A Condensed Version of: Ex America by Garet Garrett.
Compiled and Edited by Dr. Jimmy T. (Gunny) LaBaume
- Ex America, Part IV
Rousseau believed that the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Society is more than just its members. He called it the “General Will.” So it is with government—a thing in itself with a power derived from the center of its own being.
In Garrett’s own words: “The founders of the American government knew history. As far back as they could see all governments both good and bad, no matter in what form they appeared, had certain features in common, such as a natural appetite for power, a passion to act upon peoples’ lives, a will to live, resources of self-perpetuation and longings for grandeur—with always the one sequel, that they abused their power and fell and were succeeded by government that did it all over again, as if by some kind of inner compulsion. (The founders)… did not attempt to formulate this law of inner compulsion. What they did was to create a government that could not obey such a law if one existed.”
This was to be a government without ultimate sovereignty. It was a government with a written Constitution that was to be the supreme law of the land. This government had three separate and coequal powers that were balanced in such a way that any one could check the other two. Behind all of this was the sovereign power of the people who could change the Constitution if they were so minded.
There was one characteristic feature of government that the founding fathers did not see. No government can acquire power and put it forth solely by law and edict. It must have the means. In ancient times the means might have been the direct command of labor, food, and materials. In today’s world the means is money. That is why government always favors inflation. It provides the means. The people’s consent is bought with the proceeds of inflation.
The root evil of inflation is political, not monetary. Its monetary effects can be seen and felt immediately. The greater evils work slowly to corrupt the integrity of government and the morals of the people.
The monetary effects can be overcome. The purchasing power of money falls but this is not calamitous provided, first, it happens slowly enough for the compensating factors to have time to act and, second, the fundamental principles by which wealth renews itself are preserved.
Furthermore, inflation is intoxicating as long as the effects are only monetary. Even though they may realize that, ultimately, a reckoning will come, everybody loves a boom. Profits rise but these are illusory. Never-the-less, most would rather have illusory profits than no profits at all.
The evil kind of inflation is that which serves government as an instrument of policy intended to produce revolutionary social change. When a government deliberately implements an inflationary policy there are revolutionary consequences. For example: 1) as government expands, the people lose control of it; 2) people become dependent on government for aid and comfort; 3) people are first enticed and then obliged to exchange freedom for status; and 4) the illusion that public money does not cost anybody anything leads to immoral conduct.
The monetary consequences of inflation are relatively unimportant. The moral consequences are destructive and, like an aggressive form of cancer, may be incurable.
To be continued
The Essence of Liberty Volume I: Liberty and History chronicles the rise and fall of the noble experiment with constitutionally limited government. It features the ideas and opinions of some of the world’s foremost contemporary constitutional scholars. This is history that you were not taught at the mandatory government propaganda camps otherwise known as “public schools.” You will gain a clear understanding of how America’s decline and decay is really nothing new and how it began almost immediately with the constitution. Available in both paperback and Kindle versions.
You might be interested in the other two volumes of this three volume set: The Essence of Liberty Volume II: The Economics of Liberty and The Essence of Liberty Volume III: Liberty: A Universal Political Ethic.