Casey Addresses Getting Out of Dodge
by Louis James, Editor, International
on Fresh Starts
Doug, a lot of readers have been asking for guidance on how to know
when it's time to exit center stage and hunker down in some safe
place. Few people want to hide from the world in a cabin in the
woods while life goes on in the mainstream, but nobody wants to
get caught once the gates clang shut on the police state the US
is becoming. How do you know when it's time to go?
Well, the first thing to keep in mind is that it's better to be
a year too early than a minute too late. David Galland recently
Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45, by Milton
Mayer. He quoted a passage in his column of last Friday. It goes
a long way in explaining why Americans appear to be such whipped
dogs today. They're no different from the Germans of recent memory.
For those who missed it, let me quote it:
see," my colleague went on, "one doesn't see exactly
where or how to move. Believe me, this is true. Each act, each
occasion, is worse than the last, but only a little worse. You
wait for the next and the next. You wait for one great shocking
occasion, thinking that others, when such a shock comes, will
join with you in resisting somehow. You don't want to act, or
even talk, alone; you don't want to 'go out of your way to make
In the university community, in your own community,
you speak privately to your colleagues, some of whom certainly
feel as you do; but what do they say? They say, 'It's not so bad'
or 'You're seeing things' or 'You're an alarmist.'
are the beginnings, yes; but how do you know for sure when you
don't know the end, and how do you know, or even surmise, the
end? On the one hand, your enemies, the law, the regime, the Party,
intimidate you. On the other, your colleagues pooh-pooh you as
pessimistic or even neurotic
the one great shocking occasion,
when tens or hundreds or thousands will join with you, never comes.
That's the difficulty. If the last and worst act of the whole
regime had come immediately after the first and smallest, thousands,
yes, millions would have been sufficiently shocked
course this isn't the way it happens. In between come all the
hundreds of little steps, some of them imperceptible, each of
them preparing you not to be shocked by the next. Step C is not
so much worse than Step B, and, if you did not make a stand at
Step B, why should you at Step C?"
The fact is
that the US has been on a slippery slope for decades, and it's about
to go over a cliff. However, our standard of living, while declining,
is still very high, both relatively and absolutely. But an American
can enjoy a much higher standard of living abroad.
On the other
hand, if I were some poor guy in a poverty-wracked country with
few opportunities, I'd want to go where the action is, where the
money is, now. Today, that means trying to get into the United
States. The US is headed the wrong direction, but it's still a land
of opportunity and a whole lot better than some flea-bitten village
the time things get worse than some Third-World dictatorship in
the US, such a person could have remitted a whole lot of cash back
And you'd have a whole lot of experiences that would give you a
competitive edge back where you came from, or in the next place
you go to. The one-eyed man is king in the valley of the blind.
People have to lose that backward, peasant mentality that ties them
to the land of their birth. Sad to say, although the average American
has somewhat more knowledge of the world mainly due to television
his psychology is just as constrained as that of some serf
from central Asia or some primitive village in Africa. It's all
a matter of psychology.
But if you're
not poor, you want to go someplace that is safe, nice whatever
that means to you and with a lower cost of living. As most
readers know, for me that's Cafayate, Argentina, but one size does
not fit all. It needs to be a place you actually enjoy spending
some time, with people whose company you enjoy.
enough. But our readers want to know if your guru-sense is tingling
yet, or how close you think we are to it being too late to leave
or at least too late to leave with any meaningful assets.
I'm a trend observer. This is one of the advantages of studying
history, because it shows you that things like this rarely happen
overnight. They are usually the result of trends that build over
years and years, sometimes over generations. In the case of the
US, I think the trend has been downhill, in many ways, for many
years. Pick a time. You could make an argument, from a moral point
of view, that things started heading downhill at the time of the
Spanish-American War. That was when a previously peaceful and open
country first started conquering overseas lands and staking colonies.
America was still in the ascent towards its peak economically, but
the seeds of its own demise were already sewn, and a libertarian
watching the scene might have concluded that it was time to get
out of Dodge
That would have been a bit early
[Chuckles] Yes, that would have been way too soon. As Adam Smith
observed, there's a lot of ruin in a country.
the other paw, it would have gotten you out before the War between
the States, a disaster well worth avoiding.
No, the Spanish-American War was in 1898.
Sorry, I was thinking of what Americans call the Mexican-American
War, but which Mexicans call the "American Invasion"
not joking. That's what they called it in the history books I was
given in Mexican schools when I lived there in the '70s. It has
long seemed to me that that was an ominous turn for the worse for
the US and a clear example of conquering a weaker neighbor purely
for pillage not just Texas, but everything from there all
the way to California.
That's right. Davey Crockett and the boys, we love them, but in
many ways they were the equivalent of today's Mexicans who want
to recolonize the southwest and turn it back into part of Mexico,
in what they call the Reconquista.
but this is ancient history to most US taxpayers today I'm
reminded that it's not correct in many cases to call them Americans.
Yes, just as it was a misnomer to call the people who lived in the
Roman Empire after Diocletian Romans because Roman citizens
were once free men. After about 300 AD most of them were bound to
the land or their occupations as serfs. But the slide for Rome started
at least 120 years earlier, after the death of Marcus Aurelius.
Politically, the decline started with the accession of Julius Caesar
240 years before that. So, when did the slide politically,
economically, and socially really start for the US? When
were there no more trends going up?
New Deal was really a moral, economic, and political turning
You could make that argument, but the US still grew economically,
despite the roadblocks FDR threw in its path. US military power
and global prestige continued growing from that point, although,
paradoxically, the accelerating growth of the US military was directly
responsible for the decline of the US economically and in terms
of personal freedom. One reason for the ascendancy of the US after
World War II was that we were the only major country in the world
not physically devastated by the war.
So it seems to me that the peak of American civilization was in
the 1960s. As for evidence, well, I like to put my finger on the
Cadillac. Those twin bullet taillights, the opulence of it
In terms of then-current technology, things couldn't get much better.
I has it."
[Laughs a real belly laugh] That's my favorite TV
commercial! Anyway, that was the peak, in my mind. Though things
continued getting better for a while, the US started to live out
to pay for guns and butter.
That's right. The Johnson administration's so-called Great Society
created vast new federal bureaucracies that promised Americans free
food, shelter, medical care, education, and what-have-you. Americans
became true wards of the state. But the real, final nail in the
coffin for America was in 1971
taking the US off the gold standard.
Nixon taking the US off the gold standard open
devaluation of the dollar, combined with wage and price controls
for some months. And that was not long after the so-called Bank
Secrecy Act, which abolished bank secrecy, and required the reporting
of all foreign financial accounts. Nixon was, in many ways, even
more of a disaster than Johnson. Republicans are usually worse than
Democrats when it comes to freedom, partly because they like to
couch their depredations in the rhetoric of defending the free market.
While everyone understands that Democrats are socialists just under
the surface, Republicans actually give capitalism a bad name. Baby
Bush is a perfect, recent example.
don't you worry your pretty little head about devaluation
it's just a "bugaboo" and as long as you're not
one of those unpatriotic people wanting to buy imports or vacation
abroad, your dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is
today. The scary thing is that the Belarusian dictator Lukashenko
said almost the same thing when the Belarusian
ruble lost two-thirds of its forex value earlier this year,
asking his countrymen why they need to go on vacation in Germany
or buy German cars
You see why I like to study history? It doesn't repeat, but it sure
So, anyway, since 1971, some things have improved largely due to
technological advances, but the America That Was has been fading
into the past. It was a decisive turning point. You can see that
in the accelerated proliferation of undeclared wars we've had since
then. I don't just mean the penny-ante invasions of Granada and
Panama the US has always lorded it over Caribbean and Central
American banana republics; those are just sport wars. But Iraq and
Afghanistan are alien cultures on the other side of the world
apart from never posing any threat to the US. Now it looks like
Iran and Pakistan are on the dance card, and they're big game. The
War Against Islam has started in earnest, and it's going to end
badly for the US. I explained all this at great length in the white
paper, Learn to Make Terror Your Friend, that I wrote for The
Casey Report last month.
saying that the US is turning into a police state when you started
this conversation was quite accurate. You can see more and more
videos spreading over the Internet, not just of police brutality,
but demonstrating the militarization and federalization of police,
who are being inculcated with both disdain for and paranoia about
In the old
days, if you were stopped for speeding, the peace officer was polite
you could get out of your car, meet the cop on neutral ground,
and chat with him. You didn't have a serious problem unless you
were obviously drunk or combative. Now, you don't dare make a move.
You better keep your hands in plain sight on the steering wheel
and be ready for a Breathalyzer test without probable cause. The
law enforcement officer will stand behind you with his hand on his
gun. And you're the one who'd better be polite.
has been a polar reversal. The cops used to address citizens as
"sir" or "ma'am." Now, the correct response
in a traffic stop is: "Yes, sir! I would love to inspect the
bottom of your boot, sir!"
[Laughs] That's right. My friend Marc Victor gives out magnetized
business cards. People ask, "Why?" He answers that it's
so clients can put them on the bottom of their cars or refrigerators,
so they can see it when the cops throw them to the ground.
a good man. There's a handy video on Marc's
website, offering advice on what to do if you're pulled
over by the police in a traffic stop.
A good public service announcement. At any rate, I think there's
no question that the US has turned the corner on every basis: politically,
socially, morally, and now, economically
but, Doug, you said that in 1979 too. The question is, how do we
know when the door is going to close?
[Laughs.] Well, sometimes I feel a little like the boy who cried
wolf. But Roman writers like Tacitus and Sallust saw where Rome
was going before it got completely out of control. Should they have
said nothing, for fear of being too early? Here in the US, it should
have gone over the edge back in the 1980s, but we got lucky. There
was still a lot of forward momentum, which can last for decades
when you're speaking of civilizations. There was the computer productivity
boom. The Soviet Union collapsed, China liberalized, and Communism
was discredited everywhere except on US college campuses. The end
of the Cold War opened up vast areas of the world to the global
market. And most surprising of all, Volker tightened up the money
supply and interest rates went high, causing people to save money
and stop borrowing to consume.
not happening this time.
No. We got lucky back then. Since the '90s we've had a long and
totally phony, debt-driven boom that's now come to an end. I feel
very confident that there's no way out this time. There are huge
distortions and misallocations of capital that have been cranked
into the system for two decades. And not just in the US this time,
but in Europe, China, Japan, and elsewhere.
The US is very
clearly on the decline. The fact that in spite of bankrupting military
expenditures to no gain for the American people, those in power
are talking overtly and aggressively about attacking more countries
Iran and Pakistan in particular is extremely grave.
The fact that they attacked Libya which, incidentally, is
going to turn into a total disaster, a civil war that will last
for years shows it's not stopping. Sure, Obama brought troops
home from Iraq another disaster that's going to remain a
disaster for years to come but at the same time he put a
company of combat troops in Uganda, of all places and Marines in
Australia, to provoke the Chinese.
I've read reports that people are being stopped for carrying gold
coins out of the US, in Houston in particular. Now we have authorization
of the military to detain US citizens, on US soil, with no trail,
and indefinitely, on the verge of becoming law. And Predator
Drones have been used to hunt down farmers on their own ranches.
I could go
on and on. This is not like spotting early signs of decay in America's
expansionist wars of the 19th century or things getting worse with
FDR. Most people can't see it with all the noise and confusion,
but we've reached the edge of the precipice.
worry about exactly where the edge is, just assume it's there and
take appropriate action?
Yes. It really is there. It's a clear and present danger. But most
Americans are as oblivious as most Germans were in the '30s. In
fact, most of them support what's going on, just as most Germans
supported their government in the '30s and '40s.
don't worry about figuring out exactly when the gates will shut.
Assume they are shutting now?
That's right. One should be actively and vigorously looking to expatriate
assets, cash, and even one's self. A prudent person will always
be diversified politically and internationally.
about people who have jobs they can't continue doing from abroad
and who need the income?
They should still prepare, as best they can, to be ready to go on
a vacation when things get hot a vacation from which they
might not return for a long time. All that needs happen, with the
hysteria that's building in the US, is for a major terrorist incident
real or imagined to occur. Homeland Security will
lock the country down. I hate to admit it, but I'm almost starting
to credit the stories
about those FEMA camps.
Look, I know
it sounds extreme, and the comparison to pre-WWII Germany has been
made many times, but it bears repeating. Germany was the most literate,
civilized, and even mellow, in some ways, country in Europe. It
was much admired all around the world a nation of shopkeepers,
small farmers, and scholars. But the whole character of the place
started changing in 1933, and it just got worse and worse. By the
end of 1939, if you weren't out, you were done.
Well, not a cheerful thought. Actions to take?
Things we've said before: Set up foreign bank accounts in places
you like to travel, while you can. Set up vault arrangements for
physical precious metals outside the US. Buy foreign real estate
that you'd like to own, because it can't be forcibly repatriated.
Offshore asset protection trusts are a good idea too. Become an
Man. Let me emphasize that US taxpayers should stay within all
US laws, because the consequences of breaking them are unbelievably
one simply must internationalize one's assets. The biggest danger
investors face, by far, is not market risk huge as that will
be but political risk. The only way to insulate yourself
from such risk is to diversify yourself politically and geographically.
words to the wise. Thanks for your insight.
You're welcome. Most won't, but I just hope readers listen.
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© 2012 Casey
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