And Some Songs
Oliver Cromwell has been on my mind of late, the evil of taking a revolution of the people and crushing it, bringing more harm than the original system. Do the worst outcomes evolve from revolution subverted? It is,
Ledingham's second law: Revolution is easy, replacement with a better system is the more difficult.
Ledingham's first law: All people and countries act in their own self interest.
Ledingham's third law: Written law is not always enforced law.
Important lessons from my high school history teacher, Roger Ledingham, whose integrity was disguised by deep cynicism, and whose lessons probably saved me from a lot of nonsense.
Sometimes the un-faced truth about our sacred cows stings, we can only hope to change by honestly facing our past ... keep up the great work 🦋
I admire the desire of Americans to take themselves so seriously. But it is also hilarious.
You are most welcome. Every story usually has two sides, eh?
The spirit you speak of still lives on in some of us. Sadly, at the moment, it’s not enough. But hope springs eternal. I am buoyed by the recently released CDC data that admitted that 75 million did not get jabbed. That’s 75 million who lost their jobs, lost friends, lost family, burned bridges, burned careers, got evicted but remained standing in the breach. And (I don’t recall the exact #s) about another 50 million said no to the 2nd jab and another 50-75 million said no to the booster. So one could argue that 175-200 million are now at least partially awake.
Sadly the biggest group of losers who failed society at large are not the Marxists or the Covidians (most are likely both) but the physicians. They could have put an end to the medical tyranny before it ever took hold. And they could end it now. Unlike the 75 million they put their careers and money before the welfare of their patients. My bet is that in the end, they will suffer greatly for their lack of moral courage.
An interesting side note: my doctor is black. I was a firm no from the start, having smelled a rat in very early February 2020. I’ve seen him a few times since and neither he nor I ever mentioned the jab. I saw him in June and I inquired. He said I’ve given it to patients who requested it but I’ve never proactively advocated that anyone get it. And in this office (which he runs with his wife) we don’t give it to anyone under 18. That’s against the policy of the corporation, but they are way under target on minority docs so what are they gonna do?
It’s so sad. All it would have taken, or would take now, is a few thousand more like him.
Here you go. I think you will enjoy
Gary NorthDear Eric,
I will not be celebrating the Fourth of July today.
This goes back to a term paper I wrote in graduate school. It was on Colonial taxation in the British North American Colonies in 1775. Not counting local taxation, I discovered that the total burden of British imperial taxation was about 1% of national income. It may have been as high as 2.5% in the southern Colonies.
In 2008, Alvin Rabushka's book of almost 1,000 pages appeared: Taxation in Colonial America (Princeton University Press). A review published in the Business History Review summarizes the book's findings.
Rabushka's most original and impressive contribution is his measurement of tax rates and tax burdens. However, his estimate of comparative transatlantic tax burdens may be a bit of moving target. At one point, he concludes that in the period from 1764–1775 "the nearly 2 million white Colonists in America paid on the order of about 1% of the annual taxes levied on the roughly 8.5 million residents of Britain, or 1/25th in per capita terms, not taking into account the higher average income and consumption in the Colonies" (p. 729). Later he writes that on the eve of the Revolution, "British tax burdens were 10 or more times heavier than those in the Colonies" (p. 867). Other scholars may want to refine his estimates, based on other archival sources, different treatment of technical issues such as the adjustment of inter-Colonial and transatlantic comparisons for exchange rates or new estimates of comparative income and wealth. Nonetheless, no one is likely to challenge his most important finding: the huge tax gap between the American periphery and the core of the British Empire.
Was the Declaration of Independence Built Upon a Lie?
The Colonists had a sweet deal in 1775. Great Britain was the second-freest nation on Earth. Switzerland was probably the most free nation, but I would be hard-pressed to identify any other nation in 1775 that was ahead of Great Britain. And in Great Britain's Empire, the Colonists were by far the freest.
I will say it, loud and clear: The freest society on Earth in 1775 was British North America, with the obvious exception of the slave system. Anyone who was not a slave had incomparable freedom.
Jefferson wrote these words in the Declaration of Independence:
The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.
I can think of no more misleading political assessment uttered by any leader in the history of the United States. No words having such great impact historically in this nation were less true. No political bogeymen invoked by any political sect as "the liar of the century" ever said anything as verifiably false as these words.
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The Continental Congress declared independence on July 2, 1776. Some members signed the Declaration on July 4. The public in general believed the leaders at the Continental Congress. They did not understand what they were about to give up. They could not see what price in blood and treasure and debt they would soon pay. And they did not foresee the tax burden in the new nation after 1783.
In his book, Rabushka gets to the point:
Historians have written that taxes in the new American nation rose and remained considerably higher, perhaps three times as much, than they were under British rule. More money was required for national defense than previously needed to defend the frontier from Indians and the French, and the new nation faced other expenses.
So as a result of the American Revolution, the tax burden tripled.
The debt burden soared as soon as the Revolution began. Monetary inflation wiped out the currency system. Price controls in 1777 produced the debacle of Valley Forge. Percy Greaves, a disciple of Austrian economist Ludwig von Mises and for 17 years an attendee at his seminar, wrote this in 1972:
Our Continental Congress first authorized the printing of Continental notes in 1775. The Congress was warned against printing more and more of them. In a 1776 pamphlet, Pelatiah Webster, America's first economist, told his fellow men that Continental currency might soon become worthless unless something was done to curb the further printing and issuance of this paper money.
The people and the Congress refused to listen to his wise advice. With more and more paper money in circulation, consumers kept bidding up prices. Pork rose from 4 cents to 8 cents a pound. Beef soared from about 4 cents to 100 a pound. As one historian tells us, "By November 1777, commodity prices were 480% above the prewar average."
The situation became so bad in Pennsylvania that the people and legislature of this state decided to try "a period of price control, limited to domestic commodities essential for the use of the Army." It was thought that this would reduce the cost of feeding and supplying our Continental Army. It was expected to reduce the burden of war.
The prices of uncontrolled imported goods then went sky-high, and it was almost impossible to buy any of the domestic commodities needed for the Army. The controls were quite arbitrary. Many farmers refused to sell their goods at the prescribed prices. Few would take the paper Continentals. Some, with large families to feed and clothe, sold their farm products stealthily to the British in return for gold. For it was only with gold that they could buy the necessities of life which they could not produce for themselves.
On Dec. 5, 1777, the Army's quartermaster-general, refusing to pay more than the government-set prices, issued a statement from his Reading, Pennsylvania, headquarters saying, "If the farmers do not like the prices allowed them for this produce, let them choose men of more learning and understanding the next election."
This was the winter of Valley Forge, the very nadir of American history. On Dec. 23, 1777, George Washington wrote to the president of the Congress "that, notwithstanding it is a standing order, and often repeated, that the troops shall always have two days' provisions by them, that they might be ready at any sudden call; yet an opportunity has scarcely ever offered, of taking an advantage of the enemy that has not been either totally obstructed, or greatly impeded, on this account... We have no less than 2,898 men now in camp unfit for duty, because they are barefoot and otherwise naked… I am now convinced beyond a doubt, that, unless some great and capital change suddenly takes place, this Army must inevitably be reduced to one or other of these three things: starve, dissolve or disperse in order to obtain subsistence in the best manner they can."
“There Was No British Tyranny, and Surely Not in North America”
Only after the price control laws were repealed in 1778 could the Army buy food again. But the hyperinflation of the Continentals and state-issued currencies replaced the pre-Revolution system of silver currency: Spanish pieces of eight.
The proponents of independence invoked British tyranny in North America. But there was no British tyranny in North America.
In 1872, Frederick Engels wrote an article, "On Authority." He criticized anarchists, whom he called anti-authoritarians. His description of the authoritarian character of all armed revolutions should remind us of the costs of revolution.
A revolution is certainly the most authoritarian thing there is; it is the act whereby one part of the population imposes its will upon the other part by means of rifles, bayonets and cannon — authoritarian means, if such there be at all; and if the victorious party does not want to have fought in vain, it must maintain this rule by means of the terror which its arms inspire in the reactionists.
After the American Revolution, 46,000 British Loyalists fled to Canada and other places controlled by the crown. They were not willing to swear allegiance to the new Colonial governments. They retained their loyalty to the nation that had delivered to them the greatest liberty on Earth. They had not committed treason.
The revolutionaries are not remembered as treasonous. The victors write the history books.
The Boston Tea Party: A Protest Against Lower Tea Prices
What would libertarians — even conservatives — give today in order to return to an era in which the central government extracted 1% of the nation's wealth? Where there was no income tax?
Would they describe such a society as tyrannical?
That the largest signature on the Declaration of Independence was signed by the richest smuggler in North America was no coincidence. He was hopping mad. Parliament in 1773 had cut the tax on tea imported by the British East India Co., so the cost of British tea went lower than the smugglers' cost on non-British tea.
This had cost Hancock a pretty penny. The Tea Party had stopped the unloading of the tea by throwing privately owned tea off a privately owned ship — a ship in competition with Hancock's ships. The Boston Tea Party was, in fact, a well-organized protest against lower prices stemming from lower taxes.
So once again, I will not be celebrating the Fourth of July today.
for The Daily Reckoning
True. Estimates vary wildly. Most of the consensus settles at 2.5 million inhabitants in the 13 colonies. 10-20% slaves or indentured, but a significant portion of those were not black, rather white indentured mostly from Europe. 30,000 free blacks. So actual numbers are impossible to find, until the 1790 census. But your point is well taken.
Your overall perspective is not unsupported by a lot of evidence. For example, Sam Adams and John Hancock were likely the two most notorious smugglers in the colonies. And the story portrayed in popular terms of the Boston Tea Party is totally false. The real story is complicated. But the essence of it is that the British Crown and the East India company conspired to change the way tea was to be taxed. And the changes they made, had they been fully implemented, would have made smuggling far less lucrative, shifting the tariff burden to the merchants and forbidding them from passing it on to consumers. There are many other similar stories and the tax/tariff burden on individuals in the colonies was far less than it was on English or French citizens living in those countries. Arguably, England was the most ‘free’ country in the world and the colonies enjoyed nearly all the freedoms. Some scholars have argued the colonists had more freedom than British subjects, thereby making the arguments of overarching tyranny weaker.
I didn’t make the point very well. But (absent the issue of slavery which for me needs a separate track of analysis) up through the early 1900s the Federal Govt played a very limited role in the lives of most people. Tax rates were low, regulations were few, there was no administrative state to speak of that directly affected peoples lives. The creation of a Central Bank was the turning point that changed all that and set the country on the road to Perdition.
Two terrific books on the subject are The Creature from Jekyll Island and the more recent Lords of Easy Money. Anyone with only a partial ability to engage in critical thinking cannot read those books and come away with the idea that where we are now has happened by chance and incompetence.
I’m going to try and copy and paste a piece that will provide you with more support for your position. I try to be a full service provider. LOL.
Un-sub, after that? No way! You had me at "whiskey rebellion" and "washington was a tyrant "
Lysander Spooner held a rather dim view of the Constitutional myth-making. Gary North of all people had something on those educated elite assholes doing a setup from the beginning, but I'm having trouble finding it...will look.
Our Enemy the State by Nock started me onto similar path of thinking as you, many many years ago. Not unsubscribing!
It stands as evidence, in and of itself, that the United States is the last remaining bastion of relative freedom in the world - specifically freedom of speech, and freedom from coercive death-shots.
Within the US, this freedom is distributed very unequally. It is most evident in those states which retain the most legacy of respecting the spirit of the US Constitution.
As the effects of the death-shots become evident, this spirit will spread. It will spread from the states that kept it, to the states that lost it. The Constitution will provide a sound basis on which to rebuild. And this time, we will understand that we not only need the principles of the Republic written down - but that each of us also needs to pay attention to them, understand them, and respect them.
Monica, interested... what do you think top 3, 4 governments and time periods you think existed.
I would never unsubscribe. Isn't that the part of what we're fighting- the censorship and lack of free speech? And surely I won't be kicked off if I disagree?
Could you describe your idea of Utopia? Not the cop out "There is no Utopia" but your best case scenario? How would you change society?
It's not as easy as any of us think. The law of unintended consequences is iron. And power corrupts. Have you ever been in charge? I have and I can tell you it sucks. You get all the blame and none of the credit. You are constantly called on to referee childish arguments, fix things that should not be broken, assuage the feelings of bruised egos.
You have to constantly battle the urge to become a dictator. Washington was a tyrant? Have any of us ever wielded the amount of power Washington did? Ask yourself honestly if you could resist being a tyrant if you had such power and no one could stand in your way. Could you make the choice of Galadriel, who refused the ring of power, or Washington, who refused to be crowned king? It's easy to say, "Sure I could", but describing the depth of the struggle to do so would be more telling.
To be sure, America is imperfect and has her faults, but do you know a better place to realize full human potential than in America? And not little bits and pieces like "Canada's health system is better", but the full system of government in any place you name.
And what are each of us knocking America actually doing to improve it?
None of this is meant as criticism or indictment, but food for thought and honest debate.
Great point about the Declaration of Independence!!!
Who wizzed in your cornflakes today? Seriously, after following your stack for some time, your posts today indicate, well, I’m not sure but it’s almost as though someone hijacked your login.
Not quite ready to unsubscribe, sorry. While anarchists really do dislike government, some can be better than others. "When we can vote ourselves the treasury, we will" - still applies. Having done that for so long are we happy now? Enjoy the ability to buy the gas to enable travel.
The Constitution doesn't mention rights because that's not its purpose. Its purpose is to limit the power of the federal government. The Bill of Rights aren't rights granted to the people (those rights are innate), but rather explicit limits on governmental authority.
However, people being people, they immediately started to move towards consolidating power at the federal level, starting with the supreme court declaring that they are the ultimate arbiter of constitutionality/limits of the Congress, up through when the amendment was passed so that senators became popularly elected, depriving the states any say in federal legislation. I'm sure there are others, those are just top-of-mind.
All that said, I've come to the opinion that we don't need the federal government any more. I believe the states should hold a convention and dissolve it (well, convention + ¾ state ratifications). All federal assets should revert to the states in which they are physically located. The states just need mutual defense and commerce treaties between them.
I think there can be improvements, but would challenge you to point to a greater system in mankind's history.
What changes would you suggest?
I would make a few changes:
1.Make property rights absolute.
No taxes on property. This would include real estate, vehicles, machinery, etc... What's that? The schools get a lot of their money from property taxes? Tough shit. Find it somewhere else.
Sovereignty on private property. Do what you want on your own property as long as it doesn't infringe on others rights. (Sorry, no rape or murder, unless someone trespasses, then you can rape and murder to your hearts delight.)
2.Only real estate owners, business owners and combat veterans get to vote. No skin in the game means you can't participate in setting the rules.
3. Execute child molesters immediately upon conviction. Victims/families get first right of refusal to carry out punishment.
4. Fat chicks can't wear tight clothes in public. Men's pants have to stay up without the assistance of a hand. Buy a belt homeboy.
5. No public displays of homosexual, transexual, bisexual, catsexual, dogsexual, or whatever pride. Keep it in the closet inside the house you can do whatever you want in.
6. Men have penises, woman have vaginas. Marriage is between a man and a woman. Children are only for married people.
You want to shack up with your dick suck bros in your privately owned sausage fest house and exchange Monkeypox, Gonnorhea and HIV rich fluids, go for it. Don't adopt.
7. Money production should be limited/tied to goods production.
8. Congressional pay should be conditional on a balanced budget and voter happiness polls. Only voters can enact a congressional pay raise.
9. No more income tax. It wasn't in the original anyway.