The Centenary of an Anno Horribulus (Horrible Year)
Nathan: 2013 is the hundredth anniversary of what many people consider to be the Death of the American Republic. In one year, in the waning days (three months) of the Taft Administration and the evil beginning of the proto-Tranzi regime of the Wilson Administration, a wicked coalition in both houses of Congress, the White House, the Courts, and too many states put together a series of actions that would damage the American Union for a century. Less than 50 years after the War between the States, many of the fruits of victory of the Radical Republican (“Red Republican”) regime from 1860 to1910 were realized. The ones about which we hear the most are:
1. Passage of the constitutional amendment legalizing the personal and corporate income tax (16th Amendment, ratified in February), which went into effect in March.
2. The direct election of federal Senators required, rather than their appointment by State Legislatures (or however the individual state wanted to select them), ratified in April.
3. Creation of the Federal Reserve system, signed into law on 23 December 1913.
All of these have resulted in not just severe damage, but in creating grave dangers to the American people and their society and nation. These were significant factors in political and legal decisions made over the next 36,500 days which have created the severe problems of America which so trouble us today. But these were not alone.
Some other significant NEGATIVE events in 1913:
1. US Post Office (today’s USPS) started parcel post deliveries in January, monopolizing yet another economic activity and removing it from the free market to the political process.
2. Oregon’s minimum wage law (first in the US) goes into effect (February).
3. Departments of Labor and Commerce split apart (March)
4. State of Kansas begins censoring motion pictures (as far as I know, first government in US to do so)
5. Rockefeller Foundation endowed with $100 million (equal to about $10 billion in 2013).
6. Inauguration of Woodrow Wilson as 28th President of the United States in March.
7. Creation of the Federal Trade Commission, a regulatory body.
Each of THESE events has impacts continuing to resonate down through the century: the unconstitutional nature of federal agencies, the growth of the federal bureaucracy, the anti-liberty actions of state and other government agencies, and the epitome of the progressive/Tranzi non-governmental organization rears their ugly heads. Far, far worse is yet to come in the Twentieth and Twenty-first Centuries. Wilson was the leader of the Progressive Movement (transformed today from international to transnational progressives: neoliberals and the new elite of the world), and in less than four years he would prove once again that war is the health of the state, and “improve” on Lincoln’s wartime dictatorship in the insane intervention in the Great War. The FTC would be the first generation of four generations of ever more powerful regulatory bodies, the ancestor of the EPA and all the myriad agencies of ObummerCare a century later. But in 1913, these were the seedlings barely poking above the soil, not the mighty oaks of 2013.
It is easy, today, to look back and point this out: in that year, they were viewed individually and not as parts of a whole – a whole effort to take away the liberty of SOME Americans, piece by piece, resulting (but not ending) with the situation in which we survive (barely) today: hemmed in, controlled, monitored, and often punished by the federal, state, and local governments in a horrific parody of the land of freedom. We must remember this.
None of these actions appeared full-blown, created out of whole cloth in a single year of madness. Rather, they were the work of decades by many men and women, and many of their actions were NOT caused by a desire to lose liberty, to give up freedom. In fact, at least some today are hailed still as victories for democracy, for “liberty” and for human freedom. But many of these were designed to, and DID, let government grow larger and more powerful, and reduce the freedom and liberty of individual persons, families, businesses, and communities.
Can we learn lessons from the past? Yes, but often we do not.