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Rights vs. Privileges

An Analysis of Two Powerful Privileged Interests That Have Deprived Us of Fundamental Rights

by Robert De Fremery

One can have a privilege only by depriving other men of a portion of their rights. Consequently a reign of justice will consist in the destruction of every privilege and the restitution of every right.

- Patrick Dove, 1850

Notice Regarding Copyrights:

The following material is excerpted from the book, Rights vs. Privileges by Robert De Fremery, Provocative Press, 203 Bolinas Ave., San Anselmo, California 94960, with permission. The permission is in the form of a letter from Robert De Fremery to his nephew John Lehman, dated Oct. 19, 1995, and allows publishing the material on the Internet.

We the web publishers further explain that this material may be recopied and republished provided that: (a) the material is kept intact as you see it here, and (b) this copyright notice appears with it. We wish to preserve the intentions of the author / economist Robert De Fremery (dec.) in making his message available to as wide an audience as possible.

John Lehman
April 21, 2004

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Love, Peace, Joy, Now,

J. Harmon Grahn, HTML Editor


To those who share my belief that we are capable of achieving a far more just society than what we have achieved so far and who are willing to keep working toward that goal.


The rights of men in society are neither divisible nor transferable nor annihilable, but are descendable only; and it is not in the power of any generation to intercept finally and cut off the descent. If the present generation, or any other, are disposed to be slaves, it does not lessen the right of the succeeding generation to be free; wrongs cannot have a legal descent.

- Thomas Paine

Do not imagine that the Parliaments and Courts of oppressors will ever right the wrongs of the oppressed. They exist for no such purpose ... Take the redress of your own wrongs into your own hands, as you are abundantly able to do, if you are only united, determined, and have clear ideas of your rights, and of what is needed to secure them.

- Lysander Spooner



At the root of America's worst problems is the fact that we have never been true to Jefferson's principle: "Equal rights for all; special privileges to none."

When you allow special privileges to some, the rest of the population is put at a disadvantage which is magnified with each succeeding generation. Our economy collapses periodically, wealth becomes more and more concentrated in the hands of a few, and our taxes become more burdensome. Increasing poverty and continuous unemployment result in a mixture of despair and rage that leads to drug use and violent crime. And when conditions get bad enough, the likelihood of a military or Fascist coup increases.

Few Americans are aware of how close we came to the establishment of an authoritarian state during the depths of the Great Depression. In 1934 a fascist coup was actually planned in this country. It was abandoned when General Smedley Butler refused to act as "leader" and published his report of the plot. A congressional committee investigated the incident, confirmed the existence of such a plot, and then proceeded to "whitewash" the whole affair! The press said very little about it. Some papers even tried to laugh it off. But that was not something to laugh about either then or today.


Our country has once again become ripe for such an ugly happening because of our failure to correct the root causes of our problems. We were very lucky in 1934. We may not be so lucky next time.

I urge you, therefore, to read what follows carefully and thoughtfully. What this troubled world needs more than anything else is the example of just one country that has actually made a living reality of the Jeffersonian principle: Equal rights for all; special privileges to none. Then - but not until then - will it be possible to make genuine progress toward a peaceful world.



Introduction [pp. v-vi]

A Chance Encounter [pp. 1-19]

Our Unsound Tax Laws and Measures for Reform [pp. 21-41]

Banking and Monetary Reforms to Preserve Private Enterprise [pp. 45-55]

Our Unsound Monetary System and Measures for Reform [pp. 57-61]

Arguments Are Fallacious for World Central Bank [pp. 63-72]

What to Do About the Dollar [pp. 75-80]

Periodic Liquidity Crises: the Real Cause and Cure [pp. 83-86]

Should Banks Be Permitted to Borrow Short and Lend Long? [pp. 89-102]

Banking Reforms to Stop Periodic Liquidity Crises [pp. 103-115]

The One Hundred Per Cent Reserve Proposal Revisited [pp. 117-123]

Conclusion [p. 125]

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