America’s Slide Toward Fascism | George Smith

The article that is linked below may be the best analysis of what our rulers in the United States will never understand about their responsibility to govern.  All of what Ayn Rand has to say, in this piece by George Smith for libertarianism.org and republished at fee.org (the Foundation for Economic Education), are thoughts that have stewed in my mind but never come to words, at least not words as clearly expressed as she did.

As Smith says: Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy.  It has always been about the individual vs. the state.

In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: “Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme—collectivism.”  Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: “The Fascist New Frontier” (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus” (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism).  Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as “socialism for big business.”  Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism.

She warns especially against choosing the middle of the road between the two extremes of the same collectivism, a position that gives us, as I have written elsewhere, the Pigrolet.

Read Smith’s article here: https://fee.org/articles/ayn-rand-predicted-an-american-slide-toward-fascism/.  If left to me I would say no one should graduate high school without understanding this analysis and what is behind it.

=David A. Woodbury=

Note: This article was originally added here in October 2017. It has been brought forward because it remains timely if not downright urgent with the unbelievable incompetence-to-govern among all who hold office in the nation’s capital. If it becomes unavailable at the FEE link in the preceding paragraph, it is available in a downloadable PDF file by clicking below.

We Are a Conquered People

UNITED WE STAND. DIVIDED WE CRUMBLE.

The states of America which became united in one federation still exist in name and with regional eccentricities that each takes pride in. People in every state still entertain the delusion that they are separately-governed entities, voluntarily united into one country.

Most of us have accepted the reality that the states are, in fact, cemented like stones in a chimney. A geologist might think of a kind of rock called conglomerate, or another called porphyry.

“Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice.”

Barry Goldwater

A rational person supports the Union of these states, as indeed I do. There are several things that half or more of us throughout the country have not accepted, however, even though we are individually powerless to resist:

  • that the three constitutional branches of the federal government and the fourth unconstitutional (unelected regulatory/bureaucratic) branch have, since at least 1912, conspired together to created a massive federal monster
  • that real money has been replaced, fifty years ago by promises to pay (federal reserve notes) and lately by digital “currency,” all of this to serve the banking “industry” and its shadowy controllers (not meaning comptrollers) as well as to serve the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of virtually all transactions and savings
  • that insulting the political elite — “calling a spade a spade” or naming the white elephant in the room — results in public shaming, on-line surveillance, and punishment by the IRS
  • that it has become “subversive” to say or publish anything calling into question the motives of those who love and control our colossal, smothering, unsustainable federal government
  • that freedom, last experienced in this country in the 1960s, has become but a memory for those of us who experienced it and a dream for those who can only imagine it
  • that almost all electronic and “broadcast” media are political organs of the now-dominant political party, making them no more objective than Izvestia and Pravda in the old U.S.S.R.
  • that we who believe in and support the ideals that this country originally stood for are now branded as racists, extremists, and radicals by those who are the true racists, extremists, and radicals

I REMEMBER FREEDOM. I WAS AN ADULT IN THE 1960s.

There are those within the population, younger than I, who have been schooled in liberty as I was and who understand it more as an ideal than an experience. And there are many, both younger and older than I, who have given it little thought until recently, when the loss of freedom in one form or another has come around to affect them personally, and that more or less unexpectedly.

The mounting threats to personal possession of “weapons of war” is an example of that. By contrast with today’s hysteria over guns, my first firearm was a Marlin .22-caliber single shot rifle which I earned when I was ten years old by selling Christmas cards in Gomer, Ohio. I told my customers what I was working toward, and they supported my objective. I still have the Boys Life magazine with the ad for Junior Sales Club of America, which provided the Christmas cards and the gun. It was shipped to a local hardware store in my name, and my father had to go with me and sign for it to pick it up. I haven’t shot anyone with it yet.

The growth of government is in direct proportion to the erosion of our liberties.

State governments have necessarily become monsters in step with the fattening of the federal government.

Few Americans younger than I have a perspective on the growth of the federal behemoth or have any idea of the origins of each component of its growth. They don’t know the politics behind each growth spurt.

I remember the debates about “revenue sharing” during President Nixon’s first term. The federal government identified a problem that we didn’t know we had and enacted a fix that we didn’t need. Some states, poorly managed for many years and dominated by vocal, indignant politicians, complained that other states had more money per capita to spend — for whatever reason — perhaps, even, because they were better managed.

Someone put before Nixon (who was a student of Keynes, remember?) what he and Congress deemed was a great idea: Force all states to contribute to a special federal fund more or less in proportion to population, and the federal government would then return that revenue — all of it, they promised — by sharing it with those states where it was most needed for specific purposes.

Most states bought into the plan, because it was tailored to assure that those jurisdictions in need of seaport development, for instance, would receive special grants for that purpose while other states needing irrigation for agriculture would make out better than they would without federal “sharing.” From this came the common theme today that, whenever a bond issue is floated it describes the federal matching funds which — Hey, listen up! — is money we can’t turn down!

That is how state governments have been forced, financially, to mimic the growth of the federal monster and is but one example from my adult lifetime. As with the Social Security program and everything else, the promises made to get it past suspicious voters or suspicious representatives in Congress were honored for about the duration of one president’s administration and then abandoned as the program sank into the muck of government control.

With each such program, of course, come requirements unrelated to the purpose for which the money is distributed. Highway funds include mandates that apply to public schools, agricultural grants include mandates affecting medical care for the elderly, and so on.

Resistance is Futile.

For those who want to participate in a revolution against the burgeoning totalitarian regime, it would be wrong for the “foot soldiers” of the revolution to confront the government’s grunts — the local police, the National Guard, the professional military. For the most part, the police, the Guard, the standing army are us — our neighbors, our cousins, our children, our personal friends. Any rabble in arms, in a confrontation with such professional force, doesn’t stand a chance.

I think it has been folly for foot soldiers in any army in any country in any epoch to participate in a clash of front-line troops. The people at the top are your enemy. They will fight a war of attrition using the soldiers at their command. An army with any sense would try to storm the residences of the powerful, not the front lines of their protectors.

Don’t fight in the streets. The real enemy is at the top. But Washington, D.C., is off limits. Any attack there is too costly. Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, said that deception and trickery are the highest and most effective strategies against an opponent. Guess what; those tactics have already been employed against the United States from within. They have already won.

For the next generation or two, half the people across the 50 states will blame the country’s rot on all that came before 2021. The other half will blame it on all that happened since.

It’s My Fault.

I blame it on us. Since the 1970s we’ve accepted the lust for egalitarian results over the uncertainties attending equal opportunity. We’ve opted for indoctrination in the dream of fairness over education in reality. We haven’t understood what we have been voting for, what — not who — we have chosen in our elections. We have chosen unrealistic expectations of fluffy lives and guarantees of happiness. We have vilified the very idea of individual responsibility and pursued rights by group — rights to things and conditions that have a cost but not a cost that those in the group must pay.

We have turned the original idea that every individual has affirmative rights — the right to do whatever one might decide to do without interference from others or the government (id est, those same others) so long as what I do doesn’t infringe on the rights of the next guy — into a body of negative rights — the right to be free from something rather than free to do something. In this body of negative rights, we would have the right to be free from illness, free from insult, free from hunger, cold, heat, inconvenience of any sort. I would have the right to be free from restrictions on my personal expression even when my personal expression forces you to stand aside or participate in it or pay for it.

Conquest In Various Forms

The American continents were simply overrun by outsiders in the latter half of the Second Millennium — overwhelmed by a population supplied with superior tools, weapons, and governmental imperative. In the novel, Cold Morning Shadow, the 20th-Centtury American Indian, Henry Clay Comosh, acknowledges that fact, echoing an earlier comment by a Japanese survivor of World War II: We are a conquered people.

There are various summations of the rules for destroying a country, available by searching the internet. Look up Saul Alinsky, Noam Chomsky, Mao Tse-Tung, and of course Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin. These demons in Satan’s service well understood how to transform a country from within by changing the people’s expectations and not so much with weapons of war, although a little of that is needed to set the populace on edge.

You Mean, Do Nothing?

While I think it is folly to attack the federal monster by shooting guns in the streets with the hope of changing things back to the way they were in , 1960, 1900, 1840, or 1780, I also think it is useless for an individual like me to try to topple the people at the top, even though that is the appropriate target and the way to reduce casualties. A few hundred years ago a ruler could surround himself with some protection, but he was necessarily far more exposed, while traveling, for instance, than today. Even though the ones at the top are the symbols of political power and that is who presumably must be removed and replaced (with whom…?), I think it is practically impossible now to do it.

I also think those in top political office do not, in fact, possess much power. They are manipulated by the ones literally in the shadows who run the political parties and who control the money. There is plenty of speculation out there, not to mention evidence, around who those people are; I don’t need to name anyone.

It is most sad that any “revolution” against the collectivist powers in the federal government, even should it succeed in supplanting the body of the monster, will be a devolution into a comparable monster. This is made plain in Eric Hoffer’s The True Believer, discussed in detail at this page. and at this Farnam Street site. A revolution based on good ideas needs to generate fervor in the masses. The masses need leaders. People interested in becoming revolutionary leaders have their own self-interest at heart more than the ideals that brought them to power.

Ave, Don Quixote!

The Washington, D.C., of tour books and picture post cards was built upon a swamp, we’re told, an exceedingly accurate representation of the government that has since formed within the slime and the goo. President Trump was elected to clean it out.

That swamp, though, is smeared across a bedrock of limestone hardness — a deep state which no swamp-cleaning can touch. Donald Trump wasn’t able to expose, much less scratch the veneer of that mantle. Its retribution for his presumption to hammer at its surface was so ferocious and so frightening to his close allies that he was left standing alone in tatters and bewilderment. Ave, Don Quixote, and God bless you. You’re the bravest man ever to hold public office in the United States of America.

R.I.P. U.S.A.

In the movie, “Catch-22,” after the Italian brothel has been destroyed, Captain Yossarian finds an old man sitting in the rubble. The gist of the old Italian’s comment to the American is that Italy has been conquered, so now he must direct his loyalty to the conquerors.

Unlike the old Italian in the movie, I am not going to feign loyalty to the powers that will rule the United States for the rest of my lifetime. But for my own peace I acknowledge that we are a conquered people. It happened just as the patron saints of collectivism said it would.

This isn’t surrender on my part. This isn’t capitulation. It’s marking time. Yes, some of us can rise up and resist. I pray that, for those who participate in any uprising, it will be a smart resistance and not some goofiness about masks and vaccines. I fear that much of the energy needed to rescue the United States from the conquerors has been dissipated in useless squabbles over the virus.

My own days of guerrilla fighting are over. I wore sergeant’s stripes in the Army during the Vietnam non-war and I’m now in my eighth decade. My mission henceforth is, as Albert Jay Nock argued: to document, edify, and exhort — to do exactly what you see here.

Restoring any semblance of the country I was born into will truly take a war of ideas. The opposing sides are individualism against collectivism, “Truth forever on the threshold, Wrong forever on the throne.”* The idea of freedom needs to take hold once more. That won’t occur in my lifetime. For the rest of my life, though, I’m keeping my guns, cleaned, loaded, and unregistered.

=David A. Woodbury= 18 January 2021

*James Russell Lowell in the poem “The Present Crisis” — 1845. The hymnal of the Episcopal church included a hymn based on Lowell’s poem, beginning with the line, “Once to every man and nation comes the moment to decide…” The hymn was purged when an updated hymnal was published in 1982.

The Big Guy’s 1260 days

During the covid-19 pandemic we talked about herd immunity, a principle that we normally apply to other species.  Herd immunity is what permitted humans to overcome past plagues and other odious diseases before people understood disease transmission and control.  Population control of a species is good for the species as a whole but that overlooks — ignores, really — the fundamental difference between us and every other creature that lives and moves and has its being: the individual.

Respect for the individual person has reached its highest expression in the founding documents of the United States.  Those founding documents created a republic, precisely to assure that the individual is sovereign, that the rights guaranteed in the Constitution apply to each person individually and that no group of people (a democracy) can assert group rights that strip one of individual rights.

Grouping people according to arbitrary criteria in order to apply group solutions to group problems — identity politics, some now call it — is one way to keep us divided and angry, jealous and submissive.  It is assuredly one way to trample individual rights with group privileges.

People who are content to submit to group control, to act according to expectations of an arbitrarily-defined community, (the “international banking community” for instance, or the black “community”), are participating in herd behavior.

The Big Guy

When his son was selling access to the former Vice President, Joe Biden was happy to be known as The Big Guy. This is what you voted for in November 2020 — in fact, a cadre of old geezers* slower and dumber than I am — to represent and govern you and invent problems that you don’t have that require solutions you don’t need.  Enough of you asked for it — maybe not enough to legitimately elect the regime of 2021, but enough that it took only a little cheating to tip the balance.  Now you will live with it.  You young people can go ahead and run the world now through your elected oldsters.

It won’t be Joseph Robinette Biden for long — I would say, optimistically for him — 42 months, (a time, two times, and half a time; 1260 days — let those who recognize these references understand what I’m saying).  Those who will control him during his tenure — for The Big Guy himself certainly will not be running the show — are aware of some quiet, efficient ways to remove him by a mysterious suicide or other “unattended” death, as those same people know who eliminated Jeffrey Epstein and Justice Scalia, to name two ready examples.

This “adjustment” in regency, the removal of Joe Biden at the crucial moment, will position newly-ascended President Harris nicely, around mid-year 2024, to breeze into two full terms beyond finishing Biden’s term as President.  During that interim half year she will appoint a VP approved by her financiers, whom she will carry forward into her first full term as the first female elected President.

You don’t for a moment believe, do you, that Kamala Harris will wait for an election to move herself into the presidency? It’s already hers for the taking. It only remains for the controllers of the Biden-Harris team to remove the Big Guy at the best moment. Even now her handlers — the puppeteers of the Executive Branch — are writing the hundreds of executive order that she will sign the day she is sworn in to assume the remainder of the Biden term. I expect that the Democrat-controlled propaganda machine, (the “news” media), will guide the nation through mourning Joe Biden’s “unexpected” death in the summer of 2024.

Vice President Harris is already the next President, poised to take office 1260 days from Joe’s faux election or 1260 days from his inauguration — I haven’t figured out which, nor does it matter which. I expect that the Democrat-controlled propaganda machine, (the “news” media), with its pretensions of enlightenment, honesty, and sincerity, will guide the nation through mourning Joe Biden’s “unexpected” death in the late spring or early summer of 2024.

Kamala’s ascendency at that time will carry her through the year 2032, when her second full term as President will come to a close.  The divine implications of the Biden-Harris era remain to be revealed, but the year 2032 coincides nicely with the 2000th anniversary of the Crucifixion.

=David A. Woodbury= 18 January 2021

*Biden-Pelosi-Shumer, combined age at inauguration: 222 years. I would rather sit and suffer through old movies of The Three Stooges than watch anything featuring those three. At least the Stooges knew that they were a joke.

Four Little Words

February 24, 2018

This article was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education on FEE.org. Use this link to see the original article. It is pertinent as we cross over into 2021 because the new administration in the White House will have much to say about guns.

In the wake of yet another mass shooting in a public school, a host of familiar recommendations have resurfaced about how to “prevent this from ever happening again.” Predictably, both conservatives and liberals are looking to the government for a solution. Americans have somehow arrived at a point where they cannot conceive of human action that is not either prohibited, mandated, or, at the very least, centrally planned.

The first problem is the goal. It is absurdly unrealistic to believe any set of rules is going to prevent anything from “ever happening again.” If you doubt that, I invite you to examine the war on drugs. Many decades ago, politicians decided American citizens taking heroin was never going to happen again. They banned that drug completely. You aren’t allowed to possess or sell it under any circumstances. Not after a background check. Not with a doctor’s prescription. Not at all.

Today, that drug is at the center of what the same government calls an opioid “epidemic.” Epidemic. So much for heroin overdoses “never happening again.”

Yet, despite this evidence, liberals still suggest what they’ve always suggested: further restrictions on gun ownership. A good portion of them believes that only government employees charged with national defense or public safety should be allowed to carry guns. Ban them completely for the civilian population, they say, and mass shooters won’t be able to obtain them.

You know, just like drugs.

The conservative answer to liberal prohibition (oxymoron?) is to “arm and train the teachers.” While no one has come out and suggested mandating teachers carry firearms or be trained in using them, every suggestion seems to suggest “we” (i.e., the government) need to do the arming and training.

Here’s a little newsflash for both sides: the teachers are already armed.

No, not every teacher carries firearms and perhaps not as high a percentage of teachers do so as the percentage of the general population that carries. But there are over three million teachers in public schools and some percentage of them have concealed carry permits. It would be unlikely that there aren’t at least some members of every faculty in America that have a concealed carry permit.

It’s not a matter of arming teachers, but rather to cease disarming them when they report to work.

To the extent conservatives acknowledge this option at all, they seem trapped in the same box as liberals in feeling the need to point out there are teachers who are also retired military, in the reserves, or former law enforcement officers. That’s probably true. But there are also tens of millions of Americans, and likely tens of thousands of teachers, who both own firearms and never served in the military or police.

An armed civilian population constitutes that “well-regulated militia” the 2nd Amendment refers to. What makes a militia a militia is the members not being part of the regular army.

I’ve often said the greatest danger to liberty is not a foreign army, terrorists, or even a homegrown tyrant. It is four little words. And they aren’t, “Up against the wall!” That comes later.

They are, “Something must be done.”

Instead of the government “doing something” about mass shootings, it should stop doing something. It should stop prohibiting teachers from carrying into school the same firearms they are licensed and trusted to carry in most other places. It is the path of least resistance to providing realistic protection for schoolchildren. It requires no one to do anything they aren’t already doing.

No, this will not ensure that mass shootings “never happen again.” Nothing will. And not every teacher with a firearm, confronted with the pressure of an active shooter situation, will calmly dispatch the shooter. But as we saw in Parkland, FL, neither will every trained police officer.

Broward County Sheriff’s deputy Scot Peterson was assigned to the school as a resource officer and was on the school grounds during the entire incident. He heard the shooting inside the school, but videos show he remained outside for four minutes during the six-minute mass shooting, which claimed seventeen lives.

Peterson wasn’t alone. Three other armed law enforcement officers were on the scene and failed to enter the school before backup arrived.

This wasn’t the only government failure in this case. Local police had been called to Nikolas Cruz’s home thirty-nine times over the past seven years, according to documents obtained by CNN. Members of the family he lived with after his mother’s death report he routinely introduced himself as “a school shooter.”

It wasn’t just local police who dropped the ball on Cruz. The FBI was warned multiple times about Cruz, including by “an unidentified woman close to Cruz” who called the FBI a month before the incident, warning of her fears he would “get into a school and just shoot the place up.” The FBI was also called in September 2017 by a video blogger who said a user named “nikolas cruz” had posted a comment on one of his videos, saying, “I”m going to be a professional school shooter.”

Hopefully, this will inspire more than mere outrage at government incompetence. Americans should take a long, hard look at how much of what should be personal and private they have allowed government to become involved in and how badly it has failed them. And if government can’t run education or health care, it certainly shouldn’t be trusted with something as important as the defense of one’s own life.

Thomas Paine began his pamphlet, Common Sense, widely credited with convincing a critical mass of colonists to support American independence, by making a crucial distinction:

“SOME writers have so confounded society with government, as to leave little or no distinction between them; whereas they are not only different, but have different origins.” He went on to say, “Society in every state is a blessing, but Government, even in its best state, is but a necessary evil; in its worst state an intolerable one.”

It’s time Americans remembered the miracles possible within that blessing called society and the limitations of an institution based on nothing more than consolidated brute force. Mass shootings are horrible situations under any circumstances, but they may be rendered less horrible if the victims have options other than to call the government and wait.

States that haven’t already should repeal any laws necessary to give the right and the responsibility for self-defense back to teachers and other school employees. Allowing them the option to carry firearms will both act as a deterrent to future shooters and give teachers a reasonable chance to defend their students and themselves the next time the need arises.

The government has had its chance. It has failed. It’s time to try a little freedom.

Tom Mullen
Tom Mullen

Tom Mullen is the author of Where Do Conservatives and Liberals Come From? And What Ever Happened to Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness? and A Return to Common  Sense: Reawakening Liberty in the Inhabitants of America. For more information and more of Tom’s writing, visit www.tommullen.net.

Your Day in Court

“If it weren’t for lawyers, dear boy, we wouldn’t need lawyers.”

possibly from the movie “A Murder of Crows” (1998)

Many Americans with ordinary legal disputes never get the trial they thought they were guaranteed by the Constitution. I’m just going to put this link here and let you read the excellent article that it points to.

https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2016/11/24/why-you-wont-get-your-day-in-court/

NOTE: The article’s no-frills TEXT IS PROVIDED at this page IN THE EVENT THE ARTICLE LINKED TO above HAS BEEN REMOVED FROM ITS ORIGINAL SITE BY THE NEW YOrk REVIEW OR OTHERWISE CANNOT BE ACCESSED.


=David A. Woodbury=

It’s My Fault

If you are discouraged by the apparent choices in the general election this November — Donald Trump versus an equally unappealing Joe Biden, Senator Necktie versus some vitriolic challenger who can’t find Peru or Poland on a map, or if a House of Representatives (not to mention a state legislature) full of posturing lawyers horrifies you — then look to yourself as the reason for your dismay.

I did, and I accepted the blame.

Most voters are still registered as Democrats or Republicans.  Most don’t realize that a political party is a private club, not an arm of government. Anyone can start a new party. Even the two big ones need members like you in order to survive.

Most people don’t realize that each house of Congress follows rules that it has constructed for itself, designed to inflate the power of the temporarily-dominant party and magnify the influence of someone from a district other than your own.  (I recently sent a note to my congressman reminding him that the Speaker of the House is his equal in that body, not his boss.  The Speaker is his boss only within the private club that is their party, I wrote.  It was a waste of words, but I felt better after mailing it to him.)

As a voter, it is you who must take charge of the miserable choices you have in an election.  Term limits is an excellent idea, but forget it.  It will never be made law in any legislative body to which it would apply.

You have a couple of choices and, some think, only a short period in which to take charge; a short time remaining before this country is irredeemably demolished.

Here are your choices:

OPTION 1.

Become seriously active in the private club that counts you as a member.  Enlist others and overwhelm your state’s convention.  Insist that term limits start there.  It’s comforting, within the party, to make sure that every good old incumbent senator and representative gets re-nominated term after term.  After all, incumbents are virtual shoo-ins for re-election.  It’s up to the party members to assure that they don’t become permanent fixtures in a stagnant Congress.

Make the effort to overwhelm the entrenched powers in your state party if you believe that your party is worth sustaining and if you have faith that it deserves your effort.  Unless you become an activist within the party that you support and unless you work with others to take charge of the party’s rules that always favor the good-old-boys system, things will not change.  You will have the same disgusting choices in every election.

I, for one, cannot vote for the challenger in an election just for the sake of opposing the incumbent.  If the challenger’s party promotes policies that I deem abhorrent, then I find myself voting to re-elect the one who should have been replaced in the party’s own convention after two or three terms.  I, just as you, am stuck with the lesser of two evils.

OPTION 2.

Don’t have the time or the energy to work within the party?  Remove yourself from the party’s membership rolls instead.  This is what I did.  Widespread disengagement would be devastating to a party, (although not as effective as loss of its revenue streams, of which I was not one).  Become either unenrolled or enroll yourself in a third party.

I did this a few years ago.  I left one of the dominant parties and enrolled as a Libertarian.  Within a year, the state legislature de-certified the Libertarian Party since, apparently, it was becoming a threat to the Democrats and Republicans, and they paused for some bipartisan cooperation to squelch it.

The Libertarian Party, suppressed for now by the dominant parties, still exists in this state, sacrificing its resources in desperate court proceedings to challenge the legislature’s action.

Where that leaves us

I’ve fallen for it in the past. I wish the voters in some other district would throw out their rep in Congress, who is such a useless piece of shat, an idiot, a crony of mega-corporations, but I kind of like our own rep — after all, I met him once — and so I vote mine back in. And that’s exactly what happens in every other district in the country whose rep I wish was kicked out of Congress.

If we’re going to clean it up, we need to set aside our ardor for our own rep and vote him out too. Our only hope there is that a popular uprising to clean house — meaning the House of Representatives (and the Senate) — would sweep the country.

I don’t see that happening.

#Dexit and #Rexit

If you take your name off a party’s rolls, that doesn’t make you an “independent.”  That term belongs to those candidates who, like Senators Angus King of Maine and Bernie Sanders of Vermont, are wealthy enough to be independent of party support in order to become elected.  They do not evince independent thinking, though; their politics are consistently aligned with the party each would have joined if he needed money.  As a voter with no party affiliation you are merely unenrolled.

Those are your options, apart from remaining a silent member — a silent number — in one of the two decrepit, undeserving dominant parties.  Those are your options, that is, unless you are committed to becoming violent and contributing to the anarchy that would destroy the country without a care for what might arise in the ensuing vacuum.

Undermining the dominant parties for the purpose either of reforming or replacing them is a process.  Wrenching power from those who will not relinquish it gracefully, and restoring a citizen legislature, takes finesse, not fire.  It needs many voices and many hands.  I am only one.  I could be more effective, I suppose, as a destructive rioter.  But I want a say in the outcome.  I can be more helpful as a peaceful individual rights activist.  (This message is a part of my activism.)

The two dominant parties are controlled by abstruse forces that confidently decide whose names you will see on the ballot.  Their objective is not to present competent candidates for election but to assure that party loyalists are rewarded with nominations.  That’s why we had the Bush dynasty and nearly had the Clinton dynasty.  That’s why what seem like the worst possible candidates rise to the top.  That’s why the Republicans almost had (I shudder to think it) Mitt Romney on the ballot in 2016, until the party controllers’ choice was steamrolled by Donald Trump.  That’s why, to oppose Trump, the Democrats have a candidate who needs to be propped up like wax museum mannequin, but at least, unlike Trump, he can be manipulated by the puppeteers within the Party.

I am convinced that we, who have the power to do it, need to abolish the two big parties, and doing so is as easy as exercising our influence under Option 1 or Option 2. We have no other peaceful way to relieve the them of their stranglehold on our elections. Unenrolling en masse and depriving them of members — compliant peons — is the one productive way I can think of to do it. #Dexit and #Rexit — that’s my proposal.

=David A. Woodbury=

America’s Slide Toward Fascism

The article that is linked below may be the best analysis of what our rulers in the United States will never understand about their responsibility to govern.  All of what Ayn Rand has to say, in this piece by George Smith for libertarianism.org and republished at fee.org (the Foundation for Economic Education), are thoughts that have stewed in my mind but never come to words, at least not words as clearly expressed as she did.

As Smith says: Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy.  It has always been about the individual vs. the state.

In a letter written on March 19, 1944, Ayn Rand remarked: “Fascism, Nazism, Communism and Socialism are only superficial variations of the same monstrous theme—collectivism.”  Rand would later expand on this insight in various articles, most notably in two of her lectures at the Ford Hall Forum in Boston: “The Fascist New Frontier” (Dec. 16, 1962, published as a booklet by the Nathaniel Branden Institute in 1963); and “The New Fascism: Rule by Consensus” (April 18, 1965, published as Chapter 20 in Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal [CUI] by New American Library in 1967).

Rand knew better than to accept the traditional left-right dichotomy between socialism (or communism) and fascism, according to which socialism is the extreme version of left-ideology and fascism is the extreme version of right-ideology (i.e., capitalism).  Indeed, in The Ayn Rand Letter (Nov. 8, 1971) she characterized fascism as “socialism for big business.”  Both are variants of statism, in contrast to a free country based on individual rights and laissez-faire capitalism.

She warns especially against choosing the middle of the road between the two extremes of the same collectivism, a position that gives us, as I have written elsewhere, the Pigrolet.

Read Smith’s article here: https://fee.org/articles/ayn-rand-predicted-an-american-slide-toward-fascism/.  If left to me I would say no one should graduate high school without understanding this analysis and what is behind it.

=David A. Woodbury=

Falkland’s Maxim and Hijacking Language for Politics

by Albert Jay Nock
Titled: ‘A Little Conserva-tive’ in the Atlantic Monthly, October, 1936

I often think it’s comical
How Nature always does contrive
That every boy and every gal
That’s born into the world alive
Is either a little Liber-al
Or else a little Conserva-tive.

-W. S. Gilbert, Iolanthe

Gilbert’s lines recall Professor Huxley’s pungent observation on the disadvantages of going about the world unlabeled.  Early in life, he says, he perceived that society regards an unlabeled person as a potential menace, somewhat as the police regard an unmuzzled dog.  Therefore, not finding any existing label to suit him, he took thought and invented one.  The main difference between himself and other people, as he saw it, was that they seemed to be quite sure of a number of things about which he not only was not sure, but also suspected that he never could be sure.  Their minds ran in the wake of the first-century Gnostic sects, while his did not.  Hence the term agnostic suggested itself to him as descriptive of this difference, and he accordingly adopted it as a label.

The great weight of Huxley’s authority forced the term into common currency, where ignorance promptly twisted it into a sense exactly contrary to its philology, and contrary to the original intention which Huxley gave it.  To-day when a person says he is an agnostic, it is ten to one he means that he knows the thing at issue is not so.  If he says, for instance, as one of my acquaintances did the other day, that he is a thoroughgoing agnostic concerning the existence of God and the persistence of consciousness after death, he means that he is sure there is no God and that consciousness does not persist.  The term is so regularly used to imply a negative certainty that its value as a label, a distinguishing mark, is false and misleading.  It is like the hotel labels which unscrupulous tourists in Paris buy by the dozen and stick on their luggage as evidence that they have visited places where they have never been, and put up at hotels which they have never seen.

Something like this appears to be the common destiny of labels.  It brings to mind the fine saying of Homer which I have so often quoted, that “the range of words is wide; words may tend this way or that way.”  There are few more interesting pursuits than that of examining the common popular connotation of labels, and observing how regularly it runs the full course from sense to nonsense, or from infamy to respectability, and back again.  For example, our voting population is divided into two major groups, Republicans and Democrats; how many of them know anything about the history of their labels?  How many could describe the differentiations that the significance of these labels indicates, or could attach any actual significance whatever to them, except in wholly irrelevant terms, usually in terms which in the last analysis turn out to mean habit, money, or jobs?

The Republicans went into the pangs of parturition at Cleveland last summer, and brought forth a sorry mouse.  As one of my friends put it, about the only thing their platform did not do was to give the Democratic Administration a formal endorsement.  As far as one can see, all their pledges amount to is a promise to do what the Democrats have been doing, but to do it better.

Similarly the new Russian constitution seems to show merely that Stalin thinks it is easier to run things the way Mark Hanna used to run them than the way they have been run in Russia hitherto.  No doubt he is right about that; but meanwhile one wonders what the word bolshevik will mean to the average Russian fifty years from now, and how many voters in holy Russia will know the history of the word, or even know that it has a history.

Reflections like these make one quite doubtful about Huxley’s position concerning the balance of advantage and disadvantage in the matter of labels.  His misfortune was in his honesty; he invented a label that precisely described him, and he could hardly have fared worse if he had worn none, for on the one hand ignorance at once invested it with an alien meaning, while on the other hand prejudice converted it into a term of reproach.  I have had a curious experience lately which has caused me to ponder afresh upon these matters, and which I am now tempted to relate.

For more than a quarter of a century I have been known, in so far as I was known at all, as a radical. It came about in this way:  I was always interested in the rerum cognoscere causas, 1 liking to get down below the surface of things and examine their roots.  This was purely a natural disposition, reflecting no credit whatever on me, for I was born with it.  Any success I had in its indulgence brought me the happiness that Lucretius observed as attaching to such pursuits, and I indulged it only for that reason, never seeking, and indeed never getting, any other reward.  Therefore when the time came for me to describe myself by some convenient label, I took one which marked the quality that I thought chiefly differentiated me from most of the people I saw around me.  They habitually gave themselves a superficial account of things, which was all very well if it suited them to do so, but I preferred always to give myself a root-account of things, if I could get it.  Therefore, by way of a general designation, it seemed appropriate to label myself a radical.  Likewise, also, when occasion required that I should label myself with reference to particular social theories or doctrines, the same decent respect for accuracy led me to describe myself as an anarchist, an individualist, and a single-taxer.

On the positive side, my anarchism came mainly as a corollary to the estimate of human capacity for self-improvement which I had picked up from Mr. Jefferson.  His fundamental idea appeared to be that everyone answering to the zoological classification of Homo sapiens is a human being, and therefore is indefinitely improvable.  The essence of it is that Homo sapiens in his natural state really wishes and means to be as decent towards his fellow-beings as he can, and under favorable conditions will progress in decency.  He shares this trait with the rest of the animal world.

Indica tigris agit rabida cum tigride pacem
Perpetuam; saevis inter se convenit ursis, 
2

— so long, that is, as irritating interferences, such as hunger, lust, jealousy, or trespass, are kept at a minimum.  Man’s moral superiority over the animal consists in an indefinitely cultivable capacity and will to deal with these interferences intelligently from the long-time point of view, and thus gradually immunize himself against their irritant influence.

Granting this premise, the anarchist position appeared logical to me, as it did to Prince Kropotkin and Bakunin.  Putting it roughly, if all men are human, if all bipeds classifiable as Homo sapiens are human beings, social harmony and a general progress in civilization will be far better brought about by methods of free agreement and voluntary association than by constraint, whether directly under force, or under the menace of force which is always implicit in obedience to law.

The negative argument for anarchism seemed quite as cogent as the positive argument.  The whole institution of government, wherever found and in whatever form, appeared to me so vicious and depraving that I could not even regard it with Paine as “at its best a necessary evil.”  The State stood, and had stood in history as far back as I could trace its existence, as little else but an instrument of economic exploitation, a mere mechanism, as Voltaire said, “for taking money out of one set of pockets and putting it into another.”  The activities of its administrators and beneficiaries appeared to me as they did to Voltaire, as no more or less than those of a professional-criminal class.  As Nietzsche calls it, “the coldest of all cold monsters,” the State’s character was so completely evil, its conduct so invariably and deliberately flagitious, that I did not see how society could possibly be worse off without it than with it, let the alternative condition be what it might.

My individualism was a logical extension of the anarchist principle beyond its narrow application to one particular form or mode of constraint upon the individual.  The thing that interested me, as it interested Emerson and Whitman, was a general philosophy of life which regards human personality as the greatest and most respect-worthy object in the world, and as a complete end-in-itself; a philosophy, therefore, which disallows its subversion or submergence, whether by force of law or by any other coercive force.  I was convinced that human beings do better and are happier when they have the largest possible margin of existence to regulate and dispose of as they please; and hence I believed that society should so manage itself as to leave the individual a maximum of free choice and action, even at a considerable risk of results which from the short-time point of view would be pronounced dangerous.  I suppose it may be seen how remote this is from the bogus affair of dollars and cents which is touted under the name of individualism, and which, as I showed in last February’s issue of this magazine, is not individualism in any sense.

The single tax impressed me as the most equitable and convenient way of paying the cost of such matters as can be done better collectively than individually.  As a matter of natural right it seemed to me that as individually created values should belong to the individual, so socially created values should belong to society, and that the single tax was the best method of securing both the individual and society in the full enjoyment of their respective rights.  To the best of my knowledge these two propositions have never been successfully controverted.  There were other considerations, too, which made the single tax seem the best of all fiscal systems, but it is unnecessary to recount them here.

Probably I ought to add that I never entered on any crusade for these beliefs or sought to persuade anyone into accepting them.  Education is as much a matter of time as of anything else, perhaps more, and I was well aware that anything like a general realization of this philosophy is a matter of very long time indeed.  All experience of what Frederick the Great called “this damned human race” shows beyond peradventure that it is impossible to tell anyone anything unless in a very real sense he knows it already; and therefore a premature and pertinacious evangelism is at best the most fruitless of all human enterprises, and at worst the most vicious.  Society never takes the right course until after it has painfully explored all the wrong ones, and it is vain to try to argue, cajole, or force society out of these set sequences of experimentation.  Over and above the impassioned outpourings of the propagandist for an untried way of salvation, however straight and clear that way may be, one can always hear old Frederick saying, “Ach, mein lieber Sacher, er kennt nicht diese verdammte Rasse.” 3

But while I have never engaged in any controversy or public discussion of these matters, or even in any private advocacy of them, I have spoken my mind about them so freely and so often that it would seem impossible for anyone to mistake my attitude towards them.  Only last year, in fact, I published by far the most radical critique of public affairs that has as yet been brought out here.  Hence I was mildly astonished to hear the other day that a person very much in the public eye, and one who would seem likely to know something of what I have been up to during all these years, had described me as “one of the most intelligent conservatives in the country.”

It was a kind and complimentary thing to say, and I was pleased to hear it, but it struck me nevertheless as a rather vivid commentary on the value and the fate of labels.  Twenty, or ten, or even three years ago, no one in his right mind would have dreamed of tagging me with that designation.  Why then, at this particular juncture, should it occur to a presumably well-informed person to call me a conservative, when my whole philosophy of life is openly and notoriously the same that it has been for twenty-five years? In itself the question is probably worth little discussion, but as leading into the larger question of what a conservative is, and what the qualities are that go to make him one, it is worth much more.

It seems that the reason for so amiably labeling me a conservative in this instance was that I am indisposed to the present Administration [of President Franklin Roosevelt].  This also appears to be one reason why Mr. Sokolsky labels himself a conservative, as he did in the very able and cogent paper which he published in the August issue of the Atlantic.  But really, in my case this is no reason at all, for my objections to the Administration’s behavior rest no more logically on the grounds of either conservatism or radicalism than on those of atheism or homeopathy.  They rest on the grounds of common sense and, I regret to say, common honesty.  I resent the works and ways of the Administration because in my opinion such of them as are not peculiarly and dangerously silly are peculiarly and dangerously dishonest, and most of them are both.  No doubt a person who wears the conservative label may hold this opinion and speak his mind accordingly, but so may a radical, so may anyone; the expression of it does not place him in either category, or in any category of the kind.  They mark him merely as a person who is interested in having public affairs conducted wisely and honestly, and who resents their being conducted foolishly and dishonestly.

With regard to Mr. Sokolsky, I may not, and do not, presume to doubt him when he says he is a conservative.  All I may say is that I cannot well see how his paper makes him out to be one.  If, now, he had said reactionary, I should have no trouble whatever about getting his drift, for my understanding is that he is in favor of a reaction from one distinct line of general State principle and policy back to another which has been abandoned.  This is an eminently respectable position, and reactionary, which precisely describes it, is a most respectable term; but I cannot make it appear that this position is dictated by conservatism, or that holding this position justifies a person in calling himself a conservative.

Philology is a considerable help in these matters, but in guiding ourselves by its aid we must make an important discrimination which is set by the presence or absence of a moral factor.  It is a commonplace of a language’s growth that the significance of certain terms, like certain interpretations of music, becomes deformed and coarsened by tradition.  I once heard a performance of the Messiah in Brussels, and was amazed at finding it almost a new composition, so far away it was from the English traditional interpretation, which was the only one I knew.  Similarly there is no doubt that terms like grace, truth, faith, held very different connotations for Christians of the first century and for those of the fourth and again for those of the sixteenth, while for those of the twentieth they seem voided of all significance that is relevant to their philology, much as our formula, my dear sir, means only that a letter is begun, and yours sincerely means only that it is ended.

In instances like these there is no moral quality discernible in a term’s passage from one meaning to another which has less philological relevancy, or to one which has none.  There is no evidence of any interested management of its progress.  In instances where this progress has been deliberately managed, however, the case is different.  The term then becomes what Jeremy Bentham calls an impostor-term, because it has thus purposefully been converted into an instrument of deception, usually in the service of some base and knavish design.

It is notorious that a managed glossary is of the essence of politics, like a managed currency, and it is highly probable that the debasement of language necessary to successful political practice promotes far more varied and corrupting immoralities than any other infection proceeding from that prolific source.  Thus terms like conservative, progressive, radical, reactionary, as they stand in the managed glossary of politics, are made to mean whatever the disreputable exigencies of the moment require them to mean.  The term radical, for example, stands to account for anything from bomb-throwing to a demand for better wages.  Again, we all remember Mr. Roosevelt’s culpable debasement of the term tory to further an electioneering enterprise; and the manhandling of the term liberal into an avouchment for the most flagrantly illiberal measures of coercion, spoliation, and surveillance is surely well enough known.

The term conservative, which in the course of the campaign this summer we have heard applied to a curious medley made up of all sorts and conditions of men, suffers the same abuse.  On the one hand, Mr. Smith is a conservative, and so is Mr. Raskob, Mr. Owen Young, the denizens of Wall Street, and the whole du Pont family; while, on the other hand, so is a majority of the Supreme Court, so is Mr. Newton Baker, Mr. Wolman, Mr. Lewis Douglas, and so, it seems, am I!  What an extraordinary conjunction of names!  On the day I wrote this I saw a headline which said that 53 per cent of the persons polled in a questionnaire or straw-vote conducted by some publication reported themselves as “conservative.”  I read further, and found that when all comes to all, this means that they are against the Administration, and that their difference with the Administration is over the distribution of money.

In the glossary of politics and journalism, the commonest, nay, the invariable connotation of “conservatism” is in terms of money; a “conservative policy” is one by which a larger flow of money can be turned towards one set of beneficiaries rather than towards another, while a “radical” or a “progressive” policy is one which tends more or less to divert that flow.  According to this scale of speech, the policies of Mr. Hoover and Mr. Mellon, which turned a great flow of money towards a political pressure-group of stockjobbers, speculators, shavers, were eminently conservative; while those of Mr. Roosevelt and his associates, which largely divert that flow towards a rival pressure-group of job-holders, hangers-on, single-crop farmers, unemployed persons, bonus-seekers, hoboes, are eminently radical.  The designation follows the dollar.  Even Mr. Sokolsky, whose valiant stand against the Administration I so much admire and so cordially approve, seems to associate his idea of conservatism rather over-closely with “prosperity;” that is to say, with money.

So one can imagine Mr. Justice McReynolds, for instance, surveying the rank and file of his fellow-conservatives with some dismay while he wonders, like the hero of French comedy, what he is doing in that particular galley.  The thought suggests that it might be a good thing all around if we who are so indiscriminately labeled as conservatives should stand for a time on the windward side of ourselves while we examine this label and see whether or not we can properly take title to wear it.  What is a conservative, and what is the quality, if any, that definitely marks him out as such?

This question can best be got at by considering an incident in the career of an extraordinary personage, about whom history, unfortunately, has had all too little to say.  In a lifetime of only thirty-three years, Lucius Cary, Viscount Falkland, managed to make himself a most conspicuous example of every virtue and every grace of mind and manner; and this was the more remarkable because in the whole period through which he lived — the period leading up to the Civil War — the public affairs of England were an open playground for envy, hatred, malice, and all uncharitableness.  The date of his birth is uncertain; probably it was at some time in the year 1610; and he was killed in the battle of Newbury, September 20, 1643, while fighting on the royalist side.

Falkland had a seat in the Long Parliament, which was divided on the specious issue of presbyterianism against episcopacy in the Church of England.  When a bill was brought in to deprive the bishops of their seats in the House of Lords, Falkland voted for it.  He was all for puncturing the bishops’ pretension to “divine right,” and for putting a stop to the abuses which grew out of that pretension.  The presbyterian party, however, emboldened by success, presently brought in another bill to abolish episcopacy, root and branch, and Falkland voted against it.

Hampden, in a bitter speech, promptly taunted him with inconsistency.  In reply, Falkland said he could see nothing essentially wrong with an episcopal polity.  “Mr. Speaker,” he said, “I do not believe the bishops to be jure divino; nay, I believe them not to be jure divino; but neither do I believe them to be injuria humana.5  This polity had been in force a long time, it had worked fairly well, the people were used to it, the correction of its abuses was fully provided for in the first bill, so why “root up this ancient tree,” when all it needed was a severe pruning of its wayward branches, which had already been done, and for which he had voted?  He could not see that there was any inconsistency in his attitude.  He then went on to lay down a great general principle in the ever-memorable formula, “Mr. Speaker, when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”

Here we get on track of what conservatism is.  We must carefully observe the strength of Falkland’s language.  He does not say that when it is not necessary to change, it is expedient or advisable not to change; he says it is necessary not to change.  Very well, then, the differentiation of conservatism rests on the estimate of necessity in any given case.  Thus conservatism is purely an ad hoc affair; its findings vary with conditions, and are good for this day and train only.  Conservatism is not a body of opinion, it has no set platform or creed, and hence, strictly speaking, there is no such thing as a hundred-per-cent conservative group or party — Mr. Justice McReynolds and Mr. Baker may stand at ease.  Nor is conservatism an attitude of sentiment. Dickens’s fine old unintelligent characters who “kept up the barrier, sir, against modern innovations” were not conservatives.  They were sentimental obstructionists, probably also obscurantists, but not conservatives.

Nor yet is conservatism the antithesis of radicalism; the antithesis of radical is superficial.  Falkland was a great radical; he was never for a moment caught by the superficial aspect of things.  A person may be as radical as you please, and still may make an extremely conservative estimate of the force of necessity exhibited by a given set of conditions.  A radical, for example, may think we should get on a great deal better if we had an entirely different system of government, and yet, at this time and under conditions now existing, he may take a strongly conservative view of the necessity for pitching out our system, neck and crop, and replacing it with another.  He may think our fiscal system is iniquitous in theory and monstrous in practice, and be ever so sure he could propose a better one, but if on consideration of all the circumstances he finds that it is not necessary to change that system, he is capable of maintaining stoutly that it is necessary not to change it.  The conservative is a person who considers very closely every chance, even the longest, of “throwing out the baby with the bath-water,” as the German proverb puts it, and who determines his conduct accordingly.

And so we see that the term conservative has little value as a label; in fact, one might say that its label-value varies inversely with one’s right to wear it.  Conservatism is a habit of mind which does not generalize beyond the facts of the case in point.  It considers those facts carefully, makes sure that as far as possible it has them all in hand, and the course of action which the balance of fact in that case indicates as necessary will be the one it follows; and the course indicated as unnecessary it not only will not follow, but will oppose without compromise or concession.

As a label, then, the word seems unserviceable.  It covers so much that looks like mere capriciousness and inconsistency that one gets little positive good out of wearing it; and because of its elasticity it is so easily weaseled into an impostor-term or a term of reproach, or again into one of derision, as implying complete stagnation of mind, that it is likely to do one more harm than it is worth.  Probably Huxley was wrong, for while it may be that society regards an unlabeled person with more or less uneasy suspicion, there is no doubt that it looks with active distrust upon the person who wears an equivocal and dubious label; and equally so whether one puts the label on oneself, as Huxley did, or whether it is put on by interested persons for the purpose of creating a confusion which they can turn to their own profit.

This is true of all the terms that we have been considering, and therefore it would seem the sensible thing simply to cease using them and to cease paying attention to them when used by others.  When we hear talk of men or policies as conservative, radical, progressive or what not, the term really tells us nothing, for ten to one it is used either ignorantly or with intent to deceive; and hence one can best clear and stabilize one’s mind by letting it go unheeded.  It is notoriously characteristic of a child’s mentality to fix undue attention on the names of things, and in firmly declining to be caught and held by names one brings oneself somewhat nearer the stature of maturity.

By this, moreover, one puts oneself in the way of doing something to mature and moralize our civilization.  Every now and then some prophet, like another Solomon Eagle, warns us that our civilization is at the point of collapse.  We may regard these predictions as far-fetched, or we may say with Emerson, when an Adventist told him the world was coming to an end, that if so it were no great loss; or again, we may feel towards our civilization as Bishop Warburton felt towards the Church of England. 6  But however much or little we may think our civilization worth saving, and however we may interpret its prospects of impending dissolution we may hardly hope that it can keep going indefinitely unless it breaks its bondage to its present political ideas and ideals.

We must observe, too, that it is held in this ignoble bondage largely, perhaps chiefly, by the power of words; that is to say, by the managed glossary of politics. Mr. Hoover and Mr. Mellon, for example, will be long in living down the scandalously misapplied term conservative, if indeed they ever do; and there is a vicious irony in the fact that Mr. Roosevelt and his associates will always be known as radicals or liberals, according as it is meant to hold them up either to blame or to praise.

The main business of a politician, as Edmund Burke said, is “still further to contract the narrowness of men’s ideas, to confirm inveterate prejudices, to inflame vulgar passions, and to abet all sorts of popular absurdities;” and a managed glossary is the most powerful implement that he applies to this base enterprise.  We hear a good deal about inflation at the moment, and inflation is indeed a formidable thing.  Our people have no idea of what it means, and I, for one, distinctly do not care to be around when they find out what it means, for I have seen it in action elsewhere, and have seen enough.  But dreadful as it is, a far worse form of inflation, the most destructive that politicians and journalists can devise, is inflation of the public mind by pumping it full of claptrap.

The words we have been discussing are standard terms in the politician’s managed glossary. By recognizing them as such, and resolutely disregarding them, we should disarm the politician and journalist of much, perhaps most, of their power for evil, and thus give our civilization the one service of which it especially stands in need. If we are looking for an example of wisdom, insight, and integrity in their application to public affairs, let us find it in Falkland. Instead of permitting our attention to be caught and held by recommendations of person, party, or policy as conservative, liberal, radical, progressive, let us rather employ it in rigorously determining what the actual needs of the situation are, and then permit it to come to rest upon the simple and sufficient formula: “Mr. Speaker, when it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.”

NOTES
1. – Latin: know[ing] the causes of things
2. – Latin: loosely, Tigers live peaceably together, and even the wildest beasts spare those of their own species
3. – German: Ah, my dear Sacher (originally Sulzer), you don’t know this damned race
4. – Mr. Ralph Adams Cram’s theory is that the human being is a distinct species, and that the immense majority of Homo sapiens is not human, but is merely the raw material out of which the occasional human being is produced.  I have already discussed this theory in the Atlantic of April 1935, in an essay called “The Quest of the Missing Link.”  If this be true, the anarchist position would give way to the position of Spencer, that government should exist, but should abstain from any positive interventions upon the individual, confining itself strictly to negative interventions.  I find myself inclining more and more towards Mr. Cram’s view, and shall probably embrace it, but not having as yet done so, I must still call myself an anarchist.
5. – Latin: jure divino/divine right; injuria humana/human injury
6. – William Warburton, bishop of Gloucester, 1760-1779.  He said, “The Church, like the Ark of Noah, is worth saving; not for the sake of the unclean beasts that almost filled it, and probably made most noise and clamour in it, but for the little corner of rationality that was as much distressed by the stink within as by the tempest without.”