I predict that one day mankind
will be free of government, so long as the Internet remains free
of intervention... and I am not even bullish on tech stocks, go
figure - Ed Bugos
When wealthy people become influential
and are one day faced with the prospect of economic loss they are
apt to betray the free market regardless that it may have helped
to make them. It takes strong character to avoid the temptation
to tilt the playing field in one's own favor, if it is at all possible,
and as someone important once said, the truest test of any person's
character is to award them power.
Maybe money really does buy a whole
new set of problems.
But on to something else here. Consider
these thoughts a brief interlude, or even prelude if you will, to
the next issue of the goldenbar report, In Gold We Trust.
When discussing the gold market it
is difficult to avoid politics because Gold's 8000 year old history
is itself scarred by the conflict between the State and Individual,
over its importance to society. The former claims that it is the
instrument of greed and capitalism, and wholly unnecessary in a
civilized Fiat world, while the latter claims that it is the instrument
of freedom and capitalism, and necessary to keep mankind honest.
Still, to attach the word greed and
all its meaning to capitalism rather than to the behavior of some
human(s) is like blaming the gun for a murder... like saying that
guns do in fact kill people... send the murderer on a State paid
vacation for one, for all his (or her) trouble, thank you.
In fact, the latter, or those that
serve mankind's (the Individual) libertarian interests, hold that
it is the world of Fiat, which produces kind of a dishonest greed,
if you will... the kind of greed where it is tempting to tell on
your neighbor for that promotion, rather than the kind that is better
to be called motivation... the kind that gives all the others a
bad name... and the kind that will give capitalism a bad name some
day if the current establishment has its way (how can you tell which
side I am on).
Nonetheless, in order to grasp the
scope of the potential bull market in gold prices, it is perhaps
worthy to understand the nature of the unending conflict between
the State and the Individual, and to assess where we are today in
that progressive battle. It is in this context that the investor
will be able to understand the nature of the Gold business and prices
- I didn't say predict them - over the long term.
What has the government done for
America's freedom, with all of its Gold? Are American's more free
than they were, prior to say, 1913? Aren't you tired of doing for
your country, and not getting anything in return from its custodian,
except for more bills and promises about the future?
Here's a good door opener: why
do people fear anarchy? To understand that, we need to discuss
why people think that they need government.
Some believe that the government
protects them from something, anarchists perhaps; some believe that
the government helps them attain something; and yet others believe
that government is a fact of life, as if it were the natural order
of things. Still others think that anarchy means to live in a constant
state of revolution. Though I suppose that without a government,
the (unemployed) 'revolutionaries' would have to fight capitalists,
or banks, as did Shay's Rebellion - an armed insurrection of
debt-ridden farmers in Massachusetts whose brief rise and fall in
1786 set the constitution into motion.
Yet still, the key is that there
has to be a reason for the revolution, and it is usually the result
of the discovery that the playing field is not level, has no hope
of becoming level, ever, and that someone else continues to keep
it unleveled for their own benefit, whence the silent animosity
grows into despair, anger, and then perhaps revolt.
Today, we have a developed legal
system with nearly too much precedent for anyone to want to exploit
anyone else in the first place. I'm sarcastic here, but there is
some truth to it. Enforcement is another issue, but one that perhaps
a smaller government could handle. Perhaps a legal system administered
by a small government is preferable to one that is "decided"
by a big one anyway.
Besides, Shay's Rebellion
epitomized a time of widespread civil strife, which had more to
do with the state of the union (before it became a union) than it
did with angry debt ridden farmers (consumers today?). The unsuccessful
rebellion was only the final straw, but it was enough to fan the
fires of James Madison's Federalists.
The existence of a stealth "anarchy
is better than no government at all, I suppose" (quip from author's
father at dinner one evening). And so, the anti-Federalists gave
in to a restricted government, one that was responsible to the Bill
of Rights, which were designed to ensure citizens of the United
States freedom of speech, freedom of the press, freedom of religion
and freedom of assembly, among other things.
I cannot say whether I am an anarchist
or not. I don't think I am, purely, however, I certainly stand for
minimal government, particularly the interventionist kind.
But at any rate, I don't think that
in the absence of government altogether the odds of a not justified
revolution are any more likely than the odds that you and your neighbor
will have a fist fight in the morning, unless of course someone
were to unjustly assume the powers and privelage of government.
As for your neighbor, if there were something that was to prevent
a fight, it would probably be the thought of a lawsuit before it
would be the idea that you or he might get hauled off to jail.
So, what assumptions then do we have
to make about human nature to believe that a free society will be
subjigated to a condition of constant strife? On the contrary, it
is today, in modern, socialized, and overly governed society, which
requires eternal vigilance of the principles of liberty.
On protection, Benjamin Franklin
said it best when he noted the exchange of liberty for safety, not
just our own, but also that which belongs to our children, and neighbor.
For what? Peace? Chamberlain thought it was a good idea to let Mr.
Hitler have nearly twice the concessions originally demanded from
Czechoslovakia, in the name of peace. He was hailed a world hero
for preventing an outbreak of war just before Churchill called it
a total and unmitigated loss. Churchill was right, and accordingly,
there was no peace.
What is to protect us from government,
which is a natural peacetime oppressor of the individual? What makes
us think that government's don't exploit our desire for peace? If
they do, their objective cannot be to achieve it (because then the
desire would not exist).
As for what the government can help
us to attain, there is an entire body of economic knowledge that
is seemingly lost on America, but which truths are entirely indisputable,
and which has shown that the government is less effective than the
market at helping society achieve most of its goals.
Government will always be a fact
of life only in so far as humans need protection from themselves,
and accordingly, as long as they believe that they need protection
from others. But it is far from the natural order of things.
Furthermore, there is not an insignificant
difference between the idea that our greatest threat is from ourselves
(meaning other humans and our own delusions), and how we choose
to deal with the consequences of that facet of human society.
To embrace more government is to
invite the Trojan horse through the gate, because it is the public
confidence (or money), which is the instrument, as well as the
object, of acquisition - Thomas Jefferson.
Government is not the natural order
of things, it is a man made institution, and it is subject to all
the flaws of human ignorance, but even more importantly, it is the
chosen form of our (unwitting?) captors.
So what is the answer, no government?
Anarchy? I don't think that is the answer.
There may be some purpose, or utility,
for government, though it must be a restricted purpose. If there
is one point of contention that I can pick on, out of the utilitarian
hemisphere, it is the idea that mankind "needs" society in
order to maximize its own happiness.
Indeed, I think that is an easily
exploitable delusion, one that is perpetrated on our insecurities
almost each day. The truth is that while all government is man made,
society is simply a fact of life. It is unavoidable, within reason,
to live on this planet without coming into contact with other people,
or groups of people.
Thus I contend that society is the
natural order of things, among humans at any rate, not government.
And whether society came before the individual or afterwards is
not quite another chicken or egg argument, however, it is clear
that individuals are drawn to society as inevitably as they are
drawn into having relationships with the opposite sex… and I don't
think it has anything to do with maximum happiness (I'm ducking
here), nor does it have anything to do with the attraction of belonging
to a pecking order, unlike the canine, who appears to thrive on
a pecking order.
Furthermore, It is doubtful that
the answer to improving our own interpersonal relationships lies
with choosing someone to govern them, anymore than the answer to
getting along in society is the same. Mind you, I'm not an expert
at utilitarianism, so you can take that with a grain of salt, which
is all I'll have to eat if my wife reads this... she'll raise my
Seriously, I believe that the only
reason for government to exist is to do a job that the market will
not do but which we all would like to benefit from. But even that
is an invitation, which has to be handled with care. Thus, this
job has to be restricted to protecting the instruments of
our individual freedom and liberty, as opposed to being allowed
to become the instrument itself, of acquiring our liberty.
And if there is one thing, which
we will discuss in the August issue of The Goldenbar Report, and
which is the most precious guardian of that liberty, it is in awarding
the individual with the choice of what is, or what isn't good enough
to be money. Alan Greenspan said it concisely in only his title,
50 years ago: Gold
and Economic Freedom.
Their relationship is truly inseparable,
as we will soon find out I suspect.
Edmond J. Bugos
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