Altruism and the Panic of 1893

protective tariff gouging

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In the election of 1892 neither the Democrat or Republican party carried an income tax plank in its platform. That had appeared in the German-Language Communist Manifesto of 1848, translated 2 yrs later into English.

Small, pathetic groups formed short-lived parties to push the government back into the sort of robbery at gunpoint legislated during the War Between The States–the stuff Lysander Spooner opposed so vehemently. Suddenly the People’s Party–financed by mining interests that profited enormously from the free coinage of their silver into legal tender dollars–out of nowhere got 9% of the popular vote and over TWENTY electoral votes…

This came in the wake of the piously officious Republican Administration of Benjamin Harrison–a grasping protective tariff advocate running a War on Smuggling. Here is how Howells  (a prohibitionist Christian Socialist) interpreted the looter populism of 1892-1896 America in Letters from an Altrurian Traveler:

It is chiefly they [bourgeois merchants], therefore, who are anxious to Altrurianize America, as the sole means of escape from their encompassing dangers. Their activity is very great and it is incessant; and they were able to shape and characterize the formless desires of a popular movement in the West, so that at the last presidential election twenty-two electoral votes were cast in favor of the Altrurian principles which formed the vital element of the uprising. …

The friends of Altrurianization will not fail to bring before the American people some question of the very nature of money, and of the essential evil of it, as they understand money. They will try to show that accumulated money, as a means of providing against want, is always more or less a failure in private hands; that it does not do its office; that it evades the hardest clutch when its need is greatest. They will teach every man, from his own experience and conscience, that it is necessarily corrupting ; that it is the source of most vices, and the incentive, direct or indirect, of almost every crime. (…)

Realizing the alternative to money is the initiation of force, Ayn Rand countered with The Money Speech in Atlas Shrugged. Go ahead, make the comparison…

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