ABOUT TOM WOODS

Thomas E. Woods, Jr., is the New York Times bestselling author of 12 books, including The Politically Incorrect Guide to American History and Meltdown (on the financial crisis). A senior fellow of the Ludwig von Mises Institute, Woods has appeared on MSNBC, CNBC, FOX News, FOX Business, C-SPAN, Bloomberg Television, and hundreds of radio programs... (Read More)



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Heritage Foundation: Drop Those Independent Thoughts, Citizen

3rd January 2012      by: Tom Woods     

The Heritage Foundation, as usual, is trying to rein in all non-establishment thinking, which is popping up all over the place these days. Its New Year’s Resolutions for Conservatives basically amount to this: if you still have any conservative instincts left, drop them and become a neoconservative already.

Of course you should not consider nullification, since CNN won’t like that. The post then proceeds as if I hadn’t answered Heritage’s arguments on this already — here and here — or as if people couldn’t simply get to my fairly comprehensive “Nullification: Answering the Objections” via Google.

If there’s a law you consider unconstitutional and outrageous, why, you should “encourage the repeal of the law or wait and see what mood Justice Anthony Kennedy will be in next June when the Supreme Court rules on the constitutionality of Obamacare.” Well, that sounds like a super strategy. I’m sure it’ll be just as successful as everything else conservatives have tried over the past century to limit the federal government.

It’s also exactly the opposite of what Thomas Jefferson said to do in such a situation, which may be why Jefferson is The Man Who Wasn’t There at Heritage.org.

Then we get the little lecture on “isolationism,” the left-wing smear term intended to shut down all discussion of the bipartisan foreign-policy consensus — to which the supposedly brave, conventional-wisdom-bucking Heritage Foundation avidly subscribes.

Very interesting that a think-tank as prominent as Heritage, which promotes only the most exquisitely conventional, establishment-friendly thoughts, feels the need to go after these issues in particular. Are people straying from the neocon plantation? Are things spinning out of Heritage’s control? Let’s hope so.

Unlearn the Propaganda!

  • Anonymous

    Back before I had things more situated in my head, I almost bought the Heritage Foundation’s guide to the U.S. Constitution. Thank God I decided to hold off. I’m sure their guide isn’t entirely worthless, but obviously there are better options out there – I’ve seen at least one of them mentioned on this site.

    Forgive me, but I’ve got a (somewhat) off-topic question — does anyone know where online I can find a really good, biting critique of Mark Steyn? So far, I haven’t run across anything that wows me, and I need a link for a blog entry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/elliot.mcgucken Elliot McGucken

    Ron Paul is handily winning the Drudge Caucus: 
    http://drudgereport.com/

  • Anonymous

    I followed the Heritage article’s link on “American Exceptionalism,” which led me to another article describing why America is exceptional.  While I don’t buy into the overall thesis of the article, it does point out that America was founded on the principle of individual rights, the rule of law, the importance of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights.  However, all this “right talk” gave me pause to wonder — where were these “conservatives” when the Constitution and Bill of Rights was recently trashed by the Congress and President when they passed the Defense funding bill which also gave the President and the military the power to detain any U.S. citizen without any evidence or charges, to deny access to a lawyer, and to “throw away the key”?  The police state is now out in the open for all to see.

  • tiarosa

    It wouldn’t surprise me if this is what Heritage thinks, but this piece strikes me as satire. 

  • Greg

    look at it this way: they want to achieve their conservative aims (whatever these aims are) but they are worried about political reality.  political reality is that unless the great majority of people actually support a policy (in a conscious or unconscious way) that policy is impossible to implement.  so we can cry about nullification all we want, but unless we actually change the public opinion about it we will get no where.  

    some would rightly say that usa is governed by the rule of law so its the law which decides not the majority or any other particular human power (i.e. dictator or oligarchs).  this is true but in america, just like anywhere else, the rule of law is protected by ultimately having the majority of people submit to law.  the problem is that public opinion has shifted away from rule of law.  unless we can shift public opinion back to rule of law we might as well just behave like demagoges. 
    is in the end we either need to accept that public opinion is far away from rule of law and consider it as a constraint on what we can achieve or we need to work on shifting public opinion back to the rule of law and then fight the legal battle to restore whatever we want to restore.  

  • http://tomwoods.com Tom Woods

    I could look at it that way, but I’d be ignoring what they actually wrote in their post.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Ken-MacMillan/683031628 Ken MacMillan

    Now that Google Buzz is defunct, maybe you could replace that link with Google+

  • Brutus

    That sums up the shape of what passes as “Conservative” among some. Just leave yourself at the mercy of the Supreme Court. Leave Federal Government as the sole judge of it’s own powers, somehow it will limit it’s own powers. For all the praise they give to being against big government, they’ve yet to defy it, choosing to ignore nullification and the anti-federalist states rights tradition that is far richer in terms of history than the Consolidated Government “ideas.”

  • Greg

    i don’t think they would ever say anything like what i said and i think it would be very negligent of them to do so.  it would be a very bad idea for them to start talking about shifting opinion of their “constituents” (followers, readers or whatever) because it would sound a bit too much like obvious admission of brainwashing their followers.  

    no.  these political think tanks all have a semi-secret plan of political action.  it certainly would very stupid and wasteful for a think tank to exist without having any end goal and a plan to achieve it.  e.g. cato obviously has more or less accepted that they would not be able to change public opinion that much, so none of their literature and very few of their recorded discussions talk about more extreme anarcho-capitalist ideas.  the message cato is sending is that things should be done gradually.  

    i think the problem with mises institute, as well as being a major advantage of mises, is that they are not in DC.  mises has really no grip on political reality so they will have zero direct impact on DC.  on the other hand they are not as “polluted” by actual political battles/legal cases, as cato is, so they can focus on extreme ideas like gold standard which is simply far too outside of mainstream (i dont think that the gold standard is an extreme idea in itself but on the political landscape it certainly very far away from the main focus).  but since they are on the outside this could eventually lead to a more “grassroots” movement which will inevitably have a big impact in DC (look at tea-party, i know it wasnt that big but they still managed to get a few tea party people elected).

    so in the end it maybe worthwhile argueing with heritage over the legality of nullification but it would be pointless because they win by the fact that their view prevails in any case.   
    what we ought to do is try to understand their deeper motives and their more closely guarded plans of action.  maybe it is not a bad idea to pretend that nullification is illegal.  maybe it is a better strategy.  if we then decide that indeed arguing for nullification is a good strategy only then should we consider the arguments for nullification and whether it is legal or not.

    we have to think in terms of strategy and not only about utopian ideals.  

    Woods and Mises are far too quick to jump to their utopian ideals without giving that much thought about how to actually get their.  that is why politicians are the real winners in the end, not the idealists.  

  • Anonymous

    Exactly. At first I thought that the sentence Tom mentioned about depending for protecting the Constitution on what mood the judge Kennedy was in was his (Tom’s) satirical interpretation of what the Heritage article said. But, I discovered quickly that this was actually a direct quotation from the article !!! Hilarious.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Graham-Dugas/1584240856 Graham Dugas

    Jefferson would have been watering the tree of liberty long ago.

  • David

    Do you realize that Tom has written an entire book on the subject. In addition to making money to support his family, I think it’s a pretty good guess that a big reason he wrote it is to convince people that nullification is acceptable.  Also, Heritage conservatives are perfectly fine with liberal interpretations of the Constitution on issues like drugs, to justify the federal war on drugs.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFXAORWCYJQLWDTDSUYISXZSHQ LetsGetReal

    You guys are so funny.  I don’t know the solution.  I do know that I don’t want to end up with a media chosen President again.  I also know that we will end up with one if we don’t reach the majority of voters with the message that Ron Paul is safe and trustworthy.  I also know that you are not likely to convince the Heritage Foundation to stop spreading the same doctrines they have been spreading for the last 30 years (or whatever).  I have been over on Politico blogging on the articles that mention Ron Paul because that is the only place I see today to actually reach the people that are lost in the mire of media driven illusions about Ron Paul and about life in America in general.

    Greg,  I read the word “anarcho-capitalist” on one of their blogs.  I don’t know what it means.  I doubt that the person who wrote it knew either.  The problem you are relating while it may seem trivial to you, is real.  If we cannot get the majority of voters to understand that Ron Paul is safe enough to vote for, we can’t win the election.  The reality is you can say we are under rule of law all you want to but, we are really under the rule of the mob.  If we can get the mob to follow Ron Paul (even if they don’t understand him) we can use the next four years to educate them about why it was a good decision.  The Heritage Foundation will be stunned into silence for a little while.  That will be your opportunity to educate the whole world about Austrian Economics, the FED, nullification, upholding oaths of office, etc.  I know, I know, it smacks of “brain washing”, but do you want to end up in a militarized government compound or do you want to lead some sheep to the voting booth and do some real work for the welfare of our nation?

    This is not going to be a slam dunk.  We are in a war and the last two battles went to the other guys.  There is no one in the field except Ron Paul who can lead us out of this mess.  Yes, their argument is self defeating (we have to choose a loser in order to win??) But, we need to understand that Ron Paul is the true winner and he will lose if we don’t present him in winning clothes.  I want him to win.  I acknowledge that I am nobody.  But, I want him to win and he can’t win if people never learn he is trustworthy.

  • jen

    As your claim is that the one issue that voters have with RP is that he is “not safe and trustworthy”, then why do you think voters feel that way specifically and what specifically makes them say that and importantly, what would get them to feel “safe” under Paul, what would you say to get them to have trust in Paul, and how would you spread that message/awareness?

  • jen

    Why is the gold standard seem as extreme as it was functional till 1971?  Thereafter, the debt went wild.

    What are the alternatives that have been suggested that would be in line with mainstream? 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFXAORWCYJQLWDTDSUYISXZSHQ LetsGetReal

    Well one guy was going on about different accusations that pretty well duplicates the media messages being bandied about, here is my response to him:

    What part of the
    federal war on drugs do you deem successful so far?

    Ron Paul would uphold
    the Constitutional responsibility to protect our borders and allow the states
    to deal justly with the murderers and kidnappers who come across the border,
    deport those who come across illegally, let the states tend to the
    security of their own state as they deem necessary.  What part of the
    freedom to defend oneself against those who come to steal, to kill and to
    destroy do you not understand?

    Are you arguing that
    other countries are incapable of protecting themselves without the sacrifice of
    their own lives, liberty and happiness therefore, we are required to protect
    them by sacrificing the lives, liberty and happiness of our own people on their
    behalf?  And bankrupting our country paying for these unjust, unlawful,
    undeclared wars is helping our economy how?

    Are you arguing that
    the man who has stood alone against every evil liar that has aligned himself
    against him is now a “coward”.  The man who believes men should
    be man enough to protect themselves, their families, their communities, their
    state and their nation is now a “coward” because he demands that the
    true cowards stop passing off their responsibilities to their nineteen year old
    sons and daughters?

    Are you arguing that
    Israel is not capable of protecting itself from its own enemies because we have
    financed the war costs of all of their enemies?  Or, are you arguing that
    Israel is not capable of protecting itself because you are more comfortable
    sacrificing our wealth, our lives, our integrity and our honor on their
    behalf?  Or, are you arguing that the 200-300 nuclear bombs that Israel
    has is not sufficient fire power to destroy all of their enemies?  What
    happened to God’s ability to protect his own people?

    Actually, if you will check the messaging being scattered around you
    will discover the accusation of returning to the 1850’s is a paid media message
    that comes from both the RINO world and the progressive world NOT from Ron
    Paul.  Read his books (all of them) educate yourself about what he has
    done with his own life and then come back and apologize for the ignorance you
    have displayed in this blather.  Then go out and begin to support the only
    trustworthy man in this race with your time, your talent and your
    property.  He will not steal it from you personally or by government
    proxy.  How good is that?

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MFXAORWCYJQLWDTDSUYISXZSHQ LetsGetReal

    Just an afterthought — it is really important that the mob be given the one-liners that they can remember and repeat.  The mobs are socialists.  They learn by gossip.  That is why information must be presented based on emotional impact. All logic, reason and intellect must be clothed in emotion.  It must be gut emotional in nature — men protect their families — this is a direct confrontation of the fear that drove the statement that Ron Paul is a coward.   It is the connect of emotion with reason that will produce the transformation from blind sheep to a seeing eye dog that will lead other blind sheep to the polls.

    If the paid media messengers are managing the message to produce a certain fear in the sheep, it is our responsibility to provide the sheep with the soothing antidote to the fear.  The simple truth will set them free from going into captivity to the lies that produce the fear.  Think of the one-liners as a vaccine.  It is a small dose of something that will produce the antibodies needed to prevent the disease.  I have read a lot of your prognostications about the fears the MSM will be rousing as the RP campaign begins to succeed.  Flood the airwaves and the mailboxes with the simple vaccines and the sheep will be immune to the smear campaigns.  Do you think they know the rational arguments in support of the nonsense they have been believing for the last 30 years?  No, they are believing messages because of the emotional impact of the messages.  You can get mad about it or you can use it, but you can’t change it.

  • Laura

    We’re toast.  The totalitarian regime knows they have TOTAL CONTROL with their Media pimps, total control with their brain-dead GOP Rino’s dotting every state, and total control over our money supply, and total control over our world.  They are going in for the kill now with the NDAA in their hip pocket.  They could care less about you and me or my grandchildren.  

    Nothing short of an ECONOMIC CATASTROPHE where they strip baby boomers of 1/2 their wealth overnight would make anybody upset enough to do something.  I’m sick of it all. That’s all I know…

    And, I’m supposed to believe Santorum got all those votes, when even this afternoon he couldn’t garnish more than 30 supporters in a cafe.  Brother.

  • Lou Bjostad

    I’m disappointed about last night’s outcome, too, but let’s take stock here:

    1. When Ron Paul entered politics in August 1971 with personal commitments against perpetual war, generational welfare, and fiat money, he was simply ignored.  The US was still in a pointless war of adventure in Viet Nam, Nixon had just taken the US off the gold standard, and a predictable recession soon followed, continuing for nearly a decade.  Ron Paul stood firm in his opposition to the warfare state and to the welfare state, nearly alone.  Now, four decades later, this man is running for President, and nobody ignores him. 

    2. Because of Ron Paul, all Americans are now developing an awareness that the gold standard is not a psychotic fascination with bright shiny objects, but an effective tool against losing our savings after we retire, and also an effective tool against having our teenagers return home with amputated limbs and PTSD. 

    3. Because of Ron Paul, all Americans are now looking hard at the self-destructive consequences of putting 1000 US military bases into 150 countries around the world. Ron Paul has published an entire series of books to explain his views, and he has used his elected office very effectively to spread that message.

    4. Ron Paul’s goal has never been to seize the reins of power and just make everybody do whatever he wants them to do.  His goal has been to show that a global police state really does diminish our quality of life.

    5. What statists fear most is the power of ordinary conversation.  When you and I simply take the trouble to talk to one another about the things that matter most, we put an end to all sorts of schemes that just never get any traction.  I hope Ron Paul continues in political life for as many years as he
    wishes, but he has clearly already succeeded brilliantly in using the theater of
    national politics to accomplish what authoritarians have dreaded for 6000
    years of recorded history — we are all now paying attention to what they do.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Bob-Farkas/1182252054 Bob Farkas

    A really good article, explaining how the media caused the undecided voters to vote against their own self-interests in Iowa:

    http://www.dailypaul.com/199702/some-conclusions-we-can-draw-about-iowa-results

  • Laura

    He may have begun to open the eyes of the public, especially many of the educated baby boomers, as well as young people, BUT……….is it worth it to go forward donating our hard-earned monies to a campaign that will be viciously defeated via fraud tactics and Media brainswashing tactics.

  • http://profiles.yahoo.com/u/NMLA3IP3VOTEFE56MLBFBKO2GY The Kingfish

    What do you expect from Heritage, the people who brought us the idea of the individual mandate to purchase health insurance?

  • Anonymous

    There is no such thing as the “rule of law.” In The Most Dangerous Superstition by Larken Rose he sums it up:

    Another example of irrational statist doctrine is the concept of the “rule of law.” The idea is that rule by mere men is bad, because it serves those with a malicious lust for power, while the “rule of law,” as the theory goes, is all about objective, reasonable rules being imposed upon humanity equally. A moment’s thought reveals the absurdity of this myth. Despite the fact that “the law” is often spoken of as some holy, infallible set of rules spontaneously flowing from the nature of the universe, in reality “the law” is simply a collection of commands issued and enforced by the people in “government.” There would be a difference between “rule of law” and “rule of men” only if the so called “laws” were written by something other than men.

  • Mxdc_2000

    Yes, at least we continue to try. I give my money freetly to support this campaign as opposed to allowing someone to take if from me through force.

  • jen

    Good job.  You are probably right in that the “socialist mobs” are just looking for emotional nurturing from candidates. 



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