Lew Rockwell on War and the Fed.

The following seems particularly relevant today as the U.S. Government under the orders from Nobel Peace prize winning President Obama bombs and kills people in Libya. Sure Qaddafi is a thug dictator, but we have no dogs in this fight. It has nothing to do with U.S. security. It is not a defensive war, and it is always unconstitutional to go to war without a declaration from congress.

This is excerpted from a speech by Lew Rockwell delivered at the Future of Freedom Foundation's conference on "Restoring the Republic: Foreign Policy and Civil Liberties," on June 6, 2008, in Reston, Virginia.

The U.S. central bank, called the Federal Reserve, was created in 1913. No one promoted this institution with the slogan that it would make wars more likely and guarantee that nearly half a million Americans would die in battle in foreign lands, along with millions of foreign soldiers and civilians. No one pointed out that this institution would permit Americans to fund, without taxes, the destruction of cities abroad and overthrow governments at will. No one said that the central bank would make it possible for the U.S. to be at large-scale war in one of every four years for a full century. It was never pointed out that this institution would make it possible for the U.S. government to establish a global empire that would make Imperial Rome and Britain look benign by comparison.

You can line up 100 professional war historians and political scientists and talk about the twentieth century, and not one is likely to mention the role of the Fed in funding U.S. militarism. And yet it is true: the Fed is the institution that has created the money to fund the wars. In this role, it has solved a major problem that the state has confronted for all of human history. A state without money or a state that must tax its citizens to raise money for its wars is necessarily limited in its imperial ambitions. Keep in mind that this is only a problem for the state. It is not a problem for the people. The inability of the state to fund its unlimited ambitions is worth more for the people than every kind of legal check and balance. It is more valuable than all the constitutions ever devised.

The state has no wealth that is its own. It is not a profitable enterprise. Everything it possesses it must take from society in a zero-sum game. That usually means taxes, but taxes annoy people. They can destabilize the state and threaten its legitimacy. They inspire anger, revolt, and even revolution. Rather than risk that result, the state from the Middle Ages to the dawn of the central banking age was somewhat cautious in its global ambitions simply because it was cautious in its need to steal openly and directly from the people in order to pay its bills.

To be sure, it doesn't require a central bank for a state to choose inflation over taxes as a means of funding itself. All it really requires is a monopoly on the production of money. Once acquired, the monopoly on money production leads to a systematic process of depreciating the currency, whether by coin clipping or debasement or the introduction of paper money, which can then be printed without limit. The central bank assists in this process in a critical sense: it cartelizes the banking system as the essential conduit by which money is lent to the public and to the government itself. The banking system thereby becomes a primary funding agency to the state, and, in exchange for its services, the banking system is guaranteed against insolvency and business failure as it profits from inflation. If the goal of the state is the complete monopolization of money under an infinitely flexible paper-money system, there is no better path for the state than the creation of a central bank. This is the greatest achievement for the victory of power over liberty.

Continued here: http://www.lewrockwell.com/rockwell/war-and-inflation.html

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