There are three ways to remain sane in an insane world. You can believe that you are free, a path entirely blocked to anyone who is paying attention. You can believe that you will someday be free; this remains a possibility, but as various forces close in, it seems less and less likely. Unlike the world faced by victims of previous tyrannies, we have no United States to escape to. Finally, you can believe that men someday will be free, that there will come a time once again when men will be permitted to think.
It is this last hope that I cling to. In the future, I believe that men will understand the futility of anyone putting their hope and faith in the power of armed masters to control them. There will come a time, perhaps shortly, perhaps not so shortly, when men will not be controlled by others but will live for themselves. There will never be a utopia, but there will be a time when crimes and attacks are dealt with harshly as the crimes that they are, not accepted as the price of civilization. Civilized men do not kill those who don’t conform, so such attacks cannot be the price of civilization; they have nothing at all to do with civilization.
What will these men think of us, assuming that our small portion of history remains available to their historians? If they study our times, how will they judge us, the last generation to live, for a time, in a world where free thought was permitted? No, we never enjoyed the levels of freedom that they will enjoy, but nonetheless, we did live some time before the renewal of tyranny. We lived in a world where we owned property, thought what we wished, and expressed ourselves freely. We lived in a world with LewRockwell.com, in a world where HR1955 was unthinkable.
Will they accept our excuse that the machinery had been set in motion long before we arrived on the scene? We will plead, our voices coming through loud and clear on the pages of their books, that powerful men did this, that we had no choice, no way to stop it, that special interests, AIPAC, and the neocons are to blame. What we say will be true, but will it absolve us? The first future generation to breathe free will have fought for it, will have worked hard to educate themselves, preparing the world for freedom, to push aside the tyrants and reclaim their world. Will they find it in themselves to forgive us, who let this great prize slip our hands?
Perhaps there is nothing we can do to repair their judgment of us. Certainly we will not save our freedom. HR1955, when it passes the Senate and is signed, will be only the last step of a long process to destroy men’s minds. The mind was previously numbed through public schooling, through the introduction of Prussian teaching methods, by the tremendous addition of sugar, MSG, and soy to our diets, by the pushing onto us all of psychoactive, mind-destroying medications, and through the ceaseless stream of propaganda from that hideous box in our living rooms. HR1955 is aimed at only that small, small minority that survived the previous attacks on the mind. If all else fails, it allows violence to be used to silence those whose minds still operate. This will be the last straw, the last hope for freedom in our lifetimes.
Not only have we not stopped it, but we the people have practically begged for the coming of this time. Didn’t the people wail and beg for their protectors in Washington to disarm the population, and attack the integrity of those who resisted, calling them names, attacking them as terrorists, or worse? Those who asked the government to disarm their neighbors will find their neighbors unable to protect them. Didn’t the people ask Washington to provide something for nothing, to give out handouts in the name of compassion? Didn’t they know full well that nothing comes from nothing, that those handouts came at the expense of robbing their neighbors? Those who called for their neighbors to be robbed to provide for them will find their neighbors unwilling to save them now. Didn’t the people break themselves into small interest groups, each one demanding protection from the others? Those who hated their neighbors without cause will find now that this petty bickering unleashed upon them a far worse danger than those with dark skin or long last names could ever produce. Didn’t the people empower the government to bomb and kill innocent people around the world, or at least remain silent when this was done in their names? Those who allowed their tax money to be used to bomb foreign nations will find foreign nations unwilling to intervene to protect them, or to offer refuge and asylum, when this force is turned on them.
Yet, can we assist the men of the future? Can we make their task easier, when it comes time for them to perform it? We can, by doing what men have done countless times in the past, often at great personal cost — by being the Remnant, keeping hope alive, and carrying through the generations the message, the idea of freedom. What we must not do is make future men begin again from scratch — we must ensure that we pass on to them the philosophy of freedom. We need to make sure that when their time comes, they will have access to Rothbard, to Mises, to Jefferson, Franklin, and Madison, to Rand, yes, to Rand, to Lew Rockwell, to Nock, Ron Paul, and Mencken. This work is being done in large part by the Mises Institute and by the Foundation for Economic Education. But each of us can play a role in it as well — great works do not interpret and explain themselves. We can ensure that we pass on to those younger than us the ideas in these books, as well as the books themselves. We must instill in those to whom we entrust these ideas a fervent desire to see to it that someday in the future the ideas become reality, and make them understand that it is their responsibility to pass on the message, just as we have passed it to them. By doing so, we keep the remnant alive.
If they speak of us, the men of the future will look and, I expect, wonder just what we thought we were doing when, standing just on the brink of tyranny, we threw ourselves and our energy into a political campaign, thinking it could make a difference. These men will understand the failings of democracy, and will wonder what difference we thought a political campaign could make. They will understand, with a wisdom born of distance, that the campaigning matters not when one party controls the counting of the votes. Perhaps they will even know the name Diebold, most likely as an expression of scorn, a name directed at those who behave in an unfair, aggressive way. But this in no way means that we are wrong to throw ourselves and our hopes into the Ron Paul campaign — we must act in a way that makes sense to us, with our worldview, our understanding, not some hypothetical future understanding which has yet to dawn on us.
More importantly, however much they may ridicule us for this campaign, they will also be indebted to us for it in ways they likely will not imagine. The campaign is the largest movement for liberty in modern United States history — and, as I predicted 2 years ago, it came from the revitalized Austrian economics movement. It is injecting new life into that movement, and spreading it further and wider than it has been spread before. The mainstream is fighting hard, but is unable to completely stop the discussions from arising — people everywhere are now talking about the Federal Reserve, gold, and the free market. Regardless of what happens politically, this is guaranteed to increase the size of the remnant as we head into the coming dark age. Not only that, but it is consolidating the remnant. Spread far and wide, out of contact with one another, the disenfranchised the world over are coming together, pulled in by the magnet of the Ron Paul campaign. Austrians, run-of-the-mill libertarians, and the punk teenager with a nameless anger and distrust of "the man" are all united in the Ron Paul campaign. College students are waking up to the missing ingredient in their view of the world — to the fact that corporations do not carry guns, but governments do, and the evil done by corporations is done by first gaining the ear of government. You see, the middle-class family scared and angry at the loss of their savings through inflation, the loss of their son in Iraq, and the loss of their jobs through overregulation — this is part of the remnant too, but they never would have guessed that they were until now. This family is not well read in the literature of freedom, doesn’t know a von Mises from a hole in the wall, and never would dream that they have anything in common with an anarchist philosopher — but they support Ron Paul, the politician who seems to have appeared out of nowhere and burst onto the national scene just to speak for them, to voice their concerns, to say what no politician has said before. So, if he’s part of the remnant, that’s good enough for them — if his books quote Mises, by golly, there might be something there.
So, widely disparate worldviews, sharing only a distrust of centralized power, are being drawn together, being shown that they really aren’t all that different because they agree on the primary, most central issue for any political theory — just who will get to shoot whom, and why?
To the men who live in a time far from now, who breathe free and think what thoughts they please, who control their minds and remain free in their minds, we say, we are sorry. We are sorry for what you have had to endure to reclaim what we lost. We, the last people before you to know freedom, can never apologize enough to you for what we have done. We allowed them to build around us a network of social control, each beam built under cover of a different excuse. This beam only attacks junkies, who are worthless, this beam protects you from poverty, this beam from terrorism — but we should have seen through it, we should have known better. What did we think would happen when corporations promised more in defined benefit pensions than they could hope to collect from the future economy? Did we not think the response would be the growth of an industry designed to sicken us, to lower our lifespan? When corporations moved into defense, what did we expect? We should have stopped it, but we didn’t. We made you work hard to regain what should have been your birthright. We, your great-great-great grandparents, let you down. We embraced our momentary desires, and sold your world for our short-term pleasure. How can we ever repay you for what we have done? You know better than we do what horrific sacrifices have been made, how the generations between have suffered, how hard you worked to restore freedom to this land. You know of the friends you lost, friends we caused you to lose before their time. The debt we owe to you cannot be repaid.
To you, we leave all that we have of value — the memory of freedom, the work done by those who came before us, who were better than us. We could not hold onto the most precious gift the world bestows on those who are worthy of it, but we did manage to hold onto the memory of how to regain it. Read it, cherish it as we should have. Read the books that we will pass onto you, listen to the ideas that we will explain to our children, and that will then make their ways to you. We have placed upon you the burden to reclaim liberty, but also the roadmap, the directions on how to do so, and the instructions on what to do next, what a free society will look like, and how to rebuild an economy. You will concentrate on the task that history has assigned to you, since you will not be charged to build the study of economics from the first brick, nor will you need to rediscover the principles of epistemology, of metaphysics, or of economic methodology — these all will be passed onto you as developed bodies of knowledge, to which you will need only add a gloss. For all that we did wrong, we at least knew enough to keep those ideas through whatever may have befallen us, and to get them into your strong hands. Be better than us, be stronger than us, be vigilant in the ways we were not. We failed you — do not fail your children and descendants in the same way. We passed onto you a world that was worse than the one we received — pass to your children a world that is far better than the one you were given. We ask you, humbly, to redeem our error, and perhaps, to forgive us.
Joshua Katz, NREMT-P [send him mail], is the newest member of the mathematics faculty at the Oxford Academy, Westbrook, Connecticut. He has studied philosophy of mind, logic, and epistemology of economics from an Austrian perspective, and is a former graduate student in philosophy at Texas A&M, as well as holding a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. He still holds the title of Chief of EMS for the Town of Hempstead Department of Parks and Recreation, and will return to full-time service there in the summer. He enjoys a glass of port and a wedge of Brie, but has discontinued this practice on a regular basis, due to the sugar content of the port.