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Rush's Interview with Conrad Black


RUSH: Conrad Black had to sell his house in Florida to live, a number of his assets were frozen and literally taken away from him before the trial.  He had, I don't know, 80% of his net worth taken away from him before the trial under the guise he might have been a flight risk or whatever.  He's Canadian.  He's still not allowed in the United States.  I don't want to spend a lot of time on his legal experience.  You can read about them if you want.  I'm not here to defend him on that.  I'm just describing to you who he is.  He's a conservative.  He's a famed media mogul.  He owned Hollinger, which was a company that owned a lot of media properties, including the Jerusalem Post, the Canada Post, which he founded, the UK Telegraph, hundreds of newspapers that the man owned. 

He's a renaissance man. He's a prophetic writer.  He's just one of the most erudite people you run into.  And he has written the most amazing book.  And its release, timed of course to our Independence Day.  The book is called "Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies that Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership."  And it's big.  It is a huge book.  It's not something you read over the weekend at the beach, but boy is it wonderful.  I recommend it to each and every one of you. 

He divides Flight of the Eagle into four parts, essentially.  It's just his organizational technique.  Four phases, if you will, of America's rise.  The aspirant state, which was 1754 to 1836; predestined people, 1836 to 1933; the indispensable country, 1933 to 1957, and the supreme nation, 1957 to the present.  And I don't often do this, because it runs the risk of cannibalizing.  We interviewed him yesterday for the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter, and we always roll tape. I've got some examples, some excerpts of the interview, and I want to play one of them for you now since I'm describing, I want you to hear him.  He was on the telephone, but this segment is from the opening phase of the interview yesterday which ran in total 45 minutes.

RUSH:  This is a huge undertaking, I mean, to explain how this country came to be, because it's unique in all of mankind, you've undertaken a massive project here.  I'm fascinated by how you tackled it.

BLACK:  No, I'm flattered by your interest, but I think you can see that even in the earliest phases, the more visionary of the founders of the country saw what America could become.  Benjamin Franklin, as early as the 1740s when he was only in his thirties himself, and long before there was any thought of independence in the American colonies, said that in a hundred years, the population of America would pass that of Britain, and at that point his view was the Americans would then become the leading force in the British world.  And indeed, if it hadn't been for the Revolution, I believe that would have happened.  But he saw and Washington saw and to some degree all of the Founders, Hamilton particularly on the economic side, saw what America could become.

RUSH:  You know, I think that's profound, Conrad, that they knew what they were doing.  They were not just building something for themselves in their time.  They knew --

BLACK:  Absolutely true.

RUSH:  -- they had a presence about what they were doing.

BLACK:  And most of them actually turned somewhat reluctantly to revolution.  Now, the fact is, on the street, to use current parlance, real politique side, Rush, the manner in which Franklin in particular conducted policy in a way that assisted or helped to persuade the British to expel the French from what is now Canada and then enlisted the French to help the Americans expel the British from America, how these people, these colonists managed to manipulate the two greatest powers in the world was a straight matter of extreme cunning that goes far beyond merely touting the virtues of human liberty. 

I mean, the fact is, the average American citizen had no more rights than the average British citizen, so that war wasn't conducted entirely on that basis, but since it was held that the monarchy was abusive and a republic would not be, it was presented that way, and it was plausibly presented that way, and it's not for me to say whether Franklin or any of the rest of them had any divine inspiration.  Franklin himself is not a particularly religious man, and neither were most of the founders, but however their inspiration was derived, it wasn't just pounding the table on behalf of human liberty.  They were cunning operators.  So when you get great cleverness supplemented by unimpeachable principle, you get an unbeatable combination, if you've got -- frankly, if you've got enough armed men to make it so.

RUSH:  It was fascinating.  Great cleverness supplemented by unimpeachable principle.  But in talking about the founders, and I've asked constitutional scholars if, in their opinion, the founders and the authors of the Constitution had any idea what they were opening up, that their document would be subject to never-ending debate, court cases and trials, forever.  And he said they knew exactly what they were doing.  And it's been copied in other countries, exactly, but they knew exactly what they were doing.  They weren't just building and for themselves and for their time.  They had a presence about what they were doing.  It was a fascinating interview.  I may play you one more clip from this. 

Again, the title of the book is "Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies that Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership."  If you've ever wondered how it happened, that's what Mr. Black here has endeavored to research and explain.  I should also mention, he's been one of Canada's best known financiers for 35 years and he's a member of the British House of Lords, and he had to renounce his Canadian citizenship.  The Canadian prime minister at the time, Jean Chretien, refused to allow Black to remain a Canadian citizen if he was going to accept British peerage.  So he's now Lord Black of Cross Harbor, even though he still lives in Canada, I believe Toronto, maybe Montreal.  Regardless. 


RUSH:  I want to play one more Conrad Black sound bite from the newsletter interview yesterday, even I'm running a great professional risk here, cannibalizing an interview that will be published in an upcoming issue of the Limbaugh Letter.  Conrad wrote this book while incarcerated.  Most of the book he wrote while in prison here in Florida for 42 months. He was tried in Chicago and incarcerated on crimes later vacated, the vast majority of which were vacated by the Supreme Court.  Okay, here's the next bite. It's the last one I'm gonna play.


RUSH:  Given your knowledge of this country, have we ever...? Everybody's historical perspective, most people begins the day of their birth.  Have we ever been through what we're going through now before?

BLACK:  Yes.  Yes, and worse, in fact.  The decade running up to the Civil War was a terrible decade, where you had the leaders of the Senate with the best will in the world. Henry Clay, Daniel Webster, and Stephen A. Douglas. Very distinguished men, but bringing in the concept of "squatter sovereignty." Each territory that had reached the threshold that made it eligible to become a state, would decide itself if it would come in as a free state or a slave state.  So the old Missouri Compromise line was scrapped, and what you had was miniature civil wars in each territory before they became a state, Kansas in particular. 

You had the chief justice, [Roger B.] Taney, determining with the majority of the Supreme Court, that the Missouri Compromise was unconstitutional; that an emancipated slave had no rights whatsoever. Even though, once emancipated, he should have been just a citizen, rubbish; he still didn't have any rights, in the Dred Scott Decision.  And you elected people as president rather like the more recent selection of some judges, where there's no paper trail on them, so you couldn't tell what they thought of abortion or something. 

Well, you know, in President Fillmore and President Pierce and President Buchanan... Now, Fillmore wasn't elected; he became president when President Taylor died.  But these were people who had no track record at all in terms of what they actually thought of how to manage the slavery issue and keep the country together, and  they were completely ineffectual leaders.  I have to say, I don't think the last three presidents have been particularly good presidents. 

I could put it more strongly in the case of one or two of them, but they aren't like those three, and it isn't as dismal an era.  And it has to be said that there were some serious mistakes made in the Twenties, too.  I mean, you know, you had this farce of Prohibition, you had the mistake of isolationism, you had slamming the gate on immigration, and then you had the toleration of the stock market bubble that was instrumental in producing the greatest economic depression in world history.

And President Hoover -- though, he was a very brilliant man in many ways and a fine man -- produced an economic policy that was the worst that could have been found: Raising taxes, shrinking the money supply, and raising tariffs.  So those were much more dangerous eras.  When FDR was inaugurated, every bank in the country was closed except in two states where withdrawals were confined to $10.  The stock exchanges, commodity exchanges were closed.  The financial system collapsed.


RUSH:  That is Conrad Black from the interview that I did yesterday for the next issue of the Limbaugh Letter on his book. It's Flight of the Eagle: The Grand Strategies That Brought America from Colonial Dependence to World Leadership. He was there talking about an era and a decade prior to the Civil War which, in his mind, was worse than what we're going through today, which was the question I'd asked.


RUSH:  By the way, don't be misled, ladies and gentlemen.  Mr. Black in the interview acknowledges that the United States is in a serious period of decline.  Don't be fooled by that previous answer. 



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