How the desire for ‘hard currency’ is driven by liberalism

November 3, 2015 § 25 Comments

Liberalism can be understood as an ultimately self-contradictory attempt to escape from the messiness of natural human authority; human authority which configures itself in a disorganized, organic, patriarchal cluster of hierarchies. Human beings do often tend to abuse authority when they have it, so moderns are always looking for some way to practice politics by abolishing it: to replace humanity with technical machinery so that babies will be raised as equals free to make their own choices in the loving arms of standard bureaucratic procedures, and the right set of paper documents with just the right clauses written on them will ensure that nobody will be able to lord it over anyone else. Intolerance cannot be tolerated, society must be forced to be free, and no mere human being can be permitted to interfere with the Great Emancipation.

This ends up concentrating power into a monolithic monstrosity responsible for making sure that everyone gets with the program of rejecting authority, imprisoning the human beings who live under liberalism into tiny private cells in the hive where they are forced, good and hard, to be free and equal like everyone else. Those who cannot or will not conform and accept their imprisonment in free and equal cells along with the other emancipated supermen – those who for historical or natural reasons represent the traditional less-than-human oppressor, the Low Man – these Low Men, because they cannot or will not get with the program and accept their fate as superman-snowflakes in tiny cells along with all the other diverse individuals in our free society, tattooed with the signs and symbols of unique specialness along with everyone else – are considered less than human. Ultimately the only solution to the problem they represent is a Final Solution.

I’ve noted before that the modern project is fueled by a relentless drive to deny and avoid messy fallible human authority. Positivism attempts to do this in the domain of epistemology. Nominalism attempts to do this in the domain of language. Liberalism attempts to do this in the domain of politics. Protestantism attempts to do this in the domain of religion. Feminism attempts to do this in the domain of sex and the family. Scientism attempts to do this in the domain of ontology. Utilitarianism attempts to do this in the domain of deontology.

And the drive for ‘hard currencies‘ – for economic value which can be controlled by private individuals and groups on a massive scale divorced from the authority of sovereign governments and the economies which they oversee – attempts to do this in the domain of economics.  As with all of these modernist initiatives, this cannot be ‘accomplished’ without being very careful to avoid seeing the whole picture.  As we saw in the neoreactionary discussion of exit versus voice, the substantive difference between the proposal of ‘exit over voice’ and our current actual situation was to install an emperor who would be put in charge of everything, to make sure everyone got with the program of making ‘exit’ available and to create artisan polities from which the exiting superman could choose in a “free market.”  And in the case of ‘hard currency’ the proposal is to put an Escrow Emperor in charge of economic wealth, so that he can ensure, good and hard, that all parties in the marketplace have equal economic rights which cannot be violated by the decisions of those awful sovereign governments.  As usual, the proposal to undermine the monolithic power of government requires increasing the monolithic power of government. The cure for the disease is a more concentrated and monolithic form of the disease than we already have.

But I am sure that the Great Escrow Emperor in charge of the Big Dragon Hoard won’t actually be a human being subject to human foibles, this time. Those clauses on the papers in the filing cabinet, granting rights to the Big Dragon Hoard, will finally free us from the messiness of human authority.

§ 25 Responses to How the desire for ‘hard currency’ is driven by liberalism

  • Mike T says:

    Regarding the concentration of monolithic power to protect against power, I noticed a while ago that there is a great deal of symbiosis between big government and “individualism.” Most people don’t want freedom as the stereotype libertarian wants it, which is rugged individualism and freedom to be a productive, peaceful member of society. They just want to not be told what to do with their bodies, lives, etc. but without the responsibility that libertarianism presupposes.

    I suppose that’s why I resent the notion that “in charity” we have an obligation to people who want freedom without responsibility. Examples include the drug addict who destroys his body then wants the government to pay for his hospital bill or the woman who blows up her family in a frivorce and now wants big daddy government to squeeze her ex-husband dry and ensure she gets whatever welfare she needs to keep up her lifestyle.

    Were the role of government much more reduced, the whole edifice would begin to crumble. Sure, a lot of people would suffer in the interim, but that’s unavoidable and not inherently even a bad thing. If power were to be rapidly decentralized, it would kick out a lot of the support structure underpinning modern civilization.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    Most people don’t want freedom as the stereotype libertarian wants it, which is rugged individualism and freedom to be a productive, peaceful member of society. They just want to not be told what to do with their bodies, lives, etc. but without the responsibility that libertarianism presupposes.

    Were the role of government much more reduced, …

    Well, we are back to the question-begging nature of this presentation of things again. By “reduced” you seem to mean that government does more of what you think it ought to do and less of what you think it ought not do; that is, it puts the right sort of people in prison for the right reasons. The configuration of authoritative constraints is one of which you approve, therefore it drops from view.

    Mind you, as a political transcendental situated in a concrete reality I think there is a sense in which it is true that modern liberalism is ‘more self contradictory’ than classical liberalism. But that sense is just that modern liberalism has spent a few centuries pruning away the accretions of Christendom, unprincipled exceptions rooted in the society and metaphysic which modernity rejected but which it unconsciously carried forward anyway to the extent these unprincipled exceptions could be construed or framed as no challenge to liberalism itself.

    But in my view libertarianism / classical liberalism is leftist larva, and the larva is the insect parasite it is not the dead animal that the parasite killed and upon the corpse of which it feeds. Sure, babies tend to be cuter and less threatening than fully grown adults; but it is the same species.

  • Zippy says:

    I do think we agree though that some sort of radical decentralization is both good and ultimately inevitable — that is, the highly concentrated political monolith built by insistence on political freedom and equal rights cannot last forever, and good riddance to it once it is gone.

  • Mike T says:

    Well, we are back to the question-begging nature of this presentation of things again. By “reduced” you seem to mean that government does more of what you think it ought to do and less of what you think it ought not do; that is, it puts the right sort of people in prison for the right reasons. The configuration of authoritative constraints is one of which you approve, therefore it drops from view.

    No, I mean reduced in the sense that the government just generally isn’t jumping in there with a wad of cash for everyone who claims they are in need. I’m not making a moral judgment about what the government should do, just observing that libertinism is entirely dependent on the welfare state. Without it, the effects would crush enough people that they would flee it voluntarily.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    And yet again you presume a whole host of things which cannot be taken for granted, but which you do not (at least yet) see, because they form your pre-verbal background.

  • Mike T says:

    Zippy,

    I think once again you missed my point, so maybe I’m not stating it clearly enough. I’m simply noting the causality at play between ordinary, typical individual autonomy and big government. The average person needs that big, powerful, centralized and rarely judgmental authority to simultaneously liberate them from other authorities that might oblige them to not behave as they wish and then to cover for the costs of their individual choices.

    The point about libertarianism there is that most libertarians do not realize that their conception of individualism is not natural to most people as most people have no desire to be rugged, responsible, entrepreneurial individualists. I offer it as an example of why libertarianism wouldn’t work, not why it can work.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:
    Well, OK, I’ll agree that libertarianism’s anthropology is dysfunctional. But in addition the libertarian’s conception of ‘individualism’ is as illusory as that of modern liberalism. It requires the same sort of comprehensive government meddling, based on its particular concept of who is entitled to what, to enforce libertarian rules as it does to enforce other configurations of rules.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    “And the drive for ‘hard currencies‘ – for economic value which can be controlled by private individuals and groups on a massive scale divorced from the authority of sovereign governments and the economies which they oversee ”

    And what about subsidiarity? And what does this “overseeing” actually means?
    You are basically arguing for what Communist Manifesto called for–state control of the credit.

    Currency is a historically grown thing and not a metaphysical substance having its own pure essence.

  • Mike T says:

    It requires the same sort of comprehensive government meddling, based on its particular concept of who is entitled to what, to enforce libertarian rules as it does to enforce other configurations of rules.

    Yes and no. The level of government meddling needed to create a “libertarian state” is significantly less than that needed to create a “modern liberal state.” That’s just a factual difference between the demands of the two ideologies. It doesn’t change the premise that government meddling is involved and that the leadership must impose their conception of the good on society, but it is a real difference between the two.

    Currency is a historically grown thing and not a metaphysical substance having its own pure essence.

    State coinage goes back at least to the Roman Republic in the West. I am not familiar with it in Greece before that, but I’d assume that the Greek city states had laws to ensure that whatever coins were minted, publicly or privately, were produced with a valid process so that someone didn’t get a coin that was 2% silver and 98% bronze or copper.

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    You are basically arguing for what Communist Manifesto called for–state control of the credit.

    Nonsense. It is a simple fact that governments oversee markets. Governments establish positive law, adjudicate contract disputes, protect market spaces and property from foreign invaders and criminals, prosecute thieves, and do all sorts of other things which provide the conditions in which commerce is possible. This has been true throughout all of recorded history.

    Reflexively shouting ‘socialism’ or ‘communism’ when this is pointed out is basically just a refusal to talk about it.

    Currency is a historically grown thing and not a metaphysical substance having its own pure essence.

    Sovereign currency is a financial security issued by a government: a legal entitlement to the settlement of a tax liability. That is what it is even when it is printed on metal.

    Conflating sovereign currency and barter commodities, binding the two together into an abstraction, has the effect of making both sovereign currency and barter commodities less transparent rather than more. Fiat currencies and gold are better kept separate rather than conflated together into gold coins with Caesar’s face.

  • Zippy says:

    Mike T:

    The level of government meddling needed to create a “libertarian state” is significantly less than that needed to create a “modern liberal state.” That’s just a factual difference between the demands of the two ideologies.

    And again you are just begging the question, assuming that you are correct when it comes to precisely what is at issue: the basic state of affairs and entitlements against which the degree of ‘meddling’ can be measured.

  • Bruce Charlton says:

    Astute essay, well expressed.

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Tha Govts oversee markets is true. That currency is or should be a Govt creation and plaything is untrue.

    A Moslem man is permitted to physically chastise his wife. When a Chirstian objects to this, he might retort-you are denying Authority, you are liberal wrecker and what not.

    If liberalism came into picture only by 18c or 19c, then all the previous states were non-liberal. What kind of currency they had?

    It is amazing that while your preferred kind of fiat currency is default for all the nations today–presumably liberal–you attack me and other defenders of commodity-based currency for being liberals.

    So a things that practically screams liberal tyranny is hailed as natural part of Govt Authority. If that is so, you have no cause to belabor any instance of liberal tyranny yourself.

  • Mike T says:

    vishmehr24,

    If liberalism came into picture only by 18c or 19c, then all the previous states were non-liberal. What kind of currency they had?

    The Romans had what amounted to modern fiat currency by the late empire. In fact, their system was worse than ours because they debased their coins so much that the state required them to be used for buying gold to settle tax debts. Paper currency was tried by the Mongols at one point.

  • Zippy says:

    Even if it were true that fiat currency is new, which it isn’t, it doesn’t follow that fiat currency is liberal. If that line of argument works then penicillin is liberal.

  • […] though; and now that we have conceptually separated fiat currency from goldbug ravings and ignorant ‘hard currency’ rants and the like, it is possible to coherently discuss those moral […]

  • vishmehr24 says:

    Mike T,
    Fiat currency was tried by many pre-modern states and ALL failed, san exception.
    Zippy,
    It also does not follow that gold currency is liberal

  • Zippy says:

    vishmehr24:

    Fiat currency was tried by many pre-modern states and ALL failed, san exception. … It also does not follow that gold currency is liberal.

    Those criticisms make no sense. Eating chicken was tried by many pre-modern states and ALL failed, san exception. And suggesting that right-liberals are obsessed with X (guns, gold, chicken) because of their liberalism is not a claim that X is liberal.

  • […] if these troublemakers cannot become surgically transubstantiated into free and equal supermen along with all of the other unique and special liberals, that Solution must be […]

  • […] think this is an instance of the rejection of the messiness of authority that constitutes much of […]

  • […] to create a joint stock corporate-political formalism as a replacement  for democracy so that the machine which rules over us will make sure that the right kind of people remain free to shop amongst the boutique polities on […]

  • […] is an attempt to build, if you will, a completely brainless and mechanical society in the name of emancipation from the privileges of natural authority: it is the […]

  • […] people are always looking for ways to substitute rules and procedures for the authority of flesh and blood men.  Folks who deny […]

  • […] writing of text onto paper, is not a sacrament. Bureaucracy cannot become a substitute for fathers, daycares cannot become a substitute for mothers, and formal decision procedures cannot become a substitute […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading How the desire for ‘hard currency’ is driven by liberalism at Zippy Catholic.

meta

%d bloggers like this: