Justin’s note: “Nobody’s property is safe anywhere.”
Doug Casey wrote that in a recent email he sent me. He was talking about one of Donald Trump’s latest executive orders. The order, signed in December, gives the US government power to block the property of persons “involved in serious human rights abuse or corruption.”
That might not sound like a big deal. After all, human rights abuse and corruption are obviously bad. But Doug told me this could have “very interesting consequences” for everyday Americans and foreigners.
To learn why, I got Doug on the phone…
Justin: Doug, why do you think Trump signed this executive order (EO)?
Doug: Well, there are several possibilities. One could be to strike back at the Clintons, perhaps about the astounding way they used their foundation to loot Haiti. Another might be to attack African dictators, who all become multi-billionaires after taking over their—what’s that colloquialism for an outdoor toilet that Trump quite accurately used?—countries. Or the Russians, who are the flavor of the day to be hated for every reason you can make up.
His new EO is a further assault on property rights. Fabricate a credible-sounding argument, make it legal, righteously promote it to the booboisie, and the emperor can deprive a subject of anything, or everything, that he owns.
What concerns me is that so many things are done by executive order these days. Not by a law duly passed by the House and the Senate. That’s not to imply that those laws show any prudence or intelligence or wisdom. But it’s still due process. When you do something that could have big consequences, it should go through the formal legislature as opposed to an imperial decree.
In recent years, presidents have done…