From the April 1999 Idaho Observer:
Idollartry: Faithfully Serving the False God of Money
by Hari Heath
America is a land of very devout people, who worship that which seemingly provides our substance and abundance. By our worship, we have become some of the most blessed and prosperous people on earth. But what do we worship?
On that third day, when Moses came down from the mountain, he brought God's commandments. Among the commands from on high came, You shall have no other gods before me...You shall not make yourself a graven image...you shall not bow down to them or serve them...
What do we serve? A graven image? The first definition of graven in my Webster's Dictionary is engraved. The second definition of engrave is to print from a prepared plate.
What kind of graven images of paper money do we keep in our pockets? Do we bow down to them and serve them? Is not money the great god of modern society?
Printed by the Bureau of Engraving, then sold for less than three cents per bill, to the privately held Federal Reserve Bank (not federal, and with barely anything in reserve), these notes are then issued for us to worship.
And worship we do, this fiat money.
My Webster's Dictionary defines fiat money as paper money legally issued but bearing no promise of redemption. My Black's Law Dictionary defines it as paper currency not backed by gold or silver.
Think about it. By our faith in this fiat money which is not backed by gold or silver and bears no promise of redemption, we have built one of the most technically advanced and abundant societies in the history of mankind.
These paper promises are only redeemable to the next fool who believes in and worships these promissory notes. And upon this, our nation has been built. Voluntary slavery.
Next time you are traveling through a major urban area try to guess the value, in paper dollars, of all the things you can see. The buildings, the things inside and outside of the buildings, how much did it all cost? What is the total value, if you can imagine it, of everything you see? Can you fathom, for example, the paper dollar value of all the cars and trucks creeping along a multi-lane urban freeway at rush hour?
What a world we have built with our faith in paper money as the lubricant for our society's industrial machine.
Who could have imagined all we have accomplished simply by printing a graven image, attaching a value to it, and sending us hither to do great works. All for a piece of paper that was purchased for about two and a half cents and issued as a dollar bill. Or a twenty, a fifty, or a hundred. It doesn't matter. For the same two and a half cents, any valuation can be engraved on it.
Time is money so they say, and the great robber/banker barons have figured out how to buy our time for two and a half cents on the dollar.
While we worship our engraved paper god five days or more in the week, those who attend church often only spend a few hours a week there. If this is the case, then what happened to You shall have no other gods before me...You shall not make yourself a graven image...you shall not bow down to them or serve them...?
And just who do these insidious creators of the paper money system serve?
Would you do for your church what you do for money? If you had to choose between a life of faith in divine providence or a life of faith in paper money would you give up the money and follow a disciple's path?
Would we be able to build as great a nation solely with our faith in each other? Is greed a greater motivator in people than any belief in higher ideals? Will we do for each other what we will do for money?
The Roots of Money
The first economy was a trading economy. Direct trading only works when both parties are willing to trade. As a society develops, things become more complex and two-way trading becomes less practical. By using some common staple as a third element the utility of a trading economy is greatly expanded.
Coinage has a long history as a staple of value. It is based on substance -- relatively rare metals in limited supply which are infinitely divisible and generally durable.
It can be well argued that coinage is also a graven image, with a long history of greedy human conduct, so perhaps that was the beginning of our departure from those commandments.
Once we developed these valuable coins, we needed a place where they could be stored for safe keeping. The goldsmiths of the 1200s, in addition to making coin money, would also store it for their customers. They issued notes as a receipt of the deposit which could then be traded in the community in lieu of the actual gold. Eventually the goldsmiths discovered that since not everyone came at once for their gold they could issue more notes of deposit than they had gold on deposit. This was the beginning of the fractional reserve system that our banks operate on today.
This elite oligarchy of metalsmiths discovered how even kings could be brought to their knees with the hollow promise of paper notes.
Now it's developed into a fine science, in the computer age, with modern tracking of fiscal trends and the consumers reactions to modifications of the great bubble economy.
We have become so accustomed to credit cards, ATM's, bar codes and account transfers. What do these provide to those who issue and control them?
Through computer monitored systems, everything about your individual purchasing habits, your financial transfers, anything you do with a credit card or a bank account can be known. The same information can be monitored on a local or national scale.
By giving you and our nation convenient economic methods of managing our monetary affairs, the purveyors can data stream our every move and predict every turn in the financial road. Valuable information for the big bubble manipulators who operate on a fraction of a percent.
The bubble of our modern economy comes from the necessity to always adjust the flexible fictional paper dollars circulating as money (including checks, credit cards, bank notes, stocks, bonds, etc.), with the substance (real goods and hard assets) in hand. As we produce more or less substance the flow of money has to be similarly adjusted to keep our faith in the system. Ever heard of the consumer confidence index?
Perhaps the greatest ruse of all time is interest. If you make money from investments, where does it come from? Something from nothing makes nothing something.
Interest is organized theft. The gain on interest comes from the devaluation of the principle. Although not necessarily in lockstep with each other, the basic equation is, interest = inflation. Earned interest anyone?
Constitutional money, as the founders of America mandated, was limited to the power to coin money. This created a trading economy of substance in the pockets of the people -- something for something.
The Coinage Act of 1792 specified a dollar as a one ounce coin of 90 percent silver and 10 percent copper. Similarly, twenty dollars was a one ounce coin 90 percent gold and 10 percent copper. The silver or gold, because of its rarity, provided the value and the copper made the coin more durable. The government mint was the maker of reliable trading stock. Gold or silver bullion could be brought into the mint and traded for coin putting recognizable substance in circulation. This created an independent and decentralized economy less subject to the control of elite manipulators.
How we fell
The Civil War bonds came due in about 1912, and were more than could be paid by the government. The holders of those bonds suggested the creation of the Federal Reserve Bank, in lieu of repayment. When you have more government bonds than the government has money to pay them with, Congress tends to listen well to any suggestion. With that devious act of Congress, the great American bubble economy began.
First with the roar of the twenties, leading up to the great crash of 1929, and the depression of the thirties, America gave up its economy of substance and got whacked off at the knees within the first 20 years.
Today we continue to ride on the roller coaster of the faith-in-fiction economy. As we produce, so must the fiat money managers keep a careful eye on the substance to money ratio, and a strong finger on the pressure control valves of the bubble economy.
A little war here. Some welfare program over there. Add some cautious calculated interest/inflation adjustments and everything will be fine. Governor Greenspan keeps the train on the tracks. Have faith people.
No Easy Solutions
The false god of money touches nearly everything in our modern world. It is almost impossible to...not bow down to them or serve...a graven image.
In the course of time, value, in arbitrary paper dollars is attached to all the substance that provides our sustenance. The greedy jaws of the paper manipulators and their hirelings have sunk their teeth into almost everything you own or use.
The escape options are limited. As a hunter gatherer you might avoid the long arm of the paper world. But in our civilized times a hunter/gatherer would be largely relegated to an outlaw existence.
As a farmer you might escape, but farming necessarily requires land, which nowadays usually costs money. Trapped again.
Some balance might be found in a limited involvement with the paper world, as some of the modern back-to-the-landers have done. It's easier said than done. Eventually most people come to find that the goods and services of modern society are highly desirable.
Very few people have time or the energy required to make the things they need in life themselves. Work, for many modern paycheck recipients, somehow involves a chair.
There is, of course, the option of revolution, which in this case could be somewhat non-violent. The resulting chaos aside, with the fractional reserve rate hovering around three percent in our modern banks, this means three percent of the people of average wealth could pop the banks' big bubble, simply by withdrawing their funds.
We could instead develop alternatives like local currency, or better yet, local coin. Learn to make useful things and trade with your neighbors.
With the potential collapse of the highly vulnerable big bubble looming on the horizon, it may not be a matter of choice, but rather, necessity.
The big bubble economy and its managers are highly dependent on computerized infrastructures. All of the world they created may vanish in the digital dust of Y2K.
Before it's too late, we might instead heed the commands of You shall have no other gods before me...You shall not make yourself a graven image...you shall not bow down to them or serve them...
Mr. Heath is a low-impact horse logger whose hobby is to argue state and federal violations of civil rights, however large or small, in the court system. It is Mr. Heath's opinion that judges and attorneys must be taught to understand the words inalienable rights because they obviously were not paying attention during their civics and American government classes in high school and college.
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