FEATURE ARTICLE

Alessandro Fusillo
Alessandro Fusillo

European Constitutions and Private Property
 
Alessandro Fusillo 
Date: 03-09-2016
Subject: Constitution

Text of my speech at Anarchapulco 2016...

European Constitutions and Private Property

By Alessandro Fusillo

Before I shall begin with my analysis of the dispositions regarding private property in European constitutions a methodological caveat is in place.

Rarely, if ever, are legal scholars concerned with a problem that, on the contrary, is of utmost importance. To wit, are laws, their text notwithstanding, effective? In other terms, do they achieve what they purport to do?

The study of law is very similar to theology. Laws are the scholars' bible. They may be great experts in the sacred scriptures but never will they be caught red-handed asking if the scriptures are true, or in case of the laws, if they are effective.

I'll reverse this basic flaw of the lawyers mindset and ask the fundamental question from the start. 

Do European Constitutions, their text notwithstanding, protect and uphold property rights?

The answer, plain and simple, is: no.

In his new year's address to the nation an honest President or Premier Minister would say: "Folks, you don't own anything. We are the biggest racket, and have established our power and supremacy on this country. The monopoly of violence and decision making is ours. Like it or not, you may retain only so much property and revenues as we see fit. If we protect you from our competitors, like common thieves or the mob, it's just to secure our milk cows and to avoid that our source of revenues isn't appropriated by others. By the way, it's up to us to decide whom, when and how we decide to protect. Hence, behave well, pay your taxes and shut up."

A similar speech wouldn't encounter a very good reception, although it would be, at least, honest and straightforward, a virtue rarely found in politicians and chiefs of governments. But what's interesting is that the public outrage about our imaginary politician's slip of the tongue would be determined by a very common illusion about the true nature of States. To wit, the man of the street truly believes that government is there to help and that one of its basic and fundamental tasks is to protect the citizens' property.

It is indeed amazing.

Everyone knows, latest when he files his first tax return, that the government is there to take the money and not to protect your property. Further, it is a common experience that your stolen car or the goods that the burglars carried away from your apartment won't be recovered and that the police won't dedicate big efforts to such investigations. And yet, the people are convinced that the government, contrary to their very own experience, is there to help and to protect the property. Most politicians may be convinced of the same, even if their fat monthly paychecks directly come from the tax robbery, from monies extorted against the will of the country's subjects.

The misunderstanding about the true nature of government is due to a very effective propaganda work.

As Hitler's propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels said: «If you repeat a lie often enough, people will believe it, and you will even come to believe it yourself.»

Modern states are based on legends and things didn't really change from the times when the pharaoh or the king was believed to be god himself or his messenger or representative. Modern myths are different, but they share the same mystical and transcendent character, although, of course, the faithful are not aware of the mythical character of their system of belief.

The founding myths of modern States are to be found in their constitutions.

Exactly as many religions the States need a basic document, a holy gospel upon which the edifice of the government is constructed.

The Constitution is a sacred document drafted by the founding fathers, usually long dead and pertaining to a more or less revered and distant past. The expressions used to refer to the Constitution are a sign of the respect that has to be bestowed on this document: it's called fundamental law, basic law. The idea of the Constitution harks back to the theories of social contract. The Constitution is the covenant by which the people renounced part of their individual sovereignty and transferred it upon common institutions willed by the people in order to uphold and protect the fundamental rights that each one as an individual couldn't possibly defend by himself.

The Constitution is usually so special and sacred that common legislation cannot breach it and that, so it is believed, a special tribunal is instituted that has the power to declare such acts of the legislative power contrary to the Constitution and thus to remove them from the law of the land. The appointment of the judges that compose the constitutional tribunals has to follow a special procedure that makes sure that only the best and most honest lawyers ascend to this highest office.

So far the common legend.

Of course it is exactly a myth as that about the king anointed by god. No such covenant exists neither as an explicit contract that no one ever undersigned and neither as an implicit consent because such consent should allow the possibility of opting out. Such possibility clearly doesn't exist in case of governments. Hence, the social contract is a fiction used in order to hide the brutal fact that States are local monopolists of violence.

The myth serves the purpose to ensure voluntary obedience to the State's laws.

But, you may ask, are the common tenets about the myth true? Do modern European Constitutions affirm the principle that the State has the duty to defend the right of private property, a fundamental task that people usually think their government will perform?

In other words, what do European Constitutions say about the right of private property?

We'll see that the ancient principle according to which the government had the duty to protect its citizens' lives and property vanished from European constitutions long since and was substituted by the exact contrary. Hence, the idea of a social contract by which the individual renounces his sovereignty in exchange for protection and security is not a part of most modern European constitutions any more.

The history of constitutionalism is too complex even to be briefly outlined. Suffice it to say that the idea of constitution emerged from the political philosophy of the XVII and XVIII century and from the idea of social contract. Due to the disproportionate growth of absolute monarchies and to the idea that fundamental rights be recognized to oppose an obstacle to the king's powers, revolutionary movements in Europe and America asserted the principle that the new States emerging from the revolutions would limit and regulate the powers of the future legislative, judicial and executive branches of the governments in order to make sure that natural, fundamental rights of mankind would be guaranteed.

Hence the idea of a fundamental law, a State contract that would be approved by the whole people, represented by elected officials in the new parliaments or constitutional assemblies, lest the new government abuse of its rights exactly as the absolute monarchs had done.

Many of the constitutional documents drafted during the XVIII and early XIX century came from men that were truly convinced to establish new and just governments. The founding documents of the United States of America, of revolutionary France and of other countries expressed the belief of their authors to be at the beginning of a new era of justice and equality. Privileges and slavery were to be abolished, equal rights and dignity for anyone would set the path for a bright and shining future. The most important feature of such early constitutions was that they were, as Murray N. Rothbard said, "conceived in liberty", i.e. firmly rooted in the political philosophy of John Locke and the tradition of natural rights.

In a nutshell, Locke and the American revolutionaries firmly believed that governments and political power were instituted only in order to protect mankind's fundamental rights, effectively synthetized in the traditional formula of "life, liberty and pursuit of happiness".

The doctrine of fundamental rights derives from the basic tenet of self-ownership. Anyone owns himself, i.e. his physical body. From self-ownership follows the consequence that each one owns also the homesteaded resources, i.e. previously unowned goods acting man has mixed his labor with. Further transfer of property titles is possible only by mutual consent due to the principle of self-ownership because coercive transfer of property (theft or robbery) would deny such principle.

The consequence was that the new States built on universal principles of justice had to respect not only the physical integrity of its citizens, but also the rights of private property. Self-ownership and property stand on equal footing.

John Locke, Second Treatise Of Government (1689)

"Every individual man has a property in his own person; this is something that nobody else has any right to. The labour of his body and the work of his hands, we may say, are strictly his. So when he takes something from the state that nature has provided and left it in, he mixes his labour with it, thus joining to it something that is his own; and in that way he makes it his property. He has removed the item from the common state that nature has placed it in, and through this labour the item has had annexed to it something that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour is unquestionably the property of the labourer, so no other man can have a right to anything the labour is joined to—at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others."

Early constitutions are brilliant examples of these principles.

Only to quote a few:

French Declaration of the Rights of Man and the Citizen (1789)

Art. 17. Since property is an inviolable and sacred right, no one shall be deprived thereof except where public necessity, legally determined, shall clearly demand it, and then only on condition that the owner shall have been previously and equitably indemnified.

US Constitution (1791)

Amendment 5 No person shall be (…) deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.

Constitution of the Cisalpine Republic (1797) - Constitution of the Roman Republic (1798)

Art. 1 - The rights of man in society are liberty, equality, security, property.

Art. 2 - Liberty consists in being able to do that which does not harm the rights of others.

Art. 3 - Equality consists in the fact that the law is the same for everyone, both when it protects and when it punishes. Equality does not admit any distinction of birth, nor hereditary power.

Art. 4 - The safety results from the cooperation of all to ensure the rights of each one.

Art. 5 - Property is the right to enjoy and dispose of one's assets, revenues, and of the fruit of one's labor and industry.

Neapolitan Constitution (1799)

Preamble (…) Since man has the right to avail himself of the action of his body, for it is by nature determined that ideas and volitions determine the motion of the body, the right to express his opinions and volition by voice, by word, signs, or in writing, conforms to the order of nature.

From that first source of all rights stems also that of property. Property is really an emanation and continuation of self-ownership. Man, using his strength over a portion of the common heritage that is land, and giving it new life and new form with his effort and through his work, passes his personal faculties to the land. The new force that appropriates the land cultivated and improved by human hand, that new power to produce belongs to the man, it is the product of his action. The product of his faculties is likewise his own, as the same faculties. And since man has the right to preserve his strength and faculties, he also has the right to transfer them in the land, and to occupy a portion hereof, without which hardly anything could be conserved.

(…)

Art. 6 – The sixth right of man is the faculty to use the action of his body according to his needs, provided he does not prevent others from doing the same.

Art. 7 – Then comes the right to express with words, writings, and in any manner his opinions and volition, provided that the rights of others and of the social body be not disturbed.

Art. 8 – From the sixth right derives that of property. The man, who employs his faculties in the land, makes it his own. For the product of man's faculties is his own as the faculties themselves.

Art. 9 – Resistance against anyone that prevents the free exercise of man's faculties is a right of man. Without it any other right would be precarious. Such resistance is a right of man outside of society. In a social order resistance is permitted only against perpetual and hereditary authorities, which are always tyrannical.

To sum it up: the revolutionary constitutions of the XVIII century were firmly grounded in lockean philosophy. The framers of these early constitutions thought that self-ownership and private property were the very foundations of the civil society of mankind. Governments had to be minimal and to provide only the protection of such fundamental rights. All the rest had to be left to the free and voluntary interaction. No privilege and hereditary right of supremacy had to interfere henceforth with human liberty.

Yet, even the revolutionaries, with the commendable exception of the radicals that drafted the Neapolitan constitution of 1799 – by the way, they were hanged for what they had done – hadn't the guts to affirm an absolute right of private property.

So they signed the death warrant of the liberal State.

Soon the principle of expropriation in the public interest grew so much as to surpass and overshadow property itself.

Could they behave differently?

On legal terms definitely yes. Even conceding that you wanted to keep intact the right of the government to expropriate private property in case of necessity, it wasn't necessary to insert the exception inside the very definition of the right. It could have been possible to establish an absolute and inviolable right to self-ownership and private property and leave the problem of expropriation on the field of criminal law. If someone steals a car in order to save a relative from death or grave danger and injury it's still theft but the author won't be condemned because of the exonerating circumstance of a state of necessity. If the shop-owner kills the armed robber it's still murder, but he won't be punished because it's self-defense. Hence, the problem of expropriation should have been left to the criminal law. A public official who expropriated a private property would have been liable as a thief, but legal standards would have been developed as far as exonerating circumstances were concerned, to wit, full compensation, absolute necessity of the private asset for the purposes of the government etc. etc.

Thus, the liberal States were born with a flaw, with a bug inside the operating system that would lead them to their own destruction. The revolutionaries believed in the possibility to build a minimal and non-obtrusive State that would leave full liberty to human liberty and ingenuity.

The following years proved those revolutionaries wrong.

The bloodshed and struggles of the liberal revolutions simply had the effect of substituting one dominant class with another, and the minarchic ideals slowly withered away during the XIX century.

The illusion to build minimal governments turned out as a utopia.

As socialism and social engineering slowly but surely gained momentum, the European constitutions turned away from the philosophy of John Locke and started to pay a mere perfunctory lip service to the right of private property.

Instead of John Locke, Hegel was the philosophical star of the XIX century. Government, instead of being a mere tool in order to provide security and protection of individual rights rose to such celestial heights that even the theorists of the divine rights of the absolutist kings wouldn't have thought of such a lyrical definition of the State as is to be found in Hegel's Philosophy of Right:

"The state, which is the realized substantive will, having its reality in the particular self- consciousness raised to the plane of the universal, is absolutely rational. This substantive unity is its own motive and absolute end. In this end freedom attains its highest right. This end has the highest right over the individual, whose highest duty in turn is to be a member of the state."

Property isn't an extension of man's self-ownership but is established by will or decree:

"To have something in my power, even though it be externally, is possession. The special fact that I make something my own through natural want, impulse or caprice, is the special interest of possession. But, when I as a free will am in possession of something, I get a tangible existence, and in this way first became an actual will. This is the true and legal nature of property, and constitutes its distinctive character."

However, ideas are hard to extinguish and the expressions used in the Constitutions regarding private property still remained strong and difficult to circumvent.

Here some more examples from XIX century constitutions.

French Constitution of 1848

Art. 11 - All properties are inviolable. However, in case of a legally established public interest the State may require the sacrifice of a property, provided that there be through a just and prior determined indemnity.

Constitution of the Kingdom of Sardinia (Piemonte) of 1848 (later to become the Constitution of the Kingdom of Italy

Art. 29 - All properties, without exception, shall be inviolable.

However, when the legally established public interest so requires, their cession in whole or in part may be imposed through a fair compensation in accordance with the laws.

Roman Republic – Constitution of 1849

Art. 3 - Persons and property are inviolable.

Prussia Constitution of 1850

Art. 9 - The property is inviolable. It may be revoked or restricted for reasons of public good against prior, in urgent cases, at least provisionally to be ascertained compensation in accordance with the law.

The principle remains, but isn't stressed anymore at the very beginning of the Constitutions nor are there direct references to the lockean doctrines as in the very remarkable Neapolitan Constitution of 1799, but the property still is, theoretically, inviolable.

However, the public interest – whatever this is supposed to mean – can be stronger than the right of the owner who can merely obtain a compensation for the lost property, albeit just and full, and sometimes preventive.

Yet, during the XIX century the program for the destruction of the liberal States was clearly set out.

From Marx's and Engels' Communist Manifesto of 1848:

"In most advanced countries, the following will be pretty generally applicable.

(…) A heavy progressive or graduated income tax.  (…) Centralization of credit in the hands of the state, by means of a national bank with State capital and an exclusive monopoly. 
(…) Free education for all children in public schools."

The great watershed that put an end to the liberal States is WWI. War collectivism, heavy borrowing by the belligerent governments and a sense of collective action and purpose consigned the civil liberties of the XVIII century's revolutions to an inglorious oblivion.

War is the health of the State, as Randolph Bourne famously said and WWI is the best prove hereof.

The full identification of the individual with the State's will in the sense of Hegel came true in a violent and brutal fashion. Millions had to sacrifice their lives for a senseless war.

The instruments for the destruction of the liberal States invented by the socialist revolutionaries could be used not only in communist tyrannies, but also in the so-called western democratic States.

The right of private property – especially that of the means of production – had been long since under a hard and principled attack by the socialist and communist movements and by the communist anarchists who identified private property with a means of domination of man upon man.

The Constitutions approved during the XX century by alleged liberal democracies more or less abandoned private property as a founding principle of the new States, although their peoples still remained convinced that the protection of individual rights remained a fundamental task of the government.

The various Soviet and communist constitutions affirmed the basic principle that the private property of the means of production and of the land had been abolished by the revolution. Property was to remain only as referred to salaries, personal objects and homes. Not only did the State not guarantee and protect private property, but the new communist total States were founded on the principle that property belonged to the State itself as a representative of the dictatorship of the proletarians.

Nothing different had to be expected from the actual realization of the Marxian revolutions.

Soviet Constitution of 1936

The right of citizens to personal ownership of their incomes from work and of their savings, of their dwelling houses and subsidiary household economy, their household furniture and utensils and articles of personal use and convenience, as well as the right of inheritance of personal property of citizens, is protected by law.

It is very interesting to highlight that Stalin's constitution, whereas clearly referred to a tyrannical totalitarian State, yet defines precisely the limits of what is left as the possible object of private property. Hence an inviolable area, albeit a very small one, still is left, at least in theory.

On the contrary the new "liberal" constitutions of Western Europe were somehow more fishy and undetermined as far as the content of private property is concerned. The right is recognized in theory but has to cede to a not better defined common interest that can mean nothing and all.

A deep change that occurred in the "liberal" Constitutions of Western Europe.

Here are some examples.

German Constitution of 1919 (Republic of Weimar)

Article 153 -. The property is guaranteed by the Constitution. Its contents and its barriers emerge from the laws. Expropriation is admitted only for the public good and on a legal basis. A reasonable compensation shall be applicable if the law doesn't provide otherwise. In case of dispute the amount of compensation may be challenged before the ordinary courts, if a law doesn't provide otherwise.

(…)

Property obliges. Its use shall simultaneously serve the common weal.

Article 154 -. The right of inheritance is guaranteed in accordance with the civil law.

The state's share in the inheritance shall be governed by the laws.

This is a huge difference.

Although Germans suffered a devastating war not only through the arms of the enemies, but also from their own government that expropriated vast patrimonies in order to fund the war-effort, the new Constitution did not reinstate the ancient liberties and rights. On the contrary, government's command on the property and on the economy remained in place.

It's Higgs' ratchet-effect at work. Once a new power is put in place, even as an extraordinary measure, it will remain notwithstanding the return to normal conditions. This is a fundamental law of the States' growth during the last two centuries.

First of all it is very remarkable how far the property moved inside the constitutional documents. From the very first articles, now the right of private property cannot be found until art. 153 in the German "democratic" constitution of Weimar.

The right of expropriation is widely expanded. Whereas the Constitutions of the XIX century always imposed a just compensation, the new German constitution gives the legislator the right to exclude such compensation. The State reserves the right to take away the property without paying anything.

Further, private property isn't a thing of the owner anymore.

The enjoyment of one's property has to serve the common weal. The government reserves a share on every inheritance. How big the slice will be is a matter of political expediency. The Constitution provides no limit.

Although the Weimar Constitution led to the National-Socialist dictatorship and to the disaster of WWII the framers of Germany's Grundgesetz of 1948 didn't even think to revise the principles regarding private property which remained more or less the same with the difference that property was again transferred at the beginning of the constitution in art. 14.

German Grundgesetz (1949)

"Property and the right of inheritance shall be guaranteed. Their content and limits are determined by the laws.

Property obliges. Its use should also serve the public good.

Expropriation is permitted only for the public good. (…)"

Even if modern European Constitutions don't go as far as the German one and refrain from affirming the principle that private property has to serve the common interest ascertained by the State and its bureaucrats, the right of property isn't but a concession by the government, usually it isn't a fundamental right anymore and consideration regarding the common interest or social rights take precedence.

Some examples.

Italian Constitution of 1948

Art. 42 Property is public or private. The means of production belong to the State, to corporate entities or to private persons.

Private property is recognized and guaranteed by law, which prescribes how it may be acquired and enjoyed, and its limits in order to ensure its social function and make it accessible to all.

Private property may, in the cases provided for by law and with provisions for compensation, be expropriated for reasons of general interest.

The law establishes the regulations and limits of legitimate and testamentary inheritance and the rights of the State in matters of inheritance.

Greek Constitution of 1975

The property is under the protection of the state. However, the rights resulting may not be exercised contrary to the general interest.

Spanish Constitution of 1978

Article 33

1. The right to private property and inheritance is acknowledged.

2. The social function of these rights shall determine the limits of their content in accordance with the laws.

3. No one may be deprived of their property and rights, except on justified grounds of public utility or social interest and with a proper compensation in accordance with the laws.

Czech Republic – Declaration of the Rights of Man 1991

Property obliges. It must not interfere with the rights of others, or violate the legally protected public interest. Its exercise may not harm human health, nor nature and the environment beyond the statutory limit.

Of course there are exceptions like the Irish or Polish Constitutions and there are countries like Holland or Luxemburg that still retain liberal Constitutions from the XIX century, but the evolution of the European constitutions that we have thus very briefly and roughly outlined shows some very interesting features.

First of all the connection between self-ownership and property has definitely been severed. The property right isn't referred anymore to the body of the citizens. Private property is referred to goods but not to one's body. The right of self-ownership remains only in the articles dedicated to physical integrity and to the right not to be detained or enslaved, but the link has been cut.

Property has definitely been moved from being recognized as basic and fundamental right to being just one among the various guarantees for the citizens. It isn't usually listed together with personal liberty or religious freedom or freedom of speech but is among the so-called economic rights squeezed in between the right of economic initiative and the many rights of the States in this matter, as expropriation, nationalization of industries or whole sectors etc. etc. Public property, like in the Italian or Portuguese constitutions is more important and preeminent on private property.

Property evolved from being a right to being a concession. Here it has to be recognized that the difference between the communist and the liberal democratic constitutions is only a difference in degree. Whereas the former expressly say that basically all property belongs to the State and that the individual may retain only his very personal belongings, the latter pay lip service to the traditional right of private property but hasten to add that it has to conform to social needs and the common weal. If the enjoyment of such right doesn't at the same time benefit society as a whole it is worthless and even anti-social.

Who is to decide what the common weal is supposed to be? Well, of course the bureaucracies that rule modern States or kleptocracies, as they are very aptly called. Thus, the so called guarantees regarding the right of property that may be found in modern constitutions are just a blank check to the ruling bureaucracies that are allowed to limit private property as they see fit.

What was once a sacred right and then a guarantee ended up being exactly the opposite, to wit, the denial of an absolute right of private property.

So, what happened to private property during the time between the liberal revolutions of the XVIII century and the modern States of the XX century?

The historical evolution may be summed up as follows.

In the ancient liberal revolutions the government, represented by the absolute monarchs, was the enemy. The revolutionaries fought against the States in order to affirm absolute rights of liberty grounded in the political philosophy of the XVII and XVIII centuries and especially in John Locke's principles about the nature of liberty, property and government. Hence, the first concern of the revolutionaries was to limit the future governments and to set up a legal framework that would make sure that they would not trespass on individual rights.

This explains the very strong expressions concerning property and freedom that may be found in the first constitutions.

During the following years things changed.

The former revolutionaries entered the control rooms of the States where just a few years ago they would have been arrested and delivered to the hangman shortly after.

But they inherited the administrative structures and bureaucracies that remained in place and, since the good guys were in charge, why not use that very same administrative machinery in order to further the common weal and the social benefit?

That's how the utopia of a minimal State proved to be impossible. Keeping administrative law, a statute of privilege for a particular category of persons, the public servants, was a denial of the principle of formal equality before the law that characterized the ancient liberal ideals.

Thus administrative law murdered the liberal State.

Hence, during the XIX century the States began to grow.

The philosophy of socialism contended that the liberal State with its individual liberties and especially with the right of private property wasn't but a superstructure aimed at defending the capitalist way of production. Industrialization brought enormous masses of people near to the political centers. States began to expand taxation and to engage in activities and tasks that where clearly outside the minarchic ideal.

Hence, bureaucracies grew and intellectuals started to question individual liberties and to propose social engineering and social management.

Democracy that in the liberal revolutions was seen with suspicion changed from being a mere practical system in order to avoid that the political struggle would degenerate in violence and the quest for the physical elimination of one's opponent, and began to be worshipped as a value in itself.

WWI was a tragic carnage and an enormous experiment in social engineering. The States emerged from the first world conflict with powers unheard of hitherto. From the ashes of the destruction the total soviet, fascist and national socialist States emerged, but also the so-called liberal democracies enjoyed powers that were equally vast.

Central banks and fiat money provided modern States (democracies and totalitarianisms alike) with financial instruments that would have been unthinkable only few decades before. Private property in money was denied through inflation.

On the side of the so-called western liberal democracies a semantic shift occurred meanwhile. Democratic social engineers that set up what Paul E. Gottfried aptly calls the modern managerial State continued to call themselves "liberals" whereas nothing remained of the ancient liberalism. A catalogue of individual liberties (not including private property) was formally guaranteed, while the modern warfare and welfare States furthered an entitlement mentality on the sides of the democratic masses interested more in receiving transfers than in liberty and autonomy.

The State is a great bureaucratic organization that is in charge of every aspect of its citizens' lives. Far from being the mere protector of individual rights the State took over educational and therapeutic tasks. Dissenters are treated as mentally ill and have to be reeducated and steered in the correct direction of pluralism and multiculturalism. Modern politically correctness is the first example hereof. Environmental protection, management of the economy and capital controls aimed at enhancing the States' fiscal effectivity further increase the governments' powers and reduce the individuals' liberties.  

This happened under the label of liberalism that completely lost the meaning originally attributed to such expression.

A similar shift occurred in ancient time when the Roman Republic crumbled and from its ashes the Empire emerged. When the winner of the civil wars, Augustus, took over the ruins of the Republic from the corpses of the political opponents he killed and expropriated, he left in place the terminology and most of the institutions of the ancient Republic, but the State had been changed from within. A new dominant class was in charge and a huge bureaucratic State was built by the imperial administrations.

At the end of the third century AD the Roman Empire was mature for collapse. Money inflation through debasement of the coins and a gigantic bureaucracy that stifled private enterprise and property crushed the empire that crumbled from within under the weight of its fiscal unsustainability.

Sounds familiar?

We are at a similar crossroads.

On one side management of money and of the economy, crushing taxation, the war on cash and the stifling presence of a managerial state based on political correctness, forced multiculturalism and integration, and denial of property rights threatens to destroy the liberal civilization forever.

On the other side grassroots movements, populism, secessionism and most important libertarian philosophy and anarcho-capitalism are expanding and gaining momentum while the vast majority of the people passively accepts but surely doesn't approve the policies of the rulers who appear to be more and more distant from the man on the street. The people feel that something is rotten in the State of Denmark, but aren't able to rationalize such feeling of uneasiness.

Who is going to win?

The bad guys or the good guys?

It depends on us, meaning you and me and our likeminded fellows.

Should we manage, as my friend Marc Victor says, to change hearts and minds, we could set the stage for a new liberal revolution.

We are the forerunners of what may come.

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Here are the slides from the presentation that go along with the text (above):