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    Former Guinness World Record Holder for largest book signing ever, Orrin Woodward is a NY Times bestselling author of And Justice For All along with RESOLVED & coauthor of LeaderShift and Launching a Leadership Revolution. His books have sold over one million copies in the financial, leadership and liberty fields. RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions For LIFE made the Top 100 All-Time Best Leadership Books and the 13 Resolutions are the framework for the top selling Mental Fitness Challenge personal development program.

    Orrin made the Top 20 Inc. Magazine Leadership list & has co-founded two multi-million dollar leadership companies. Currently, he serves as the Chairman of the Board of the LIFE. He has a B.S. degree from GMI-EMI (now Kettering University) in manufacturing systems engineering. He holds four U.S. patents, and won an exclusive National Technical Benchmarking Award.

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America – Conceived in Liberty: Died in Tyranny?

Posted by Orrin Woodward on April 25, 2012

Murray Rothbard has struck again! Through reading his fascinating, albeit frustrating at times, history of America Conceived in Liberty, I stumbled across some shocking stories. Rothbard is the type of author that even when I disagree with him, I find myself laughing and thinking. I enjoy authors who make their readers think because so few do today. Since recorded history, governments have violated people’s inherent rights, but how these poor precedents proceed in perpetuity is astonishing. Has anyone studied the history of the English postal system? I certainly hadn’t! Let me quote from the irrepressible sacred cow buster Murray Rothbard:

Murray Rothbard picturePostal service began in the early American colonies as freely competitive private enterprises of varying forms and types. Letters between neighboring villages were sent by special messengers, who were often Indians. For longer journeys, letters were carried by travelers or regular merchants. Letters to or from England were carried by private ship captains, who often hung a bag in the local coffeehouse to receive letters for shipment. The price was generally a penny for a single letter and two pence for a double letter or parcel.

Unfortunately, English precedent held out little hope for the unhampered development of a freely competitive postal service. In 1591 the Crown had issued a proclamation granting itself the monopoly of all foreign mail, and in 1609 the Crown’s proclamation extended its own monopoly to all mail foreign or domestic. The purpose of this postal monopoly was quite simple: to enable governmental officials to read the letters of private citizens in order to discover and suppress “treason” and “sedition.”

Thus, when the Privy Council decided in 1627 to allow merchants to operate an independent foreign post, the king’s principal secretary of state wrote sternly: “Your lordship best knoweth what account we shall be able to give in our places of that which passeth by letters in or out of the land, if every man may convey letters under the course of merchants to whom and what place he pleaseth…how unfit a time this is to give liberty to every man to write and send what he list….” And in 1657 when the Commonwealth Parliament continued the English governmental postal monopoly, the preamble of the act stated a major objective: “to discover and prevent many dangerous and bigoted designs, which have been and are daily contrived against the peace and welfare of this Commonwealth, the intelligence whereof cannot well be communicated, but by letter of script.”

The first government meddling in the postal service in America came as early as 1639 in Massachusetts. At that time the government appointed Richard Fairbanks to be a receiver and deliverer of foreign letters for the price of one penny; no monopoly privilege was granted, and no one was prevented from using other postal intermediaries. The Dutch government in New Netherland went far beyond this when in 1657 it awarded itself a compulsory monopoly of receipt of foreign mail; anyone presuming to board a vessel first to obtain his own mail was fined thirty guilders. Ship captains were fined heavily for carrying letters for anyone except the government postal monopolist.

In other words, America’s “snail mail” postal monopoly has nothing to do with efficiency (I guess we all knew that :)); it has nothing to do with the poor economics of this generation; and it has everything to do with the State’s desire to spy on people’s thoughts, plans, and actions. This, mind you, from our English forefathers, whose ideas of liberty were modeled in the creation of America. The postal system is one area where we shouldn’t have applied English principles. If government has the right to spy at will, where does this right end? If someone disagrees with the ruling power, does that person have the right to open letters, emails, tap phones, etc? England’s unethical precedent is still affecting America’s postal system to this day.

I love history, but this isn’t the type of lessons I learned in school and neither will you. Since Big Government funds the schools, no one should be shocked about this. Sadly, with today’s further government interventions like the Patriot Act, to name one among many, civil liberties are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Harry Truman, an avid reader, once paraphrased Solomon when he said, “There is nothing new under the sun, only the history you don’t know.” We must educate ourselves on real history and not the government fed history from our schools and other government-funded institutions.

The battles fought over freedom today may be different in detail but astonishingly similar in principle. Yes, America was conceived in liberty; I pray it doesn’t die in tyranny.


Orrin Woodward

12 Responses to “America – Conceived in Liberty: Died in Tyranny?”

  1. Nate Berens said

    Well said Orrin. It is easy to take freedom from a fool, he will not miss it, because he never noticed that is gone. As a Social Studies/History teaccher it makes my blood boil that people do not know basic American History or anything about The Constitution. My pain is not that they do not know facts, but that the average citizen does not know the promises of the Constitution (or care) that they were earned from the sacrifice and blood of patriots longing to see freedom for their children and future generations, this Republic was there legacy. It is our charge as Americans to restore Liberty with our work, spread God’s grace with our words and our actions, in doing so we preserve hope and this dream for future Americans.

    God Bless,


  2. Orrin,

    Such interesting timeline. East India company was established by British in 1600. One of the first things they established was a fee based postal system as a commerce activity under Warren Hastings and then later centralized it in the 1800’s. Almost every activity East India company, and the portugese started out as commerce in India and then later and as the reach and strength grew they transformed every thing to a power hungry centralized system and lulled a lot of Indians into submitting them by giving them good perks to run the show in various sectors on their behalf. Not until a very minority freedom loving people wanted to stop the 250 year tyranny things didnt change.

    To give credit to the British, I would not be writing this comment in English had they not given us the education system and English as the common language. Nothing what India has enjoyed over the last 60 years would not have been possible without English as the binding language.

    • Venkat, I recently finished Lord Acton’s biography and he said (paraphrased) “All good movements have bad in them and all bad movements have some good in them. The key is to look at it from all sides to discern which is which.” I certainly am thankful for the English heritage of America, but all movements and decisions needs to be studied to discern what was right and what was wrong. Acton emphasized the moral dimension of history which is sadly lacking today. thanks, Orrin

  3. yancy chaj said

    Wow that is great history it is amazing what can be learned from our own continual education.So much we can learn and think about as to how things are now and how they were in the past. That is why it is important to keep on learning.
    Thank you

  4. Rob Robson said

    Thank you so much Orrin. Ever since you recommended Frederic Bastiat’s, “The Law” a few years back, moral government became so black and white to me.
    First of all we must recognize that we are all inheritors of equal rights from our Heavenly Father- Frederick Bastiat, phrased it so succinctly, “Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws. On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty, and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.” (The Law, p.6)

    Since government only has rights because we loaned them to them, it seems self-evident that we can only delegate rights that we already have. I think that Ezra Taft Benson best described how to determine a “moral law” when he said “There is one simple test. Do I as an individual have a right to use force upon my neighbor to accomplish this goal? If I do have such a right, then I may delegate that power to my government to exercise on my behalf. If I do not have that right as an individual, then I cannot delegate it to government, and I cannot ask my government to perform the act for me…” Any time we attempt to delegate rights to other men (Govt.) that we don’t have individually, we instantly create tyranny “The creature exceeds the creator, and becomes master”

    Proper government, just like the study of economics, is really pretty simple. It is when you attempt the impossible task of centralized planning that things become complicated. I am so grateful to be part of a community that is restoring these simple but sacred truths. Thanks for leading the way!

    • Rob, What a fantastic summary of Frederic Bastiat! I am impressed. He was a great thinker on politics and the law and highly underrated in today’s relativistic age. However, he is named in one of the Five Laws of Decline (Bastiat’s Law). 🙂 thanks, Orrin

  5. Orrin,

    The education we receive if not for a Self Directed Education leaves us uneducated in so many important areas. Thanks for the continuing challenge to educate.

  6. Mathieu Catellier said

    It’s amazing how we can be kept ignorant of these facts

  7. In your discussion of the “ruling minority” you raise the question “Why does the majority continue to obey the minority,” despite the inequality of income (I guess this is your meaning when you refer to “the ‘ruling class,’ governing and living off the majority, or ‘ruled’,” and “Every state will subsist by plundering the majority in behalf of a ruling minority.”
    Your answer to the question is that it is intellectuals in service of “warlords, nobles, bureaucrats, feudal land lords, monopoly merchants, or a coalition of several of these groups” “convince[ing] the majority of the public that its rule is beneficent, inevitable, necessary, and even divine.” However, you ignore that what you call “the masses,” historically are illiterate and when literacy became more common, as for example in the U.S., the average person has not particularly had an interest in the statements of intellectuals – including the writing and comments in your blog. It is pretty obvious – I would say self evident – that presidents are elected based on emotional appeal, not intellectual aphorisms or arguments. Richard Nixon won by the largest landslide in history (after JFK’s defeat of him by I believe the next largest). And if you count Chevron among those “individuals” (corporations being given legal status as a person, and also being beholden to their owners), then certainly no “intellectual” is employed to figure out what to say to placate people in the face of gas prices plundering their income, which of course is felt more at the lower levels of income than the higher levels. I don’t recall ever hearing or reading any statement by Chevron making some false excuse, intellectual or otherwise, for not paying taxes on (14 times was it when the recession started) the profits exceeding the previous year at that time. The company did not say anything so far as I know. Other times, such as in the gas shortage when the Suez Canal was blockaded in the owing to the war in the middle east, they had not figured on a gasoline shortage when they artificially raised prices. But they did not hire an intellectual to say so. They merely lied, as I recall – which seems to me more like the work of a CEO or consensus of board members.
    I question also your definition of “intellectual,” a term used by Mao Tse Tung to the detriment of millions of his countrymen, and also Marx and Engles, and Lenin, and a host of others concerned with socioeconomic aspects of society in the 20th century and earlier. As I point out, you have used it to explain some socioeconomic patterns, but without really describing or providing any examples of how “intellectuals” accomplish the objective of pacifying “the masses.” You have in fact, created a vague scapegoat in your use of the term, much as people of various classes or vocations or religious persuasions were portrayed as the source of problems throughout a great deal of history. I believe the most recent example of that was the genocide in Rhwanda, and prior to that, the genocide in Eastern Europe, and prior to that, perhaps it was the Cultural Revolution of Mao in China, and before that possibly the Jewish holocaust. (I don’t think Stalin’s purges of half a million to 1.2 million Russians can be ascribed to a scapegoat being chosen, as he seemed to be paranoid of virtually anyone, regardless of religion or ethnicity or vocation – writers and army staff were not trusted by him any more or less than teachers and peasants (Wikipedia, “Great Purge,” http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge, 08/18/2012). And there was also the Armenian Holocaust perpetrated after WWI. I am sure I have not covered half of the known atrocities blamed on scapegoats.
    As Jesus is said to have said, “The poor will always be with us.” There are many, many reasons for poverty – in my view, as many as there are unique souls – and perhaps fewer reasons for being merely middle class, depending on what culture or country is being discussed. The reasons are both simple and/or complex depending on one’s perspective. Arousing in the imaginations of “the masses,” a vague enemy – a deception by virtue of its lack of definition, as a ghost – is intended by the “ruling class” to be controlled or dealt with by use of a second deception. This is what Hitler did when he posited the false premise of a Germany that was less than glorious so long as Jews lived there (or in lands he decided should be German). Then he provided his solution to this imaginary problem. This is one of the oldest means of manipulating not just the masses, but any naive person, and has been highlighted at times by works of literature as much as journalism. Orwell’s novel “1984” is one example.
    I know you know all this, Orrin, but it is time to clarify your intentions and writing, for the sake not only of “the masses” but for all of humanity.

    • Orrin Woodward said

      Peter, I have co-authored new book, coming out shortly, that proposes how to overcome the Five Laws of Decline to ensure justice and equality of opportunity for all. I am curious on your suggested fixes on our current government mess? thanks, Orrin

      • wildtarg said

        … and the silence is deafening.
        Leaders seek solutions, not scapegoats. A proper, durable solution requires a proper understanding of the problem, which in turn requires understanding the cause(s) of the problem. Keep leading, Orrin!

  8. This is what I love about this company and your writing, Orrin.

    You take something that is complicated and make it simple. Thank you for this summary.

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