Onion AV Club Pans “Freedom to Fascism”

America: Freedom to FascismIt seems Aaron Russo might have stepped too far out of the mainstream with many of the issues he brings up in America: Freedom to Fascism, because the Onion A.V. Club — a source I trust for honest and impartial reviews — totally slammed it in a big way:

Yes, America: Freedom To Fascism gives the Michael Moore muckraking-underdog treatment to the kind of delirious conspiracy theories generally associated with mentally ill homeless people screaming at passersby to stop stealing their brainwaves.

[…] Fascism rails semi-coherently against bogeymen on the left and right, employing public-access production values and a world-changing sense of purpose wildly disproportionate to its paltry resources and amateurish direction. The film somehow manages the formidable task of being far more paranoid and hysterical than even its screaming tabloid-headline title would suggest.

They gave it a D. I think the movie plays well with it’s obviously intended audience: government conspiracy theorists and tax deniers; but the delivery sounds like it was way beyond the realm of being an independent documentary of the encroaching police state and lost liberties in our lifetime. Which sucks, in a way.

Honestly, I don’t think we have to touch conspiracies or things like that which tend to tune out most people, since there’s so many topical and pop-culture issues dominating the headlines of the past five years of amazingly leaps in police state growth (and how utterly silly their arguments for legislating them are).

119 Comments
  1. I can’t comment on the movie; but there’s so much evidence out there that would appeal to ordinary folks who dont think much about political things. It simply has to be packaged and selected to appeal to their sensibilities. Tying the realities in their lives to huge government, big business, and the taxation level required to keep the status quo going is hard work. But if you can connect the dots, it will pay off. It has to be attempted.

    I read many years ago that the average american thinks about political issues or concerns for less than 5 minutes a week. That’s not a lot of time to make an impression. And the only way to get yourself in front of them is to get on the TV they are watching.

    The LP really needs a dedicated media fund, to be used for no other purpose besides getting TV ads on the air. If it cant do that, then something needs to be set up that can.

  2. There is a favorable review on the popular website “Ain’t it Cool News” at the moment. Basically one of the reviewers says that is scared the shit out of him and site founder “Harry Knowles”. Many people in talkback then go on to say Russo is a ‘liberal’ and ‘unamerican’. Haha.

  3. Stephen,

    Have you seen the movie? It’s not conspiracy thoery crap at all, it’s real and is happening NOW! Aaron Russo is a hero for making the movie and I highly encourage everyone who gives one iota about this country to go see it!

  4. Saw the movie earlier this year… it’s low rent film making, so don’t expect much polish, but the substance is there, and Aaron has some good moments in it. He’s not Michael Moore, but then again, Michael Moore wasn’t Moore at first either… and Aaron’s not a documentarian, he’s a producer.

    The Onion AV reviewer attacks it without much substance, just nasty words.

    No, it’s not perfect, but for lots of folks, this will strike a chord. Sadly, most folks are media stunted and tone deaf as a result, like the AV reviewer.

  5. Expect a lot of attacks if it ever sees the light of day in any substantive way – which isn’t going to happen. The attacks will be solely denials that it isn’t true and ad hominem attacks on Russo and the production values.

    You know you are on to something when conservatives foam at the mouth and condemn it as the work of “the left, the left, the left”. Any reasoned approach at arguing the points made in the film will be denied, in particular because reason would reveal it all to be true. And accepting such things as true would require a serious re-examination of our national identity. Conservatives nationalist, facist identity must not be questioned one whit. Conservatives are total cowards when it comes to understanding.. well, anything at all and everything.

  6. I haven’t watched the entire film although I have watched all of the available trailers and clips. My first impression was that it was something I’d really dig, but as I watched more and more footage, some parts I really wanted to look up myself as they kinda appeared a little bit “out-there”. I still want to see it but I’m personally skeptical to an extent. I’m not a monetary policy afficianado so I can’t really argue either side in this case.

    However if they turned Radley Balko’s SWAT report into a movie – then it would probably turn more heads because people can relate more to police than the central banking system.

  7. DD — if not even all L(l)ibertarians can agree on what is and is not true in Russo’s film — a great deal of its information comes with a Murray/Rothbardian spin — then what chance in hell does it have of reaching a significant portion of ‘the common populace’ in any effective manner?

    It’s all about the postulates, baby.

    I wish Russo’s film nothing but success. I have recommended it to apolitical individuals and if it ever comes out in my area I intend to attend it. However, the simple fact of the matter is that I doubt it will do well in any major way. Not because its information is patently false — I cannot say that — but rather because the *presentation* is too susceptable to “Well, what do you expect from a bunch of tinfoil hatters?”

  8. I have seen it and it was filled with conspiracy nonsense about banking conspiracies. It was bad history. Had he edited down to the tax issue alone and whether the law says to pay or not he would have had a good piece. What he has instead is something that nutty Birchers will love but few others. It deserves to be panned and libertarians should stay away from supporting it unless they want to look like nuts as well.

  9. I haven’t seen the film yet, only the trailer. But before anybody starts railing against the issues brought up in the film, they might first do their own research on them.

    And for those who proclaim themselves Libertarians, who supposedly favor fiscal conservancy and a sound currency, to reject the film’s premise outright is to denigrate those two principles out-of-hand. Because those who created our present form of central bank were not interested in either…and to this day, their descendants and their water-carriers benefit very handsomely from that fact.

  10. Haven’t seen the movie yet, but from the trailers it appears that review is about what I expected. Ugh.

  11. I haven’t seen this one yet, but I hope its not too much of a tinfoil hat, conspiracy theory film like the Onion seems to be implying. I hate how conspiracy theorists seem to gravitate towards the libertarian movement. It seems to me if you are concerned about (for an insane example) the lowering quality of apple pies in America, that instead of blaming this on some underground Jewish plot, just go from where we are and try to make the issue better. I guess what Im saying is, it doesn’t really matter why thing X or Y is messed up (especially if your assertion is largely unprovable), just try to fix it.

    From the trailer and the various comments, this movie does look cheaply done, which is too bad. I wish Penn and Teller would do a feature version of BS!, all about politics/freedom/gov’t (we all know psychics are bunk, I hate those sorts of episodes). Or perhaps if John Stossel did a feature film length version of “Give me a Break”, though I suppose thats not what journalists do.

  12. Chris Bennett, right on! Aaron Russo lays it out FOR REAL! While the film begins with the IRS lies and Federal Reserve Scam, it sets them in the light of the police state that is being set up around us. Britian, Canada, China, Australia…the whole world is being set up for biometric ID cards, global taxation…..I wish that Real ID and NAIS were only theories cooked up by a crackpot! I wish our currency had more value than the “faith and credit” of the USA. I WISH the IRS didn’t imprison us for not “volunteering” to pay taxes.

    The sad part is that many of the people who see the film are those who are already aware of the issues the films brings to light. The comment “government conspiracy theorists and tax deniers” tells me Stephen is not one of those. YOU NEED TO SEE THE FILM, STEPHEN VANDYKE!!!
    “Conspiracy theorist” is just a strawman the timid use to avoid reality. If we can’t be BRAVE, we will be SLAVES!

  13. best damn movie i have seen in along time its about the TRUTH and we need more of it

  14. Damn, why can’t the sheeple understand that the IRS and the Federal Reserve are the greatest enablers of the politicians and bureaucrats and all the shit they pull. Remember this as you watch the Bill of Rights flushed down the toilet. It’s way past time someone shined a light on these cockroaches.

  15. I have to agree with the reviewer. I found most of the movie interesting, intriguing, scary and along with my view. However, I cringed at certain portions of the movie, not because I disagreed with them but because they came across an conspiratorial and to the average Joe Q. Public are going to place the whole premise of the movie under suspicion. Two parts that I particularly remember are the numerous references to that everpresent boogyman, the Council on Foreign Relations, and the supposed quote from George Bush that the constitution is just a god damn piece of paper. If Russo had that on video or audio it would be damning but when I got home after watching the movie, though it is widely rumored all over the net, I couldn’t find a credible source for that quote.

    Even though some of the theories may be true, if you want to be taken seriously you need to frame your argument in logic and unassailable facts. Russo failed to do that.

  16. “…plays well with it’s obviously intended audience: government conspiracy theorists and tax deniers…”

    Yeah, I guess Russo spent much of his personal money and years of his life with the intent to make a film for conspiracy theorists and tax deniers. He was going after that all important demographic “generally associated with mentally ill homeless people screaming at passersby to stop stealing their brainwaves.”

    Of course the movie has nothing to do with how the American people are being ripped off and lied to by their government and it has nothing to do with the destruction of their civil liberty. Move along, folks. There’s nothing to see here.

  17. Yeah, I guess Russo spent much of his personal money and years of his life with the intent to make a film for conspiracy theorists and tax deniers. He was going after that all important demographic “generally associated with mentally ill homeless people screaming at passersby to stop stealing their brainwaves.”

    Well, given their willingness to follow any mention of him or the movie around the Internet to pump up the film, post sycophantic reviews, and spew vitriol at any critics, perhaps he’s picked his target audience properly.

    At least if his goal was to win Internet arguments.

  18. It disturbs me somewhat how so many people, when encountering ideas that are contrary to what is sold to the masses as accepted truth, try to discredit these ideas with the “conspiracy theory” label. Certainly, there are fringe wackos running amok claiming Elvis is living down in Argentina and that we have a long lineage of US presidents who are actually reptilian humanoids.

    Nevertheless, the winners are the ones who write the “official” history and often this history is tainted by the agendas of those involved. To quote Butler Shaffer, “I am not interested in conspiracy theories; I am interested in the facts of conspiracies!” Any libertarian worth his salt recognizes the evils wrought by the 16th Amendment and the private corporation known as the Federal Reserve. Whether or not all of the conspiratorial details put forth in the movie should be accepted as fact, the primary objective should be to cast doubt on these institutions. If the movie accomplishes this, it succeeds.

  19. psychophant: a servile self-seeking flatterer

    Self-seeking is way off target, Nicky!

    These are the ones working to save our republic. It is the quasi-LP types who are out there war-mongering that seem to be self-serving and seeking flattery. If being right or being flattered was my goal, I would be at LPHQ writing things like that so-called “exit strategy” which is a page out of PNAC’s “Rebuilding America’s Defenses.”

    Alas, I am not. Rather, I am willing to be part of the irrate, tireless, minority, attempting to set the brush fires of liberty in the minds of the gluttonous American sheeple who are too busy watching American Idol & Bill O-lie-ly to see that our government has thrown us the biggest lie a government ever told its people! Americans are eating it up with a super-sized spoon!

  20. My co-host and I went to see it at the Tampa screening, and I was impressed. It was entertaining, and only dipped a bit into the conspiracy world. To those of you critiquing the low budget, how about you shut the fuck up and go do a better job, since you know so much about filmmaking.

    Russo should be applauded for having the courage to make such a film.

  21. I have not seen the movie yet but plan to. The previews were excellent. I certainly do not expect to see cinematography equivalent to a multimillion dollar blockbuster. I am mainly interested in the content.

    On the Federal Reserve and the banking industry, I’ve seen a couple of documentaries and read many articles. While they vary on certain points, all that I have read implicate the major banking players in influencing the politics and changing american society. The power over the currency of a nation is the power to control the nation. Think about this…

    A private group of individuals has control over our monetary policy. Monetary policy is the interest we pay, what industries succeed, when they succeed, what fails, the ability to create money out of nothing and then lend it out for a profit.

    The conspiracy theories all seem to agree that there is a concerted effort amoung elite and powerful people to control the way we live our lives.

  22. It is not so hard to believe there are people who believe in a top down form of goverment control – that the elite should make decisions and control all of society.

    There is ample evidence that there is a concerted effort amoung high ranking world leaders and powerful elitists to form a one world government, which would control and influence the lives of all worldwide. And those leaders are willing to sacrifice us as individuals for what they see as the greater good.

    Is there really such a huge difference between fascism, socialism, and communism? All place the good of society and nationalism above individual rights. You are expendable. Of course, someone needs to lead and make decisions, to be the deciders. Not you.

    Don’t believe this? Read the presidential signing statements. You can be rounded up at any time, put in a concentration camp, forced to work, be chipped, and have all your property confiscated. In 1934 Germany, do you think they knew what time it was?

  23. IANC,

    “tinfoil hatters” is a nonsensical stereotype used by the self-proclaimed “ditto-heads” who have lost their cognitive functions

  24. Speaking of 1934 Germany, I remember learning about the Holocaust & WWII in high school, and wondered, “How could the German people let this happen?”

    Of course now I know. I see it here every day.

    If enough Americans saw this film, we would have a new tax revolution in this country. Unfortunately, even the so-called “champions of liberty” — the ones who proclaim “taxes are theft” — are too afraid (someone might call me a name!) to stand up when time is running out to make our Last Stand.

  25. Wendy Terry — when the only voice of reason is the one shouting out that those who do not heed it are mere ‘sheeple’ without cognitive faculties, unable to think and without value as ‘real people’ … who will heed the voice of reason?

    Go back and re-read what I said. Your rebuttal is absolutely meaningless and only endorses the flaw seen in the presentation.

    For the record: Taxation isn’t inherently theft. Asking far too much in return for value given *IS* theft, but taxation itself is not, *IN AND OF ITSELF.*

    For the record: Insistance upon the gold standard is recidivistic nonsense that *CANNOT* succeed.

    For the record: The FDIC/Federal Reserve as a private institution must be abolished.

    For the record: The last two statements have nothing to do with one another.

    Further note: I advocate the movie to non-libertarians.

    The only way we are going to make things right is if “the pure ones” get their god-damned hands dirty. (Forgive the language.)

  26. Oh, and for the record people; everything in Russo’s film is pretty much conspiracy theory, at least all material that indicates *there is a conspiracy* and theorizes about its form and agenda without material, factual, evidence… of which Mr. Russo sadly has far too little.

    That doesn’t inherently imply he’s *WRONG* however. Far from it. What I fear, however, is that far too few plebians will understand this.

  27. “For the record: Insistance upon the gold standard is recidivistic nonsense that *CANNOT* succeed.”

    Whose record?

  28. Ian, my comments about “dittoheads” are those that run around saying “Rush is right”

    By no means am I suggesting that YOU are one of these.

  29. If you think EVERYTHING in his movie is a “theory,” then you either haven’t seen the film, or you were so upset about the shattering of your own preconceived notions that you missed the REST of the film. ONLY the portion about the Federal Reserve Act being passed while most of Congress was gone for Christmas (which is verifiable as a matter of Congressional record) came even CLOSE to a theory about a conspiracy. And THAT was simply that some in Congress conspired to wait until most had left to pass the legislation. (that can not be entirely proven or disproven) REAL ID is LAW! There is nothing “theoretical” about it. KBR’s prison camps are being built with OUR money! That is not a theory. It is a fact.

  30. And to Jason et al.
    Regarding CFR:
    If there is no CFR, then what is this:
    http://www.cfr.org/
    And why do these people parade around CSPAN, calling themselves the Council on Foreign Relations??

    If you say, well of course, there is a CFR, but there is no conspiracy to bring about world government,
    Then what is this:
    http://www.cfr.org/publication/8102/
    And why does it match this ??
    http://SPP.gov

    The North American Union will come to us as quick as the EU came to Europe, and it is the SAME people pushing it. The next step is regional boards ”“ appointed — not elected.

  31. A repost I read on Slashdot regarding Air Marshals intentionally misidentifying people as terrorists to make a quota and receive salary bonuses: (appropriate for this discussion)

    The federal government IS “the terrorist”. The US is under the rule of murderous despots, who got in power by hijacking the vote, bribing and blackmailing high level officials, co-opting the few people necessary to control the bulk of the mass media(propoganda), and brainwashing the gun toters under their control that their *only* duty is to follow the orders of the coup plotters.

    The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize. It does not matter if the people being terrorized are “guilty” of anything or not, what matters is that all the citizens OBEY ORDERS WITHOUT QUESTION. You WILL meekly submit to random checkpoints, searches at the airport, having your property seized-whatever they say. You will not “protest” except in designated “zones”. And etc, the whole nine yards.

  32. (continued)

    check, this is accomplished now, for 99% of the population-all good little herd critters. They have the gun toters terrorized into following all orders, they have the citizenry terrorized into following orders, they have about all it takes it appears.

    The second part is, once they get into the mass culling-which all police state dictatorships eventually do, ALL of them, history has shown no exceptions, it’s handy to have a list to work off of for the steroid pumped up mouth breathers they send out for the pick ups. If it is 10% or 20% of the population-they don’t care, less “useless eaters” for them to manage. More terrorism for the remainder, keeps them even more cowed.

    Think I am joking about this? Not in the least…it’s going to happen, too. These demons kill people daily to get their way, 24/7/365, what makes people think they will stop or slow down?

    It’s OVER, the coup plotters won. …

    This is from a site with libertarian leaning people, mainstream.

  33. Finally, people believe in conspiracies. Some conspiracies are true. It is hard to tell which ones are true given the secrecy of our government and the handling of evidence.

    Polls indicate that Americans don’t trust the accuracy of the official government investigation. Further, a significant percentage believe the government knew something ahead of time. A smaller percentage believe the government blew up the buildings, but many have not heard the arguments, backed by scientific and engineering discussion and explanations.

    Families of 9/11 victims are suing the government for information, and believe the government at best was incompetent in its investigation, and more likely was involved in a coverup that it played a role in 9/11.

    http://www.whatreallyhappened.com/lieofthecentury.html

    http://www.threeworldwars.com/world-war-1/ww1.htm

    http://www.911revisited.com/video.html
    (this one is an excellent video explaining the theories for government involvement in 9/11)

  34. psychophant[sic]: a servile self-seeking flatterer

    Self-seeking is way off target, Nicky!

    Dear Wendy,
    My apologies. Feel free to replace ‘sycophantic’ with ‘fawning’, ‘uncritical’, ‘obsequious’, or plain old ‘flattering’.

    Everything else I said stands.

    Yours truly,
    Nick

  35. Those would all be wrong too, silly boy!

    Oh really?

    Every “review” I’ve seen from within the We The People organization and tax protester movement could all be summed up as follows:

    OMG!!! BEST.MOVIE.EVER!!!1

    “The overall arguments and conclusions of the film are more than convincing! It will be very difficult for anyone objectively viewing this film to attack the facts and evidence presented. And for that reason, I’m confident that both the political and financial interests of this country will hope that no one watches it!” -Chuck Baldwin

    More in that vein here.

    It’s obvious that We The People wants to push the film, which adds a gloss of legitimacy to oft-refuted and disreputable tax protester arguments, but they would be better served by doing it in a less ham-handed way.

  36. Get REal and others:

    I’m an 80 year-old conservative constitutionalist and a long-time a student of U.S. history. As someone who’s old enough to remember speeches before Congress regarding the damage done to our nation by the Federal Reserve, I would recommend you do some research yourselves before speaking of conspiracies and theories in a critical manner.

    It is obvious many of you here are younger folks. I recommend you do more study of U.S. history beginning with the Industrial Revolution, passage of the 1913 Federal Reserve Act, and foreward. Those of you whom refuse to educate yourselves have not earned the right to criticize this film or any other expose of the Federal Reserve System.

    But don’t take my word for it. Consider reading this speech before Congress and call for impeachment of Woodrow Wilson in 1934 by Representative Louis T McFadden. It says it all for you youngsters. See the film and educate yourselves.

  37. Ok, then Nicholas,

    Where is the LAW that says we have to pay income taxes? Which act of Congress brought about the IRS code?

    Tell me, oh wise one!

    Inquiring minds -including EX-IRS agents who couldn’t find it going all the way up the ladder within the agency– want to know!

  38. OMG, DAVE!
    What a great link!

    I shall FAWN profusely over the glory that is Truth!

    :fawn, fawn: :flatter, flatter:

  39. Seriously, Dave

    Thanks for your wise words. I have heard others of your generation saying the same thing.

    I thought it was all crazy too, until I did some research. (which, BTW, was before I ever heard of Aaron Russo)

  40. Nicolas,
    Some of the reasons on that website you linked to will not fly with the court.

    Here are some that refused to file and did NOT go to prison:

    http://www.penaltyprotestor.org/

    http://www.freedomabovefortune.com/

    not to mention the man in Russo’s film where the jurors said “not guilty” because the judge refused to show them any law which required the man to file a 1040 or go to jail.

    Do some homework, instead of playing “know-it-all.”

  41. Here are some that refused to file and did NOT go to prison: (emphasis added)

    Not being held criminally liable when you put forth a Cheek defense does not mean that you don’t have to pay the back taxes and penalties.

    Re: Joe Bannister (freedomabovefortune), see here.

    “On June 23, 2005, a jury acquitted Joe Banister of multiple counts of assisting Al Thompson file a fraudulent tax return. Banister’s position was that as a then-member of the federal tax bar (he has since been disbarred) he was privileged to assist Al Thompson in preparing what is known as a “protest return”.

    Al Thompson, one of the USA Today posterboys for Bob Schulz’s We The People organization, was convicted of failing to withhold paychecks from the employees of his Cencal Aviation, and is currently serving a six-year sentence. The Banister acquittal will not help Thompson’s appeal.”

  42. Comments in line:

    Sol/#29: The public record.

    Wendy/#30: The vast majority of people would react to such language. It is nonconducive to swaying the unconvinced.

    Wendy/#31: “Those parts that talk about conspiracy and theorize about it.”

    Wendy/#32: “Purists” who think that it’s better the LP not elect candidates to offices, lest they become corrupted, for example.

    Robert/#33: Mises is an anarchist. Taxation is neither inherently theft nor robbery nor stealing of any kind. Demanding a fair contractual obligation be fulfilled never is. Unfair? That’s a different story.

    What contract? The one you enter when you choose to live within society. Investment for investment. That’s the cost of freedom. If you’re not an absolute hermit living someplace other people never go, then guess what? Tit for tat exchange applies.

    That’s taxation (as it should be, not as it is now); the expectation of return on investment.

    ‘Nough said.

  43. I saw this back in February, when Aaron Russo was still putting the final touches on it. Sure, the movie’s not perfect, but it’s a whole lot closer to liberty than anything else out there.

    The first half is basically Russo’s quest to figure out the legal basis of the implementation of the 16th amendment. That part is done well. And it’s presented in a way applicable to almost everyone. Even Joe six-pack doesn’t want to pay taxes.

    As soon as the tax issue runs out of steam, the movie build to a frenetic pace, jabbing at Big Brother from every possible angle, and ending with the knife in the heart of the Fed. If the movie comes off as the domain of conspiracy theorists, it’s here. Most are valid points, but the presentation came off wild. He might have cleaned this up in the past 5 1/2 months though.

    I took some friends to see it, not all exposed to these types of ideas. All came out of the movie a little freaked out and concerned though. I’d say it was effective for them.

  44. Rich: Agreed.

    Mr. Russo has accomplished the nigh-unto impossible in getting a message of this nature out to the public on the scale that he has. This is a major victory for libertarianism.

    What I worry about is the (*inevitable*) backlash coming and the responses to be made.

    It’s hard to overcome a stigma placed upon you of being a ‘Poor paranoid hack with an axe to grind.’ Even if your points are valid, the simple *response* turns the volume down on their being heard.

    This isn’t meant to be critiquing the movie — I know I certainly couldn’t have done better, not by a long shot — but rather me voicing my concerns over what may yet occur.

  45. Ian, #30. I agree, not inclined to go back and see what original disagreement was.
    #31. I didn’t see any conspiracy theory when I saw it in spring-trust me-I was looking. Only thing I saw close: debatable whether or not certain Congressmen purposefully waited until Christmas for Fed Act vote-not a big stretch-it happens all the time. What does he say that isn’t factual?
    #32. interesting, thanks. I just got a “reformer” def. from a “purist,” so I was curious. (topic for another forum)

    Only backlash I’ve seen yet is in the LP community. The LAST thing we need to worry about is *backlash*!! We have little time to wake the sleeping giant & take a stand against tyranny.

    Black box votes: 2008,(they hit KCMO 2006), REAL ID: 2008, NAIS: 2009, SPP/N.Amer. Union: 2010, martial law:ready for the next big event, prison camps-some already in place under FEMA, KBR just got $ to build more (“for immigrants” they said)

    ALL this *WAS* “conspiracy theory” years ago. It is all HAPPENING now!

  46. I’ll chime in again. I’m not a good typist and don’t really know how to use my grandnephew’s machine. He did show me how to paste links. Saves time indeed.

    We must pay taxes, sad but true. Someone must pay to run the country. The question is not whether we should pay taxes, but where they go.

    Look at this graph: http://www.cedarcomm.com/~stevelm1/usdebt.htm

    Now demand your representatives in Congress answer the following questions:

    If the constitution already gives Congress the sole power to print and coin money, why in 1913, did we allow a privately-held corporation to create inflation by printing our currency so they can then loan it to us and charge us interest on the loan?

    What is the true worth of a dollar?

    If Nixon took us off the gold standard in 1972, where is the gold and silver that once backed our money?

    They won’t answer. Many truly don’t know. Those that do, will not talk. Russo found little but an absurd absence of answers. That’s disturbing enough

  47. Ian writes & writes (#48):

    Wendy/#32: “Purists” who think that it’s better the LP not elect candidates to offices, lest they become corrupted, for example.

    Robert/#33: Mises is an anarchist. Taxation is neither inherently theft nor robbery nor stealing of any kind. Demanding a fair contractual obligation be fulfilled never is. Unfair? That’s a different story.

    So there, Wendy, Ian really told you who these purists are. And there 7 of them in the LP and they blog endlessly.

    I guess Ian really told old Robert off, too. Of course taxation can’t be theft because Mises is an anarchist. Anything that even remotely resmbles anarchism is wrong, wrong, wrong, and therefore anything an anarchist says must be wrong.

    Get hip, sound money and sound principles are like so last century. People want taxes and fiat currency so they can invest in the future. We need to elect modern thinkers who reject all that junk and give people what’s cool.

  48. Nicholas, Joe Bannister is as much a hero as Henry David Thoreau. He beat the bogus “conspiracy charges” more proof our govt is the worst of conspiracy theorists. Still didn’t tell me the law requiring us to pay income taxes. Is it on the same shelf as the Constitutional amendment that gaving them authority to regulate drugs, or the one that lets them issue mandates on education? (get my point?)

    We have suffered “a long train of abuses and usurptions” and the “multitude of New Offices” that “harrass our people” are reducing us “under absolute Despotism.”

    Henry Ford: “It is well that the people of the nation do not understand our banking and monetary system, for
    if they did, I believe there would be a revolution
    before tomorrow morning.”

    Once Americans learn the truth, revolution will be inevitable. It may be that the revolution to come is what brings the truth to light. You can’t fool ALL the people ALL the time. Truth will always find its way into the light.

  49. Ian writes:

    What contract? The one you enter when you choose to live within society. Investment for investment. That’s the cost of freedom. If you’re not an absolute hermit living someplace other people never go, then guess what? Tit for tat exchange applies.

    Yeah, like what is it some people don’t get about the contract? I remember reviewing the contract before they would even cut the umbilical cord. When I saw the taxation clause, I almost insisted on going back, but mom was pushing hard for me to accept the terms.

    Of course, there are two ways to escape society. You can go live in the wildnerness and hope the Park Rangers don’t throw you in jail, or you can kill yourself.

    So, pay your taxes and shut up. It’s all in the contract.

  50. Dave, EXACTLY!
    Many have “theorized” about what happened to all the gold at the WTC on 9/11. One firefighter commented that it seemed the higher ups were more worried about the gold than they were human lives. I’m confident that that WAS indeed the case. (same as those collecting returns on airline put-options the day before.)

    What is the true worth of the dollar? Whatever Bernake says it is from day to day. And of course, much about our currency is now kept a secret from us. The government gives us lies, secrets, and coverups, and when anyone ventures to guess why, they are told to put their tin-foil hat on. Right now, knowing WHO is behind it, or theorizing WHY, is irrelevant. We have very pertinent questions that DEMAND answers. (how much gold is in the treasury? how many dollars are in circulation? >etc ad nauseum, that I, for one, have no time to come up with theories. I am consumed with an anger that drives me to light brush fires in the minds of Americans.

  51. Tom, LOL
    I don’t remember ever signing a contract. I sure never signed anything agreeing to $100/mo for Socialist Insecurity withholdings. (Thanks, grandma!)

    The so-called “greatest generation” (no offense, Dave) may have defeated Hitler, but then they let him and his ilk invade DC.

    (What do you call communism + fascism? America within the next decade: TOTALITARIANISM!

    COINTELPRO helped defeat the would-be revolution in the 60s. This next attempt will be for all the marbles. The stakes couldn’t be higher.

  52. Tom Blanton — with all due respect, please; get a clue.

    The reason I use such invective is simple; you obviously haven’t on the subject: The so-called social contract is nothing more than a model describing inherently the social interactions of *ANY* society. Which we as human beings participate in. The logic-fallacy of expecting an unwritten contract to have written terms is sheer idiocy at its finest, quite frankly. This is not meant as a personal attack, merely my own frustration at having to repeat these tautologies so frequently.

    Please do not construe anything said here to be personal.

    It is only fair for an investment by one party to be returned *to* that party. Economy at its most fundamental.

    And for the record: Zero government does not freedom make.

    Finally — and this is the thing that ‘the authority’ doesn’t want kept in the light these days — the ‘social contract’ works both ways.

    Our current government is in breach of contract. Remains to us to rectify this.

  53. Nathan Rabin,
    you must be one of those zionist talmudic
    terrorist supporter,yes?. You and your kind don’t give
    a damn about america. you filthy
    zionist piece of human waste.

  54. IanC, I don’t see how an “unwritten contract” is any kind of contract in a meaningful sense. You claim (I’m paraphrasing) that taxation is necessary and that it should be viewed as an investment from which we expect a reasonable return. The problem with this is that none of us have any choice whether to make this “investment” and probably few would ever agree on whether we’ve gotten a reasonable return since we all have widely differing values. But, to rehash the endless anarchist vs. minarchist debate is rather off-topic, so I’ll stop here.

    Re #51, of course it’s a given that libertarians will be criticized by many folks for just about anything we’re associated with, but this movie, albeit imperfect, is one that needs to be seen by the public. Who knows how many people, after seeing it, will finally begin to question some of the premises for which they’ve always taken for granted? Liberty is a good thing and requires skepticism of anything government does.

  55. Robert: I’ll summarize by repeating a key point: the so-called ‘social contract’ is a model meant for comprehension of the reality of the situation. Far too many people rail against this by claiming “I never signed anything, so how come I have to comply to it!” — which is absolute, utter nonsense.

    However; to return to what you discussed in your objection to the process of taxation: every single word you stated, I agree with. See, the way I look at it right now, *THE WAY THINGS ARE NOW*, most taxation amounts to theft.

    I have literally seen, however, people argue that gasoline taxes which are allotted to road maintenance is still theft. Despite the fact that it is entirely possible to not use gasoline and still use the roads. That it gets misallocated is simply a matter of *corruption*.

    We need to get things back on track. But there will come a point, idealistically, wherein the levels of taxation are equal to the benefits the state provides, universally.
    (cont’d)

  56. To end my previous statement; any taxation process which requires voluntary cooperation (like buying gasoline)… that is a non-theft tax. A ‘user fee’ if you wish, which is *called* a tax. Anyone who objects to such that are set at a ‘reasonable’ (bare minimum to get the job done) level, I feel is a fool.

    Back on topic altogether: Once again: I advocate the movie to non-libertarians. I also warn them that there will be ‘some conspiratorial stuff’ but that it is still vital that they see it.

    I do this because it is important that people not knee-jerk against it. I want Mr. Russo’s film to be the greatest possible success it can be. Which means I want it seen by people of oppositional viewpoints.

    The question then becomees; how does one get people with *OPPOSITIONAL PERSPECTIVES* to view the movie in a receptive viewpoint — one that wouldn’t immediately scream for an equivalent of Feren*hype* (sp? the ‘hype’ is correct.) 9/11 contradictory film?

  57. IanC, certainly most libertarians, myself included, consider taxation of the “user fee” variety to be the most palatable, so I have no significant disagreement with you on this.

    I’m glad you are encouraging non-libertarians to see this movie because they are the ones who have the most potential to effect change, not us in our small minority who are already on board.

    Whatever you think about Fahrenheit 9/11, it was the kind of movie that raised a tremendous amount of awareness to the Bush Administration’s immoral and deceptive efforts to plunge us into a costly and unwinnable war. (Personally, I detest Michael Moore, but thought the movie was excellent once you get past all the idiotic “Bush stole the election” crap in the beginning.) Similarly, “Freedom to Fascism” is a great opportunity raise awareness of some topics that generally fly under the mainstream media radar.

  58. Here is a scenario for you:

    80 million Americans walk into work tomorrow, and file a new W4 withholding form, claiming 4 to 10 exemptions. Henceforth on every payday, they do not deposit their now-larger paychecks in a bank. They instead use money orders to pay their bills. On April 15, 2007, the same 80 million Americans file their tax returns, with an attached voided check that says: “No taxation without representation” and a list of the following demands:

    Repeal the Federal Reserve Act

    Repeal the Economic Stabilization Act of 1970

    Return the gold to our Forts and have it audited.

    Free Amabassador Leo Emil Wanta from house arrest in WI and return the 27.5 Trillion dollars, plus interest, stolen from us during the cold war which he holds in trust for us in his name in a Bank of America account, now frozen by the Federal Reserve by order of President George W. Bush.

    (You kids may not have been old enough to remember – I am.)

    Then and only then, will we pay taxes.

  59. Robert: “the idiotic “Bush stole the election” crap”

    Will it be just as “idiotic” when Governor George E. Pataki steals it in ’08? (at least that’s who I think will ‘steal’ it- though “handed it” is probably more accurate)

    Why do you suppose Kerry didn’t want a recount?

  60. Wendy, first of all it was Gore, not Kerry – remember, the movie came out in the summer of 2004 and was referring to the 2000 election. Anyway, there *were* several recounts and every one of them came up with different numbers, but with Bush still coming out ahead. It’s obvious that since the vote margin was so razor thin, the Gore team was merely requesting recount after recount until they finally came up with a result they liked. Do you think if the first recount had resulted in a Gore lead that they would have insisted on even more recounts? Of course, the whole Florida vote was an absolute debacle with each side having legitimate claims as to the inaccuracy of the tally. I only brought this up because I don’t think it added anything substantive to the movie.

    By the way, I am *NOT* a Bush supporter. He’s clearly earned the right to be considered amongst the worst American presidents ever.

  61. is any of this politically advantagous to the LP in 2006 or 2008?

    Then I suggest it’s more wasted words. I have fun commenting here, but I’m just running out of gas endlessly commenting on shit…

    right or wrong, if you cant make joe voter pull the lever for a L in their district, it’s not gonna help them any, lets do thing that help them. 102 days left before election 2006.

  62. I’d like to comment on some shit.

    Ian, “get a clue”? Hello (snap), nothing personal but it is truly sheer idiocy to think an unborn child could read a written contract inside his mother’s womb. Everyone knows there is not enough light to read in there.

    It would seem you consider zero taxes to be zero government and user fees to be taxes. I think there a numerous arguments to the contrary and you are probably aware of them. The fact that your definitions of these words are different than mine (and many others) might suggest that the unwritten social contract isn’t worth the paper it’s not printed on. The very nature of any contract is to precisely define the terms of the contract. With each individual having a different interpretation of what the terms are, it isn’t much of a contract.

    And who are all these purists that want to lose elections? Are there more than 7? And so what if Mises is an anarchist? Must one be an anarchist to think taxation is theft?

  63. Is our government in breach of contract?

    Absolutely. It is not in breach of any implied or unwritten contract. It is in violation of a written contract and subsequent amendments thereto. The administrators of our government even swore to uphold the contract.

    This written contract is the contract with the American people known as the U.S. Constitution. The federal government is in violation of much in the Constitution and is in a constant and ongoing violation of the 9th and 10th Amendments.

    The case could me made that because the government is in continual violation of the terms of this contract, they have in essence unilaterally rescinded and voided the contract, thereby ending any claim to legitimacy in the exercise of any of the powers enumerated in the Constitution.

  64. While Freedom to Fascism may have a conspiratorial tone (and the clips I’ve seen do), I don’t know that most people will tune it out. The talking heads and political hacks always dismiss things as conspiracy theories that turn out to have a basis in truth.

    I think Americans love a good conspiracy and the reason government conspiracies exist is usually because the government often gives incomplete information or information that is dubious.

    Why won’t the govt release the Warren Commission papers on JFK? Why has the govt given so much conflicting information about 9/11? Why did the govt seek to supress the Pentagon Papers?

    In early 2003, reports that Bush had fabricated, distorted, and manipulated the intelligence used to justify the Iraq war to the American people were routinely dismissed as conspiracy theories. It is widely accepted now that Bush did knowingly mislead the American people.

    we will have to wait and see how people react to Russo’s film.

  65. Must one be an anarchist to think taxation is theft?

    no, you merely must think it so, but thinking it is does not make it so. It’s totally subjective.

  66. Tom Blanton: Try actually reading my posts.

    1) Your arguments against the unwritten contract model are childish, foolish, and uninformed.

    2) Re: taxation & user fees — once again, try actually reading what I write. Would be rather conducive to a conversation — and maybe make you appear less like a ranting fool.

    3) Re: ‘purists’ who act against electoral success: Try, for example, reading the materials of the WLA.

    4) If A:FtF is to have success as a film, it must be credible to a sufficiently broad spectrum of the populace. If you cannot contribute to the conversation regarding how to *ensure* this, then kindly: BUTT YOURSELF *OUT.*

  67. Robert, that’s right! I forgot how long ago it was when Moore’s “left-gatekeeper” film came out. (ignored pertinent 9/11 facts while hyping non-issues) 2000 election was a travesty, especially the troops overseas whose votes were not counted. It was a scam, just like ’04, though, but ’04 was worse: Diebold vote-flipping, voters turned away in key precincts, 3-4 times votes for Bush than total ballots cast. I think 2008 will be the worst yet. Robert Kennedy, Jr has filed a lawsuit on this, but the lawsuit is sealed and he & co-plantiff are gagged. Check out this book (long title): “ARMED MADHOUSE – Who’s afraid of Osama Wolf? China floats, Bush Sinks; The Scheme to Steal ”˜08, No Child’s Behind Left And Other Dispatches from the Front Lines of the Class War”

    http://www.gregpalast.com/madhouse/index.php/about

  68. Timothy: “if you cant make joe voter pull the lever for a L in their district, it’s not gonna help them any, lets do thing that help them. 102 days left before election 2006.”

    The “Help America Vote Act” has brought us Diebold machines in every precinct. My county stated a few months ago that the machines will not be in place until 2008. There was an article in the KC Star last Sunday that they will be in place THIS election. (thanks to Federal grant $) We no longer have ANY guarantee that ANY “L” votes will be counted. Civil resistance — the MAIN theme of Russo’s film — is our final recourse. I heard him loud and clear. My driver’s license expires in 2009. Unless the REAL ID Act is repealed by then, I will NOT be renewing it.

    Change via the ballot box is no longer an option unless somehow RK’s lawsuit (see#77) is successful, or some other intervention takes place. Hope is waning.

  69. Ian,

    No, it is the idea of unwritten contracts that is foolish and childish. Tom is right. The WRITTEN contract is the elected representative who swears to uphold the Constitution. There is no such thing as an unwritten contract. They are not recognized by courts and without having something in writing, there is no way for the contracting parties to agree upon terms.

    Also the best way to help Freedom to fascism be successful is to donate money to promote it. Not very many will be able to see it if no one knows it even exists.

  70. Wendy, until you get a few hundred thousand to do the same thing, it’s a useless exercise. When you get to the level of outrage that existed due to the civil rights movement, and get a hundred thousand ++ in the streets, then such things will be effective.

  71. Timothy, resisting tyranny is never useless.

    We already have a hundred thousand “in the streets” protesting the war. Look at the RNC of ’04 — about 1/4 million people were “in the streets” then. Americans are waking up so quickly now.

    Honestly, think of how many Americans *already* refuse to obtain a license to drive a car. Add biometrics and global databasing to that permission slip, and the number of those who refuse to participate reaches tens of thousands very quickly. REAL ID is only one part of the police state. Most of it will be in place by 2009 anyway. The North American Union is the only thing I can think of off hand that is not *scheduled* to be in place by 2009.

    So, trust me, I will NOT be the only one refusing. If the number of Americans in the resistance movement has not reached critical mass by then, we will be outside the matrix anyway. Many Americans have -like my family- been preparing for a decade or more already.

  72. Wendy Terry — regarding the ‘unwritten contract’ … A) Verbal contracts are binding in my home-state, Arizona.

    But that withstanding…

    The social contract model doesn’t actually create a ‘contract’ in the legal sense. It is the attempt to define it so that is foolish.

    It is to date the only viable social model that attempts to address the problems of and limitations upon the legitimacy of government/authority, in a comprehensive format.

    I’ll put it more succinctly; insisting that the social contract model doesn’t apply to you because you never signed anything is just plain stupid.

    It is unfortunate that so many people in the liberty movement have fallen prey to the ”purist’ cool-aid’ on this subject.

  73. I’ve noticed that a large number who are having their say didn’t see the film.When I saw it the first time I brought my wife who isn’t interested in politics.She was shocked, first that I wasn’t and second that I hadn’t told her about all this.She told all her friends and they are waiting to see it on her recomendation.Hopefully it will be seen as one of the great documentaries which it actually happens to be.Thosr who are condeming it without seeing the film just can’t take the truth. Brendan

  74. Well, Ian, you were talking about what makes sense to the average person, and speaking in terms of “social models” doesn’t cut it.

    Thanks for the Kool-Aid comment. I get sick of hearing that from Republicans, now too many in the LP are using it! I don’t drink Kool-Aid, and I don’t wear a tin-foil hat! Even as a kid I preferred iced tea to Kool-aid. The reference is ridiculous anyway. Like Henry David Thoreau, I march to the beat of my own drummer. I always have. (Just ask my dad, LOL, he always told me that before I ever read Thoreau) /(just like MOST libertarians — that’s why we are radical individualists)

    I don’t buy into the idea that we are somehow forced into a contract with society. That’s nonsense. As long as I leave others to live their lives as they see fit, I expect the same from them. When the two collide, that is when govt gets involved. (ie, murder, theft, fraud)

    “Social contract model” sounds like some psycho-babble or philosophical mumbo-jumbo.

  75. I would like to point out that what Aaron is geting at here regarding taxes, is the income tax on your labor, not gasoline tax or property taxes. Also when you file a 1040 read the fine print carefully, your are actually incriminating yourself because you can go to jail for it.

  76. Wendy — The whole thing stems from Mr. Locke’s statements about the contract between the people and the king.

    I’m not implying that there is ‘a contract’ … but at the time, this thinking was fundamentally revolutionary in nature; as it removed the idea that authority has authority simply because it *should* and relegated it to having authority… because it had a job to do.

    In essence, it’s an economic exchange: We give authority, the power to be authority. In return, it is (*supposed*) to look out for our interests.

    In other words; the common populace should be the boss of authority as a whole — hence democratic *law*.

    This is actually quite simple, and I have repeatedly used this explanation for laypeople (like myself admittedly) to explain why things *now* are bad.

    Societal models are necessary to define roles; to make plans, we need to have a vision of the way things ought to be.

    The ‘Misean’ model is anarchy as a goal in and of itself; the zero-state.

  77. The one problem with the anarchist end-goal model is that it mandates the absolute, 100% acceptance of the NIFP.

    The presumption is that the State is the only thing restricting personal freedom, and that without a state all people would be free.

    Here’s an example of why this is a bad thing: Imagine the following scenario, with the NIFP as the ‘sole standard.’

    A woman is hospitalized, bleeding from all orifices, covered in bruises. Her boyfriend — not even husband — admits he is the one who did these things to her.

    What should happen to him?

    Now — answer that question again after reading the information found at http://www.arizonapowerexchange.org (NSFW).

    That’s an extreme example of the results of a society controlled by one ideology, which is the inevitable result of a viable anarchy-state.

    The protections granted by Rule of Law can only exist alongside a regionally singular government. Abuses also exist, admittedly. Abuses will occur under *ANY* system.

    (cont’d)

  78. The question then becomes: What system grants the greatest amount of redress for abuses & grievances?

    What system permits the greatest amount of deviance without becoming incohesive? Anarchy *CANNOT* permit deviance without falling into utter chaos and, frankly, stark abuses of liberty universally.

    The so-called ‘social contract’ model attempts to address what levels of “The State” are acceptable to a free society.

    (And for the record, the ‘cool-aid’ schtick comes from the Jonestown Massacre; cult-followers who drank cyanide-laced cool-aid rather than be captured by law-enforcement. Using the term essentially accuses someone of being ideologically enslaved.) Now, I will wrap all of my windbag-ness here with the following: Corruption and fundamentalism — in any form — are the real enemies of freedom. Anarchy *MANDATES* fundamentalism, and thus cannot be free.

    There is such a thing as “Fundamentalist Libertarianism.”

    It too is the enemy of the liberty movement.

  79. Wendy stated: “As long as I leave others to live their lives as they see fit, I expect the same from them”

    Wow, can I digress sometimes. Sorry for all who had to read that… I’ll try to make this actual *response* somewhat shorter: that thinking in and of itself, Wendy, is the basis of the social contract as it were; the only way to truly leave someone else alone is to not interact with them.

    IF you plan to live within society, to participate in and take resources from it, then I ask; do you owe anything in return for what you have gained?

    It’s a simple question. Most ‘rugged individualists’ seem to insist that they should be able to have their cake and eat it too — that they shouldn’t have to give anything back in return for the things they take.

    Ever.

    That’s unacceptable to me, and fundamentally contrary to a viable society or civilization. (Especially above the agrarian level.)

    To save website reading; if you want to continue contact me at [email protected]

  80. IanC: I have read your posts and I find your name-calling and immature put downs to be childish. I have found your positions to be opinionated drivel and lacking any substance. I have found your responses to be unresponsive rants.

    IanC aks:

    “The question then becomees; how does one get people with *OPPOSITIONAL PERSPECTIVES* to view the movie in a receptive viewpoint ”” one that wouldn’t immediately scream for an equivalent of Feren*hype* (sp? the ”˜hype’ is correct.) 9/11 contradictory film?”

    So, why don’t you “get a clue”, and realize that you can’t get anyone to view Russo’s movie “in a receptive” viewpoint. You’ll just have to grow up and accept the cold hard reality that others may have different opinions from you and your childish retorts will not sway them.

    Perhaps the best way you could get someone to view the film with an open mind is to “BUTT YOURSELF OUT”, as you put it.

    Your arrogant sophism is more likely to alienate people than to make them receptive.

  81. Here’s how folks can help get Russo’s movie be seen and let people make up there own minds (as opposed to controlling their thoughts with brilliant manipulations).

    I got an e-mail today from Lindsey Salls at Cinema Libre that offers a few suggestions:

    “Today is a very important day, the premiere of Aaron Russo’s film, “America: Freedom to Fascism” in New York City, Kansas City, Chicago,Tampa, and Austin. If you haven’t gotten your ticket yet, you should do so now.”

    “I have compiled 2 lists of things that you can do to help. The first is video upload sites. If all of you watched and rated each one of the video’s on this list, they would jump to the most popular video’s online. It won’t take more that 15 minutes. This would help the film considerably. The second list is of blogs and forums that need to be posted on. Spread the word!”

    See next post for list of video sites

  82. Tom… I never once made even an indirect insult of you personally with the exception of saying that you needed to “get a clue.” This alienates you, yes. And that’s unfortunate, but I’m just plain tired of trying to illuminate the facts for people with positions like yours. I’ve given up, as it were.

    That being said… you can make all the ad hominem arguments you want; they all fail to refute the points I have illustrated.

    The video links are useful, however, and I freely admit this.

    I remain concerned about the conspiracy theory angle, and how to mitigate it so that the importance of the message comes through to a broad(er) segment of the population.

  83. Ian writes:

    “Tom”¦ I never once made even an indirect insult of you personally with the exception of saying that you needed to “get a clue.” This alienates you, yes. And that’s unfortunate, but I’m just plain tired of trying to illuminate the facts for people with positions like yours. I’ve given up, as it were.”

    Aww, IanC, it must be so frustrating for you to be unable to illuminate the facts (as you perceive them) to those intellectually beneath you.

    Maybe you should follow the advice you gave me:
    “..once again, try actually reading what I write”

    Well, I did and I read the following remarks directed at me:

    “get a clue”
    “sheer idiocy”
    “Your arguments against the unwritten contract model are childish, foolish, and uninformed”
    “maybe make you appear less like a ranting fool”
    “BUTT YOURSELF OUT”

    I don’t think you even understood any point I made but considered them to be an ad hominem attack on you.

  84. IanC, let’s take a look at your argument in favor of the social contract:

    “I’ll summarize by repeating a key point: the so-called ‘social contract’ is a model meant for comprehension of the reality of the situation. Far too many people rail against this by claiming “I never signed anything, so how come I have to comply to it!” ”” which is absolute, utter nonsense.”

    A model meant for comprehension of the reality of the situation – deep stuff. Few people believe that every person comprehends reality in the same way. There would never be any disagreement or debate if people all saw reality the same way. This should be sufficient to demonstrate the fallacy of a social contract.

    What is utter nonsense is for someone to take the statement, “I never signed anything….etc” literally. This is merely a flippant response to the notion of a social contract – which I and many others find absurd. Translation: I don’t believe in social contract.

    Proof that different realities exist.

  85. All right, I’ll stick my neck out, preparing for a nuclear response.

    I actually support the continuation of the Fed. Open market operations is the best way to support the stability of our currency relative to other nation’s currency, and it got us out of the Great Depression when they finally got around to it.

    Also, you can look at the gold standard a different way: the market sets the price of gold. If you want, you can sell your gold for money and spend it immediately, thus buying what you want at its gold value. If the dollar crashes because the Fed dicks things up, gold is a way to hedge the fall. If the Fed, inflation and the stock market reduces the value of money, gold becomes more valuable, and vice versa. Thus we have more economic stability because we have two inversely valuable investments (gold and dollars), instead of being completely reliant on one. What would stop the treasury from changing the gold conversion rate? You trust both in the gov’s hands?

  86. And anyway, the Fed have been the primary advocates for cutting government regulations and taxes because these stifle market growth. In fact, Greenspan was one of the most libertarian advocates in the government of the past two decades. Bringing a higher ratio of economists to politicians into the Federal government is a good thing for libertarianism.

  87. Ian,

    Not a big fan of John Locke anyway. I like (among others) H.D.Thoreau, Thomas Paine, Patrick Henry, and my favorite is Thomas Jefferson. I’m of the anti-federalist camp. While I am not a diehard NAP/anarchist type, I am a radical individualist. I believe people should be able to live in society without being forced to abide by the rules of the majority. And, the smallest minority is, of course, the individual. My concept of libertarianism is from the Christian doctrine of free will. Each of us was born with our own will to make our own choices. Everyone should be free to make whatever choices they wish, as long as our choices don’t interfere with another person’s right to their individual right to life, liberty and property.

  88. Ian: “(And for the record, the ”˜cool-aid’ schtick comes from the Jonestown Massacre; cult-followers who drank cyanide-laced cool-aid rather than be captured by law-enforcement. Using the term essentially accuses someone of being ideologically enslaved.)”

    I know what you mean, and you apparently didn’t catch my response. I reject – and am offended by – your suggestion that I am a slave to an ideology.

  89. Ian: “the only way to truly leave someone else alone is to not interact with them.”

    I reject that notion. I interact with people every day without interfering with their rights to life, liberty, and property.

    Ian:”IF you plan to live within society, to participate in and take resources from it, then I ask; do you owe anything in return for what you have gained? …that they shouldn’t have to give anything back in return for the things they take.”

    I don’t steal. I believe everyone should pay for property used or services rendered.

    You seem to think I am an anarchist when I am not. While I do agree with Thoreau that Jefferson’s best-govt-least-govt logically ends with a govt “which governs not at all,” it is more in the sense that the *best* govt is one that goes unnoticed by the general populace, rather than the *absense* of govt. The purpose of govt is protecting the life, liberty & property of individuals.

  90. Wendy said: “I don’t steal. I believe everyone should pay for property used or services rendered.”

    Wendy; if I seemed to imply you were an anarchist, then I formally indicate this was not the case.

    However… and here’s the catch… the complexities of dense cities make it impossible to avoid impacting the life of another person in some way.

    However, the statement I quoted above is almost the entirety of what my use of the social contract model was meant to delineate; there ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

    Now, on to the less pleasant: Tom, I had typed out much more than this, and decided to delete it.

    I won’t play your game, anymore. You can either see what things are for what they are, or not. Either way, I’m done with this; none of your arguments hold sufficient weight for me to bother at this point. You *might* want to look into the definition of ad hominem attacks however, but that’s as far as I’ll go.

  91. Ian: “the complexities of dense cities make it impossible to avoid impacting the life of another person in some way.”

    That is a true statement; I never suggested anything different. However, “impacting” others in society does not mean we are forced to interefere with the natural rights of our neighbors. Urban dwellers have the same rights as those in rural communities. Population density does not change our rights.

    I still reject the notion of a social contract. A contract implies terms which bind all parties. While Locke believed that mankind is naturally good, I believe that everyone has a temptation to do wrong. Most of us overcome temptation, but some do not. This is why humans create government. These are not binding terms of a contract. Rather, they are reality as I see it. As Tom stated, each of us has a different reality based on our internal belief system.

  92. Nick: “…the Fed…got us out of the Great Depression”

    Sounds like you’ve been reading Carnegie/Mellon textbooks. The Federal Reserve helped CAUSE the Great Depression! They devalued currency by increasing money supply & lowered interest rates so banks could loan more money. Americans took advantage of the low rates and overextend themselves in loans and bought stocks on the margin, while savings rates went in the red. The Fed finally had to raise interest rates, as it too had overextend itself. Then the house of cards collapsed – stock market & all!

    Now the Big Bankers are repeating that awful history! This time it’s not just average Americans in debt, but also govt at all levels. National debt service is already more than we can afford, and we can barely make interest payments. Forget the principle! The Fed is the cause, not the cure- for the same reasons again.

    Theories aside, manipulating our currency helps bankers seize gains from our labor at every angle possible. Cui bono?

  93. ad hominem – (1) appealing to one’s prejudice, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason (2) attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering an argument
    See # 97 and #98

    In the real world, one often has to answer an argument in order to make one’s case.

    “Your arguments against the unwritten contract model are childish, foolish, and uninformed”

    Statements like this are neither an argument for or against anything. To argue against the imaginary social contract is to be asked to prove that something doesn’t exist. Far better the proponent prove it’s existence.

    The fact that many people don’t believe in the existence of any social contract is not trivial. It shows the fallacy of the argument that there is social agreement. A contract, written or unwritten, is an agreement.

    IanC: “I won’t play your game, anymore.”

    You never played my game. You play your own game. If you can’t take it, don’t dish it out. Talk about kool aid…

  94. I agree that the Fed contributed to the great depression, but they did not “cause” it. Obviously you have been reading too much conspiracy propaganda. If we have another depression of the depth of the first anytime soon, I’ll eat my words, but we haven’t had any recession of that depth since. The biggest problem with the Fed is that its success is completely dependent on how good the economists running it are. Greenspan and Bernanke have been good. I wish we could decrease the impact of the Fed, but I think continuing open market operations is a good thing and that the value of gold set by the market and not by the government. I may have weightless paper in my pocket not attached to any mineral, but as long as the buyer and seller attach value to it, it will always have real value. As I said, fluctuations can be slowed and your personal investment can be protected by hedging on gold or other minerals of value.

  95. Nick, I would disagree that the Fed contributes to stability of our currency and that the Fed advocates less regulation.

    The Fed loves banking regulations which serve to benefit member banks to the detriment of others who provide financial services. There is much disagreement over what role the Fed played in causing and ending the depression, but there is little disagreement over the inflationary nature of fractional reserve banking.

    The existence of the Fed would also seem to be extra-constitutional in nature and Congress provides little to no real oversight.

    Also, I’m not sure more economists in government would be a good thing. A lot of government economists are idiots.

    I see no overwhelming evidence that centralized banking is better than decentralized banking. Fraud and mismanagement may always occur, both in private unregulated systems and the federal reserve system. However, when one bank goes belly up in a decentralized system, it doesn’t bring down everything.

  96. Nick, I have read alot from *many* sources on the Depression, including an oral history & an extensive paper on it about a decade ago. You admit they contributed – If you look, I said “helped CAUSE.” The Fed created the conditions that *allowed* it to happen. There were other factors as well. It was a perfect storm, so to speak. A similar storm is brewing now, so I hope you’re hungry. The housing “bubble” is causing unprecedented foreclosures and bankruptcy filings. Net savings rate is NEGATIVE for the first time SINCE the Depression.

    Your “open market” jargon is slave talk! Give me freedom, baby, FREE MINDS, FREE MARKETS !!

    Today’s gold holdings are not simply a hedge against inflation, but insurance against the collapse of the dollar. Though, IMO, the end of the dollar will be the beginning of the Amero, which will put us & Canada in the same third world status as Mexico. That will solidify our so-called “prosperity” partnership. (aka North American Union)
    visit http://SPP.GOV

  97. I am very wary of Keynesian monetary policy, but it’s hard for me to advocate a 100% free market or constitutional solution in this circumstance. Although I agree that some of the banking regulations go too far, having a Fed-like organization to enforce bank contracts and prevent fraud and embezzlement is a good thing. Minimum disclosure requirements could be done privately as bank policy, but having an industrywide standard that is enforceable helps keep our money stable. BTW, “Open market operations” is not jargon, it’s a thing the fed does where they buy back dollars to bring the value up, or trade dollars for other currencies to curb the problems of the value getting too high. It helps keep the dollar competitive on the global market and thus encourages international trade. Again, the operative word is “as long as it is done well.” This is the biggest problem with the Fed – success is dependent on the quality of the economists. I still believe the more economists the better.

  98. Nick, Keynes and his idiot followers have destroyed the American economy. Private sector wealth accumlates in the hands of a few. The “inflation is a fact of life” crowd have stifled the average American’s ability to accumulate wealth and virtually destroyed the middle class.

    “…’Open market operations’ is not jargon…”
    Jargon : the technical terminology or characteristic idiom of a special activity or group

    “…as long as it is done well…”
    “Well” is subjective (subjectivity is not sound policy) and for the bankers, things are going WELL. Working class & what’s left of the middle class are struggling like never before. Years ago, couples could live well on 1 income & save for a home/car purchase. Now 2-3 incomes are needed to survive and loans are inevitable. The wealthiest nation has become a nation of debtors, public & private.
    IRS=collection agency for bankers & hit man for politicians. Role for govt in economy is contract disputes, fraud prosecution, & protecting property.

  99. Example of ass-backwards Fed thinking:
    Firefighters who want to live in high-priced cities can work two jobs, said W. Michael Cox, chief economist for the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas. “I think it’s great,” he said. “It gives you portfolio diversification in your income.”

    From NY Times 7/23/06
    “Cities Shed Middle Class, and Are Richer and Poorer for It”
    http://www.nytimes.com/2006/07/23/weekinreview/23scott.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1

  100. Wendy, I agree with your first sentence about Keynes ruining the economy (although inflation will always be a reality, even if reliant on a gold standard – it all depends on supply of gold. I would rather have the market setting the value of gold than the government.) I also agree last sentence, which is why I support a continuation of the Fed, although I would support reform. Towards enforcing bank security by creating industry wide reserve requirement ratios (unstable banks hurt everyone, not just any group) and reducing bank fraud, as well as continuing open market operations to ensure trade stability. Some of its functions could be done better by the private market. But to discredit the whole thing in one fell swoop ignores facts that have resulted from years of economic research and trial and error.

  101. I think the answer is in the National Economic Stabilization and Recovery Act.

    http://nesara.org/files/nesara.pdf

    For those that want to argue about tax protesters and conspiracy theories then all I can say is look at it yourself – the Supreme Court decisions that show the purpose of the 16th Amendment (whether it was fraudulently ratified or not) and the tactics that are used, we can go on and on. BUT – HAHAHAHAHA – take a look at this May 2006 court case !

    On May 12, 2006 in Peoria, Illinois, the attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) begged the court to dismiss all charges against IRS victim Robert Lawrence in federal District Court.

    http://www.givemeliberty.org/RTP2/UPDATES/Update2006-06-09.htm

    The tactic threatened exposure of IRS’s on-going efforts to defraud the public. The move put DOJ attorneys in a state of panic that left them with only one alternative: beg for dismissal, with prejudice. SEE THE CASE FOR YOURSELF!!

  102. My opinion of the movie:
    (Saw it in NY, opening night, Friday)

    Russo’s “..Fascism” opened my eyes to an important issue, but it did so with no style at all. I doubt it will ever go mainstream, because the video editing was horrible. He is an award-winning producer, so he should have known to leave the editing/content-packaging, to a pro.

    Let’s face it.. He could be presenting one of the most amazing issues of late, but he did it in an amateurish fashion.
    -It was thought-provoking stuff, but it was also visual crap. My suggestion is that he lets a real editor re-do it for the DVD version.

  103. I saw an advanced screening months ago before the film went to Cannes. I went in knowing the truth and was still rocked back on my heels.

    It’s true people! Of course the illuminati controled media is going to “slam” the movie. They don’t want to lose their precious federal reserve.

    It’s a police state already, don’t you all see that??

  104. Tom Blanton: As a sort of parting shot, please consider the following:

    I illustrated that the unwritten social contract model was a mechanism for describing societal power exchanges.

    You make the argument that this doesn’t exist because “A contract is an agreement.” … To which I — rightly no less — could reply; how asinine can you be? (An ad hominem, yes, but an earned one.) Your argument is against the words in the concept rather than the concept itself. You can ‘believe’ or ‘disbelieve’ in the social contract all you want. That doesn’t change the following:

    It is to date the single most successful attempt to describe rationally the appropriate limitations & authorities of the powers that control society. Abandoning it is idiocy at its finest. You make the argument that there should be no power — this is impossible. No government? Sure. No power? Nope — cannot happen.

    The *ONE* benefit you get with government: Social authority is restrained by writ of law.

  105. Wendy Terry — don’t know if you’re still reading this…

    You:
    “I am a radical individualist. I believe people should be able to live in society without being forced to abide by the rules of the majority”

    Would it amuse you to know that this is the most fundamentally important reason for a state *TO* exist?

    That only the ‘rule of law’ protects the individual from the majority? (Think; lynch mobs)

    That, without this protection, an anarchy by definition relegates the individual to absolute subjugation to the whim of the masses? Use the NIFP: Who decides what is and is not the initiation of force?

    It gets to be fine damned line… and in an anarchy, there’s no room for social deviation. Period.

    There is no *FREEDOM.* I know you’re not an ‘anarchist’ in the common sense. Just bringing things up… :)

%d bloggers like this: