Saturday, January 21, 2017

Fractional Reserve Banking Clarified




In FRB, two people own 100% of something.

It helps to have a definition; now I know Walter’s.

That’s incompatible with private property rights, one of the basic foundations of libertarianism.

Given Walter’s definition, I agree.

But his definition gives me pause.  Why is there so much debate, angst, wailing and gnashing of teeth over a topic that is non-existent?  Under this definition we do not live under an FRB banking system. 

I can accept that there might have been a time that such was a standard practice; however this is not the practice today.  I can accept that there might somewhere be an institution that promises one thing but delivers another – but this isn’t an FRB thing, it is a breach of contract thing.

Two people do not each own 100% of something in today’s banking world.  Hand your money to the bank teller and the money is now an asset of the bank.  The bank owns it – 100%.  You are the creditor; the bank owes you 100%.  But you and the bank don’t each own 100%.

So I really don’t get it: why, for a practice that is not a practice, is so much emotion spent?

Interview, shows common man is ignorant of frb

Common man is ignorant of many things.  Unless you can point to several examples by banks offering one thing but delivering another (via advertising, contracts, whatever), this is not really relevant other than to point out the sad state of public education.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Governance, Kin, and Romans 13



The typical understanding of the bible’s teaching on civil government is that it is a special office directly ordained by God wherein a subset of humanity is given authority to wield the sword in a way that the rest of humanity may not…. I am not yet convinced this understanding is biblical. Everyone who holds this view starts with Romans 13.

So writes Brandon Adams in a piece entitled “The Avenger of Blood.”  It is a detailed and critical analysis of the biblical view toward civil government and vengeance.

But because Romans 13 actually presents some very challenging logical difficulties for interpretation and even within the reformed tradition interpretation varies significantly, I think it is best to start with clearer statements in Scripture regarding the use of the sword for vengeance before addressing Romans 13.

“[C]hallenging logical difficulties” is an understatement.  The mainstream interpretation has no answer for Stalin or Hitler (or Roosevelt).

Adams begins to build his foundation through the Old Testament books of Numbers, Deuteronomy and Joshua, presenting the case that the “avenger of blood” is “the nearest relative of a murdered person.” 

This avenger (“goel”) did not act on his own authority:

The goel acts as the agent of the Lord himself… The goel was the instrument for the administration of justice in the early period of Israelite history.

The practice was not limited to the ancient Israelites; it was found in other ancient civilizations as well.  Nimrod, the king of Babylon and first king or emperor “of the world” broke this model.  He took vengeance into his hands and out of the hands of the next of kin:

Thus if Nimrod was the first violent conquerer, what would he think about private blood vengeance? Would he tolerate the idea that the people he conquered and killed had divine authority to execute him? Certainly not.

Thus asserting exclusive authority of vengeance became a means of control.

Control, indeed.  Consider this in the context of a president authorizing drone strikes that kill non-combatants.  The closest relative of the victim would be the criminal if he took vengeance into his own hands.

Private blood vengeance.  Such was the practice throughout the Germanic Middle Ages – the most politically decentralized period in western history since before Rome.  This came to an end via two factors:

“At the Holy Roman Empire’s Reichstag at Worms in 1495 AD, the right of waging feuds was abolished. The Imperial Reform proclaimed an “eternal public peace” (Ewiger Landfriede)

This passage requires a slight expansion; what of this Ewiger Landfriede?

The Ewiger Landfriede ("everlasting Landfriede", variously translated as "Perpetual Peace", "Eternal Peace", "Perpetual Public Peace") of 1495, passed by Maximilian I, German king and emperor of the Holy Roman Empire, was the definitive and everlasting ban on the medieval right of vendetta (Fehderecht).

It was aimed primarily at the lesser nobles who had not kept pace with the process of development of the princely territories. Their propensity to feuding (Fehdefreudigkeit) increasingly went against the intent of the imperial princes and imperial cities to pacify and consolidate their territories.

Consider: Emperor Maximilian I passed this ban on feuding to make it easier for the emperor to pacify the lesser nobles.  Take away “vengeance” from the people and it then becomes a tool of control.

Of course, “eternal peace” did not mean the end of murder; only a change in who would be permitted to avenge the murder.

Returning to Adams: the second factor was Calvin:

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Now We Are Getting Somewhere



Decentralization, pushback against the empire, questioning the narrative; Trump is unleashing it all.


Germany hits back at Trump criticism of refugee policy and BMW tariff threat

I don’t care so much about the BMW tariff threat; this isn’t a post on economics.  I enjoyed the reasons for the criticism of Trump’s criticism about Germany’s refugee policy:

Responding to Trump’s comments that Merkel had made an “utterly catastrophic mistake by letting all these illegals into the country”, [Germany’s deputy chancellor and minister for the economy, Sigmar] Gabriel said the increase in the number of people fleeing the Middle East to seek asylum in Europe had partially been a result of US-led wars destabilising the region.

“There is a link between America’s flawed interventionist policy, especially the Iraq war, and the refugee crisis…

Finally, a meaningful political figure has the courage to say it.  But why say it now, you ask?  Well, because it is perhaps becoming acceptable for the empire’s colonies to criticize American hegemony now that Trump is POTUS. 

…that’s why my advice would be that we shouldn’t tell each other what we have done right or wrong, but that we look into establishing peace in that region and do everything to make sure people can find a home there again,” Gabriel said.

Yes, you should “tell each other what we have done right or wrong….”  Get it out there, debate the issues.

It would do the world some good if Europe pushes back against being a colony.  It might reduce tensions with Russia; it might reduce support for interventions in the Middle East and Africa.

It certainly would increase decentralization.

Of course, this could all be merely negotiation posturing on Trump’s part; destabilize the counterparty in order to get them to be more malleable in the end.  Even if this is the case, it cannot hurt the broader public dialogue that Trump throws his comments out there and the recipients of his punches decide to publicly respond.

It will get people to talk about things they haven’t been allowed to talk about.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Everything Will Be Laid Bare



Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

It seems God is deciding to share….

We are really living in those “interesting times” that the Chinese, apparently, never warned us about.  Instead, it may have roots in a statement by Joseph Chamberlain during a speech in 1898:

I think that you will all agree that we are living in most interesting times. I never remember myself a time in which our history was so full, in which day by day brought us new objects of interest, and, let me say also, new objects for anxiety. (Emphasis added)

We have our own “new objects for anxiety.”  The events since the US election are rolling so fast it has become difficult to keep track.  Vote count challenges, Hillary won the popular vote, electors to vote their conscience, Putin influenced the election, 200 fake news web sites, Putin hacked the DNC, visits by Trump’s aids to Russia, golden showers….

Not ten percent of this energy has been spent by the mainstream on the corruption of Hillary Clinton or the contents of the emails – contents which have never been disputed.

Congressional investigations into the “Russian influence” in the elections; republican senators are more enthusiastic in this than are democratic senators.  If they even allow Trump to take the oath on January 20th, they will shortly thereafter follow with impeachment proceedings in any case.

The battle lines are being clearly drawn; there is no republican vs. democrat, there is no rich vs. poor, there is no black vs. white.  These are all distractions from the true battle lines: the subjects vs. the rulers.  Even the most blind must see this clearly now. 

Then we have this: "Let me tell you: You take on the intelligence community — they have six ways from Sunday at getting back at you…" Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer.

Of course, the implication of this statement is clear.

Conclusion

“Everything is uncovered and laid bare…”

…and not just to God’s eyes.  The two sides are now made obvious for all to see.  For those who still present the face of the mainstream, there is no excuse – the position is purposefully taken.  They are on the side of an evil (I do not use the word lightly) power – a power always present yet growing (in our time) with the advent of progressivism.

We now live among our enemies, all around us.  Family, friends, neighbors, co-workers; if they parrot the mainstream, consider them your enemy.  It is not difficult to see the tension escalate to extremes – ultimately leading to a true totalitarian government and / or civil war.

Trump can do one thing to diffuse all of this – a very simple statement, a reply to Schumer.  I have offered this advice before; I am more certain today – after Schumer’s statement – that it is the step that must be taken.  I offer the same advice:

If ever there was a man and a circumstance for a president to go public questioning the JFK story, this is the man and this is the circumstance.  First and foremost, it will be an act of self-preservation; any dastardly deed that befalls him thereafter will be plainly seen as an inside job – whether it is or not. 

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Impeachment in the Works



The following Headlines, from Google News:

Senate Intel panel to probe Trump team's ties to Russia, The Hill

Exposing The Man Behind The Curtain, The Huffington Post

Senate Panel To Investigate Russia Links, The Daily Beast

Senate intelligence committee to question Trump team on Russia links, The Guardian

Senate Intel chiefs promise investigation of Trump-Russia ties as House Democrats accuse FBI director of stonewalling, The Washington Post

Trump National Security Adviser Called Russian Envoy Day Before Sanctions Were Imposed, The New York Times

Friday, January 13, 2017

Antonio Gramsci, Cultural Hegemony, and Political Correctness



Angelo M. Codevilla has written a brilliant piece, The Rise of Political Correctness.  For a few days I have been thinking about how to summarize it and add something to it.  I have read it several times and decided I cannot – I cannot summarize it; I cannot add something to it.  If the subject of culture and liberty matter to you, it must be read.

Gray North has written an excellent summary; it is still worth reading the original.

Codevilla traces political correctness to its roots – Machiavelli and communism.  But it wasn’t Marx’s communism that spawned this evil; it was Antonio Gramsci’s.  I have written on this before in the context of libertine-worshipping libertarians; I became aware of the Gramsci connection only because of something I read from Dr. North.

Today’s progressives have gone well beyond Gramsci; Gramsci was only after a replacement.  For today’s progressives, having won the cultural war a generation ago isn’t enough; having destroyed traditional western (i.e. Christian) culture isn’t enough.  They want more; and after they get more, they will want more.

I keep trying to write something more, cite something from his piece.  Each time I try, I fall short.  So I will not.  I will offer only one cite – an example of the over-reach that Gramsci would not support:

Consider our ruling class’s very latest demand: Americans must agree that someone with a penis can be a woman, while someone else with a vagina can be a man. Complying with such arbitrariness is beyond human capacity.

As Popeye says, “that’s all I can stand, I can’t stands no more.” 

Conclusion

OK, one more cite; Codevilla’s, conclusion, not mine (emphasis added):

In short, the P.C. “changes in law and public norms” (to quote Galston again) that the ruling class imposed on the rest of America, rather than having “gradually brought about changes in private attitudes across partisan and ideological lines” as the ruling class imagined (and as Gramsci would have approved) have set off a revolution—of which we can be sure only that it won’t be pretty.

(Note: Codevilla has written of this coming revolution before; I offer my attempt at summarizing it here.  I have grown more humble since then.)