The Keynesian lunacy that has hung a Sword of Damocles over our heads in the form of an unpayable $16.7 trillion debt may lead us back to the gold standard — but the path won’t be pretty. Nathan Lewis quotes the 1896 book Fiat Money Inflation in France by Andrew Dickson White to demonstrate how history may be repeating itself. Napoleon was a dictator, but at least he got rid of the fiat currency that had been causing Hope & Change–style havoc:
“When Bonaparte took the consulship the condition of fiscal affairs was appalling. The government was bankrupt; an immense debt was unpaid. The further collection of taxes seemed impossible; the assessments were in hopeless confusion. War was going on in the East, on the Rhine, and in Italy, and civil war, in La Vendee. All the armies had long been unpaid, and the largest loan that could for the moment be effected was for a sum hardly meeting the expenses of the government for a single day. At the first cabinet council Bonaparte was asked what he intended to do. He replied, “I will pay cash or pay nothing.” From this time he conducted all his operations on this basis. He arranged the assessments, funded the debt, and made payments in cash; and from this time — during all the campaigns of Marengo, Austerlitz, Jena, Eylau, Friedland, down to the Peace of Tilsit in 1807 — there was but one suspension of specie payment, and this only for a few days. When the first great European coalition was formed against the Empire, Napoleon was hard pressed financially, and it was proposed to resort to paper money; but he wrote to his minister, ‘While I live I will never resort to irredeemable paper.’ He never did …”
Napoleon was so popular that he declared himself emperor in 1804, and it stuck. Thus did a great nation rise again from the ashes; although Napoleon soon returned it to ashes in his own special way, with a side trip to Moscow.
Similarly, hyperinflation paved the way for Hitler’s rise to power.
Either the leftists steering our country’s course are too foolish to learn from history, or they have learned from it only too well.
On a tip from Kevin in Auburn, WA .