Ark of Freedom
by Nelson Hultberg
Questions & Answers about AFR's Mission Statement
Revolutions throughout history have always been initiated by a small minority of highly dedicated contrarians. When any given society has become tyrannical and in need of reform, the overwhelming majority of that society's citizens will be apathetic (and sometimes downright antagonistic) to any cause that upsets their routine in life. This phenomenon is called inertia, and it is one of the more debilitating forces of human existence that weighs upon us all. Contrarians and rebels refuse to let this force govern them. Establishment oriented humans always succumb to its control.
In the process of forming Americans for a Free Republic during this past year, I have received thousands of emails from enthusiastic supporters about its theme of "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates" as a challenge to the Demopublicans. And I have also received hundreds of emails from those who were quite negative and cynical regarding its goal. Interspersed amidst this support and negativity were a lot of thoughtful questions on how such a challenge of the Demopublicans could be brought about, along with suggestions for improving the plan that I had outlined. What follows is an attempt to clarify the third party plan further, and answer the more important objections that have been put forth.
Crash Must Come First
The number one objection I received was that it will be impossible for a third party movement to induce any important changes until the economy crashes. People are not ready to hear about radical policies because they are mesmerized by their SUVs and all the goodies that Consumerland has brought them. The public is comprised of shortsighted establishmentarians that have a limited sense of history, and they will just not give a damn until the system self-destructs.
This is true. Most people will not listen until the system has actually gone belly-up. But the time will come in the long recessionary period we are now going through when the Dow is languishing around 3000 on the charts, when the dollar is dropping like a rock in a dry well, when government is stultifying everything in its path, when there is great suffering among the people -- then they will be willing to listen. And that day is not too far off. Sometime before this decade is out, our economy will be in severe crisis. So we need to start building an organization NOW. The time to build an ark is before the raging flood is upon us, not after we're waist-deep in the tides of chaos and despair.
Amidst all the coming tumult, there will be a breakdown of many of the established ways of doing things. When the world economic crisis now confronting us has reached its final destination, the people will be crying for radical change. Our danger lies in the fact that Demopublican demagogues will try to stampede the confused masses into accepting all-pervasive government control of key industries. There will be calls for nationalizing the gold and silver mines, the banks, etc. There will be demands for protective tariffs that will trigger trade wars around the world. There will be a call for currency exchange controls. The Patriot Act will be used to suppress rights. Such demagogues will find white horses to ride. They will attack the free-market and smear what few traditions of limited government we have left. They will offer McGovern-like subsidies to everyone who votes for them. They will advocate massive Huey Long work projects for men and women to rake leaves from one side of the street to the other and then back again.
Modern day Upton Sinclairs will be shouting for ruinous "redistribute the wealth" plans like the EPIC (End Poverty In California) movement during the 1930's. Equivalents of Roosevelt's fascist National Recovery Administration and the Agricultural Adjustment Administration will be championed by desperate Demopublicans in search of straws to grasp. There will be a sequel to what Roosevelt biographer John T. Flynn called the "dance of the crackpots" during the 1930's. Droves of ivory tower eggheads, with not a lick of experience in ever running a business, will try to form brain trusts with Washington honchos to dictate to the most minute degree how American businessmen are to run their affairs.
This dance of Demopublican crackpots will have to be fought. And there is only one way to do that. We must oppose their fallacies with the RIGHT IDEAS. This is our most fundamental asset. We who advocate gold money and equal tax rates have the only rational answers to the problem of government aggrandizement and the economic ruin it is bringing down upon us. This is something that the entire rotted structure of Demopublicanism lacks -- rational solutions. This gives us a very powerful advantage. But the time to start advancing our solutions is NOW. This means commitment instead of cynicism.
In the 1930's, collectivism was on the rise. It was morally aggressive and idealistic, the wave of the future. Professors flocked to it. The brightest students in the universities came to Washington like weevils to the gristmill with Keynesian-Marxist dogmas as their weapons to remake America.Today collectivism is still on the rise, but its vanguards no longer possess their original vigor. Collectivism no longer commands the MORAL HIGH GROUND! It rules by deceit and demagoguery. It has power, yes, but it is a power built on false principle and special privilege. It is a hollow power that can be dethroned. But if we are to be in a position to try and bring about such a dethronement, we need to start building our ark NOW.
The "Impregnability" of the Ruling Class
Another objection I received to the idea of a third party challenge is that it's a colossal waste of time and energy. It will attract only naive Pollyannas who have no idea of the immensity of the forces that are entrenched against them. The country is in the hands of powerful cartels of corporate-banking-bureaucratic interests that will ruthlessly suppress our efforts. Voting will not change things because the voters are already bought and paid for with the bread and circuses that government perpetually sends their way. The ruling class in America will wipe us out of existence before we make even small inroads into their game of fiat money and confiscatory taxes. It's senseless to go up against such an almighty ruling hierarchy. It's better to just resign ourselves to our fate. Be realistic. Individuals can't make a difference in face of such a monster machine of corporate-statism.
I fully realize the strength of the ruling establishment and the odds that a challenge like this is up against. But I see overwhelming challenge as rampant throughout history. I see that all progress in forming better, freer societies only comes about because there are certain people in this world (the Thomas Jeffersons and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyns) who just don't allow immense power structures to bother them or dissuade them.
Why? Because of a very dynamic force that all tyrannical systems lack, and all rational revolutionaries possess -- moral truth! This is what brings the most powerful of tyrannies down. No matter how much monetary or regulatory control they possess, no matter how ruthless they are -- they are always vulnerable in face of men and women who are in possession of truth, and willing to take a moral stand against overwhelming odds. Moral truth connected to unbending human will is what destroys the most entrenched of evil eventually. That's what we have on our side. We just have to design the right strategy to implement it. There are countless Americans out there with the "can do" spirit that originally built this country. They're just waiting for the right mix of political savvy and passion to come along and sweep them up into a crusade.
In 1776, the Tories sat timidly on their hands, hiding behind closed doors where it was safe and popular. They wallowed in pessimism and lamented that nothing could be done. The British were too strong. Why make a big fuss? But the rebels -- men like Samuel Adams and John Hancock, Patrick Henry and Paul Revere -- would have none of it. They possessed only a rag-tag army, but they knew they had moral truth on their side, and that the British Gargantua would fall precisely because of that.
Demopublicans Rotted from Within
Entrenched authority has to justify itself morally and philosophically. And that is something that today's Demopublican elites cannot do. They are vulnerable as hell. They are rotted from within. They are ripe for a challenge just as the Soviet Politboro was ripe. And they can be brought down. It might take a decade or two to do it. But someone has to start the ball rolling somewhere.
Throughout history whenever tyranny threatens, there are those who hang back in gloom and resignation, and there are those who say -- Let's take the fight to these bastards, and even if we lose, we'll know at least that we fought on the side of truth, rather than settling for the comforts of craven apathy.
The nature of our choice can be explained with a recent example from history. The Vichy government of France and its collaborators quietly tolerated the Nazis in 1940. Yet DeGaulle and a small group of partisans went underground and refused to accept the superior power of the German army. Did they know they were going to eventually win? Hell no, they had no idea whether they could win or not. They only knew that they could not live as collaborators. They had to take the fight to the tyrants, and even if they lost, they knew at least they would be aligning themselves with the forces of truth and freedom. That is the only attitude that will save America. And it will take more than lip service; it will require activist commitment in some way. We need gallant Rebels, not compliant Tories.
Great deeds are accomplished only by those who are impervious to "power structures" and "ruling establishments." History is determined by vibrant men of the mind with the will to bend the social forces they find around them rather than be bent by them. History does not make us, as the collectivists so falsely claim. We make history. Men of great moral conviction formed our nation, and it is only such men again who can save her.
Our society is heading, in the next ten years, into a maelstrom of chaos and misery. The people will be clamoring for some radical voices to lead them. So when the knock comes on your door to ask for your commitment, I hope that you the reader will be getting your musket down from the wall and joining the fight (speaking metaphorically of course) instead of dwelling on how entrenched the Darth Vaders of the Potomac are. It is far better to fight, even if we lose, than to give up and allow the forces of evil to win by default. What course other men will choose to take I cannot determine, but as for myself, I will never give in to the hideous slavery that the New World Order has planned for us.
Our trumpet call must be the words of Thomas Hughes: "Man was sent into this earth for the express purpose of fighting -- of uncompromising and unending fighting with body, intellect, spirit, against whomsoever and whatsoever causeth or maketh a lie. The first requisite of life is courage or manfulness, gained through conflict with evil -- for without such conflict there can be no perfection of character....[W]e are born into a state of war; with falsehood and disease, and wrong and misery in a thousand forms lying all around us, and the voice within calling on us to take our stand as men in the eternal battle against them."
Don't Become Marginalized
Another objection to the AFR strategy was that the two pillars of "gold money and equal tax rates" needed to be accompanied by several more planks in order to be effective. Property taxes should be repealed. Social security should be privatized. Term limits should be passed. Emergency Executive Orders should be rescinded, etc., etc. Sadly these readers missed the whole point of "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates!" All their points I agree with. But the idea is not to become MARGINALIZED.
These are all great future reforms. But today, we must concentrate on stopping Gargantua. Tomorrow we can concentrate on cutting him down to size. This means we must get 15% of the vote, which means becoming radical on only the two pillars of gold money and equal tax rates. This is absolutely critical. Just think what would happen to the Federal Government if we could end unlimited paper money creation and progressive taxation. The government would be stopped dead in its tracks. It could no longer expand. This alone would be a monumental achievement for a political cause. But to do this, we must not get bogged down in trying to enact reforms today that are best left for tomorrow. That can only put us out on the fringe of obscurity and ineptitude where all the other third parties presently reside.
The Fed is a Fascist Cartel
Numerous readers have written that gold was not the answer to the problem. Money creation had to be taken out of the hands of the bankers totally and given to Congress. This type of thinking stems from the mistaken belief that the Federal Reserve System is a private banking concern, and that only government should be creating money. First of all, the Federal Reserve is not a private bank. It is a government-run fascist cartel. All nationally chartered banks are forced by the government to join the cartel. Greenspan and his board of governors are appointed by the President and approved by the Senate. The Federal Reserve Act of 1913 was passed by Congress, and it can be rescinded or altered at anytime by Congress.
Harry Browne wrote in his classic How You Can Profit From The Coming Devaluation, "Some people claim that the Federal Reserve System is a private enterprise. Nothing could be further from the truth. It's as much a part of the government as the Internal Revenue Service, the Commodity Credit Corporation, or the Federal Trade Commission. The error probably stems from the fact that commercial banks own 'stock' in the Reserve Banks. This isn't by choice, however; each is forced to put up 6% of its own capital in the nearest Reserve Bank." [Avon, 1971, pp. 48-49]
Browne goes on to explain that the commercial banks only earn a 6% dividend on the capital they are forced to put up, rather than a legitimate percentage of the Reserve Bank's profits. The great bulk of the profits of the Reserve Banks, he explains, are turned over to the federal Treasury. [Ibid., p. 49]Recently in a reply to one of his readers, G. Edward Griffin, the highly acclaimed author of The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, states unequivocably that the Fed is not a privately-owned corporation in the conventional sense.
" I am surprised to hear that you believe I have claimed that the Fed is a privately-owned corporation. Please tell me where you find that in my book. In truth, it is a corporation, all right, and the shares are privately held by the banks, but they do not carry the usual privileges of ownership. I have said very clearly in my book that the Fed is a cartel and that it is a partnership between private banks and the government....
"The Federal Reserve is owned by the member banks that comprise the system. This, however, is misleading because...the stockholders cannot sell their shares, which they could do if they truly owned them. For another, they have no voice in the selection of the members of the board at the federal level. The Fed, although it is a corporation chartered by Congress, is not like most other corporations. It is, in fact, a hybrid organization specifically designed to facilitate operation of a cartel....with participation by government to enforce cartel agreements, and the unique structure was designed for that purpose." [Email forwarded to me, June 11, 2003. Emphasis added.]
Government is thus a full partner in the Federal Reserve System. It chooses the men who are to run the Fed, and it can change the rules at anytime, which it does periodically. While the individual mega-bankers of New York certainly wield extensive power in the system's interlocking alliances -- a power that molds much of our politics -- they are still answerable to the regulatory controls of the Federal Government. [On this issue, see my article in the editorial section, "Is the Fed a Private Corporation?"]
So taking money creation away from a government-run cartel and simply giving it to another branch of the government (e.g., Congress) is hardly substantive improvement. What needs to be done is to eventually, through future reforms, abolish the Fed and take money creation totally away from the government period. Let the marketplace (i.e., the people) choose what form of money is to be used. When the people are left free to choose in the marketplace, they always choose gold. Let the people own the gold, and let them deposit it into private banks throughout the land. Get all forms of government out of the business of money creation period, and define the people's gold deposits in the banks as warehoused property rather than loaned property. This would eliminate the evil of fractional reserve banking. (For an excellent, easy to read explanation of how to do this, see Murray Rothbard's "The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Backed Dollar" -- available through www.mises.org).
It is crucial to understand that the corruption of our banking system has nothing to do with capitalism or free enterprise at all. Our banking system is pure Mussolini style corporate-statism, i.e., fascism. It is the ultimate example of what is wrong with America! And it is why the leftists and many populist elements in America are totally lost when they blame capitalism for the evils of the Federal Reserve banking system. True free enterprise would never tolerate a national bank. Thomas Jefferson and Andrew Jackson fought vehemently against the big government Hamilton-Clay forces during the early 19th century to try and keep banking on a free enterprise footing in America. Their later disciples finally lost the battle in 1913 with the inception of the Federal Reserve. As a result, fascism now rules the American economy, not capitalism. So to all the leftists and populists out there, get your economic history straight. The solution to our problems is not to fight fascism by just changing the form of government control. That's fighting pus with poison. The solution is to eliminate all government controls of businesses in the marketplace, period. The solution is to restore the vision of Jefferson and Jackson -- laissez-faire capitalism, i.e., genuine free enterprise.
Ultimate Goal is Abolition of the Income Tax
Another objection to the AFR strategy was that just eliminating the "progressivity" of the income tax would never do. The income tax itself is unconstitutional, and to launch a party upon something so illegal would doom our efforts before we began. There is great disagreement in legal circles, however, on this issue. Perhaps the income tax is unconstitutional; but the courts are not at all sympathetic to such an argument. Challenging the income tax on the basis of "progressivity," though, is another game entirely. The 16th Amendment may or may not have made the income tax constitutional, but it certainly did not make a progressive income tax constitutional. Any tax that is based upon unequal rates clearly violates our right to "equality under the law" in America. This is where the statists are highly vulnerable. This is where the battle lies. End progressivity first; then take on the idea of income taxation itself.
Many have written and endorsed the idea of a sales tax as far superior to an income tax. I am in total agreement as to the superiority of a sales tax. I worked for three years with Citizens for an Alternative Tax System (CATS) out of Washington, D.C. promoting the Schaefer-Tauzin NRST bill presently before Congress. I wrote a book on the subject, Why We Must Abolish the Income Tax and the IRS. But I came to the conclusion that the people are not quite ready for the radical change that switching to a consumption tax would entail. It's too soon to try and politically sell such an idea -- mainly because it is a very complicated sale. People's eyes glaze over once they are immersed in its convoluted arguments. Equalizing income tax rates is much easier to understand.
Moreover, any national sales tax at this time would require a minimum of 15%, which when added to the state sales taxes presently in place would bring our total tax added to goods and services to the 20%-23% range. This appears to be quite difficult for the American people to accept psychologically, and therefore a tough reform to sell politically. I realize that all goods and services will be 15% cheaper due to elimination of corporation taxes and the compliance costs of the income tax, which are passed on in prices of goods and services. I realize that the national sales tax eliminates "double taxation." Despite this, Americans still are reluctant to accept a sales tax replacing the income tax. It is my belief that this reluctance is due to the 20%-23% level at which a consumption tax would be implemented. Once government services are reduced, however, to a lower level that could be financed by a sales tax under 10%, then I think a switch from income to consumption taxation would be acceptable to the American people. Until then we need to work within the income tax structure.
Thus the most important goal at this time is to end "progressivity of rates." Once this is done, there will take place a natural reduction of government because, as pointed out in the AFR Mission Statement, people's infinite demand for government services would be ended with an "equal rate tax." This will allow us to eventually work our way down to a 6%-7% income tax rate, which could then be switched to a consumption tax rather easily. The people would then accept it psychologically. And even the consumption tax could eventually be replaced with excises and tariffs. An amendment to the Constitution could be passed that banned any and all taxation of income for all individuals, businesses, groups, etc. Voila! The income tax would no longer be a part of America. Incrementalism in politics at work.
We need to begin this process by enacting a flat 10% income tax with absolutely no exemptions, deductions, or privileges for anyone. Accompanying the 10% flat tax would be the elimination of whatever government programs and spending are necessary to make the budget balance within a 3-year period. There is presently at least $400 billion being spent on totally nonsensical federal programs that could easily be eliminated within 3 years. And no one would be deprived of "crucial" support programs. Several studies have been done on this over the past 10 years. One such study is The People's Budget, Regnery, 1995.
Here is an example of how such a tax would be implemented: In fiscal year 2000, net taxable income for the nation was $7,980 billion. Ten percent of this rounded off would be $800 billion. Our present progressive tax system took in $1,200 billion that year. Thus there is a $400 billion shortfall. So the flat tax would begin at 15% the first year so as to be revenue neutral ($7,980 billion x 15% = $1,200 billion rounded). It would then be phased down to 10% within 3 years as the $400 billion in excess spending is cut. [Budget figures from The World Almanac 2002, pp. 106 &114.]
Liberals will naturally spin all such proposals as inhumane, and try to make us out to be horrible ogres wishing to take milk money away from children. This is their nature and their only hope to shore up the rotted system of welfare servitude they have foisted upon us. One of the important features of the plan is that the 10% flat tax must apply to ALL citizens of the Republic. As I explained in "Gold Money and Equal Tax Rates," this is the only way we can stop government growth. All citizens must contribute, or they won't be responsible voters, and the politicians coming before us every Election Day will not be responsible legislators. But just as sure as the sun will come up tomorrow, liberals will pounce upon a 10% flat tax as unfair to the poor people. So if a floor is to be established under which no one will have to pay the tax, i.e., an exemption for those under the poverty level, then a provision will be included in the tax bill stating that those who are exempted from paying are to also be excluded from voting.
Remember we are trying to restore a RESPONSIBLE electorate and legislature. This cannot be done if voters get their services free. All who vote must pay the tax, period! That is the only way they will act responsibly. This is human nature. After all, we deny children the right to vote. Why do we do this? Because they are not mature enough to vote responsibly. The same principle applies to men and women who are exempt from taxes; they will never vote responsibly. They will possess "infinite demand" for government services. Liberals who evade such an easily recognized truth of human nature are living in a delusional world, and it is because of their delusions that we are now in the mess we are in. To continue to listen to their socialist nostrums can only exacerbate the coming collapse and destroy any hope of restoring freedom and sanity to this country in the future. Ours will not be a party that appeals to liberals. Our constituency will come from independents, libertarians, and free-market conservatives.
An Educational Organization Formed
What now needs to be done is to educate the American people about our cause. This is the primary goal of Americans for a Free Republic -- to act as an educational forum to spread the ideas of sound money and fair taxation to all Americans. The launching of a third political party is a natural concomitant to such an organization because it has the potential to speak to 100 million voters rather than just a few hundred thousand libertarian and conservative gold bugs. It has the potential to get the ideas of gold money and equal tax rates into the living room discussions of the entire nation. If this can be accomplished, it would be a monumental achievement.
We urge all readers who agree with our goals to join AFR and become "advocates of the cause" so to speak. Sign our Petition of support for Congressman Ron Paul and Professor Walter Williams. This makes you a member of AFR. Then please inform as many of your friends and associates about AFR and its unique strategy to change the face of American politics. Post our URL and any of the articles you find on our website in whatever chat rooms you are a member of. Just simple things like sending our URL to others in your sphere of influence still gets marvelous results. This is how they did it in Thomas Paine's day, and we can do the same. In fact we have it much easier than Paine and his contemporaries, for we have the Internet.
What is most important is not to let inertia and cynicism take over your life. The world is full of apathetic and cynical people who eke out their lives passively accepting whatever government subjects them to. This is the nature of those with weak and compliant personalities. They are the fodder that the power elites make use of to build their authoritarian state. The fact that you are reading this article proves that you are a breed apart. The trick is not to let yourself fall for the sophistry that will come from the millions of cynics and statist dupes that populate the world. Realize that their sophistic excuses are ploys that they construct in order to justify their subservience. Avoid these people. They are vexations to your spirit. They are barnacles on the ship's hull of America's future.
For those who are interested in gaining a better intellectual grasp of the primary issues involved, I recommend that you delve into the following books, articles, and monographs:
Charles Adams. Those Dirty Rotten Taxes, Simon & Schuster, 1998.
Thomas J. DiLorenzo. "Economic Fascism," Ideas on Liberty, June 1994. [www.fee.org]
Alan Greenspan. "Gold and Economic Freedom," in Ayn Rand, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, New American Library, 1966, pp. 89-95.
G. Edward Griffin. The Creature From Jekyll Island, American Media, 1998.
Ron Paul and Lewis Lehrman, The Case for Gold, Cato Institute, 1982.
Ayn Rand. "Man's Rights," Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, pp. 286-294.
Murray N. Rothbard. The Case Against the Fed, Mises Institute, 1995. [www.mises.org]
Also instructive are the following articles of mine that have appeared on numerous websites throughout the Internet, and are posted here at AFR in the editorial section:
Economic Fascism and Tax Slavery, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, May 27, 2003
Invasion of the Mind Snatchers, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, June 23, 2003
Freedom and Pax Americana, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, July 7, 2003
Contrarians and the Keynesian Myth, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, August 11, 2003
Apocalypse This Way Comes, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, September 3, 2003
The New Sons of Liberty, FinancialSense.com, Gold-Eagle.com, October 22, 2003
Taking America Back
We at AFR hope to become the Ark of Freedom for America. Our spirit exists eternally in the hearts and minds of all those who will not kowtow to tyranny. Our kind of defiance is what formed America in 1776. Our goal is to take back our country from the fascist black limousine crowd and all its collaborators -- the professorial cheerleaders for "social welfarism," the vast legions of bureaucratic leeches, the mobs of unthinking voters -- who are selling the greatest country in history down the river for an illusion of security and wealth via government pork and privilege.
America was meant for the free, for the self-reliant, for those individuals who are willing to live on their own wits, energy and courage. She was never supposed to have paper money and a progressive income tax. She was never supposed to have a powerful centralized maze of bureaucracies regimenting and subsidizing every aspect of our lives. America stood for limited government and personal independence at the outset, and unless she restores that stand, there will be no true liberty or justice for men on this earth in the future.