April 6, 2017 § 28 Comments
57) This all sounds so complicated, and use of the terms “loan” and “interest” to mean so many different things is confusing. Is there a straightforward way to tell if a simple loan for interest is usury?
58) Is there something that the government can do about usury without creating a whole bunch of complicated regulations?
UPDATE: The Typesetter has made the current revision available in PDF here. If you are interested in proofreading the manuscript feel free to post any errors you find in the combox here, or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 28, 2017 § 11 Comments
Folks who live in liberal societies tend to see having a large number of options as a good thing. The basic idea is that government should mind its own business and allow subjects to live and let live: should do as little as possible to ensure that the rights of free and equal individuals are enforced, and beyond that should “permit” individuals to evaluate for themselves which options they think are substantively good.
This is of course an incoherent mess prone to producing mass slaughter and other degeneracy when it crashes into reality: a doctrinal mashup of contradictory nonsense defended by the modern political monoparty with motte-and-bailey equivocation. A liberal sovereign delegitimizes his own authority, and the authority of his peoples’ traditions to protect and enforce what is substantively good, and adopts a philosophy of quantitatively maximizing choice independent of whether those choices are or are not substantively good. In practice this takes all of the things people really care about off the table, since the things people care about most tend to be controversial and often controverted. What remains is the pervasive presence of disgusting and dehumanizing options.
Liberalism has to abolish politics, has to produce a vast homogeneous bureaucratized managed cafeteria of degenerate, trivial, dehumanizing troughs of slop into which atomized autonomous free and equal human animals can put their snouts.
December 7, 2016 § 160 Comments
Liberalism is first and foremost a political doctrine: an (incoherent) view about legitimate exercise of authority. It is true that once empowered liberalism cannot be contained and ‘leaks’ into everything else. But characterizing liberalism as a grand overall religious or anti-religious worldview, rather than as a specifically political doctrine, is a mistake: a mistake easily rejected by liberals as a caricature which creates a motte and bailey social structure from which escape becomes impossible.
In order to resist our enemy you have to understand him; and if liberalism is not understood as primarily a political doctrine – a political doctrine which by its nature cannot be contained or kept as subordinate by any amount of virtue, moderation, or good intentions – it cannot be adequately resisted.
Almost every conservative or reactionary travels down the same old path, which invariably seduces him into right liberalism. The infinitesimal number of exceptions merely prove the rule: we are all liberals, and the all encompassing gravity well of liberalism will comprehensively dominate human existence until enough people reject it unequivocally.
Liberalism is ‘more than political’ only in a similar sense to which AIDS is more than a virus. By defining liberal commitments as more grandiose and religious than they are in fact, as something greater or more transcendent than specifically political commitments, we can avoid unequivocally rejecting freedom and equality as political principles (principles of authority in action). This gives liberalism a ‘motte’ into which to retreat whenever its own excesses would otherwise lead to self destruction.
Liberalism always starts as specifically political commitments, just as AIDS always starts out as a tiny invisible virus. We can rage against the snot running down the nose of the AIDS patient all we want; but if we hope to actually prevent AIDS we have to adequately grasp what causes it in the first place. Only then can we begin to know what to do about it.
November 11, 2016 § 52 Comments
Donald Trump won the presidency because tolerant, hard working, middle American white people got tired of having their American Dream deliberately destroyed for the enrichment of corrupt self righteous urban coastal elites – elites who at the same time were constantly accusing them of bigotry. The most tolerant, live and let live race of people on the planet finally got sick of being branded as the officially hated group, simultaneously exploited and despised by the hipster hegemony pretending to be two different political parties.
Trump won by explicitly rejecting the demonization of Middle American whites as illiberal, un-American bigots: the worst thing they could possibly be. He won by affirming that middle American whites actually really are good liberals despite what all of the lesbians and pedophiles and transwhatever freaks say: that the persecutors of middle American whites among the elite of both parties are wrong to demonize them as the subhuman Low Man. That he ‘lost the popular vote’ is irrelevant for all sorts of reasons, first of which is that of course all of the urban hipster SJW self-hating white liberals are against him, as expected. One might as well counterfactually assert that if the game he actually did win had been checkers instead of chess, he would have lost.
Trump’s victory may well hold back the influx of less liberal races of people into middle America for a while, thus preserving liberalism from its own worst self-destructive tendencies; though that remains to be seen. What Trump will actually do is anyone’s guess really, though I think that whatever it is will clearly not damage the interests of Donald Trump, Inc.
This past election day represented a victory for tolerant live-and-let-live liberalism and for white supremacy, which are the same thing.
October 2, 2016 § 40 Comments
I don’t watch many YouTube videos, because in general I find video to be a waste of time for anything other than entertainment. I can absorb vastly more information in a much shorter time via text and pictures. But two exceptions are occasional ‘how to’ videos which instruct in real time while fixing or assembling something (even there text and pictures are often better if available), and ‘unboxing’ videos for products when considering a purchase. Unboxing a product can tell you quite a bit about it, even after you’ve read high level descriptions and reviews.
This is a blog post not a video, but in it we are going to unbox a fiat dollar. I’ve explained the nature of fiat dollars at a high level before; and I’ve given descriptions of what securities are more generally and how that relates to fiat dollars specifically. So we know that the sovereign ‘owns’ (regulates, taxes, and defends) the marketplaces over which he is sovereign, and we know that fiat dollars are a security issued by the sovereign granting rights in his marketplaces: a kind of coupon which authorizes a transaction in those marketplaces. For each taxable transaction, the parties transacting must surrender a certain number of fiat dollars to the government.
When the sovereign takes in fiat dollars, from a financial perspective he is simply retiring them he is not storing them away somewhere. When the sovereign spends dollars, from a financial perspective he is simply issuing new ones. Financially, securities held on the balance sheet of the very same institution which issues those securities cancel themselves out. Substantively there is no ‘treasury’ of Google stock at Google which represent claims against anything other than Google itself.
So the very idea of the sovereign who issues dollars ‘balancing the budget’ in dollars is malformed: it is like calling it a ‘balanced budget’ when Google issues and retires the same number of shares of capital stock in a given year. This is financially meaningless, and focusing on ‘balancing the budget’ in this way is if anything fiscally irresponsible, the prioritization of the meaningless: financial nihilism.
What I hadn’t given yet though, before prompting by commenter Alex in a previous thread, is a concrete picture of the relationship between tax law and the real value of a dollar. This unboxing of a fiat dollar is worth elevation into an easily referenceable post, so here it is.
Part of the problem is that tax law is so complicated. But consider a simple fixed-percentage sales tax on just one particular product. A 5% sales tax on widgets doesn’t care how many dollars you charge for your widget. It just requires you to take 5% of the sale of the widget, convert it into fiat dollars, and surrender that number of fiat dollars to the government. So if a 5% tax on widgets were the only tax, fiat dollars would represent a government claim on 5% of the value of every transaction in widgets in sovereign marketplaces.
The percentage-of-widget paid to the sovereign for each (new or used) widget transaction is the sovereign’s economic claim. The sovereign ‘owns’ 5% of every widget transaction under this example tax law. When the sovereign ‘spends’ fiat dollars (say by paying employees), he is selling ‘5% of widget transaction’ vouchers.
Of course in reality tax law is horrendously complicated and pervasive. But conceptually you can think of the tax percentages levied against transactions (including payment of wages) and property as the price paid to the sovereign for transacting in sovereign marketplaces.
Now, I haven’t developed a system of accounting to track this specific area, let alone to track government finance more generally taking into consideration its undefined balance sheet (or equivalent) in a way that accurately reflects the structure of its wide variety of fiduciary duties. But a metaphysically realist partial accounting for the security we call ‘fiat dollars’ or ‘sovereign currency’ in particular does seem possible in principle.
 Property taxes are of a different character. A property tax is not a tax on a particular transaction within sovereign markets: it is a tax on the mere existence of property, or its ‘ownership’ by an ostensible owner, within sovereign markets. ‘Property’ which is subject to property tax is not really owned by its ostensible owners: it is owned by, and leased from, the sovereign.
October 1, 2016 § 20 Comments
Some folks seem to think that in suggesting that people are responsible for preserving their own property, from which it follows that they should not put their life savings into property they don’t personally understand (and instead should put their savings into property that they do personally understand), I am demonstrating a lack of empathy.
A different view though is that – unlike the modern financial nanny state – I am treating my readers like adults capable of making their own choices about what property to own, and living with the consequences of those choices.
If you don’t like monetary inflation – the fact that the number of fiat dollars which trades for a loaf of bread changes gradually over time – then by all means buy something other than bank deposits to serve as your life savings.
What you will find is that prices – the relative trading ratios of different goods and services – are not static. And you will find that ethically preserving your property requires work, expense, and risk.
Now maybe your nanny didn’t tell you this.
But I’m not your nanny.
June 24, 2016 § 39 Comments
I hold Aquinas in very high esteem. In fact it is in part my high esteem for him that makes me especially careful when some writer or commentator starts playing the game of “Aquinas says”. “Aquinas says” is frequently a way for a writer to try to spin a subject to make it appear that his own (the writer’s) views are being spoken in Aquinas’ voice.
Sometimes this is done maliciously, and other times it is simply a kind of wish-fulfillment or prejudice-fulfillment expressed hermeneutically (think of the faction of ‘manosphere’ protestants who are always trying to read permission for ‘Christian polygyny’ and other sexual license into the Christian Scriptures: they are probably sincere enough at a certain level, but their reason is ‘bent’ by conscupiscient arrogance and several layers of metaphysical error).
What I am suggesting in the previous post, consistent with what I have suggested many times before, is that a kind of Hegelian dialectic is often taking place among Catholics (and others too, but my focus in the previous post is on Catholics in particular). It goes something like this:
As a more liberal view of some particular moral question takes hold in society, progressive theologians start showering thinly disguised contempt on Aquinas and explaining how dumb he was about (e.g.) money and finance.
At first this is resisted by ‘conservatives’. But eventually people get old and die. Ideas, on the other hand, live on and develop in a social context.
New generations of ‘conservatives’ start to engage in Aquinas revisionism: rather than rejecting the progressive principles which have taken hold (e.g. that “the nature of money has changed” – which is another way of saying that money has no nature – and therefore charging a ‘reasonable’ amount of contractual profit on a mutuum loan is acceptable in most circumstances today), — rather than rejecting progressive error they argue that the Novus Ordo Pecunia brought into being by modernity was compatible with Aquinas all along, and anyway at worst Aquinas was not infallible so it really just takes a few tweaks of his views here and there to morally justify (e.g.) contractual profits on mutuum loans, whether of money or of shoes.
This has all already happened with usury: the progressive victory was complete before any of us were born. Doctrine was banished into a vault behind an impregnable translucent glass wall, where it remains as a kind of barely visible decoration which is not permitted to touch on practical real-life ‘pastoral’ matters. And the most traditional of traditionalists will often argue that the nature of money has changed, that contractual profit from mutuum loans is at least sometimes morally permissible, and that in any event it is impossible to avoid interest on ‘loans’ (understood equivocally).
And this very same process is happening right now, before our very eyes, with sex and marriage.