Mandeville, LA – Exclusive Transcript – What Taylor is saying is that you should only have a tariff because you have a couple duties that the general government has to discharge. You should only have the tariff so that you can raise money to do that. You should not use the tariff to enrich anyone. You should not use the tariff as a tool to try to guide commerce. Commerce will guide itself. The genius and the brilliance of John Taylor of Caroline in the founding generation is unequal. He got it; he got all of it. Check out the rest in today’s transcript…
Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: John Taylor of Caroline, the most brilliant [r]epublican of his day — yes, he was smarter than Jefferson. As a matter of fact, he probably was Jefferson’s brain trust, not that Jefferson wasn’t smart, Taylor just had a way of explaining republicanism and the way things ought to be and warning about the way things were getting out of control. Bear in mind, John Taylor was writing what I’m about to read to you in 1814, not 1914, not 1972, 1814. Listen to the despair in his voice. When you think that we’re the first generation of Americans that has it bad when it comes to our politics and politicians and debt and deficit, that’s just not true. Every generation of American citizens has had to deal with debt, deficit and what they thought was out-of-control government. Of course theirs was a manageable out of control, as we know today. I imagine they would run in horror if they saw our monstrosity today and wonder why we choose to live as tax slaves in voluntary service.
Let me finish up with John Taylor of Caroline because I have not gotten to the best part of Tyranny Unmasked, a great book you should all own. It’ll take a year or so to read it. He is very tough to read but the payoff is well worth it. On Page 131 of the copy I have, we find his dissertation on how the general government at the time was using the excuse of revenues not being great enough to justify purchasing of debt. This is during the Madison administration of all times. If you think it’s bad now, remember, he’s writing this in 1814.
During the long experience which the United States had of the policy decried by the Committee, they found it good in periods of peace, as well as in those of foreign wars, and that it should now fail, must be owing to causes which did not then exist. Foreign commercial restrictions and prohibitions existed during these periods to a greater extent than now, but they could not prevent our prosperity; and therefore no causes, but those of a domestick nature, can account for the gradual disappearance of the national prosperity; then our elevation, now our regret. Do not the facts stated by the Committee, point directly to these causes? Why have consumptions diminished? Because the protecting-duty tariff has increased. Why have duties diminished? Because this tariff and other property-transferring measures, have diverted the profits of labour from being expended in consumptions, by which the public treasury would have been supplied, to enrich the treasuries of capitalists. [Mike: In other words, he’s talking about corporatism way back in 1812. If you think it’s a new thing, it’s not.]
Why are agricultural products so excessively depressed? Because of the expulsion of foreign commodities by the existing tariff, which would have enhanced the value of domestick products by multiplying exchanges. To these internal regulations, add our imitations of English extravagance, in the expenses of government, and both the causes and the remedies we are in search of must be very easily discovered. Restore our renowned republican frugality, reform our tariff for the object of revenue only, and suppress exclusive privileges; and our treasuries will no longer be empty, government will not be obliged to plunge the nation deeper and deeper into debt, taxation will be light, and the national happiness, gradually lost, will be recovered by a re-occupation of the principles gradually deserted.
Mike: He summed up everything that we’re doing right now that they were doing back in 1812, just on a much, much smaller scale. I love the part about the tariff. Remember, this was before the income tax. The tariff and the duty and impost were the principle means of raising revenue for the government. Just like today, you hear designing men droning on about the fairness of taxing the rich and the rich and wealthy ought to pay their fair share and all this drivel that we hear, this unintelligent, green-eyed monster, jealousy-inspiring drivel that says or does nothing about financial affairs. Back then they were saying the same thing about the people that were wealthy that were importing wheat and corn and wines and other things.
What Taylor is saying here is you should only have the tariff because you have a couple duties that the general government has to discharge. You should only have the tariff so that you can raise money to do that. You should not use the tariff to enrich anyone. You should not use the tariff as a tool to try to guide commerce. Commerce will guide itself. The genius and the brilliance of John Taylor of Caroline in the founding generation is unequal. He got it; he got all of it. He got the Christian gentleman part of it, the public service part of it, the spirit of ’76 part of it. He got the economic part of it long before we would have Austrian School thinkers. If you read John Taylor of Caroline, as I just read this one page to you, you hear Friedrich Hayek. I hear Wilhelm Ropke. Taylor was an American. There’s so much more I would share with you. One more thing on redistribution of wealth, which is what the tax that Obama is married to, what the tax increase would do. Here’s Taylor on that:
As the policy of transferring property has increased, the diminution of consumptions has followed. I remember when fifty times as many families drank wholesome liquors as now do, and when it was quite common to give good wine to the poor as a medicine. Many, then able to practise a charity, often extending to the preservation of life, now need the same charity themselves; but it is almost abolished by the restrictive system. [Mike: He’s talking about duties and imposts, taxes, excise taxes like on gas that we have today.] In the time of one of the Edwards, a law was made in England prohibiting the common people from eating the best meats, and confining them to the most ordinary. As they were brought down to the food next to dry bread, we are nearly reduced to the drink next to common water. Do such privations increase consumptions? Pardon me ye whiskey drinkers! I do not mean to deprive you of an enjoyment as delicious when compared with water, as neck beef is when compared with cold bread, but only to assert that there is something tyrannical in “using a control of consumptions” to deprive you of the liberty of comparing whiskey with wine. But, say the Committee, “the means of consumption must be in the hands of our own people, and under the control of our own government.” Never have I seen two more hostile positions coupled together. Of what value to the people are the means of consumption, if the government can control their use? One is almost a perfect idea of liberty, and the other of despotism. Can any power be more tyrannical than one which prescribes to its slaves what they shall eat, drink, or wear? Yes. A power to transfer from industry that portion of its profits by which the most agreeable gratifications can only be purchased, to the augmentation of another’s capital.
Mike: This man is a brilliant genius, and he’s actually talking about our current situation and our current pickle. These things are all applicable. In other words, not much has changed but the scale of things has changed, ladies and gentlemen. Again, there’s that word scale, human scale.
End Mike Church Show Transcript