G. Edward Griffin on Quick Fixes, the Looming Great War and Loss of Elite Moral Authority
The Daily Bell is pleased to present this exclusive interview with G. Edward Griffin (left).
Introduction: G. Edward Griffin is a film producer, author and political lecturer. He is the founder of Freedom Force International, a libertarian-oriented activist network focused on advancing individual freedom. First released in 1994, Mr. Griffin’s best-selling financial book, The Creature from Jekyll Island, is a no-holds-barred look into the inner workings of the Federal Reserve banking system, or cartel if you will. Mr. Griffin’s literary contributions are especially noteworthy given the validity of his vision and the exciting and troublesome nature of the times in which we live.
Daily Bell: Let’s jump right in. Are we seeing significant price inflation now?
G. Edward Griffin: It depends on how you define significant, I suppose. I think it’s significant. My personal feeling is the price index is greatly distorted. They keep fiddling with the formula to make it look as good as possible but real inflation, at least here in the States, in terms of the major components of what people buy to live day to day, such as groceries, gasoline and clothing, my feeling is that inflation is already at the double digits. I think it’s ten percent if not more. That I think is significant but then again it’s nothing compared to what I think we are going to see.
It seems to me that probably within the next two years we will be experiencing 15, 20, 25, 30 percent and so forth. It may be much higher because I have a feeling there is a certain tipping point coming when people finally realize – and they always do – in any country where the currency is grinding down. There comes to be a point, like in Russia or in Germany, for example, when inflation was modest and then within a period of a few weeks inflation was way, way out of proportion. It was a psychological factor that made the difference. Nothing else changed except the awareness level that the money was no good. So I kind of think we are going to see similar psychological influence like that here and probably we will catch up with all the inflation that should have been in the market very quickly.
Daily Bell: Are the elites running scared?
G. Edward Griffin: I don’t think the power elites are running scared, no. I think they are very confident that everything is under control. I think they are not worried about the crisis because they want the crisis; the crisis is part of the plan. The monetary crisis, the military crisis, social crisis, racial tensions, crime crisis, environmental crisis – those things all feed into their plan because that’s what frightens people and what makes them passive to accept all these programs that they offer to expand government and increase taxes. So I don’t think they are running scared. I think they’re saying to themselves very comfortably that ‘everything is on track and things are going according to plan and exactly as we wanted.’
Daily Bell: Is the central banking economy breaking down?
G. Edward Griffin: I think the answer to that is yes. It has been breaking down since the day it was created but it’s a question of how obvious it is and a question of how tolerant the population will be to allow it to continue to crumble. Yes, it’s coming down to some very serious challenges to the various governments as they try to figure out how to patch up the ship, to patch up the holes. Maybe that’s a bad example. Maybe what I should be saying is they are finding some way to continue to pump up the bubble, making the bubble go bigger so it doesn’t blow up. They have to pump it bigger because if they don’t they lose control.
Now, that doesn’t sound like a good answer to your question but I really don’t think so because the assumption in that question is that the banking system has been running correctly in the past or is running correctly now, or there is some way to save the banking system. I think the implication of that question is that the banking system is ok, or it has been ok, or is coming apart now. I think that is the wrong assumption because the system has been built on fraud from the very beginning and, as I said, it started to fall apart from the very day it was conceived. I don’t think we should worry about how to save the banking system. I think we should be thinking about how we could let it blow up and get it out of our way, and how to restore a real, honest banking system and not one based on fraud and political favoritism.
Daily Bell: Do you see the elites losing moral authority?
G. Edward Griffin: I definitely think the elites are losing, if they’ve not already lost, the moral authority with most thinking people. Now, how many are in that category? Let me think about that. People who really understand what’s going on in the news I don’t think have had much feeling about moral authority of the elites for a long, long time. But I think the great bulk of the people who are turning to government for salvation, for benefits, for leadership and all that sort of thing still have it somehow in the back of their minds that these political and financial leaders are looking out for their best interest, that large group of people, whatever size that group may be. I don’t think they are losing moral authority.
I think it’s like the situation described 100 years ago by Fredrick Bastiat in his book, The Law. He said when you have a society where people expect the government to take care of them and to solve all the problems, then when things start go bad people blame the government for it. That doesn’t mean the government loses moral authority; it means the people become angry with the government. They say, “This person isn’t doing the job right so let’s find another person who will” – essentially, let’s start switching from one dictator to another. They all want dictators to run their lives for them so they give those people, those dictators, the moral authority to run their lives and they don’t object to that but they get mad at them because they’re not doing a good job.
For example, you see that in our election this year one candidate from one party is debating the candidate from the other party and they are talking about jobs. They say, “Vote for me and I’ll bring jobs back to America,” as though the president of the United States has any right or authority or power to create jobs. Who the heck expects the president to create jobs? If people expect the government or the president to do all these things for them and then they fail to do so, they get mad at the president or the dictator but they don’t want to change the system. I am trying to make a distinction here between this moral authority, which I think a lot of people still grant to their leaders, and the fact that they become angry with them because their leaders don’t give them enough benefits.
Daily Bell: Do the elites intend to plunge the world into war and recession?
G. Edward Griffin: I am trying to be very precise in my thinking on this. I think the elites are prepared to plunge the world into utter chaos, if necessary, for them to maintain their control. It’s not that they want to or that they intend to but they have no qualms against it if it becomes necessary. They don’t really care about mankind; they look at the average working person as an asset, like cattle on a farm or a piece of livestock. They don’t want to jolt the livestock with a cattle prod. It’s not that they want to do that but if cattle get out of line, well, where’s the cattle prod? I think that the people who are really calling the shots in the major societies and governments of the world are really pretty indifferent to the personal suffering or the personal lot of the individual citizen. They may talk a lot about it, they may give speeches about it, they may give lip service to human rights and these things but when push comes to shove, they are only concerned about one thing and that’s the perpetuation of their own power.
Daily Bell: What about Ron Paul?
G. Edward Griffin: Well, what were we taught? I think on the positive side we learned from the Ron Paul campaign that the spirit of liberty is not dead; in fact, it’s alive and well. We saw a continuation of his growth of real commitment to the principles of liberty in the form of this growing movement behind Ron Paul in the face of strong opposition from the media, academia and the political parties themselves. It told me that the potential is there so I am greatly encouraged by that.
The thing I learned from this, and this was very much out in the open for everyone to see, is that the leadership of both parties is totally indifferent to the rank and file of their own party members. We particularly saw this at the Republican convention where they had certain programs where they wanted to liberalize rules for future conventions so that it would be more difficult for minority candidates to even be nominated. They already had rules that made it more difficult but they were afraid that Ron Paul was going to meet those requirements so now they want to change the rules to make it even more difficult for anyone to do that. And it was clear that the rank and file members of the convention did not want that but you could tell by the way the voting was run they didn’t care what the vote was. They called for a voice vote, yay or nay, and it sounded even. You saw it on television. A huge block shouted yea, a huge block shouted nay yet the chairman said, ‘That’s it,’ deems that the yeas have it and they went on to the next issue.
So things like that brought out into the open the fact that the leadership of the Republican Party and similar things have happened in the Democrat Party, too. They really don’t care. Oh wait – that’s not true. They do care about what the rank and file party members want as long as they can override them. They want to make sure that only those people coming to the convention have the correct point of view. In other words, it’s not a democratic process and that is something everybody should have seen in the open and a great lesson to learn from this campaign.
Daily Bell: Rand Paul?
G. Edward Griffin: I don’t have too many thoughts about him. I like everything Rand Paul stands for and I know he’s been greatly influenced by his father. I don’t like everything about Rand Paul. I didn’t care for his decision to support the Romney campaign but I can understand that maybe he feels that’s necessary to garner some kind of niche in the Republican Party. So I might disagree with his strategy. In fact, that’s probably a good reason I am not in politics. I would just stand on principal on everything and be shot down over some little minor issue where if I had compromised on something minor I might still be standing for the major issues. But nevertheless, I like Rand Paul and I hope he will become the rallying point for continuation of the Ron Paul Revolution.
Daily Bell: Romney?
G. Edward Griffin: Well, I’ve known about Romney for many, many years and he is a total creature of the establishment, a total creature of the status quo. He’s offered no substantial change in the major policies of this country. He represents the very thing that’s been destroying this country, and that is this very false contest between Republicans and Democrats. I think Mr. Romney is playing that game beautifully, giving conservative Republicans the false sense that if they just vote for him everything’s going to be fine.
In reality I know that Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama think almost exactly alike on almost everything, or at least on important things. Both of them support fiat money and they both support the Federal Reserve System – they don’t want any changes there. They both support an aggressive US foreign policy overseas, they want our troops in every country in the world, they want us to dominate the world and they want to continue these wars, the important things.
Another important issue is US sovereignty. Are we going to stay as an independent nation, will Canada remain an independent nation, will all countries remain independent, or will they become submerged and lose their sovereignty in the UN? Mr. Romney and Mr. Obama are in agreement on that. They both favor the UN. So I look at the three major issues, really the biggest of them all, and I don’t see any difference between Obama and Romney because there’s no difference between the Republican and the Democrat Parties at the top.
Daily Bell: Obama?
G. Edward Griffin: Well, what can I say about Obama that hasn’t already been said? Obama is a man of the left side of the political spectrum who believes in collectivism, big government and small individuals, standing firmly against Mr. Romney, who is standing firmly on the right side of the political spectrum, representing big government and small people. The two wings of the same ugly bird, called collectivism. Obama is playing his role beautifully. He’s somebody for all of the conservatives to hate so they will vote for Romney, and Romney plays his role beautifully as someone for all the progressives and all the liberals to hate so they can vote for Obama. And in that process nothing really changes.
Daily Bell: Let’s take a look around the world. Are the US and the world possibly headed for a global depression? Are we in one already?
G. Edward Griffin: I believe that the word depression is somewhat slippery and needs to be defined. I think we are already moving deeply into depression globally. It is true there are certain little pockets where it is hard to tell there’s a depression but those are just little pockets. I look around where I live and I’m very fortunate. When I drive into town I see nothing but Mercedes and BMW’s and all these expensive cars. All these expensive restaurants are loaded but I know that this is the last little tip of the island that hasn’t been engulfed yet.
The water is rising all around us. You go into most of Los Angeles and you don’t see that kind of affluence at all, and in most countries you hardly see that, except in the areas where the elite and the ruling class and the financial class live. I think, to answer your question, we are moving deeper and deeper into depression, no matter how you want to define that word, in the sense that it means economic hardship for more and more people. And we are going to continue in that direction as long as we follow the same economic policies that we have been following. If we tolerate the same people in public office we will have the same policies.
Daily Bell: Is China headed for a hard landing?
G. Edward Griffin: I’m questioning the assumption behind that question because it assumes that China is now flying high. I think that what we have seen in the media, the impressions we have seen of this great prosperity in China, is not as accurate as the reality. I think that once you get out of the cities, the tourist centers and the financial areas of the big cities of China and you go out in the country you will find destitution and poverty and despair and hunger. China has not been doing anywhere near as well as we’ve been told by our own mainstream media. I think they have and the Chinese themselves have been trying to build up themselves in the view of the world but I think also the American press has been trying to build up China and show it off as kind of a new show place of the world. I don’t know why, unless it’s the fact that China is a communist country and maybe this is an indirect way of showing the world that communism isn’t so bad, that maybe communism is better than capitalism, and then we’re back to all those words again.
But the information I have and primarily the information from people who have come from China is that the appearance of prosperity that we see there is mostly an appearance and it may be true for a very small percentage of the population but it’s a hollow image. Many of those big high-rise buildings that we see are empty. The train stations they build in the suburban areas are empty; nobody goes to those stations. They have beautiful apartment buildings that they have built but they are empty because nobody can afford them. So when you ask whether China is due for a hard landing, I would answer I don’t think China ever took off.
Daily Bell: If China goes out what can stop a global depression? Is the American economy rebounding as they say?
G. Edward Griffin: I don’t think the American economy is rebounding. I am not sure who it is, who they are, except for the people who have a vested interest in having the world believe that it is. In other words, the financial industry, of course, and the political industry are groups with a great vested interest in keeping people content with the status quo. So any information or any editorial opinions to the fact that the economy is not rebounding are repugnant to them because that might lead people to say, “Hey, it might be time for a change.” I think when you use the words, “like they say it is,” we need to take a careful look at who “they” are that are saying it.
A lot of observers are not in positions within the financial industry or in the political industry, just people on the street, local newspaper reporters, people in business. See what they are saying and you get a whole different story. What I am trying to say is I don’t think the economy is rebounding at all. I think what “they” are telling us is not true.
Daily Bell: What strikes you most about the world today, generally speaking?
G. Edward Griffin: Well, you’ve got me in kind of a negative mood here and I’m a bit worried about it but I’m trying to be honest. I don’t consider myself to be a pessimist nor do I consider myself an optimist. I like to consider myself a realist and I don’t think we can solve our problems by pretending that things are better than they are. It’s not just a sales meeting where we have to put on a smile and tell everybody that sales are great, all your friends are making great sales and all you have to do is get out of your negative mood, get out there and sell, sell, sell.
Sometimes there are situations like that where morale can make a difference. But when it comes to the economy, I think the role of morale makes a small difference in terms of optimism in the market and willingness to go out and spend your money. But the more important elements are not just psychological; they are productivity and free-market oriented decisions, the freedom to make an investment or the freedom to make a bad investment or to make a change and so forth. Those things are absent in our society today so I don’t know how to answer your question except to say I don’t think the economy is rebounding and I don’t think pretending that it is will help in any way.
Daily Bell: What’s going on in America? Homeland Security continues to expand. Where is this increased authoritarianism coming from?
G. Edward Griffin: Boy, these are hard questions but they are good questions and they are the questions that nobody wants to ask because they don’t want to hear the answer. Nobody wants to hear that there is no quick fix. Everybody wants to say, “What are you going to do about it?” and that means what are you going to do about it before November and the elections. Then that boils down to who are you going to vote for? They think if you check the right box, choose the right candidate or choose the right political party that everything is okay.
Well, our problems are much deeper than that and therefore the solutions are much more complex than that. I don’t think that the solutions to the problems, at least right here in the United States, have anything to do with voting for the right candidate because the major candidates, as I said before, both represent essentially the same thing so that is not an option. You cannot vote your way out of this mess we are in because you don’t have that option on the ballot box.
So what is the solution then? Well, you’ve got to make sure in the next election, or the one after that, that we do have some options. Now, that’s a long-range process. People have to get up off their couches and out where the masses are. They have to do some education, they have to do some activism, they have to run for office and they have to replace those collectivists that are in positions of power so that the next time the election rolls around you will have some options. That, nobody one wants to hear, because it represents a lot of work, a lot of time and a lot of personal sacrifice.
Daily Bell: It seems so methodical and deliberate. Who’s behind it?
G. Edward Griffin: I don’t think there is any one person behind all of this. I think it’s a fact of the system we live in. I come back and use the word collectivism. The world is in the grip of this ideology called collectivism, the concept that the state is more important than the individual and that the individual must be sacrificed, if necessary, for the greater good of the greater number. That concept has taken over the world. As long as we have that concept we have the concept that follows it, which is that government must be the solver of all problems, government is the source of all good, government provides the leadership and we must do what the government says because it’s for our own good. That’s the theory. Now, as long as that exists then government becomes a magnet, a magnet that draws to it the predator class, people who want to run your life and mine and want to do it legally. They want to take our stuff but they don’t want to go to jail for it so they go to work for the government.
Now they can do it legally and they come up with all kinds excuses – they’re going to fight crime, they can fight terrorism and they are going to fight the destruction of the planet. They are going to do all these things that everyone applauds them for but in reality what they are really doing is they want our stuff and they want to control our lives. This becomes their excuse for doing that. So in order to really bring about change we have to change the system itself so that the magnet is turned off.
As long as we accept the philosophy of collectivism, this concept that big government has the solution for everything, we will never solve our problems. They will just get worse because the magnet that draws to it all this predator class will stay and the predators will stay. They will come, they will grow in number and we will be preyed upon.
Daily Bell: What’s your take generally on the health of the Internet these days?
G. Edward Griffin: The Internet, I think, is doing very well these days but it is showing signs of attack. I used the word predators a minute ago and I will continue with that. The predators don’t like the Internet because it’s a means of communication they cannot control. As you know, there has been a lot of talk lately at the national level and the international level at the UN about why it’s so important to control the Internet. They use all these good excuses – they want to stop child pornography, they say there’s cyber terrorism and all these good things they want to control – but you and I know what they really want to control is our personal communication, and the rest of that is just an excuse. They want to clamp down on the Internet so it’s no longer a vehicle for people like me to express my views. So I am worried about the future health of the Internet and I just hope more people will come and defend the Internet against these attacks, which we know are coming.
Daily Bell: What’s your take on these expanding Middle Eastern wars?
G. Edward Griffin: Oh, boy. That’s a big question. At the general level, I guess I have to say I’m as concerned as anyone else because it certainly looks like it’s moving toward another great world war, and people have been predicting that for a long time. I am afraid of that, as I am sure the people in the Middle East are, too. On a more subtle level, I think the possibility of a great world conflict is tailor-made to the agenda of the new world order people because they want to scare the daylights out of the people – and what better excuse to get people to stop reading the Daily Bell or Unfiltered News?
They will convince people that we are at war and we can’t tolerate this kind of stuff anymore. We only have one thing to worry about now and that’s how to save our lives. Everyone will panic and say we have to close down dissent, we have to rally behind our leaders and we must have unity if we are going to survive. So I can see on a more subtle level that this great, horrible catastrophe that we all fear might be desirable to that maniacal group that is trying to put together what is called the new world order.
Daily Bell: Any new projects you want to tell us about?
G. Edward Griffin: When they get through reading the Daily Bell, your readers should come over and sign up for a free subscription to Unfiltered News. We’re very happy with the response we have had to that and we are looking for new readers. You can find that at www.realityzone.com.
Daily Bell: Any last words? Any resources you want to mention?
G. Edward Griffin: My last words are: I’m really not as pessimistic as I may sound. I do have great hope for the future because I see a growing groundswell of awakening and understanding. As long as we recognize that reform is not going to happen overnight, if we recognize that true reform, lasting reform, will probably take a generation or two, then there is great cause to rejoice because we have set in place now ideas and structures and movements that cannot be stopped. It’s just a question of maybe another generation, and the work that we are doing now will be like seeds that will grow all the trees and will then later drop more seeds and grow more trees. We’ve started a process now that within a generation or two has to mature and cannot be stopped. Freedom is assured.
Daily Bell: Thanks again, Ed, for being so generous with your time. We’re sure our readers are appreciative, too.
G. Edward Griffin: Well, that’s very kind of you. Thank you.