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Niccolò Machiavelli (1469-1527) truly understood governmental systems, power, and liberty. He served in the republic of Florence, being especially involved in its diplomatic and military affairs. When Florence was defeated by the Spanish troops of the Holy League (with Giovanni de’ Medici) in 1512, the powerful banking family of the Medicis took control and destroyed the Republic. Machiavelli was imprisoned and later exiled to a family farm, where he wrote The Prince.
The Prince is all about Princedoms, or Oligarchies. According to Machiavelli, there are only two forms of government “by which men are, or ever have been ruled,” and these are “either Republics or Princedoms”. He does not discuss Republics, because he has “elsewhere spoken of them at length”. But he does discuss how a Republic is to be controlled and converted into an Oligarchy, in his chapter titled “How Cities or Provinces Which Before Their Acquisition Have Lived Under Their Own Laws Are to be Governed.” This chapter can teach us a lot about how either foreign or domestic enemies of our Constitution plan to control us.
In this chapter, Machiavelli says a Republic is used to “living under its own laws and in freedom,” and that there are only three ways it may be held (which he later narrows down to one):
The first is to destroy it; the second, to go and reside there in person; the third, to suffer it to live under its own laws, subjecting it to a tribute, and entrusting its government to a few of the inhabitants who will keep the rest your friends.
As he examines the historical evidence, he concludes:
Whoever becomes the master of a city accustomed to live in freedom and does not destroy it, may reckon on being destroyed by it. For if it should rebel, it can always justify itself under the name of liberty and its ancient laws, which no length of time or any benefits conferred will ever cause it to forget… Unless the inhabitants are scattered and dispersed, the old order of things, will never cease to be remembered… In Republics there is a stronger vitality, a fiercer hatred, a keener thirst for revenge. The memory of their former freedom will not let them rest, so that the safest course is either to destroy them, or to go and live in them.
Therefore, if the enemies of our Republic have read Machiavelli, they plan on destroying the country. But how so? I believe that rather than using bombs, they will use economics. John Maynard Keynes (1883-1946), a British economist who believed in central economic planning (he’s the name behind the term “Keynesian Economics”), stated:
Lenin is said to have declared that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch the currency. By a continuing process of inflation, governments can confiscate, secretly and unobserved, an important part of the wealth of their citizens… As the inflation proceeds and the real value of the currency fluctuates wildly from month to month, all permanent relations between debtors and creditors, which form the ultimate foundation of capitalism, become so utterly disordered as to be almost meaningless; and the process of wealth-getting degenerates into a gamble and a lottery. Lenin was certainly right. There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction, and does it in a manner which not one man in a million is able to diagnose.
So, according to Keynes, the constant money printing at the Federal Reserve known as “quantitative easing” is sure to bring down the existing economic system because it increases the quantity of dollars in circulation and debauches (debases) its value. This economic disaster could very well lead to the destruction of the existing Constitution as well.
The destructive power of inflation can be seen historically with the debasing of the Reichsmark in the 1920’s in Germany. The currency was printed to pay for the debts of World War One, and soon its value collapsed. The man who rose to power promising to heal the country was Adolf Hitler. This is because generally, people desire totalitarian control as the solution to inflation. Economist Henry Hazlitt (1894-1993), who wrote for The Wall Street Journal and other publications, seconded this by saying:
Inflation tears apart the whole fabric of stable economic relationships. It drives men toward desperate remedies. It leads men to demand totalitarian controls. It ends invariably in bitter disillusion and collapse.
If the plan is to destroy our Republic through destroying our currency, how can we guard against that? The Tenth Amendment Center has a plan already. The Constitutional Tender Act is the method through which only gold and silver shall be used as payments of any debt owned by or to the state. This will begin the process of returning to sound currency. The Act is titled as “Constitutional Tender” because Article I, Section 10 of the Constitution mandates “No state shall… make any thing but gold and silver coin a tender in payments of debts.” It is a bottom-up approach, rather than top-down, to ending the Federal Reserve. Read more about it here.
The sooner we return to sound money, the sooner we can defend our economic system and the stability of our Republic. Runaway inflation is the real national security threat. It threatens the foundation of our constitutional system. But through state-level legislation, The Constitutional Tender Act, we can be properly prepared.
Don’t let Machiavelli be right when he says “men are so simple, and governed so absolutely by their present needs, that he who wishes to deceive will never fail in finding willing dupes.” Easy money printed by the Federal Reserve may be tempting in the short term, but in the end it is a deception that will lead to disaster, and inevitably to totalitarian control over the country.
Latest posts by Ryan Black (see all)
- Lessons from Machiavelli and The Greatest Threat to National Security - July 15, 2014
- The Role of Government, and Where Liberty Comes From - May 29, 2014
- Parallels of the Roman Empire and the American Republic - May 14, 2014