An Open Letter to Glenn Beck
First of all, congratulations on deciding to become a community organizer for the cause of liberty and prosperity, as reported all over the media recently. You will be a stark contrast to the Marxist in the White House who boasts of his “community organizing” efforts for the exact opposite cause, ACORN-style socialism as defined by its “People’s Platform.” (His nationalization of banks, General Motors, and possibly health care, and his administration’s bombastic, anti-capitalist rhetoric, reminds me a lot of Lenin’s first months in power.)
Glenn, I’m writing to offer a few suggestions with regard to your upcoming community organizing efforts, which I’m sure will attract huge media attention and could potentially be very influential. First, you really need to “man up” those “Five Pledges” of yours, especially Pledges 1 and 2. There you say you are in favor of a balanced budget, and that government should not increase the financial burden on taxpayers “during difficult economic times.”
I certainly agree with the last part of this statement. Raising taxes during a depression is exactly the opposite of what even a central-planning Keynesian would advocate. This only highlights the fact that Obama is not a Keynesian central planner, as Democratic presidents usually are (and most Republicans as well), but a central planner of the Marxian variety. Marxists want to destroy the existing economic system, creating a social catastrophe that they hope will allow them to foment a revolution and consolidate their political power. Keynesians are merely neo-mercantilists who use Keynesian ideology to pull the wool over the public’s eyes with regard to their policy of perpetual political plunder under the guise of a perpetual quest for prosperity.
But come on, Glenn, don’t fall for that Big Government propaganda line about the alleged virtues of a balanced budget. What the government establishment means by budgetary balance is a devotion to endless tax increases to fund all of their pie-in-the-sky special-interest spending programs. According to this propaganda line a doubling, tripling, or quadrupling of government spending, and the consequent shrinking of private-sector prosperity, is perfectly fine as long as taxes are also doubled, tripled, or quadrupled at the same time. Americans already pay more in taxes than medieval serfs did, so what’s so good about waiting for “good economic times” to be plundered and robbed even more?
I notice that you frequently display a picture of Thomas Jefferson on the television screen during your Fox News Channel program. You would do well to dump those first two pledges and, in their place, adopt what Mr. Jefferson said in his first inaugural address:
[A] wise and frugal Government, which shall restrain men from injuring one another, shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government . . .
Saying that government “shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned” means there should be no taxes on earnings. If you’re serious about calling yourself a Jeffersonian, Glenn, you would advocate the total elimination of income taxation (for starters), and not potentially endless increases of it “during good times.” You should also abandon that Pledge #3 about “energy independence.” Such rhetoric is just another protectionist smokescreen, no different from those who insist that we must free ourselves of foreign beef, tomatoes, cars, etc. Isolating ourselves from the international division of labor is a good recipe for economic disaster.
Your pledge #5 is also highly problematic. You say, “I believe the United States of America is the greatest country on earth and therefore will not apologize for policies or actions which have served to free more and feed more people around the world than any other nation on the planet.” The problem with this is that you equate “the United States of America” with the federal government. I think your confusion stems for a misunderstanding of the difference between nationalism and patriotism. A nationalist, as my old friend Clyde Wilson has said, is someone who promotes the aggrandizement of the state in all its “glory.” A patriot, in sharp contrast, is someone who simply loves his country and its people.
Your statement is way too nationalistic. It seems to be a version of the neocon propaganda line that “We saved Europe from the Nazis in World War II, therefore, every successive military intervention, no matter how misguided, and no matter how many innocent foreigners are murdered, is justified. The rest of the world should just shut up.” This is what the neocons at the Claremont Institute and the American Enterprise Institute would call “statesmanship,” but “arrogant, imperialistic propaganda” would be more accurate.
Good luck with the Washington, D.C. rally that you’re planning for next August at the Lincoln Memorial. One more suggestion: Hold the rally at the Jefferson Memorial instead. Lincoln was a tyrant who waged total war on his own citizens, orchestrating the murder of some 350,000 of them, including 50,000 Southern civilians. Jefferson was the founding generation’s champion of liberty. In his first inaugural address Lincoln first made an ironclad defense of slavery, including a promise to support its enshrinement in the U.S. Constitution, while threatening “bloodshed” and “invasion” over tax collection. He said it was his “duty to collect the duties and imposts,” and “beyond that there will not be an invasion of any state.” The tariff on imports had just been doubled two days earlier. “Pay Up or Die” was his message.
Contrast this, Glenn, with what Thomas Jefferson said in his first inaugural address: “If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it.” This could not possibly be more different from Lincoln’s “Do As I Say Or Die” commandment. After all, secession or “separation” from the British Empire is how America was created. Secession was “the” principle of the American Revolution according to George Washington’s Secretary of State, Timothy Pickering. Since the theme of your television program on the Fox News Channel is “Refounding America,” I think you should highlight and discuss the right of secession and its virtues on your program every single day. It is probably the only real hope that we have to escape Obammunism.
If you’re not convinced, consider this: In a January 29, 1804 letter to Dr. Joseph Priestly, Jefferson wrote that “Whether we remain in one confederacy, or form into Atlantic and Mississippi confederacies, I believe not very important to the happiness of either part. Those of the western confederacy will be as much our children & descendants as those of the eastern . . . and did I now foresee a separation [i.e., secession] at some future day, yet I should feel the duty & the desire to promote the western interests as zealously as the eastern . . .” In an August 12, 1803 letter to his friend John Breckenridge on the subject of the New England Federalists, who were at that time threatening to secede from the union, Jefferson said that if there were a “separation” then “God bless them both [North and South] & keep them in the union if it be for their good, but separate them, if it be better.”
As you can see, Glenn, Lincoln was in many ways the anti-Jefferson, which is to say, an enemy of liberty. Consider Mr. Jefferson’s most famous publication, The Declaration of Independence. In that document the states are said to be “free and independent.” Lincoln disagreed and waged total war on the Southern states to “prove” himself right. They were not free and independent, he insisted, despite the clear language of the Declaration and of all the other founding documents on this matter.
In his “Train of Abuses” condemnation of the King of Great Britain Jefferson said “He has dissolved Representative Houses repeatedly…” Lincoln imprisoned members of the Maryland legislature, deported a Democratic congressman, and imposed military rule on parts of the South that became conquered territory during the war. This is no different from what King George III did.
“He has made Judges dependent on his Will alone,” Jefferson wrote. By suspending habeas corpus and imprisoning tens of thousands of Northern citizens without any due process, Lincoln made his will the law of the land, just as King George III had done.
“He has erected a multitude of New Offices, and sent hither swarms of Officers to harass our people, and eat out their substance,” said Jefferson in the Declaration. Myriad new bureaucracies, including an internal revenue bureaucracy, were created to run the occupied states during the war, and all states after the war.
“He has affected to render the Military independent of and superior to the Civil Power.” This is exactly what Lincoln did by suspending the writ of habeas corpus and ordering the mass arrest of thousands of political dissenters in the North during the war.
“He has kept among us, in times of peace, Standing Armies without the consent of our legislatures.” The legislatures of the Southern states did not invite a federal invasion, as required by the “insurrection clause” of the U.S. Constitution in cases of insurrections, which did not exist anyway in 1861. The Party of Lincoln kept standing armies in the South for a decade after the war while the states were ruled as military dictatorships under the direction of the Republican Party.
“He has combined with others to subject us to a jurisdiction foreign to our constitution, and unacknowledged by our laws . . .” Lincoln ignored the Constitution completely. Nowhere is a president given the constitutional authority to invade his own country, suspend habeas corpus, wage war without consent of Congress, deport congressmen, shut down hundreds of opposition newspapers, etc., etc.
“For cutting off our Trade with all parts of the world.” Lincoln blockaded Southern ports during the war, and was a lifelong protectionist of the worst kind. His party imposed average tariffs in the 50 percent range for almost half a century after the war.
“For imposing taxes on us without consent.” The South did not consent to paying a doubled import tariff. Lincoln kept the promise that he made in his first inaugural address and launched a military invasion of the entire South to force them to pay “his” duties and imposts.
“For depriving us in many cases, of the right of Trial by jury.” How else could one describe Lincoln’s suspension of habeas corpus?
“He has abdicated Government here, by declaring us out of his Protection and waging War against us. He has plundered our seas, ravaged our coast, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people. He is at this time transporting large Armies, of foreign Mercenaries to compleat the works of death, desolation and tyranny.” Well, Southerners certainly weren’t “protected” by Lincoln’s invasion of their country; Southern ports were blockaded and Southern ships were sunk; entire Southern towns were burned to the ground by the Union Army under Sherman and others; the lives of some 350,000 Southerners were snuffed out; hundreds of thousands of European mercenaries were paid to wage war on American citizens by the Lincoln regime. “Death, desolation and tyranny” is a perfect description of the Lincoln administration.
Glenn, I know that you have praised Lincoln for “persevering” in his mass murder of fellow citizens from the Southern states until he finally “prevailed.” This of course is an essential part of the neocon/Lincoln Cult party line. It has been repeated endlessly on your own Fox News Channel by all those neocons who keep telling us that we should never, ever, withdraw our military from the Middle East until “the job is finished” (which would probably be long after we are both dead, if ever). But did you know that all other countries of the world that ended slavery in the 19th century, the British, Dutch, Spaniards, French, Danes, Swedes – all did so peacefully without a war? And did you know that slavery was also ended peacefully in all of the Northern states, including New York where slavery still existed in the early 1850s? (See the book, Slavery in New York.) I highly recommend that you read Jim Powell’s excellent book, Greatest Emancipations: How the West Ended Slavery, which describes in great detail how the rest of the world ended slavery peacefully instead of using slaves as political pawns in a war that was not about them but was a struggle for political power, as all wars are.
This calls into question the fairy tale about Lincoln and emancipation that all Lincoln Cultists repeat endlessly. The war was all a part of some grand strategy to free the slaves, they tell us. But what kind of “statesman” would ignore all of world history including the history of his own country (in the Northern states) with regard to how slavery was ended and plunge his country into the bloodiest war in human history up to that point? Is this “grand strategy” that caused the death of almost 700,000 Americans and maimed several times that number for life a praiseworthy one?
Glenn, if you are upset about the Fed and its showering of corporate welfare on Wall Street banksters and myriad other fat-cat corporations, you should also know that Lincoln spent his entire adult life championing the “American System” of Alexander Hamilton, which was the only policy plank of the Whig Party that Lincoln belonged to for more than twenty years before becoming a Republican. The “American System,” which was really the corrupt British mercantilist system designed for America, involved a central bank that would print money to finance corporate welfare for railroad corporations and others, along with high, protectionist tariffs which are also, of course, a form of corporate welfare. It was Lincoln’s National Currency Acts that resurrected central banking in America and led to the creation of the Fed. No member of the old Whig Party was a more forceful proponent of central banking – a bank run by politicians out of the nation’s capital – than Abraham Lincoln was.
What Lincoln’s Whig Party (which morphed into the Republican Party after the Whig Party imploded in the early 1850s) stood for was perfectly described by the famous playwright and law partner of Clarence Darrow, Edgar Lee Masters of Illinois, in his book, Lincoln the Man. It was a “political system which doles favors to the strong in order to win and to keep their adherence to the government. [It] offered shelter to devious schemes and corrupt enterprises . . . [and] a people taxed to make profits for enterprises that cannot stand alone . . . . Its principles were plunder and nothing else.”
In light of this, I think it would be an absurd farce to hold a rally protesting the Fed, corporate welfare, bailouts, Big Government, etc. at the Lincoln Memorial. Thomas Jefferson opposed every one of these policies, as did his political heirs, the big majority of whom were Democrats and neither Whigs nor Republicans. Hold the rally at the Jefferson Memorial. Best of luck to you.
November 26, 2009
Thomas J. DiLorenzo [send him mail] is professor of economics at Loyola College in Maryland and the author of The Real Lincoln; Lincoln Unmasked: What You’re Not Supposed To Know about Dishonest Abe and How Capitalism Saved America. His latest book is Hamilton’s Curse: How Jefferson’s Archenemy Betrayed the American Revolution – And What It Means for America Today.
Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.