I recall being surprised to learn, forty years ago, that I bore some responsibility for the assassination of President Kennedy. According to the pundits at the time, there was a tidal wave of "hatred" that suffused the nation, and we were all guilty. Our collective hatred bore fruit in a lone killer who shot the President dead. Simple and neat; no need for any complicated conspiracy theories. We were all killers!
And racists, as well. About the same time, the concept of racism took on a political life of its own. I looked up the word in my dictionary, because I couldn’t remember hearing it before, whereas it had become so popular that every columnist, commentator, or TV anchor used it daily, many times. Racism was bad, and needless to say, it was widespread, and I was guilty of it, and you, too. That, I guess, justified legislation that punished all of us. What sinners we were!
So there’s nothing new in the idea of supporting something — bad or good, but usually bad — without being aware of it. That’s how I support the war against Iraq.
Suppose that a gang of counterfeiters moved into your town. After a while, the town’s economy would boom. Merchants hire more help. Businesses plan to expand. It’s wonderful! A few cynics note that there seem to be a lot of peculiar bills circulating that aren’t quite the right color, or lack the usual "feel." They discuss the matter, and decide to ignore it. The "real" money created by the bankers is no more substantial or even legal, in the Constitutional sense, than that of the counterfeiters; and the issue of the latter doesn’t have to be repaid, with interest. So, altogether, the illegal counterfeit has more going for it than the "legal" stuff. The town’s boom proves it.
Eventually, though, the bubble bursts. Perhaps the counterfeiters are sued for counterfeiting without a license. Maybe they simply decide to move on, having extracted from the town as much as they want or need, in return for their attractive chits. When the word gets out among the people that they have been using counterfeit money to finance their boom, chaos ensues. The "money" which worked just fine is now so much trash. No one will touch it — if they recognize it. Extra workers are laid off; business expansion plans are cancelled. And everyone’s angry. "How could you have let this happen?" they complain to the few who had recognized the situation for what it was. Their answer is simple: "You did it to yourselves. You exchanged your goods for pieces of paper that you now have decided are worthless; but when you accepted them, they worked just fine, buying you groceries, gasoline, and paying rent. If you feel cheated, you have no one to blame but yourselves. The depredations of the counterfeiters were made possible by your support of their activities. Who prints counterfeit money that no one will accept? You accepted it, and you made the boom, and your subsequent disillusion, possible."
It’s all about money, in other words. The war in Iraq isn’t about bringing democracy to the Iraqi people, even were that a good thing to do, or a legitimate activity of our rulers. It isn’t about fighting terrorism, because Iraq had nothing to do with 9-11, and Arab radicals will resort to more terrorism as a result of our invasion. It isn’t even so much about controlling Iraqi oil, as it is re-asserting the dominance of the dollar over the threatening euro. And it’s all made possible by our support of those dollars.
Modern war couldn’t be waged without fiat. And it can only be waged with fiat so long as the users of the fiat accept it in lieu of money. And we do. So I support the war in Iraq. You, too.
In our defense, I’ll point out that there isn’t a lot we can do about it. True, our mint does coin dollars of gold, silver, and platinum, but we’d find it difficult to use those at Wal-Mart, or the supermarket. I’d have great difficulty persuading my patients to pay me with precious metals, and it would be utterly preposterous to think that their banks would pay their checks in specie.
It’s the collective thing: just as we were all guilty of racism, or the aura of hate that killed the President, we’re all guilty of supporting the war in Iraq by accepting the fiat that makes the war possible. The kill-Kennedy hatred seemed to evaporate once the appropriate killer was killed; and racism was undone — presumably — by legislation. No legislation is needed to put an end to the fiat that finances government and its assaults; the fiat has no lawful support now. All that’s needed to do it is to do it!
Freedom and fiat are incompatible. And we can get rid of the fiat — once enough of us recognize its malignancy. We can simply turn our backs upon it, and its power over us disappears. We can be bound by chains of paper only as long as we accept the claim that they are steel.