Here are a few quotes I have come across in my recent readings. They aren’t necessarily earth-shattering, at least not to me, but they are interesting nonetheless.
“Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”
-Frederic Bastiat, “The Law”
Although the above quote is from the 19th century, it is still quite relevant today. The growing state tricks us all into thinking it is indispensable for our survival. In reality, we are not dependent on the state. Quite the opposite, the state is constituted of the parasitic class that depends on us for their livelihood.
“During the twentieth century, governments absorbed and monopolised the production of money. Private gold money with clearly defined property rights were replaced by public fiat money. This money monopoly itself implies a violation of property rights.”
Philipp Bagus “The Tragedy of the Euro”
In his fantastic book, Mr. Bagus discusses the origins of the euro and its political and economic ramifications. This quote is particularly interesting as it shines a free-market light on the production of money. Government monopoly of the money supply and the seemingly inevitable fiat money it creates is not a part of the free-market. The book explains clearly the consequences of fiat money, whether European or American.
“We in our sluggishness do not realise that the dearness of everything is the result of the cheapness of money. For prices increase and decrease according to the condition of the money…An excessive quantity of money should be avoided.”
-Nicholas Copernicus, as quoted by Murray N. Rothbard in “An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought”
Another money quote from someone who is usually associated with uncovering our heliocentric galaxy (where the Earth revolves around the sun). As a renaissance man, Copernicus dabbled in monetary theory (and much else) as well. He was one of the first, if not the first, to realise that an increase in the money supply will cause a general rise in prices. Someone should tell Bernanke that as early as the 16th century, people actually knew what real inflation was, that is an increase in the supply of money. Of course, he probably does know this making his actions even more sinister (more on that below).
“And here we have the short history of how money came to be destroyed and how the modern world came to host the ghastly leviathans that dominate the world. Here is the basis of the destructive and unnecessary wars that last and last, the character-shredding welfare state, and the swarms of bureaucrats who run our lives in every respect. It all comes down to the way money was destroyed.”
-Jeffrey A. Tucker in “Bourbon for Breakfast: Living Outside the Statist Quo”
Mr. Tucker is referring to the creation of a fiat currency as responsible for the rise in the total state. With a monopoly on money creation, states’ and their bankers can print everything they need. They want a war? Crank up the printing press. They need more subsidies to well-connected farmers (or bankers, or voting blocs)? Fire up that printing press. There was a time when currencies were backed by real things, like gold or silver, which kept the government more in check. They couldn’t expand the money supply so easily without incurring the wrath of people redeeming their increasingly worthless dollars for gold. Those days are gone. These days no currency that I know of is backed by anything but bureaucratic promises. The dollar is still a “reserve” currency in the world, meaning it is afforded a special status due to a certain amount of confidence in it. However, as the US continues to ride the Printing Press Express to economic oblivion, that confidence will sorely be tested. In short, the dollars days are numbered unless a drastic reversal of economic policy takes place.
Do you know what I find most disconcerting? The people running the central banks are not idiots (sometimes its fun to call them so, but in reality these are smart people). Many of them have written about passed economic crisis in a cogent and constructive way. History is littered with examples of currency debasement, hyperinflation and economic havoc. As central bankers, they are surely familiar with these. However, and here is the scary thing, they continue with their policy of destroying the currency. Most likely they are doing it on purpose to usher in some sort of world currency. It’s already being talked about at the World Bank and the IMF. John Maynard Keynes, (the architect of the modern mercantilist economy, less an economist, more of a useful idiot of money-power) way back in the 1930s, was very much in favour of a worldwide fiat currency, he called it the bancor. It stands to reason that the money-power elites, having gained so much wealth and power using individual central banks, would seek a world central bank to increase their power and wealth even further. The incessant centralisation of power (at the expense of society) in the west will not stop unless enough people understand the harmful policies it puts forth, first and foremost its fiat monetary policy. Needless to say, the destruction wrought by central banks over the last 150 years or so would pale in comparison to a worldwide central bank pumping out fiat currency. It is a solid step in the wrong direction, fervently away from individual rights. The people need to take power back for themselves, not give away even more to some sort of shadowy world state, with its parasitic banks and mercantilist corporations. Imagine having Washington’s incompetence, corruption, war-mongering on an even grander scale. The state, remember, is a gang of thieves, writ large. It is built on getting away with things a mere commoner would be caged for.
“No one is a king by nature…A king cannot rule without a people, while a people can rule itself without a king.”
-Philippe Du Plessis Mornay in “An Austrian Perspective on the History of Economic Thought”
I love this quote. Substitute the word president for king, and you have modern America. Of course, its much more complicated than that, but it sends us in the right direction. We don’t need a parasitic government, they need us, hence why they are parasites! The book above is monumental in its undertaking, a breathtaking tour through economic thought starting with the Greeks. Rothbard emphasises that free-market thinking did not start with Adam Smith, but well before. In many ways, Adam Smith represented a step backwards in economic thinking, but for some reason he is considered the father of modern economics. His “Inquiry into the Nature and Causes of the Wealth of Nations” in 1776, was hundreds of years after scholastic thinkers laid the foundation for free-market thinking. He merely stood on the shoulders of giants and actually veered economic thinking away from a “subjective-value theory” of prices (whereby prices are merely a conveyor of information regarding consumers subjective-values of any given good or service, with supply and demand important as well) to a “labour-theory” of value (where the price of something should be a reflection solely of how much it cost to make). In this way, Adam Smith was a precursor to Karl Marx and his economic theories that were so disastrous in the 20th century (and today).
“Yet [what American] has heard of Kolyma, where more people were done to death than the present official count for Auschwitz?”
-Ralph Raico, in an essay entitled “Nazifying the Germans” in the book “Great Wars and Great Leaders: A Libertarian Rebuttle”
How many Americans immediately think of Nazis when anything German is mentioned?It is embedded into our psyche. However, the communists of the Soviet Union “out-Nazi’d” the Nazi’s. In fact, the Soviet gulag was the model used by the Nazis for their concentration camps. We are told that communism and fascism are complete opposites of each other. The reality is that they are two evil left-wing ideologies that glorify the state over the individual, with predictable results. They both believe that the individual only exists for the benefit of “society.” Of course, in every case, “society” ends up meaning the state and its interests. Furthermore, dissent in a communist or fascist society is handled in the same manner, slavery, imprisonment and/or death.
Unfortunately for us, many left-wing intellectuals were (and are?) so pro-communism that they overlook little details like the deaths of millions under communism. To this day, most people are hardly aware of the century-long history of the murderous communist regimes like the Soviet Union and China, but we are all quite familiar with the 12-year awful history of the Nazis. It’s obviously not a competition, but I would argue there are reasons why some murderous ideologies are regularly discussed, while others are side-stepped.
Furthermore, the German’s, most of whom were not even alive at the time, (and of those that were, many of them either didn’t even know about the genocide going on or actively resisted it) are to this day condemned for the crimes of the Nazis. The European Union regularly brings up the spectre of the Nazis to coerce Germany. Recently, many Greek politicians (referring to the partially German-funded EU-bailout they received) have said that Germany owes Greece for crimes committed over 60 years ago. Furthermore, there are loads of communist political parties still kicking about in Europe. Can you imagine if there was a Nazi political party? Murder is murder, whether done by fascists, communists, democrats or republicans.