Where to find me until the orcs come

October 30, 2015 § 29 Comments

Folks are always asking me what we should do from a practical standpoint, given the pervasive triumph of the satanic lies of progressive leftism even within Catholicism. Mostly I think we are just in the hands of Providence. Prayer and fasting and the sacraments are the best things, and living our own lives in the best way we can. Feed the hungry, admonish the sinner, and engage in the other works of mercy. Mostly that is really all anyone can do, all Christians have ever been able to do in the Vale of Tears.

But every now and then, you might feel like picking up a shovel and scooping another little bit of dirt away from the foundations of Barad-dûr.

If you buy the premise that the current progressive freak show is a product of metaphysical anti-realism, and that popular metaphysical anti-realism is a result of pervasively practiced anti-realism in modern economic life, then where to plant your shovel starts to reveal itself. Direct confrontation with progressivism over sex and marriage isn’t likely to get anywhere, because sex and marriage sit at the top of the anti-realist edifice, right next to the Great Eye with all of its current attentions and ministrations. In order to be there at all you have to stand atop a vast tower of unreality.

It seems to me that it makes more sense to take a shovel to the foundation, not the ramparts. The bottom of the anti-realist Tower of Mordor sits in darkness, a haze where little can be seen. For the most part, most people don’t even know what usury means anymore. Most people think that authority is the problem. But every new person who learns, who understands, who accepts is a tiny shovelful of dirt carried away from the foundations sitting in the rock miles beneath the Great Eye.  We might be able to spade away there for quite some time without attracting too much notice.

If you do decide to dig there, make sure you don’t get distracted by the anti-realist rats scurrying around the foundations, infectious modernist ideas whispering lunatic missives against fiat currency and fractional reserve banking, murmuring about the virtues of hoards of gold and how greed is good. They too, witting or unwitting, are just servants of Mordor, creatures embracing unreality as if it were Being, darkness as if it were light. The fact that they don’t sit next to the Great Eye in the Circle of Sodom doesn’t make them servants of the light. They are there to chew out your eyes while you sleep, so that reality becomes obscure as you wander about blind and desolate in the darkness on the barren plains of Mordor.

Maybe there is a Frodo out there somewhere, carrying a great and terrible Ring toward the Mountain of Fire as I write this.  I don’t know. We don’t even get the comfort of knowing that there is a frail Ring-Bearer out there with his lone companion; just the comfort that in the end, the light has already triumphed and this darkness too shall pass.

But in the meantime you’ll sometimes find me down here in the murk, digging one little shovelful at a time in the rocky and treacherous ground.  I have no great hope of toppling this vast Dark Tower with my little shovel, or even with an army of thousands of shovels.

But I’ll still dig. It is worth digging simply for the sake of defying the Evil One in the name of what is good, true, and beautiful.

There is some good in this world; and it is worth fighting for.

§ 29 Responses to Where to find me until the orcs come

  • Kidd Cudi says:

    > Greed is good.

    That’s probably the main reason I stopped being libertarian. A sin is not good just because of consent.

    Though to be fair, when people say “greed is good” they usually are not talking about pure-on 100% self-serving greed, but rather rational self-interest, which I think is distinct.

  • sindre says:

    you have som incredible ideas, would be great if you could write a blog post recommending books to better understand how you arrived at them.

  • King Richard says:

    Good to see another ditch digger.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Apart of being uncivil (anti-realist rats!), the question is what made you THE decider of the objective values?
    Are two billion Indians and Chinese alone entirely deluded, and anti-realist rats into bargin? Not to mention gold-hoarding dragons?

    It is really bizzare to what extent partisans of fiat money–that fuels stock market speculation and big government agenda-would not slander and smear those who only want to check government power.

    Just look at the historic record of printed money. Or is it anti-realism as well. A very convenient word this.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    King Richard,
    I am surprised to see you agreeing with money-printing. Is it Distributism?

  • Mike T says:

    I think Zippy’s points about fiat currency and gold come down to the simple fact that precious metals have no magical properties that can stop the abuses seen with fiat currency. The Romans did precisely that with their currency. It’s easy to issue more precious metal currency, you just change the official standard of the composition.

    The economy isn’t going to value currency of one year more than another because the government isn’t going to recognize a distinction between years in tax liabilities. I have a small jar of pre-1965 silver currency (a few dollars worth at face value). The silver is probably worth about $50. The IRS would find it hilarious if I tried to settle a tax liability by asserting the metal content value of the currency over the government’s printed face value.

    Then they’d assess me a fine.

  • Zippy says:

    How is it uncivil to poetically label bad ideas which destroy the mind’s capacity to connect to objective reality ‘rats’?

    And since when did vishmehr24 become ‘Speaker of The People’ for two billion Indians and Chinese as a group, and, even if he were Speaker, since when does the output of a democratic process determine what is true?

  • Mike T says:

    What makes the choice of the Chinese and Indian governments with respect to gold rational is that they are buying assets that they can use to immediately satisfy the full faith and credit of their currency promises. Gold is valuable. If push comes to shove, they can release it to settle debts at a large scale in the future instead of resorting to taxes. It’s a great investment for governments because it gives them a new first resort that doesn’t harm their economy in any way.

  • Zippy says:

    Gold is shiny, pretty, malleable, durable, corrosion resistant, and a good electrical connector. Those are useful and pleasing qualities.

    It probably makes more sense for the Chinese and Indian governments to own gold or other useful raw materials than it does for them to own (for example) US treasury bills, because when the thing you own is a financial security issued by a sovereign foreign power then all of the value of the securities you hold is dependent upon the good will of that sovereign foreign power.

    Other raw materials probably make more sense than gold, though, because the perceived value of gold is still wildly distorted by the fact that society for historical reasons subjectively assigns value to it irrationally.

  • Mike T says:

    Other raw materials probably make more sense than gold, though, because the perceived value of gold is still wildly distorted by the fact that society for historical reasons subjectively assigns value to it irrationally.

    For China, that would probably be rare earth metals. All their government needs to do there to get trade going is to clamp down on the market for them. They don’t even need to trade in them directly to make people more amenable to the Chinese position when those resources are held hostage on the global market.

    Gold is shiny, pretty, malleable, durable, corrosion resistant, and a good electrical connector. Those are useful and pleasing qualities.

    It’s also a lot safer to store gold, as gold is neither poisonous nor explosive

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    It’s also a lot safer to store gold, as gold is neither poisonous nor explosive …

    I suppose inert is related to durable. But in any case the point is that, although gold does have useful and pleasing qualities, it’s perceived value is radically distorted by historical and sociological factors. (As a metaphysical realist I am allowed to distinguish between the actual value of a thing and the subjective market value of a thing).

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Mike T,
    “It’s easy to issue more precious metal currency, you just change the official standard of the composition.”
    Not so at all. It is called debasement of the currency and historically markets punished the states that attempted that.
    Morally, it is fraud.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Zippy,
    The anti-realist rat is a person, not the idea.
    Mike T,
    I was not referring to the Indian or Chinese Govts but the common people of these countries.

  • Mike T says:

    Not so at all. It is called debasement of the currency and historically markets punished the states that attempted that.

    Debasement of a commodity-based currency is just the commodity-based currency method of issuing more of the same thing. The “same thing” is a token with the markings of the currency.

    As to the markets punishing such states, I don’t see any evidence of that even today while the Fed is playing games with our currency that are unprecedented. In fact, historically governments have successfully debased their currencies in order to promote trade.

    Don’t get me wrong. I actually think that owning precious metals as part of a wealth preservation strategy can be quite rational. However, I’ve seen far too many goldbugs who, in hindsight now, show that they have no idea how and why the system is breaking (particularly WRT the banks) for me to continue to believe that a gold standard is as effective as they claim.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    The anti-realist rat is a person, not the idea.

    Now you are telling me the meaning of my own words, and simultaneously demonstrating your own incapacity to read.

    The OP:

    “…anti-realist rats scurrying around the foundations, infectious modernist ideas…”

  • Andrew E. says:

    I would describe it this way. The world has a need to find something in which to settle net trade balances, large and small. Something which represents being paid in full with no counterparty risk attached to it. This rules out currency, credit, debt. And as trade spreads and becomes more varied and integrated it is to the benefit of the entire market that everyone broadly uses the same thing in which to settle trade (though not necessarily in every single instance). And for its objective qualities, gold long ago won this game theory problem and became a sort of Nash equilibrium.

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew E:

    The world has a need to find something in which to settle net trade balances, large and small. Something which represents being paid in full with no counterparty risk attached to it.

    That doesn’t exist and cannot exist. The ‘need’ for it rests on a utopian idea that interdependence among actively trading nations can be eliminated, eliminating the need for business partners to be able to trust each other. It is abstractly similar to ‘consent of the governed’: that is, it could be taken to mean something banal with no interesting implications, or it could be taken as a strong claim, in which case it is utopian and impossible.

    Even prices of objectively useful raw materials (the raw materials themselves, as opposed to contractual entitlements to them) are dependent upon the actions of various parties and counterparties in an active industry/marketplace. Shipping gold around to settle accounts would not and could not eliminate counterparty risk in active economies. And doing so is far more costly than transferring rights in the form of securities.

  • Andrew E. says:

    Zippy, I’m not trying to lay out a blueprint. I’m describing my understanding of the past. You say “irrational”, I say what I said.

  • Zippy says:

    Andrew E:

    I’m not trying to lay out a blueprint. I’m describing my understanding of the past.

    For future reference, starting the substantive part of a comment with “The world has a need for …” doesn’t sound like the beginning of a historical account of what some people in history may have thought they were doing, which may or may not have been accurately descriptive of what they in fact were doing. It sounds like a description of what you think the world presently needs.

  • Andrew E. says:

    Yes, my writing is imprecise. Surely that is clear by now.

    But I will say my 4 sentence summary of thousands of years of history is slightly less glib than your single world.

  • Zippy says:

    I suppose one man’s glibness is another’s pithiness. But you give me too much credit, as I have actually used more than one word to describe my own understanding.

  • […] Or you can start looking for the more subtle ways in which unreality has been mixed into your reality. You can become a digger. […]

  • King Richard says:

    Vishmehr24
    Money is a tool; just as a hammer may or may not be used by a Distributist money as a concept (printed or not) is the same.

  • […] If you would like to see the great dehumanization reversed, I can’t really offer much hope. But I’d be happy to hand you a shovel. […]

  • […] make a print version of the Usury FAQ available.  He is doing all of the work (he has a nice shiny shovel made of mithril), but in preparation for this ‘third edition’ I’ve added Question 56, […]

  • Reblogged this on Dethrone Mammon and commented:
    “Maybe there is a Frodo out there somewhere.”

  • […] I’ll just note that the one thing on which nearly everyone agrees is that the Current Year is so very, very special.  As long as we don’t allow facts to challenge the narrative. […]

  • […] people have been trained by centuries of usury (among other things) to have a hard time distinguishing between an actual thing and the mere idea of a thing. […]

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