My friend Dmitriy Balkovsky at GoldenFront has invested a great deal of time and money translating ‘Indivisible’ into Russian. He also posted an interview with me about the book which I’ve posted below:
Tell us about yourself and what motivated you to start writing.
Thank you so much for sharing your audience with me, Dmitriy. I’ve been interested in political economy since about 12 years old. I can remember debating my 7th grade social studies teacher about the merits of socialism. True story! Mr. Myers was this cherubic guy with this full white beard and this long, distinguished forehead and these sparkling little black eyes. He kind of looked like Karl Marx which suited him because he was very “progressive” as they say. I was usually the only student who would take the conservative position and debate him but he encouraged me to express my ideas and he didn’t marginalize or dismiss me. I owe him a great deal.
I discovered George Orwell about that time, Ayn Rand in my twenties and Huxley in my thirties I was amazed by their vision. They predicted everything. Orwell gave us doublethink, the surveillance state, and insight into the minds and motivation of tyrants. Ayn Rand established the morality of liberty and showed how America would ultimately cannibalize itself. Huxley was more subtle, perhaps the most visionary of them all for he predicted the nanny state, the dumbing down of the population as a means of controlling them, and ruling by keeping the serfs distracted, self-absorbed and dependent. He was brilliant.
There are so many authors and teachers who have motivated me to write.
What are you trying to say in your books?
I’m just trying to do my small part to sound the alarm. My country is headed over a cliff but most Americans are very slow to grasp it. They’ve been put to sleep by reality television shows, internet pornography, televangelism, anti-depressants, and junk food. They’ve been dumbed-down by our awful public schools and big media propaganda. They’ve been distracted by a constant barrage of violent sports, hysteria over terrorism and e-coli and global warming, illegal immigrants, and celebrity scandals. Americans are inundated by trivial nonsense. We’re like drug addicts waiting for our next sensory fix.
So my approach is to take all the things that Americans are enamored with: action, violence, farce, depravity, etc, and mold it into my stories. I’m trying to bash my readers over the head with my ideas. There’s so many distractions that it’s the only way to get through to them. I get a some hateful emails and reviews but I take those as compliments. If I can at least get them to lash out at me then at least I’ve reached them.
Do you really believe in a wholesale collapse and all? What are the chances?
Well, I think time is running out and I think that if something isn’t done soon, it’s going to catch most by surprise with how fast things will unravel. You’ll know when it’s the end game if Bernanke resigns unexpectedly. That’s the time when I’ll liquidate my pension.
As your readers probably know, the bulk of the U.S. economy is managed by bureaucrats in Washington. It’s not capitalism, here. 40% of our income is now channeled through the various layers of government. Half the population is suckling on to the government teat. The system survives for now only because the central bank can print the money necessary to pay all the bills and because the dollar is the world’s reserve currency, we can export the price inflation to the rest of the world. Everyone knows it’s not sustainable.
Our politicians and bureaucrats here operate more like a mafia than a governing body. They refuse to make any difficult choices regarding spending cuts because that might jeopardize their re-election chances. So it’s trillion dollar deficits forever…until the dollar ultimately collapses. It’s a one-party system, here, with one wing of it touting jingoism and forever-war and the other touting what they call “social justice” and class warfare. Neither party advocates for reducing the size of government at all and neither is promoting capitalism and liberty.
The U.S. economic system is “state capitalism” or “fascist”. As a libertarian, I am the farthest thing from a Marxist but I find a great deal of truth in some of what they said. Lenin was very prescient when he remarked that “Fascism is the death throws of capitalism.” I think America is well into those “death throws” now.
Is it not a bit Unamerican to write novels on collapse of the United States?
My belief is that there is nothing more “American” than questioning and even resisting the government. Resistance to tyranny is the highest form of patriotism in any Republic. America was founded by men who resisted unjust rule. My country’s founders risked their lives and fortunes to throw off the shackles of a British tyrant. Sadly, the despots from London have been replaced by despots from Washington.
I love my country. I love the original ideal that America represents. But I do not love my government. Anyone who is paying attention here and is not working for the government or getting a check from the government is suspicious and mistrustful of Washington. Unfortunately, most Americans can’t distinguish between country and government. They see the President as almost a divinity. To them, patriotism is waving a piece of cloth and supporting our foreign wars and hating the Muslims and the Chinese. To me, that’s nationalism, not patriotism.
What is the feeling in the trenches? Do people stock up on food and essentials?
There is an enormous “prepper” movement taking off over here. People sense something is terribly wrong but they don’t know what they can do about it so they do their best to prepare for everything. They have no faith in the law enforcement. Many view them as part of the system, now. We have cops armed in military battle gear and driving tanks, kicking in doors and holding people at gunpoint over delinquent student loan payments. It’s ridiculous. We’ve just had people arrested for DANCING at the Jefferson memorial. When we go to the airport, government agents grope the groins and breasts of women and children. It’s outrageous! This is supposed to be a free country. But it’s even more outrageous that so few Americans are outraged.
The preppers see this happening all around them and they draw the conclusion that it is only going to get worse. These people are self-reliant and motivated individuals. They can’t just sit around and let the world unravel around them. Many have begun to prepare for hyperinflation and all that entails: rationing, hoarding, then price controls and shortages. There are many new outfits that sell solar panels and dried food rations and seeds as well. You hear and see them on radio and television and the internet all the time. Gun sales have been astronomical. The ‘survival’ industry is a huge growth industry.
What are the chances of real political violence starting in the USA? Do many people think that “now is the time to shoot the bastards”?
It’s not bad enough here, yet, but if it gets bad and the mass protests flare up like in Greece and Spain, my bet is that it will be the government that will be doing most of the shooting. I personally don’t intend to find my way into any firefights with government paramilitary. My books are my bombs.
Most of us cling to hope that we can straighten things out peacefully before it’s too late but many of us exercise our right to defend our property and our families with guns. Our Founders gave us the right to bear arms because they understood that self defense is a fundamental human right. The right to bear arms goes back to Roman times and our Founders recognized that an armed populace is a powerful check against both foreign and domestic tyranny. Even the Imperial Japanese Admiral Yamamoto scoffed at the idea of occupying America because anyone who tried would “find a rifle behind every blade of grass.”
Who is to blame for the situation in America: banker’s cabal or the torpor of a common citizen?
That’s a great question which I ask myself almost every day. I’m not convinced of any specific conspiratorial attempt to destroy America. But I do believe in gangs of people with aligned goals forming coalitions and using ‘democracy’ to capture our institutions and loot the countries’ wealth. The Founders of America HATED democracy. They saw the Athenian experiment of direct popular rule as a disaster. Instead, they believed in a Republic. It’s a subtle distinction but the difference is that Democracy is unlimited rule by the mob and Republic is limited rule by law. Democracy is just two wolves and a lamb voting on what to eat for dinner. Lenin knew this too which is why he said “Democracy is indispensible to socialism.”
All of our institutions have been taken over by looters. As an example, our public school system was modeled after the Victorian era English factories. Young people were turned into human components, just smart enough to run the machines and follow orders but kept dumb enough so as to not question their indoctrination. Now, the factories…or more accurately, the corporations, are all partnered with the government in order to garner tax and regulatory advantages— what Gordon Tullock called “Rent Seeking”. So kids in public schools today are taught that the government can solve all their problems, that government is benevolent, and omnipotent, and that democracy and compromise can solve any problem.
Our corporate journalism is in a similar state. American newspaper and television journalists don’t do any journalism anymore. Rather than be members of what we call “The Fourth Estate” and uncover government corruption and injustice, the modern American journalist’s goal is merely to build relationships with and gain personal access to ranking officials. Then, when the government wants to motivate the populace to support this or that agenda, the government “leaks” stories to select journalists with access who then go out and report that news as a ‘scoop’. The media here is just a cheerleader for the government. They cheer for our wars. They create hysteria over terrorism so dumb Americans will permit more wiretaps and surveillance and warrantless searches. It’s a common pattern: 1) Invent a problem, 2) employ the media to create a public hysteria about it, 3) then swoop in with a new government program or expanded government power to solve the “problem”.
Ultimately, no reporter wants to lose their access so they don’t report anything that will jeopardize it. The N.Y. Times and the Washington Post are just America’s equivalent of Pravda. Every story they do aggrandizes the government. A particular politician here or there may get caught and taken down like Anthony Weiner but the government as a whole is never questioned. Question the government and you are marginalized as a “radical” or “crazy” or “unpatriotic”.
Because of this, when government fails, instead of acknowledging that we are probably expecting too much of it, we are conditioned to think that we just need an even bigger and more powerful government than before. It’s an incredible delusion and the stakes just get higher and higher. Washington DC is our god, now, so it’s no surprise we’ve become what we’ve become. Ultimately, the torpor of the common citizen is to blame.
What if there is a collapse, what is after it? Dismemberment of the USA?
I hope that if it comes to that, it’s a fairly peaceful transition like it was in the U.S.S.R. I’m not saying Russia’s transformation was easy, I’m just saying that you didn’t have to burn half your country to the ground to get through it. I’m not really optimistic about it, here.
Nobel laureate F.A. Hayek talked about why the “worst get on top” of democratic systems. He argued that democratic systems promote people who are compromisers and shameless self-promoters. The people with morals and principles get weeded out of politics because they won’t make deals that advance their career. So what you are left with is a country run by a bunch of incompetents…in other words, a country run by clowns with enormous egos. I seriously doubt any of our leaders will sacrifice their own political careers to do what is best for my country.
Even worse is the top clown, the President, has his eternal legacy to protect. He is not going to let America dissolve under his watch. He will stop that from happening any cost…and I mean ANY cost. It’s already happened once here under Lincoln. He burned half our country to the ground in order to save the “union”. Our civil war wasn’t about slavery. The government could have bought and freed all the slaves for a fraction of the treasure and blood that was wasted in the civil war. No, our civil war was about “preserving the union”. Lincoln said it himself. And after our civil war all the language was changed so as to make sure no one ever got any crazy secessionist ideas again. Instead of being “these” (plural) United States, it became “The” (singular) United States. Orwell called that thought “newspeak”. People think in language. If you can change the language, you can change the way they think.
Washington dictates nearly everything in the country. The Federal government collects taxes then grants it back to the states so long as the states do what Washington tells them to do. I don’t even know why we have states anymore, it seems redundant. I suppose it’s part of the attempt to maintain the illusion that the U.S.A. is still a Republic.
Insolvency will ultimately be the end of our Federal government but they’ll do everything they can to prevent it. They’ll hyperinflate. They’ll try to create a new currency backed by Federal land holdings or some other asset like the Weimar Republic did in 1924. They’ll crack down with brutality, too. But the U.S. is not Zimbabwe or the Weimar Republic or Hungary. There’s no one out there big enough to keep the Washington bureaucrats going after the dollar collapses. Mugabe paid his henchmen in U.S. dollars when he destroyed his currency. The bankers who ruined Germany in 1923 conducted their business in Swiss francs and British pounds. They were insulated while the average German had to buy his groceries with a wheelbarrow full of marks. When our dollar goes, what will Washington pay its henchmen with? They don’t have any gold.
When Washington’s enforcers stop getting paid my hope is their system will just evaporate. Then the states will be left to govern themselves because they will control what’s left of the administrative apparatus: courts, police, taxing authority, bureaucratic offices, and infrastructure. I imagine they’ll create their own new currencies. Maybe some will be smart enough to back the new currencies with commodities. I think that the states will probably recombine into a Confederation with the same national borders as today. The “United States” may not survive our lifetime but I don’t think America is going away.
In the long run, I think the nation-state model is doomed everywhere. It’s being rendered irrelevant by technology. The onset of asset backed, encrypted, internet currency (something like “Bitcoin” but with gold convertibility) will kill the nation state because its untraceable nature will starve the governments of tax revenue. Free market money will render government fiat worthless by Gresham’s Law. Ultimately, technology will make the continued existence of nation states pointless because encryption will make it impossible for them to control and regulate commerce. All the consumers and producers and even the shippers and retailers will be invisible to the government. I think globally we are going back to smaller nation states and eventually to ‘virtual’ states without geographical borders where people will choose the “provider” for their courts, services, and property defense. It’s all very exciting to me. I hope I live long enough to see it.
The next presidential elections in the USA. Does Obama stand a chance? Who is the most likely next president? Ron Paul’s chances are nil or higher?
It really doesn’t matter who wins, Obama or Rick Perry or some other big government crony will most likely win and our government will continue to expand. Our deficit will continue to explode. We’ll continue to find new wars to wage, probably internal and domestic wars in the coming years. They’ll escalate wars on drugs and illegal immigrants or Muslims, or fat kids or speculators or rich people. There’s always another war that Americans are dumb enough to support.
Ron Paul is terrific. He has a much bigger following this time around. It is going to be very difficult for him to win the election as all the institutions are aligned against him. The corporate media conspires to paint him as crazy. Their interviews with him always characterize his positions as pro chaos rather than as pro liberty. The Republican Party will not allow him to win the nomination. They stole his caucus victories in Louisiana and Nevada last time by simply stuffing the ballot boxes or prematurely adjourning the conventions.
But I don’t think winning the elections is how Ron Paul defines success. It’s not about him and it’s not about this one election cycle. It’s about advancing the ideas of liberty. His message is resonating and he is winning the hearts and minds of the youth and that gives me hope.
What is your view on gold and silver? Are they going to be money again? What is your gold and silver price target for this year and the next?
I do think gold and silver will be money again. I think they already are. In my country, the gold price in dollars tracks very closely to what our central bank calls the “Monetary Base” which is the liability side of the central bank’s balance sheet. The gold price in dollars has flattened out recently because the Fed has ceased printing money. But I can’t see how we’ve seen the end of quantitative easing, yet. Without it, our government’s borrowing costs are going to skyrocket.
Have you anything to say to your Russian readers?
Only that I am honored and humbled to have my little novel translated into your language. It is one of my proudest moments. I truly believe that everyday Americans and Russians are kindred spirits. Both our nations underwent dramatic transformations around the time of World War I. You’ve experienced tremendous change again in the last generation and I think we Americans have a lot to learn from you as our system marches towards its own oblivion. I really appreciate the opportunity to make my ideas accessible to your country.