "macro economic theory is screwed up."

We can find numerous historical examples where political secession has been handled in a calm, peaceful, and mutually successful way.

Earlier I mentioned how America's mother country, Britain, decided to handle her other "children" after the American Revolution. By granting Canada, New Zealand, and Australia complete autonomy, these countries have reduced layers of government and have become more responsive to their own internal needs. At the same time, they have enjoyed favored trade relations with the mother country and have rallied to her defense in time of crisis.

Sometimes after growing up, leaving home, and becoming self-sufficient, the children can help the parents in return.

Another good example involves the Scandinavian countries. Dr. Lothrop Stoddard, in his classic work Racial Realities in Europe, talks about how Norway demanded independence from Sweden in 1905. At first the Swedish leaders considered armed invasion, since Norway had only half Sweden's population. Contrary to some popular stereotypes about Nordic berserker rage, Stoddard points out that these Nordic leaders in actuality showed tremendous level-headedness and sensibility. They decided to let Norway go peacefully. Stoddard observed that this level-headedness and chivalry is all too often absent in other places in Europe, particularly the Balkans.

Today Norway and Sweden are the best of friends on many levels, proving that political secession can be reversed over time and replaced with warm friendship on many different levels of sovereignty. On many economic levels, Norway and Sweden act as if they are still the same country. A Norwegian citizen can cross over into Sweden and work in any job, and vice versa. Both countries also cooperate on a national strategic level. As one example, I am aware that both Norway and Sweden shared the cost of hollowing out the interior of a mountain to store strategic petroleum reserves.

I personally think that the policy of peaceful secession rather than forcing unity at all costs was good for both countries. For starters, they are both relatively small countries, and could hardly have afforded a war that might have turned into a very costly fratricidal conflict. Secondly, the secession helped bolster the distinctive Nordic national identity and pride of each country.

Prior to the demand for independence, Norwegian nationalism got a shot in the arm from the unearthing of Viking ships in burial mounds. Norwegian nationalism and consciousness of an ancient shared heritage has helped to provide a check against excessive Swedish cosmopolitanism which in turn has helped to preserve the Swedish national identity.

For all the problems that Norway and Sweden are suffering today from Third World immigration, to include the complete takeover of certain Scandinavian towns by dark aliens, the swamping of the welfare system by swarthy hordes, and the ten to one hundred fold increase in rapes of Nordic women in various multiracial areas, I believe that the problems would be only that much worse today if Sweden had kept Norway united through military conquest and then saturated the Norwegians with anti-national, integration propaganda. The anti-nationalistic poison that the Swedes might have dumped on Norwegians to forcefully integrate them into their society would have ultimately blown back on themselves.

There are other examples of peaceful secession between Nordic countries worth mentioning. In 1945 Iceland asked Denmark for independence. Denmark responded by basically saying in effect "God bless you and good luck," and even sent a naval destroyer to return to Iceland from its national archives original manuscripts of medieval Icelandic sagas. Similarly, Sweden has historically been respectful of Finnish requests for more autonomy.

One might argue that secessionism has actually been fairly normal and even desirable in the history of Nordic and closely related Celtic peoples, to include Dutch secession from the Spanish Empire, and periodic bouts of Scottish and Irish secession from the British. One might argue that the way the South was handled just before, during, and after the War Between the States was tragic, vicious, and abnormal by many historical standards, and has provided a basis for many of the major problems we face today.

The U.S. Government has granted independence to the Philippines, but in the current political environment it is hardly likely it will consider granting peaceful secession to Idaho, Montana, New Hampshire, the South, or any other state or region.

Although the War Between the States originally started over very legitimate Southern grievances regarding tariffs and state's rights, Lincoln deliberately entangled these issues with the slavery and white vs. black racial relations issue to create a horrible neo-Jacobin ideological mess. The United States became the only major "civilized" country in the 19th century that was incapable of resolving its slavery problem in a peaceful manner. France, England, Brazil, and others did it peacefully, but America had to destroy half the wealth of the South and kill 640,000 of its finest. I would invite the reader to visit the King Lincoln archives at as well as more of my own commentary related to this topic in my History Reinterpreted section.


Flag carried by the 3rd Maryland Regiment at the Battle of Cowpens, S. Carolina, 1781

© America First Books
America First Books offers many viewpoints that are not necessarily its own in order to provide additional perspectives.