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Monday, November 26, 2012

Ex America - Book Review

It is easy to see how The State can grow like a cancerous tumor in current day America.  The population is addled by reality TV, Black Friday, wretched music, and a mainstream media that is beneath contempt.  Empty phraseology like "hope and change" and "compassionate conservatism" can sway millions of voters - sometimes to the point of tears.  War is a bad thing under President X, but under President Y it is ignored or explained away with pithy justification.  Massive deficits under President X are terrible, but under President Y it counts as "trying to help America".    We're told that home prices will never go down, or before that .com stocks will permanently rise - all the while gold and silver constantly go up in price.  Talking about gold and silver seriously as an investment naturally means you are a "nut".  The school system is in shambles.  The Global Warming Hoax is talked about as fait accompli, economics is ignored, and literacy levels are frighteningly low.  America is populated by a horde of 'citizens' bereft of common sense and intellectual self defense.  The State, naturally, grows unchecked with the consent of the governed because much of the governed was denied a classical education.

But how did the population in the 1930's, under FDR, fall for the massive government intervention that was the New Deal?  It never made sense.  You had a population that had been classically trained, the school system was much smaller, and the schools that existed were, for the most part, rigorous and steeped in logic and rhetoric.  Literacy levels were higher and academic rigor was commonplace.  With all of these things, how was a libertarian, independent and proud electorate duped by the avalanche of brazen government intervention into affairs into which it had never gone before?  Garet Garrett explains this in the first of three lengthy essays "The Revolution Was" (1938).  He begins with this classic: "There are those who still think they are holding the pass against a revolution that may be coming up the road. But they are gazing in the wrong direction. The revolution is behind them. It went by in the Night of Depression, singing songs to freedom." Garrett eloquently makes the case for a revolution based on stealth, a 'revolution within the form'. The wording of this "revolution" was all proper and acceptable for an America that understood freedom and the constitution. However, the actions of the FDR administration were planned, quick, efficient and forceful. The population was not used to the specter of radical change, as that was something for Europe - not a free America. It was this flat footedness that enabled the US government to go from a servant of the people to the people becoming the government's servants. Garrett lays out the steps clearly and concisely in this, the most radical of the three essays.

The other two essays "Ex America" and "Rise of Empire" were written in the early 1950's. Garrett continues his analysis of America's regrettable decline. "Ex America" goes into the folly of debt based, non gold backed fiat currency, and the speed at which the debt and the money supply has to expand to maintain such an economic fiction. The bedrock of capitalism - the inviolability of contract is discussed and noted how it began to erode in Europe after WWI and the repudiation of war debt. Garrett sounds the alarm to the economic problems today - 60 years before the bill came due.

"Rise of Empire", written in 1952, could easily have been written by Ron Paul last month. This final essay deals with the erosion of American sovereignty and the parallel of the American Empire to the inevitable fall of Rome. Such a collapse requires the willingness of the population to respond to bread and circuses, the endemic overreach, the debasement of the currency and the defenseless populace willing to trade freedom for ethereal "security". Garrett skillfully shows how all of the moves done since the beginning of the FDR administration and particularly those done after WWII were designed to create an American Empire, which demands a bottomless purse and serf-like Americans. Garrett ends the monographs noting the evils of globalization, and lamenting the fact that Americans lack the strong leader to show them what a once free country was like.

I found "Ex America" to be fascinating and haunting. My questions about the ability of strong Americans to get duped were answered. His laying out of the FDR plan, which had to be planned in advance as it was so seamless and specific, is fascinating to read. It was also a horror as it seemed as if I was watching a free people and a libertarian society vanish before my eyes. We're taught in school that FDR is a godlike figure, and criticism of him is the purview of kooks and nuts. Garrett takes that idea and obliterates it. He'll also prove to you that the critics of the New Deal had a great case, and the Establishment had to work very hard to stifle the words of Garrett and Flynn and Nock. If you want to know why we're in a country that lacks freedom and is a ticking financial time bomb, Garrett's "Ex America" will tell you.

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