Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Scary Historical Note of the Day

"In 1981, when America's accumulated debt was creeping up on $1 trillion, President Reagan explained in his first address to Congress,
'I've been trying … to think of a way to illustrate how big a trillion really is. And the best I could come up with is that if you had a stack of $1,000 bills in your hand only 4 inches high, you'd be a millionaire. A trillion dollars would be a stack of $1,000 bills 67 miles high.'"

It's now 10-50 times that (depending on what you include). If there's any better way to destroy the Republic from within, I can't think of it.

[Hat Tip Jonah Goldberg at NRO]


gregster said...

"The crucial test of private property is the attitude of government toward money. Devaluation of currency is outright expropriation. The British Empire was founded when the debased coinage was restored to standard during the opening years of the reign of Elizabeth, on the advice of Gresham. At the time, English trade was in distress, the national treasury was empty, the national credit was gone and mercantile credit shaky, war was threatening and rebellion a possibility. In such circumstances, governments usually resort to repudiation, confiscation, and fiat currency. Instead, England took the opposite course. The world came under her sway. The British empire ended three hundred and fifty years later, when England again debased her coinage, defaulted on her debts, confiscated private property, and abrogated personal liberty.

These are not sentimental considerations; they constitute the mechanism of production and therefore of power. Personal liberty is the pre-condition of the release of energy. Private property is the inductor which initiates the flow. Real money is the transmission line; and the payment of debts comprises half the circuit. An empire is merely a long circuit energy-system. The possibility of a short circuit, ensuing leakage and breakdown or explosion, occurs in the hook-up of political organization to the productive processes. This is not a figure of speech or analogy, but a specific physical description of what happens."

Isabel Paterson, 1943, The God Of The Machine, Chapter VI.

Jeff Perren said...

Excellent quote, Greg, and welcome to Shaving Leviathan.

I can't say I'm too fond of the second paragraph; that overextended and overused metaphor of hers is one reason I never liked the book very much. But there's a lot of interesting material there, such as the first paragraph.

Thanks for bringing that to my attention.