The Drift to Totalitarianism
Posted by Orrin Woodward on January 22, 2013
Earlier today, while writing on my corporate HR Toolbox blog, I read an extended quote from Gustav Cassel. His thoughts on the drift towards totalitarianism that every country experiences with the initiation of economic controls aligned perfectly with the Five Laws of Decline (FLD), which I first disclosed in my book RESOLVED: 13 Resolutions for LIFE. Indeed, every single human society has ultimately failed due to the unchecked effects of the FLD. The question of the century is: Will America follow in their footsteps by not addressing the debilitating effects of the FLD at work? LeaderShift, soon to be released by Hachette’s Business Plus division, is a business fable co-written with Oliver DeMille that teaches how to check the Five Laws of Decline by limiting government power and centralization. Any concerned citizen ought to study and learn how to check the FLD since they have been responsible for the decline in all human civilizations. This is what the LIFE business is: a community of concerned citizens. Here are several dictums of government from LeaderShift followed by Cassel’s extended quote.
1. Government power must be checked by other powers, i.e., federal powers are checked by states, which are checked by localities.
2. Government taxation must be limited, or limited government is illusory.
3. Local leadership should solve local issues since local leaders are “boots on the ground” and have the most knowledge of the challenges and potential solutions.
4. Political leaders must learn how to balance budgets, or they are not leaders at all.
The most powerful brief statement of this interaction with which I am acquainted occurs in a lecture delivered by the eminent Swedish economist, the late Gustav Cassel. This was published in a pamphlet with the descriptive but rather cumbersome title: From Protectionism Through Planned Economy to Dictatorship. I take the liberty of quoting an extensive passage from it:
The leadership of the state in economic affairs which advocates of Planned Economy want to establish is, as we have seen, necessarily connected with a bewildering mass of governmental interferences of a steadily cumulative nature. The arbitrariness, the mistakes and the inevitable contradictions of such policy will, as daily experience shows, only strengthen the demand for a more rational coordination of the different measures and, therefore, for unified leadership. For this reason Planned Economy will always tend to develop into Dictatorship.…
The existence of some sort of parliament is no guarantee against planned economy being developed into dictatorship. On the contrary, experience has shown that representative bodies are unable to fulfill all the multitudinous functions connected with economic leadership without becoming more and more involved in the struggle between competing interests, with the consequence of a moral decay ending in party — if not individual — corruption. Examples of such a degrading development are indeed in many countries accumulating at such a speed as must fill every honorable citizen with the gravest apprehensions as to the future of the representative system. But apart from that, this system cannot possibly be preserved, if parliaments are constantly over-worked by having to consider an infinite mass of the most intricate questions relating to private economy. The parliamentary system can be saved only by wise and deliberate restriction of the functions of parliaments.…
Economic dictatorship is much more dangerous than people believe. Once authoritative control has been established it will not always be possible to limit it to the economic domain. If we allow economic freedom and self-reliance to be destroyed, the powers standing for Liberty will have lost so much in strength that they will not be able to offer any effective resistance against a progressive extension of such destruction to constitutional and public life generally. And if this resistance is gradually given up—perhaps without people ever realizing what is actually going on—such fundamental values as personal liberty, freedom of thought and speech and independence of science are exposed to imminent danger. What stands to be lost is nothing less than the whole of that civilization that we have inherited from generations which once fought hard to lay its foundations and even gave their life for it.