[3 May, 2013: That these essential works do not go out of circulation. Please read and distribute widely.]
The New Approach to Freedom
Together with Essays on the Separation of Money and State
by E.C. Riegel
Edited By Spencer Heath MacCallum and George Morton
THE HEATHER FOUNDATION
Los Angeles California
Copyright © 2003 The Heather Foundation
Self-government, so-called, is the art of governing government. It has been slowly and painfully developed. Now, through an Open Sesame to tyranny offered by the universal ignorance of money, it is threatened with becoming a lost art. The state's modern method of deceiving the citizen with counterfeit money menaces civilization through a confusion of monetary tongues and renders society unfit for self government until its ignorance of money shall be dispelled and government of government restored by the separation of money and state. In view of the transcendency of this issue, where is there a friend of freedom who will not give its solution priority over any and all other reforms?
I ask you, Earnestly, E. C .Riegel
THIS BOOK was printed privately by its author in 1949, under the name of the Valun Institute for Monetary Research, of New York City. The author died in 1954. When I acquired his papers from the widow of his friend and colleague, Major Ivan Firth, on the latter’’s death ten years later, the papers included a small inventory of a few hundred copies of this paperback booklet.
Among the people to whom I gave copies was Harry Browne, who was later to write a series of best-selling, popular books on personal economic survival in troubled times. In one of these (You Can Profit from a Monetary Crisis, Macmillan, New York, 1974), he made this reference to The New Approach to Freedom: “The best explanation of the free market I’ve seen.” The result was a flurry of orders that are still continuing at the rate of several per week. It was obvious that the supply would soon be exhausted. I decided to reprint the booklet, therefore, to keep it available, and this also seemed a good time to read through and organize Riegel’’s papers——a task I had procrastinated for ten years.
Perhaps new material would come to light that should be printed with it. This led to an extraordinary discovery: the manuscript of a major book, Flight From Inflation, which Riegel had managed (painfully, as his correspondence revealed, because of the progressive effects of Parkinson’’s disease) to complete before his death. The existence of such a manuscript had been totally unsuspected by me. There were also numerous essays, as well as a partial file of correspondence covering the last ten years of his active life.
Reading these papers, both for the thinking they contained and for the occasional glimpses into the extraordinary personality of E. C. Riegel, especially his idealism and his uncompromising personal integrity, was a fascinating education. Bringing Riegel into print, therefore, in a way appropriate to the highly original views which he had to offer the world, now became a primary objective. With the very able help of friend and associate, George Morton, I edited Flight and prepared it for simultaneous publication with New Approach.
In preparing the present edition of The New Approach to Freedom, I made very little change in the main text beyond some judicious pruning. The Appendix material, however, which sets out Riegel’’s thoughts on the practical application of his monetary ideas, seemed wholly inadequate, particularly now in the light of the newly discovered Flight From Inflation. I have deleted it entirely, therefore, and in its place pieced together a new essay in Riegel’’s own words but drawn from various places in his unpublished writings. This essay, “Design Requirements for a Personal Enterprise Monetary System,” describes only the main features that Riegel believed a natural monetary system would have to incorporate in order to be successful. The reader who is interested in the more practical aspects of Riegel’’s thought, therefore, as well as a further development of his underlying philosophy, is referred to Flight From Inflation.
The presentation of the Valun Plan in the latter volume is more complete and differs in substance from that in the first (pamphlet) edition of The New Approach to Freedom. In addition to these changes, I have added eight short essays, previously unpublished, that I feel will add interest to this little volume.
In all of his writings, Riegel was interested in human freedom. In the present volume, that is the main thrust, and the understanding of money is presented as a vehicle to serve that end. In Flight From Inflation, on the other hand, understanding money and inflation is the main subject, and the implications for human freedom are secondary, even if very much present. Because of this difference in orientation, it did not seem appropriate to try to combine both in a single volume. Each has its separate integrity. The material in each is complementary to the other, and the degree of over-lap is not enough to detract from either. The reader who enjoys this volume, therefore, is invited to look into Riegel's major presentation of his monetary ideas in Flight From Inflation.
San Pedro, California July 21,1975
WHY IS IT that human aspirations to freedom are thwarted in spite of all the devices that man has thus far adopted? To answer that question and offer a new approach is the purpose of this book.
Man has ever dreamed of a promised land of freedom and steadily pursued his ideal. Though ever dissatisfied with today's accomplishment, he has held to his hope of tomorrow. He has rejected the autocratic idea of government and adopted the democratic. But in his assertion of self-sovereignty he has, through ignorance, abdicated his most vital inherent power. He has not only permitted the state to pervert this power, but he has actually thrust it upon the state, to the inevitable miscarriage of all his devices to conserve freedom.
So universal is this innocence of self-power and this self-imposed frustration in the pursuit of freedom that man is himself the tyrant over man, and no imposing power exists to be overthrown. Only a revolution in the mind of the individual is needed to accomplish the greatest stroke for freedom of all time. The present perplexity induced by the worldwide perversion of the social order is conducive to introspection as the impotency of the state becomes apparent in its effort to free man from a vice that man has imposed upon himself. Man must free the state, not the state the man.
When the earth was believed to be flat, the belief was based upon the immediately obvious and hence was universal. Until there arose thinkers who dared to challenge the obvious, mankind remained oblivious of its self imposed physical, intellectual and moral limitations.
So it is today. The obvious must be challenged by reason. A universal misconception must be abandoned and replaced with the true concept to effect the liberation of mankind—indeed, to save it from decline into another dark age. What is this universal misconception?
It is the belief that money issuance is a function of the state. True, men divide in their ideas as to just how the function is to be performed, some believing that so called safeguards must be imposed, others at the other end of the gamut believing that the state alone should exert the money power, to the complete exclusion of private issue. Take a world poll of the academies, the parliaments, the banking houses, the market places, urban and rural homes. Include persons of all ages, from the child barely conscious of money to the gray heads, and you will find 100 percent holding to the superstition that the state serves some indispensable part in the monetary system. From school primer to scholarly tome, all literature salutes the political money idea. Is it not just as obvious to us that money and state are inseparable as it was to ancient man that the world was flat? Do we not see the Government's name stamped on bills and coins? And if we are enlightened enough to know that checks are as truly money as currency, do we not see the Government issuing checks? Do we not see the banking system under the apparent necessity of regulation by Government? Is not the monetary unit defined by law, and are there not innumerable laws apparently regulating it?
Set against this evidence and traditional belief the statement—which this book undertakes to prove—that no government ever has or ever can emit anything but counterfeit money, which gains its substance by robbing the genuine money with which it blends, and the issue is sharply joined between old and new thought. If the new thought, which asserts that money can spring only from private sources, is correct, it may be realized that society has enslaved itself under a false concept and left unopened the door to the liberating concept of the new approach to freedom.
It is a remarkable fact that no constitution of any state, nor any declaration of human rights, has ever proclaimed the right of freedom of money issue. Yet this right is inseparable from the right of bargain or exchange, which is the very foundation of liberty. Man's ignorance of the laws of money has blinded him to the very touchstone of freedom, without which the state cannot be curbed or his own capacity for progress and prosperity facilitated. We stand now at the dawn of a new approach to the ages old problem of human emancipation from superstition, with prospect of a tremendous lift to the spirit of conquest over the forces of darkness and depression.
Since all schools of monetary thought honor the political money concept, it follows that the new approach is a challenge to all. It matters little whether the reader has been academically taught his ideas of money or whether he has merely absorbed them; he must be prepared to reexamine the subject, without prejudice, if he could gain the mastery and liberation that this book promises.
There are no black beasts or scapegoats in this treatise upon which the reader can pin the blame for the evils from which we suffer and thus ease his conscience or vent his emotions. Where guilt is found, the finger points straight at you, and there are no alibis. There are no monetary master minds who have conspired to enslave or exploit society by imposing the prevailing system. All are as ignorant of the fundamentals of money as you, though some are cunning enough to favorably align themselves with the existing order, just as you would like to do.
But since all responsibility is yours, so is all power. Is it not a satisfaction to begin the study of a problem that offers a solution within your own power to realize? For once you are not confronted with the discouraging, if not hopeless, endeavor of seeking relief through political action with all that that involves. You are indeed sovereign, if you but realize that your money power is your sovereign power. You need no political laws to liberate your power for prosperity and peace; you are the master of your fate by natural law, if you but discover that law.
Realize that the state's power of disservice as well as service springs solely from your delegation of wholesome power and your imposition of perversive power . Money power is one power that you cannot delegate, nor can the state usurp it. It can only pervert it and thus pervert the whole social order. You and your fellows must exert it, for unless you exert it, this greatest of all social agencies lies fallow and human progress is stayed.
As you scan the world scene with all its miseries, its drab outlook, the discouraging prospect of a solution for humanity's problems by political means, and the remoteness from you of the capitols through which promised salvation is desperately hoped for, you are saddened by a sense of frustration. But if you realize that the citadel of power is your own home and that yours is the majesty and sovereignty, sadness will be dispelled by gladness.
To bring this transformation, you must comprehend the power of money and that you are the money power. The world is not flat, as we now know, and the money power of the state is a delusion. The inherency of money power in man is a fact, as we shall learn. This revolution in the minds of men will assure freedom, for freedom is constituted in unrestricted power to exchange, which in turn means prosperity and peace.