U.S. of Totalitarianism

A transcript of the Lew Rockwell Show episode 347 with Doug Casey.

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ROCKWELL:  Well, good morning.  This is the Lew Rockwell Show.  And how great it is to have as our guest this morning, Mr. Doug Casey.  I always think of Doug by the title of my favorite book of his, The International Man.  Way back before, in my view, others were doing it, he warned Americans about the necessity of diversifying internationally, not just being under the thumb of Uncle Sam; maybe diversifying physically, yourself, that is, as well as your investments.  He’s the author of, and I must say the expert in Crisis Investing, which was on The New York Times best-seller list for a long time; Strategic Investing; I mentioned The International Man, a great, great book.  And most recently, a collection of his stunning interviews with Louis James over the years, called Totally Incorrect: Conversations with Doug Casey.

Doug, another thing I like about you is you’re an Anarcho-Capitalist.  And you analyze world and national finances and politics and all related issues from the standpoint of a man who believes in freedom, full freedom.

I know we’re talking to you now from Uruguay, where I’m sure it’s beautiful.

Doug has visited more than 175 countries, lived in 12.  He’s an expert on everything.  What can I say?  He — (laughing) — knows everything.  He’s an expert on everything.

Doug, tell us what the heck is happening, do you think, from the standpoint of poor Americans?  Is there still time to diversify internationally?

CASEY:  Well, you know, the gate is closing, Lew, and it’s closing faster than ever at this point.  Like, there’s a bill in the Senate now, I understand, as we speak, put up by Charles Schumer, called the Ex-PATRIOT Act, and my understanding is that one of its provisions would be that if an American renounces his citizenship, which they consider defecting –

(LAUGHTER)

– then you’re not allowed to come back to the U.S. again.  So that’s an additional punishment.  You know, they are confiscating wealth and all this type of thing, which is now the law, of course, if you leave the U.S.

But, you know, this is a worldwide trend.  I was here in — I’m in Punta del Este in Uruguay.  Uruguay is a backward, little Socialist country, actually.  It doesn’t have much to recommend it, to be honest — (laughing) — and less and less everyday.  But Punta is very international.  And so I was at a dinner party the other night and talking with some Germans, who spend time in France.  And they pointed out that the French now, under Hollande, are seriously contemplating doing what the Americans are doing, which is to say, taxing people based upon their nationality, not upon their residency.  So it would appear in the near future, not just Americans won’t be able to escape the tax system by leaving the country; now the French are joining the party.   And a lot of these European countries are probably going to do that.  So, you know, freedom is in recession all over the world, I fear.

ROCKWELL:  However, you’ve made some interesting choices.  And one of the things you’re involved in is this community in Argentina that you’ve established.  And a lot of people have joined you there.

CASEY:  Yes.  A lot of people — a lot of people think that we’re completely insane for having put it in Argentina, which is under the thumb of Cristina Kirchner.  Actually, Cristina is clinically insane in my opinion.  She is actually mentally unbalanced.  But that’s true of so many people that run countries today.

But that said, we picked Argentina, kind of in the middle of nowhere, in a town that’s like Napa, California, surrounded by grape vines.  It’s a small town, 10,000 people, but totally delightful.  And we’ve built a rather fantastic community with all kinds of amenities.  You name it, we have it, everything from, naturally, a golf course — I’m not old enough to play golf –

(LAUGHTER)

– to a polo field.  I’m getting too old to play polo though, so I’m at kind of the twilight zone.  But we have absolutely everything you could possibly imagine in way of amenities.  And it’s a great town.  And you don’t know.  You know, it’s very peaceful and free.  There’s no prospect of any drones flying overhead for many, many years.  So I recommend people take a look and come on down.

But the best thing about it is that, out of the — oh, we’ve sold, like, 260 out of the 360 lots, and it’s almost entirely to successful Libertarians, which are pretty rare, I’ve got to say –

(LAUGHTER)

– because most Libertarians are — most Libertarians are as poor as church mice.  And they talk about capital but they don’t make any of it.  It’s rather odd.

ROCKWELL:  Well, you have all these successful Libertarians.  This is sort of Casey’s Gulch, isn’t it?

CASEY:  Well, they call it that.  I’m totally uninterested in anything like the cult of the personality.  I just wanted a nice place to hang out.  And I don’t want to be in the U.S. anymore.  It’s just going the wrong direction way too fast.  I feel it’s actually dangerous for people that have the wrong political ideas, in the opinion of the government.  So where are you going to go?  And I looked at all the countries of the world that I’ve been to and they all have these problems.  Ruled out Africa for lots of reasons we could discuss.  You’ve got to rule out the Muslim world.  You’ve got to rule out Europe with all of its problems.  And, for me, it came to either the Orient or Latin America.  And in Latin America, I chose Argentina, not withstanding its problems, but it’s a totally delightful place if you accept the current government, which will change.  These things change.  The culture remains the same but the people in the presidential palace, whether its Washington or Buenos Aires, they come and go.  And I thought about the Orient, which I really like a lot, and is going in the right direction in many ways, more than any other place in the world.  But the problem with the Orient is that as delightful as it is, if you’re not a native Thai or Malay or Chinese or what have you, you’re just not really going to be part of the society there.  It ain’t going to happen.  So that brought me to Argentina.

ROCKWELL:  And Argentina is a land of many immigrants, right?  I mean, there are many Italian immigrants, many German immigrants, in addition to the Indians.

CASEY:  You know, one of the jokes down here — because Argentines are always making jokes about themselves, with good reason, of course — an Argentine is an Italian who speaks Spanish but thinks he’s British.  And that’s actually –

(LAUGHTER)

That’s actually quite accurate.  But it’s full of people from those countries, and Germany, Ireland, France.  It’s very international.  When you go to a dinner party in Argentina or here in Punta in Uruguay, the chances are there are going to be like four languages spoken at the table, although, everybody speaks English.  So that’s the lingua franca.

ROCKWELL:  What’s your advice to somebody who, let’s say, is a successful Libertarian or maybe somebody of other ideological views but is worried about what’s happening in the U.S., which is — I mean, all of us expected there was going to be at least a gentle progress towards totalitarianism here.  But it does seem to be rushing down the hill right now and ever since, I’m sure, what the government considers their happy natal day of 9/11, when it did them so much good and so much bad, of course, for the rest of us.  But what do you do?  I mean, should you not seek to expatriate formally?  Is it better to be an American citizen but live in Argentina or New Zealand or some other place?  I mean, what’s your advice?

CASEY:  Well, the first thing everybody should do — I don’t care what country you live in — is get a significant portion of your assets outside of your home country, to some other country — that’s number one — so that all of your assets aren’t under the control of one government; they can’t steal those things from you.  That’s very important.  And that’s number one.  The second thing is to — I think as part of your assets, to look to own real estate abroad so that if you decide that things are just going the wrong way too rapidly, you can pull yourself out and you have a crib to hang out in.  A third thing, which I think is also very important, is to get a second citizenship, a second passport.  Because most Americans are unaware of the fact that if you’re accused, not adjudicated, just accused of owing the IRS $50,000 or more, they can cancel your passport, even if you’re outside the U.S. — cancel it — and since all the governments of the world do these things by computer now.  So you really want to have a second citizenship, too, so you’re not totally under their thumb.  Those are the things you should do.  Everybody should do that if they’re at all in a financial position to do so.  And if they’re not in a financial position to do so, they should ask themselves why not and try to solve that problem.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

ROCKWELL:  You know, Doug, one of the things I like about you is I think you’re correctly and analytically pessimistic about the short-term, economically and politically, but very optimistic about the long-term, that mankind will not end up being smashed by the state.

CASEY:  I’d like to believe that, Lew.  Certainly, all over the world today — you know, everyday, all these countries are passing new laws and they’re working with each other.  But on the other hand, the world should become wealthier for two reasons I can think of.  Number one is that the average guy, even if he has no knowledge of economics, still understands that he’s got to produce more than he consumes and set aside the difference to elevate himself.  So that’s what the average guy does, he tries to produce more than he consumes and save the difference.  And that’s how capital is built and wealth grows in the world.  And with that wealth, the other thing is technology increases.  Fortunately, there are more engineers and scientists alive today, right now, than have lived in all of earth’s history put together.  And they’re doing things, aided by the capital that the average guy is saving.  So that’s cause for serious optimism.  And I’d really like to believe that people like Ray Kurzweil are right about the singularity; so, yes, if we can just kind of tough it through this interim.

But, you know, I feel what we’re going into now is starting to look more and more like the 1930s.  And they were followed by the 1940s.  So I think it could be very unpleasant and inconvenient in the next decade.

ROCKWELL:  Do you think we’re facing another world war?

CASEY:  Well, I think that whenever the going gets tough within a country — that’s almost always caused by state intervention, of course, by the government — the government likes to direct the blame from themselves to somebody else, and it’s always better to use a foreigner.  You know, foreigners are these strange people that are dangerous and so forth.  And that’s how wars start.  You blame your problems on a foreigner and one thing leads to another, incidents happen.  So, yeah, I think it’s very likely.  Why should wars not happen now since they’ve been part and parcel to humans since day one?  So I feel very confident that — and especially with the U.S. getting involved.  I mean, the U.S. is in — has a lot of coops in over a hundred countries around the world.  You know, they think they’re the world’s policemen.  Americans love their military for some reason.  And at this point, the U.S. military is like a big hammer.  And when all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.  So, yeah, of course, they’re going to go out and do something stupid with it.  And if the Americans don’t, then maybe the Chinese will or the Israelis will or who knows who.  It could be anybody; the Indians.

ROCKWELL:  I’m always amused by the conservatives.  The conservatives just seem to think the military is not part of the government and, in fact, get outraged if you point out it’s a Socialist institution.  And, of course, it’s the sort of central core of the government along with the central bank.

CASEY:  Yeah, absolutely correct.  And one of the things that — I hate to make political predictions about the U.S.  I don’t consider myself to be a good political handicapper in the U.S. because I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the hoi polloi and the trailer parks and the barrios and the ghettos, the people that actually go out and vote for these sociopaths that run for office.  But my guess is that now that Obama’s in office until 2016 — and I think the economy is really going to fall apart in the next few years with these trillions of new currency units they’re creating — that in the election of 2016, I’ll bet they run Hillary for the Democrats but she won’t win because the Democrats will be blamed for the domestic problems.  And the Republicans will run a right-wing general because everybody thinks that generals are non-corrupt and competent and, you know, they know how to straighten things out.  That could be a real disaster then because he’s likely to turn the country into something looking like a military camp.  So that’s my guess.  The Republicans win with a general in 2016.  Bad news.

ROCKWELL:  Well, that is bad news.  And, of course, they almost — I think almost nominated Petraeus this last time, until there was a coup within the CIA to take him down by his own bodyguards and other people who didn’t like him who exposed him and so forth.

CASEY:  Yeah, it was very interesting.  The military, the upper military — of course, all these top generals are really political operatives more than they are military guys at this point.  But they’re really treated like Roman proconsuls.  It was quite amazing the things that came out about Petraeus, about all the entourage that he’d get to carry around with him and so forth.  And all these top generals are that way.  This is a bad trend and a bad habit, among many others that I could name.

ROCKWELL:  I appreciate your political predictions.   And I’ll bet all our listeners do, too.  And it’s quite scary, I think.  I wouldn’t bet against you on the idea of a general, and the Republicans all do worship a general.  In fact, hasn’t that been sort of an unfortunate thread throughout American history?  I mean, everybody thought George Washington was a great guy because he was a general, and Eisenhower and William Henry Harrison and all the rest of them.  They –

CASEY:  And Andrew Jackson and –

ROCKWELL:  Yeah.

CASEY:  — you know, Ulysses S. Grant.  So we’ve got a history of liking generals.

ROCKWELL:  Yeah, Americans like killers and they like presidential killers, too.  Of course, the presidents who have killed the most people are the greatest:  Lincoln and Roosevelt and Wilson and Nixon.  Maybe they don’t like Nixon.  Although, Clinton gave him quite an encomium after Nixon’s death and really raised him to the pantheon — (laughing).

You know, you mentioned Rome.  Aren’t we becoming ancient Rome?  I mean, Cullen Murphy had a book about that.  But it seems like the proconsuls and the empire — and some are provinces, some are directly ruled — and the legislature being just a rubber stamp for the most part for the princeps.

CASEY:  Absolutely.  And the presidents are becoming more powerful and starting to resemble the Roman emperors ever more.  And that’s why I don’t feel it made any difference when Obama replaced Bush, and Clinton and all that.  It’s really like, in Roman days, when the Romans were so happy when Tiberius died.  And then after Tiberius, they got Claudius.  And after Claudius, they got Caligula.  And they thought, how can it get any worse than Caligula?  But then they got Nero.  And then they got their first civil war.  So it’s starting to resemble that in the U.S., I think.

Just wait until the next real or imagined “terrorist,” quote/unquote, incident happens in the U.S.  They’ll really lock this place down like one of their numerous new prisons.  I’ll be so happy to be out of the U.S. when that happens.

ROCKWELL:  When the U.S. becomes Supermax.  Although, so far, the Senate hasn’t made Obama’s horse a consul but I guess anything could happen.

(LAUGHTER)

CASEY:  Let me ask you — I’m not on top of this.  With this latest thing at Sandy Hook, what are they going to do as far as gun legislation?  Are they going to actually try to confiscate guns?  What have you heard?  What do you think?

ROCKWELL:  Well, of course, they would like to confiscate guns.  I don’t think, at least, so far, they can get away with it.  After the next, you know, alleged Muslim terrorist incident, things may be quite different.  But so far, there’s been a lot of push-back.  And even the Democrats in the Senate from western states are saying they’re not going to support this, so we’ll see what happens.  But my guess is there’s going to be incremental gun control but not massive gun control.  But that’s what they want; they would like to actually have the only weapons in the hands of the police and the army.

CASEY:  Yes.  Things have changed so much from even in the 1930s.  People forget that when they watch, for instance, the Indiana Jones movie, Indie carried his revolver across borders, international borders, and there was never any question or never any problem about being an armed person back in the ’30s.  And even during the ’60s when I was a teenager, I personally carried a pistol and a rifle just in the overhead compartment on an airline, and nobody thought twice about it.  So things have changed a lot.

ROCKWELL:  I know.  In the ’60s, my school had a gun club and I used to bring a .22 rifle to school.  Nobody — (laughing) — as did a lot of other boys.  It was just perfectly normal and natural.

CASEY:  No, nobody thought twice about walking down the road carrying your .22 or your shotgun.  Nobody thought twice about that.  It’s quite amazing the way things have changed.

And one thing that I’d point out is that all these shooting — there’s been, it seems, an accelerating speed of them over the last 20 years — they blame it on guns but I would point my finger at psychiatric drugs, like Prozac and Ritalin and Adderall and all the rest of these things, which have very, very serious psychological effects, both while people are on them and after they come off of them.  And all of these people that have committed these massive crimes appear to have been on some type of psychiatric drug.

ROCKWELL:  No, that’s right.  And they especially have an effect on people who have sort of a weak personality and are troubled people to begin with.  So to put them on these drugs is — yes, and, of course, we know the side effects include murder and suicide.

CASEY:  And especially on younger people whose brains are still being formed, actually.

ROCKWELL:  That’s right.  And the male brain isn’t fully formed until about the age of 35 and the female brain is about 28.  So when you’re in high school, your brain is still very much in formation, or in college.

CASEY:  But it’s odd these things aren’t mentioned at all.

ROCKWELL:  No, it’s suppressed, of course.  The media — I remember when Yuri Maltsev came to the United States from the Soviet Union and he said, to him, the startling thing was that in the Soviet Union, of course, the media lied, everything was a lie, but he said nobody believed it.  He said he was startled –

(LAUGHTER)

– to find out in the U.S. that everybody believed the lies from the media.

CASEY:  Yes.

ROCKWELL:  And so –

CASEY:  That’s absolutely correct.

ROCKWELL:  Yeah.

CASEY:  And I thought it was also — even the last, like, well-publicized murder that’s taken place is with that famous U.S. sniper.  The guy that killed him was apparently on psychiatric drugs, too.

ROCKWELL:  That’s right.  And a fellow veteran, trained to kill by the government, of course.

CASEY:  Yes.  Yes, exactly right.

ROCKWELL:  So all these guys.

CASEY:  So I don’t know.  I don’t know what the answer — I don’t know what the answer is, Lew.  I mean, the world just seems to be going in the wrong direction.  And I hate to say something like that.  I hate to even feel that way.  I’d prefer to be optimistic and look forward to things getting better every day but the evidence doesn’t point that way.  I mean, even advances in technology and computers and robots and things of that nature seem to be co-opted by the state more and more.

ROCKWELL:  You know the whole Chris Kyle incident, that sniper, who, of course, was very proud of killing — as he put in his autobiography — I think it was 162 people from, of course, thousands of yards, exploding their heads with a bullet.  But he was only sorry that he couldn’t kill more of these savages.  These evil savages — that was what he called them.

CASEY:  Yes.

ROCKWELL:  And, of course, these are people –

CASEY:  Yes.  Yes.

ROCKWELL: — who don’t want their country occupied by a bunch of armed foreigners, which, of course, the –

CASEY:  Exactly.

ROCKWELL:  — America wouldn’t want either.  But there was just a — some kind of a service held for Kyle and a tribute to him in Texas.  70,000 people in a football stadium went to –

CASEY:  Oh, I had no idea.

ROCKWELL:  — went to honor him.

CASEY:  Is that right?

ROCKWELL:  Yeah.  So, quite alarming.

CASEY:   That is most disturbing.

Apparently, I got a lot of hate mail.  I wrote a conversation with Louis James about that last week and my office didn’t send me any of the hate mail.  Maybe they –

(LAUGHTER)

For whatever reasons, they didn’t.  But they said I got quite a bit of it for debunking a real American hero.  And I think he was just a psychopath, a guy with an extra “Y” chromosome, who was completely thoughtless, but happened to be technically very good at killing people.

ROCKWELL:  No, and, I mean, Ron Paul got in trouble for saying, “He who lives by the sword, dies by the sword.”  So somebody blogged about that and said, “Ron Paul Quotes Jesus, Conservatives Upset” — (laughing).

CASEY:  Yeah.

(LAUGHTER)

That really is perverse because it’s the conservatives who tend to be the most religious out there.

ROCKWELL:  That’s right.

CASEY:  You’d think that they would approve Jesus being quoted and give it at least a thought.

ROCKWELL:  Yeah, they all belong to the war religion.  It’s Mars, I guess –

CASEY:  Yeah, they do.

ROCKWELL:  — or some other war god that they actually worship.

CASEY:  Yeah, that’s right.

Anyway, Lew, I’ve got to say that these things, except when I read about them on the Internet, are pretty far from my mind down here in South America.  Because the nice thing about these governments down here is they’re mainly interested in doing what people in most third-world governments are interested in, which is just lining their pockets and stealing.  And, I mean, that’s a relatively harmless activity.  You know, they leave you alone.  They leave you alone as long you’re, you know, just a wealthy tourist who can pick up and leave if he doesn’t like it anymore.  So I find it much more pleasant, much more pleasant being down here than I do in the U.S.

And even when I fly around the rest of the world, I don’t have to go through the degrading charade that I have to when I’m in the U.S.  And when I go through Customs and Immigration in other countries in the world, they don’t ask you any questions about anything.  They just stamp your passport and let you in.  I mean, it’s very disturbing what’s going on in the Anglo-Saxon world in all kinds of ways.

ROCKWELL:  Well, no question about that, Doug.  And I can’t thank you enough for sharing your wisdom with us today.  And it’s great always to hear from you and hear what you have to say.  For so long, you’ve been so right.  And I hope you’re — (laughing) — I hope you’re wrong in some of your predictions.

CASEY:  I do, too.  Listen, like anybody else, Lew, I really prefer good times to bad times.  They’re just more pleasant.  But, you know, things are cyclical.  So cyclically, we’re going into some tough times, so.

ROCKWELL:  Well, Doug, thanks for all you’ve done over the years to help people prepare themselves financially, and also to be dedicated to freedom and the free society, free market, free economy.

CASEY:  Let me return that compliment to you.  And I’ll just conclude saying something that you’re well aware of:  If we don’t hang together, we’ll surely hang separately.

ROCKWELL:  Doug Casey, thank you.

CASEY:  Thank you, Lew.

ROCKWELL:  Bye-bye.

Well, thanks so much for listening to the Lew Rockwell Show today. Take a look at all the podcasts. There have been hundreds of them. There’s a link on the upper right-hand corner of the LRC front page. Thank you.

Podcast date, February 13, 2013

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