Defending the Judeo-Christian Heritage, limited government, and the American Constitution
Tuesday February 9th 2016

Four Cardinal Errors & the Decline of the American Republic

By Dennis Behreandt

Steven Yates, Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic. Drayton, S.C.: Brushfire Press International, 2011; 314 pages.

There are some disturbing trends to modern life that are becoming more and more noticeable. Some of them are big, as in the decline in middle class incomes, alarming unemployment, and the worrisome problems in our schools along with the increased police presence there, to name just a few.

Others are less obvious but increasingly noticeable nonetheless. Among these are carefully managed communities that infringe, through the work of “community associations,” on the most basic rights of property. In one egregious case, a community association told a husband and wife that they could not let their grandchild live in their house because the community association forbade residents under a certain age. This despite the fact that the couple in question owned their own home and were current on their mortgage. Again, this is to cherry pick only one of many possible examples of lesser signs of decline.

These and other disturbing trends in society, some would argue, are of disparate causes and are perhaps to be expected of a nation that is in decline. But that raises the questions: are these outcomes really unrelated to each other? And why, exactly, should the nation be in decline?

Steven Yates, a professor of philosophy who has taught for many years in America’s universities, has been a keen observer of the nation’s economic and cultural decline and he has reached a startling conclusion in his new book Four Cardinal Errors: Reasons for the Decline of the American Republic. According to Professor Yates [who is a contributor to this website] the symptoms of decline that we see all around us are no accident. They are the result of the four major errors that the American republic has embraced over the past 150 years.

More provocatively, according to Yates, we’ve been led to accept these errors by a group of super-elitists and their fellow travelers who have long had in mind the creation of a world-spanning system of techno-feudalism that would result in the oppression of most of the world’s people as serfs while preserving for themselves an increasingly privileged position. In other words, we are experiencing the outcomes of a managed decline.

This sounds like nothing so much as a conspiracy theory. But as Yates demonstrates repeatedly throughout Four Cardinal Errors, there’s nothing conspiratorial about it. The super-elite behind the decline have been quite open about what they’ve been up to and he quotes them on their intentions.

Among those quoted is former ambassador to the UN Richard Gardner, who pointed out in the journal Foreign Affairs, published by the Council on Foreign Relations, that the “house of world order” would have to be built from the bottom up rather than imposed from the top down as “an end-run around national sovereignty, eroding it piece by piece.” Also cited is former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger who in praising NAFTA lauded it not as a simple free trade agreement, but as “the architecture of a new international system … the first step toward a new world order.”

Also quoted is David Rockefeller Sr., the fabulously wealthy head of the Rockefeller family who is estimated to have a net worth in the vicinity of $2.2 billion and is one of the 300 richest people in the world. Firmly among the leaders of the super-elite that concerns much of Four Cardinal Errors, Rockefeller said in his Memoirs:

For more than a century, ideological extremists at either end of the political spectrum have seized upon well-publicized incidents … to attack the Rockefeller family for the inordinate influence they claim we wield over American political and economic institutions. Some even believe we are part of a secret cabal working against the best interests of the United States, characterizing my family and me as “internationalists” and of conspiring with others around the world to build a more integrated global political and economic structure — one world if you will. If that’s the charge, I stand guilty, and I am proud of it.

As Yates points out, it’s admissions like this and the many others he cites in Four Cardinal Errors that proves the managed decline of America by a super-elite is no conspiracy theory.

But wouldn’t the super-elite, a group that is by definition also super-wealthy, harm their own financial well-being by engineering the decline of the United States and other wealthy post-industrial nations?

Paradoxically, the answer is no. From the point of view of strategy, managing the decline is remarkably profitable for the super-elite. And the outcome, if achieved, would indeed be Utopia, if only for the select few who control the world and benefit from their position at the top.

Consider the process of economic integration. Merging economies that are at a similar level of prosperity is easy relatively speaking. Merging economies with radically different levels of prosperity is remarkably difficult. Consider, for instance, the current crisis in the Eurozone. Taxpayers in Germany have legitimate concerns about bailing out insolvent Greece and the question of whether or not European integration will continue remains in doubt as a result.

Merger, then, requires harmonization of economic outcomes. So how do you begin to merge the world’s most prosperous economy, the United States, with the economically subpar nations of the Third World? Success requires improving Third World economies and reducing the wealth of the United States. This is exactly what has been happening over the last twenty years especially, with most success coming in diminishing the wealth of the United States. Yates cites numerous examples, including NAFTA and its outcomes as well as the effect of fiat money expansion.

This last is where a great deal of profit comes in for the super-elite. As Yates points out, most of the super-elite are tied to banking and the Federal Reserve. It is at this financial nexus that the money supply is expanded, a necessary step for the dilution of American wealth because as more money is created, any given dollar in the economy can purchase less — in other words it becomes less valuable.

While this inflation harms the middle class and the poor disproportionately because they find that it undermines anything they try to save, it enriches those who first have access to the newly created dollars. They, via their connections to banks, have the new money in their hands to use before the new money, entering circulation, dilutes the money supply overall. They then are able to us this capital to acquire goods and services and to make investment decisions at prices that have not yet been subject to inflation, essentially getting an “insider’s discount.” By this means value is transferred to those who were first able to employ the newly created dollars from the unfortunate serfs in the rest of the economy. For a select few, fiat money and inflation is very profitable.

These are only a few of the topics that Professor Yates examines in great detail in Four Cardinal Errors. There are many others, and they are all interrelated in a complex web. There are very few books that have ever successfully teased apart this web to lay bare the poisonous spider hidden within. Steven Yates does it here, concisely and accessibly. There is no academic jargon here, no abstruse economic argumentation. There is only a very carefully researched exposé of the challenges we face written by someone with a unique vantage point from which to view our world.

It is rare today to hear from a professional philosopher regarding the state of the world. In Steven Yates, we have just such a philosopher who shows us how fiat money, globalization, sustainable development, Fabian socialism, and the super-elite relate to the decline of the American republic. In Four Cardinal Errors, Yates has produced a carefully written, meticulously researched guide to our present ills. Recovery starts with reading this indispensable book.


The Moral Liberal Associate Editor, Dennis Behreandt, is the Founder and Editor In Chief of the American Daily Herald. Mr. Behreandt has written hundreds of articles on subjects ranging from natural theology to history and from science and technology to philosophy. Mr. Behreandt’s research interests include the period of late antiquity in European history as well as Medieval and Renaissance history.