Since the 1970s, a college education costs about 11 times more.  Healthcare costs have soared.  Credit card costs are much higher and hundreds of percent interest are charged on payday loans and title loans.  Oil prices have increased enormously.  An automobile of virtually the same make and model costs over ten times more.

What do all these industries have in common?  They are highly regulated, dominated by government agencies, closely controlled by legislation, and limited in competition.  You have to get a large number of permission slips to open a college or university, to offer healthcare services, to lend money at interest, to sell fossil fuels, to manufacture automobiles – you almost certainly cannot afford to do so.

Although it seems like there are endless colleges and universities, you’ll find that a great many hundreds of them offer the same courses.  They promise “rewarding careers” after a few months or a few years of courses, but they are actually marketing student loans for the financial cartel.  Student loans are especially attractive to bankers because of the guarantees provided by the nationalist socialist government.  Real innovation is rare.  Few colleges or universities refuse federal funding, federal guaranteed loans, federal grants, federal research dollars.

Many healthcare providers exist, but real innovation is rare and expensive.  Most hospitals offer the same routines, the same treatments, the same diagnostics, have similar doctors with similar training  pushing pharmaceuticals on behalf of a cartel of huge drug manufacturers.  Doctors in private practice have enormous similarities, pay to be members of a national anti-competitive cartel, pay for costly malpractice insurance, are paid incentives to prescribe medicines, and are not encouraged to innovate.

About five enormous banking conglomerates, including Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Bank of America and JP Morgan Chase, have amassed over half of all financial assets in the United States, according to the Federal Reserve of Dallas in their 2011 annual report.  Although directly, personally responsible for the financial collapse of 2007 to 2011, the banks and their elitist executives will never be punished, never be charged criminally, although dozens to hundreds of criminal violations of state and federal laws have been documented.  After all, if those who finance the national debt were prosecuted, they might make financing the government more expensive.

A small number of very large energy companies dominate the world’s oil, coal, and natural gas.  A small number of petrochemical giants dominate the manufacture of industrial chemicals.  These companies include global giants like BP which apparently violate safety and environmental rules with impunity, no matter how many of their workers are detonated, exploded, burnt to death, gassed, or drowned.  Disasters at refineries and chemical plants, or on offshore drilling platforms, have killed thousands of workers and a great many others worldwide since the 1970s, with not a single major manufacturer being forced out of business due to their evident negligence.  Management gets rewarded for covering up criminal behaviour.  Access to major oil resources keeps authoritarian dictatorships that brutalise their own populations and practice slavery, such as the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Kingdom of Bahrain in power through the eager support of American politicians and American death contractors.  Wars are fought to keep control over oil supplies, and lines drawn on world maps by European powers in the 1920s, and earlier, are regarded as sacrosanct – no matter how many people are slaughtered.

The comparatively innovative auto maker, Tesla Motors, is an interesting example.  They raised and spent millions of dollars establishing a legal right to manufacture cars, long before they spent any money on actually making cars.  Even this innovator was quickly roped into the mainstream system, with hundreds of millions of dollars in loan guarantees from the Department of Energy in 2009.  Bailouts for everyone!  Meanwhile, the number of auto makers in the United States has dropped since the 1970s, and consumers are “protected” by having much more expensive cars with a very narrow range of styles, features, and accessories.  Actual innovation does take place, but innovators are typically sidelined, with their inventions losing patent protection before they become standard equipment.  Rare indeed is the inventor outside  the auto cartel who gets to see his invention adopted before it is no longer protected by patents – which expire after a couple of decades.  Yes, auto makers are happy to wait twenty years or longer to keep from having to pay for inventions.

In contrast, in the same period since the 1970s, computers, software, and many types of electronics have remained largely unregulated.  New companies enter these markets frequently.  As a result, prices continue to plummet while capabilities soar and new ideas are rapidly adopted.  Clearly, where free markets are involved, it is possible to have rapid innovation, rapid price reductions, greater access for more people and to better tools.

One major industry that was actually de-regulated in an effective way was the telecommunications monopoly.  AT&T was broken up by court order.  As a result, cell phones, based on technologies already in existence back then, have become commonplace.  It is no longer sensible for someone to look for a pay phone or ask a homeowner if they can come in to use the phone – everyone has a phone.  Where phone service is least regulated, such as in Somalia, there are many competitors and very low prices.  Again, the regulatory barriers to entry have remained fairly low and the number of companies making or servicing these products are enormous.  Consumers have seen capabilities improve and monthly costs dwindle.

Another major change since the 1970s is the growth and consolidation of the security state.  The fascist corporate entities which supply the military, the militarised homeland security apparatus, and the prison industry have also consolidated.  There used to be several major airline manufacturers including Boeing, Lockheed, and McDonnell Douglas.  Today, the European conglomerate Airbus Industries and Boeing are the cartel in this field.

There was a brief window of opportunity in the 1970s when it was clear that the government had been out of control.  People had been very active in trying to rein it in.  Protesters from the late 1940s to the early 1970s fought against government-imposed racism, sexism, religious discrimination, and wars of aggression.  As a result of organised political movements, typically opposed by both mainstream political parties, the Jim Crow policies of the Southern states and the race hatred policies of the Northern states were altered.  Although race discrimination remains, many particularly bad laws were removed from the books.  Women, although denied an Equal Rights Amendment, have gotten greater access to jobs and some reduction of discriminatory government policies.  People from the Lesbian, Gay, Transgendered, Bisexual, and sexually diverse communities have seen some reductions in discrimination, some access to fundamental rights, and even some participation in mainstream business and political roles.

The Nixon Administration was certainly not the only presidency that engaged in high crimes and misdemeanours.  Indeed, the history of the United States is a history of lies, deceit, mass murder, detention camps, torture, wars of aggression, and violations of individual liberty.  Nixon, however, went to considerable lengths to be exceptionally evil.  He got caught doing really bad things, some of them in an inept way, and he kept meticulous records of his mis- mal- and non-feasance.

Nixon’s government spied on everyone, most especially Americans.  From the archives of the tapes he kept of his private conversations in the White House, it now seems certain that Nixon ordered the deployment of troops at Kent State and wanted the troops to fire on the students there.  It seems clear from a review of the records involved that when Henry Kissinger went to China to see Mao Tse Tung in order to clear the way for Nixon’s later visit there, he betrayed the Chinese generals who were seeking US government support for their planned coup against Mao.  The generals were caught and tortured, Mao went on to massacre a great many more people, and his immediate successors clung to power, doing great harm.  But Nixon got to “open China” to much adulation.

Nixon was responsible for the mass murder of several million civilians in Southeast Asia.  It isn’t entirely clear how many people died as a result of Nixon’s secret, illegal, unconstitutional, unauthorised bombings of Cambodia and other territories, but it is very clear that these actions were war crimes, were deliberate, and that Nixon did not care how many people were slaughtered.  Nixon’s hatred for the Kent State demonstrators and other students was directly tied to their opposition to Nixon’s war in Vietnam, a war that he extended through bombing campaigns in the region.

From his tapes of his conversations in the White House, it is clear that Nixon was a racist, a sexist, and a religious bigot.  He frequently referred to “the Jews” as enemies.  He made a very long list of persons and groups that he viewed as enemies.  His committee to re-elect him president engaged in endless dirty tricks (known to them as “rat fucking”) to attack political opponents.  Nixon used the government’s power to spy on people he hated, and he attempted to have espionage devices planted in the Democratic party’s national headquarters in the Watergate building.

Nixon’s economic policies were, in many ways, as bad and as deadly as his political policies.  He imposed wage and price controls in a gutless attempt to reduce the inflation caused by his policy of removing the last vestiges of gold from the currency of the United States.  He insisted upon the expansion of government power, creating the Environmental Protection Agency and other government regulatory bodies to micro-manage business enterprises.  He wanted these new agencies to ensure that young people protesting against government could be brought into the government, given some power, and made a part of the system of control.

One of the people Nixon appointed was William Ruckelshaus, the EPA administrator.  The policy banning the insecticide DDT did nothing to improve bird populations, but it did condemn hundreds of millions of people to death by malaria and other insect-borne illnesses.

Even very simple things that Nixon did, such as taking the federal mails off of passenger trains and putting the mails on trucks were bad decisions.  Nixon wanted to give the corrupt Teamsters Union a benefit, which is why the mails moved to trucks.  More trucks, more truck drivers, happy Teamsters.  He obtained the Teamsters Union endorsement in 1972 with that action.  Of course, removing the mails from passenger trains destroyed the profits of the railroads.  Very quickly, the passenger rail lines went bankrupt.  Nixon set up Amtrak, providing a federal guarantee for the contracts of the union workers of the rail lines, and train service has gone down hill ever since – with far fewer passengers carried, far fewer cities serviced, and far less effective service in recent years than in the years prior to Nixon’s actions.

Nixon also had a cadre of exceptionally evil men who worked with him.  Kissinger would go on to do considerable harm in various positions in government.  A younger Donald Rumsfeld and a younger Dick Cheney would go on to do considerable harm in the Reagan, Bush the elder, and Bush the younger administrations.  Almost certainly, the work of these men resulted in the warrantless detention and surveillance security state that we see today, as evidenced here:

Nixon, of course, got pardoned.  He very cleverly inserted Gerald Ford as his vice president to replace Spiro Agnew.  Agnew had previously been forced to resign due to shenanigans relating to tax matters.  Ford had been extremely useful in the 1950s in helping secure funding for the Central Intelligence Agency, and was widely seen as a supporter of Allen Dulles.  It speaks volumes about Ford’s character that he was a member of the Warren Commission that whitewashed the JFK assassination investigation.  Ford should not have been allowed to pardon Nixon, who should not have been allowed to resign.  Had Nixon been impeached, convicted, and imprisoned, and all his henchmen as well, the country would not have had the wars, mass murders, and unconstitutional violations of individual liberty that happened under Reagan and the two Bushes.  The elder Bush was, of course, one of those henchmen.

It is an interesting side note that Hillary Rodham, who later became Hillary Clinton, worked in Congress during the Watergate hearings. “The now-retired general counsel and chief of staff of the House Judiciary Committee, who supervised Hillary when she worked on the Watergate investigation, says Hillary’s history of lies and unethical behavior goes back farther than anyone realizes. Jerry Zeifman, a lifelong Democrat, supervised the work of 27-year-old Hillary Rodham on the committee. Hillary got a job working on the investigation at the behest of her former law professor, Burke Marshall, who was also Sen. Ted Kennedy’s chief counsel in the Chappaquiddick affair. When the investigation was over, Zeifman fired Hillary from the committee staff and refused to give her a letter of recommendation – one of only three people who earned that dubious distinction in Zeifman’s 17-year career.  Why? “Because she was a liar,” Zeifman said in an interview. “She was an unethical, dishonest lawyer. She conspired to violate the Constitution, the rules of the House, the rules of the committee and the rules of confidentiality.”

Instead of reacting to the scandals of Nixon, Rodham tried to prevent the investigation from uncovering scandals of earlier administrations, especially those of Kennedy and Johnson.  Instead of wanting less government power over individuals, Hillary wants more.  More power, more espionage, more foreign tyrants backed by American military and economic power, more wars, more government, more regulations.  Although she clearly prefers to have all this power for herself, she also would clearly rather have more power for conservative demagogues as long as she imagines that there is a chance for her to seize that power some day.

There was a more normal reaction to the Watergate scandal, to the publication of the Pentagon Papers, to the revelations of exactly how evil the government had been.  Ford was never elected president.  Jimmy Carter made a good effort at deregulating four major industries, moving toward a zero baseline budget, and establishing a standard of human rights in the international political alliances he wanted the United States to pursue.

During Carter’s presidency, there was a commission led by Frank Church that investigated the excesses of the CIA, FBI, and other security state agencies.  The Church commission recommended that many of the worst features of these agencies be curtailed.  There was a brief roll-back of some of the most egregious violations of civil liberties.

Congress briefly considered an audit of the Federal Reserve.  A contingent of congress critters visited Fort Knox and hoped to see an audit of the gold (or tungsten coated with gold) that they viewed there.  A congressional committee re-opened the investigations into the assassinations of John and Robert Kennedy and the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.  That committee found that both the CIA and the FBI had considerable information about those assassinations, found that there were good reasons to believe in multiple shooters in the case of both the JFK and RFK assassinations, and sealed its records for a period of many years.

However, as detailed elsewhere, those who crave power didn’t want reform.  Reagan was elected.  Reagan was nearly assassinated, which seemed to convince him not to move forward on eliminating agencies like the Department of Energy, but, rather, to create new ones.  After Reagan, the ban on new government regulations was lifted by the elder Bush.  Lots of wars, lots of military industrial contracts, lots of trillions of dollars have been spent since then.  Carter is widely demeaned as having been ineffective.

And, of course, all of the efforts to review the assassination investigations have been swept under the rug.  Tom Hanks seems to have come down on the side of the CIA very strongly in his recent documentary films about the 1960s, including a cover-up documentary pushing the Warren Commission’s “magic bullet” theory that got Arlen Specter so much power in the Senate for so many decades.

The efforts to reform and limit the excess of the FBI and the CIA were completely undermined during the Reagan and elder Bush administrations.  Under the younger Bush, all those limitations were completely set aside.

Now, those in power could certainly spend trillions on having military contractors like Boeing make rockets and missiles for space travel.  We don’t need to fight wars on Earth.  The universe is very large and completely open to exploration.  We don’t need to mine the Earth for materials – the asteroids have more platinum group metals than have ever been mined in the history of mankind.  We don’t need to fight over territory, there being so much more of it beyond Earth.  There are good reasons to think that Mars may have large methane deposits, and it certainly has large amounts of water ice.  The path of cooperation and exploration is open to humanity, but it isn’t as devious to the political mind.

Politicians and military contractor companies don’t want to explore the universe.  They want to have wars.  Wars are frightening, and fear makes people give up freedom.  Wars are lucrative to those who supply the war machines.  Wars excuse all kinds of actions, including torture, rape, and mass murder.  And politicians are nearly all cut from Nixon’s cloth: they want to kill, torture, attack, slander, lie, cheat, steal, and slaughter.

What lessons from history, then?  Quite simply, these:

You cannot have a limited government.  Every government becomes increasingly unlimited.

Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely, as Lord Acton said many years ago.

If you want to be free, you are going to have to free yourself.  Nobody else is going to do it for you.  No government is interested in safeguarding your liberty.

To the extent that anyone is in charge of the government, those persons are psychotic, homicidal, mass-murdering maniacs.

None of the things they do need to affect you.  No one else is actually in charge of you.

So, if you wish to live free, if you seek greater opportunity, don’t look for employment.  Plan a business, find investors, and make things happen.  Don’t go to college looking for a token on the subway ride of life.  Make your own way.  Learn what you need to know, and don’t worry about whether you “earn” a degree.

Don’t expect industries that have been captured by government to be innovative.  Expect them to be moribund.  Expect them to stultify.  And take advantage of those facts.

After all, nothing and no one prevents you from designing, building, and operating an entirely new model automobile.  No one prevents you from designing new health care instruments or procedures.  No one prevents you from getting solar power cells and becoming energy independent.  No one prevents you from growing your own food, digging your own water well beneath your home, or doing anything else you please.

There are black markets.  There are free market money systems.  There are alternatives to the state everywhere you look.

So, don’t get caught up in the wrong lessons from history.  It isn’t going to be better if a different set of rascals are running things.  You don’t need to wonder “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”  All you need to be free is your own determination to free yourself.

And maybe a little help from your friends.