by Neville Kennard, veteran preaching and practising capitalist
“America” is an idea, a dream, a new land, a country of unlimited possibilities. It has been a land of opportunity, of freedom of hope. It started properly with the Declaration of Independence in 1776, although its spirit probably started with the British, the migrations, the frontier.
“The United States of America” is something different. It is the Nation-State which seeks to capture the spirit and idea of “America” while turning it into the world military power, the Empire, the increasingly taxed and regulated and war-like Nation-State we know today.
It was once the United States of America–plural, expressing the idea of sovereign states united, as in the “the United States ARE …”. But now it is The United States–singular, as in “The United Sates IS … one Nation-State”.
I don’t think they can co-exit — America the dream the ideal, the land of the free, the country — as opposed to The United States — the world power and world policeman, The Nation-State.
When did America become The United States — the Nation-State? There would be differing views on this. Some would say about 1913, with the introduction of the first income Tax, the creation of the Federal Reserve and leading into World War 1. I would date it to the American Civil War and Abraham Lincoln.
The Civil War was a war of secession when The Confederacy sought to break away from The Union. The southern states, the agrarian and more free-trading states (they were also the dominant but not the only slave-owning states) wanted to free themselves from the heavy costs and tariffs imposed by the industrial north. The South wanted to trade direct with Europe without tariffs.
Slavery was at the end of its era having been abolished by Britain and most European countries. Slavery is not only morally abhorrent, but is also economically unfeasible and unsustainable for the simple reason that slaves are expensive to keep and secure and are less productive than free men and women. Slavery does not work.
There was a big anti-slavery movement under way in America at this time, yet surprisingly it was the northern states of the Union that enacted laws to return escaping slaves to their “rightful” owners. Slavery would probably not have lasted more than another twenty years in America anyway and would have ended more peacefully.
Well, history is written by the victors and it was the north who “saved The Union” and defeated the Secessionist Confederacy of the South, albeit at a cost of some 400,000 American lives (a higher casualty rate than all other US wars combined). And so we have in popular history Lincoln and the north coming out as the good guys, and the Southern Secessionists appearing to be the bad guys.
As the US gained world dominance in wealth and military power, it inevitably donned the trappings of Empire. And all Empires exhaust themselves. The financial costs and the burden of hubris weigh on all empires.
America the dream, the ideal, has been replaced by The United States, the increasingly unpopular and decreasingly wealthy Nation State with a heavy-handed and increasingly repressive government. Wonderful people — friendly and warm, a beautiful country of spectacular terrain and extraordinary fertility and a society of innovation and resilience, but with an increasingly scary government.
Can “The United States” revert to once again become “America”? It would be good, and it is a country of huge possibilities, but I suspect it is a difficult road back for them — perhaps too difficult. History has shown that empires in decline seldom restore themselves to their former glory or influence.
I fear we have lost “America — land of the free” and all it has brought — forever. And we may be steadily losing “The United States” as they exhaust themselves with spending and mire themselves in global conflicts. We will be worse off without “America”.
- Welcome from Neville Kennard
- Think Tanks Don't Work
- "Market Failure": Just what the government ordered!
- The Tragedy of the Tax Pool Commons
- Corporate Welfare
- Citizenship for Sale?
- I Don't Vote
- Voting: Right or Privilege?
- Stockholm Syndrome and our Love-Hate Relationship with Government
- Civil Disobedience: The Rules of Engagement
- Should Respect for Law Extend to Bad Laws?
- Jaywalking as a Demonstration of Individuality
- Government Likes War
- Collusion is Our Right
- Why Not the Drug Olympics?
- Unconventional Wisdom
- Tiger Farming: An Alternative to Extinction
- Looking Backwards: Mont Pelerin Society Conference, Sydney, 2010
- Tax Avoidance is a Patriotic Duty
- Kennard Writes to IPA Review Editor
- Genocide by Welfare: A Tragedy from the Aboriginal Welfare Industry
- Separating Sport and State
- Your Home is Not an Investment
- Dick Smith, Celebrity Philanthropist
- A Libertarian's New Year's Resolution
- Extend Politicians' Holidays to Create Prosperity
- Entrepreneurs are Disruptive, and Bureaucrats Hate It
- What is a good Australian?
- Governments Like Employment But Hate Employers
- The Market Failure Industry
- Neville Kennard: The Tax Avoidance Imperative
- Wot if ...?
- The Tribal Chief and the Witch Doctor
- The Tannehills
- Democracy versus Property Rights and Prosperity
- Government Doesn't Work, and That's the Way They Like It
- Minarchy vs Anarchy
- Euthanasia and Self-Ownership
- The Right Policies to Fix a Depression
- Is Howard Our Best PM?
- Tax Producers vs Tax Consumers
- Where There's a Queue, There's a Business Opportunity
- Authoritarian Freedom
- Why Classical Liberals Should Debate Anarchocapitalists
- The Tyranny of the Majority
- If you could choose to whom you paid your tax
- Business Should Exploit Boat People
- The Immorality of Trade Unions
- "America" vs "The United States"
- Sweet Anarchy
- The Illusion of "Job Creation"
- Gold Is Money
- Guilty Capitalists
- Prosperity vs Growth
- Capitalism vs Democracy
- More people = More fun
- Self-Ownership - the very idea!
- Government will murder Neville Kennard if he doesn't back away
- The Australian Dollar Has Been Cowardly and Criminally Devalued, Harming the Poor Particularly
- Is Taxation Theft and Government a Tax Cheat?
- My Journey to Anarchy:
From political and economic agnostic to anarchocapitalist
- Government Needs Bad Guys –
that's why they like wars
- What Is Obscene?
- Traffic Economics
- Wayne Swan stands on the shoulders of other intellectual pygmies
- Neville Kennard Obituary