Thursday, June 30, 2022

It’s the root that’s killing us

“If we look beneath the surface of our public affairs, we can discern one fundamental fact, namely: a great redistribution of power between society and the State. This is the fact that interests the student of civilization. He has only a secondary or derived interest in matters like price-fixing, wage-fixing, inflation, political banking, “agricultural adjustment,” and similar items of State policy that fill the pages of newspapers and the mouths of publicists and politicians. All these can be run up under one head. They have an immediate and temporary importance, and for this reason they monopolize public attention, but they all come to the same thing; which is, an increase of State power and a corresponding decrease of social power.

— Albert Jay Nock, Our Enemy, The State

Those who write about current events typically expose some problem that is egregious and needs to be fixed.  And where do these problems come from?  Depending on what mental resources they bring to the problem, and the problem itself, they might lay the blame on the CDC, Russia, the Federal Reserve, gun-free government schools, the Democrats, corrupt bureaucrats, Big Tech, Big Pharma, etc..  

For instance, a recent article about the federal reserve and its effort to tame price inflation criticizes the Fed for tinkering with a problem that requires a Paul Volcker approach.  The  article is on-target as far as it goes, but makes no mention of the Fed’s character as a legal counterfeiter, as a creator of money out of nothing to benefit the well-connected, yet it is beyond doubt the author is well-aware of this fact.  

Instead of pushing for a Paul Volcker approach why not at least call for a Ron Paul solution?  Too radical?  Not practical?

One surmises that repeating the nature of central banking is unnecessary for the Misesian audience he addresses.  But is this his only audience?  Perhaps the majority of readers are well-versed in the Fed’s corrupt nature and history, but preaching to the choir will not win many new converts.  And certainly no choir has a slip-proof memory.   

When I ask people what they know about the federal reserve the answer is invariably: “What the devil are you talking about?”  They’ve never heard of it.   If I say it’s an agency in charge of the country’s money supply, a few of them will equate it with the Treasury but most will lose all interest in the subject.  If I add that it funds a significant share of the government’s wars, the responses I get, if any, are something like, “Well, someone has to pay for them.”

The idea that we could have peace and prosperity without the Fed never occurs to them.  

There are a few — very few — who recall their government schooling and reply, “Wait a minute — wasn’t the Fed created to put an end to the Panics of long ago?”  When I ask them if they think that was a good idea, they wander in no-man’s land.  “Well, the government had to do something, right?  It might not be perfect but the economy was at risk.  I guess we’re learning by experience.”

Banking and money doesn’t interest the general public, even if I tell them they’re getting shafted.  Even if I make a case that we would have had a far better world if the Fed had never been imposed on us.

And take note: It had to be imposed.  No central bank is ever a free market entity.

The brilliant David Stockman in his bestselling The Great Deformation justifiably lambastes the Fed for all kinds of sins but has a soft spot for its original charter.  In other words, he apparently believes it was once a good idea but has since become an instrument of exploitation and destruction.

Many limited-government libertarians reason the same way.  We once had a government we could live with, that respected our rights, but has since grown into a monster.  Their goal is to trim it down but keep the very part of it that allowed it to grow without restraint.

As with ordinary weeds, without getting rid of the root the problems will only grow back again.  

The root is the State with its citizen-approved monopoly of violence.  Eliminate that, and we have arrived not at anarchy but at free market government.

In our country we occasionally have had people in positions of power who were to a large degree honorable.  Grover Cleveland comes to mind.  But such is the nature of the State that, as Nock writes,“the machine they are running will run on rails which are laid only one way, which is from crime to crime.” 

This is what the public doesn’t understand and this is what they must learn.

George Ford Smith is a former mainframe and PC programmer and technology instructor, the author of eight books including a novel about a renegade Fed chairman (Flight of the Barbarous Relic), a filmmaker (Do Not Consent), and an advocate of stateless market government.  He eagerly welcomes speaking engagements and can be reached at


Dr. Robert Malone's health care experience in Greece

Excerpt from 

Boiled Alive

Living with American healthcare


My athletic wife – who hasn’t been having the best year, accident-wise – injured her knee while being towed on a banana boat at high-speed on the Aegean sea. So much for a supposedly fun thing she’ll never do again. Pulled from the water (an appreciative nod here to the inventor of life jackets), she immediately knew something was wrong. Not scheduled to be on land for a few days, the knee was painful and swollen, and we were grateful for the compression bandage found onboard. It could have been so much worse. But the next day, a doctor who was a guest on the cruise took a worrisome look and said the knee should be looked at right away to rule out cellulitis, a serious condition that would require antibiotics. We still had ten days left to our trip, which included walking tours, something my wife loves. I found myself plotting the logistics of a return to the States. It was a colossal bummer. 

We called a friend in Athens – a native of that stunning city – who met us at the dock. We drove straight to the ER of a major hospital. Because of Covid they allow just two people to enter; I waited outside while our friend escorted her. He knew his way around. 

What happened next was a string of utterly incomprehensible events. 

 The hospital was bustling, yet my wife was seen by a physician within 15 minutes. She texted me that the doctor thought it was a torn ligament but wanted an x-ray. I reflexively settled in for a three-hour wait. We’d been wondering about the cost on the drive over and we were prepared to put thousands of dollars on a credit card, carefully taught by American healthcare to anticipate “super-bills” for later (usually futile) submission to Blue Cross. Back home, the cost of healthcare pricing radically fluctuates from modest high range to the outright gouge. I was prepared for the worst.

In Athens, the examination, x-rays included, was $190. Fifteen minutes later, she texted that the x-ray was done – but how? How could that be true? – and an MRI was already scheduled at a different location. I thought ahead, as I’d been trained: the drive to another place, the waiting, the MRI, the more waiting... an estimation of three to four hours at the very least, that is PCSHT (Pacific Cedars-Sinai Hospital Time). Our kind friend took us to the facility, where a man in a white coat was the “guard” outside; he looked exactly like a doctor on a break. We were allowed to park in front of the building the entire time that we were inside; no glowering men in police uniforms shaming and shooing us to a dank ten-level parking structure. 

After 40 minutes, we left with a CD and photographic images of the MRI results. The cost: around $275. 

 We returned to the ER and this time I went in with my wife. It was small and there was the requisite chaos but something was different. The first thing I noticed were two doctors in conference, hands upon each other’s shoulders, a warm tableau that softened the intensity of their quiet exchange. Nurses came and went, comforting those in distress. What’s wrong with this picture? Nurses offering comfort in the waiting room - I have honestly never witnessed this before.

It was a classic cognitive dissonance because I was still on SAHT (Standard American Healthcare Time). The gentleman in charge – a sort of pit boss with medical training – greeted my wife like an old friend, eyeing the packet she was carrying. “Ah – you have the results!” We handed the CD/images over and he quickly brought them backstage. Ten minutes later, he emerged from the draperies to explain exactly what was going on: “In a few minutes, the doctor will look at them and we will ask you in. Then he will assess what you need.” He looked at the knee, adding that she’d most likely be getting a stronger, bulkier brace to keep it in check. This strategy was repeated; patients continuously brought up to speed by a caring staff on exactly what was going on. Timelines are important when you’re vulnerable. I compared it to my Kafkaesque experiences in AMMH (American Medical Machine Horror) Time– not just my own but those of loved ones – and the anti-healing of purgatorial waiting rooms; years of watching strangers, who’d been sitting for hours, nervously approach the imperial reception guards (I had done the very same), begging to be seen. I remembered all the times I’d read about people literally dying in waiting rooms, even calling 911, only to be told by the operators that “We cannot legally send paramedics to emergency rooms.” 

The same doctor who saw her the first time brought the images to her gurney and said the injury was indeed a torn ligament; she would be given a stronger brace; and – most importantly! – we could continue our journey without fear of further injury via walking. Caution and mindfulness, of course, were still required. He also suggested crutches. When we asked where to get those things, he said there was a store close by but the owner would bring them over. I thought to myself: “This will take an hour-and-a-half.” I was still on WFAH (We’re Fucked and Helpless) Time. Within ten minutes, a woman cordially appeared. She put the brace on my wife and one of the doctors gave an unhurried demonstration of the proper use of crutches. The woman said I could pay with cash or with credit card and to follow her to the shop. Not eager to have my wife do any superfluous walking tours, I asked if we could skip shop if we paid in cash. “Of course.” The crutches and impressive high-tech brace cost $200. This was one of the private hospitals; at the public hospitals, our friend said the cost would have been zero dollars, “but we may have had to wait a bit longer.”

Maybe we were lucky and this was a very good day at the hospital – and I mean a very good day. The warmth and tactility – the humanity – witnessed in that waiting room was epiphanic, revelatory: tenderness, human touch, and empathy are essential to healing. But the truth is that the aura of the place radiated that this is an exceptional place of healing. That this is the normal way healthcare is conducted in Greece.

That tenderness, human touch, and empathy are essential to healing is something I knew, something all of us know, but has been deleted and nearly forgotten. In America, that oath has been completely dismantled by victim culture and the fear of rapacious lawsuits. Corporate greed and its handmaidens: steely indifference at best and resentment of those in need of care at worst. 

We arrived at the ER at around 830AM – and were out by lunchtime. We had our meal in a lovely restaurant in Piraeus, overlooking an azure sea. The fish was glorious; but the anger and shame of what the American healthcare “system” has become was awful.  

An early George Gershwin song from the musical "Miss 1917"

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