How an Eye for an Eye Explains Jesus on Remarriage

August 22, 2017 at 11:57 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

One of the most misunderstood statements of Jesus is this. Matthew 5:38-39: “You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also.”

Occasionally you will hear people interpret “turn the other cheek” as a nullification of “an eye for an eye”. The gnostic (or semi-gnostic) position is that an eye for an eye is a cruel concept of a vengeful Hebrew God, that Jesus came to change.

However, this ignores that only a few verses prior, Jesus spelled out the hermeneutic or means to interpret his sermons and his life. In Matthew 5:17-18, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” 2 Peter 3:10 would further clarify this refers to an end of the world at least as apocalyptic as a nuclear apocalypse where the whole earth is burned with fire.

There are multiple attempts to redefine this, but in context to his audience, the most central interpretation is that Jesus is not altering the law, he is giving additional insightful applications of the law.

An “eye for an eye” was neither vengeful, nor part of the application of revenge. The Pharisees of Jesus time already had the correct interpretation, and so he did not correct them on it. The Biblical concept of the lex talonis was understood not merely as a limit to stop vengeance, but as the value of an eye for the value of an eye. Therefore, monetary compensation for injury was already well accepted by the Pharisees. Instead of Jesus correcting them he lays a principle of an edge case.

When Jesus commands his followers to turn the other cheek, he is addressing something just beyond the edge of the eye for an eye principle and keeping them from extrapolating it too far and incorrectly. In an eye for an eye or a tooth for a tooth, those are cases of permanent physical injuries that will not grow back. A slap on the cheek, whether literal or metaphorical as a verbal insult do not cause permanent injury. Jesus commands his followers in this de minimis case not covered by an eye for an eye to err on tolerance and not attempt to demand compensation. Thus, Jesus fulfills and completes the law by explaining edge cases, not by replacing universal principles of restitutionary justice.

Then within the same sermon, with the same explicit rule of interpretation already given note one of the most historically challenging to Christians, where Jesus takes the hard line on marriage against the School of Hillel and with the School of Shammai. But most confusing to many sincere Christians was Jesus statement, in Matthew 5:32, “whoever marries a woman who is divorced commits adultery.” As commonly understood by many Christians, this seems to be an actual change verses the Torah which specifically allowed most remarriage. So is this merely an edge case?

However, if we acknowledge Jesus’ prefatory rule of interpretation, then reread the relevant marriage, divorce and remarriage rules in Deuteronomy 24:1-4. In context of Jesus’ rule of interpretation, note that inappropriate remarriage becomes the biggest issue in Deuteronomy, with a particular case as the only one very specifically pointed out as a horrible abomination. This is the special case of remarriage to a former wife after she has become another man’s wife.

Given that as a central context of Jesus’ rules, and that Jesus isn’t changing the law, then a primary difficulty of understanding Jesus can be cleared up. Jesus is not referring to any conceivable “whoever” in verse 32, he is referring to the specific antecedent “whoever” in Deuteronomy 24:3-4. A man cannot remarry a wife whom he divorced after she had then married another man.

This also shows why Jesus is not just siding with Shammai, he is explaining why Shammai is right about divorce requiring a major (sexual) transgression to be justified. It is this: If divorce for a trivial reason was acceptable, then it would not be such a horrible abomination to remarry a wife after such a transgression. Thus Hillel is proven wrong about trivial divorce because Hillel’s position cannot explain remarriage to the same wife as such an abomination if the justification of divorce were a trivial fault.

Christian who failed to acknowledge the hermeneutic of Jesus have fallen into two or three camps: Those who take a simple and straightforward but Torah-ignorart meaning here, to prohibit any remarriage, or those who cite other passages in the New Testament to clarify a few additional cases of allowed remarriage, or finally those who give up and assume it as lofty goals.

Similarly, those without Jesus’ hermeneutic have misunderstood how far to extrapolate “turn the other cheek,” and so wrongly think they must refuse to pursue compensation for permanent injury contrary to the restitutionary justice of “an eye for an eye.” Neither error would exist for any well thought out exposition of Jesus’ stance on the Law of Moses.

Advertisements

The Christian Argument Against The Pledge Of Allegiance

February 13, 2017 at 9:56 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

As a Christian, one of the most important limitations for public school participation is for our children to refuse participation in the Pledge of Allegiance. I wrote this as a means for them to explain, or if too young, to give a written copy to their teachers to explain why they will not participate in the Pledge. If any other Christian children happen to attend public school, the paragraphs below maybe be openly reprinted and useful to start, not merely a dialog, but an observable recognition by those inside or outside of any religion that observant Christians do not say the Pledge.

Observant Christians do not participate in idolatry, but in the case of the Pledge of Allegiance, people who call themselves Christian, but participate in the Pledge, try to claim that such action is not idolatry. This is written to explain why those who participate are in ignorance and error, and why those who are observant participants in the Christian religion do not participate.

The Pledge of Allegiance was written by Francis Bellamy in 1892. The ideas of it represent the movement he shared with his cousin, also a famous author of the socialist novel Looking Backwards, Edward Bellamy. The two of them were leaders of a movement in the United States called the nationalist movement, they also called it Christian socialism, industrial socialism, military socialism and organized into groups called Bellamy Clubs or Nationalist clubs. Their periodical was called Nationalism, and was one of the most influential in the nation and internationally at the turn of the century. As they represented nationalism and socialism, but presented a counterpoint to the international socialism of Karl Marx, their movement became the origin and foundation of the national socialism movement in the US and then many nations. The Bellamy’s created their pledge with a straight arm salute to the flag, one that is more recognized today due to association with the German national socialists. However, Germans only adopted it after the Bellamy’s created the straight armed national socialism salute to the US flag and spread it to other countries.

Some deceptive historians will directly associate the German straight arm salute as a supposed reference to an ancient Roman straight arm salute without acknowledging the Bellamy’s American national socialism movement as the direct and most immediate source in an attempt to obfuscate the direct ideological connection of German national socialism to the American Pledge of Allegiance. In 1942, the US Congress changed to straight arm salute to the flag to a hand over heart to obscure this history. The Bellamy’s likely adopted the straight arm salute to the flag based on a supposed Roman practice, but there is little doubt the Germans adopted it from the Bellamy’s national socialism, and not directly from ancient Romans.

Further, the Bellamy national socialism movement combined with other patriotic American movements including the equally Lincoln worshiping Birth of a Nation perspective on racism and the American Theosophy movement which included mysticism, Aryanism, and the swastika, all combined and accompanied American central planning industrialism, and President Wilson’s social Darwinist eugenics as a package, imported into Germany both before and especially after World War I.

But the reason Christians refuse to say the pledge is not merely because those who say it are fairly termed, in the modern abbreviation, nazis, deserved of every negative connotation implied upon them and their philosophy, but because they are also idolators.

Idols are, in the Christian and Jewish Bible, primarily, if not exclusively, symbols of governments. The US Code Title 36, Chapter 10, paragraph 176(j) states, “The flag represents a living country and is itself considered a living thing.” Therefore, the flag is an idol not just by common practice and tradition, but explicitly by law, and those who pledge to it are explicitly idolators. It has further been so, at the least, since the earlier of either the Bellamy pledge idolatry, or the US Flag Code, whichever was adopted first, or a common informal idolatry which likely proceeded the official, formal, and explicitly legal idolatry. Such is the historic nature of nation-states, always presenting patriotism/idolatry as a primary temptation to the people of God in the Bible as a means to reject their faith.

Even assuming the Pledge did not take the form of legally explicit idolatry, or represent the founding of national socialism, its actual content, of stating that a symbol of cloth, or a pagan Roman system called a republic, provides liberty or justice for all, is to obfuscate what it does not do with what it should at best allow by not stopping others from providing..To make such a deceptive obfuscation into an oath, expected of those below the age of accountability, should be rejected beyond the need for further erudition for those willing to study history, ethics, or religion.

Polygamy in Nature and Religion

January 16, 2017 at 3:58 pm | Posted in Religion | Leave a comment

If you look at the animal kingdom, there is an observable pattern to recognize some animals are polygynous, the male having multiple mates, and some that are polyandrous, the female has multiple mates. Note this pattern: When the female is larger like in bees, ants, and humpback whales, then the female has multiple mates. When the male is larger, as in chickens, lions, to lionfish, males mate with multiple females.

If you create a monogamous pairing of chickens with only one rooster and one hen, then the rooster will mount the hen too frequently, causing stress to the hen, often creating a bald spot of plucked back feathers, and it will reduce her egg production. For chickens, the rooster to hen ratio is generally best at one to five or one to ten. With human males being about 15% larger than human females, you would biologically expect humans to be slightly polygamous, and when monogamous, for females to be stressed with too much sex, or males to be frustrated with too little.

Many people see Christianity as the primary source of strict monogamy in world history. However, this is due to a lack of knowledge of history, and a lack of defense of polygamy, as a taboo too dangerous to consider.

It was the Greek reformer Solon who instituted strict marital monogamy in Greek culture in 600 B.C. While economists (David D. Friedman, Price Theory, Ch. 21) can show that polygamy by itself benefits females assuming they have a choice in the matter to benefit from increased choice. But there is no evidence that Solon created strict monogamy to reduce women’s choices, instead it was for the opposite side, to reduce competition among men. In order to facilitate the change, several cultural conditions were created or solidified, such as state sponsored prostitution, support for homosexuality, as well as a common belief that romantic love was only between men.

By the time of Christ, pagan Greek culture had practiced centuries of strict marital monogamy, as well as did the pagan Roman culture they influenced. The first six Roman emperors had 25 wives between them, but all by serial monogamy of divorcing one to marry the next. So even the Roman emperors were bound by the power of their pagan cultural taboos.

So what of Jews under the rule of Greeks and then Romans? I’ll let George Joyce provide the answer in his “Christian Marriage: An Historical and Doctrinal Study”  (1933):

“When the Christian Church came into being, polygamy was still practiced by the Jews. It is true that we find no references to it in the New Testament; and from this some have inferred that it must have fallen into disuse, and that at the time of our Lord the Jewish people had become monogamous. But the conclusion appears to be unwarranted. Josephus in two places speaks of polygamy as a recognized institution: and Justin Martyr makes it a matter of reproach to Trypho that the Jewish teachers permitted a man to have several wives. Indeed when in 212 A.D. the lex Antoniana de civitate gave the rights of Roman Citizenship to great numbers of Jews, it was found necessary to tolerate polygamy among them, even when though it was against Roman law for a citizen to have more than one wife. In 285 A.D. a constitution of Diocletian and Maximian interdicted polygamy to all subjects of the empire without exception. But with the Jews, at least, the enactment failed of its effect; and in 393 A.D. a special law was issued by Theodosius to compel the Jews to relinquish this national custom. Even so they were not induced to conform.”

Here we see the interesting case that pagan Rome restricted and persecuted polygamy and the Jews for practicing it, including Diocletian, an equally infamous persecutor of Christians. And then this pattern even continued with the Christian emperor Theodosius. After this period, Christian Roman Emperors would continue the pagan Roman pattern of increasing the punishment for polygamy so that Emperor Justinian outlawed polygamy to the degree that only a few of the wealthiest Jews were able to avoid coerced divorce and keep their wives.by paying a fine of ten pounds of gold in 535 A.D. By the ninth century, polygamy brought the death penalty. In order to end over eight centuries of persecution, Judaism in Europe under Rabbi Gershom decided to self-monitor among European Judaism and prohibit it among their own in the 11th Century.

This is similar to what happened to Mormons in America. The persecution of them became so great they would become the first religion to claim to receive a message from God suspending polygamy. They likewise began rigorous self-policing and persecution of their own fundamentalist sub-sects who refused to give up polygamy.

But this does not address the New Testament for Christians, and how Christians came to generally oppose polygamy. Many centrally influential Christian writers admitted that the New Testament did not prohibit polygamy, including Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, and Martin Luther, who wrote:

“I confess that I cannot forbid a person to marry several wives, for it does not contradict the Scripture. If a man wishes to marry more than one wife he should be asked whether he is satisfied in his conscience that he may do so in accordance with the word of God. In such a case the civil authority has nothing to do in the matter.” De Wette II, 459, ibid., pp. 329–330.

But still others made and still make a claim that it is prohibited by a few different Biblical arguments. First is a claim already disproven by the history above, that polygamy was already not practiced by Jews of the first century, and so didn’t require specific opposition. Next is an argument based on the parallels in Paul’s phrase, “Let each man have his own wife and each woman her own husband.” However, the English of this phrase hides a detail from the Greek that proves and defends polygamy was assumed and allowed.The phrase uses two different words for “own”: heautou and idios. The difference is to clarify that a husband has a wife exclusively that he cannot share. The wife has a husband using a collective “own”, such as in the phrase “Each man return to his own city”. In this case, the man does not exclusively own the city in opposition to others as co-owners, just as a wife’s ownership of her husband does not prohibit other wives owning him as husband.

The final argument is the phrase used for a qualification for elders, “husband of one wife” in most English translations. However, the Greek is mias gunaikos andra. The word mias can mean either “one” or “first”. Context should decide, but in church history, a cultural bias colored the interpretation from the beginning. Gentile converts to Christianity, coming from Greco-Roman opposition to polygamy would assume it mean “one”. But Jewish converts to Christianity would assume this is requiring a man who would keep and not divorce his first wife. Indeed, even though John Calvin opposed polygamy, he acknowledged that the early Jewish Christians continued in polygamy.

Whether one accepts the Jewish or pagan Greek method of interpretation depends on if one contemplates Jesus statement, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law.” In other words, the Old Testament’s concepts and definitions of marriage are used with Jesus correcting misinterpretation. Jesus is not creating replacement definitions.. In contrast to this is the gnostic approach which tries to argue that the Law was evil and materialistic, as was God in the Old Testament, and Jesus was trying to oppose the Old Testament God. In this, official Gentile Christianity orthodoxy, at least through Imperial decrees and laws, chose, perhaps partly by accident, partly by excessive anti-Jewish bias, to follow the gnostic approach to argue against polygamy, even if it was generally critical of gnosticism.

Another issue is an attempt to reinterpret Old Testament texts claiming support for monogamy, such as Adam having only one wife, or Abraham’s second wife causing conflict. But yet, if these did not imply a strict monogamy then, then they can’t be correctly interpreted later to do so. Take the example of Abraham, the example of faith, lived with at least a third wife and unnamed concubines without any implied wrongness.

Further, God used a metaphor of Himself as a polygamist with two wives in Ezekiel 23. To claim that God would use the example of something unethical as an attribute of Himself is dangerously close to blasphemy.

Given that I argue for the legitimacy of polygamy, the question arises, how do you stop the abuse of it? The New Testament did not have to provide an answer as the Old Testament, along with the Jewish understanding of marriage was sufficient. In Exodus 21:10 a man cannot take an additional wife unless he can do so without diminishing his financial support of his existing wife, or her sexual needs. Even a very wealthy man can only satiate a limited number of women unless they all enter the marriage with low sex needs. Further, a wife with sexual desire greater than her husband effectively prohibits him from ever taking a second wife. This limitation makes each additional wife beyond one gets exponentially more difficult. This in effect provides a give and take balancing that reduces the problem of the excessively mounted and stressed hen, or the under-satiated rooster.

LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice Part 2: All Bugs Are Shallow When Blogged to a Linux News Feed

October 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Posted in Operating Systems, Technology | 4 Comments

In my prior blog post, my intended lessons for OpenOffice vs. LibreOffice were  1. Try both. 2. Use both. 3. Use what works best for particular cases. 4. Where there is no problems with either, prefer LibreOffice for its community support.  5. I had a specific important case for my usage where I had to use OpenOffice. Now it appears my options will expand in a month.

The comments represented the general community preference for LibreOffice.  Not only that, they were enough for Michael Meeks, a well-known open source developer to comment, find the outstanding bug report for it, which was miscategorized but had already been fixed in the 3.7 branch, and backport it to next month’s 3.6.3 LibreOffice release.  Thanks LibreOffice team, community, and Mr. Meeks!

So now, the opposite of the last post,  I am blogging a longstanding OpenOffice bug that is fixed and “just works” in LibreOffice.  So will the OpenOffice community respond as quickly to fix the problem as the LibreOffice community did to my last blog post?

When I go to “print preview” in Apache OpenOffice Calc 3.4.1, (and all older releases I recall) and then hit the print button from there, it defaults to printing every single worksheet instead of just the active one, even though I carefully selected the print range on the active worksheet to print a precise area and only one sheet.  In my case, OpenOffice prints 22 pages instead of just one.  There is a workaround, that as long as I close out of print preview first before hitting the print button, OpenOffice will print only my selected worksheet.

LibreOffice inherited this long standing OpenOffice bug (I would dread this waste of paper and ink being called a feature.) However, LibreOffice fixed it, I think around their 3.5.0 cycle.

So a final tangent about being for below average in technical skills relative to the Linux community.  Everyone recommends bug reporting, and I occasionally do that.  However, I have had little success in my six years of using Linux in bug reporting.  If there is a proper existing bug report already out there, I have little to add. Certainly not any programming skills to fix it.  If I’m creating a new one, assuming it does not get marked as a duplicate by my failure to find the existing one, I usually don’t have enough precise details to aid in a solution or convince anyone it is important.  I also say this without a solution.  Maybe I need a class on bug reporting for dummies.  Getting bugs fixed by getting a blog linked on a Linux news feed (Thanks Lxer.com!) is surely cheating.

Maybe if this blog post is especially lucky in drawing the right readers, someone will have an idea on fixing this 3 year old Wine bug on 15 year old software.  I can at least say that I reported a bug that has stayed outstanding that long without being either fixed or closed for other reasons.  That almost counts as an accomplishment, right?

Last thought: The particular usage of LibreOffice and OpenOffice on .xlsx files was not just because of desire to use open source, but because Excel 2003 to Excel 2010 have a bug that does not let me hide the full 130 columns I need hidden.  Notice, despite the helpful comments for LibreOffice and OpenOffice, no one had advice on making Excel work.  That, I believe, would truly be a lost cause in attempting to report a bug to Microsoft.

LibreOffice vs. OpenOffice, Not Always Simple

October 1, 2012 at 4:02 pm | Posted in Operating Systems, Technology | 42 Comments

[Final Update: This post got a lot of notice, but I also had a follow up post that received less notice here that should be read for full perspective before commenting on this one now.]

If you are like me, you prefer LibreOffice over (Apache) OpenOffice because (1) It has a better open source license. (2) It has more community support. (3) It is more rapidly developing and releasing updates.

But at the same time, when I try to use them in a hard-core power user work environment, ideals go out the window and I use what works to keep my job.  My employer briefly flirted with OpenOffice around 2005, and supposedly it was really bad experiment, but I wasn’t there at the time.  So sadly, no one here contemplates a change from MS Office.  Take an example spreadsheet I use. It is very complex to the point it would be better off in a database, but that’s beyond the scope of this post.

The surprising part is that MS Excel fails my needs even with working with its own .xlsx spreadsheet format. I need to hide 130 columns and Excel 2010 warns me “Cannot shift objects off sheet.”  Prior Excel versions had the same problem.  I’ve spent some effort looking for a solution, but the only thing I found to work is opening in an open source office suite.

MS Excel 2010:

I can open up this Excel document in either OpenOffice 3.4.1 or LibreOffice 3.6.1, and both are able to successfully hide the large number of columns I need hidden where Excel fails itself.  However, LibreOffice has a bug that has persisted for many months, whereas OpenOffice just works.  LibreOffice is making all comments visible by default.  The only solution I’ve found in LibreOffice discussions is to manually close each one.  In this case, that is an insane waste of time, as there are hundreds of comments showing, poking through the hidden columns.

LibreOffice 3.6.1:

Apache OpenOffice 3.4.1:

So in this case, the solution is to use OpenOffice.  I’d rather point to a LibreOffice victory, but the open source community has to acknowledge failures for them to be fixed.  And the bright side is that Apache OpenOffice is both still open source, and still free.  There is nothing stopping people from using both office suites when necessary to see which better renders specific documents.

Update:  Here is discussion where LibreOffice users have known and tried work-arounds for the past six months.  I think that OpenOffice might have had a greater focus on MS Office document compatibility, while LibreOffice has focused on advancing features.  I’m afraid my employer needs are squared directly over MS Excel compatibility vs. new features.

The Bush Dynasty As Link Between Kennedy Assassination And Watergate

June 20, 2012 at 7:55 am | Posted in History, Political theory | Leave a comment

This article by Russ Baker goes into great detail to show how the Bush family brought Nixon into politics in 1946, and controlled his every advance. But the remaining mystery of Watergate was that there was a mole in Nixon’s Whitehouse that had to know exactly where to look through 3700 hours of tapes to find the incriminating evidence.

I don’t know precisely who, but we can be sure it was someone under the Bush family control of the CIA. So the Bushes made Watergate public for Nixon failing to give G.W. Bush Sr. the VP position, and because Nixon had secretly backed some Texas Democrats against Bush Republicans.

I can answer one question Russ Baker raises as to the motives of the Bush family supporting Goldwater in 1964 against Rockefeller. (Remember that Bush was more liberal than most Democrats, such that even John Kenneth Galbraith backed Bush instead of Democrat Lloyd Bentsen for Senate in 1970.) Bush backed Goldwater in the 1964 Republican primary as a favor to his Kennedy assassination cohort LBJ. The alternative justification of Bush opposing Rockefeller because of Rockefeller’s divorce and remarriage is laughable ignorance of the Bush family using religion only as a politically exploitable tool.

The (Bad) Economics of Perpetual Growth, Part 2

June 19, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Posted in Decentralism, Political theory | Leave a comment

Modern central-bank-capitalism is a debt based system. Central bank money is created into existence by debt…selling government bonds.

There is an equally famous debt based system called — a Ponzi scheme. The two systems share fundamental similarities. The only way a Ponzi scheme can forestall collapse is to perpetually grow faster with new victims than it pays out to early participants. Bernard Madoff showed that it could go on for a couple decades with just one person knowing the facts.

This is how a central bank operates, but instead of just one person at the helm, it is a semi-united effort of all industrialized central banks. Futher, they have financial control over nearly all the wealth in the world. So the fact it can survive hundreds of years does not remotely prove it is sustainable. It merely proves they have so far managed to encourage on average growth faster than they have expanded the money supply.

There is a specific financial predictor that shows this is collapsing, discovered by the late Dr. Kurt Richebacher. Namely, the declining productivity of each dollar of new debt, sometimes referred to as the change in debt to change in GDP ratio.

The (Bad) Economics of Perpetual Growth

June 18, 2012 at 12:23 pm | Posted in Decentralism, History, Political theory | 1 Comment

The Permaculture Research Institute has an article on the myth (presumption) of perpetual growth that has been built into the modern world’s mainstream economic system. It is an important point to recognize this error. It is one that Chris Martenson focuses on extensively in his Crash Course, but I want to add some commentary.

They use the date of 1776 as a start date of this myth, but the birth of the USA, is not specific or informative enough. Instead we should use the date of 1694, which was the founding of the Bank of England, the world’s second central bank.

Why that event? England lost a war with France and wanted to regain/retain its position as dominant global power. To do so it needed much more money to finance its military, navy, and government expansion. It did not want to be limited to what credit it could obtain through the natural markets…so it nationalized the credit market.

In natural society, money is the most marketable commodity, and credit is loaning money at a rate (interest) determined by the supply and demand for credit. A central bank, such as the Bank of England (or Federal Reserve in the USA), maybe “capitalist” in some definitions of capitalism, but it is the opposite of a free market.

Money is like language. It is naturally created by societies without and before government. Governments (via central banks) replace natural money with fiat money only for their own benefit, so they can expand their power, by expanding fiat money, faster than they could expand natural money. Ah, in there is the mainstream economic profession’s origin of the myth of perpetual growth…unnatural expansion.

Fiat money is just pieces of paper that have no value apart from the weapons of government pointing to the heads of citizens saying it must be accepted as money. However, it cannot perfectly control the degree of value, and that is where “respectable central banks”, unlike that of Zimbabwe or Weimar Germany, exercise just enough self control to stop hyperinflation.

So what are central banks doing with money? Instead of a natural market determined rate of interest, they dictate a rate. This explains how we should define “actually existing capitalism” instead of theoretical capitalism. Such capitalism is when the foundational layers of money and credit are controlled by a central bank, but most other layers on top of that are open/free markets. However, since that fundamental layer is not free, all apparent freedoms that are built above it are not nearly as free as they may seem. It is like in George Orwell’s 1984 where the government has altered language with Newspeak. Language is fundamental, just as money is the language of economics.

In order to stop hyperinflation, while still transferring wealth to capitalist government, a central bank perpetually inflates the money supply, but exercises a degree of conscious self-control, just like the victor who refrains from killing his enemies so he can enslave them.

In Colonial America, tobacco was often the medium of exchange, i.e. money. Sometimes it was wheat, or even whiskey.## So if the “money supply” increased, it did so because people went to the effort to create the valued items to increase it. In contrast, when central banks increase fiat money, that does not increase goods of value. A 10% increase in the fiat money supply means that the previous owners have had their money decrease in value by 10%.

So when economists from Milton Friedman to Paul Krugman say they want a stable increase in the money supply of about 3% per year, that is a 3% transfer of wealth per year to Wall Street and government. Why 3%? Because they can get away with that without causing hyperinflation.

But mainstream economists don’t want to focus on money supply as inflation, instead they prefer to leave that to “the man behind the curtain” and focus on prices as indicator of inflation. So in the 1920s, productivity was increasing such prices should have been falling due to increased efficiency. Instead, the Federal Reserve increased the money supply to keep prices stable. The father of mainstream economics, Irving Fisher, thought such fine and said there was no bubble in 1929, and proceeded to lose his family fortune in the crash to prove he believed it.

But there is another layer of the perpetual growth myth. Without perpetual growth, then all that government “sovereign” debt cannot be repaid short of a hyper-inflationary crack-up bust in the market. Market value would become less than book value…much, much less, like in Greece. Ah, but as you’ve discovered…it isn’t likely to happen with perpetual growth either, because that is impossible as it pushes against natural limits.

Finally, here is why there are no mainstream economist exceptions: The Federal Reserve pays major stipends to economists all over the world to buy their allegiance and cement the Federal Reserve’s legitimacy among economists as a guild.  As Gary North points out, economics textbooks will go from a chapter on the dangers and inefficiencies of cartels, to a chapter on the Federal Reserve, without a hint of contradiction or acknowledgement of it as a cartel.

What about economist professors who are exceptions like Prof. Hayek? Even though he won a Nobel Prize in economics, the University of Chicago where he taught refused to even let him teach in the Economics department! So he was not mainstream. Such difficulty getting a tenured professorship in economics has been the case of economists all over the USA if they question the propriety of the Federal Reserve.

2012, The Year Android Passes Microsoft Windows As Top OS

May 17, 2012 at 9:29 pm | Posted in Operating Systems, Technology | Leave a comment

Tomi Ahomen has another great blog article that does the math, adding smartphone and PC sales to show that 2012 is the first year where Android (and thus Linux) passes Microsoft in operating system sales.

I hope the future follows his prediction path…but I see a risk he doesn’t mention.  Tomi acknowledges the telecom carriers view Skype (and so VOIP in general) as an existential threat, and this is a reason that they aren’t cooperating with Microsoft.

Although I hope the carriers can help squeeze Microsoft dry, can they really win the battle against the progress of technology, of which the much more efficient VOIP phone calls should be the future?  Put me in the category of pro-VOIP, not pro-Skype or Microsoft.

Tech aware consumers would be much happier with a data only phone plan, where they could just use a VOIP phone with no meaningful loss in functionality, but a reduction of perceived excessive cellphone bills.  Some people already do this and have zero call and text minutes, as VOIP calls and texts don’t count.  If Microsoft were to somehow survive in the phone business for another decade, then I would presume that VOIP technology finally became the disruptive technology that broke the telecom system.

The good news is that even if that happens, Google and Android seem equally well prepared for a VOIP future without having to purchase Skype or suffer the negative fallout from doing so.

[Confession: Although my wife has a Samsung Galaxy S2 on a Sprint plan, I still refuse to have any cellphone plan. I just use her old EVO 4G as a Wifi device.  We won’t renew her contract when it ends and will likely switch to Republic Wireless or Ting. Those at least represent an improved direction for carriers (MVNOs in their case) that don’t overcharge customers.]

The Irony of Federalists vs. Anti-Federalists

May 13, 2012 at 7:16 pm | Posted in Decentralism, History, Political theory | 6 Comments

Given that Federalism and Antifederalism are 220 year old ideologies, I’m surprised I have never run across the observation I’m about to make. If someone knows who else pointed this out, please let me know.  Pay attention to when I capitalize “federalism” as when lower case I refer to the concept, but when capitalized refers to the group of people calling themselves by that name, whether accurate or not.

The Federalists named themselves that. It was wrong. Most Federalists were really nationalists. They named themselves such because of the Colonial public’s distrust of nationalism.  In Lincoln’s era, and sympathetic historians after him, the Unionists could point to acts and quotes of many Federalists that clearly had nationalist leanings and statements, as this was what the Federalists desired.  The Southern secessionists could likewise point to acts and quotes against nationalism because this is what the Federalists had to say to gain power.

Anti-Federalists did not name themselves.  This was a term applied to them by their opponents who called themselves Federalists.  So it is more ironic that the so called Anti-Federalists were actually the federalists, just as the Articles of Confederation were federalist while the Constitution was only superficially so.

So it is true that the Constitution, created by the “Framers” who were mostly Federalists who weren’t federalists with just enough Anti-Federalist federalist wording to get passed, was a combination of apparent federalism but hidden nationalism.  So the Constitution as applied became increasingly nationalist, and permanently so after the so called Civil War.

If anyone has read the constitution of the former USSR, freedoms of speech, assembly, and religion are enumerated. However, like the Constitution of the USA, there was insufficient protections to stop centralization of power into nationalism which provides no means to protect those freedoms.

Lysander Spooner would write it best:

The practical difficulty with our government has been, that most of those who have administered it, have taken it for granted that the Constitution, as it is written was a thing of no importance; that it neither said what it meant, nor meant what it said; that it was gotten up by swindlers, (as many of its authors doubtless were,) who said a great many good things, which they did not mean, and meant a great many bad things, which they dared not say; that these men, under the false pretence of a government resting on the consent of the whole people, designed to entrap them into a government of a part, who should be powerful and fraudulent enough to cheat the weaker portion out of all the good things that were said, but not meant, and subject them to all the bad things that were meant, but not said. And most of those who have administered the government, have assumed that all these swindling intentions were to be carried into effect, in the place of the written Constitution.

And again another Spooner nugget of genius:

But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain—that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case, it is unfit to exist.

Next Page »

Blog at WordPress.com.
Entries and comments feeds.