"It has been proved, by indisputable evidence, that power is not the grand principle of union among the parts of a very extensive empire; and that when this principle is pushed beyond the degree necessary for rendering justice between man and man, it debases the character of individuals, and renders them less secure in their persons and property…"
~ James Winthrop, Antifederalist No. 11
I doubt there are many who have thought about the transitive verb, secure, used by James Winthrop in the quote above. Noah Webster’s, 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, says secure is to make certain; to put beyond hazard, then addresses secure in this context: "Liberty and fixed laws secure to every citizen due protection of person and property…"
Noah Webster addresses the blessings that accompany the constraints placed on unrestrained centralized power, while James Winthrop addresses the curses which are the consort of unjust, excessive governmental controls.
I am sure there are many in the United States who have never read (or heaven forbid, studied) the Antifederalist papers. If they had we may have averted the present governmental albatross which is choking the life out of our society.
Given the present political climate, with its common disregard for the lessons of history, I am sure those learned 19th-century Anti-Federalists are viewed as nothing less than arcane mystics espousing apocryphal concepts. So, the Antifederalist papers are discarded, having no place in any social discussion, undoubtedly on the grounds that they are offensive myths. The void is, of course, filled by the assertions of the mentally dull, noisome parasites belonging to the politically correct, progressive, liberal, (choose your own label) camp.
The historical fact that these progressive policies have failed miserably, wherever and whenever they have been tried, is summarily dismissed. So, we are treated to a rehashed assortment of the original tripe while being asked to believe that this time it will work because a new and improved noxious byproduct emanates from the southern orifice of the smartest, most enlightened in society.
Nor have the tactics of the nationalists changed.
When the Constitution was first presented for ratification (without the bill of rights) to the thirteen states, the Federalists argued that it needed to be voted on without debate so as to "avoid the possible and transitory evils" of anarchy, and "as the instrument of deliverance, as the only avenue to safety and happiness."
"The other specter," wrote Centinel in Antifederalist No. 6, "that has been raised to terrify and alarm the people out of the exercise of their judgment… is the dread of our splitting into separate confederacies or republics, that might become rival powers and consequently liable to mutual wars from the usual motives of contention."
Centinel continues, "This hobgoblin appears to have sprung from the deranged brain of Publius, [The Federalist] a New York writer, who, mistaking sound for argument, has with Herculean labor accumulated myriads of unmeaning sentences, and mechanically endeavored to force conviction by a torrent of misplaced words."
If you recognize the argument of necessity, fear, lies and safety as the means to push a political agenda, then it should come as no surprise that these are the emotions used recently to pass the "stimulus bill" of 787 billion dollars. To one degree or another, these sentiments have been at the forefront of every governmental policy which has been detrimental to the American society.
It was "Montezuma" in Antifederalist #9, entitled A Consolidated Government is a Tyranny, who stated one of the greatest concerns of those opposing a new constitution. Montezuma points out, "… (W)e have thought… to indulge them in something like a democracy in the new constitution, which part we have designated by the popular name of the House of Representatives. But to guard against every possible danger from this lower house, we have subjected every bill they bring forward, to the double negative of our upper house and president. Nor have we allowed the populace the right to elect their representatives annually… lest this body should be too much under the influence and control of their constituents… for we have not yet to learn that little else is wanting to aristocratize (sic) the most democratical representative than to make him somewhat independent of his political creators…"
Did you really think an aristocracy would listen to your complaints?
Philadephiensis in Antifederalist 74 expressed the danger clearest when he wrote: "A conspiracy against the freedom of America, both deep and dangerous, has been formed by an infernal junto of demagogues."
In spite of the Antifederalists’ arguments the Constitution was ratified; ostensibly to "establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence (sic), promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity…"
Under the guise of the U.S. Constitution and agog with their own self-importance, Americans fooled themselves into believing they, and only they, were the freest people in the history of world.
National acquiescence to a blatant lie has relegated a number of pesky historical facts to the backwaters of the national memory. These specifics include, but are not limited to: The Sedition Act of 1798; The Bureau of Indian Affairs; The Tyranny of Abe Lincoln; The Reconstruction era lasting until 1917; The temperance movement resulting in the 18th Amendment to the Constitution (Prohibition, 1919—33).
Then there are those paragons of virtue: the conservation movement and the ensuing environmental movement along with the food and drug laws which now reside in the FDA. Each in turn has clearly denoted the Constitutional government’s intent, which has never been anything less than the total domination of the American public and every aspect of our lives.
Is it any wonder, then, why we are faced with the socialistic beast that is trying to steamroll over our lives now?
Equally objectionable is the declaration that under the guidance of a constitutionally mandated Federal government, America has had the highest standard of living the world has ever known.
Doesn’t logic dictate that if a people are to have quality housing, food, medical care, educational opportunities, transportation, communications…etc that their money must be either: (A.) of high value or lacking that (B.) available in great quantities?
"Money," writes D.G. White in Gold, the Golden Rule, and Government: Civil Society and the End of the State, "…is simply a commodity that, as an inherent store of value, is used as a conduit for exchange. And given its considerable attributes — e.g., beauty, density, indestructibility, malleability, homogeneity, divisibility, transportability — it is little wonder that, over time, gold became the commodity of choice, the preeminent medium of exchange the world over. Nor is it any wonder that with the subsequent emergence of banknotes and other money substitutes, which greatly facilitated indirect exchange and therefore the division of labor, it was gold that usually backed them up."
This was certainly true of the 1904 Liberty Head Gold Double Eagle affectionately known as the $20 Gold Piece. The coin was made up of 90 percent gold (30.0924 grams) and 10 percent copper.
At the time the coin was issued it contained 96.75% of 1 Troy ounce of gold while both the US government and the New York Market set the value of gold at $20.67, a price it had maintained since 1879. As such, the $20 Gold Piece had an inherent value of exactly $20.
Since we are talking about a standard of living based on purchasing power we will use 96.75% of 1 Troy ounce equaling $20 as our constant.
We generally think of those living in the early part of the 20th century as being poor by our standards today, but were they really poor? Let’s look at the years 1920, 25 and 30.
The US Index of Composite Wages gives us the following information concerning the average US worker’s wage during the years 1920, 1925, and 1930.
To check these figures let’s look at the average weekly incomes for twelve major manufacturing industries during the same period.
AVERAGE WEEKLY SALARIES — 12 MANUFACTURING INDUSTRIES
BOOTS AND SHOES
RAILROAD CAR BUILDING & REPAIR
CIGARS AND CIGARETTES
HOISERY AND UNDERWEAR
IRON AND STEEL
PAPER AND PULP
Average Weekly Salary
Average Yearly Salary
The yearly average salary of those in the manufacturing industries is slightly greater for the years 1920 and 25 than the national average and slightly less in 1930.
What does that mean for us today?
As of this writing, the value of 1 troy ounce of gold is $1176.90. Using the standards set above the current wages on a national average would have to be greater than or equal to $67,687.09; 68,911.14 and $70,664.67 respectively to offer the same purchasing power as our forefathers had.
Granted, it is extremely hard to compare the "standard of living" between the 1920′s and today but we can get a sense of how we measure up by looking at the tax rates and a family budget during the 20′s verses today.
For the years, 1920, 25 and 30 the US Federal Tax was as follows:
Taxable Income Under
This is very telling since the national income was less than $2,000.00 annually we have the salaries of most Americans being equal to their total disposable income.
To have parity with the tax rates above, at today’s gold price, our tax table would have to read:
Taxable Income Under
Oh, and lets not forget the wealthy.
In 1920, 25 and 30 the highest incomes were taxed as follows:
Taxable Income OVER
As a comparable the tax table today would look like this:
Taxable Income OVER
Now, I don’t know about you, but I don’t know of anyone who wouldn’t be tickled to death to pay those sorts of taxes. But I also don’t know anyone personally who has an annual taxable income of over 5 million dollars let alone over 56 million dollars.
I certainly will understand if you’re not feeling too enthusiastic about our national economy, at the moment. The simple fact is that for today’s family to have the purchasing power of a 1920′s family our total disposable income would have to be greater than 67,000 dollars annually.
It is true that family budgets would, of necessity, widely vary from region to region throughout the United States as they do today. This would be due, in large part, to the price of housing, food prices, what the family used for fuel to heat the home, whether they owned a car or not, and a host of other variables.
However, for the moment let’s agree to hold a budget taken from Fall River, Massachusetts in 1919 as a workable model for families through out the U.S. during the 1920′s.
In 1919 the National Industrial Conference Board of Boston, Massachusetts study found that the probable distribution of an American family’s disposable income broke down into the categories "Minimum Budget" and "More Liberal Budget." Their conclusions resulted in the allocation of the family income as follows:
COST OF LIVING FOR A MAN, WIFE, AND THREE CHILDREN UNDER FOURTEEN YEARS OF AGE
FOR THE YEAR OF 1919
More liberal budget
Average of both budgets
Fuel, heat and light
The Industrial Board concludes that "to maintain a family consisting of man, wife and three children under fourteen years of age, at a minimum American standard of living but without any allowance for savings, $1,267.76 per year will be required, or a steady income of $24.38 per week."
If gold today does not exceed $1176.90 a Troy ounce this would mean the American family of today would need to have an income, after taxes, equal to or greater than $72,175.35 yearly or a weekly income of $1,387.99.
It also becomes apparent that from 1920 to 1930 Americans were maintaining a standard of living fully in line with the Board’s findings in 1919.
As it takes more and more dollars to purchase a troy ounce of gold these figures will increase commiserate to the number of dollars chasing an ounce of gold.
At the present we are left with the realization that today’s dollar has a value of less than two pieces of penny candy from the 1920′s.
Not unlike the ancient Romans we have deluded ourselves; we have rejected the warnings that knowledgeable men of history have tried to give, to our own detriment: the continued degradation of our standard of living accompanying the reduction of our freedoms.
Many may be feeling comfortable and confident with their present status and that maybe as it should be.
However, generations of complacency and ignorance are about to come to an end. Reality is going to have its day and it is coming with the fury of a woman scorned. We will pay for our folly and it will be a penalty few will survive.
This article is dedicated to Joanne Hare, a dear friend and a delightful lady.
Tim Case [send him mail] is a 30-year student of the ancient histories who agrees with the first-century stoic Epictetus on this one point: u201COnly the educated are free.u201D