Introduction: Ron Holland is an author, financial expert, Austrian economist, entrepreneur and international business strategist who believes in a return to limited decentralized government like the Swiss Confederation and the former US Articles of Confederation. He has provided strategic business consulting and advisory services to numerous private and publicly traded companies over the past 42 years in diverse areas of finance and marketing including banking, trust department leadership and real estate, as well as in the investment industry, from broker and retirement consultant to president of a national investment firm. Selections of his essays can be found in the archives of LewRockwell.com and TheDailyBell.com.
Daily Bell: We last interviewed you in July of 2011 and you were getting ready for retirement living on the beach in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Since then you have picked up and moved to Toronto, Canada. Exactly what happened in your life to cause such an abrupt change in your lifestyle? Frankly, we haven't met many people who move from a sub-tropical beach to cold and snowy Toronto, Canada. Did you leave the US because of all the regulatory threats to wealth, life and prosperity that so many writers are warning about in the alternative media?
Ron Holland: No. I left the US for an exciting business opportunity based in Canada but the increasing authoritarianism in the United States combined with the TSA assaults at airports do make America a threatening jurisdiction in which to live or conduct business. Add in the threats of a real or contrived future crisis with exchange controls, a run on the dollar and an out-of-control sovereign debt situation and it makes me very happy to be on the outside of the American financial iron curtain and barbed wire, looking in instead of the other way around.
Today I would never want to raise a family or manage a new company inside the US. There is too much terrorist and foreign policy risk, political risk, dollar risk, regulatory risk, crime and out-of-control federal agencies. What's left of the Constitution and Bill of Rights could die overnight by presidential executive order in a Washington response to a future crisis or incident, real or contrived.
Daily Bell: So Ron, how do you like Canada so far? What are the negatives and the positives?
Ron Holland: It's been an easy transition and the major change for me is moving from a relatively small American mountain and later beach community to a city of almost five million people. I walk everywhere and the range of excellent restaurants within a few blocks of our house is simply amazing, not to mention numerous pubs and music venues.
The only negative is slightly higher taxes and prices than in the US but even this is a positive. You see, as an American citizen, I get a credit for my Canadian taxes against what I owe the Washington Empire down south so I pay more taxes but should never have to pay a dime to Washington. Up here, crime rates are very low, services tend to work and even the bureaucrats are usually pleasant and friendly. I love paying taxes to a government that has never threatened or harassed me, didn't force me into the army during a foreign war for special interests and that generally is a pretty good government as far as governments go.
An interesting note – Yahoo recently published the 15 best cities in the world for lifestyle. Three cities in Switzerland made the list along with Munich, Vienna and a few other European locations as well as three cities in Canada. No city in the US even made the list.
Canada has a pretty decentralized confederation style government somewhat like the Swiss Confederation (Switzerland) and it works. The main threat up here, in addition to our stumbling giant to the south, is the low risk of eventual Quebec secession. But even if this were the case, and I believe distinct peoples and regions everywhere in the world should have this right, no one can imagine a war and invasion to destroy the province and force them back into the Canadian Confederation like what happened under Lincoln 150 years ago in the US.
Two things I've learned since moving to Canada: First, enormous numbers of Americans who supported the Crown during the American Revolution had all of their property confiscated and then moved to the loyalist regions of Canada. Most of this is blocked from US history books. Second, large cities and exorbitant crime rates do not necessarily go hand in hand.
When I first moved up here during the winter, every night about 11PM I would take my Golden Retriever Sophie for a nightly walk and here I had to go several blocks to a large park with few lights. Now, I'm 6ft 2in but during the first few weeks walking in the park was sort of like snorkeling in the Caribbean while concerned about sharks. Every couple of minutes I would turn completely around to see if a thug was following me because you see relatively few police here.
This continued until I noticed one night that there were plenty of people walking their dogs around midnight in the dark park. Upon closer examination I realized most were women and they didn't have the least concern about assault or robbery. The bottom line is there is still civilization here, a government that generally works and a lifestyle not seen in the US since the 1950s.
I miss my country, grown daughters and grandchildren and enjoy visiting them often but I do not miss the police-state mentality and what has happened to the nation of my birth because I will always be an American.
The problem is what a few powerful interests have done to our country and I fear we haven't seen anything yet. As drone patrols become commonplace in the US, our foreign wars expand and the TSA moves to include all public transportation, I fear armed thugs everywhere will turn our nation into more of a latter-day Third Reich than the patriot vision of our founding fathers.
Daily Bell: Are you worried about the future and growing authoritarianism in the US?
Ron Holland: No because worry should be about the future and action should be about the present. The United States is now an authoritarian police state if you do not submit to the whims of whatever bureaucrat you're dealing with. I don't think there is any debate here. I'm not worried about the future; rather, I'm determined to take action because of the present condition of my country that threatens my wealth, the remaining liberties of my family and the future prosperity of my children.
Johnny Paycheck had a country song titled, "You Can Take This Job and Shove It." Well, this is how I feel about Congress, both political parties and both candidates for president.
Daily Bell: Your wife is Tami Holland, the conference coordinator for the annual FreedomFest conference and a partner with Dr. Mark Skousen, the producer for the largest annual gathering of free minds in the world. What is it like living with the person who brings all of this together?
Ron Holland: She is a handful and quite strong-willed but never boring and always fun and interesting. Tami is actually a delight to love, live and work with nine months of the year but April, May and June can be trying at times. She and Mark make a hell of a team in putting this annual conference together.
She is a secret weapon of the liberty movement and her organizational and detail skills and take-charge attitude are crucial to making FreedomFest what it is today. The three months each year she spends in the trenches are for a worthy cause and I'm proud of her sacrifice and the 80-hour weeks she contributes to the cause of personal, economic and political liberty.
Daily Bell: Do you consider yourself a libertarian?
Ron Holland: Yes, in general but I don't like the term. I believe that a free people can best achieve freedom and prosperity in a free-market environment but 99% of the world is not free. The entire concept of Libertarian voting I believe falsely assumes liberty forces can somehow get 51% of the voting public to support limited government employment, benefits and programs. Sadly I think this is a false paradigm.
The same goes for education on free-market principles. The Ron Paul Campaign has been one of the greatest philosophical and educational successes in recorded history but after eight years of campaigning we can pull maybe 14% of the vote in Republican primaries. This is certainly not the percentage needed to effect real political change were we even allowed to do so, which we are not because of establishment press and GOP elite dirty tricks, but it is a giant step forward compared to the past.
Daily Bell: You have long written very favorably about Ron Paul. Do have the same enthusiasm and support for his son, Senator Rand Paul? Second, what do you think about his endorsement of Mitt Romney for president while his dad was still a candidate for the GOP nomination?
Ron Holland: Yes, I feel the same about his son Rand. Ron Paul is more doctrinaire in his views and this is crucial for educational success. Rand is more of a politician and he understands the necessity of building coalitions within a broader freedom or liberty movement if we are to have political success.
My only minor disagreement is the timing of the endorsement of Romney that had to happen if Rand is to have a real political future within the GOP. I'm sure he and his father consulted on this and decided this was the best course of action. Who am I – or the naysayers – to judge the decision when we haven't a clue about what really happened here or the reasons for the timing?
Daily Bell: Is there a power elite that wants to take over the world and what is your opinion of history as it is taught to our young people?
Ron Holland: No, there is not a power elite that wants to take over the world because they already control most Western nations including the US. They control the central banks, the major political parties, the establishment press, education and the world economy and print all the money out of thin air.
Their concern is losing this dictatorial, monopoly control because of the Internet Reformation and they will do anything – crash the economy, kill tens of millions in world wars, anything to remain in power behind the scenes of controlled operatives i.e., the politicians.
As for establishment history, it's all lies. There is little truth in history or politics and this has been tragic for the human condition.
What I learned several decades ago in Europe and my real life experiences to date convinces me that 85 percent of people are living in denial about the real world around them. I don't really view this as negative because in almost the entire history of recorded civilization the winners in war, politics and power have paid court (government-financed) historians to write propaganda history glorifying the winners and, of course, trashing the losers. Actually, the only real truth in history is that everything except for the dates are falsified or colored by the victors to show them in the best light possible.
Succinctly, all power elites spin our current political and financial events as well as history into a simple a fairy tale written for feeble minds in order to keep them under control. The elites only view us as mere sheep to be sheared and slaughtered for the interests fronting for and hiding behind the state.
We are a source of wealth, innovation and cannon fodder when needed by our leaders and otherwise. Except at election time we are totally expendable.
Daily Bell: If you don't mind us asking, who are you voting for in the US November elections?
Ron Holland: Well, unless Romney names Rand Paul as his V.P. candidate – and this is looking increasingly unlikely – then I don't plan to vote at all for any GOP candidates. We must show the GOP establishment that there is a high price to pay for their treatment of the Ron Paul wing of the party. On the other hand, if Rand in on the ticket I will "hold my nose," gag and vote Republican.
Still, my preferred outcome would be a close presidential election but with Obama winning. This would give Rand an excellent opportunity to win the GOP nomination in 2016.
Daily Bell: We are confused. Why would you vote for a Romney/Rand ticket but prefer they lose?
Ron Holland: If Romney were elected President then Rand as his V.P. would be unable to challenge him for the 2016 nomination. Then we would be stuck with no liberty candidate and just a repeat of the Bush, Obama, Romney years and these front men for powerful interests really have no grounding or philosophy, they just want to be president and will tell any lie, promote any policy necessary to become president. This is not exactly a winning combination to restore freedom and prosperity to America. In fact, it is the exact recipe for the disaster we now find ourselves in.
Freedom loving Americans only have two courses of action remaining. Either we continue to take over the elite controlled GOP mafia or permanently repudiate the entire farce that is the closed two-party political monopoly system in the US. The current political system only exists to fabricate a powerless controlled opposition when there is none at the present time except for the Ron Paul wing of the party.
The real solution and alternative is massive individual human action, education and repudiation of all the controlled institutions used to enslave and rule over us. This is the only option left to free people wanting to peacefully resist the power elite. As for the establishment mantra to "vote for the lessor of two evils," this only gives undeserved credibility to a corrupt process, I don't believe this garbage either.
Daily Bell: What do you think is the greatest threat to private wealth in the US?
Ron Holland: Well, I think we can forget the extreme rhetoric of convoluted conspiracies, martial law, etc. because the greatest threat to private wealth is the plain old vanilla Presidential Executive Order that has been around since the birth of the republic.
This was the tool used by Roosevelt to illegally steal all the gold from private citizens back in 1933. Lincoln issued countless presidential executive orders arresting and imprisoning opposition newspaper reporters and editors as well as the suspension of the writ of habeas corpus widely across Union territory in the Northern States.
Just one week ago, Homeland Security Secretary, Janet Reno – (oops, Napolitano … I get them confused for some reason) – announced Obama's overnight executive order. Ruling by decree, without debate or warning to make 800,000 more illegal aliens safe from deportation, eligible for work permits and destined to become future Democrat voters. This was at a time when American unemployment rates are near historic highs and obviously just a ploy to get more Latino votes in November.
Of course, Romney weaseled out of a statesman-like response, as usual on all vital issues to the future of our nation. Other than a few alternative news sites, there was little outrage by the GOP out of fear of alienating their Latino supporters. Romney repeatedly declined to answer whether, if elected, he would overturn the executive order, as all major party candidates and elected officials are just clones of one another on all important issues. This sell-out response is to be expected from presidential candidates from either major party.
Executive orders, unless they are challenged – which they can be by Congress, which is constitutionally required to review every one of them every six months, actually – can allow a president to rule by decree. This is basically what a once great republic has been reduced to. Still, this illegal immigrant executive order is a minor issue compared to how an executive order could be used in a real or contrived crisis.
Any president could easily impose a total financial lock-down against productive America that would confiscate nearly 100 percent of their wealth and destroy any remaining liberties. I fear the reaction by opposition politicians would be just as cowardly as Romney's.
Your first response might be, "Ron, this rhetoric is just too extreme for me. This will never happen." Well, who would have thought back in 2006 that the average net worth per family would fall by 40 percent from 2007 to 2010 but these statistics were just verified by the Washington Post last week. I fear what I've described will happen and soon!
The spark could be a European bank run, sovereign debt collapse or capital controls contagion crossing the Atlantic and reaching the already bankrupt United States. It could be a real military or oil crisis in the Middle East, terrorist attack or contrived black flag operation designed to provide the justification for a presidential executive order that could take the rest of your net worth over a single night.
The few remnants of the original republic of our Founding Fathers, plus our remaining wealth and liberties, will be destroyed overnight by a pre-planned presidential executive order during a future real or contrived crisis. Forget the two-party propaganda of how either establishment presidential candidate or party will save or destroy our nation, as there is no real difference between Romney and Obama.
Daily Bell: Are you optimistic or pessimistic about the future of freedom in America?
Ron Holland: Obviously, I'm very concerned because I don't see where the American people have the will to resist and stand up to tyranny any more. Although the Internet now gives any American the opportunity to get an unbiased free-market view of politics, history and what is really happening to our nation, the will to resist appears to be dying before our very eyes.
I don't mean to sound sexist here but any nation or people made up of fathers, husbands or lovers who are willing to stand aside and allow thugs and perverts to grope, feel up and intimidate their children, spouses or elderly parents without wholesale rebellion and resort to outrage and defense does not deserve to live free any longer.
Jerry Sandusky has been justly convicted of child sexual abuse while tens of thousands of unemployable, make-work federal government employees do the same every day to our children, wives and the elderly and only a few people voice their outrage while most just submit.
Now, there is reason for proper security procedures even if most of the "so-called" terrorism and the threat have been fabricated, faked or instigated for funding and control reasons. It can be done professionally and without intimidation like in Europe or here in Canada but in the US, all of this is just conditioning for the future.
I fear George Orwell saw the future of the US when he wrote, "If you want a vision of the future, imagine a boot stamping on a human face – forever." This is what America has become, in my humble opinion.
I'm a Christian and a believer, although probably a little unconventional. But I truly believe if there is a God in heaven and a hereafter that our forefathers are looking down on us today as Americans and shedding tears not of fear but of sadness and revulsion for what spineless wimps we have become. Men like Washington and Jefferson, Lee and Jackson, who fought against impossible odds and resisted tyranny, invasion and occupation just because they thought they were right must wonder whether it was worth the effort.
They fought for freedom, liberty and prosperity for their families and future unborn generations of Americans and millions have given their lives for this nation. And all for what? So we could let the helpless be molested and frightened of their own government officials at our airports? So our young people could fight and die in foreign wars of aggression and occupation to make profits for a few big conglomerates and a wealthy power elite? Or so the geeks among us can play video games outside Las Vegas and fly drones and kill mostly innocent civilians in the Islamic world sitting safely behind video screens?
The boot stamping on human faces around the world is sadly mostly American and you are seeing just the beginning of what we have done to the cities, towns and rural areas in far-off lands come full circle back to America. So yes, I'm very pessimistic about the long-term future of our nation unless free people stand up and say, "No more!", and follow through with not just words but actions.
America has become a nation of eunuchs, getting fat and lazy, existing only to do the bidding of the state and begging for crumbs in return for our servitude. Not a pretty picture. So man up, America. Stop the empty rhetoric and start taking individual human action to again become free, prosperous and independent of those who rule over us.
I'd like to sign this message to America:
For A Return To Freedom & Prosperity,
Daily Bell: Thanks, Ron, for your time in providing these thorough written answers to our questions. Best of success in Canada!