We as a modern day, wealthy and ‘informed’ society seem to be falling into a very familiar pattern repeated from the beginning of the human social order. It is interesting to me that human social behaviour has developed or evolved in such a manner so as to lead to its own breakdown. That’s not to say leads to the end of humanity but of our most powerful sovereignties. Most folks are familiar with the notion that all great nations fall. However what is particularly troubling is that so few people try to understand precisely what drives the most powerful nations in history to this common end. And perhaps even more curious is why each great nation fails to accept its potential inclusion in such a seemingly innate fate.
All societies are built upon a set of axioms that create a foundation from which the state will prosper. The United States has its Constitution, Declaration of Independence and the Bill of Rights that quite clearly lay out a set of laws and principles from which the state will rise. The United States separated from Britain due to what a few strong leaders understood as oppression by corruption. From that understanding came the the trilogy of documents above, which provide a legislative framework to prevent future generations from facing similar oppression by corruption. The legal framework was designed to address quite specific patterns of human social behaviour that eventually lead to the implosion of empires.
The founding fathers were wise enough to know such behavior is inevitable and so handed future generations not only the legal framework but the obligation to reset the system when it does succumb to corruption. However, the founding fathers failed to recognize that as the state deteriorates so too does the populace. And as they correctly understood the constitution is only useful for what they called a ‘moral populace’ which, unfortunately much of America is no longer. I’m not suggesting that creating the legal framework they did was anything less than brilliant but it was predicated on a citizenry with unbending character.
The breakdown of a nation begins with a few leaders who recognize there is potential for personal gain in the powers beholden to those who have been chosen to administer the build out and maintenance of the state. This kind of selfish and deviant behaviour can be traced back as far as civilization itself. Certainly the US is no different. However, a few men acting in self interest does not take down a nation. So then what does take down a nation? Well a few men in key positions can corrupt a process. Once the process becomes corrupted the cancer is able to spread. It is key to note that the process is being corrupted strategically and not randomly. That is to say there are thinking beings designing a corrupted process so as to prolong their ability to further corrupt the process. Their goal being self interest and thus the longer they can maintain a position providing the means to act in self interest the more personal gain they can accumulate.
We can point to endless acts of legislation that passed for pure self interest by particular legislators and their pursuers over time. One such example is that of our central banking system. Several very well respected presidents including Jefferson, Lincoln, Jackson and Kennedy were quite vocal about the inherent destructive nature not to mention unconstitutionality of a private entity being handed the right to print notes backed by absolutely nothing on behalf of a sovereign nation. And as if that wasn’t morally corrupt enough they would charge Americans interest on the printed money that belongs to us in the first place. This is exactly what took place in 1913 when the agents of 4 banking families came together on Jekyll Island to write what became the Central Banking Act of 1913. It was signed into law by Woodrow Wilson who later feverishly explicated his regrets for enabling such an inherently evil system. And while most in America do not know, it was the Central Banking Act that required the 16th Amendment also being signed in 1913, namely income taxes. So if no Central Banking Act, no 16th Amendment, no levy on income. The point being the legislation was created for the benefit a small group men despite being detrimental to the American people. And it was because the Federal government had this windfall of cash, from income tax, that led to individual states giving up their constitutionally mandated responsibilities like education, healthcare, etc. Federal governments effectively purchased the constitutionally mandated state level responsibilities by offering to pay for the programs, with income tax, in return for authority over them. It was an offer the states couldn’t refuse.
And so you can see how each time a law is passed for the wrong reason i.e. for a reason other than the good of the state, it becomes a metastasizing cancer throughout the societal body. Today it is difficult to pinpoint any legislation that is not done out of some particular special interests. With such widespread corruption the cancer spreads to every corner of society. With most legislation today ignoring the well being of the state, over time the state degrades. Laws and policies are the foundation of the state. When they no longer address the state for the good of the state but for the good of a few, the foundation begins to crack and eventually crumbles. Finance being the most tangible outlet for corruption usually becomes the straw to break the camels back, as they say. That said, Finance is but a symptom of the root cause.
I can hear many of you saying “geez Thad, that all sounds pretty draconian, does this mean all legislators are evil”? Well not entirely. Many good men and women attempt to do good things in politics (and remember, the objective of this is not to discredit politicians as such, but to understand why all great nations ultimately fall.) However, as noted above it is not a few corrupt legislators but a corrupted legislative process that takes a nation down. In the US the system of corruption has been refined so water tight that over time it has rid the process of any loopholes that would prevent legislators from maintaining the objectives of self interest. It also rids the system of good men by either pushing them out or changing their stripes. To understand this, research soft vs hard money in politics. If you want to stay in power you have to play the game or the party will push you out.
Now the legislative process in the US is a trilateral process. Meaning it has three significant participants but I don’t mean branches of government. We have the legislators, the money holders and the voters. This makes designing a water tight process of corruption somewhat tricky. Particularly because while such corruption easily benefits both legislators and the money holders it naturally harms voters given it usually means taking voters money and spending it on things from which they won’t benefit. And so getting voters to play along requires them doing so at their own detriment. A seemingly difficult problem for the legislators to overcome.
But so let’s look at how it happened. How have voters become part of the corrupting process that works against them? Well surprisingly it hasn’t been that difficult. Expensive yes, but spending someone else’s money is not a difficult task for legislators. The first step was for legislators to crawl into bed with those who own the information delivery system so they can control the information flow. Anyone who believes we have a free press in this nation is very much today’s ideal citizen. In 1983 the US had 50 different owners of major media while today that is down to 6. The FCC crawled into bed with the media moguls they were mandated to regulate. The media mogul money holders were given the green light to consolidate in exchange for allowing the government to dictate what will not be reported. This is not even disputed anymore by either the legislators or the media.
And so what we get is a dumbed down populace that is fed misinformation on idiot shows that are easy to find on television and surrounded by more idiot programs that appeal to our lowest common character so as to keep us wanting more (like serving salty peanuts at a bar) while at the same time have us feeling ‘informed’. Now controlling information appeals to our belief systems. But it is by appealing to our survival instincts that full control in secured. Today we have more than 50% of Americans on government assistance programs. And so these legislators don’t represent the will of American people as much as they represent our food, shelter and belief system, at least for a majority of the population now. There you see all three parties benefiting from the corruption; legislators, money holders and a majority of voters.
To see how this all works in practice let’s compare and contrast the actual economy with the economy as it’s reported on television. Today when the numbers don’t work they are simply changed. For instance, the calculation for GDP was amended last year to improve the numbers being reported which is rarely discussed in an effort to hide the fact that you can’t compare old and new figures since they don’t represent the same thing. Media tells us profits are at all time highs but doesn’t tell us the distribution of those profits are at all time lows. Media tells us we have recovered all the lost jobs from the crash in 08, but fails to discuss that 85% of those lost full time jobs were ‘recovered’ with part time jobs. Media makes a big public celebration about increases to minimum wage but hides the fact that real median incomes have been declining for more than 15 years. These are the devils in the details and many of us don’t have the training to see through the manipulated message.
So that’s the process to keep voters with a completely delusional perspective of the state of the nation. And now let’s look at how legislators tap into the voters’ survival instincts. It all started with FDR’s New Deal in the 1930s and was further strengthened by LB Johnson’s Great Society program in the 1960s and finally Nixon solidified things by ending Bretton/Woods in 1971. Take a look at the following two charts and pay particular attention to the dates.
What we find is that while the New Deal and Great Society programs provided the legal authority to take control of voters’ financial responsibilities, it was ending Bretton/Woods that gave the government the means to provide for the voters. Bretton/Woods was ended in 1971. Notice in the first chart that after 1971 the nation fell into perpetual budget deficits. That was necessary to pay for all of the social programs being handed out. The second chart shows us the growth of Federal assistance programs after 1970 which provide the mechanism by which governments logistically trade food and shelter for votes. And so that is how the voters become willing participants to the system of corruption. For all animals have a very innate primitive instinct not to bite the hand that feeds them.
So it all comes together through what I like to call the Circle Jerk of American Style Democracy. Money holders provide legislators a best chance for power by providing campaign donations in exchange for favorable laws. Voters then finalize the power set up by voting for the candidates who are most corrupt i.e. the candidates that raised the most money. In return for their votes, legislators provide a majority of voters with guaranteed food and shelter through to the next election cycle taking us back to campaign donations from the money holders. It is this very circuit of corruption that has guaranteed our fate. A fate the world has seen many times before and will see many times again. But for us our time is now and I expect our fate is sealed. With the system now so well refined I expect we will come to accept our inclusion into what I see as the innate fate for all great nations. For what ties all great nations together throughout history is that, despite all the differences in technology and science, we have been, are and always will be, but human.