Eastasian history

October 17, 2016 § 14 Comments

Catholic usury apologists find themselves in a bind, locked in a box of cognitive dissidence.

If any moral doctrine of the Church is simple and infallible, it is the condemnation of usury.  Moral doctrine on sexuality is actually more complex and nuanced than moral doctrine on property; moral doctrine on contraception more casuistically tricky than moral doctrine on usury (though still not nearly as difficult as self-serving cognitive dissidence proposes).

Catholic usury apologists fall into two camps.

One camp just asserts that doctrine is de-facto infinitely plastic, which means it can be molded into a shape that permits whatever perversions they want it to permit. Bread of Life and circuses for everyone!

The other camp asserts that doctrine never changes but that circumstances have changed enough so that – in the current year – black is white, up is down, and water is dry.

The cognitive dissidence is obvious once you step away from the hothouse, and has many tells.  One of those tells involves the simultaneous assertion that back in the bad old days nobody knew anything about the subject and that back in the bad old days everyone who was smart agreed with us.

So we’ll get simultaneous assertions that the nature of money has changed (as if that were even relevant), that simple mutuum (personally guaranteed) loans are no longer trivially distinguishable from other contracts, and that modern banking and commerce is a whole new kind of thing unlike anything that came before.  At the same time we’ll be treated to references of saints and popes whose families were bankers along with citations of Jesus chiding a servant for failing to make an interest-bearing bank deposit in the New Testament.

I keep waiting for their heads to explode.  But I am always impressed by the ability of human beings to cling to manifestly incoherent nonsense when it means they can have whatever kind of sex they want to have, with whomever or whatever they like.

§ 14 Responses to Eastasian history

  • Have you also heard that the Old Testament prohibition against usury only involved excessive interest against our poor brethren, therefore whatever is not prohibited is de facto permitted. It is more of a Protestant apology I think.

  • Zippy says:

    BTW I think ‘cognitive dissidence’ captures the rebellious spirit of the cognitive dissonance involved here, for those playing at home.

  • […] Source: Zippy Catholic […]

  • MarcusD says:

    A priest in my diocese, when the subject of usury comes up (well, all two times), states that opposition to usury is “inextricably linked with antisemitism.” Do you have any thoughts on that position? Will you add a rebuttal to that to the “Usury FAQ”?

  • Zippy says:

    The objection, as a transparent ad hominem or assertion of ‘false by association with unsavory ideas’, seems too trivial to warrant mention in the usury FAQ.

    That Jews became associated with usury is as much Christians’ fault as Jews’. Because they were heathens and destined for Hell anyway the civil law allowed them to do execrable things – execrable things which were prohibited for Christians for Christians’ own good. In addition, there were notable non-Jewish usury dynasties, e.g. the Lombards. Finally, the Christian sovereign himself was guilty of usury to the extent he enforced usurious terms in contracts: enforcing a contract provision is necessarily intending it, that is, formal cooperation.

    So the idea that the doctrine is antisemitic is really just a historically ignorant attempt to undermine rock solid moral doctrine with a guilt-by-association ploy.

  • CJ says:

    Zippy – Is it your understanding that there was a time when average people understood that usury means profitable interest on a mutuum loan in the same way that people who came of age before the Current Year understood that you’re a woman if you’re born with 2 X chromosomes, ovaries, and a uterus?

  • Zippy says:

    Basically yes, although if anything understanding the difference between (1) a personal loan and (2) business parters’ mutual claims against property doesn’t involve the equivalent of medical knowledge. We understand the differences between men and women without studying anatomy.

    So if anything the way you posed the question makes both sex and usury seem more obscure and technical than they are in reality.

  • Zippy says:

    The technical aspect of it is relevant though I guess, because jesuitical technicalities have been used dishonestly to make people forget the obvious when it comes to both sex and usury.

  • Zippy says:

    I’m not sure why the date on this post changed – must have been caused by a minor edit – but I guess I’m happier with it at the top of the page rather than tabloid politics.

  • Zippy says:

    Jeffrey S.

    Never seen that article before, but it appears to be an ignorant disaster from start to finish.

  • Zippy says:

    I love the sidebar in giant bold letters proclaiming the ignorance of all who came before us, in our special snowflakeness:

    The one essential reason behind the paying of interest is time preference, but this was never considered by Medieval thinkers.

    Yeah, but:

    Since ready cash is more valuable than that to be paid, and since there is no one who does not consider ready cash of greater worth than future cash, a creditor can demand something beyond the principal from the borrower, and for this reason be excused from usury. – Various Errors on Moral Subjects (II), Pope Innocent XI by decree of the Holy Office, March 4, 1679 (Denzinger)


    We exhort you not to listen to those who say that today the issue of usury is present in name only, since gain is almost always obtained from money given to another. How false is this opinion and how far removed from the truth! We can easily understand this if we consider that the nature of one contract differs from the nature of another. – Vix Pervenit, Encyclical of Pope Benedict XIV promulgated on November 1, 1745

  • […] In the comments below MarcusD writes: […]

  • […] is confusion over what ‘usury’ actually means, despite the ultimate simplicity of the subject matter and numerous Magisterial statements over the course of millennia. Even in the most orthodox […]

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