- The Washington Times - Saturday, June 3, 2006

After digesting Cal Thomas’ article, “Lost Ideology” (Commentary pages, May 24) I just had to laugh. He actually said “ideas seem in short supply”? He is kidding, right?

OK, he did say it had been a long time since “we” had a great debate about ideas. I guess it depends on who is “we.” Maybe in his narrow paradigm composed solely of Republicans and Democrats such a thing is true, but the people themselves still have plenty of ideas. The problem is effective ideas are relentlessly culled from the public discussion under a variety of pretexts. Running through these pretexts is a common theme: Unless the idea involves more government, it is a nonstarter.

That is unfortunate, because many of our problems can only be solved by empowering the individual. Making government more powerful will only make things worse. If that sounds “extreme,” I’m truly sorry but we need to wipe the smoke from our eyes and realize it is extreme to allow the government to monitor and control every meaningful aspect of our lives. Any productive solution to our problems must start with seeing this extremism for what it is — an impractical authoritarian fantasy.

Libertarian solutions are often portrayed as unrealistic or extreme by the “mainstream” political establishment, just because we believe government is mostly harmful, we don’t trust it and want to eliminate large parts of it. Now, due to all the Republican rhetoric about “limited government,” it may, understandably, shock many people to realize libertarians actually do not run this country and haven’t in about 200 years. So, please realize libertarian ideas haven’t failed America, nor are they in any way lacking. We have plenty, but no one seems to listen. Why? Perhaps because our ideas are outside the “norm.”

But what have Americans come to accept as normal? Does anybody really think it’s normal for a republic to have troops in 130 countries and engage in elective wars 8,000 miles away? No, it is not normal for a republic, but it is normal for a late-stage empire whose imperial citizens are deceived by the machinery of the state, as Bill Bonner and Addison Wiggin have detailed in their book, “Empire of Debt.” I’m sure that back in Roman times, just like now, there were people with ideas, desperately trying to point out the error of the empire’s ways. And, like now, no one listened.

Cal Thomas says we need good ideas, but I think what he really means is he somehow wants different and better results from our current paradigm. Doing the same thing, (making government bigger) with the same people, (statist Republicans and Democrats) and expecting a different result is not a search for new ideas; it is insanity. Conversely, and contrary to popular belief, it is not insane to trust individuals with their own lives, choices and money. Here are some ideas to help America based on this simple, practical concept.

Much of our current financial instability is due to the precarious position of the dollar and the $2 billion per day of foreign cash needed to support it. Individually, and as a nation we are in hock up to our eyeballs, and these situations rarely end well.

It could have all been avoided had we simply stayed on the gold standard. In 1967, Alan Greenspan gave that very advice. But, as one might expect, no one listened, and four years later Richard Nixon ended foreign gold convertibility and ushered in a new era of inflation, which continues to this very day.

What should we do? Firstly, there will be a huge, unavoidable adjustment from where we are now. But to make sure it doesn’t happen again, the solution is to return to a gold standard and abolish the Fed. Why? The dollar has lost 95 percent since the Fed came into existence, but nothing in the 100 years before the Fed; and, the Federal Reserve is not in the Constitution, but gold and silver as money are.

These recommendations, though sensible and constitutional, would nevertheless alter our current paradigm, causing many people to see them as “extreme.” That’s odd, because I think a shadowy group of private bankers destroying the dollar is extreme.

It is a fact that our drug laws have destabilized producer nations and greatly (and needlessly) complicated the current borders/immigration debate. End the drug war now.

Transportation debates are a joke, because speed limits haven’t been raised in 50 years. Drivers are unfairly criminalized. Raise limits now and tell slower traffic to keep right.

Social Security is a pyramid scheme. Admit it; phase the program out, and do not replace it. Give that 15.3 percent back to the people.

Clearly, ideas are out there amid the static of statism, but you will not hear them if, like Cal Thomas, you listen on a government-only frequency.


Libertarian commentator/analyst

Brookeville, Md.

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