following surgen’ for a tumor. From this point on, his personalrnlife was a cause of great unhappiness. hi 1900, he met EvangelinernLodge Land, a temperamental young woman, moody andrnunpredictable. She was beautiful and a little mad, not at all arnsuitable mate for the serious intellectual C.A., an austere manrnnot given to emotional displays. After several years of marriage,rnthey lived apart. Turning to books and the world of ideas, C.A.rnbegan to develop the political preoccupations that would markrnthe third phase of his career: Republican insurgent member ofrnCongress representing Minnesota’s sixth district.rnLindbergh was, from the beginning, an insurgent Republican,rnalthough his views were more in line with those of thernPopulist Part)’, hi 1906, he ousted the incumbent Republicanrncongressman in a hotly contested primary and went on to beatrnhis Democratic opponent by fewer than 4,000 votes. As therncandidate of agrarian revolt against the “special interests”—especiallyrnthe railroads and big banks—Congressman Lindberghrnwas the avatar of the Midwestern Republican populism that laterrnevolved into the “isolationist” right of the 50’s and 40’s. It wasrna movement on behalf of the farmers, small manufacturers, andrnsmall country banks that had been Lindbergh’s clients and foremostrnsupporters. Caught between the battling giants of Easternrnfinance capital, the farmers and small businessmen of the agrarianrnMidwest—having withstood the vagaries of the weather andrnthe depredations of inebriated hijuns—found themselves confrontedrnby forces that threatened to defeat them.rnThe panic of 1907, the result of inflationary policies pursuedrnby Treasury Secretary Leslie Shaw, threw many farms into foreclosurernand forced small businesses into bankruptcy; it alsornstimulated a consortium of bankers, in alliance with the Morganrninterests, to renew agitation for the creation of a centralrnbank, a lender of last resort backed by the federal governmentrnthat would attempt to stabilize an inherently unstable bankingrnindustry. This drive to centralize the banking system was part ofrna broader campaign to cartelize the economy, spearheaded byrnthe New York banks in collusion with the railroads, financedrnand coordinated by J.P. Morgan & Co. Unable to achieve thisrncartelization in the free market—competition kept springingrnup, defying the merger-mania of the Morgan interests and keepingrnprices at a reasonable level — the plutocrats turned to thernfederal government, establishing the Interstate CommercernCommission.rnThe movement for a central bank was designed to benefit thernbig banks at the expense of the small “country bankers,” fill therncoffers of the Eastern elites and impoverish Midwestern farmers,rnand build up the great cosmopolitan centers while depopulatingrnthe countr}’side. For years, the Morgan interests and theirrnWall Street allies, including the rising Rockefeller oil interests,rnhad been agitating for a central bank. Adopting an incrementalrnapproach, tliev enlisted the aid of professional experts andrnlearned commissions. The Aldrich-Vreeland Act, passed byrnCongress in 1908, increased the amount of “emergency money”rnthat bankers could create out of thin air; in this way, therngreat Ponzi scheme of fractional reserve banking—in whichrnbankers keep on hand considerably less than 100-percent reservesrn—was further developed. Another development was thernestablishment of a National Monetary Commission to “study”rnthe problem of banking “reform” and recommend a course ofrnaction —one that was, of course, preordained. The Easternrnbankers wanted to knock out the competition from the countryrnbanks and simultaneously seize the power to inflate (and deflate)rnthe economy at will, making profits all the way up and allrnthe way down.rnIn his first major speech to Congress, Lindbergh argued thatrn”speculative parasites” caused the panic of 1907 and perceptivel}’rnnoted that fractional reserve banking is inherenfly unstable,rnsince “even the guaranti,’ of bank deposits will not preventrnpanics, but would only defer the day bv postponing the hourrnof fear.” The “expert” hirelings of the aspiring cartelists —rnacademics who had studied in Germany and absorbed the Bismarckianrnconception of the “organic” state, centralized andrndominated by a government-business “partnership” —eagerlyrnimported the principles of autocracy and state privilege. Thernmonetary system, fliev argued, must be organized according torn”scientific” principles.rnLindbergh saw through this mumbo-jumbo, argiung thatrn”there is no fixed science about money or credit, except so far asrnwe can evolve it out of experience.” The flow of money couldrnnot be regulated like the flow of water because “as human naturernis not steadv, neither is nione and credit, for the value ofrnboth are more or less seated in the human brain.” Value is subjective,rnconditional, and constanfly changing in unpredictablernways; Lindbergh’s insight is a concise exposition of the subjectivistrntheory of value, ^0 years before the “Austrian” school ofrneconomics came to America.rnNot that Lindbergh and his fellow progressive Republicansrnwere giants of economic thought. Some of C.A.’s economicrnnotions —such as the odd idea that the town of Great Falls hadrnfar too many businesses, and that this was somehow “inefficient”rn—reveal a breathtaking ignorance of economics and thernmarket. The positive program of the Popiflists and their successors,rnthe progressive Republicans—the income tax, governmentrncontrol of “public” utilities, nationalization of the railroads,rnand (worst of all) various inflationary schemes —ranrncounter to their instinctual opposition to centralism.rnThe significance and great strength of the Populist-Progressivernmovement lay not in its positive program but in its role asrnan opposition movement, and this was the great attraction ofrnpoliticians such as Lindbergh and Sen. Robert “Fighting Bob”rnLa Follette: their sharp and insightful analysis of the powerrnelite. Lindbergh’s critique of the Aldrich Plan, delivered on thernfloor of Congress, registers their protest with acumen and verve:rnWall Street, backed by Morgan, Rockefeller, and others,rnwould control the [Federal] Rcsere.Association, andrnthose again, backed by all the deposits and disbursementsrnof the United States, and also backed by the deposits ofrnthe national banks holding the private funds of the peoplern. . . woifld be the most wonderful machiner)’ that finiternbeings could invent to take control of the world.rnThis machinery, once set in motion, was inexorable, and itsrnsinister purpose soon became apparent to Lindbergh. As warrnbroke out in Europe and the Lusitania sank beneath the waves,rnthe hope that the United States might sta’ out of the carnagernwent straight to oblivion: Lindbergh wrote in a letter to hisrndaughter Eva that “we are going in as soon as the countr can bernsufficienfly propagandized into the war mania.”rnWhile progressives throughout the Midwest opposed the warrninstinctively, Lindbergh had a comprehensive and systematicrnanalysis of the causes of the coming conflict. In I9I5, he publishedrntwo issues of a magazine. Real Needs, in which he indictedrnthe “Money Trust” and the “subsidized” press for scheni-rnNOVEMBER 1999/15rnrnrn