.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;}

Free Citizen

This writer espouses individual liberty, free markets, and limited government.

Location: Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Rights of the States

This book, one of the very best I have ever read, is chock-a-block with quotable passages. The excerpt below is, in my view, superb.

The mention of Daniel Webster reminds me that, when he was chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, he was regularly receiving a retainer for his legal services from the head of the National Bank, the forerunner of the Federal Reserve. That would be comparable today to Senator Max Baucus getting a retainer from Ben Bernanke.

Hmmm... interesting that Mrs. Lane does not say that slavery was a cause of the War of Northern Aggression. ~~ SR


The most atrocious, bloodiest and most costly war of the [1800s] was the war between these States. Its cause was the Federal Government's so-called "Protective" tariff.

This tariff is a restriction of trade. Its original purpose was to protect this country's infant industries. Ordinary Americans fought it until 1896. [In 1933,] American farmers began taking money from all American tax-payers in payment for reducing this country's food supplies, on the ground that this payment is "the farmers' protective tariff."

From the first, this Protective tariff worked as all attempts to control productive human energy have always worked. It made everyone poorer. But the owners of the infant industries, still pagan-minded, still regarding wealth as a static quantity, and Government as Authority, imagined that this restriction of trade was making them prosperous.

How could they prosper, they reasoned, except by taking prosperity from someone else? If this universe is static, wealth does not increase; a man can get a dollar only by taking it from another man. The idea that prices can go down while wages and profits increase, naturally never entered their heads, because in all history this had never occurred.

The Government's kind protection was taking money from most Americans and giving it to the factory-owners, thus making their customers poorer and reducing the market for factory products. Believe it or not, this is what the factory-owners wanted, and they got it and kept it, by buying Daniel Webster and assorted lots of cheaper Congressmen, both northern and southern.

Ordinary dumb Americans fought that tariff for a hundred years, because it was counter-revolutionary and because it was a use of force to take money from most citizens and give it to a few. Southern Americans fought it politically until 1860, for the same reasons and also because they were selling cotton on the world market and wanted to buy manufactured goods at world prices. They claimed a right to nullify the tariff in their own ports; they did open their ports, and the Federal Government threatened war and made them close them.

The election of 1860 decided that this tariff would be raised still higher. So Southerners claimed the right to leave the Union, which all States had until then maintained, and they did leave it. They formed a Government, and when Federal troops would not withdraw from their States, they attacked the Federal troops.

That was the most brutal war that civilized men had ever fought. In that war, Americans revived a barbarity that had not been practiced since Genghis Khan, but is Hitler's method today: cold-blooded atrocities committed on unarmed civilians and women and children, by regular troops acting under orders (italics added).

Northerners fought to save the American Revolution by saving the Union. Southerners fought to save the Revolution by defending the rights of the States.

... . A shift in the Constitutional balance of power in this Government, ever since that war ended, may yet prove that the Southerners were right.

That war cost the lives of half a million Americans. ...

~~ Rose Wilder Lane, The Discovery of Freedom: Man's Struggle Against Authority (New York, 1943), pp. 63-64.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home