Stop Fighting the Fruit – Start Chopping the Root

Stop Fighting the Fruit – Start Chopping the Root

– 8 March 2014

 – by Robert W. Peck, Constitution Party of Washington state chairman –

axe-to-root-295 I’m always looking for the principle behind a thing, the key thing, the root thing, the thing that makes it all work. I can’t walk into a building without starting to analyze the structure to figure out which is a load-bearing wall, which is a facade, what holds this up and what supports that.I’m that way with politics and government too. I want to find the foundational principles that make for good government, the eternal truths that can tell me which policies are right or wrong. I want to make sure I’m getting to the root of the matter and am not being distracted by something superficial.

I realize not everyone is like me and I don’t expect you to be. However, there are times in life when we absolutely must understand what is at the root of a matter and make sure we are dealing with it at the source. If not, we’ll be destined to futility in our dealings with it and we’ll never be able to fix it when it’s broken. Think about it – you don’t go to a doctor just to talk with him about how you feel, then have him give you something to relieve those symptoms. You go to a doctor to have him correctly diagnose the root cause of the symptoms so you can fix the problem at its source.

Likewise, in matters of politics and civil government, we cannot afford to become distracted with superficial things that are mere symptoms of a more systemic, root matter. We risk getting caught up in treating the symptoms of our political ailment and failing to fight the disease at the root.

I was recently reminded of the importance of understanding key issues, principles and underlying causes while reviewing an article by Memphis attorney and 2008 Constitution Party Vice Presidential nominee, Darrell Castle. In his article on “How the Republic Became a Monarchy,” Darrell went all the way back to President Woodrow Wilson, the 16th Amendment (the income tax) and the establishing of the Federal Reserve in order to show his readers how key things that happened 100 years ago are at the root of much of what we are dealing with today. I highly recommend a review of Darrell’s article, both for the sake of the information provided in it and as an exercise in learning to identify key issues that are at the root of our nation’s maladies. If you prefer, the same information is available as a four part series of audio podcasts (about 5 mins. each) at (Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4).

While I say this in love, seeking the best interest of my friends, brethren and fellow countrymen, I have to point out that the Christian-conervative-right has, in great part, lost sight of the key issues, root matters and foundational principles. We have become distracted with the symptoms of the diseases that plague our land and have come to devote the majority of our time and effort to suppressing the symptoms instead of eradicating the disease.

The conservative movement has become like a man with a tree in his backyard that is producing poisonous fruit. His strategy is to grab a stick and start swinging at whatever piece of fruit happens to catch his eye, hoping to knock some of it off the branch before it matures. But no matter how frantically he swings at the fruit, it keeps coming back faster than he can knock it down. He has become so distracted by his frenzied fight with the fruit on the branches that he fails to notice the root feeding the tree. If he would just take an ax and start chopping off the roots instead, he could rid himself of all the toxic fruit.

Through a combination of distraction and a forgetfulness of the foundational Biblical values, strict Constitutional limits and key principles of liberty, the conservative movement has come to a place of counting a slower loss as a win and the partial alleviating of a symptom as a major victory. Today’s conservatism appears to only be playing defense and is singularly devoted to the strategy of trying to slow the spread of the disease and ease some of the symptoms. My friend, former Montana State Representative, Rick Jore, refers to members of his former party who follow this strategy as, “Slow Death Republicans.”

Let’s look at just a few examples of key issues, root causes and foundational principles versus distractions and treating the symptoms.


How much time and energy did the conservative movement expend fighting to get, and later to keep, the so called “Bush tax cuts”? By the attention given to them, those tax cuts would appear to have been the conservative event of the decade and probably were the high water mark of conservative achievement during that period. But how much difference did those tax cuts actually make in your everyday life? How much more disposable income do you have now?

The fact is that those tax cuts only made a few minor adjustments to a huge, complex and evil system of taxation that a Republican President and Republican controlled Congress had it in their power to abolish – possibly by repealing the 16th Amendment, but at least by defunding and dismantling the IRS. Conservatives heralded as a tremendous victory this barely discernible relief brought to just one of the nation’s multitude of maladies. But the conservative movement, as represented by those to whom it had handed the reins of power, utterly passed up the opportunity to lay the ax to a major root providing the revenues that feed a plethora of un-Constitutional branches of government.


Conservatives spend massive amounts of time and energy fighting policies and agendas that come down through a vast maze of un-Constitutional and extra-Constitutional bureaus, agencies and programs. All forms of federal taxation combined are not sufficient to support the heavy load of all these agencies and programs. In other words, these can only exist through deficit spending – deficit spending that is facilitated by the existence of the Federal Reserve and its ability to create fiat funny money out of thin air, backed by nothing. During the conservative reign of complete Republican control from 2000 to 2006, the President and Congress had it within their power to repeal the Federal Reserve Act and restore Constitutionally authorized money coined by Congress and backed by gold. This would have chopped off another major root that feeds the branches of un-Constitutional government through deficit spending. But who in the dominant conservative movement or the Republican Party even alluded to this possibility, much less called for it?


This isn’t just happening at the federal level. The distraction from key issues and fundamental principles is taking place in the states too. Today’s brand of conservatism at the state level seems to consist of contending for performance audits and better management of the state’s many Great Society, welfare and social services programs. Conservative law makers tout it as a great victory whenever they can sustain the current state programs and agencies without raising taxes. But if the conservative movement were remembering its origins in the principles of liberty and limited government in the spirit of the American founders, it would be contending for the complete defunding and dismantling of every one of those socialist programs. And in case you think it’s the Democrats that won’t let them do it, keep in mind that fully half of the states are currently under complete Republican control with a majority in both houses and the governorship.


Today’s brand of conservatism thinks it is really taking a stand when it answers the education establishment’s demands for increased funding with timid suggestions that maybe we should audit the government schools first, or evaluate teacher performance. But the Bible teaches that the education of children is the sole responsibility and jurisdiction of parents. When government mandates and regulates the educating of children, it comes between parent and child, violates the God ordained order and is outside of its God given jurisdiction. When government taxes one man for the education of another man’s child, it now engages in legalized plunder, violation of that man’s liberty and establishes socialism. If conservatives were discerning the root matters and committed to fundamental principles, they would be calling for the abolition of government run education, not trying to “fix it.”


Just the other day, I received an email from a “conservative” legislator representing one of the most conservative districts in my state. One of the bragging points in his legislative report was that he had brought home the bacon to the tune of $1million for a “skills center” (aka vocational school). This is a foray by government into an area of education where many privately operated vocational schools and technical institutes have been meeting the need quite well. This is governments’ making the conscious choice to go into competition with existing private sector business and doing so with the advantage of being taxpayer-subsidized. Today’s “new conservatism” boasts that it brings home the bacon, gets us our “fair share” from the bucket of socialist slop and, by the way, it pats us on the back for being fiscally responsible, bragging that our “skills” center has the lowest cost per square foot of any similar socialist program across the state – boy, aren’t we conservative!

The Republicans are not in the majority in my state and may not have had anything to do with funding this particular program, but it’s sad when the best that the new conservatism can do is to congratulate ourselves as to what fiscally responsible socialists we are. Even if a legislator is not in a position to eliminate such socialistic programs from the state’s budget, couldn’t he, we, or the conservative movement, at least use an occasion like this as an opportunity to share a lesson on fundamental principles of liberty, limited government, private sector free enterprise and Biblical jurisdictions? How is anyone going to learn to discern socialism from liberty, or know that it’s bad and why it’s wrong when “conservative” legislators don’t speak out against it?

These are just a few examples that show us that the conservative movement has become distracted from the key issues and root matters and has ceased fighting the disease and settled for treating the symptoms instead. The new conservatism, as manifested by the Republican Party at least, now accepts socialism and prides itself on being able to make un-Constitutional, secular humanist, socialist, big government work better than the other party.

We need to learn to think like Americans again because we’ve obviously forgotten. May I recommend the short weekly commentaries of Institute on the Constitution co-founder and 2004 Constitution Party Presidential nominee, Michael Anthony Peroutka, at Subscribe today and in no time at all Michael will have you thinking like an American again and believing that “there is a God; our rights come from Him; government exists to protect those rights.”

May I challenge us to begin scrutinizing every political issue to discern the difference between key issues and mere distractions. Darrell Castle’s news and commentary podcsats can help with this. It only takes 5 minutes every Monday, Wednesday and Friday at

Then, once we’ve learned to tell the difference between the root and the fruit, let’s grab our ax and start chopping at the root.

Bob Peck is the writer of the American Perspective blog – Politics, government and society from a Christian and Constitutional perspective.   He is currently serving as Chairman of the Constitution Party of Washington, and is the Senior Coordinator of the national CP Multimedia Group, his specialties being videographing and podcasting.  You can read more of his work at:

How The Republic Became A Monarchy

How the Republic Became a Monarchy

~ 26 February 2014 ~

by Darrell Castle, Executive Committee member and 2008 Vice-Presidential Candidate



Republic2Monarchy_article How did the United States change from the republic envisioned by the framers into a monarchy with its royal court that it has become today? I started thinking about this when I was analyzing the State of the Union speech given by President Barack Obama recently and I decided to go back and look at State of the Union speeches given in the past. What I found was that Thomas Jefferson, when he became President, decided not to give a State of the Union speech at all because he thought that walking out in front of a joint session of Congress reminded him of the British monarchy that the country had gone through a war to be rid of. Instead of a speech, he wrote a letter to Congress, intentionally vague, so that it wouldn’t seem like a royal decree and then he had a clerk read it out loud to the Congressmen and Senators.

The Constitution doesn’t require a speech. Article II, Section 3, says only that from time to time the President is required to give Congress information of the State of the Union and to recommend things for their consideration. That’s all that it requires. Jefferson’s example became a tradition that was carried on until it was broken by Woodrow Wilson in 1913. The 20th century, in many ways, became Wilson’s century as he brought into existence much of what we see today. In the very least he laid the groundwork of what we have become today.

Woodrow Wilson was the son of a preacher, but pursued a career as an academic. He taught at several colleges along the way before eventually taking a position at Princeton. He served as President of Princeton from 1902 to 1910. He served briefly as governor of New Jersey, 1911 into 1912, then he gained the Presidency in 1912. There was acrimony and division in the Republican Party that split the ranks and Wilson won with only 43% of the vote.

From the statement of his friends and various writings, he believed that he was ordained by God to hold the position of President – perhaps the early formation of a divine right philosophy. According to his biographer, this gave him an arrogance and a smugness which masqueraded as righteousness.



Wilson was a believer in the power of the state and he led the nation into centralization and bureaucracy. In 1913, when he took office, Congress, along with the Europeans, began handing to him the tools to attain the goals that he had for the nation. To accomplish what he wanted there had to be key changes in the power system as defined by the Constitution. The 16th Amendment giving Congress the power to tax incomes was passed in 1909, but after years of fighting was finally ratified in February 1913, just in time for Mr. Wilson’s use. The 17th Amendment calling for the direct election of US Senators was passed in 1912, but not ratified until April 1913, once again, just in time for Mr. Wilson.

These two amendments changed the power structure of the nation and altered the relationship between citizens and the federal government. Occurring so closely together, along with other things that happened a few months later, it was the equivalent of a second American revolution. The direct election of Senators greatly diminished the republican form of government envisioned by the founders in which the states had influence and even control of half of the legislative branch. Senators had previously been beholden to the state legislatures and this insulated them from day to day popular opinion. There was no need for the multi-million dollar election campaigns that we see today. This also focused the Senate on the interests of the states rather than being just another popular assembly. Direct election of Senators made them just another group of populist politicians.

The 16th and 17th Amendments contributed a great deal to the fundamental changes to the constitutional system that were necessary in order for President Wilson to complete his agenda for America. It seems that every President has his agenda and he has no shortage of people who want to help him accomplish it.

The 16th Amendment brought about the enactment of a national income tax during Mr. Wilson’s first year in office, but it was only on the “rich.” At that time, rich people were defined as those earning over $4,000 per year. In today’s terms, thanks to the Federal Reserve, that would be about $80,000 per year – not rich then and not rich now.

The important thing was that the dam was breached, the Rubicon crossed, or however you want to say it. The power to tax income was the thing holding back the march of federal power and purchased influence based on spending by the federal government. It was a short jump from that to the federal government’s being able to buy anything and anyone. Before Woodrow Wilson was President, federal government spending never exceeded 3% of gross domestic product except during the war of 1812 and the Civil War.

At that time, revenue was still derived constitutionally, that is, from customs, levies, import duties and other excises and tariffs. During Mr. Wilson’s two terms in office, spending rose to more than 20% of GDP. So Woodrow Wilson had broken the interest of the several states with the 17th Amendment and their influence was on the decline; he also had broken the dam holding back federal spending with the power to tax income.

He still had another river to cross however before his destruction of Constitutional government was complete and that was accomplished with his support of the Federal Reserve Act passed December 23, 1913, in the wee hours of the morning with Washington all but deserted for the Christmas holidays. You get a good look at the Federal Reserve and how it works from G. Edward Griffin’s book, The Creature From Jekyll Island and Eustace Mullins book, Secrets of the Federal Reserve. The name Jekyll Island comes from Jekyll Island, Georgia, where all the bankers went in secret to rewrite and take control of the United States financial system.

The Federal Reserve Act stated that its purposes were:

  1. To provide for the establishment of Federal Reserve banks;
  2. To furnish an “elastic currency” (they’ve certainly done that haven’t they?);
  3. To afford means of re-discounting commercial paper;
  4. To establish a more effective supervision of banking in the United States and, 
  5. For “other purposes.”

The Fed was composed of a board of governors in Washington DC and 12 regional Federal Reserve banks. By statute, the responsibilities of these banks are to:

  1. Conduct the nation’s monetary policy by influencing the money and credit conditions in the economy;
  2. Supervise and regulate banking institutions to ensure safety and soundness of the nation ‘s banking and financial system; 
  3. Maintain the stability of the financial system; 
  4. Provide certain financial services to the U.S. government financial institutions and to public and foreign official institutions including a major role in operating the nation’s payment system.

The Federal Reserve was created as, and has followed hard to remain, “an independent central bank.” This is a totally European concept reflecting the need to provide banking services to the sovereigns – so “welcome to America Mr. Monarch.” The Fed is independently run within the government and its decisions do not have to be ratified by Congress, the President or anyone.

It is still, however, a creature of government and the creature is not greater than its creator. The Constitution gives to Congress the power to coin money and to set its value and therefore Congress maintains oversight over it. Thanks to Mr. Wilson’s assistance in 1913, Congress delegated, or assigned, its power to coin money and regulate its value to the Federal Reserve. It could take it back however, any time. Congress could simply repeal the Federal Reserve Act of 1913 and it would be back in control of the nation’s monetary system.

In simple terms, folks, the Federal Reserve is a European style central bank that can create on its own authority and subject only to very weak indirect oversight by Congress, credit denominated in U.S. dollars. It is now a credit based economy – that’s the way it’s run.

The 16th Amendment, which gave the President power to tax income, broke the dam holding back federal spending. The 17th Amendment broke the Congress’s connection to the states. The Federal Reserve gave control of the U.S. monetary system to the banks, thus President Wilson was handed in his first year in office, a credit backed elastic fiat currency. These were the beginnings of the enlargement of federal government power based on spending financed by taxes, borrowing and its resultant national debt.



Like President Obama now, Wilson meant to transform America, and like Obama, Congress gave him the tools to do it. As Wilson put it, he wanted to “put government at the service of humanity.” But as Thomas Jefferson put it in the Declaration of Independence, the purpose of government is to secure our God given rights, not to serve humanity.

Mr. Wilson, again like Mr. Obama, was an activist in pushing government expansion and in getting government-expanding legislation through Congress. Such legislation as the Federal Trade Commission in 1914 and the Federal Farm Loan Act in 1916, brought the federal government into the daily lives and the living rooms of Americans everywhere. You may recall that Congress recently passed a $1 trillion farm bill now some 98 years after this organization was formed.

Mr. Wilson, like Mr. Obama, embroiled the United States in foreign wars including bringing the U.S. into the Mexican civil war and even invading Mexico and sending U.S. troops into Russia to oppose the Bolshevik Revolution. This is the 100th anniversary of World War I which began in Europe in 1914. The U.S. would not officially enter that war until three years later however.

Mr. Wilson was very lopsided in monitoring policy against neutral and not at war countries in World War I. He did not seek a balanced neutrality in the early years of the war. Once it started, he forbade U.S. banks from making loans to the warring powers yet permitted the banks to extend large “credits” to the French and British. In effect, the U.S. was bankrolling the war just as we do yet today in wars across the Middle East. Possibly, without the United States’ elastic currency, the countries would have run out of cash and that very unnecessary war would have ended much earlier.

Many countries were sucked into the war as it went on and on and on, ruining many lives across Europe. Much as today, U.S. credit policies perpetuated war, thus allowing it to get worse and worse, leading directly to German submarine warfare against the supply convoys.

The U.S. population was strongly against U.S. troops being involved in this European war, much as they are today. The production of war materials however led to economic boom times in the U.S., all funded by credit much as it is funded today.

In 1916 Wilson ran for his second term on the slogan, “he kept us out of war”, just as President Obama ran on ending the war in Iraq which is now worse than ever. Less than 90 days after his inauguration for a second term, Woodrow Wilson asked Congress for a declaration of war against Germany. Wilson sought to control opposition to his war policies with laws designed to limit free speech and political dissent. The elastic currency of the Federal Reserve funded the war as Wilson continued his domestic agenda at home, much as we do today. Under Woodrow Wilson, America got its first introduction to the warfare state.



Wilson’s impact on America is hard to over estimate. He dominated the 20th century to the extent that no one alive today has ever experienced anything but a Wilsonian world. No one alive today can remember a time when the world at large worked any other way than the Wilsonian way.

His effort to make the peace in his image has involved America in internationalist, globalist government that still exists 100 years later. It required certain assumptions about America and about the world. Certain things about America had to change. He had the power to tax income and he had the Federal Reserve and its elastic currency with which to carry out his plans. Most nations were not so fortunate. One thing is clear though, looking back from 100 years of history, if Woodrow Wilson had not become President, the United States would have had a far different 20th century.

In one sense, Wilson simply copied, or carried forward, the centralized debt-financed government model created by Otto von Bismarck in Germany 40 years earlier. So we ask ourselves then, was he an innovator? Did he invent this welfare-warfare state or simply copy the diagrams created by others?

Could then the U.S central bank, the Federal Reserve, have come into existence without Wilson? There is little room for doubt that the bankers needed their man in the White House in order to bring their plan into existence and push their legislation through Congress. Without the Federal Reserve, how would the world economy that has evolved have been financed?  Without Wilson’s influence, would the income tax and credit based economy have existed in time to feed the engines of World War I.

Without Wilson, would the war to make the world safe for democracy have lasted so long, torn apart European civilization and destroyed a whole generation of young men? Would a corporal in the German army in 1918 named Adolf Hitler have risen in only 14 years to become chancellor of Germany?

Absent World War I, would an obscure lawyer named Franklin Roosevelt have become Secretary of the Navy and then elevated himself into the Presidency of the United States? How would soldiers such as Douglas MacArthur, Harry Truman, George Patton and most of the leaders of the 20th Century world have been trained and formed?

Would the war have lasted so long and been so expensive that Russia descended into revolution and chaos leading to Lenin, Stalin and the deaths of 70 to 100 million people? Would the Ottoman Empire have collapsed and dissolved spawning the modern Middle East and allowing Great Britain to draw the lines of nations on invisible maps – paper-forming countries that are even today at war and threatening to break apart?

Would the concept of world government a la the League of Nations, leading later to the United Nations, have formed in the minds of men? Would the rise of Hitler and Mussolini from the ashes of Europe have occurred? Would the Holocaust have occurred – the slaughter of World War II after the draconian peace terms forced on Germany by Wilson and the allied powers? Would the development of nuclear weapons and their use have occurred?

Would the Bretton Woods Agreement, giving the U.S. reserve currency status, have occurred? Would the United States have embarked on a 60 year pattern of no-win wars against unknown enemies such as communism and terror? Would we have arrived in 2014 with $17.5 trillion of debt and the Federal Reserve now printing $65 billion a month?

Who knows the answers to all these questions, folks?  But they are worth contemplating as we observe the path of America’s descent from Constitutional Republic into the monarchy we have become.

Darrell Castle is the creator and voice of The Castle Report, a tri-weekly podcast examining the issues affecting Americans from a constitutional and historical perspective.  He is a former USMC combat officer in Vietnam, a private practice attorney, member of the Executive Committee of the Constitution Party, and served as the 2008 Vice-presidential candidate for the Constitution Party.   Listen to more podcasts at: