Saturday, August 16, 2008

Social Democracy and the Achievement Motive

There may be a deepening rift between American culture and its political structure. The cause is the shift from what Louis Hartz calls the Horatio Alger psychology of late nineteenth century America to the credentialism and "rationalization" that Progressivism initiated in the early twentieth century. I put rationalization in quotes because although the Progressives and their predecessors, the Mugwumps, along with early management theorists like Frederick Winslow Taylor and Fayol believed that bureaucracy, tight structure, merit-based systems and the like fostered efficiency, this was only a partial truth. Merit and structure foster efficiency where change is limited but may not be so important where change is rapid. Also, the measurement of ability is riddled with error, even when it is done properly, which it rarely is. The best measures of ability explain 25-30 percent of the variance in performance for a specific job. There has never been any serious effort to predict long-term, say life-long achievement. There are measures that may predict future success, but the book "Millionaire Next Door" suggests that the key variables, ethics, time preference, thrift, interpersonal skills, type B personality, and a stable family are not generally discussed in the personnel psychology literature or tangentially so. But most firms do not utilize valid criteria in hiring. So even the modicum of rationality that the Progressives advocate have not been implemented in most firms.

More importantly, American society has chosen to replace achievement and market success with college and graduate school diplomas in making selection decisions. This removes achievement from the equation, and stratifies society. Part of selection into college is family background, and part is IQ as tested by the various scholastic aptitude tests. Neither of these is identical with achievement. The correlation between IQ and job performance is about .55, which means that about 30 percent of the variance in job performance is due to IQ, 70% is not. The correlation becomes much weaker when one looks at life success over the long term. Success and short-term job performance are two different things. Ethics and the Aristotelian virtues (courage, prudence justice and sophrosunae, self-control, balance or moderation) play a significant role over the long term. The point isn't to diminish the importance of IQ or raise the importance of ethics. Rather, the point is that structure rather than market have increasingly predetermined outcomes, and rough measures of potential rather than human excellence have been rewarded. In the nineteenth century Whig philosophers could argue that wealth reflected religious or moral virtue. In the twentieth century, one can argue that wealth reflects gaming some corporate HR department's slapdash interview process or the Scholastic Aptitude Test, which is only a hair better.

Thus, rather than achievement creating economic success, Progressivism decreed that success would be administered. The attack on achievement that began with the Progressive movement's emphasis on rationalized human resource management criteria and the related emphasis on professional degrees was carried forward by the social democracy of the New Deal, which reflected the ultimate fulfillment of the Progressives' agenda. The New Deal established the paradigm that experts can rationally determine the equitable distribution of wealth; that the very wealthy can retain their wealth intergenerationally through family trusts but that up-and-coming entrepreneurs would be heavily taxed upon death; that the use of coercion in the redistribution of wealth is acceptable; that the monetary system can and should be used to redistribute wealth as well as various compulsory welfare systems, such as social security and unemployment insurance.

The "conservative" attack on the New Deal focused on the unemployment insurance. In effect, the Democrats forced the Republicans into the same corner that Jefferson forced Hamilton, and the Republicans took the bait. The Republicans did not frame their complaints about the New Deal in terms of its bias toward the wealthy, in part because the Democrats were able to sufficiently cloak the bias by throwing up red flags that likely they anticipated the Republicans would charge. Social insurance is a small matter, and it could have been done voluntarily as many firms such as General Electric had been demonstrating by the 1920s through welfare capitalism. The public works of the Hoover and Roosevelt administration were nothing new. They had characterized American government since the pre-revolutionary days, and if anything were more voluntaristic than the approach that was often used in colonial America: forced labor.

What changed during the Progressive era was increasing subsidization of big business (which had always been subsidized) through the establishment of the Federal Reserve Bank, which increasingly became a conduit for subsidization of big business at the expense of small and at the expense of taxpayers. This can be coupled with regulation such as securities regulation, pension regulation, and health and safety regulation which purported to help small investors and employees but served the purpose of excluding entrepreneurial initiative and further consolidating power in the hands of large corporations and banks, which have through the twentieth century proved decreasingly efficient.

Thus, Progressivism attacked the achievement motive in two ways. First, by rationalizing selection for elite jobs, first through civil service and then through inept but rigid personnel requirements involving college diplomas that reflect IQ and class but not achievement. Second, Progressivism instituted a progressive process of regulation whereby elites could secure their position in the name of helping underprivileged groups whose lot became increasingly worse the more the social democrats helped them.

As a result, and because the debate between the advocates of achievement and social democracy devolved into a debate between two parties that advocate social democracy, the Democrats and the Republicans, the political and economic elite, through Progressivism, slowly wrenched America's heart out of its casing, and ate it, blood dripping from its Progressive chin. In effect, in the twentieth century Progressivism reversed the democratic and laissez-faire achievements of the nineteenth.

Louis Hartz wrote the following about those nineteenth century achievements:

"Freedom from state control went hand in hand with the religion of opportunity, which in the broadest sense democratized economic power and made it acceptable to the egalitarian ethos of a liberal society. Technically, of course, this correlation was not essential. One could have the Horatio Alger dream functioning in the context of the old Whig paternalism: Ragged Dick could dream of making his million in a business fostered by the government itself, and we cannot excuse Hamilton from his failure to grasp the Alger secret by referring to the state of the American economy. There was sheer blindness, sheer failure to understand America in the Hamiltonian attitude. At the same time the capacity of Whiggery to dispense with the state, or at least a portion of the state, did make certain things possible. One was a full appropriation, or perhaps one should continue to say "confusion" of the Jeffersonian and Jacksonian symbolism. That symbolism had assailed the state for granting the corporate charter and thus interfering with individual enterprise. Now, with the reliance on the state diminished, the capture of this symbolism was facilitated. The granting of the corporate charter could be confused with corporate regulation, the corporation could be confused with the individual, and Jackson could be turned inside out. The antagonism of state and individual, originally created to disadvantage the corporation, could be twisted to its defense. Down to the present day it is the genius of this achievement to convert the ideological Jefferson into his own worst enemy."*

Hartz's point is brilliant although his history is inaccurate in several ways. The point is that the corporation became a vehicle for individual achievement. But through a process of increasing government support as well as economies of scale and foreign trade advantages, the corporation became ever-increasing in size. Rather than demand that corporations prove themselves in the market, the Progressive era established exponentially greater supports for big business. This enhanced support had a range of economic and social effects. One of these was an attack on the achievement motive through credentialism, regulatory obstacles to new enterprise ideas, and the inheritance tax, which excludes the economic elite through the institute of family trusts, restricting the inter-generational evolution of family firms.

*Louis Hartz, "Government-Business Relations" in Economic Change in the Civil War Era: Proceedings of a Conference on American Institutional Change, 1850-1873, and the Impact of the Civil War Held March 12-14 1964. David T. Gilchrist and W. David Lewis, editors. Greenville, Delaware: Eleutherian Mills-Hagley Foundation.

Janice Okubo on Obama Birth Certificate

Janice Okubo had stated that she believed the Obama birth certificate was accurate on June 13 and June 27 according to Politifact, a website of the St. Petersburg Times. On June 13, Janice Okubo stated that the Certificate of Live Birth that Politifact sent her was real:

"'It's a valid Hawaii state birth certificate,' spokesman Janice Okubo said June 13, 2008, after we e-mailed her our copy."

Then, on June 27 Politifact repeated this narrative.

It is not clear that Ms. Okubo's statements conflict with Pamela Geller's claim that the certificate is a forgery. There is a big question and three small questions. The big question is why is there no administrative body handling this instead of a St. Petersburg journalist?

One small question is whether the copy that the Obama campaign sent to Poltifact has the same problems that the copy on the Obama website has. Ms. Okubo does not state that she sent the birth certificate to Mr. Obama, which was the impression I had initially from her statement to the Hawaii newspaper.

Hence, the second small question is whether Dan Nakaso of the Hawaii newspaper exaggerated the extent of her verification.

The third small question is that I wonder if the St. Petersburg newspaper would be willing to permit a forensics expert to review their copy.

I have written the following to Amy Hollyfield of Politifact:

I appreciate your work on the Obama birth certificate. After your article's publication, questions about it's being a forgery were raised at The key problem for me with respect to this issue is why the United States administrates an elections system without requiring identification and background information as part of the public record, to include not only birth certificates but also fingerprinting, criminal record, marriage certificate, etc. We live in an age of identity theft, yet there is no administration of verification of candidates' credentials. I have inquired with the Federal Elections Commission, my state's (and other states') board of elections, my state's secretary of state, the IRS (which administrates campaign funding) and my Congressman. We have a sorely mismanaged election system that could use professionalization of its administration, as in requiring birth certificates and the like from all candidates. Is anyone sure that of all the state legislatures, Congressmen, Senators and local elected officials that there is not one or even a few who have relied on stolen identities?

To this end, I have developed a petition to the FEC at

Several of the 5,200 people who have signed it have wondered why candidates run without ID verification while someone like you is the one to attempt to verify Mr. Obama's birth certificate.

I would like to make an inquiry. Since you have a hard copy of the purported certificate, would you make it available to a forensics expert to verify? Ms. Okubo did not confirm that she actually sent you the certificate. Rather, she confirmed that it looked like a real certificate. Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs states that a forensics expert determined that the certificate posted on the website is a forgery. Would your newspaper be willing to allow or commission an independent forensics expert to further document your story?

Best wishes,

Mitchell Langbert

Comments on Janice Okubo's Story Switch

Phil writes:

>"Any shots of Obama wining and dining Janice Okubo on his vacation in Hawaii?"

I respond:

You can't help but wonder. She certainly did NOT write to me that she had given the campaign a certificate and that the one posted was accurate. Instead, she wrote to me that the freedom of information act does not apply to Hawaii. She saved this other information for later. I do not know the reason for the difference.

Mairi writes:

>"SHEESH! Do you believe these guys? They have no respect for us at all. Just label everyone out there a "crackpot" and have done with it. NOT!

I have written to Dan, but don't expect to hear from him any more than I expect to hear from Dan White......Maybe it goes with the name? LOL!

Janice is a REAL disappointment. Typical, "say one thing one day, and something different the next". I must applaud your efforts. Dealing with this as much as you have must be very aggravating.


I respond:

Not so aggravating, just tiring as I should be working on other things. I got the traffic up on my blog so I'm happy about that. I do not expect that I will single handedly reform the system, so I expect little. The one who irritates me is that reporter Dan Nakaso from the Hawaii newspaper. He ran a story without speaking to the other side. That's sleazy.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Does Jack Cafferty Suffer From Old Age Dementia?

I seldom watch CNN, but when I am forced to watch it in my health club I often hear Jack Cafferty remarking about John McCain's age. Ageism is a form of bias, and the low, tasteless quality of the pro-Obama media exhibits itself in Cafferty. Problem solving ability peaks at about age 20, but knowledge of how to solve problems, i.e., experience, compensates for loss of mental acuity. There are few breakthroughs in math or physics made by those above age 30, but there are a large number of literary, artistic, philosophical, legal and business breakthroughs made by old people.

I looked up Jack Cafferty's age on Wikipedia. He was born in December 1942, while John McCain was born in August 1936. The difference between Cafferty and McCain is a tad over six years. Perhaps it is Cafferty, rather than John McCain, who suffers from senility.

Unlike Cafferty, I am not one to make ageist comments, but Mr. Cafferty lives in a glass house and has been throwing stones. So here goes. I wonder if Cafferty gets the news right since he might be suffering from old age dementia. Can we trust Cafferty to be a good newscaster? He seems illogical. He is past the age for ordinary onset Alzheimer's, and his lack of awareness and tastelessness suggests acceleration that condition.

Janice Okubo Denies Impropriety with Posted Birth Certificate

Dan Nakaso of the Honolulu Advertiser writes an article about Janice Okubo and the Obama birth certificate (h/t Ray). First, I copy from the article, then my e-mailed response follows:

Birth certificate in high demand:

Hawai'i birth certificates — just as with death, marriage and certain divorce documents — are released only to people with a "tangible interest," such as the people themselves, their parents, spouses, grandparents or other relatives, Health Department spokeswoman Janice Okubo said. (Requests for divorce decrees after 2002 go through the state judiciary.)

"'Our state law is very firm on information on vital records. ... You cannot receive someone else's birth certificate — to protect the person's confidential information,'" Okubo said

"'The Obama campaign said it has posted a copy of his birth certificate at www.fightthesm in response to Internet chatter that the Illinois senator is not a natural-born citizen. But the posting has done little to curb the nearly weekly requests to the Health Department for copies of the original', Okubo said.

"'Some skeptics point to the lack of an official state seal on the birth certificate posted on the Obama campaign Web site.'

"'But seals often are placed on the back of the birth certificate', Okubo said, 'and whether it shows through depends on how much force was put into it.'"

"'Others wonder why a large black rectangle appears next to the words, "CERTIFICATE NO'."

"'The thing that's redacted is just our file number," she said. "Potentially, if you have that number, you could break into the system.'"

"'Health officials contacted the Obama campaign a few months ago in response to the persistent inquiries "to see if they could try and resolve the issue with the people who were asking questions,' she said.

"'They responded and apparently it isn't good enough that he posted his birth certificate,'" Okubo said. "They say they want it because they claim he is not a citizen of the United States. It's pretty ridiculous."

My response to Dan Nakaso, the Advertiser reporter, via e-mail:

I am submitting a petition to the Federal Election Commission on Monday concerning the lack of an administrative system whereby identification and other information necessary to verify a candidate's eligibiligity are collected, reviewed and made available to the public as exemplified in the current questions about Mr. Barack H. Obama's birth certificate. At present, no state or federal agency, to include the state boards of election, the Federal Election Commission, the state Secretaries of State, the Internal Revenue Service (which oversees federal campaign money) or any other administrative body oversees collection of identification information, to include birth certificates, fingerprinting, drivers' licenses, criminal records and related information. In an age of identity theft, are we certain that no elected officials have made use of falsified identification? As a result, more than 5,100 people have signed the petition. Perhaps Ms. Okubo's story shifting and Mr. Obama's unresponsiveness to repeated inquiries have contributed to the public good by bringing the need for a comprehensive identification process for political candidates.

The petition is located at:

When I contacted Ms. Okubo in July to request a copy of Mr. Obama's birth certificate, she refused to provide it, but she did NOT indicate that there is a publicly available birth certificate nor did she indicate that she could verify the certificate as reflecting the true one. She could have mentioned that she had given a birth certificate to the Obama campaign but she did not. She could have verified that the one posted is the same one she gave them, but she did not do that either. Nor does she confirm this in your article.

There have been allegations that the certificate posted on the Obama website is a forgery on the Atlas Shrugs and other blogs that I've partially compiled here:

In particular, note Pamela Geller's Atlas Shrugs blog here:

Ms. Okubo does not state in the article that the certificate posted on the website is the same as the one she provided to Mr. Obama. And why did she neglect to tell me in her letter in July that a certificate was posted?

In addition, as a reporter have you contacted Mr. Obama to request a copy of the certificate, or have you accepted a single source? In your article, you do not quote Pamela Geller, Larry Johnson, or other bloggers who have taken an interest in this. You only quote Ms. Okubo, whose story now is not the one that she wrote to me about last month.

The fact that the Hawaii Revised Statutes permit anyone with a "direct and tangible interest" in the birth certificate ought to mean that anyone can obtain Mr. Obama's birth certificate since we all have a direct and tangible interest in it.

More than 5,100 individuals from around the country have signed the petition requesting the FEC investigate the birth certificate. The matter is one of inept administration of elections at the state and federal level.

George Phillips for Congress

I attended a fundraiser at the Steelhouse on the Rondout along the river in Kingston, NY for George Phillips, a Binghamton Republican who is challenging Maurice Hinchey. Raqul Okyay was there. Raquel blogs about the Phillips campaign here .

>"George Phillips worked as a high level aide for Rep. Chris Smith of New Jersey, and has years of experience assessing and advancing community needs. George Phillips, if successful in November, will undoubtedly be a fresh face and much needed change in Congress. A Congress plagued with low approval ratings and the nickname 'do nothing'."

Okyay points out that incumbent Hinchey has been squandering taxpayer money on alternative energy schemes that apparently do not interest private sector investors or Hinchey himself, who has apparently not put any of his own money into Solar Thin Films, but has put the taxpayer on the hook for $50 million.

Phillips is fine candidate. He visited us at our West Shokan cabin in June, so the fundraiser was the second time we got to meet. He is a smart, dynamic candidate and would do a better job than the incumbent.


I have e-mailed the following press release to the New York media and to several of the national media outlets, overall, about 50 or 60 outlets, including the major New York City newspapers:

Professor Collects over 5,100 Signatures Requesting FEC to Investigate Barack Obama's Birth Certificate

I began collecting signatures 8 days ago, over 5,100 people have signed so far without any mass media exposure. I have also written to Barack Obama several times, to the IRS, to the New York State Board of Elections, and to the State Department with a freedom of information act request for copies of Mr. Obama's passport applicatons. I had Fedexed Donald McGahan, chair of the FEC last week, and they received the FEDEX a week ago. I called the FEC today and told them that the petition is on the way. Media exposure would be helpful. By way of background, I am an associate professor of business at Brooklyn College and blog at The petition and my letter to Mr. McGahan read:


The signers of this petition request the Federal Elections Commission and Mr. Donald McGahan, FEC chairman, to take responsibility to verify the eligibility of Mr. Barack H. Obama to be President of the United States. Mr. Obama has refused to produce a physical certified, stamped copy of his birth certificate. An electronically-displayed image displayed by his official campaign website has been alleged to be a forgery. We request that the FEC require Mr. Obama to authorize the FEC to obtain an official copy of his birth certificate and if he does not produce the authorization that the FEC reject his registration as a presidential candidate; that the FEC not monitor his campaign finances during the primary or election; that votes cast for Mr. Obama and reported by the states' boards of elections not be recorded and displayed by the FEC; and that Mr. Obama be considered in violation of 2 USC 437g for filing a false statement on FEC Form 2, as specified on that form.

Letter to Mr. McGahan:

Mr. Donald F. McGahn, II, Chairman
Federal Election Commission
999 E Street, NW, Washington, DC 20463

Dear Mr. McGahan:

I would like to file a formal complaint with the Federal Elections Commission requesting verification of the natural-born U.S. citizenship of Mr. Barack Obama, and revocation of the registration and recognition of Mr. Obama’s candidacy for president of the United States if that citizenship is not verified as described below within 7 days of the FEC receipt of this letter. Mr. Obama has not shown that he fulfills the Constitutional requirement for president, to be a “natural born citizen”, Article Two, Section 1.

The basis for this complaint is:

a) Mr. Obama’s refusal to produce a physical certified, stamped copy of his birth certificate, with the Hawaii file number visible, upon my previous repeated request and the requests of others.
b) Significant analysis of the electronically-displayed image displayed by Mr. Obama on his official campaign website as the certificate indicates forgery.
c) The electronically-displayed image displayed by Mr. Obama on his official campaign website has the Hawaii state birth certificate filing number blacked out, eliminating any objective information that links the image to an actual certificate on file (see

If Mr. Obama produces a certified, stamped copy of the original birth certificate with all information visible, I request as the complainant to see that document in person to examine its authenticity, including electronically, before the FEC finalizes its response; and the opportunity to verify the authenticity with the issuing state official. This process should require no more than two business days, and may take place in at the FEC office in Washington.

If the certificate is not produced in 10 days and verified by the FEC and myself within another 5 days, this complaint requests the following four remedies:

1) Mr. Obama’s registration as a presidential candidate is rejected (as filed on FEC Form 2).
2) Mr. Obama’s campaign finances will not be monitored by the FEC as a candidate, during the primary or election.
3) Votes cast for Mr. Obama and reported by the states’ boards of elections will not be recorded and displayed by the FEC.
4) Mr. Obama will be considered in violation of 2 U.S.C. 437g, for filing a false statement on FEC Form 2, as specified on that form.

I ask for expedited formal response and resolution of this request, given that the national convention furthering the candidacy will occur in three weeks, and given that this document is easy to produce upon personal request of Mr. Obama to the Hawaii state government. Please note the FEC can request it directly, as qualifying under Hawaii Revised Statutes § 338-18 has having “a direct and tangible interest in the record.”

This request is made with the utmost respect for the presidential election process and the candidates involved, in the desire to resolve this question quickly and confirm their integrity. If a similar request is appropriate to be made to all presidential candidates by the FEC it must not slow down this specific request.

If the FEC decides it does not have jurisdiction in this matter, please respond within three business days of receipt of this complaint with the agency or governmental organization that is responsible for enforcing Article Two, Section One of the Constitution that requires natural-born citizenship for candidacy for the president of the United States. Please include the basis for such jurisdiction by that agency or organization. Please respond by email to:


Mitchell Langbert
PO Box 130
203 Watson Hollow Road
West Shokan, New York 12494

Cc: Steven T. Walther, Vice Chairman
Cynthia L. Bauerly, Commissioner
Matthew S. Petersen, Commissioner
Caroline C. Hunter, Commissioner
Ellen L. Weintraub, Commissioner

FEC Petition Now Has Over 5,100 Signatures

The petition to Mr. Donald McGahan now has over 5,100 signatures. I will mail it to him with copies to the media on Monday. I am e-mailing a press release today. The list of signatures is located at

Phone Call to Donald McGahan's Federal Election Commission Office

I just telephoned Donald McGahan's office at the Federal Election Commission. They informed me that they have not responded to my letter of last week requesting an investigation of allegations of fraud concerning Mr. Obama's birth certificate and asking the FEC to investigate the eligibility of a candidate.

I informed Mr. McGahan's office that our petition now has over 5,000 signatures and that I would forward the petition to him with copies to the media on Monday. I suggested that if the FEC is not responsible to ensure that the individuals filling out FEC documentation are actually candidates, then the FEC ought to say so to me in writing.

Third Request to Barack Obama to Open His Birth Certificate Information

Someone told me that a letter to the Senate office concerning the birth certificate might not go through because it is campaign related and legislative and government offices are prohibited from dealing with campaign issues. I have therefore written to Mr. Obama's campaign:

PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494

The Honorable Barack Obama
Obama for America
P.O. Box 8102
Chicago, IL 60680

Dear Senator Obama:

There have been accusations that you have refused to allow your birth certificate to be released to the public because you are interested in manipulating your opposition into thinking that there is a problem with it. An image of your birth certificate that has been posted to your campaign website and to the Daily Kos site has been alleged to be a forgery (see I understand that you have campaigned on the premise of change and openness and therefore ought to have an interest in disproving this accusation of old-fashioned manipulation and deception.

Under the State of Hawaii's Revised Statutes HRS Section 338-18 the State of Hawaii may disclose your birth certificate to anyone who has a "direct and tangible interest". I am asking you to authorize, in writing, the State of Hawaii Public Health department to make your birth certificate available to all Americans because all Americans have a direct and tangible interest in it. I also ask you to forward a copy of your authorization letter to me.


Mitchell Langbert


PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494
August 15, 2008

Mr. Douglas Shulman
Commissioner of Internal Revenue
US Department of Treasury
1500 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20220

Dear Mr. Shulman:

I would like to file a formal complaint with the Internal Revenue Service requesting verification of the natural-born U.S. citizenship of Mr. Barack Obama, and revocation of his eligibility to apply for or renounce presidential campaign matching funds if his citizenship is not verified as described below within 7 days of your receipt of this letter. Mr. Obama has not shown that he fulfills the Constitutional requirement for president, to be a “natural born citizen”, Article Two, Section 1 of the US Constitution, and therefore may not meet the definition of “candidate” under Section 9002 of the Internal Revenue Code which defines “candidate” as someone who:

“has qualified to have his name on the election ballot (or to have the names of electors pledged to him on the election ballot) as the candidate of a political party for election to either such office in 10 or more States.”

The basis for this complaint is:

a) Mr. Obama’s refusal to produce a physical certified, stamped copy of his birth certificate, with the Hawaii file number visible, upon my previous repeated request and the requests of others.
b) Significant analysis of the electronically-displayed image displayed by Mr. Obama on his official campaign website as the certificate indicates forgery.
c) The electronically-displayed image displayed by Mr. Obama on his official campaign website has the Hawaii state birth certificate filing number blacked out, eliminating any objective information that links the image to an actual certificate on file (see

I would like to respectfully request the Internal Revenue Service to investigate whether Mr. Obama is a candidate as defined in Section 9002 by requesting a copy of Mr. Obama’s birth certificate. If Mr. Obama produces a certified, stamped copy of the original birth certificate with all information visible, I request as the complainant to see that document in person to examine its authenticity, including electronically, before the IRS finalizes its response; and the opportunity to verify the authenticity with the issuing state official. This process should require no more than two business days, and may take place in at the Treasury Department office in Washington.

If the certificate is not produced in 10 days and verified by the IRS and myself within another 5 days, this complaint requests that the IRS make public its determination that Mr. Obama is not a candidate as defined in section 9002.

I ask for expedited formal response and resolution of this request, given that the national convention furthering the candidacy will occur in two weeks, and given that this document is easy to produce upon personal request of Mr. Obama to the Hawaii state government. Please note the IRS can request it directly, as qualifying under Hawaii Revised Statutes § 338-18 has having “a direct and tangible interest in the record.”

This request is made with the utmost respect for the presidential election process and the candidates involved, in the desire to resolve this question quickly and confirm their integrity. If a similar request is appropriate to be made to all presidential candidates by the IRS it must not slow down this specific request. Please respond by email to:


Mitchell Langbert

Cc: The Honorable Henry M. Paulson, Secretary of the Treasury

Letter To Congressman Maurice Hinchey Requesting Investigation of Barack Obama

PO Box 130
West Shokan, New York 12494

The Honorable Maurice Hinchey
United States House of Representatives
Washington, D.C. 20515
By FAX and e-mail

August 14 , 2008

Dear Representative Hinchey:

I would like to request your help to ascertain the qualifications of one of the presidential candidates for the office of president of the United States under the Constitution of the United States. Significant questions have been raised about the authenticity of the birth certificate for Barack Obama by document experts, for the image posted by his campaign as his official birth certificate on his website and on Daily Kos. The image errors are discussed at On the Obama campaign website, the campaign blacked out the certificate number with no explanation.

These questions have raised doubt in my mind, and that of many other U.S. citizens, on two points:

A) Is Barack Obama qualified for the candidacy under Article Two, Section 1 of the Constitution with regards to being a natural born citizen, i.e. is there a valid birth certificate?

B) Has Barack Obama misrepresented his birth certificate to the American public on his website, apart from the veracity of the original document?

The first question is a legal question on Obama’s qualification to become president, apart from politics, and must be resolved before the election. The second is a subjective issue, but is so directly tied to the first that it should be included in the inquiries requested below.

The first question above applies to all candidates, and I would welcome extension of the inquiries requested below to all candidates registered with the Federal Election Commission should you or the recipients decide.

As your constituent and a registered voter, I am requesting you to take the following actions immediately:

Your investigation of these questions:

1) Send an official letter to Barack Obama transmitting your constituent’s concern, and requesting a review of an original, stamped and certified copy of the birth certificate.

2) Send an official request to the Hawaii Secretary of State to produce, verify, and provide for review an independent official copy of the birth certificate, stamped and certified as per normal state procedure. Please note you can request Mr. Obama's birth certificate directly, as qualifying under Hawaii Revised Statutes § 338-18 has having “a direct and tangible interest" in the record, and as a superdelegate to the Democratic National Convention this month, you have a clear legal interest in knowing if he is a valid candidate.

3) Introduce legislation requiring candidates in the future to present evidence to the Federal Election Commission proving they meet the requirements of the Constitution for the federal office they are seeking, upon initial registration and that all candidates for federal office must present valid identification including a brith certificate and that they be fingerprinted and that the identification information be publicly available. They should also sign an oath that they meet the requirements, as we do in many parts of our daily lives. This would apply to presidential candidates, senators, and representatives. The citizens of the United States should not have to pursue these questions in a partisan atmosphere, on an ad hoc basis, when they are required by the Constitution.

An investigation by the Federal Elections Commission:

3) Send a letter to the Federal Election Commissions requesting they investigate the first question (A): is Barack Obama a citizen. If the FEC responds they do not have jurisdiction, please require them to indicate who, in their official view, has jurisdiction to enforce that section of the Constitution for candidates.

An investigation by the Committee on House Administration:

4) Send a letter to the committee of U.S. House of Representatives with oversight responsibility for U.S. election integrity, the Committee on House Administration, presenting these concerns in the Appendix and requesting a formal investigation and oversight hearings to determine the truth about this presidential candidate’s qualifications. Again, these questions may be asked of all registered candidates.

Resolving this question is of the utmost importance to the government of our country, and is extremely time-sensitive since the Democratic National Convention is is this month, and the national election is less than three months away. I understand this is a major request, but it may determine who is the next president of the United States, so I ask your utmost urgency and attention to this letter. This will help the elections in the future as well.

Please feel free to contact me at or XXX-XXX-XXXX.


Mitchell Langbert

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Dave Argues For Obama, I respond

I received this e-mail from Dave, and I respond.

Dave writes:

>"You do realize that McCain was born in Panama and was not elligible to become President until Obama and Clinton co-sponsored legislation to close the loophole that stated that the President of the United States MUST BE BORN IN THE UNITED STATES. A military base in Panama is not technically the United States, but Obama was gracious enough to sponsor legislation to give McCain relief from that very real issue. On McCain's side of the fence, we have people deliberately manufacturing falsehoods to discredit Obama. It is obvious who occupies the high ground in this. One of many examples."

I respond:

>The constitution says that you have to be a natural born citizen to be president. I am not an attorney and have no opinion. Please be aware, however, that no law can modify the constitutional requirement, hence your claim that Mr. Obama sponsored regulation modifying the constitutional requirement is inaccurate. This question cannot be answered or modified by Congress unless there is an amendment to the Constitution. It must be answered by the Supreme Court.

I am not excactly on "McCain's side of the fence". There is currently a case brought by Democrats questioning McCain's eligibility to be president, which is fine. The definition of "natural born citizen" is open to debate, but I have read two articles that argue it is a matter of allegiance, not place of birth, based on how the phrase "natural born citizen" was defined in 1790 law and also phraseology of the XIVth amendment in 1869. I do not think that Obama should not be eligible to run. I simply ask that he come clean and make documents public that allegedly have been forged and publicly put on his website. He should authorize the state of Hawaii to make the birth certificate available to all to clear up the matter. The Board of Elections ought to monitor candidates' identity by requiring not only birth certificates but also finger printing of all candidates. McCain and Obama shoul d be treated just like all other candidates. In an age of identity theft, allowing candidates to run without collecting ID information is irresponsible.

Mr. Obama would be occupying the high ground if he made his birth certificate available to the public. If so, this issue would be done. Of course, there is still the matter of his repeated lying in his book, his manipulative behavior toward Alice Palmer, his lying about his religion, the association with radical hate mongers like Jeremiah Wright and kookie radicals like Bill Ayers.

Bill and Hillary Clinton at the Emerson Resort and Spa

I exercise at an exclusive hotel in the Catskills, about 15 minutes from my home, called the Emerson Resort and Spa. Dean Gitter, a visionary entrepreneur who aims to turn the central Catskills into a gaming center, developed the hotel. It is truly a pleasure to be able to work out in a world class hotel, which boasts a beautiful spa as well as a first class gym. The pleasure is enhanced by the Emerson's generosity in extending reduced rates to the good people of the Woodstock-Pine Hill region in the east-central Catskill Mountains.

On Tuesday I was working out at about 5:00 pm and was the only one in the gym. This is part of the joy of being a professor in August. The door opened and I spied someone who looked like Hillary Clinton. The door opened further and Bill Clinton stuck his head in the door. I said "hi" and he did not really respond. About 1/2 hour later as I was nearing the end of my nautilus circuit a secret service agent came in and looked over the weights. About a dozen secret service agents were standing in the lobby when I left.

I did not blog about this until Thursday morning as I did not want to disturb the Emerson's confidentiality. The Catskills badly need exposure of this kind.

I did not get a chance to speak to Bill Clinton, and I have thought for two days what I would have said if I did. This is it. America's relationship with China has not been adequately managed. There will be a serious danger of a nuclear war in the 22nd century. I do not know this for certain, nor does anyone else know or not know. But it is more than a slim chance.

In 2007 Business Network (bnet) quoted former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger (Kissinger was Secretary of State under President Richard M. Nixon.):

''The center of gravity of the world is moving from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The key countries of the world are mostly located in Asia, or will be in the next 50 years,'' he said in a speech about future Sino-U.S. relations.

"When the center of gravity moves from one region to another and another country suddenly becomes very powerful, what history teaches us is that conflict is inevitable," he added.

The country Kissinger is describing is China. Because of today's important concerns about the Middle East and terrorism, the management of the Chinese relationship has been overlooked. The current Olympics highlights Chinese growth.

Kissinger adds concerning Chinese growth:

"There is nothing we can do about it, there is nothing we can do to prevent it, there is nothing we should do to prevent it."

I am fairly good at timing the stock market, and not too many people can say that. Dr. Kissinger has a point. I cannot prove it, but I do believe that there is a risk of nuclear war with China in the 22nd century IF we do not begin to manage the relationship with China more intelligently.

I would have urged President Clinton to make use of contact that he has with Chinese officials to educate them as to the advantage of the path of economic growth, free trade, and peace. The country that innovates fastest is the one that shows that it is best, not the country that displays the greatest military power. David Ricardo offers the Chinese a model that they have not contemplated sufficiently in their history.

President Clinton, please tell the Chinese leadership that a path of freedom, free trade and intellectual expression, as opposed to government control of "salt and iron" and military power, will prove Chinese excellence. I am certain that Mr. Clinton will have the opportunity to interact with high-level Chinese officials in the coming years. He can make an incalculable contribution to America's future by helping the Chinese to conceptualize the path to ascendancy.

Pamela Geller's Old News About Barack Obama's Religion

Pamela Geller of Atlas Shrugs blogs that she noted in 2007 that:

>"Barack Hussein Obama was registered under the name "Barry Soetoro" serial number 203 and entered the Franciscan Asisi Primary School on 1 January 1968 and sat in class 1B.

"School documents listed Barry Soetoro as an Indonesian citizen born in Honolulu, Hawaii on 4 August 1961. Barry's religion was listed as Islam. School documents further record Barry's father as "L Soetoro Ma" who worked as an official of the Director General's office in the TNI Topography division of the Indonesian Army. Classmate Rony Amir describes a young Barry Soetoro as enjoying playing football and marbles and of being a very devout Muslim.

"Barry was previously quite religious in Islam. His birth father, Barack Hussein Obama was a Muslim economist from Kenya. Before marrying Ann Dunham, Hussein Obama was married to a woman from Kenya who had seven children. All the relatives of Barry's father were very devout Muslims"

"We previously often asked him to the prayer room close to the house." If he was wearing a sarong he looked funny , said Rony Amir, Barry's classmate when he lived on H Ramli street in Menteng, Jakarta."

"Just for knowing, its not news. It's old news. Very old. I posted it on it January 18, 2007

and hereand...

This story also broke on Frontpagemag on January 27, 2007.

Read the rest of Pamela's brilliant blog here.

Why is the mainstream media lying about this? For Pamela it is old news, for the rest of us it is a mystery wrapped in an enigma.

Is Barack Obama a Sociopath? Part II

Bob Robbins just forwarded this link to Ed Morrissey's article "Obama's Fine Print On Convention Speech Tickets", and Morrissey links to this Denver News article . These articles relate to my post earlier this evening, Is Barack Obama a Sociopath? Ask Alice Palmer in that it reveals a manipulative pattern associated with anti-social disregard for the law. The sociopathic personality lacks a conscience. Hence, a range of abusive, manipulative and conscienceless behaviors occur.

The Morrissey article describes yet another lie by the Obama campaign combined with the exercise of coercive power over volunteers eager to see B.O.'s acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. Morrisey speculates whether Mr. Obama's campaign has violated federal campaign financing regulations in that Mr. Obama has demanded donations of time in exchange for tickets without reporting the contributions. Moreover, Mr. Obama claimed that his acceptance speech would be outside so that all could come. But he is now extracting work hours from his supporters in exchange for tickets:

"Christensen said she too is excited, but a part of her believes the process for signing up was disingenuous. "I mean they made it seem like any Coloradan could go, and now you have to work for your ticket."

Apparently, Mr. Obama has not waited until his election to institute ineffective, bureaucratic rules and regulations to govern his followers' lives:

"I went to the Campaign for Change office last Friday evening to earn three hours of credit toward my "All Star Credentials," and it was nothing but confusion. I went to one meeting where I thought I would earn my volunteer credit, and learned that I had gone to the wrong meeting and had not earned credit. When I told the volunteer coordinator how unhappy I was about spending my evening at the campaign office for nothing, she had nothing to say -- not even an apology for the confusion. It is utter disarray in that office and they have alienated me as a volunteer."

Morrissey adds:

"Even without the campaign-finance issues, this looks very much like a bait-and-switch by Obama. The entire point of the Invesco address was to welcome everyone for free..Like most of Obama’s plans, nothing is free. We’ll pay one way or the other for every supposed giveaway in his policies. And in the end, he wants everyone working for him, while tossing hosannas at his feet and giving him the best optics he can possibly get."

As well, Mr. Obama reveals a repeated pattern of deception and lying. This pattern is characteristic of the sociopathic personality. Sociopaths often prefer to lie over telling the truth. Mr. Obama's secretive response to inquiries about his birth certificate also fit.

Orenstein and de Russy Blog on Obama Birth Certificate Mystery

Mr. Obama still fails to respond to two letters I have sent him asking him to come clean and send a letter to the State of Hawaii permitting all Americans to view his birth certificate. I would think that he would be eager to clear the air about this silly little question, yet for some reason he does not respond. Can he change?

Two friends, Phil Orenstein and Candace de Russy, blog on Democracy Project about B.O.'s birth certificate mystery. De Russy asks:

"If all of the discussion about Barack Obama’s birth certificate is hot air, why in the world doesn’t Obama simply end the buzz by handing over a physical copy of his true birth certificate?"

Orenstein argues:

"It is important to look into this because Barack Obama has purportedly deceived the public regarding his true identity and dual citizenship. He may still be a citizen of Indonesia or not. But naysayers and those who argue that this is not a substantive issue miss the point."

Orenstein astutely analyzes the question of whether Republicans should continue to ask questions prior to the Democratic National Convention. As he notes, I believe that all Americans must always ask questions. We cannot rely on the mainstream media, which has proven itself incompetent to serve as analyst and gatekeeper of information. The mainstream media has become a mark-media, "mark" referring to the subject of a confidence scheme.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Is Barack Obama a Sociopath? Ask Alice Palmer

Lisa has forwarded an interesting article by Rhonda Schwartz in the Chicago Sun Times:

"Lynn Sweet, the savvy Chicago political columnist who's been tracking Obama's rise, called into question Obama's use of composite characters and made-up names in his highly praised autobiography...

"I was dismayed," wrote Sweet, "at what I found when I read Dreams from My Father. Composite characters. Changed names...Except for public figures and his family, it is impossible to know who is real and who is not...As Sweet noted in her article, in the introduction of the book, Obama does disclose to his readers the use of composite characters " 'for the sake of compression'..."

"...When reached by ABC News today, a spokesman for Sen. Obama first tried to find out if the Chicago Sun-Times story was being "pitched" to ABC by a rival campaign, and after being told that was not the case, the spokesman declined to comment for the record. "It was a non-story then, and it's a non-story now. Let the book speak for itself," he said.

Read the whole article here.

When I first heard of Mr. Obama and saw him on television, my first impression was that he is a sociopath, and I blogged about this two months ago. I am not a psychologist, but I have had dealings with sociopaths in business and have looked up a few points. A sociopath is someone who lacks a conscience. Most typically, sociopaths are characterized by anti-social personality disorder, and prefer to live unconventionally. Most do not function at high levels in large organizations because their behavior raises flags before they advance very far. However, there are sociopaths who are intelligent, as is Mr. Obama, who can cloak their impulses and fool others. Politics does not provide as rigorous vetting as does a corporate job. As well, politicians ordinarily exhibit characteristics of sociopaths such as the ability to lie without remorse.

Ms. Sweet notes that Mr. Obama lied frequently in his book. Others have described Mr. Obama as manipulative and vicious with respect to opponents. Despite its functioning primarily as a publicity agent for B.O., CNN points out that Mr. Obama has repeatedly utilized election rules rather than the democratic process to win elections:

>"As a community organizer, he had helped register thousands of voters. But when it came time to run for office, he employed Chicago rules to invalidate the voting petition signatures of three of his challengers.

"The move denied each of them, including incumbent Alice Palmer, a longtime Chicago activist, a place on the ballot. It cleared the way for Obama to run unopposed on the Democratic ticket in a heavily Democrat district."

Besides the willingness to repeatedly lie, manipulate and behave viciously in order to achieve his goals, Mr. Obama has some additional sociopathic characteristics. Sociopaths are often charming and attractive. They are frequently able to induce others to trust them, to make investments or take risks others would not normally take. In Chuck Whitlock's fascinating book, Scam School, Whitlock gives example after example: a minister who convinces an elderly woman to give him her home, a man who marries women in order to extract a large sum and then disappears, a woman who murdered elderly male borders for their social security checks, a man who used a ponzi scheme to convince others to invest in spurious investments, and on and on. I have met people like this on serveral occasions. They appear to be creative, charming, often attractive, charismatic. Hitler might have been one. So might Obama. The use of a vacuous campaign slogan, "change", the ability to attract mindless, fanatic followers like Ray who posts on this blog, the ability to attract the (admittedly vapid) mainstream media, are all consistent with the hypothesis that Mr. Obama is a sociopath.

>Lisa writes:

Dear Mr. Langbert,

I tried to reply to ray but I forgot my pass word. I guess its best not to reply...he is a troll who tells discouraging things.

Whoopie!!! FEC Petition is up to 4,703 e-signatures! We don't need to tell Ray about this. He can stay under the bridge.

If Obama concealed his Barry Soetoro's persona from the public wouldn't he have re-write his autobiography?
His autobiography is based on fictional people including himself.

Have a good day,


Lisa Illinois

Barack Obama--Candidate of Hate

An individual with a hotmail account in the name of Trudi Elias (True the Alias?) has written me a hate e-mail. I am not the first to receive vicious, violent e-mails, letters and phone calls from Barack Obama's supporters. Mr. Obama's campaign in the Democratic primary emphasized his interest in uniting the nation through "change". But his supporters have repeatedly threatened those who have questioned him, subjecting any who dissent to humiliating and invasive attacks. Why are the supporters of a candidate who claims to be for "change" so imbued with the spirit of hate?

Socialism claims to be a doctrine that unites society. Socialists argue that society is an organism, and each part affects the others. We are motivated by love to help our neighbor. But if his neighbor disagrees with his love, like a spurned lover, the socialist's love of neighbor turns into hate. An organic society is impossible if, as Hitler called Jews, a virus is present. Socialists view those who dissent as alien or viral. Socialism has resulted in more murder than any other doctrine in the history of the world. Stalinism, Castroism, Pol Potism, Hitlerism, Maoism have resulted in human butchery without parallel. All in the name of love, of neighbor, of change. Pragmatists like John Dewey who advocate "democratic socialism" repeatedly looked the other way as socialists murdered millions. Dewey is as culpable as any Stalinist for his repeated obfuscation and excuse-making for totalitarianism.

Mr. Obama runs in the socialist tradition. Hitler and Dewey, too, advocated change. The emotion of enforced love, of collectivism, rapidly transmutes into hate. Those who advocate "organic" societies, feudalism, mercantilism, socialism, who would enforce "love", inevitably hate those who disagree. Organic societies lead to oppression, suppression and hate.

Mr. Obama is the most social democratic Senator. His supporters have been imbued with beliefs that mirror those that preceded Hitler: Bismarckian social democracy and Marxian socialism. These philosophies have led to hate.

Mr. Obama's followers are filled with hate because they oppose human nature. They would replace achievement with theft and taxation; tolerance with enforced political correctness; open mindedness with obsessed, hate-filled commitment to Mr. Obama's cult and his philosophy of change.

Trudi Elias is a true bigot, Like a hooded Klansman, Elias lacks the courage to state his or her real name, hiding before the hood of an alias. Like hooded Klansmen, Mr. Obama's followers would lynch all who disagree.

Letter from KD

The petition asking the Federal Elections Commission to take responsibility for investigating Barack H. Obama's birth certificates now has almost 4,800 signatures. If you haven't signed it yet, please consider doing so. It is located here. I intend to write to my Congressman, Senator, State Senator and State Assemblyman. In addition, I have written a freedom of information act request to the US State Department for copies of Mr. Obama's passport applications. As well, I have written to the FEC and to the New York State Board of Elections. None of these government agencies has responded except for the New York State Secretary of State, who e-mailed to inform me that the Board of Elections and not the Secretary of State is responsible. Readers, I urge you to make similar requests to your elected officials.

The problem of identity theft is a legitimate one in today's world. Many credit card holders find that unscrupulous individuals are able to adopt their identities and file for additional credit cards. There are numerous cases of sociopaths who pretend to be someone other than who they are. There is a man who has married several hundred women, stealing their assets and then moving on.

Is it inconceivable that there are elected officials around the country who are not who they claim? Is it unreasonable to ask our Federal Elections Commission, state boards of election and the United State Congress to require finger printing, id, birth certificates and other identifying information of our elected officials?

Why has Barack Obama refused to open the record in Hawaii? Is this kind of secrecy proper? Please consider contacting your representatives and request, no, demand, reform of the lackadaisical electoral system.

>Dear Mr. Langbert,

Did you get a response to your letter to the FEC yet? Have you sent a letter to your State Senator yet asking these same questions and demanding an investigation. I would be very interested to know. I am an independent voter. I have not yet decided whom I shall vote for and probably won't until the day I vote. I think that all voters who care about this should send letters to their Senators, via certified mail, and then post the letters and the responses on the net. That would light a fire under them. This is an election year.

I find this issue deeply disturbing, especially in light of all the insane "Obamamania" and the lack of media attention to this very fundamental issue. My major concern on this issue is can our country stand another political bruhaha if he gets elected and it turns out that he was not eligible, not to mention the total chaos that would follow. It is mind boggling. Our country does not need this now with everything else that is currently happening. This is a very serious issue for the American people. Thank you for writing your letter and have a nice day.

K. D.

Hate Mail From Obama Supporter

----- Original Message -----
From: Trudi Elias
Sent: Wednesday, August 13, 2008 5:28 AM
Subject: Obama

"No, I don't work for Tony Soprano, and, yes, I am an excellent expert witness." Yeah right!!1!!

But yes, I am sure you were dodgy in your past, and I bet if one investigates you we would come up with a whole load of crimes that you have commited. Don't start pretending you are clean, cause you are not and don't look at people's skin colour but what they can do. John McCain's parents originally came from Scotland in Europe why don't you vet him on that, o no we can't do that cause he is white and you are white too. DON'T BE A RACIST AND STOP YOUR SMEARS.

Received: from ([])
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From: Trudi Elias
Subject: Obama

William Appleman Williams's "Contours of American History" II

William Appleman Williams, The Contours of American History. Chicago: Quadrangle Paperbacks, 1961. 513 pages. Available new and used from starting at $2.16.

"While periodically overshadowed by more conservative groups, some combination of Progressives has guided American policy during most of the century irrespective of whether Republicans or Democrats have been in control of the national government."

---p. 390.

This is a great book. It reveals as much about the psychology of the left as it does about American history, and its narrative enlivens us to much about American history. The author is unabashedly ideological. He develops a brilliant argument using significant historical evidence. The book reminds me of something my philosophy professor, Elfie Stock Raymond, said when I was a senior at Sarah Lawrence College: Freud was like a bull in a china shop. He spoke the unspoken that everyone had known but had the good taste to avoid saying. Likewise, Williams makes explicit the elitist, mercantilist and ultimately authoritarian nature of the left's ideology. He does so by developing a history of the idea of mercantilism that begins with Shaftesbury and 17th century England and ends with what he calls the syndicalism of mid twentieth century political structure. The key theme of the book is that mercantilism is a preferable social arrangement to laissez-faire and that syndicalism is a sub-optimal manifestation of mercantilism that evolved from the reassertion of elitist corporate power at the end of the laissez-faire period in the 1890s. He writes about (p. 480)

"the functional and syndicalist fragmentation of American society (and hence its individual citizens) along technological and economic lines. The personal and public lives of Americans are defined by, and generally limited to, their specific functional role. To an amazing extent, they share very little on a daily basis beyond a common duty as consumers and a commitment to anti-communism. The persistent cliche of being 'caught in the rat race' dramatizes that alienation, as does the attempt to 'play it cool' in order to maintain some semblance of identity and integration."

He also argues (p. 480) that the "persistence of a frontier-expansionist outlook--a conception of the world and past American history--which holds that expansion or ('growth' as Walter Lippmann put it in 1960) offers the best way to resolve problems and to create or take advantage of opportunities as well as 'private property' and 'humanity'" have been consistent American themes.

Williams believes that America faces a problem because of fragmentation,factions or special interest groups, which has been discussed going back to Shaftesbury through Madison, Lincoln, the early twentieth century's National Civic Foundation and Bernard Baruch and on into late twentieth century economists like Mancur Olson.

Americans attempted to solve the problem of fragmentation in two conflicting ways. First, (p. 481) through de-emphasizing private property in favor of social property (i.e. mercantilism) and through the co-operative building of a community; second, through accepting private property and conceptualizing the idea of a commonwealth based, for example on Calvin's conception of "a corporate Christian commonwealth", "the practice of feudal noblesse oblige" and expansion.

He then states of Shaftesbury's mercantilist outlook (p. 482):

"That outlook on the world was and remained the essence of all class consciousness among upper-class groups in England and the United States from the age of Elizabeth I...Shaftesbury...tried to organize political affairs on the basis of parties which included men of all functional interests (or factions) who accepted a broad conception of the general welfare and the means to achieve it. By thus coming together as men who shared an ideal of community--a Utopia--they would be able to override the tendency of functional activity to fragment and divide them...Jonathan Edwards integrated its various themes perhaps more successfully and infused them with a more noble vision of Christian community than any English or American philosopher either before or after his time..."

Williams views the frontier or expansionist impulse as leading to irresponsibility (p. 483) : "the urge to escape the responsibility of that ideal of a corporate Christian commonwealth was powerful, persistent, and without regard for the direct and indirect costs of such flight...Americans proceeded in the space of two generations to substitute the Manifest Destiny of empire for the Christian Commonwealth of Jonathan Edwards."

But I would argue that, rather than individualism reflecting a flight from responsibility, it is mercantilism and collectivism that is a reaction to the anxiety and insecurity that self-reliance creates in the weak of heart. Jefferson made this point in one his letters, when he argued that in every generation there are the weak and timid or conservatives (i.e., those who follow Williams's corporatist view) and those who are robust or liberal, i.e., individualists. Those who are meek and fearful of challenge resort to the conservative-socialist-mercantilist view. Those who value humanity and respect the human spirit are individualists.

James Madison, argues Williams, offered expansion as the antidote for faction. "By making escape so easy (the continent) produced an unrestrained and anti-intellectual individualist democracy that almost destroyed any semblance of community and commonwealth" (p. 483).

But alas, it was in the laissez-faire period of the late nineteenth century that millions fled here from the corporatist butchers of Europe, and their descendants, advocates of European community like Adolf Hitler and Josef Stalin. God bless the individualism of America, and God save us from the academic cranks who cry for community while the blood of their murdered millions spews from their collectivist throats like vomit.

Williams starts by arguing that neither Martin Luther nor Calvin held that economic success reflected godliness (p. 37). This contradicts the sociological arguments of Weber and Reinhard Bendix that claim that American capitalism issued from Protestantism. There was a debate within Cromwell's army. Some argued that property rights should be limited by political and social welfare rights while others emphasized property rights to a greater degree. "The liberal tradition stems from the triumph of laissez-faire individualism over corporate Christianity. Marx and other socialists reasserted the validity of the original idea in response to the liberal heresy. That is indeed one of the basic explanations of socialism's persistent relevance and appeal in the 20th century." Economic uncertainty in the early 1500s led England's leaders to adopt a centrally planned, mercantilist approach. "Englishmen were henceforward to argue about who should control the central government but not to dispute the validity of the national state or its active role in society.

According to Williams, the four chief mercantilist ideas were (pp. 40-1):

1. The state was the institution for achieving wealth and welfare
2. Good planning and policies led to economic success
3. The state had an obligation to serve society by accepting and discharging the responsibility for the general welfare (by delegating economic responsibility to private concerns, much as Republicans frequently advocate privatization)
4. A win/lose psychology: the chief way to become wealthy was to take wealth from someone else, or to quote Marcus P. Cato "it behooves the husbandman to be a seller and not a buyer".

Thus, (p. 41) "beginning with Elizabeth and continuing for a century and a half, the mercantilists sought to accomplish five tasks: erect the framework of a political and economic system; modify, centralize and consolidate the older but still useful units of society; encourage and direct the development of a new political economy; balance that evolution; and expand the resulting system abroad...Thus, the Parliament of 1563 passed legislation encouraging food production, a relief measure for the poor, an act designed to improve the navy as a means of securing more wealth, tariff regulation, and an elaborate Statute of Artificers calculated to put the nation to work in a rational and balanced manner, and called for a concerted effort to diversify and expand overseas trade..."

and (p. 41) "Mercantilism's emphasis on corporate responsibility is dramatized by the Statute of Artificers (1563) and various Poor Laws enacted throughout the age. The legislation concerning artificers was an effort to create and sustain some balance...Wage rates (and their relationship to prices), migration within the country, terms and conditions of employment and the principle of a seven-year apprenticeship were all written into an integrated system enforced by the strengthened national government. Poor laws complemented this involved legislation by prohibiting begging, placing pauper children in apprenticeship, establishing a system of collecting and distributing alms among the aged and infirm, and putting the poor to work in special enterprises...these laws were predicated upon the idea that poverty, instead of being a personal sin, was a function of the economic system, and that the general welfare was the responsibility of government."

Pre-Revolutionary War Puritan religious leaders emphasized social responsibility. "All agreed that a specific calling was subordinate to the general welfare; even men who had several callings were to choose among them 'not for it selfe, but for the good of whole bodie.'"

Central to mercanitilism was colonization (p. 46). "Colonization was a fundamental part of the view that wealth had to be taken away from others and integrated into a self-sufficient empire....Thomas Mun...worked out a magnificent synthesis of the mercantilist Weltanschauung. 'The main to possess goods; if you have them you will get money. He that hath ware hat money by the year....the ordinary means therfore to increase our wealth and treasure is by foreign trade, wherein we must ever observe the rule to sell more to strangers yearly than we consume of their value...Behold then, the true form and worth of foreign trade, which is the great revenue of the King...the school of our arts, the supply of our wants, the employment of our poor, the improvement of our lands...the terror of our enemies.'"

Williams argues that secularization led to the replacement of the "Christian Commonwealth" aspect of mercantilism by individualism and emphasis on property rights.

Anthony Ashley Cooper, the first Earl of Shaftesbury led a fight against individualism and in favor of mercantilism. Samuel Fortrey warned "'Private advantages are often impediments of public profit'" (p. 53) and Shaftesbury added, "Where the merchant trades for a great deal of Profit, the nation loses.' Openly attacked in 1662 by a group of London merchants who complained that the new navigation system was destructive of his Majesty's trading subjects...He and other mercantilists saw the challenge to their program inherent in the power of the largest joint stock companies and trading corporations."

Williams notes that republicanism was grounded in feudalism (Williams is favorable to the reciprocal rights and responsibilities as part of feudalism; he ignores the routine abuses of power, Crusades, murder, etc. that characterized feudalism): "American leaders were not only conscious of this heritage of their own constitution but they understood that the theory that small states were both necessary and more desirable conflicted with the explicit emphasis on expansion in mercantilism."

Mercantilism, though, did not work (p. 69): "This decay of the standards and performance of mercantilism served to strengthen and invigorate the continuing battle for laissez-faire." But Williams argues that domestic laissez-faire in England was accompanied by intensification of imperialism with respect to the colonies (p. 69): "This shift from the mercantilist conception of empire toward an imperialistic outlook became increasingly apparent after 1715. English investments were protected by strict controls over colonial currency established in 1751 and through a law of 1731 which made colonial property legally forfeit for debts. Articles such as copper, furs and special forest products were added to the list of goods reserved for England..."

The debate between laissez-faire and mercantilism came to a head in two books: Adam Smith's Wealth of Nations (1776) for laissez-faire and Sir John Steuart's Principles of Political Oeconomy for mercantilism (1767). "The books were the final statements in an argument that lasted nearly twenty years."

(p. 70) "At the crucial juncture of the Restoration, Shaftesbury realized that mercantilism could develop in one of two ways. It could sustain the image and the ideal of society and the general welfare, or it could slide back into a narrower and ultimately extreme emphasis on group and personal interest. Shaftesbury held fast to the broader ideal. His protege, Locke, turned toward a hedonistic individualism."

(p. 71) "As with Shaftesbury and Locke, Steuart and Smith shared one crucial assumption: whatever the local or domestic means of achieving welfare, it could not be accomplished without an empire. The key difference lay in the view shared by Shaftesbury and Steuart that conscious, positive policies were necessary to sustain the reality of corporate mutual responsibility within society and to improve the general welfare. The four protagonists also agreed, however, that self-interest was the main engine of human action" but Steuart "was convinced...that the exchange economy of the capitalist system suffered from an inherent tendency to get out of balance. As it did so, it produced unemployment, political unrest and the probability of social revolution...Steuart's acceptance of the responsibility to provide food, other necessities and employment, not only for those who actually exist, but also for those who are to be brought into existence" dramatized his reassertion--contrary to Locke and Smith--of the moral imperative that had been so strong in early mercantilism and that Shaftesbury had labored so hard to reinvigorate and sustain...Entertaining no thought of total regulation and quite willing to give individuals a broad area for independent action, Steuart nevertheless insisted that welfare was the product of policy, not of Providence nor of the automatic workings of Newton's Great Clock..."

p. 73 "James Madison, the commanding mind of the American gentry and the sage of the Founding Fathers, ultimately adopted and then adapted the mercantilism of Steuart as the morality and the policy by which to transform the feeble colonial confederation into a mighty republican empire."

Williams does a good job of describing the authoritarianism inherent in mercantilism and the corporatist society (pp. 95-6):

"Devoted to the ideal of a corporate community guided by a strong moral sense (the Puritans) developed a great talent for misinterpreting any opposition. From the outset, for example, they were prone to view the Indians as agents of the Devil waiting to test their convictions...This propensity to place Evil outside their system not only distorted the Puritans' own doctrine, it inclined them toward a solution which involved the extension of their system over others. Here was a subtle convergence of religious and secular ideas, for mercantilism also emphasized the necessity as well as the desirability of expansion in economic and political affairs. It externalized secular evil by arguing that domestic poverty could in the last analysis be overcome only by taking wealth away from others...Embarking upon a campaign of righteous persuasion which often became outright intimidation, and upon a bloody trail of persecution, the church fathers punished the courageous, exiled the bold and terrified the timid...this horrible travesty on the ideal of a corporate community culminated some 20 years later in the witchcraft trials".

Nevertheless (p. 98) both Massachusetts and Virginia "each had an outlook rooted in a religious conception of the good society as a balanced corporate system originally shared by their Puritan and Anglican ancestors in England."

(p. 99) "But this early devotion to the corporate ideal was weakened as Massachusetts and the other colonies in New England extended their boundaries and their prosperity. Religion was not abandoned but the wealthy 'river gods' of the Connecticut Valley and the merchants of Salem, Boston and Providence gradually redefined the meaning of the crucial term, the elect. From signifying membership in Calvin's corporate religious community it came to mean the upper class of that society...Jonathan Edwards assaulted their outlook." Williams describes the Great Awakening: "In defining religious commitment as an affair of the heart, in considering that only God is worthy of worship, in placing high value on the intellect and on education, in valuing and respecting self-government, and in asserting that there were positive, pragmatic consequences of being sober, honest, responsible and willing to work--in all these respects Edwards was a man who left his life as a monument to the positive side of Puritanism."

The American revolutionaries were mostly mercantilists, not advocates of Adam Smith and laissez-faire. Samuel Adams (p. 111-12): "launched a determined campaign to establish a corporate Christian and mercantilist American empire. Like his allies in Virginia, Adams was thus a revolutionary without being radical. Some of Adams's counterparts in other colonies stressed an extension of popular government more heavily than he did, for example, but none challenged the assumptions of the existing order....The Boston Society for Encouraging Industry and Employing the Poor (a mercantilist title if ever there was one) established a spinning school in 1769. The New York Society for the promotion of the Arts, Agriculture and Oeconomy began to grant premiums for domestic production and apprenticeship schools in 1765...." The first Continental Congress set up price regulations and the Massachusetts legislature called for American manufactures (p. 115).

Williams argues that Americans picked up mercantilism just as the British were shifting to laissez-faire. "American leaders were very conscious of the crucial role played by imperial expansion in the mercantilist conception of the state". Thus, American expansion and emphasis on the American frontier is an offshoot of mercantilism."

p. 124 " And paper-money inflation, which won the support of some groups, had been the avowed program of one group of English mercantilists since at least the 1690s. By the end of the war, the states were passing navigation acts and protective tariffs and granting bounties and subsidies to special sectors of the economy."

p. 124 "(Robert) Morris rather than Alexander Hamilton was the central figure in the creation of this first quasi-public bank. Morris wanted the bank to 'exist for ages' since in his view the 'salvation of our country' in attaching many powerful individuals to the cause of our country by the strong principle of self-love and the immediate sense of private interest."

p. 126 John Jay was " an American mercantilist deeply concerned to remove the difficulties in the way of the nation's development."

In 1783 Virginia ceded its western frontier. p. 128 "The cession by Virginia of its lands was in many respects the apex of the small-state theory of republicanism in America. The finest practical statements of that political and economic outlook were the related 1783-84 proposals by Jefferson...As finally passed, the Ordinance of 1784 divided teh trans-Appalachian west into ten relatively large states...But while his market and social interests as a planter and his education as a physiocrat strongly inclined Jefferson toward small states and local self government dominated by a benevolent aristocracy, he either sensed or rapidly became aware of the dilemmas...Territorial expansion was one way to resolve such difficulties...he rapidly modified his practice along mercantilist lines..."

p. 131 "From the beginning, Jay and many other early American leaders saw the law and some supreme judicial institution as the secular cement that would replace a state religion in such a corporate society. On the other hand, Jay's deep Anglicanism undoubtedly lay behind that general view..."

p. 133 "The militancy and throughness of Monroe's mercantilism is difficult to exaggerate." Monroe saw "...the double dilemma of American mercantilism: how to reconcile the political commtiment to republicanism and representative government with the necessity of expansion and at the same time effect a compromise between the landed and commercial interests."

p. 138 "This recognition of the need to control the existing west whyile the east gained strength and cohesion--a combination tht would tehn generate further expansion--played an important role in the rapid growth of the movement for a more powerful central government.

p. 139 "John Adams also explained similar truths to Jeferson and, along with Madison, seems clearly to have given the future sage of Monticello an intensive course in mercantilism. For that matter, Adams was a vigorous instructor to the entire American seaboard"

p. 142 "Several other developments strengthened and accelerated this mercantilist drive toward a powerful central government empowered to co-ordinate the landed and commercial manufacturing interests in one system and at the same time expand it in all directions. One of these was the increasing activity in manufacturing and an associated agitation for government aid. John Adams had reported in 1780 that Europe was worried lest American 'become the greatest manufacturing country and thus ruin Europe. Though America had not even approached that strength by 1786, there was a great deal of interest and activity. And the corporation, as a modification of the old joint-stock company, had already appeared as a means of solving the problems of capital accumulation and organization."

p. 144 "As had been the case with Shaftesbury at the time of the Restoration in England, many American mercantilists in the circumstances of 1786 began to be seriously worried that the strife between factions would combine with the particularism of the states to destroy the government and lead to a voluntary or forced return to some kind of colonial status."

p. 145 "As he awaited the meeting which had finally been arranged for at Annapolis, Madison began to grapple with the central dilemma posed by the contradiction between the expansionism of mercantilism and (of economic interest) and the political theory which asserted that republicanism could work only in a small state. He concluded that the existing low ratio between population and land would prevent lower-class rebellion or aristocratic tyranny for some years."

p. 160 "Madison ultimately realized that a crisis would occur when and if the citizen ceased to have significant leverage on the political economy. This happened in fact as the corporation replaced the individual in the narrow economic sense and subsumed the state as the elemnt of social decision-making in the broader sense. While he did not foresee that particular form which the crisis was to take, Madison did recognize two other dangers. Conflict was inherent in a feudal system of organization. 'And what,' he asked rehtorically, 'has been the progress and event of the feudal Constitution? In all of them a continual struggle between the head and hte inferior members, until a final victory has been gained in some instances by one, in others, by the other of them.'...Madison resolved both difficulties by standing feudal theory on its head. He simply asserted that a large state would weaken the influence of faction..."

p. 164 "(Madison) called on April 8, 1789 for the construction of an independent, balanced political economy...He recommended a mercantilist system to protect commerce, to sustain and extend the 'rapid advances in manufacturing' through duties running p to 50 per cent to rpvoide a revenue for the government, and to secure the fisheries, because they were 'perhaps the best nurseries for seamen of any employment...He even wanted a duty on beer that 'would be such encouragement as to induce the manufacture to take deep root in every state in the Union."

p. 164 "Tench Coxe, a leading political economist of his day, was agitating for a program to foster and encourage but not to force manufactures as a way of binding the north and south together and guaranteeing a prosperous influence."

Williams makes the interesting argument that Hamilton opposed the development of manufacturing in favor of banking and developing a trade relationship with Great Britain. (p. 164-5): "Despite their awareness that Hamilton's methods of centralizing the debts immediately favored the mercantile and banking factions, Madison and other mercantilists, and even some of the narrow agrarians, were willing to contribute this extra subsidy to the north because they realized teh necessity and the broader benefits of the actions...Madison also opposed Hamilton's Bank of the United States because he was not convinced that it was necessary...But both men feared that such a bank, managed as it would be by private entrepreneurs, would exert a preponderant influence on the economy and thereby usurp part of the effective power of the people and the government...In the matter of manufactures, however, Hamilton has received far more repute than he deserves. He never revealed, either in the famous report on the subject or in his other actions, the kind of support for American manufacturing with which he is credited or which might be expected of an American mercantilist."

p. 168 Jefferson's "Report on Commercial Privileges and Restrictions" of December 16, 1793 reflected Jefferson's move toward mercantilism.

p. 187 In the early 19th century , government assistance to business had become widely accepted. "South Carolina, for example, passed a typical law in 1808 for 'the establishment and encouragement' of manufactures. Pennsylvania helped finance various enterprises, granted cash subsidies to others, and proclaimed 'the duty and interest of all governments to prevent fraud, and promote the interests of just and useful commerce.' A typical writer in Massachusetts thought it 'manifestly erroneous' that people 'are the judges of their interests, and consequently should be allowed to regulate them unobstructed.' Such laissez faire was 'subsersive to the end and aim of all governments.' As the governor pointed out in 1809, the state had accepted the responsibility of 'making and executing just and practicable laws of inspection on manufactured articles.' John Adams summarzied the situation accurately in his comment that democrats and aritocrats all unite on the basic axioms of mercantilism. National debate centered on four issues: internal improvements, banking and monetary policy, commercial discrimination and aid to manufactures...Both of these, internal improvements and national finance, became the principal concern of Albert Gallatin. A vigorous defender of civil and religious liberties and a strong advocate of an educational system, since his service in the Pennsylvania legislature during the 1790s...His plan was simple: use the receipts from land sales to promote economic development, and then sustain, control and balance it through assistance to manufactures and by a national finance system. Gallatin's masterpiece was his majestic report of April 8, 1808 on a national transportation and communications network designed to strengthen the sense and reality of community...He proposed four main avenues: coastwise from Maine to Georgia, across the mountains through New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia into Kentucky and Tennessee; across the four mathor isthmian blocks; and into the Great Lakes region. Two years later, in 1810, he reported on manufactures. Stressing their vital importance to balanced growth and independence, he recommended a program of cash subsidies and other government aid to accelerate their development. But, as he realized, the long range solution would be provided by an expanding home market stable enough to encourage large investment, and by the establishment of economic independence vis-a-vis England's superior industrial system"

p. 189 "Jefferson accepted teh principle of such internal improvements, emphasizing education as well as canals, but he raised the issue of constitutionality. So did Madison, who feared that such a plan would unbalance his feudal system of republics. Both men put their case directly: if the Congress undertook a ten-year plan of the magnitude and with the consequences inherent in Galltain's program...then a process of interpreting the constitution would have started that could end only in monarchy or some other form of tyranny."

p. 190 Jefferson "worried lest the bank in time become an institution that cut across all regional and political lines. Doing so, he reasoned, it would subvert the authority of the states and hence replace or override them as an institution in the political economy. It would do so moreover, outside the constitutional framework. This would not only recast the entire balance of power that the constitution established, but the bank would effect the change as an institution which was not in any way directly responsible to the people. He feared the end result would be a kind of 'vassalage' imposed on both the individual and the government.

"...It was an astute analysis of the relationship between economic power and its social and political consequences, and our modern industrial corporations, together with the Federal Reserve Board itself have verified it."

p. 196. By 1816 Jefferson essentially gave up his "physiocratic dream": We must now place the manufacturer by the side of the agriculturalist"

p. 197 "Monroe concurred, stating flatly that since manufactures required the systematic and fostering care of the government, it was 'of great importance' to offer such assistance."

"Calhoun understood and admitted that ' what is necessary for the common good may apparently be opposed to the interest of particular sections.' But he insisted on the equity and the necessity of compromise...Probably no other American leader except John Quincy Adams looked so squarely into the central dilemma of mercantilism. And like Adams, Calhoun realized that the common good would give way to private interests and ambitions were the tension not controlled by everyman's commitment to the larger goal."

(p. 200) The second central bank was passed into law under President James Madison in 1816 and "their policy of loose credit helped bring on the panic and depression of 1819...Land speculation was literally fantastic." During the panic of 1819 "cotton prices were almost halved. People either left for the frontier or demanded help. Relief laws were passed throughout the west, and the entire country turned on the new bank as it tightened its credit...The bank became THE MONSTER..."

The panic of 1819 led to adoption of laissez-faire

Many, such as Monroe and Henry Clay continued to favor mercantilism.
"In four years the Adams administration spent almost as umuch on internal ipmrovements as had been allocated in the previous twenty-four. By 1826 the government was the largest single economic entrepreneur in the country" (P. 211)

Advocates of laissez faire included John Taylor of Caroline, President Martin van Buren, Senator Thomas Hart Benton and President Andrew Jackson.

p. 235 "Van Buren's operations in New York and Washington reveal and clarify the regional and national coalition between rising businessmen, yeoman farmers, southern planters and northern mechanics that is generally labeled 'Jacksonian Democracy'. It was an unstable alliance between a rising boureoisie on the make and a quasi-feudal landed aristocracy directed against the esbslished harbiners of an industrial order...Van Buren integrated teh mechanics and the aristocrats in a political machine (The Albany Regency) that was as autocratic and entralized as any the mercantilists ever organized...Van Buren's tie with eastern mechanics became even more important as manufacturing and commerce continued to institutionalize themselves in the factory and wholesaling systems centered in urban society

p. 305. Some examples of Whig/Republican government intervention during the Civil War period: "Having passed the tariff of 1864, given the farmer the Homestead Act of 1862 (along with formal representation in the government and educational aid) and subsidized the railroads, the radicals occupied the south and jammed through the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments...Financial leaders, on the other hand, were less enthusiastic about the radical policy of soft oney. Bankers did not like having the government in the money business, and had opposed the National Banking Act of 1862. Their gains from inflation were small. Along with a good many of the rising corporation industrialists, such financial spokesmen were likewise cool to any wholesale equality for the Nego; the other side of that attitude was a desire, particularly strong among New York merchants, to restore their prewar economic connections to the south...."

p. 307 "As should be apparent, the merchant-planter-store system involved the railraods and the monetary system in every transaction. Consequently one group of businessmen and farmers joined the financial interests in favoring a deflationary monetary policy: they concluded that inflation hurt them more than it helped. A similar coalition, led by radicals like Stevens and generally based on the expanding iron and steel industry, preferred to keep the wartime greenback paper money system and even to expand it. They argued vigorously that contraction would retard economic development ('Businessmen are hungry for money,') operate unfairly against everyone except bondholders, adn hurt domestic manufacturers by undercutting the tariff. Since the per-capita money supply had declined from $30.35 in 1865 to $17.51 in 1876, the argument had considerable relevance. But the vote in the Congress on contraction revealed that the west was almost evenly divided (36 yes to 35 no) and the combination of a good harvest and foreign-crop failures temporarily damped the farmer's insurgency."

Large scale railroads led to demands for regulation..."Georgia and California reacted to this serious problem in 1879 by establishing permanent commissions staffed by experts to keep a running check on the lines...By way of avlidating an Illinois regulatory law in the cqase of Munn v. Illinois (1877) Chief Justice Morrison R. Waite explicitly invoked mercantilist precedents. citing the English common law as enunciated by Lord Chief Justice Hale during the period of Shaftesbury' influence in the 1670s, and examples taken from the era of Madison and Monroe, Waite reassertedthe principle tht 'property does become clothed with a public interest when used in a manner to make of it public consequence, and affect the community at large.' He also reiterated a cardinal principle that had been vigorously defended by Madison and Marshall. 'For protection against abuses by legislatures, the people must resort to the polls, not to the courts.'"

p. 325 In the late 19th century "the bulk of economic activity was carried on by small-to-medium-sized apitalists whose businesses were undramatic and even unimportant when considered individually. But they were often the first to introduce and perfect key innovations (as the refinement of iron into steel) which were then taken over by the big operators who proceeded to put many of the real innovators out of business. Most of them died unknown and have remained so, yet they carried the burden of industrialization and commercial development. hey also applied the principles of the laissez-faire market place to sports, as with baseball and prizefighting. This processing of games into enterprises was in some respects the classic proof of the triumph of business in America...The undeniable achievement of the laissez-faire entrepreneur, from Carnegie to the Wyoming dry goods merchant, is that he sustained the momentum of economic development through a long-wave depression (and an era of steadily falling prices) that lasted from 1873 to 1898. Up to 1893 at any rate, per capita income, real wages and gross national product all continued to increase. That tremendou surge of industrial strength changed the face, the food and the ideas of America and provoked serious re-evaluations of diplomacy in European and Asian capitals. It also extracted a terri ble cost in death and physical injury in psychic and emotional wounds, and a process of moral leaching that carried away a great amount of American idealism..."

p. 328 "Justice Stephen Johnson Field's strategy was to define the market place as a national rather than a state problem and then insist that the due process clause of the 14th amendment gave the Supreme Court the power and the duty to review all restrictions on private property. That meant that the market place of the system would remain one unit instead of becoming a wild and uneconomic conglomeration of many different (state) market places. It also meant that regulation would be milder because of the weaker position of the reformers in Congress. His first victory came when the New York high court accepted his dissenting argument against Jutice Waite in the Munn case as its majority view. In a test (In re Jacobs, 1885) of the state's right to regulate the atrocious conditions of cigar manufacturing, New York judges explicitly raised the specterof a return to mercantilist doctrine on social property. Such ideas--'from those ages when governmentl prefects supervised the rate of wages, the price of food, and a large range of other affairs'--were declared archaic. WThey disturbed the 'normal adjustments' of the market place, and also violated the due process clause which protected 'personal liberty' and private property...During the next two years, moreover, even Waite agreed that the 'right of continuous transportation from one end of the country to the other is essential' and admitted that the corporaton was entitled to 'equal protection' as an individual under the due process clause. Field's triumph was announced by his ideological colleague, Justice Rufus W. Peckham, in 1889, with a direct reference to Waite's earlier citation of Eglish mercantilist law: 'no reason exists for...[going] back to the seventeenth or eighteenth century ideas of paternal government.' It was further consolidated in 1897 in the Allgeyer v. Louisiana case, when the court stressed the right of the citizen to be free in the enjoyment of all his faculties' and tied the principle to the 'pursuit of happiness' clause in the Declaration of Independence.'"

The fallacy of confusing expansion with economic advance was characteristic of the 19th century, and we carry that error forward today. The repeated complaints about depression in the late nineteenth century despite massive immigration, increasing real wages and mild unemployment suggest a deeper psychological problem. "President Rutherford Hayes expalined in 1877 the long commercial depression...directed attention to the subject in a concerted manner. For that matter, some entreprenuers had already been talking to Grant's Secreaty of State Hamilton Fish about foreign policy as a way to 'relieve business distress'...Persistently reminded of the importance of expansion and the necessity of government assistance by such men as Charles Dalton of the textile industry and HK Slayton, a dry goods merchant, Senator John T. Morgan spoke for a growing consensus of congressmen as early as 1882. 'Our home market is not equal to the demands of our producing and manufacturing clases and to the capital which is seeking employment...we must enlarge the field of our traffic..." (p. 338)

Countries like India were viewed as targets. "Viewing the Navy as the key to such expansion, Congress began to debate a large construction program and in 1884 established the Naval War College. Senator John F. Miller of California, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relatins Committee, provided a neat summary of the outlook. 'The time has come markets are necessary to be found in order to keep our factories running. Here lies to the sout of us our India...If we reach out and attempt to secure this great prize of commerce we shall excite the jealousy of other peoples..."

Williams' treatment of the gilded age transformation of individual entrepreneurship and small business to corporate enterprise and big business is characteristic of the naive assumptions of traditional, left-wing historians. He emphasizes the importance of the emphasis on planning. He writes (p. 356):

"It is almost impossible to overemphasize the importance of the very general yet dynamic and powerful--concept that the country faced a fateful choice between order and chaos. Not only did it guide men in the 1890s; it persisted through World War I, the Great Depression, World War II and emerged more persuasive than ever in 1943-44 to guide the entire approach to postwar opportunities and problmes. Only the anarchists and a few doctrinaire laissez-faire spokesmen seemed willing to accept the possibility of chaos. Arguing that it was both necessary and possible, most americans reformulated and reasserted their traditional confidence in their ability to choose and control their fate...But given a consensus on the sanctity of private property and confronted by the increasingly obvious failure of laissez faire, this faith could be verified only by controlling the market place..."

The problem for Williams is that he never produces evidence that laissez faire had failed.

McKinley and Roosevelt both made steps to accomodate the new corporatist orientation.

"Granting the assumptions of the system, Roosevelt most certainlyh dealt with these difficulties from the most relevant and potentially most successful point of view. His conception of leadership derived from the agrarian gentry, a group that had wielded power in an earlier society also characterized by consolidated economic power (in land) and by a similar vast and interrelated network of authority, influence and responsibility. Hanna understood the modern industrial system based on centralized power in the corporation, but lacked the tradition of class-conscious leadership...Roosevelt did not fully comprehend the industrial system, but he did have the image and ideal of class-conscious leadership."

In other words, in response to complaints by subsidized big businesses that their profits were too low, Williams argues for the reinstitution of feudealism headed by Lord Roosevelt and his inept entourage of corporate planners headed by Lieutenant Hanna.

p. 382. "Bankers and their lawyer spokesmen revealed a strikingly firm conception of a benevolent feudal approach to the firm and its workers. Both were to be dominated and co-ordinated from the central office. In that vein, they were willing to extend--to provide in the manner of traditional beneficence--such things as new housing, old age pensions, death payments, wage and job scheduules and bureaus charged with responsibility for welfare, safety and sanitation. Though he was not the most sophisticated of the industrialists, Charles M. Schwab of Bethlehem Steel revealed the essentials of a different outlook at an early date. Concluding from the Homestead Strike that labor "had som erights, whether others were willing to recognize it or not," Schwab also understood the necessity of making periodic, on-the-spot accomodations wtih labor in order to maintain steady production. Financiers, he complained, were always ready to treat thre men fairly as individuals and give them good liberal wages, but they did not grasp the value of unions either to the laborer or to the corporation itself."

pp. 384-6 Williams argues that syndicalism is how the American system developed. Under syndicalism, functions determine representation. "Political representation should arise within each segment and be coordinated at the top in the national governmetn. Individuals would thus participate in the relevant decisions and at the same time enjoy a sense of community and purpose within their particular group that would replace the alienation of an individual lost in a highly organized society...Herbert Hoover was the crucialfigure in the evolution of the approach. Describing society as composed of three major groups--labor, capital and the government--he struggled to balance and control the units so that they would not drive the system toward fascism (business control), socialism (labor dominance) or the tyranny of bureaucratic government. All such men, from Theodore Roosevelt through Hoover and later theorists, recognized that the central problem was to find som eideal that would generate the self-discipline an dpublic spirit essential to maintaining equity...As a basic component of both the fascist movement in Italy and the hard core of National Socialism in Germany, syndicalism provided the leaders of both parties and coutnries with many of their central ideas and programs. Since they rsorted to terror in establishing and maintaining th eapproach, and distorted it in other ways, the essentiqal characteristics common to American and European syndicalism are generally missed or discounted."

p. 391 In the twentieth century "the functional-syndicalist organization of the economy led most political groups to play both sides of the street. Corporations, fo example contributed money and leaders to both parties.

p. 439 In discussing the New Deal Williams writes:

"Though its own leaders admitted that it lasted barely five years (1933-37) and though it ended with candid admissions of failure from its major protagonists, the New Deal is often viewed as a major turning point in American history. A bit more perspective suggeests that it represented a reaction to a severe crisis in which most of the elements, attitudes and policies of the Progressive movmeent were finally consolidated in one short period under the leadership of a particularly dramatic politician. The New Deal saved the system. It did not change it."

I question the claim that the new deal saved the system. Prove it. If it didn't work, then how did it save the system? Progressivism caused the depression, Progressive ideas did nothing to improve the situation.

p. 446-7 "In April 1937, in the case of the National Labor Relations Board v. the Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation, the Court upheld the Wagner Labor Act. By explicitly sanctioning unions because they were essential to give laborers opportunity to deal on an equality with the meployer, " chief Justice Hughes implicitly authorized the governmetn to intervene in the political economy to establish, maintain and institutionalize a rough kind of parity between the various functions...The Court's decisions upholding the Social Security Act and the State of Alabama's Unemployment Compensation Act were perhaps even more necessary to the functioning of that system. Holding that social security deductions were justified as an excise tax, and further in being used fo rthe general welfare, the judges underwrote that approach to old age and retirement benefits. The court went even further in the Alabama case. For in that instance the plaintiff charged that the taxes returned no benefit to those who paid them, thereby raising the question posed by the role of the government in accumulating capital from the taxpayer and allocating or investing it without his direct participation in the decisions...In a syndicalist sytem composed of interest-conscious functional groups which exert extremely poerful and effective pressure on political leaders, how does the citizen taxpayer either participate to any signficant extent in the formulation of proposals or protect himself against decisions taken in his name which subject him to double jeopardy in matters of economics or civil rights. The meaing of the decision in the Alabama case was very simple and very blunt: he does not. 'The only bneefit to which the taxpayer is contitutionally entitled, the Court pronounced in the words of Justice Harlan F. Stone's opinion, ' is that derived from his enjoyment of the privilege of living in a civilized soicety, established and safeguarded by the devoltion of taxes to a public purpose.' That meant that the citizen elected a representative who was his agent, but over whose action he had no substantial control. For electing a different man did not even modify the basic features of system, let alone change them. Thus the Alabama case sanctified a system and procedure of defining 'the public purpose' which not only left the citizen far removed from final decisions, but denied him any grounds for appeal through the courts. An ad hoc syndicalist system was thus formally held to be democratic in domestic affairs. In later years, during and after World War II, such vast powers of the government were further extended...It is of course essential to evaluate the combined significance of these decisions within the framework of the syndicalist approach that had been present in the Progressive Movement from the very beginning of the twentieth century, adn which the New Deal consolidated. Granted those assumptions, what the Court had done was to legalize a system ctreated by the large corporation adn the Progressive movement. In that system, the citizen was almost wholly dependent upon the definition of public welfare that emerged inside the national governmetn as a consensus among the leaders of the various functional-syndicalist elements of the political economy. The possibility that Hoover had projected in 1921-1922 had emerged as a reality: The United States was a syndicalist nationon a gigantic scale. Yet the citizen's political activity was carried on within a framework that was organized on an entirely differrent basis: i.e., geographic boundaries which had only the most casual and accidnetal relationship to the syndicalist structure of the political economy. That discrepancy left the citizen without any effective, institutionalized leverage on the crucial and centralized decisions affecting every phase of his life."

Williams's hope for a "truly class-conscious industrial gentry" (p. 449) is a ridiculous conlusion to an utterly brilliant analysis. Williams is trapped by his left wing ideology. His perceptive brilliance in analyzing the contours of American history is marred by his dependence on mercantilist and feudalist assumptions that are, as he so aptly points out, the essence of socialism.