Guest Post by Robert Gore at Straight Line Logic
This is Part One, Part Two will be posted 1/21.
The indictment is long and strong. A cabal of politicians, governments, courts, medical authorities, pharmaceutical companies, multinational agencies, the mainstream media, academics, and foundations, particularly the World Economic Forum, have concocted responses to a virus and its variants that have robbed the people of rightful liberties, are a mechanism for the imposition of global totalitarianism, and have amplified rather than reduced the virus’s dangers, inflicting severe injury and death that will last years, perhaps decades, and afflict millions, if not billions, of victims (See “The Means Are The End,” Robert Gore, SLL, November 13, 2021).
This is their last chance. They can reverse course and pray to whatever demonic deity they pray to that it’s enough to prevent the retribution they deserve, or they can perish in the destruction they’ve created. They will reap what they have sown, their time is up.
This is it, the last gasp of the psychopaths who express their contempt and hatred for humanity by trying to rule it. Compulsion, not voluntary and natural cooperation. Power, pull, and politics, not incentives, competition, honest production, and value-for-value trade. From each according to his virtue to each according to his depravity.
“The Last Gasp,” Robert Gore, SLL, March 24, 2020
Their time is up. This assertion may appear as recklessly foolish as Luke Skywalker’s ultimatum—“Jabba, this is your last chance, free us or die!”—did to Jabba the Hut at the Sarlacc Pit. It’s not, but to understand why requires an understanding of slow moving (on human time scale) but enormously powerful forces. Most history studies the wrong things and most predictions are straight line projections of the present and recent past.
The linchpin of history is innovation, not governments and rulers. We don’t know who ruled whom when humanity lived in caves, but we do know that someone tamed fire, someone planted seeds and cultivated them for food, and someone invented the wheel. With such steps humanity emerged from the caves and began building civilization. Even at this early stage one thing was clear: innovation creates new capabilities and opportunities and serves as the basis for further innovation.
Government is the acquisition of resources that enables those who govern to exercise control over those whom they govern. This presupposes resources, which presupposes production. Government is always subsidiary to production, yet most history focuses on the former and treats the latter as a secondary matter. This is looking down the telescope from the wrong end. Before a government can take someone must make.
History as studied is a dreary succession of violent takers: their kingdoms and empires, their exactions from the populace, their wars, their depredations, their monuments, and so on. Most of this is trivial compared to the innovation that gets short shrift.
Who ruled which nations in 1440 and what effect does whatever they did have on us today? There’s not one person in ten million who can knowledgeably answer those questions. Ask instead if the moveable-type printing press that Johannes Gutenberg invented that year has had an effect on their lives and most will acknowledge its inescapable importance.
The few rulers who have ruled wisely are largely forgotten. Wise rule is maintaining the conditions that allow the people themselves to create, innovate, and produce, what’s been called the night watchman state. Protecting them and their property from invasion, violence, theft, and fraud are the important but minimalist assignments for such governments. Crucially, such protection of the people extends to protection from the government itself. This type of government offers would-be rulers no opportunity for the larceny, self-aggrandizement, and power they crave, which is why they’ve been so rare.
The perfect night watchman state has never been achieved. There have only been a few that have come close. Conditions of relatively greater freedom, however, have coincided with the explosions of innovation and productivity that have bequeathed to humanity most of its progress.
The United States’ explosion was the Industrial Revolution, which launched virtually every important industry we have today and took the nation from its agrarian roots to industrial preeminence. With the exception of Theodore Roosevelt, an outlier in many unfortunate ways, the presidents who presided during the Industrial Revolution (1865-1913) have passed into obscurity, always a desirable fate for presidents. (See “The Magnificent Eleven,” Robert Gore, SLL, May 3, 2017. For a fictional treatment of the period, see The Golden Pinnacle, Robert Gore, 2013.)
Nineteenth-century fecundity set the table for twentieth-century insanity, giving psychopathic rulers the resources for two world wars and innumerable smaller ones, history’s most totalitarian governments, genocides, and the perpetration of myriad other miseries and horrors. The twentieth century is easily history’s most tyrannical and bloody . . . so far. Emblematic of the century is its “greatest” invention, nuclear weaponry, which can destroy all life on earth.
In the United States, establishment of the central bank and imposition of income taxes in 1913 allowed the government to expropriate a far higher share of the nation’s incomes and wealth than it had. Shortly thereafter, ignoring George Washington’s sage advice to avoid foreign entanglements, the U.S. entered World War I. The Industrial Revolution and its comparative freedom were over, the accretion of state power that continues to this day was underway.
Government resurfaced as the dominant institution, as it has been for most of history, not just in the U.S. but around the globe. Intellectual fashion followed the political trend. Money and power—heady prospects for many intellectuals—were to be had promoting the growth of the state and toadying to its functionaries. A few brave souls spoke out against the trend and championed freedom, but they were ignored and shunned. Today, champions of freedom are consigned to obscure corners of the Internet.
You would think that living off the Industrial Revolution’s productive legacy, with first call on incomes and accumulated wealth, rulers would command more than ample resources to do whatever they desired. Such is not the case. Their schemes and rapacity are unlimited while even in the most productive and wealthy societies, resources are not. Governments and their central banks have created a debt explosion that leaves the world in the deepest financial hole it’s ever been.
The explosion has accelerated the past few years, leaving rulers at the outer limits of what they can expropriate or borrow. Whatever growth in GDPs they now hail, the unmentioned growth in debt is greater—the hole gets deeper. This state of affairs illustrates history’s central truism: governments can’t produce. Their stock in trade, coercion and violence, only destroys. Making producers tax and debt slaves to those who produce nothing destroys both production and integrity.
The death knell sounded in 1971 when the United States government repudiated the last vestige of its promise to redeem its dollars for gold. Debt would be the coin of the realm. The bland term “financialization” hides the moral obscenity. Each year the nation’s debt has grown. Production, when netted against that debt, has shrunk, and an increasingly large portion of what remains is diverted to those who don’t produce. Washington decides who gets what, but it can’t command the what. That shrinks as productive virtue is penalized and theft, fraud, and violence are rewarded.
This increasingly precarious state of affairs has lasted for fifty years. It won’t last much longer. Only moral and intellectual bankruptcy greater than current financial bankruptcy could call this abject failure a failure of capitalism.
Capitalism is the economics of political freedom. The strangulation of both in the U.S. officially commenced in 1913. They are the antithesis of what we now have, state-directed collectivism. Capitalism and freedom didn’t fail the people, the people failed capitalism and freedom. If people can’t handle individual freedom—as collectivists like to argue—they certainly can’t handle collectivist power, as the twentieth and twenty-first centuries have amply demonstrated. It’s like the one brat in a room full of self-directed, happily interacting children seizing control of the room.
Part Two will be posted 1/21.
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