You’ve Heard People Compare #Trump to Hitler. So We Asked a Woman Who Was Born in Nazi Germany…


Independent Journal Review

By Justen Charters

A popular talking point on the left is that Donald Trump has things in common with Hitler.


But is this the case? Independent Journal Review decided to speak to a woman born in Nazi Germany about the comparison.

We talked with Marion Ingeborg Andrews, who goes by Inga. She was born in Dusseldorf, Germany, in 1940 during Hitler’s reign.

While most kids were playing with friends, Andrews was hiding in air raid shelters and helping to clean up the rubble from destroyed buildings to rebuild her city.

Inga Andrews

Andrews said:

“What is going on in this country is giving me chills. Trump is not like Hitler. Just because a leader wants order doesn’t mean they’re like a dictator.

What reminds me more of Hitler than anything else isn’t Trump, it’s the destruction of freedom of speech on the college campuses — the agendas fueled by the professors.

That’s how Hitler started, he pulled in the youth to miseducate them, to brainwash them, it’s happening today.”

Andrews drove home her point further for the younger generation:

Getty Images/Frederic J. Brown

“It saddens me that we are teaching garbage in the schools and in the college. We don’t teach history anymore. History repeats itself over and over.

The kids out there today haven’t ever lived through a war like I did. I remember sitting in a rock pile, cleaning rocks, to rebuild Germany. I remember eating maple leaves and grass to survive.”

She later made it to the U.S. when her mother married an American, but her journey wasn’t without hurdles. 

Inga Andrews

“It took six years because she had worked in Germany. It took six years to clear her to be able to be married. Then when you married an American, because we were the enemy, you had to wait.

We had to go from Heidelberg to Bremerhaven where another camp was. This camp was run by the U.S. military. They vetted us in both places. There were all these German brides with their children and families who had to be vetted again for three of four days before they could get on the ship.

The ship we took was the U.S.S. Washington. We arrived in New York in March of 1953. My mother, Meta Weinbach, and I still had the last name Muller.

So we had a vetting process like what we are going through now because you have to have this to make the country safe.”

Then Andrews had some choice words for the protesters in the streets destroying property:

“America needs to grow up. The young people who are rioting and destroying property, who have no respect for elders and freedom of speech, I was so proud to become a citizen of this country.”

She opened up about how she accepted American culture and values:

Inga Andrews

Andrews continued on about her desire to become an American:

“At school, they put me in first grade even though I was a teenager because I didn’t speak English. The teachers would take time at their lunch time to teach us how to speak English.

But they came to find out that I was hiding in the bathroom stall with my legs up eating my braunschweiger and onion sandwich, so nobody would talk to me.

Still, I had a burning desire to be an American. I went to night school to learn English. I would practice English without a German accent. I didn’t want to be German. I wanted to be an American.

When I was fourteen, I was working in a drug store reading comic books. Through reading comic books, I developed my English skills.

We would go to the malls and we wouldn’t speak our foreign language, we would speak English. Because we believed we needed to honor the country that opened its doors for us. It was rude to do otherwise.”

Andrews returned to the present day with a message for those attacking freedom of speech:

“Professors shouldn’t be telling their students to go after freedom of speech. They should be telling them that this is the greatest country in the world.

The demonstrators can’t tell you why they’re demonstrating. I’m not a Republican. I’m not a Democrat. I just want the country to be at peace.

I see what is happening here reflecting some of the things we saw in Germany, and it’s terrifying. It’s sad. But it’s not because of Trump. It’s because of poor education.

Trump is not like Hitler. The theory that he is is propaganda. Yes, I lived through some of Nazi Germany, but all you have to do is read some books about that period to see how wrong that theory is.”

She finished by sharing a personal story.

“I had an aunt who was in the Olympics. My aunt got all this extra stuff from Hitler and was surrounded by this propaganda,” she said, before explaining how she couldn’t keep a relationship with her aunt. “I couldn’t have anything to do with her. Even after the war, she was calling the Jewish people, of whom I was friends with, ‘dirty Jews.’”

“My point in saying all this is that if people aren’t able to see outside of one world view, that’s what happens,” Andrews concluded. “They buy the propaganda. And that’s what is happening today. And if people aren’t educated properly and given the ability to think freely — we will repeat that history.”

Due to numerous inquiries into the authenticity of Inga’s story, she’s provided Independent Journal Review with several pieces of proof to back up her claims.

Her mother, Meta Weinbach’s passport:

Inga Andrews

Inga Andrews

Evidence of their time in Heidelberg:

Inga Andrews

Inga with her father Heinz Muller during World War II:

Inga Andrews

The postcard she received upon boarding the S.S. Washington. Andrews’s family rode first class:

Inga Andrews

Her American step-father George Weinbach:

Inga Andrews

Upon sending these pieces of proof to back up her story, Andrews told us, “It’s exactly what I’ve been saying. Some people want to see through one world view, so they couldn’t even believe the story I lived.”

 

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House of Lords told to back Brexit bill or face being abolished ??


RT

Downing Street is attempting to play down a warning that the House of Lords could be abolished if peers try to block the Brexit bill.

The bill, which gives the government the authority to activate Article 50, starting the formal process of leaving the EU, was approved by 494 votes to 122 in the Commons, keeping the government’s March timetable to trigger Brexit talks on track.

The bill, which was put forward by Prime Minister Theresa May’s government after the Supreme Court ruled she must consult Parliament before triggering Brexit negotiations, now moves to the House of Lords.

A government source told the BBC the Lords will face a call to be abolished if it opposes the bill. “If the Lords don’t want to face an overwhelming public call to be abolished they must get on and protect democracy and pass this bill,” the source said.

On Thursday, a Number 10 source distanced the government from that view, saying peers had an important duty in scrutinizing and debating the bill “and we welcome them exercising this role.”

Following Wednesday night’s vote, Brexit secretary David Davis called on peers to do their “patriotic duty.” He told unelected peers not to try and change the simple two-clause bill as it was passed by MPs unamended and “reflected the will of the people.”

Davis says the government had seen a series of attempts to alter the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill before MPs overwhelmingly voted in favor of passing it unchanged.

Asked by Sky whether the House of Lords would face recriminations if it amended the bill, he said: “The simple thing is the Lords is a very important institution.

“I expect it to do its job and to do its patriotic duty and actually give us the right to go on and negotiate that new relationship [with the EU].”

Speaking on the BBC’s Newsnight program, Tory MP Suella Fernandes said a refusal to pass the bill would “call into question the position of the House of Lords.”

Peter Hain, a Labour peer who was also appearing on the program, replied: “Bring it on.”

Hain says he will vote against the bill if the two amendments he is planning are rejected. The former Cabinet minister wants to maintain the open border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, which he describes as “crucial to the peace process,” as well as keeping the UK’s membership of the single market.

“I was appointed by the Labour Party – two-thirds of Labour voters voted to remain within the European Union, they need to be respected.”

The bill will be debated in the House of Lords after peers return from recess on February 20.

If no changes are made, the bill will go straight to royal assent, allowing Article 50 to be triggered and starting the process of leaving the EU. If changes are made, peers will pass it back to the Commons.

 

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Donald J. Trump and The Deep State


GlobalResearch

On February 3, 2017, the Wall Street Journal reported President Trump’s plans to pave the way for a broad rollback of the recent financial reforms of Wall Street.[1] Although no surprise, the news was in ironic contrast to the rhetoric of his campaign, when he spent months denouncing both Ted Cruz and Hillary Clinton for their links to Goldman Sachs, even when his campaign’s Financial Chairman was a former Goldman Sachs banker, Steve Mnuchin (now Trump’s Treasury Secretary).

Trump was hardly the first candidate to run against the banking establishment while surreptitiously taking money from big bankers. So did Hitler in 1933; so did Obama in 2008. (In Obama’s final campaign speech of 2008, he attacked “the greed and irresponsibility of Wall Street.”[2] But it was revealed later that Wall Street bankers and financial insiders, chiefly from Goldman Sachs, had raised $42.2 million for Obama’s 2008 campaign, more than for any previous candidate in history.)[3]

However, Trump’s connections to big money, both new (often self-made) and old (mostly institutional) were not only more blatant than usual; some were also possibly more sinister. Trump’s campaign was probably the first ever to be (as we shall see) scrutinized by the FBI for “financial connections with Russian financial figures,” and even with a Russian bank whose Washington influence was attacked years ago, after it was allegedly investigated in Russia for possible mafia connections.[4]

Trump’s appointment of the third former Goldman executive to lead Treasury in the last four administrations, after Robert Rubin (under Clinton) and Hank Paulson (under Bush), has reinforced recent speculation about Trump’s relationship to what is increasingly referred to as the deep state. That is the topic of this essay.

But we must first see what is really meant by ‘the deep state”.

What Is Meant by the Deep State?

Since 2007, when I first referred to a “deep state” in America, the term has become a meme, and even the topic of a cautious essay in The New York Times.[5] Recently it has been enhanced by a new meme, “the ’deep state’ versus Trump,” a theme that promoted Donald Trump as a genuine outsider, and entered the electoral campaign as early as August 2016.[6]

Trump reinforced this notion when he expressed opposition to America’s international defense alliances and trade deals that both traditional parties had long supported, as well as by his promise to “drain the Washington swamp.” It was encouraged again post-election by Trump’s longtime political advisor Roger Stone, formerly of the Washington lobbying firm Black, Manafort, Stone, and Kelly, once a major feature of that swamp.[7]

But those who saw the election as a contest between outsider Trump and a “deep state” tended to give two different meanings to this new term. On the one hand were those who saw the deep state as “a conglomerate of insiders” incorporating all those, outside and inside the traditional state, who “run the country no matter who is in the White House…and without the consent of voters.”[8] On the other were those who, like Chris Hedges, limited the “deep state” to those perverting constitutional American politics from the margin of the Washington Beltway — “the security and surveillance apparatus, the war machine.”[9]

But both of these simplistic definitions, suitable for campaign rhetoric, omit the commanding role played by big money — what used to be referred to as Wall Street, but now includes an increasingly powerful number of maverick non-financial billionaires like the Koch brothers. All serious studies of the deep state, including Mike Lofgren’s The Deep State and Philip Giraldi’s Deep State America as well as this book, acknowledge the importance of big money.[10]

It is important to recognize moreover, that the current division between “red” and “blue” America is overshadowed by a corresponding division at the level of big money, one that contributed greatly to the ugliness of the 2016 campaign. In The American Deep State (p. 30), I mention, albeit very briefly, the opposition of right-wing oilmen and the John Birch Society “to the relative internationalism of Wall Street.”[11] That opposition has become more powerful, and better financed, than ever before.

It has also evolved. As I noted in The American Deep State, (p. 14), the deep state “is not a structure but a system, as difficult to define, but also as real and powerful, as a weather system.” A vigorous deep state, like America, encompasses dynamic processes continuously generating new forces within it like the Internet — just as a weather system is not fixed but changes from day to day.

The Current Divisions in America and Its Wealth

Three days before the inauguration of Donald Trump, “Frontline” on PBS began a two-part program, “Divided States of America,” documenting how the polarization of American public opinion has contributed to both stagnation in Washington and widespread popular anger, on both the left and the right, against the traditional two-party system.

The Frontline show failed to address the major role played by money in aggravating this public division. For example, it followed many popular accounts in tracing the emergence of the tax-revolt Tea Party to the apparently spontaneous call on February 19, 2009, by CNBC reporter Rick Santelli in Chicago, for a “tea party,” in response to President Barack Obama’s expensive bailouts.[12]

However, this event (on the floor of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, a deep state institution) was not only staged, it had been prepared for in advance. A domain name, chicagoteaparty.org, had been registered for it in 2008, before Obama had even been elected.[13] Jane Mayer has conclusively demonstrated the role in the funding groups behind the Tea Party played by the brothers Charles and David Koch, who in 2014 were two of the ten richest people on earth, worth a combined $32 billion as owners of the largest private oil company in America.[14]  (Today their wealth is estimated at $84 billion.)

More important, as Mayer pointed out,

the Tea Party was not “a new strain” in American politics. The scale was unusual, but history had shown that similar reactionary forces had attacked virtually every Democratic president since Franklin Roosevelt. Earlier business-funded right-wing movements, from the Liberty League [of the 1930s] to the John Birch Society to [Richard Mellon] Scaife’s [anti-Clinton] Arkansas Project, all had cast Democratic presidents as traitors, usurpers, and threats to the Constitution. The undeniable element of racial resentment that tinged many Tea Party rallies was also an old and disgracefully enduring story in American politics.[15]

The Kochs’ lavish funding of the Tea Party, along with anti-tax candidates and climate-change deniers, was only one more phase in what I described in 1996 as

an enduring struggle between “America Firsters” and “New World Order” globalists, pitting, through nearly all of this [20th] century, the industry-oriented (e.g. the National Association of Manufacturers) against the financial-oriented (e.g. the Council on Foreign Relations), two different sources of wealth.[16]

A decade later Trump has revived the slogan of “America First!”, and vowed to reconsider both NATO and multilateral trade. Both factions are still there today; but, as we shall see, both now have international connections.

Read further…

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#Trump is no fascist. He is a champion for the forgotten millions#


Guardian

Obama promised solutions but let the people down. Is it any surprise that they voted for real change?


4886

Donald Trump supporters stand for the national anthem during a ‘Make America Great Again’ concert in Washington last month. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP


Amid the ongoing protests against President Trump, calls for “resistance” among Democratic politicians and activists, and the overheated rhetoric casting Trump and his supporters as fascists and xenophobes, an outsider might be forgiven for thinking that America has been taken over by a small faction of rightwing nationalists.

America is deeply divided, but it’s not divided between fascists and Democrats. It’s more accurate to say that America is divided between the elites and everybody else, and Trump’s election was a rejection of the elites.

That’s not to say plenty of Democrats and progressives don’t vehemently oppose Trump. But the crowds of demonstrators share something in common with our political and media elites: they still don’t understand how Trump got elected, or why millions of Americans continue to support him. Even now, recent polls show that more Americans support Trump’s executive order on immigration than oppose it, but you wouldn’t know it based on the media coverage.

Support for Trump’s travel ban, indeed his entire agenda for immigration reform, is precisely the sort of thing mainstream media, concentrated in urban enclaves along our coasts, has trouble comprehending. The fact is, many Americans who voted for Trump, especially those in suburban and rural areas across the heartland and the south, have long felt disconnected from the institutions that govern them. On immigration and trade, the issues that propelled Trump to the White House, they want the status quo to change.

During his first two weeks in office, whenever Trump has done something that leaves political and media elites aghast, his supporters cheer. They like that he told Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto he might have to send troops across the border to stop “bad hombres down there”. They like that he threatened to pull out of an Obama-era deal to accept thousands of refugees Australia refuses to admit. They want him to dismantle Dodd-Frank financial regulations for Wall Street and rethink US trade deals. This is why they voted for him.

The failure to understand why these measures are popular with millions of Americans stems from a deep sense of disconnection in American society that didn’t begin with Trump or the 2016 election. For years, millions of voters have felt left behind by an economic recovery that largely excluded them, a culture that scoffed at their beliefs and a government that promised change but failed to deliver.

Nowhere is this disconnection more palpable than in the American midwest, in places such as Akron, a small city in northeast Ohio nestled along a bend in the Little Cuyahoga river. Its downtown boasts clean and pleasant streets, a minor league baseball park, bustling cafes and a lively university. The people are friendly and open, as midwesterners tend to be. In many ways, it’s an idyllic American town.

Except for the heroin. Like many suburban and rural communities across the country, Akron is in the grip of a deadly heroin epidemic. Last summer, a batch of heroin cut with a synthetic painkiller called carfentanil, an elephant tranquilliser, turned up in the city. Twenty-one people overdosed in a single day. Over the ensuing weeks, 300 more would overdose. Dozens would die.

The heroin epidemic is playing out against a backdrop of industrial decline. At one time, Akron was a manufacturing hub, home to four major tyre companies and a rising middle class. Today, most of that is gone. The tyre factories have long since moved overseas and the city’s population has been steadily shrinking since the 1960s. This is what Trump was talking about when he spoke of “American carnage” in his inaugural address.

Akron is not unique. Cities and towns across America’s rust belt, Appalachia and the deep south are in a state of gradual decline. Many of these places have long been Democratic strongholds, undergirded by once-robust unions.

On election day, millions of Democrats who voted for Barack Obama in 2008 and 2012 cast their votes for Trump. In those earlier elections, these blue-collar Democrats were voting for change, hoping Obama would prioritise the needs of working Americans over the elites and special interests concentrated in Washington DC and Wall Street.

For many Americans, Hillary Clinton personified the corruption and self-dealing of the elites. But Trump’s election wasn’t just a rejection of Clinton, it was a rejection of politics as usual. If the media and political establishment see Trump’s first couple of weeks in office as a whirlwind of chaos and incompetence, his supporters see an outsider taking on a sclerotic system that needs to be dismantled. That’s precisely what many Americans thought they were doing eight years ago, when they put a freshman senator from Illinois in the White House. Obama promised a new way of governing – he would be a “post-partisan” president, he would “fundamentally transform” the country, he would look out for the middle class. In the throes of the great recession, that resonated. Something was clearly wrong with our political system and the American people wanted someone to fix it.

After all, the Tea Party didn’t begin as a reaction against Obama’s presidency but that of George W Bush. As far as most Americans were concerned, the financial crisis was brought on by the excesses of Wall Street bankers and the incompetency of our political leaders. Before the Tea Party coalesced into a political movement, the protesters weren’t just traditional conservatives who cared about limited government and the constitution. They were, for the most part, ordinary Americans who felt the system was rigged against them and they wanted change.

But change didn’t come. What they got was more of the same. Obama offered a series of massive government programmes, from an $830bn financial stimulus, to the Affordable Care Act, to Dodd-Frank, none of which did much to assuage the economic anxieties of the middle class. Americans watched as the federal government bailed out the banks, then the auto industry and then passed healthcare reform that transferred billions of taxpayer dollars to major health insurance companies. Meanwhile, premiums went up, economic recovery remained sluggish and millions dropped out of the workforce and turned to food stamps and welfare programmes just to get by. Americans asked themselves: “Where’s my bailout?”

At the same time, they saw the world becoming more unstable. Part of Obama’s appeal was that he promised to end the unpopular wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, restore America’s standing in the international community and pursue multilateral agreements that would bring stability. Instead, Americans watched Isis step into the vacuum created by the US withdrawal from Iraq in 2011. They watched the Syrian civil war trigger a migrant crisis in Europe that many Americans now view as a cautionary tale. At home, Isis-inspired terrorist attacks took their toll, as they did in Europe. And all the while Obama’s White House insisted that everything was going well.

Amid all this, along came Trump. Here was a rough character, a boisterous celebrity billionaire with an axe to grind. He had palpable disdain for both political parties, which he said had failed the American people. He showed contempt for political correctness that was strangling public debate over contentious issues such as terrorism. He struck many of the same populist notes, both in his campaign and in his recent inaugural address, that Senator Bernie Sanders did among his young socialist acolytes, sometimes word for word.

In many ways, Trump’s agenda isn’t partisan in a recognisable way – especially on trade. Almost immediately after taking office, Trump made good on a promise that Sanders also made, pulling the US out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and proclaiming an end to multilateral trade deals. He also threatened US companies with a “border tax” if they move jobs overseas. These are not traditional Republican positions but they do appeal to American workers who have watched employers pull out of their communities and ship jobs overseas.

Many traditional Republicans have always been uncomfortable with Trump. They fundamentally disagree with his positions on trade and immigration. Even now, congressional Republicans are revolting over Trump’s proposed border wall, promising to block any new expenditures for it. They’re also uncomfortable with Trump personally. For some Republicans, it was only Trump’s promise to nominate a conservative supreme court justice to replace Justice Antonin Scalia that won their votes in the end – a promise Trump honoured last week by nominating Judge Neil Gorsuch, a judge very much in Scalia’s mould.

Once Trump won the nomination at the Republican national convention, most Republican voters got on board, reasoning that whatever uncertainty they had about Trump, the alternative – Clinton – was worse.

In many ways, the 2016 election wasn’t just a referendum on Obama’s eight years in the White House, it was a rejection of the entire political system that gave us Iraq, the financial crisis, a botched healthcare law and shocking income inequality during a slow economic recovery. From Akron to Alaska, millions of Americans had simply lost confidence in their leaders and the institutions that were supposed to serve them. In their desperation, they turned to a man who had no regard for the elites – and no use for them.

In his inaugural address, Trump said: “Today, we are not merely transferring power from one administration to another or from one party to another, but we are transferring power from Washington, DC, and giving it back to you, the people.” To be sure, populism of this kind can be dangerous and unpredictable, But it doesn’t arise from nowhere. Only a corrupt political establishment could have provoked a political revolt of this scale. Instead of blaming Trump’s rise on racism or xenophobia, blame it on those who never saw this coming and still don’t understand why so many Americans would rather have Donald Trump in the White House than suffer the rule of their elites.

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Francesco Ferrara’s 19th Century War on Taxation


FEE

Alberto Mingardi

With a public debt to GDP ratio at 132% and general government spending at 51% of GDP, Italy can’t be mistaken for a beacon of classical liberalism. Things may have gone differently, had the country listened to its classical liberal economists. They had diagnosed some of the country’s most resilient problems with clarity and courage. Though often forgotten, they are still a source of inspiration. This is certainly the case of Francesco Ferrara.

Francesco Ferrara (1810–1900) was the most prominent Italian economist of the 19th century. A Sicilian, born in Palermo in 1810 of a family of modest origins, he entered the world of studies and politics as a statistician. In 1848, he took part in the Sicilian uprising. He was jailed briefly and later elected to the newly established Sicilian parliament. He was subsequently dispatched to Turin as part of a mission to offer the crown of Sicily to the Duke of Genoa, the brother of the Piedmontese king. When the House of Bourbon re-established its hold on Sicily, the envoys remained in Turin, to persist in their efforts to free Sicily. In 1852, the Bourbons condemned Ferrara to “perpetual exile” (Faucci). Later, in the unified Italy, Ferrara was briefly a cabinet minister and a member of the Italian tax court. In his forceful and prolific writings, the principles of individualism and economic liberalism were “glorified always and everywhere” (Weinberger). Commenting on Ferrara’s prose, Einaudi called him a “wizard” who “enthused thousands of mature men and ardent youths, making them fall in love with economic science”.

Ferrara was appointed to the chair in Political Economy at the University of Turin. He was widely engaged in policy debates and in 1858 was suspended from active teaching, as he frequently used his lectures to denounce the government and its policies—including the government’s monopoly in education. This prohibition to enter classrooms did not hamper Ferrara’s creativity and scholarship. He later taught in Pisa and eventually in Venice, after having served in a number of public offices.

Ferrara is best remembered for the remarkable publication series Biblioteca dell’economista, a far-reaching program of translations aimed at making the latest economic literature available to Italians. … In all, 26 books were published (two series of thirteen books each), most prefaced by a long introduction by Ferrara himself. These introductions were both biobibliographical and critical, full of insights. James M. Buchanan wrote of Ferrara’s introductions:

On the whole his criticisms are excellent by modern criteria, and he anticipated many of the neo-classical contributions. … He was forceful in his emphasis that value theory must be based on individual behavior, his whole construction departing from what he called “the economic action,” the author of such action being the individual who feels, thinks, and wants. … Ferrara was perhaps the first economist completely to shed all of the mercantilistic trappings in his rejection of economics as the science of wealth.

Not unlike the ‘Austrian’ economists, Ferrara trumpeted subjective value and was skeptical of the efforts to mathematize economics. He was critical of Ricardian economics and was heavily indebted to the French: Bastiat, who he considered a “hero and martyr in his battles for economic freedom” (Faucci), Antoine Destutt de Tracy, and especially Jean-Baptiste Say. Like Say, he based his view of the entrepreneurial function on a “knowledge-based approach” (Bini). He opposed intellectual property rights as a form of government-granted monopoly (for Ferrara, “a patent is the lottery win of industrious men”), endorsed free banking, and favored Italian unification but opposed the development of a strong, centralized Italian state. Ferrara maintained that centralization was not a price worth paying for unification: “I place my hopes in the unity of the Italian nation, but I cannot conceal that I am frightened by the centralization urges that manifest themselves everywhere whenever the Italian unification is mentioned, nor would I hesitate to proclaim that, in my opinion, a divided Italy is preferable to a centralized one.”

Besides the Biblioteca dell’economista, Ferrara engineered efforts to spread liberal ideas in Italy, including the publication of different journals in the Kingdom of Sardinia (one was called L’economista echoing the British Economist) and the establishment of the Società Adamo Smith in 1874, to bring together the intellectual devotees of free trade.

In the realm of politics, Italy moved increasingly in the opposite direction. In 1878 Italy abandoned Cavour’s free trade policies by introducing a modest tariff. In 1881, it embarked on a large program of naval construction, and in 1884 an Italian ‘industrial policy’ debuted with the creation of the Terni steel mills. In 1887, Italy got a new protectionist tariff, the second highest in Europe, for the sake of protecting not only infant industries but also agriculture. The rapid undoing of Cavour’s free trade policies is emblematic of a cause of a longstanding feature of Italian classical liberalism, namely its disenchantment with politics. It is hard to take politics seriously when the talk and conduct of political actors appear so capricious.

Ferrara was already well aware that “At the end of the day, all governments are a minority”. The downside of the representative system was that it enabled governing elites to manufacture an illusion of participation in collective choices, an illusion that greatly facilitated government spending:

The representative system is characterized by this serious flaw, that it can effortlessly become an instrument of delusion. The people is less loath to pay, when it deludes itself into believing that its taxes—as they are assented to by its representatives, whose interests are purportedly the same as its own—are for this only reason warranted by inescapable necessities. A large number of instances presented by modern history teach us how easily the good faith of peoples can be abused and reveal the covert motive that made not a few governments to reckon that, ultimately, it was in their own interest to suffer the establishment of deliberative assemblies, as a means to get rid of the odious appearance of oppressors of their own people and to enjoy the pleasure of spending large sums… When the administration has made an outlay unavoidable, majorities tend to feel obliged to allow it.

Buchanan highlights Ferrara as an important figure in starting the scienza delle finanze, the Italian tradition of public finance theory. “The ‘economic’ conception of fiscal activity was, to Ferrara, an ideal. In the actual state of the world, Ferrara considered that the levy of taxes tended to be oppressive and constituted the ‘great secret through which tyranny is organized.’ … Ferrara was intensely critical of the view, which had been expressed by German writers, that merely because tax revenues are transformed into public spending and are returned to the economy, society does not undergo a net loss” (Buchanan).

Scholars in the Italian tradition tried to develop a scientific definition of taxation, distinguishing two sorts: taxation necessary for financing for a limited government, and taxation that was essentially predatory. In its “purest meaning,” the imposta (tax) would be “the price—and a slim one—of the great benefits that the social state, the organized state offers to each of us”. Given the immense utility provided by the social state (that is: by the organization of law and order in society), such a price could be understood as something that would be paid voluntarily by each taxpayer. Since “Any tax is ultimately equivalent to a prevented consumption and a prescribed one in its stead,” and so it all boils down to the question whether “the substituted consumption is more or less productive than the prevented one”. For Ferrara, the cornerstone of the problems of taxation is the economic use of taxes, the fact that government should operate in a parsimonious way.

But if taxation can be theoretically understood as a fee, Ferrara was fully aware that historical evidence pointed in another direction:

In its philosophical concept, the organized state is the great reason that exalts the notion of taxation; in its historical understanding, however, taxation is the great secret that organizes tyranny… And if in its philosophical understanding the term “contribution” does appears to be truer and worthier, in its historical understanding I invite you to change it, but only to call it “scourge.”

Looking realistically at the dry facts of history, one sees taxation as the propellant of arbitrary government:

Would you like to fathom how a swarm of parasites and harlots can exist in the royal courts? Why ignorance and intrigue are exalted and knowledge and virtue are rejected and derided? How comes it that in a temperate government a bad minister can make the houses of parliament to be in thrall of his will? And representatives and newspapers can be found to conceal his faults and incompetence? Taxation contains and explains the whole riddle. Taxation is the great source of everything a corrupt government can devise to the detriment of the peoples. Taxation supports the spy, encourages the faction, dictates the content of newspapers.


This piece was excerpted and adapted from Alberto Mingardi, Classical Liberalism in Italian Economic Thought, from the Time of Unification, Econ Journal Watch 14(1), January 2017

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