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A story of liberalism, illiberally told

The bibliographies of few books cite more Liberty Fund publications than does Domenico Losurdo’s Liberalism: A Counter-History from the Glorious Revolution to the First World War. It cites works published by Liberty Fund of no fewer than eleven authors and these do not include Hayek, Locke, Macaulay, Mill or Tocqueville whose works in other editions are cited.

Despite its focus, few accounts of the classical liberal tradition are more scathing or unrelenting in their criticism of it than Losurdo’s. By way of illustration, consider his treatment of John Calhoun, the mid-nineteenth century senator and statesman from South Carolina. The Italian Marxist philosophy professor begins his book by calling into question Calhoun’s defense of chattel slavery in the South. Very few today, of whatever political stripe, would concur with Calhoun that southern slavery was not only in the best interests of the slaves but also provided the South with foundations for freer and more stable political institutions than it otherwise could have enjoyed. Yet many might still wish to take issue with Losurdo’s contention that Calhoun’s support for slavery automatically disqualifies him from inclusion within the liberal canon, along with Locke who also defended the institution of slavery, or else it means, quoting Losurdo, that ‘we can no longer maintain the traditional… image of liberalism as the thought and volition of liberty.’

It is doubtless a merit of Losurdo’s book that it obliges its readers to confront the fact that practically all of the most prominent classical liberals supported institutions or policies that today appear unacceptably illiberal in character. However, it is equally as large a corresponding defect of the book that its author appears in writing it to have been unable to suppose, even for a moment, that, in espousing such illiberal opinions, the authors whose views he considers might have been onto something, however unpalatable it might be today to acknowledge that they were. In a book, like Losurdo’s, that purports to be a work of history, this is an especially grave defect, for it is by no means as easy or straightforward a task to pronounce a sound moral judgement about a past practice.

Take slavery, for instance. We know John Locke defended the institution in a certain form. Was he necessarily misguided in doing so? Simply because we moderns do not and cannot countenance the institution does not mean that Locke must necessarily have been wrong to suppose that the institution admitted of the moral justification that he gave it for the very specific and different imagined circumstances in which he argued it could be countenanced. Likewise, however deplorable were the conditions and treatment of plantation slaves, Calhoun was not necessarily altogether wrong that those of his day there still fared better than they would have had they or their ancestors not been brought to America as slaves and remained there as such. Equally, without it the political institutions of the South of his time might well have been less free and stable than they were.

A lack of historical imagination seriously flaws Losurdo’s book which largely consists of quotations from eminent classical liberals designed to reveal how illiberal so many of their opinions were, at least to contemporary ears. The purpose of this revelation is more than merely to show how muddled and confused the authors it considers were, or even how much the prisoners of their times. Rather its object is to show how inextricably bound up with oppression liberalism always was, the emancipation of those on behalf of whom it fought always having gone along with, and been predicated on, according to Losurdo, the de-emancipation of others whose deliberate exclusion from the charmed circle of the free was a condition on which those for whose entry to it liberalism fought were able to be admitted. As well as John Locke and John Calhoun, other canonical classical liberals whose views are subjected to such criticism by Losurdo include Adam Smith, Edmund Burke, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill, Ernest Renan, Benjamin Constant, and Ludwig von Mises.

An additional object of Losurdo’s history is to reveal the extent to which the eventual widening of the charmed circle of the free so as to incorporate one-time excluded groups (such as African American slaves, native American Indians, subjects of British colonial rule, and workers and servants in the metropolitan heartland of the West) was invariably owed more to the radical forces to which liberalism historically was always opposed than it did to it. As Losurdo puts these several contentions in his summing up at the end of his book:

[W]e… must bid farewell once and for all to the myth of the gradual, peaceful transition, on the basis of purely internal motivations, from liberalism to democracy… [N]ot only did the classics of the liberal tradition refer to democracy with coldness, hostility and sometimes frank contempt… the exclusion [of formerly excluded peoples and groups] w[as] not overcome painlessly, but through violent upheavals of a sometimes quite unprecedented violence. The abolition of slavery in… the United States [cost them] more victims than both world wars combined…  [Moreover] emancipation very often had a spur completely external to the liberal world.  The abolition of slavery in British colonies cannot be understood without the black revolution in San Domingo… viewed with horror… by the liberal world… [M]ost important[ly]… [a] tangle of emancipation and dis-emancipation… distinguishes the individual stages in the process of overcoming the exclusion clauses characteristic of the liberal tradition. In the United States the disappearance of censitary discrimination, and affirmation of the principle of political equality, were aided by the… containment and political and social neutralization of the “dangerous classes”, thanks to the expropriation and deportation of Indians… and the enslavement of blacks. In Europe extension of the suffrage in the nineteenth century proceeded in tandem with colonial expansion and the imposition of forced labor on people or “races” deemed barbarous or childlike…

Losurdo’s assessment of liberalism, however, is not unequivocally negative. In his estimate, it has displayed a commendably greater capacity to learn from its major rival, the radical political tradition to the left of it, than has that latter tradition shown in being able to learn several valuable lessons that Losurdo acknowledges liberalism has to teach it. He finally observes of liberalism: 

Demonstrating an extraordinary flexibility, it constantly sought to react and rise to the challenges of the time…Liberalism has proved capable of learning from its antagonist (the tradition of thinking that, starting with ‘radicalism’ and passing through Marx, issued in the revolutions which variously invoked him) to a far greater degree than its antagonist has proved capable of learning from it… [a]bove all… the decisive problem of the limitation of power… In economics [furthermore] liberal thought has vigorously insisted on the need for competition… to develop social wealth… a further, major historical merit.

A sting, however, is contained in the tail of Losurdo’s concluding complimentary remarks about liberalism. Immediately after making them, he goes on:

 However, at this [economic] level too, there emerged… awful exclusion clauses… Far from being a site where all individuals freely meet as sellers and buyers… for centuries the liberal market was a site of exclusion, de-humanisation and even terror. In the past the ancestors of today’s black citizens were commodities…  And for centuries the market functioned as an instrument of terror: even more than the lash, what imposed total obedience on the slave was the threat of being sold… separately from other family members. For a long time, indentured white servants were also bought and sold… And in the name of the market, workers’ coalitions were repressed and economic and social rights ignored and denied… Is all this a definitively concluded chapter of history? … [H]as liberalism definitely left behind it the dialectic of emancipation and dis-emancipation… [or] is this dialectic still alive and well, thanks to the malleability peculiar to this current of thought?  

As well might be imagined, Losurdo’s book has become the toast of the left, happy by means of it once again, in their eyes at least, to be able to claim the moral high-ground over liberalism. The victory that Losurdo’s exposé of the dark side of liberalism allows them to claim, if that is what his book succeeds in accomplishing, is, however, a very hollow one indeed. This is because, on every count on which Losurdo finds fault with liberalism, such as its alleged racism and repressiveness, the track-record of its radical antagonist with which Losurdo and fellow members of the left still clearly so heavily identify, has proved itself no less defective.

It is not simply that, as Losurdo concedes, the Marxist tradition has proved itself economically illiterate and insufficiently aware of the limitations of political power by comparison with the creative power of the market. Its most influential theoreticians and practitioners have proved themselves to be every bit as much racist, exclusionary and repressive as have those liberals whom Losurdo expressly or tacitly criticizes. A few selected quotations from Marx and Engels will suffice to bring home the point.

[These quotations have been selected from a larger set of equally revealing quotations of Marx and Engels contained in Leslie R. Page, Karl Marx and the Critical Examination of his Works (London: The Freedom Association, 1987)]

Beginning again with southern plantation slavery, Marx was no less fervent a supporter of this institution than Calhoun. In 1846, Marx wrote of it:

Without slavery, North America, the most progressive nation, would be transformed into a patriarchal country… Only wipe North America off the map and you will get anarchy, the complete decay of trade and modern civilisation. But to do away with slavery would be to wipe America off the map. 

Marx was equally as incipiently anti-Semitic as Losurdo argues Edmund Burke was. In 1844 the father of communism observed:

We recognise in Judaism… a general anti-social element of the present time… Contempt for theory, art, history, and for man as an end in himself… is contained in an abstract form in the Jewish religion… Once society has succeeded in abolishing the empirical essence of Judaism – huckstering and its preconditions – the Jew will have become impossible.

Marx continued to harbor virulently anti-Semitic sentiments, writing in 1862 to Engels about their political rival, the German-Jewish socialist, Ferdinand Lassalle:

 The Jewish Nigger Lassalle… fortunately departs at the end of this week…. It is now completely clear to me that he, as is proved by his cranial formation and [curly] hair – descends from the Negroes who had joined Moses’ exodus from Egypt (assuming his mother or grandmother on the paternal side had not interbred with a nigger [in English]. Now this union of Judaism and Germanism with a basic Negro substance must produce a peculiar product.   

Marx and Engels were every bit as dismissive of the claims of indigenous populations of the Americas and of other peoples colonized by Europeans as were those liberals whom Losurdo takes to task for having been such. Thus, in 1848, Engels wrote

In America we have witnessed the conquest of Mexico and have rejoiced in it… It is to the interest of its own development that Mexico will in future be placed under the tutelage of the United States.

Similarly in 1853, Marx observed in support of British imperial rule in India that:

Indian society has no history at all, at least no known history… The question, therefore is not whether the English had a right to conquer India but whether we are to prefer India conquered by the Turk, by the Persian, by the Russian, to India conquered by the Briton… The British were the first conquerors superior, and therefore, inaccessible to Hindu civilisation.

In that same year, Marx also remarked more generally about such forms of imperialism and the ethnic cleansing in which they sometimes resulted:

 Society is undergoing a silent revolution which must be submitted to… The classes and the races, too weak to master the new conditions of life, must give way.

Marx also was no less keen a supporter of war than was de Tocqueville, writing in 1855:

Such is the redeeming feature of war; it puts a nation to the test. As exposure to the atmosphere reduces all mummies to instant dissolution, so war passes supreme judgement upon social organisations that have outlived their vitality. 

Perhaps, the slogan for which Marx and Engels were to become so famous would have more accurately reflected their outlook had it bid workers of the world to unite, unless they were Jews or belonged to other historically outmoded peoples best consigned to history’s dustbin. Losurdo makes no mention of these exclusion clauses, yet waxes lyrical in criticism about those he attributes to liberalism. One is entitled to wonder why.

So keen does Losurdo seem to find fault with liberalism for being exclusionary that he sometimes is led to make very hazardous claims. Thus, for example, at one point he takes de Tocqueville to task for having claimed in 1846 that the non-urban Algeria of his day to have been desert. In criticism of the claim, Losurdo remarks:

Like the lands inhabited or, rather, occupied without authorization by the redskins, Algeria was [according to de Tocqueville] a desert prior to the arrival of the French or ‘Christians’. A sort of Biblical aroma begins to make itself felt in connection with the landing in North Africa of a civilised people, who likewise seem invested with a providential mission.

The trouble with Losurdo’s suggestion here that de Tocqueville was being disingenuous in so considering rural Algeria is that this country was and remains largely all desert.

While something can undoubtedly be learned from reading Losurdo’s counter-history of liberalism, it is more the continuing myopia of the left and readiness to distort the truth on their part in the interests of their cause than any genuine insight into that political tradition and its vicissitudes. An accurate and up-to-date authoritative historical account of the liberal tradition still remains to be written.

This article was previously published at the Library of Law and Liberty.

21 comments to A story of liberalism, illiberally told

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Yes John Locke (with his “leet men and leet women” who will be so “for all generations” – in his fundemental constitutions of Carolina) was wrong – utterly wrong.

    Yes he was a liberal (although the word was not used in a political sense till the 19th century), but he was still wrong, utterly wrong, on this matter.

    Calhoun was also wrong (on this point) I do not read works by Italian Marxists (lack of time……) but I am prepared to accept that the Marxist is wrong to exclude Calhoun from the liberal canon.

    Sadly that is shameful for liberalism.

    After all John C. not only undermined the freedom of blacks – he also undermined the freedom of whites.

    Could one publish an anti slavery newspaper in South Carolinia?

    No one could not – so no freedom of the press.

    Could one hold a public meeting denoucing slavery?

    No one could not – so no freedom of assembly.

    And on and on.

    Slavery poisoned EVERYTHING.

    Not at first – for the generation of Southern leaders at the time of the founding of the United States accepted that slavery was evil – and should pass away.

    But when John C.s “Slavery is a Positive Good” doctrine became mainstream – freedom died.

    And it died for whites, as well as blacks.

    If slavery was going to last FOR EVER – how could people be allowed to publish newspapers (or hold public meetings) against it?

    Of course the Marxist most likely did mention that Southerners (such as Calhoun) used the Labour Theory of Value (from David Ricardo) to defend slavery – and that they used it in an oddly MARXIST way.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Of course to confuse liberty with democracy is a classic error – although the Marxist is most likely obscuring the issue on purpose.

    Do 51% of the population have the right to enslave 49%?

    No? Well democracy is clearly not an absolute then.

    And yes – Karl Marx himself was vicious antisemite (forgetting the origins of his own family) and racist.

    The man was as personally vile as his theories were wrong headed.

    Yet his followers (under such masks as “Critical Theory” which is anything but “critical” of socialist dogma) continue to dominate academia.

  • Slavery, endemic world-wide as long as humans have trod the planet, exists even today but despite the fact that it was forbidden in the US exactly 100 years ago remains a more potent political football in that country than any other. Of course both the predecessors and descendants of Abraham Lincoln were intent not on freeing the native Americans, but exterminating them through official means. The intellectually impoverished and amoral crop of current Americans never tire of playing in the sandbox of slavery while ignoring the fact that the entire country they occupy was stolen from its inhabitants. And the personalities that so vigorously worked to supposedly free the slaves worked even harder to kill the native tribes and take their property. The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

  • Craig Howard

    The intellectually impoverished and amoral crop of current Americans never tire of playing in the sandbox of slavery while ignoring the fact that the entire country they occupy was stolen from its inhabitants. And the personalities that so vigorously worked to supposedly free the slaves worked even harder to kill the native tribes and take their property. The hypocrisy is breath-taking.

    Oh, go lie down and get over it.

    Virtually every country in the entire world was stolen from its previous inhabitants at one time or another. Do you not know any history at all save the currently-stylish Americans-are-bad stuff?

    For example, the reviled Anglo-Saxons were repeatedly slaughtered and enslaved for centuries until they were able to form a semblance of a nation and fight off their attackers. And then, they fell prey to the Romans and subsequently the French. Go figure.

    None of it matters. That was then, this is now. I never enslaved [or approved of enslaving] anyone and I’ll be damned if I should pay some price for all the nonsense that went on before I was born.

    • Gary

      Moral equivalence starts down the road of :

      1) Not me ‘guv, I wasn’t born yet.
      2) If we didn’t do it someone else would have
      3) Anyway we were not as bad as them
      4) Everybody is at it

      Replace the notion of “slavery” with “theft”, and see how fast a court sends you down with that kind of defense.
      I see this line argument all the time among knee-jerk jingoists.

      The only exception may be 1). And even then , if we don’t learn from history , and where necessary make reparations, we are doomed to repeat it.

      • Craig Howard

        The past is a different place, they do things different there and attempting to interpret events from several centuries ago through today’s sensibilities is to miss what was really happening.

        This sort of revisionism exists only to pile guilt on the innocent for a past they had nothing to do with. And it, purposely, distorts the incredible accomplishments of the founders and early American settlers.

    • mrg mrg

      “I never enslaved [or approved of enslaving] anyone and I’ll be damned if I should pay some price for all the nonsense that went on before I was born.”

      I agree with you there.

      There may be a few families in the South whose wealth today can be traced to the slave-owning of their ancestors, but most Americans have no such ill-gotten inheritance.

      Chuck does make a good point, though. There’s much more agonising over slavery than the expropriation and near extermination of the previous occupants of the continent. And it is of course absurd that Abraham Lincoln is revered.

      That said, if I remember my pre-history correctly, today’s “native Americans” wiped out a previous wave of immigrants from Asia, just as the Maori wiped out the previous inhabitants of New Zealand. If you steal from a thief, you may be guilty of theft, but the original thief doesn’t deserve compensation.

      In any case, homesteading doesn’t seem as clear-cut to me as some people make out. How many natives lived in the area of today’s USA before Europeans arrived, and how much of the land could they reasonably lay claim to? Do property rights require fences? How much effort, if any, do you have to make at “mixing labour with land”? How are we to handle communal hunting grounds?

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    One must not over push the “they stole the land” thing.

    As Thomas Woods points out a lot of the land was NOT stolen.

    American history has gone from “America was always right” to “American was always wrong”.

    Neither view is historically accurate.

    As for slavery.

    “Selling Joseph” (1700 – 303 years ago) destroys the pro slavery arguments.

    And that book was written by Judge Sewall – who was the Judge at the Salam witch trials.

    Of which he repented in anquish – but repented too late…

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Lincoln faced a very difficult task (more difficult in the United States than in any other country).

    Alone in the world (at least the nonIslamic world) the Slave Power in the United States held that slavery was a “positive good” and that slavery should be EXPANDED (hence “Bleeding Kansas” and plans to expand slavery everywhere – including into Central America and South America).

    Lincoln task was to defeat the Slave Power WITHOUT a terrible war that would lead to hundreds of thousands of people getting killed.

    It should be noted that Lincoln FAILED in this task.

    “But he won the war” – so what? The North had vast superiority in everything it does not take a “great President” to win in such a position. A great President would have found a way to POLITICALLY defeat the Slave Power leaders. “That would have been very difficult and would have required great skill” – I do not deny that.

    “Lincoln wanted hundreds of thousands of people killed” (the line of the Confederate apologists) – that is (to use technical language) BULLCRAP.

    Of course Lincoln did NOT want hundreds of thousands of people, but because he was NOT a great President, they did get killed.

    So not the monster of some myths (including myths spread by some libertarians), but not a “great President” either.

    More a hack politician (a Henry Clay Whig) in over his head – way over his head.

    • Gary

      Some argue that we(Britain and the USA) have built 3 empires on slavery :

      1) the African Slave trade
      2) The slavery of addiction in China
      3) Debt slavery in financial engineering.

      All three are now finished.

      • Paul Marks Paul Marks

        The African Slave Trade is thousands of years old.

        Britain was the first power in history to turn AGAINST the slavers.

        Indeed the Royal Navy faught a hundred year war against the slavers (British by birth or not) – a war that is totally forgotten now.

        Opium was freely on sale in Britian – was Britain imposing slavery on ITSELF?

        The real objection of Chinese officials was the challenge to their monopoly.

        The mass execution of the entire population of certain Chinese towns (for trading with British merchants) was not really about “public health” – it was about the threat to the income of certain Chinese government officials.

        Nor is the drug trade (“drug slavery”) ended – indeed many argue that prohibition has made matters worse.

        As for “debt slavery”.

        That sounds a bit like Max K.

        The out of control Welfare States are UNSUSTAINABLE.

        Blaming the banks (and “debt slavery”) for the crises, is not accurate.

        • Gary

          Paul, there you go, you are using variations of the “they were all at , Guv” argument in mitigation. It does not change the facts and it won’t win a case.

          The welfare state did not produce $600 Trillion(source:BIS) in derivatives which will ultimately collapse the world. The rump of the sovereign debts were bank debts that the state assumed in bailouts, overtly by TARP etc and covertly by QE. The welfare state is a huge problem, an even greater problem is the corporate-state, or Fascism.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    “Near genocide of the Indians” “stealing the land”.

    These myths come from such things as vastly increasing the number of Indians who actually existed in the first place.

    Most of the tribal peoples in what is now the United States were stone age hunter-gatherers their population was actually very low.

    They also had no settled land ownership – the various tribes attacked each for land (for hunting and gathering – and, sometimes, for a bit of farming).

    Many of the “sacred native American burial sites” are NOT of the tribes that presently claim them – which is why “Native American activists” activists got so upset at the study of them.

    Not because “you are digging up our forefathers” but because it was obvious that they were NOT their forefathers (they were from other tribes who their own tribe had attacked – in the endless tribal wars).

    “But the Europeans also killed people” – yes, but mostly by SICKNESS.

    And NO it was not “deliberate germ warfare” (and the university crowd claim) there was no handing out of blankets as a cunning and deliberate plot to spread smallpox (and other stuff that they teach).

    Nor were the tribes that are listed as exterminated actually exterminated (for example Thomas Woods, as a boy, used to every day on the way to school pass people from a tribe that his school books listed as wiped out).

    Of course many Americans were savage killers – so were their enemies, and that is the nature of tribal warfare.

    And many also INTERMARRIED with Indians – and many Indians GAVE UP THEIR TRIBAL STRUCTURE and became Americans.

    “Race” only became important much later. Although there is a early example of it when Calhoun (yes the Southern apologist) denouces Sam Houston for “looking like an Indian” (but that was more a matter of clothing than skin colour).

    Men like David Crockett (a real libertarian by the way) and Sam Houston were not the “land stealers” people are now being taught to think of them as. It was a vastly more complicated than that.

    In the early days many of the “Indian” leaders were “white” (for example the leader of the main force of Indinians that the Scots-Irish Andrew Jackson faught – of course Jackson, savage fighter though he was, also adopted an indian as his own son).

    It was a much more confused picture (with atrocities on all sides) than is presented – and contiuned to be.

    For example – where are the Crow Indians in all the films on “Sacred Black Hills”?

    The Crow were one of the tribes the Dakota pushed out of the Black Hills – and they faught on the United States side.

    Only Custer thought he could do without the assistance of the Crow and other tribes (apart from a couple of scouts) – and things did not turn out too well for him.

    Still real films (with white “Indian” leaders in the early 19th century – and some Indians fighting on the “white” side in the late 19th century) would be too confusing for people.

    Viewers want things simple – they hate the complexity of history.

    For example was “Kit” Carson a savage fighter who used starvation and cutting off water to break his tribal enemies? A mini “trail of tears” (the atrocity for which Andrew Jackson is QUITE RIGHTLY attacked for – which happened some decades before).

    Or was he a passionate defender of Indian rights?

    Actually – Kit Carson was BOTH.

    Nor were his foes saints.

    On Kit Carson’s last ride before he gave up life, he came upon some mutilated captive children (captives – and the mutilation of same are normally left out of modern accounts).

    One of the mutilated dead children had a little book – he had to be explained to Carson (because he could not read).

    It was a story of how some children are captured by Indians and are about to be tortured to death till they are saved at the last minute – by KIT CARSON.

    That was the last book the child looked at – and that was the blood stained document handed to the old, and sick (he was in terrible pain – and yet made himself ride a horse and track), man who came upon the bodies.

    Real life had become myth – even while real life was happening.

    • “These myths come from such things as vastly increasing the number of Indians who actually existed in the first place.”

      Ergo, since the Indians were about to be out-numbered, it’s morally permissible to swindle them out of their land and then kill them when they object.

      “They also had no settled land ownership….”

      So what? How is that any kind of a requirement?

      “Of course many Americans were savage killers – so were their enemies, and that is the nature of tribal warfare.”

      Prior to the European invasion encounters with enemies that resulted in even a handful of deaths were commemorated through oral history passed on for generations, those events were so unusual. Needless to say, the nature of tribal warfare anywhere has never been as destructive as that of the so-called civilized countries. Sitting Bull didn’t drop an atomic bomb on Custer.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Gary.

    Gordon Brown in Britain.

    And Congressman Barney Frank (and Senators Chris Dodd and Barack Obama) encouraged every insane antic in banking – and actually threatened any enterprise that did not want to play these games.

    They had various motives – for example the obession with the “affordable housing policy” (see “Housing: Boom and Bust” by Thomas Sowell).

    But the main motive was the TAX REVENUE from the mad antics.

    The whole of the financial assumptions of both the Britis and the United States governments were based on tax reveune from the mad antics of the fiancial sector.

    So the financial sector people HAD TO BE encouraged to carry on the mad antics – and make them more and more mad.

    Alan Greenspan (talking out of both sides of his mouth – attacking the very antics he was pushing with his “cheap money” policy) has been pushing these things since the 1980s (see “Meltdown” by Thomas Woods).

    All that being said…..

    Should any bank get into trouble (even for doing EXACTLY WHAT THE POLITICAL PEOPLE SAID TO DO) then that bank should be allowed to go bankrupt.

    Really go bankrupt – i.e. close-its-doors.

    Of course that will lead to dreadful horror.

    But that, as we agree, is going to happen anyway.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    “Derivatives” are just another twist (but on a vastly greater SCALE) on the old theme of “we do not just want to make money lending out REAL SAVINGS” game.

    If a money lender lends out real savings (his own or those of other people entrusted to him) then there is a limit on how much income he can generate (and how much he can be taxed).

    But if money lenders decide they are wizards – who can create magic fairy castles in the air (based upon moonbeams and pixie dust) then there is no limit on the amount of income they can generate – and no limit on the amount of TAX REVENUE.

    Till the whole smoke-and-mirrors farce collapses.

    By the way – do not be mislead on what words like “Fascism” and the “Corporate State” actually mean.

    These do NOT mean corporations controlling the state – or any REAL “partnership” between companies and the state (although greedy short sighted businessmen may be told that).

    Neither German “War Socialism” (late First World War), or Italian “Fascism”, or German “National Socialism” really benefitted “Big Business” (indeed most big businessmen in Germany actually understood what would happen and did NOT back the Nazis – see Turner’s “German Big Business and …”).

    Some fools thought they would benefit (such as the author of “I Paid Hitler”) – but they found out (the hard way) their error.

    Those bankers who helped put Barack Obama where he is, are very greedy and very “clever” (measured by IQ tests).

    But they are also unwise – very unwise.

    The Progressives will feed the bankers in the way that farmers feed animals.

    Till the time for the slaughter house comes.

    It depresses me that (70 years after the publication of such works as “Omnipotent Government” by Mises, and “The Road to Serfdom” by Hayek) that the media (and so on) can still get away with conning people (including wealthy people) over what the term “Corporate State” means.

    Jamie Dimon and co – it does NOT mean that corporations are in charge of the state (rather the reverse).

    As you will all find out – up close and personal.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    “I don’t think you quite understand things Pippin” said Frodo “Lotho never meant things to come to this pass. He has been a wicked fool, but he’s caught now. The ruffians are on top, gathering, robbing, and bullying, and running things as they like, in his name. And not in his name even for much longer. He’s a prisoner in Bag End now, I expect, and very frightened. We ought to try and rescue him”.

    “There wasn’t no smoke left, save for the Men; and the Chief didn’t hold with beer, save for his Men, and closed all the inns; and everything except Rules got shorter and shorter ["the Rules" got longer and longer], unless one could hide a bit of one’s own when the ruffians went round gathering stuff up “for fair distribution”: which meant that they got it and we didnt”.

    The Scouring Of The Shire.

    From Tolkien’s

    “The Lord of the Rings”.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    As for “The City” in Britain.

    It would have survived the mad money supply expansion – as it had survived it before.

    But in the late 1980s government started to replace the rules of the private clubs and private companies who made up the City – with its own rules (with legal backing).

    The Stock Exchange was a private company (set up in 1801).

    There was no law against settting up rival exchanges – or in buying and selling shares “off exchange”. And this was sometimes done.

    Yet the government declared that the rules of this private company (and the various private and voluntary associations that made up “The City”) were “restrictive practices” and had to go. To be replaced by its own rules.

    Thousands of pages of regulations – most of them ether beside-the-point or positively harmful.

    As Norman Tebbit once told a small gathering (and I was there) “the so called Big Bang was the worse mistake we ever made”.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Chuck – my point was that the numbers of Indians claimed in school text books do not fit with the physcial evidence.

    Nor does your description of tribal warfare.

    The physcial evidence (of children’s skulls caved in and so on) is rather more important than old songs.

    As for the ownership of land.

    Who SPECIFICALLY did a piece of land belong to?

    If I can not be told that(when I arrive in an area) – then I am not “stealing” land, I am settleing land.

    However, some Indians (in some tribes) did have clear ideas about land ownership.

    For example, Chief Seattle did.

    Far from being the Green of school textbooks (his speech was actually made up, by a white man, as late as the 1970s) the real Chief Seattle was a shrewd property dealer – who sold the land on which the city that carries his name stands.

    • Keokuk did the same thing with his people’s land in what’s now Iowa for trinkets. When asked by journalists how he could sign away this property he replied that of course he had no right to do so and was swindling the white men.

  • Paul Marks Paul Marks

    Sadly Keokuk was swindling his own people (without even knowing it).

    Mr Q. Parker was more intelligent.

    When the C. where winning he was a C. – raiding and killing (in feathers and paint).

    When it became obvious that the C. were going to lose, Mr Parker remembered his mother was white (a captive).

    He put on a suit and tie and became Mr Parker the respectable Texas rancher (raider-who-me?-I-am-the-victim-here).

    Of course he had a deep tan – but the sun is fierce in Texas. And his money was golden – and that is the only colour that most people actually really care about.

    To balance the above out……

    The second President of the Republic of Texas was a total a-hole who pushed the tribes into war with his own blood soaked dumbness.

    And the witness for that point of view is – Sam Houston.

    The an-indian-killed-so-and-so-let-us-kill-anyone-who-looks-indian …… what-do-you-mean-there-are-different-tribes moron, also bankrupted the Republic of Texas with his wild government spending.

    You see there are nice things – so the government should give them to people.

    What do you mean cost?

    I just told you – the GOVERNMENT will pay.

    LBJ was not the first Texan to think like this.

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