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“It Can’t Happen Here”? Let’s Not Test This Optimistic View

“It Can’t Happen Here”? Let’s Not Test This Optimistic View


My boy Coleman played a lot of baseball growing up. After Little League season was over, he would be invited to play in Allstar invitationals. An enduring vision I have of those years is leaving the office for lunch one summer day and passing a 10-year-old Coleman riding his bike to practice. It is a Norman Rockwell image. Coleman had his glove on the end of his bat which was slung over his shoulder wearing his worn out Cal Ripkin, # 8 T-shirt.  The legacy of this impression fills my heart with love for my son and my country.  Baseball and fatherhood. Nothing better. Yay America!

Coleman was invited to play baseball in Japan, and a Japanese team came to Richmond. You will never meet a cuter kid than 9-year-old Yuta who stayed with my family for 3 weeks one summer. To this day, my family absolutely loves Yuta. On the first night Yuta stayed with us, my wife and I, 3 children and Yuta watched the Bad News Bears. You may remember this movie with Walter Matthau and Tatum O’Neal. The children were ugly and rude and frankly used language that merited washing their mouths out with soap (a punishment that my mother administered to me on a regular basis). Yuta had a mind like a sponge. When the boorish children in the movie made a mistake or faux pas and uttered “Oh Sh#t,” Yuta picked up a new English phrase. He used it liberally throughout his stay with us to everyone he met.  It was his favorite saying! For fear of hurting his feelings, we never corrected him. Admittedly, we also didn’t correct him because it was so damn funny. Yuta’s mom was an English teacher in Japan. My wife and I were horrified at what she must have thought of these trashy Smiths from Virginia the first time Yuta said “Oh Sh#t” to his Mom.

During these baseball years, we interacted with Yuta’s family and many other Japanese families. What lovely people. Gentle, generous, polite and warm. I have the highest admiration for them.

However, only a generation before, the Japanese were not this way. The Rape of Nanking, the Bataan Death March and the utter savagery of the Japanese during WWII is well documented.  My Uncles Max and David were witnesses. Knowing them and what they saw while under arms in the Pacific theatre makes the butchery the Japanese committed seem very recent.  30 plus years ago I read American Caesar, William Manchester’s bio on Douglas MacArthur. When Japan knew they were defeated, Manchester writes of a national pall that immediately changed the entire ethos of the country from fanatic militarism to passive docility and gentleness. This part of the book has always stayed with and fascinated me. Volker Ullrich’s new book Eight Days in May records a similar national mood shift in Germany in May of 1945. It is as though the Germans woke up and asked themselves “what the hell just happened?”

We are living through a time of senseless fanaticism driven by hate.  Woke Marxism. It is my fervent hope that soon, we all can wake up and ask ourselves “what the hell just happened?”  I pray that this can be done without any bloodshed.  If we defeat the senseless group think that allows this movement to prosper, we may well avoid the dust and destruction of  a “1945” type of awakening. The job needs to be done now because events are escalating quickly.

I remember the day well. My friend and business associate, Lynchburg Virginia’s very own Steve “Baby Ray” Reinhardt called me in early March 2020: “the Governor is going to close the state down!” I thought Baby Ray had gotten into the cooking sherry. It was as absurd then as it seems now. I replied: “The Governor can’t shut the state down, no one is going to allow him to do that.” But he did and we did.  Businesses were shuttered on the order of one man. Then we had the riots. A protected class of Marxist terrorists were allowed to tear down statues, destroy public and private property, assault and even kill people because they were the private paramilitary street army of the ideologically drunk rulers (see Freikorps and Nazis in prewar Germany for a short primer on these private armies of thugs). Then this class forced children to wear masks depriving them of adequate oxygen intake. Harming them for absolutely no health benefit. The government lied repeatedly to spread fear and divisiveness as a means to exert control over the people. The government forced an experimental drug into the veins of millions.  Lockdowns ruined people’s mental health and their finances. Many died because patients were not allowed to see their doctors. The government forbid doctors and pharmacists from administering lifesaving prophylactics. The vaccines have not worked and side effects such as lifelong coronary damage and deaths are alarming and growing.  The government  weaponized multiple departments of the federal government. Not just the FBI, the DOJ and intelligence agencies (see fabricated Russian collusion conspiracy), but one cannot even trust the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Their latest “jobs report” fancified numbers in a manner that would make the old editors of Pravda and Izvestia blush.  If one dares to criticize the Biden Administration, one is an insurrectionist and subject to criminal prosecution. What about the free press? Our own government under the guise of “misinformation” openly advocates with its Big Tech allies the eradication of  opposing views. Shockingly, they are very successful. Perhaps they are like German industrialists who knew that they were better off cooperating with Hitler’s evil regime than opposing it. The German Krupp family were socially progressive, but they knew they would be crushed and their wealth confiscated should they attract the ire of an immovable, brutal Nazi ruling class.

Have we woken up yet? Will we arise from our slumber and fitful night’s sleep and finally put our boot firmly on the tyrant’s neck?  Or are we going to wait until his tyranny is immovable?

I named my company Chartwell Capital Advisors because I admire Churchill’s siren sounds of truth when he was a very unpopular back bencher in the 30s. He said what nobody wanted to hear. I respect courage and truth telling; perhaps the most noble of all human traits. This readership primarily consists of the investor class. In my experience, this class is famous for looking at the trees and not the forest.  Because this class has assets, its members have something to lose and thus are more apt to  keep quiet than shake their fists at authority.

I don’t mean to be a Debbie Downer folks, but we are in perilous times and unless more people get into the fight, your precious investments will go the way of the Venezuelan bolivar.  Think I am a reactionary? A John Birch nut? Fine. How many times have I heard “oh, that can’t happen here.” Oh yeah. The Germans were likely the most cultured and learned people in the world prior to Nazism. How can such a nation fall into such a destructive group think mentality? American Caesar stoked my curiosity at this question, and now after 30 years of pondering such insanity, I have some understanding of the madness of group think politics.  See this pod cast with Matthias Desmet to examine his theory of Mass Formation Psychosis.

Canada might as well be part of the United States, the two countries are the most intertwined in the world and look what is happening.  The Prime Minister, a man who has a long history of praising ruthless communist dictators is acting like one himself. I would say he is at the Hugo Chavez stage of destroying his country. This essence of all wealth and indeed the foundation of all societal happiness is the protection of private property and the rule of law. Justin Trudeau using “emergency powers” has directed all banks in Canada to stop doing business with his political opposition. This means frozen accounts, stranded money and cancelled credit. No due process. No procedures in law at all. Spying on citizens. The government and its “Krupps” can do as they want. Trudeau has ordered private insurance companies to suspend policies to all such “designated persons,” effectively obliterating the right of contract. In reality a “designated person,” subject to complete seizure of all his assets is whoever the government dislikes. Banks are ordered to hand the government a list of all assets a “designated person” possesses.  Anyone who gave $10 to the trucker protests via a crowd funding platform is also subject to having his assets seized. These Emergency Powers are only to be in effect for 30 days. Right! Remember 15 days to stop the spread? Tyrants never willingly give up power. In Measure #5 of the Manifesto of the Communist Party (1848), Marx advocates the centralization of all credit with a monopolistic national bank, owned by the state. Under this order, that’s exactly what Trudeau has for the next 30 days. Shockingly, Canada inherited the common law, a thousand years of English jurisprudence protecting the sanctity of property and enshrining such gifts into the conscience of all.  If you are a Canadian, how or why would you invest your capital in any Canadian enterprise (or bank) if it can be seized by the government on a whim. The disruptive precedence of Trudeau’s actions cannot be erased. Even if the emergency powers are soon lifted, the damage has been done.

I am a great admirer of 19th century Russian authors. The Russian people are smart, but they can’t create any wealth for themselves, nor does much foreign capital flow into Russia because there are no meaningful property protections in such a despotic state. Once the precedence is established that the ruling class can crush any opposition by seizing their assets, how long does it take for Canada to become Venezuela? It only took 10 years for Chavez to drive Venezuela from one of the richest countries in the world into misery and starvation.

Does anyone believe that if Canada succeeds in seizing assets of simple protesters and opponents of the government then this will not happen here under our current administration?

Can’t happen here? Let’s awake from our national slumber so we don’t have to find out.

Rob Smith

Rob Smith is a lawyer and Managing Director of Chartwell Capital in Richmond, Virginia. He is mean as a snake and likes to kick little puppies when he see them. He also enjoys making children cry and tripping old ladies. He is extremely superficial and shallow. His favorite pastimes/hobbies are pissing people off, littering and being obnoxious.

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