June 3, 2018 § 23 Comments
If we don’t grasp that love is rooted in truth, all of our attempts at love devolve into the empty and dissonant clanging of cymbals.
And if we fail to understand and unequivocally oppose usury then all of our opposition to sodomy, contraception, fornication, adultery, abortion, torture, unjust war and the like is self-defeating.
If that soundbyte doesn’t get people to understand how being weak on usury leads to being weak on other moral matters, I don’t know what will.
To come to grips with this, we have to deal with the way that usury – unopposed for almost 200 years – has distorted our view of reality. The abstractionism that comes from viewing money as more real than people or nature is, by now, second nature with everyone worldwide (except a few holdouts like Afghan tribesmen). I wrote a cartoon screenplay about this called “The Accelerating Slave.” There is no limit to the demands of usury, and the rising tide of insanity will sweep us all away unless we find another path.
Become like a little child. That is the start of the antidote to usury-think.
Yes and also, at the same time, become like an adult: an adult capable of knowing the difference between securing profits through shared claims against fungible property versus claims against your brother’s person (as is the case when a personal contractual obligation of restitution remains even after all loaned and named collateral property has been “consumed”, that is, alienated).
You aren’t wrong about taking a child-like approach to understanding morality. But at the same time don’t give any ground to anti-realist financial sophists, with their arrogant pretenses to profound knowledge coupled to breathtaking and often willful ignorance.
The problem with moderns is that we are like neither children nor adults. We embody the worst qualities of both.
Particularly, we need a child-like approach to understanding reality. Amid all the glitz and glamor, the child focuses joyfully on his mother and father. The child loves a seedy, farm-like home with animals and tree-houses, and is depressed when given a pricey yuppie dwelling with polished lifeless symbols of wealth. Food is a big deal, bank balance contests a small deal. Of course, even before adolescence, this begins to be corrupted by signals picked up from the surroundings and from TV.
Here’s an example and starting point: A place of rural beauty and great Catholic tradition, isolated from all money centers and even speaking the local language while resisting the onslaught of English. This is Donegal, the only county in Ireland which voted against the lie called abortion. For this, the people are fearful, apologetic, and afraid to give their names: see https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/may/27/life-is-precious-donegal-quietly-defiant-after-voting-no-in-referendum Everything good must be ashamed of its very existence in the money-dominated world. Let’s find a way to defend Donegal, and spread out from there.
[…] Source: Zippy Catholic […]
If you lack fortitude, you cannot be strong in prudence, etc.
The “secret sauce” of Aristotle, Aquinas, and all the others comes from God –
Good cannot be subdivided or compartmentalized, and neither can evil.
Particularly, we need a child-like approach to understanding reality.
We need a child like faith. But we need an adult like morality. Adult problems call for adult solutions. Wise as serpents and “I beat my body and bring it into submission” and all that. Children (and adults) don’t need – fundamentally – tree houses. They need Truth. I say this as someone who grew up around more cows than people. There is a subtle SJW’ing going on with a view that there is something magical about getting back to the land that will solve our problems. We need Truth. We need to unequivocally repudiate error.
You grasp a partial truth, Wood. Back to the land does not solve all our problems (nothing solves all our problems in a world with Original Sin), but Jesus did say (Mt 18:3) “unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” And children love family, nature, and land, including tree-houses, and are depressed by artificiality. I have seen it in our next-door neighbors.
Basing everything on “I beat my body and bring it into submission” works neither with children nor adults, and failed spectacularly in Ireland. Self-discipline is needed (as J.R.R. Tolkien points out in Letter 43), but pain and torture is not the main reality of the world God gives us, else He would not be loving to the little child. Notice the similarity between “beat my body” and what the dominion of usury brings to its slaves.
However, a hearty yes goes to “wise as serpents.” We need to stop playing catch-up with the world. A clear alternative will shine more brightly the darker the world becomes, and it is getting very dark.
Right. Agrarian sentimentalism is fine and all for those drawn to that kind of thing, but makes a poor universal substitute for truth and virtue.
I am not sure how to go on opposing usury. Shall I cancel the credit card?
House and car loans are presumably OK since they are secured against property, not myself. And I must not give loans on interest to persons.
I would tentatively suggest that all evil comes from love that is NOT rooted in truth, since we never do something purely for the sake of being evil, but rather for the sake of some good we think will come of it. It is our lack of understanding of what is truly good that leads us into error, it is not our lack of love.
Zippy, have you ever read Ismael, by Daniel Quinn? Can’t unequivocally endorse it, but he propounds something he calls the “law of limited competition” as a necessity to living in a way that does not destroy your environment.
Prohibiting usury seems like a specific instance of this general concept to me, and neglecting it seems to have similar kinds of effects, leading to escalating problems whose easy and apparent short term solution worsens the underlying problem.
I haven’t read it, sounds interesting.
As an aside, I know the phrase “declining to enforce usury” is more unwieldy than “prohibiting usury,” but I prefer it because the latter begs the question of authority in favor of usurers.
From the fount of usury, a thousand heresies spring.
then all of our opposition to sodomy, contraception, fornication, adultery, abortion, torture, unjust war and the like is self-defeating.
Good cannot be subdivided or compartmentalized, and neither can evil.
That’s right. There is no such thing as different species of sins, there is only “sin”. When you confess your sins, there is no point to saying which “kind” of sins you committed, because sin, like good, cannot be compartmentalized.
And there are not many virtues, just “virtue”. If you are good, you are virtuous, and that’s all there is to it.
There is no such thing as a person’s “besetting sin”, a specific species of sin to which he is more prone than other kinds, and for which he needs to be specially wary. There is no point to picking out one distinct moral problem in your particular examen each day. There is no such thing as root sins that cause other sins, like “cardinal” sins, because to sin is to sin. That’s why the Bible doesn’t talk about special kinds of sins leading to many more, such as pride. A destitute resident of a cardboard slum in Rio should be just as on his guard against his committing sins of usury as against sins of pride or sloth or lust, because really they aren’t different kinds of sin. After all, there is the old saying that “all heresy starts in the wallet.”
We all know that it is impossible to fight against one of your sins without paying equal attention to all of your sins at the same time, because sin is sin, they are not compartmentalized. We all know that societies that have laws against some evils but not against all other evils are self-defeating, because it makes no sense to pay more attention to one evil than to another.
I’ll just note that the OP isn’t about personal struggle with sin; so your entire comment is a change of subject.
Or, said differently:
Usury is a foundational, central, besetting sin of modernity: one which drives the central vicious patterns of thought and behavior which underly modernity’s embrace of sodomy, etc. Ignoring usury while putatively resisting the characteristic atrocities of modernity is not like a compulsive liar ignoring sodomy: it is like a compulsive sodomite ignoring sodomy.
Pilgrim’s comment sounds like a strain of Protestantism to me, besides being off topic.
Oh, I thought he was lampooning and canceling it at the end with “Or not.”
’ll just note that the OP isn’t about personal struggle with sin; so your entire comment is a change of subject.
And if we fail to understand and unequivocally oppose usury then all of our opposition to sodomy, contraception, fornication,
Please excuse me, I thought that “all our opposition” was meant to include all our opposition. Sorry. My mistake. Apologies offered. I will bow out.
No, it wasn’t.
As written, the phrase was meant to refer to folks taking action to oppose sodomy/adultery/etc, e.g. by writing books and articles and blog comments and the like. Sure you could expand that to include opposing any inclinations to commit sodomy/adultery/etc one might have himself, an expansion of meaning which might in a rather strained fashion begin to bring your comment into the realm of pertinence.
I thought it was pretty obvious that I was referring to all of our extrinsic opposition (e.g. the way many contemporary trads strongly publicly criticize the mercy-tyrant approach to adultery while at best ignoring usury) in the OP, especially given the context of links and previous posts here on the blog. But if the qualifier “extrinsic” in front of “opposition” helps clarify it for you, by all means consider that qualifier added. I think I’ll leave the OP as-is though, since every editorial choice represents a trade-off.
@Scott: maybe you’re right. I certainly don’t want to tar him with a label that doesn’t fit.
[…] We are all Jesuits now; and if we don’t unequivocally reject Jesuit excuse-mongering for usury, we ourselves and like-minded people are part of the […]