Category Archives: Politics

The Old Dominion and Old China in Sympathy

Talking with a friend today, I recognized something consciously that had been only intuitive in feeling before: part of the appeal of Virginia to me, part of the reason I could identify with Virginia despite my much looser relation to America, was its familiarity to my Chinese blood. The aristocratic and localist agrarian culture of the Old Dominion bears a certain resemblance – even a ‘family resemblance’ – to the agrarian culture you can see in, say, a 1980 Hong Kong drama set in the countryside of Guangdong province.

Obvious differences between Anglo-Saxon and Chinese cultures notwithstanding, the culture of the Old Dominion is perhaps the most Chinese culture native to America. Common to rural Guangdong and the Old Dominion was a conservative power of local agrarian élites, and a respect for settled custom. Church vestries, dominated by plantation laymen, were socially powerful in colonial Virginia, and they wanted to keep it that way rather than having local bishops sent from England to interfere in local affairs. This would have been very familiar to a Chinese villager from Guangdong province. In rural Guangdong, villages had elders who led and advised villagers, but the local Confucian gentry dominated village politics. Rarely would anything change without the permission of the local landlord, and rarely would an actual official from the emperor show up. To have anything referred to the actual officials was a big deal, and villagers generally avoided such trouble even if the judgements of the landlord were not to their liking. Besides, the bribery that might be required for fair judgements from county magistrates was beyond the means of most common folk. Unsurprisingly, much about old Virginia was something my heart grasped, because of the place my own family had come from, the place where my family had lived for 700 years or more.

Needless to say, old China was a deeply flawed society, in need of reform and perhaps even social revolution in the early 20th century; in view of some of the injustices in this system’s last decadent period, it also is unsurprising that villagers during the Cultural Revolution rose up against long-resented landlords. Nevertheless, to an urban Hong Kong audience in the 1980s there could also be a measure of nostalgia for this old China in which everyone knew each other, and there was a known order. For all its flaws, it was also a deeply human order in which the drama of human struggle could be appreciated on the TV screens of Hongkongers 70 years later.

I believe that sympathetic appreciation of this old order, warts and all, is essential for the formation of America’s future, but that very thing is what America lacks today. The success in 1980s Hong Kong of a daily TV drama series told from the point of view of a peasant family, with sympathetic treatments of the landlord, the village gossip, and other characters, suggests the value of such literature even in a modern urban society. Dixie has had William Faulkner, Flannery O’Connor, and others, but there seems to be a vacuum today. Virginia needs new prominent literary voices to show its human drama in a way that people today can understand and relate to, voices that love the South for what it is and sing out the dramas of the Virginian heart.

Polybius Against Modern Commodified Conceptions of Citizenship

In an age when people think of citizenship mostly in terms of taxes paid and services gained, commodity for commodity, ancient thought about citizenship and political constitutions of republics challenges us. Polybius, in book 6 of his Histories, describes the constitution of the Roman republic, and about 40% of his discussion is about the structure of life in the Roman army. What does this tell us about citizenship?

José Antonio Primo de Rivera on What Makes a Nation

One Hour of Music - José Antonio Primo de Rivera - YouTube

José Antonio Primo de Rivera, in his essays on nationalism, April 1934:

Every people or every grouping of peoples is thus not a nation. Only those are who accomplish a historical destiny differentiated from the universal. From this it follows that it is superfluous to specify if a nation possesses qualities of geographical, racial or linguistic unity; its importance is determined if it possesses, within the universal, the unity of a historical destiny. The classical ages understood this with their customary clarity. That is why they never used the words ‘fatherland’ and ‘nation’ in the Romantic sense, nor anchored their patriotism in the obscure love of the soil. They preferred, on the contrary, expressions such as ‘empire’ or ‘service of the king’, that is to say, expressions that refer to the historical instrument.

A necessary clarity today, when people under the tyranny of neoliberalism have no idea what a nation is, and are reduced to muttering about ‘taxpayers’ and the state as a commodity. I shall not attempt to disguise my scorn for that way of thinking and – if we may call it that – living.

Who Heads the Church When the King Is a Heathen?

A question of political theology I have considered, I recently saw addressed by the German Reformer Wolfgang Musculus, translated by John Man of Merton College, Oxford, in Common Places of the Christian Religion (London, 1578), ¶ ‘Magistrates’, § ‘Whether that the Magistrate have authority to take order in religion or no’, pages 1303–1304. The question is this:

Some man will say: What if the faithful people have no faithful Magistrate, but are subject unto an ungodly prince and enemy of true religion, in whom shall then the power be for the charge of religion? When the Israelites were in slavery in Egypt and Babylon, and subjected unto the power of those wicked kings, unto whose jurisdiction did the charge of the true Religion appertain to at that time?

It is easy enough to see, in Protestant political theory, that the Christian magistrate has cura religionis (care of religion) by divine ordinance; what some writers seem to say little of is the question relevant to Christians who face persecution, whether in China or in Afghanistan: When the chief magistrate is not even a professing Christian, is he the temporal head of the Church within his country? Who is in charge of true religion?

I answer: It did appertain unto the very kings of the Egyptians and Babylonians unto whom they were subject. It was their duty [i.e., the kings’ duty] both to understand and to serve the Lord, by whom they did reign, and also to have the care and order of his true religion. And whereas they did the contrary, it was an ungodly abuse of their good authority, whereunto the people of God was not bound at all to obey. So when Nebuchadnezzar did set up an image of gold, and commanded it to be worshipped, he was not to be hearkened to: but then men were bound to hearken unto him, when he forbade by open proclamation that no man should blaspheme the name of the true God, the God of Israel.

This is a hard saying; many cannot accept it. It is especially hard to those who come from cultures that speak often of ‘separation of chuch and state’, or of the autonomy of ‘the Church’ (read: the clerics) from the operation and even the jurisdiction of the magistrate. In support of the notion that Christian believers are a societas perfecta (complete society) that needs no magistrates, neither dependent nor bound to obey, Christians may even cite 1 Corinthians 6, where St Paul writes against the Corinthians’ taking each other to court in front of unbelievers. That is indeed the political theology promoted by Rome and, in their own way, the Anabaptists such as the Amish. It also seems pious to defend the rights of ‘the Church’ against the merely ‘secular’ hands of ‘the state’, and so papists and Baptists alike are prone to circling the wagons when (for example) a cleric is accused of sexual assault or the like. This is the logic of Thomas Becket, who was not martyred for the faith. Musculus, in contrast, exemplifies a different political theology that insists that the chief magistrate, even when he is a heathen, is temporal head of the Church within his own commonwealth.

Xi's Dictatorship Threatens the Chinese State - WSJ

Having upheld the temporal headship of the king even in ‘churchly’ matters, Musculus then describes a descending chain of authority, such as Charles Bartlett also described a decade ago in terms of the Church of England’s Litany:

When the kings are wicked and adversaries to godliness, the charge of religion comes to the priests and elders of the people, such as at that time Ezra, Nehemiah, Zerubbabel, etc. were judges, priests, and elders of that people, after the captivity until the time of our saviour Christ. And when they also became corrupt, the power of the charge and order of religion was put over by Christ himself unto the Apostles, and to the ministers of the word, until the time that kings and princes began to understand the truth of God, to believe in the Lord, and to serve him. And how they used this power, we may perceive by their laws. But in case that neither kings nor princes, nor the priests nor elders, not the people itself, should taken upon them the care of well ordering religion, but should go out a contrary way from the word of God, so that the saying of Jerome should be fulfilled, ‘There are wonders and marvels done in the earth, the prophets do prophecy falsely, and the priests do clap their hands at it, and like it well, and the people do love such’: then there is no safety else, but that every husband and master of his family must practise the power of religion in his own house, and dispose and order the same, according unto the prescript of God’s word. So the matters were done in the times of the Fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

So we see a chain of descending authority in the care of religion, from kings in the first place, to the priests and elders of the people, to extraordinary ministers of the word, to the people itself exercising authority on its own behalf, and finally to the patriarchs of every family. But the substitution was only ‘until the time that kings and princes began to understand the truth of God, to believe in the Lord, and to serve him’. When kings and princes began to believe in the gospel, they began to use their God-given supreme power to foster true religion in their realms. This is not a Constantinian stage the Church has grown out of, but the norm and the ideal to which God bids us aim in the conduct of temporal affairs.

‘National Conservatism’ II: The National Conservatism That Isn’t

I recently caught wind of some ‘national conservative’ conference, about which Brad Littlejohn seems rather excited:

I am distinctly less impressed. Josh Hawley, Marco Rubio, Peter Thiel, perhaps US chauvinists – particularly against nations DC wishes to subdue with sanctions, coups, and compradors – but none of them actual nationalists. And of the other speakers, what does Ayaan Hirsi Ali know of nationalism, a 2000s liberal who left her country and religion – indeed, legitimate religion altogether – for a distinctly antinational vision of the United States? (For comparison, see Degtyarov on Geert Wilders in the Netherlands.) What does Dave Rubin, an irreligious Koch-funded sodomite and classical liberal, know of conservatism?

Far from strengthening the foundations for the political place of traditional Christianity as such in America, such a speaker lineup seems designed to sap away at those foundations. Or if its speakers attack even traditional madhhabi Islam, rather than Salafi sectarian violence in particular, then perhaps they will wish also to attack the problematic conduct of Pharisees in Brooklyn and elsewhere. But no: these speakers serve that irreligious thing called The West™, so they could not possibly support the political supremacy in America of the historic Christian faith.

How is this national conservatism? They might as well bring on Ben Shapiro, Charlie Kirk, and the whole Turning Point USA crowd to OWN the liberals with FACTS and LOGIC. They’re free to have such a conference; just don’t call it national conservatism.

Immigration, Citizenship, and the Law of Moses’s Discrimination Among Nations

Deuteronomy 23 discriminates among several nations and their relation to the congregation of Israel and its covenant:

He that is wounded in the stones, or hath his privy member cut off, shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord. A bastard shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to his tenth generation shall he not enter into the congregation of the Lord.

An Ammonite or Moabite shall not enter into the congregation of the Lord; even to their tenth generation shall they not enter into the congregation of the Lord for ever: because they met you not with bread and with water in the way, when ye came forth out of Egypt; and because they hired against thee Balaam the son of Beor of Pethor of Mesopotamia, to curse thee. Nevertheless the Lord thy God would not hearken unto Balaam; but the Lord thy God turned the curse into a blessing unto thee, because the Lord thy God loved thee. Thou shalt not seek their peace nor their prosperity all thy days for ever.

Thou shalt not abhor an Edomite; for he is thy brother: thou shalt not abhor an Egyptian; because thou wast a stranger in his land. The children that are begotten of them shall enter into the congregation of the Lord in their third generation.

Draw your conclusions from this example from the word of God, concerning what laws are lawful according to nature.

Property Rights in the Law of Moses Oppose Capitalism

It is curious that property inheritance in the Law of Moses should be seized upon by capitalists as vindicating their view of the absolute rights of that historically very contingent thing which they now call ‘private property’.

Under the Mosaic Law, land (which we call real as opposed to moveable property), once alienated by sale or seizure for debt, was to be restored to its original owner in the year of jubilee, once in 50 years. In an agrarian society, land was the most important productive property. If we transfer the jubilee’s principle to modern times, capital and other productive property is to be redistributed from those who have acquired it by sale or seizure between jubilees, and debts are to be cancelled. Thus, between jubilees, all sale of land and other productive property is actually leasehold. The Mosaic Law’s property régime renders relative, rather than absolute, any attempt to claim ownership and dominium by virtue of acquisition by sale or seizure.

While the Mosaic Law is not obligatory upon us, nor should we try to replicate it, its moral principles are abiding, and no Christian is free to call its œconomic provisions for the disadvantaged unjust. This is a truth that ostensibly those who point to Mosaic Law to justify capitalism have recognized. Alas for them, if they with their moral and œconomic principles encountered a society following Mosaic Law, they would condemn its property régime as theft. This is because the Mosaic property régime is opposed to capitalist principles.

Mammon Sniffs in Hong Kong at the Lands Resumption Ordinance

Hong Kong is infamous for its lack of housing, its expensive real estate, its subdivided flats in which people are packed like sardines. Everyone is compelled to agree, at least with his lips, that this is one of Hong Kong’s pressing problems.

SCMP reports on a proposal to use the Lands Resumption Ordinance to gain land on which to build public housing: ‘Hong Kong developers are estimated to own a huge land bank of 1,000 hectares of abandoned farmland. If the government seizes 150 hectares of usable land, it would [sic] be able to build 170,000 public homes within 10 years.’ I would ask how private developers came to own – or hold, anyway – so much abandoned farmland. If it was by occupying or claiming what others had vacated, in the fashion of squatters, then such developers should have no complaints about squatters coming onto their land and living there rent-free; but even if it was by buying land from farmers who could no longer use the land in profitable ways that could sustain their families, surely it is not only legally valid but also morally sound to compel developers to sell this same land to the state for a crucial public interest, namely the interest of providing 170,000 public homes in a city where average wait times for public housing have grown to ‘5.4 years, up from 2.7 years in 2012’.

Raising the spectre of ‘socialism’ and speaking of seizures without acknowledging that developers would be justly compensated is a scare tactic, not an honest concern. In America, except among radical œconomic liberals, the state’s right of eminent domain has been disputed mostly when the interest in which land is seized is arguably not public (e.g. Kelo v. City of New London); in Taiwan, where the vast majority of the land was once held by 20 families, Chiang Kai-shek forced landlords to sell their land to their tenants in exchange for shares in new light industries, and thus paved the way for a prosperous Taiwan. Allodial title to land belongs to the state because the land belongs to the people. In Hong Kong itself, SCMP says, ‘From 1997 to 2017, the government used the [Lands Resumption Ordinance] 154 times, including 13 times for building public housing. There were eight judicial reviews but none was successful.’ That someone has cried ‘socialism’, and appealed to the Basic Law in support of a hypercapitalism that gained wide currency only by the fall of the Soviet Union, is no reason to sympathize with private land-developers against the needs of the many in Hong Kong who are still waiting for public housing.

In Hong Kong are many, rich and powerful, who do not want to lose what they have. Whether developers who keep farmland idle to make a killing or speculators who buy up flats and keep them vacant to make profits from sales later on, they are the kind of people of whom the prophet Isaiah spoke: ‘Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the midst of the earth!’

The judgement of God comes,
 But the wicked erect excuses;
The living God will judge,
 And as nothing are they swept away;
Like sticks in the torrent of his righteousness
 Or ashes of a forest fire,
When the Lord in his anger appears,
 To purge the earth by his grace,
Their bones are broken like matchsticks,
 And like wax melt their joints,
Before the coming of the Word,
 The judgement of the Holy One.

YouTube Censors as ‘Hate Speech’ Any Discussion of Legitimate Discrimination

‘Censored’ stamp.

Today, YouTube speaks of updates in its ‘ongoing work to tackle hate’. It lumps together a great deal of discourse with ‘videos that promote or glorify Nazi ideology’ and ‘content denying that well-documented violent events, like the Holocaust or the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary, took place’:

Today, we’re taking another step in our hate speech policy by specifically prohibiting videos alleging that a group is superior in order to justify discrimination, segregation or exclusion based on qualities like age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status.

Given the vague language, these are potentially sweeping prohibitions. To assert one individual or group’s superiority over another is basically meaningless unless one specifies – or unless context specifies – in what respect. This is why most people do not assert general superiority, because God alone is superior in every way.

What YouTube has done is either to prohibit virtually nothing or to announce censorship against even the consideration of ‘age, gender, race, caste, religion, sexual orientation or veteran status’ as relevant bases of rational distinction between people for any social end. If YouTube’s prohibition is not to be practically meaningless, it will by its own discretion censor discussion of any of the listed things as criteria. What YouTube lists as hate speech, then, encompasses many legitimate areas of public deliberation. To support upper or lower age limits for a public office, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support prohibitions against ordaining women as deacons and priests, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support keeping only a nation’s royal family eligible for the crown, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support England’s old exclusion of Papalists and sectaries from public office, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support exclusion of men from women’s washrooms and women from men’s washrooms, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support exclusion of sodomites from the military or from adopting children, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary; to support exclusion of children from sexualized clothing and other sexual exploitation, according to YouTube, is hate speech unless arbitrary. All these discussions we may expect YouTube’s prohibitions to reach.

This would be censored on YouTube:

Or else only speech that glorifies one group as a god above another is prohibited, and most of us are untouched by the new prohibitions.

Which is it?

Advantages of the English Reformation over Others?

dean-chapter

I am not sure a comparison between Cranmer and Hooker’s gradual approach and the Continental Reformers’ approach to the reformation of the Church is a fair one. The English Reformation already had the benefit of Reformers and Protestant states on the Continent with which to make alliances and unite as feasible in common cause. Whereas the Continent was rife with civil wars in both the Empire and France, England being peripheral to Europe could better afford to reform its part of the Church without being overrun by invaders. Thanks to English naval strength after the destruction of the Spanish Armada, even the existential threats faced by England for the next centuries seem more often to have been about the prospect than about the reality of being overrun by popish armies and (as ‘God Save the King’ originally said) popish tricks.

Nevertheless, the English Reformation does seem to have worked with the existing commonwealth in ways that the Continental Reformers seem not have done. The first vernacular piece of liturgy, the Litany, was introduced in 1544, and the Sarum Mass (in Latin) was retained until 1549, long after Protestant doctrine had begun to leaven English society in sermons and official statements of church doctrine. Even the 1549 Book of Common Prayer, though Reformed in its doctrinal basis, was so written that Bishop Gardiner was able to claim it plausibly for unreformed doctrine; and only upon that challenge, and with the advice of Bucer, Vermigli, and others for a clearer statement, did Cranmer put together the 1552 Book of Common Prayer. Even at this pace, the 1549 Book of Common Prayer sparked revolts in Devon and Cornwall; still less could a more sudden change have hoped to avoid convulsing the nation. Because of this politic pace and the place of the Prayer Book in reformation, Englishmen retained their old loyalty to the Church as such rather than to what appeared to be the doctrine of some particular men, which in my judgement remains a great asset today.

Indeed, a great deal of the Sarum mass and offices was not in itself unconscionable, but only relatively conducive to beliefs and practices that were unconscionable. These forms of services were, in other words, adiaphora: in themselves indifferent, though in need of alteration according to the freedom of the Church to frame services toward ædification according to the general teaching of Scripture. The concept of things indifferent in worship was recognized by the Continental Reformers, of course, since they were themselves able to accept local differences in worship and even to defend England’s forms as acceptable for a Reformed church. All the same, England’s emphasis on treating these adiaphora prudently has lent itself to an easily understood sense that no new church was forged in the Reformation, only a cleansing made of the extant Church. On the popular level, I think, such an understanding is necessary, especially in times when the world is changing fast; strangely, perhaps, this kind of careful conservatism helps the Church adapt to changes in the world because its members understand the organism as one that has survived through challenging times with its life and biblical witness intact.

What Is Money For? (Ezra Pound)

By Ezra Pound, 1939.

We will never see an end of ructions, we will never have a sane and steady administration until we gain an absolutely clear conception of money. I mean an absolutely not an approximately clear conception.

I can, if you like, go back to paper money issued in China in or about A.D. 840, but we are concerned with the vagaries of the Western World.

FIRST, Paterson, the founder of the ‘Bank of England’, told his shareholders that they would profit because ‘the bank hath profit on the interest of all the moneys which it creates out of nothing’.

What then is this ‘money‘ the banker can create ‘out of nothing’?

(1) Measure of Price

Let us be quite clear.

MONEY IS A MEASURED TITLE OR CLAIM.

That is its basic difference from unmeasured claims, such as a man’s right to take all you’ve got under war-time requisition, or as an invader or thief just taking it all.

Money is a measure which the taker hands over when he acquires the goods he takes. And no further formality need occur during the transfer, though sometimes a receipt is given.

The idea of justice inheres in ideas of measure, and money is a measure of price.

(2) Means of Exchange

Money is valid when people recognise it as a claim and hand over goods or do work up to the value printed on the face of the ‘ticket’, whether it is made of metal or paper.

Money is a general sort of ticket which is its only difference from a railway or theatre ticket. If this statement seems childish let the reader think for a moment about different kinds of tickets.

A railway ticket is a measured ticket. A ticket from London to Brighton differs from one for London to Edinburgh. Both are measured, but in miles that always stay the same length. A money ticket, under a corrupt system, wobbles. For a long time the ‘public’ has trusted people whose measure was shifty.

Another angle. Theatre tickets are timed. You would probably not accept a ticket for Row H, Seat 27, if it were not dated. When six people are entitled to the same seat at the same time the tickets are not particularly good. (Orage asked: ‘Would you call it inflation, if there were a ticket for every seat in the house?’)

You will hear money called a ‘medium of exchange’, which means that it can circulate freely, as a measure of goods and services against one another, from hand to hand.

(3) Guarantee of Future Exchange

We will have defined money properly when we have stated what it is in words that cannot be applied to anything else and when there is nothing about the essential nature of money that is omitted from our definition.

When Aristotle calls money ‘a guarantee of future exchange’ that merely means that it is an undated ticket, that will be good when we want to use it.

Tickets have sometimes stayed good for a century.

When we do not hand over money at once for goods or services received we are said to have ‘credit’. The ‘credit’ is the other man’s belief that we can and will some time hand over the money OR something measured by money.

Purpose of Money

Most men have been so intent on the individual piece of money, as a measure, that they have forgotten its PURPOSE, and they have got into inextricable muddles and confusions regarding the TOTAL amount of money in a country.

A perfectly good hammer is useless to pick your teeth with. If you don’t know what money is FOR, you will get into a muddle when using it, and still more will a government get into a mess in its ‘monetary policy’.

Statally speaking, that is from the point of view of a man or party that wants to govern justly, a piece of money is a ticket, the country’s money is a mass of tickets for getting the country’s food and goods justly distributed.

The job for a man today who is trying to write a pamphlet on money is not to say something new, it is not to think up something or prove a theory, it is SIMPLY to make a clear statement about things that have been known for 200, and often for 2,000 years.

You have got to know what money is FOR.

If you think that it is a man-trap or a means of bleeding the public you will admire the banking system as run by the Rothschilds and international bankers. If you think it is a means of sweating profits out of the public, you will admire the stock exchange.

Hence ultimately for the sake of keeping your ideas in order you will need a few principles.

THE AIM of a sane and decent economic system is to fix things so that decent people can eat, have clothes and houses up to the limit of available goods.

The Value of Money

Take money IN SUCH A SYSTEM as a means of exchange, and then realise that to be a JUST means of exchange it must be MEASURED.

What are you going to use to measure the value of anything? An egg is an egg. You can eat it (until it goes bad). Eggs are not all the same size, but they might serve among primitive people as an approximate measure.

Unterguggenberger, the Austrian monetary reformer, used WORK as a measure, ‘Arbeitswert’, 10 schillings’ worth of work. That was O.K. in a mountain valley where everyone could do pretty much the same kind of work in the fields.

Charlemagne had a grain measure, so many pecks of barley, wheat or rye worth a DENAR, or put it the other way on. The just price of barley was so much the peck.

In 796 A.D. it was 2 denars.

And in 808 A.D. it was 3 denars.

That means that the farmer got MORE denars for the same quantity of barley. And let us hope he could buy more other goods with those denars.

Unfortunately the worth of all things depends on whether there is a real scarcity, enough or more than can be used at a given time.

A few eggs are worth a great deal to a hungry man on a raft.

Wheat is worth MORE in terms of serge in some seasons than in others. So is gold, so is platinum.

A single commodity (EVEN GOLD) base for money is not satisfactory.

STATE AUTHORITY behind the printed note is the best means of establishing a JUST and HONEST currency.

The Chinese grasped that over 1,000 years ago, as we can see from the Tang STATE (not Bank) NOTE.

SOVEREIGNTY inheres in the right to ISSUE money (tickets) and to determine the value thereof.

American interests HIDE the most vital clause in our [American] constitution.

The American government hasn’t, they say, the right to fix prices. BUT IT HAS THE RIGHT TO DETERMINE THE VALUE OF MONEY and this right is vested in Congress.

This is a mere difference in legal formalities and verbal arrangements.

The U.S. Government has the right to say ‘a dollar is one wheat-bushel thick, it is one serge-foot long, it is ten gallons of petrol wide.’

Hence the U.S. Government could establish the JUST PRICE, and a just price system.

The Just Price

Out of barter grew the canonist doctrine of the just price, and a thousands years’ thought from St. Ambrose to St. Antonino of Florence, as to HOW to determine the just price.

Both the Douglas social crediters and modern Catholics POSTULATE the JUST PRICE as a necessary part of their systems. The valid complaint against Douglas is that be didn’t invent and set up machinery for ENFORCING the just price. A priest recently reported to me that the English distributists had about got round to realising that they had no mechanism for instituting and enforcing just price.

Only the STATE can effectively fix the JUST PRICE of any commodity by means of state-controlled pools of raw products and the restoration of guild organisation in industry.

The Quantity of Money

Having determined the size of your dollar, or half-crown or shilling, your Government’s next job is to see that TICKETS are properly printed and that they get to the right people.

The right people are all the people who are not engaged in CRIME, and crime for the duration of this pamphlet means among other things CHEATING the rest of the citizens through the money racket.

In the United States and England there is NOT enough money. There are not enough tickets moving about among the WHOLE people to BUY what they need – EVEN when the goods are there on the counter or going to rot on the wharves.

When the total nation hasn’t or cannot obtain enough food for its people, that nation is poor. When enough food exists and people cannot get it by honest labour, the state is rotten, and no effort of language will say how rotten it is.

But for a banker or professor to tell you that the country cannot do this, that or the other because it lacks money is as black and foetid a lie, as grovelling and imbecile, as it would be to say it cannot build roads because it has no kilometres! (I didn’t invent that phrase, but it is too good to leave idle.)

Roosevelt and his professors were on the right line with their commodity dollar. BUT they hooeyed and smoke-screened and dodged the problem of having ENOUGH TICKETS to serve the whole people, and of keeping those tickets MOVING.

It is the business of the STATE to see that there is enough money in the hands of the WHOLE people, and in adequately rapid EXCHANGE, to effect distribution or all wealth produced and produceable.

Until every member of the nation eats three times a day and has shelter and clothing, a nation is either lazy or unhealthy. If this occurs in a rich state the state’s riches are ‘not fully employed’.

Social Credit

All value comes from labour and nature. Wheat from ploughing, chestnuts from being picked up.

BUT a lot of WORK has been done by men (mostly inventors, well-diggers, constructors of factory plant, etc.) now DEAD, and who therefore can NOT eat and wear clothes.

In respect of this legacy of mechanical efficiency and scientific advance we have at our disposal a large volume of SOCIAL CREDIT, which can be distributed to the people as a bonus over and above their wage packet.

Douglas proposed to bring up the TOTAL purchasing power of the whole people by a per capita issue of tickets PROPORTIONAL to available goods. In England and U.S. today available and desired goods remain unbought because the total purchasing power (i.e. total sum of tickets) is inadequate.

Mussolini and Hitler wasted very little time PROPOSING. They started and DO distribute BOTH tickets and actual goods on various graduated scales according to the virtues and activities of Italians and Germans.

Douglas may object that this is not ‘democratic’ (that is egalitarian) BUT for the monetary scientist or economist the result is the same. The goods are getting distributed.

There is a slightly different angle in the way these different men look on justice. They all agree that deficiency in a nation’s total purchasing power must be made up. Ten or more years ago I said that Mussolini had achieved more than Douglas, because Douglas has presented his ideas as a greed system, not as a will system.

Both Systems, Fascist and Douglasite, differ as the day from night from the degradation of the DOLE, from the infamy of the British system wherein men who are out of jobs are paid money taken from men who do work, and where the out-of-works are rendered progressively UNFIT to work or to enjoy the sensations of living.

Not only are they a drag on workers, but they are made a drag on all people who are trying to maintain a decent standard of living. The whole scale of values is defiled. Every year sees less sense of SOCIAL VALUE; less sense of having people lead lives which do not harm others; of lives in which some measure and prudence is observed.

There is nothing new in creating money to distribute wealth. If you don’t believe the Emperor Tching Tang issued the first national dividend in B.C. 1766 you can call it something else. It may have been an emergency dole, but the story will at least clear up one muddle. The emperor opened a copper mine and issued round coins with square holes and gave them to the poor ‘and this money enabled them to buy grain from the rich,’ but it had no effect on the general shortage of grain.

That story is 3,000 years old, but it helps one to understand what money is and what it can do. For the purpose of good government it is a ticket for the orderly distribution of WHAT IS AVAILABLE. It may even be an incentive to grow or fabricate more grain or goods, that is to attain abundance. But it is NOT in itself abundance.

Inflation

The term inflation is used as a bogey to scare people away from any expansion of money at all. Real INFLATION only begins when you issue MONEY (measured claims) against goods or services that are undeliverable (assignats of the French Revolution issued against state lands) or issue them in excess of those WANTED. That amounts to saying: two or more tickets for the same seat at the same time, or tickets in London for a theatre performance tonight in Bombay, or for a dud show.

Money can be expended as long as each measured claim can be honoured by the producers and distributors of the nation in the goods and services required by the public, when and where they want them. INFLATION is one danger; STAGNATION is another.

Gesell’s Stamp Scrip

[Silvio] Gesell, the South American monetary reformer, saw the danger of money being hoarded and proposed to deal with it by the issue of ‘stamp scrip.’ This should be a government note requiring the bearer to affix a stamp worth up to 1% of its face value on the first day of every month. Unless the note carries its proper complement or monthly stamps it is not valid.

This is a form of TAX on money and in the case of British currency might take the form of ½d. or 1d. per month on a ten shilling note and 1d. or 2d. on a pound. There are any number of possible taxes, but Gesell’s kind of tax can only fall on a man who has, in his pocket, at the moment the tax falls due, 100 times, at least, the amount of the tax.

Gesell’s kind of money provides a medium and measure of exchange which cannot be hoarded with impunity. It will always keep moving. Bankers could NOT lock it up in their cellars and charge the public for letting it out. It has also the additional benefit of placing sellers of perishable goods at less of a disadvantage in negotiating with owners of theoretically imperishable money.

I am particularly keen on Gesell, because once people have used stamp scrip they HAVE a clear idea about money. They understand tickets better than men who haven’t used stamp scrip. I am no more anxious than anyone else to use a new kind of stamp, but I maintain that the public is NOT too stupid to use postage stamps and that there is no gain in pretending that they are too stupid to understand money.

I don’t say you have to use Gesell’s method. But once you understand WHY he wanted it you will not be fleeced by bank sharks and ‘monetary authorities’ WITHOUT KNOWING HOW you are being fleeced. That is WHY Gesell is so useful as a school teacher. He proposed a very simple way of keeping his tickets moving.

Statal Money

In 1816 Thomas Jefferson made a basic statement that has NOT been properly digested, let alone brought into perspective with various ‘modern proposals’ for special improvements of the present damned and destructive ‘system’ or money racket.

The reader had better FRAME Jefferson’s statement:

… And if the national bills issued be bottomed (as is indispensable) on pledges of specific taxes for their redemption within certain and moderate epochs, and be of proper denominations for circulation, no interest on them would be necessary or just, because they would answer to every one of the purposes of metallic money withdrawn and replaced by them.

Jefferson to Crawford, 1816.

Jefferson’s formula is SOLID. IF the state emits ENOUGH money for valid and justifiable expenses and keeps it moving, circulating, going out the front door and coming in at the tax window, the nation will not suffer stagnation.

The issue of HONEST MONEY is a service, and when the state performs this service the state has a right to a just recompense, which differs from nearly all known forms of tax.

I say ‘when the state issues it,’ because when states are weak or incompetent or their issue inadequate, individuals and congeries of men or localities HAVE quite properly taken over this activity (or have retained it from pre-statal eras), and it is better, it is in fact necessary, that the function of the measure of exchange should be carried on than that it stop or break down altogether.

On the other hand a nation whose measure of exchange is at the mercy of forces OUTSIDE the nation, is a nation in peril, it is a nation without national sovereignty. It is a nation of incompetent idiots drifting to ruin.

Let us repeat.

Sovereignty inheres in the right to ISSUE measured claims to wealth, that is MONEY.

No part or function of government should be under closer surveillance, and in no part or cranny of government should higher moral criteria be ASSURED.

STATAL MONEY based upon national wealth must replace GOLD manipulated by international usurers.

Necessary Safeguards

The sane order in founding a dynasty or reorganising a government is

FIRST to get the results, that is to see that the people are fed and housed.

THEN so to regulate the mechanism of distribution (monetary system or whatever) that it will not fall into decay and be pilfered.

For example J. Q. Adams, one of the American founders, had some nice socialist or statal ideas about reserving the national wealth for educational and ‘higher purposes’. His proposals were UNTIMELY. Jackson opened the land: settlers could go and take quite a bit each, free and gratis. It was timely and useful. BUT no provision was made to prevent the settlers transferring this land WHEN THEY HAD NO FURTHER USE FOR IT and didn’t want to work it themselves. Hence the U.S. land has fallen into great ownership.

The same danger applies to monetary systems as to land settlement.

Set up a perfect and just money system and in three days rascals, the bastards with mercantilist and monopolist mentality, will start thinking up some wheeze to cheat the people. The concession hunter will sprout in some new form as long as dung stinks and humanity produces mental abortions.

John Adams early saw that stock jobbers would replace fat country small squire tyrants.

In the 1860s one of the Rothschilds was kind enough to admit that the banking system was contrary to public interest, and that was before the shadow of Hitler’s jails had fallen ACROSS the family fortunes.

It is this generation’s job to do what was left undone by the early democrats. The guild system, endowing the people by occupation and vocation with corporate powers, gives them the means to protect themselves for all time from the money power.

If you don’t like the guild idea, go get results with some other, but don’t lose your head and forget what clean men are driving at. And don’t lie to yourselves and mistake a plough for a mortgage and vice versa. It is useless to talk of economics or to listen to talk about economics or to read books on the subject until both reader and writer know what they mean by the half-dozen simplest and most necessary terms most frequently used.

An Economic System

The first thing for a man to think of when proposing an economic system is; WHAT IS IT FOR? And the answer is: to make sure that the whole people shall be able to eat (in a healthy manner), to be housed (decently) and be clothed (in a way adequate to the climate). Another form of that statement is Mussolini’s:

DISCIPLINE THE ECONOMIC FORCES
AND EQUATE THEM TO THE NEEDS OF THE NATION.

The Left claim that private ownership has destroyed this true purpose of an economic system. Let us see how OWNERSHIP was defined, at the beginning of a capitalist era during the French Revolution.

OWNERSHIP is the right which every citizen has to enjoy and dispose of the portion of goods guaranteed him by the law. “The right of ownership is limited, as are all other rights by the obligation to respect the rights of others. It cannot be prejudicial to the safety, nor to the liberty nor to the existence, nor to the ownership of other men like ourselves Every possession, every traffic, which violates this principle is illicit and immoral.

Robespierre.

Usury

The perspective of the damned XIXth century shows little else than the violation of these principles by demoliberal usuriocracy. The doctrine of Capital, in short, has shown itself as little else than the idea that unprincipled thieves and antisocial groups should be allowed to gnaw into the rights of ownership. This tendency ‘to gnaw into’ has been recognised and stigmatised from the time of the laws of Moses and he called it neschek. And nothing differs more from this gnawing or corrosive than the right to share out the fruits of a common co-operative labour.

Indeed USURY has become the dominant force in the modern world.

Moreover, imperialism is an immense accumulation of money capital in a few countries, which, as we have seen, amounts to 4 or 5 thousand million pounds sterling in securities. Hence the extraordinary growth of a class, or rather a Stratum, of rentiers, i.e, persons who live by “clipping coupons” who take absolutely no part in any enterprise, and whose profession is idleness. The exportation of capital, one of the most essential economic bases of imperialism, still further isolates this rentier stratum from production, and sets the seal of parasitism on the whole country living on the exploitation of the labour of several overseas countries and colonies.

V. I. Lenin,
quoting Hobson in ‘Imperialism, the highest stage of Capitalism’.

Very well! That is from Lenin. But you could quote the same substance from Hitler, who is a Nazi (note the paragraph from ‘Mein Kampf’ magnificently isolated by Wyndham Lewis in his ‘Hitler’) – ‘The struggle against international finance and loan capital has become the most important point in the National Socialist programme; the struggle of the German nation for its independence and freedom.’

You could quote it from Mussolini, a Fascist, or from C. H. Douglas, who calls himself a democrat and his followers the only true democrats. You could quote it from McNair Wilson who is a Christian Monarchy man. You could quote it from a dozen camps which have no suspicion they are quoting Lenin. The only people who do not seem to have read and digested this essay of his are the British Labour Party and various groups of professing communists throughout the Occident.

Some facts are now known above parties, some perceptions are the common heritage of all men of good will, and only the Jewspapers and worse than Jewspapers try now to obscure them. Among the worse than Jewspapers we must list the hired professors who misteach new
generations of young, who lie for hire and who continue to lie from sheer sloth and inertia and from dog-like contempt for the wellbeing of all mankind. At this point, and to prevent the dragging of red herrings, I wish to distinguish between prejudice against the Jew as such and the suggestion that the Jew should face his own problem.

DOES he in his individual case wish to observe the law of Moses?

Does he propose to continue to rob other men by usury mechanism while wishing to be considered a ‘neighbour’?

This is the sort or double-standard which a befouled English delegation tried to enforce via the corrupt League of Nations (frontage and face wash for the worse international corruption at Basel.)

USURY is the cancer of the world, which only the surgeon’s knife of Fascism can cut out of the life of the nations.

Appendix

(Some quotes and observations.)

  1. ‘The banking business is declared a state monopoly,’
    Lenin, Kryienko, Podvoisky, Gorbunov.
    Which, of course, means “all power” to the state.
  2. ‘Discipline the economic forces and equate them to the needs of the nation,’
    Mussolini, Consegna for the year XII.

  3. ‘Problem of production solved, economists prodded on by the state should next solve the problem of distribution.’
    Ibid.

  4. Rossoni, Italian minister, indicates the policy of ammassi, or assemblage of grain with possibilities of a totally different tax system in kind.
    NOTE that extortion has often consisted in forcing men to pay in a substance or via a medium (money) which they have not and which they are forced to obtain at an unjust price.

  5. Bankhead proposed Stamp Scrip in the U.S. Senate, possibly the only 100 per cent honest monetary proposal made in U.S. legislature since American civilisation was destroyed by and after the Civil War (1861–5)

  6. Daladier, whatever his errors, proposed Stamp Scrip in a French Radical Party assembly, possibly the only 100 per cent honest monetary proposal made in that worm-eaten and miserable country since Necker brought in his vermin, and since the Banque de France was riveted on the back of the people.
    These statements should be faced and either verified or disproved.
    A very great and slimy ignorance persists. American concerns hire the Lowest grade of journalists to obscure the public mind. Are we to suppose that neither employer nor writer know that wages are paid in money; that dividends are paid in money; that raw materials and finished products are bought with money?
    As for prize lies there is no ascertainable limit from the ‘Saturday Evening Post’s’ ‘Kreuger is more than a financial titan’ to the daily and hourly pronouncements of the British ‘statesmen’ and press.

On England

So far as I know no 100 per cent honest monetary policy has been officially proposed in the British Parliament since the Bank of England was founded. Nor has any of the larger religious bodies in England come out for common monetary honesty.

Your [British] tax system is an infamy. The farm hand does not eat more because the paintings by Raeburn or Constable are taken out of the Manor House and put in the dealer’s cellar under a black and iniquitous inheritance tax.

The obscuring of the sense of the NATURE of money has destroyed all these fine things USELESSLY. The dismantled Manor House that could be and ought to show a model of how to live, is made a skeleton for NO PURPOSE.

If any hedger or ditcher got a half ounce more beefsteak BECAUSE the Manor House library was sold off and its pictures put up to auction, there might be some justification in taxes. But there is NO justification in taxes as now suffered in Britain.

For Arkansas

‘In Mississippi the average cotton farmer makes four bales of cotton a year worth, at the present market, 42.00 dollars a bale. This is 170 dollars for a year’s work. A daughter of this family averaging 12 dollars a week in a nearby industrial plant earns 624 dollars for a year’s work, over three times the income from the farm.’

– Thus the ‘Commonwealth College Fortnightly’
of Mena, Arkansas. 1 March 1938.

Hence the claims that ‘money isn’t all’ and that ‘it is not exclusively a money problem.’

You could have a just and stable coinage; measured by eggs, by work or by a logarithmic price-index, and that FARMER could STILL get only 42.50 dollars per bale and be unable to grow more cotton per acre.

Will this statement content my bolshevik friends in Arkansas and the gents who think I am concerned SOLELY with money?

‘Trump calls for deportations without judicial process,’ says BBC

Such is the sensational headline used by BBC to describe what President Trump has said. Likewise, the New York Times says in a headline, ‘Trump calls for depriving immigrants who illegally cross border of due process rights’.

In Japan, meanwhile, clear cases of illegal immigration are not a judicial matter at all, but an administrative matter. Japan routinely deports known illegal immigrants without trial. Indeed, classifying illegal immigration as an administrative matter makes the most sense if – as some loudly assert – illegally entering the United States is not a crime but a mere lack of administrative documentation. What we should ask is, Why and since when does America treat obvious cases of illegal immigration as matters to be resolved by courts at all, rather than as routine matters of administration?

Proudhon and Authority: Federalism and Mutualism

Robert Nisbet says in The Social Philosophers: Community and Conflict in Western Thought (Crowell, 1973), 371,

To the growing bigness of things economic and political, Proudhon opposed the necessity of a society based upon small groups and communities. These would be only loosely connected in a commune, which would be the next-highest level of organization. Each group – whether a family or a local or work association – would be sovereign over all matters affecting it alone. There would be no masses of individuals each directly related by a potentially tyrannous conception of citizenship to the all-powerful central state. Federalism and mutualism would be the keys to the good society. From mutualism would proceed the groups and communities made desirable by human nature and social function, with a maximum of autonomy in each. From federalism would proceed the necessary political structure of that autonomy to be found in each form of group and association. Thus would be achieved, not direct rule through centralized bureaucracy, but indirect rule, with a high premium placed upon decentralization and division of powers.

To me, this sounds quite close to Althusius, and rather far from (anything I have seen of) Schmitt. Proudhon’s vision of human society is certainly attractive; on the other hand, against the forces of global neoliberalism, the New Left, a nation’s defence requires the power to marshal the œconomic and military and cultural forces strong enough to withstand warring aggressors on every front – in a word, autarky. This is something that perhaps Althusius can supply in theory if Proudhon cannot:

The communion of right (jus) is the process by which the symbiotes live and are ruled by just laws in a common life among themselves. This communion of right is called the law of association and symbiosis (lex consociationis et symbiosis), or the symbiotic right (jus symbioticum), and consists especially of self-sufficiency (αὐταρκείᾳ), good order (εὐνομίᾳ), and proper discipline (ἑὐταξίᾳ).

Thomas O. Hueglin has brought the two in dialogue. I should read more. What do you think?

Introducing Wang Yi 王怡’s 95 Theses on the House Church

As reported by the South China Morning Post, on 4 June of this year (this past Monday), ‘hours before a planned evening service to commemorate the Tiananmen Square anniversary’, Early Rain Covenant Church 秋雨之福歸正教會, a Presbyterian church in Chengdu 成都, was raided by police. According to SCMP, ‘The Early Rain Covenant Church in Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, had planned a two-hour prayer session at 7.30pm to mourn those killed in Beijing 29 years ago.’

My purpose here is not to explain the political implications of what was done either by Early Rain Covenant Church or by the police in Chengdu, but to draw attention to a document issued in 2015 by the church’s head pastor, Wang Yi 王怡. This document was ‘95 Theses: The Reaffirmation of our Stance on the House Church’ – or, in Chinese (simplified characters), 我们对家庭教会立场的重申(九十五条). Evoking the 95 theses of Martin Luther, these theses by Wang Yi were published online to coincide approximately with the 60th anniversary of the arrest of Wang Mingdao 王明道 in June 1955 for publishing ‘We Are for the Faith’, a declaration of the reason he and others refused to join the Party-controlled Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM). Wang Yi’s 95 theses are structured as follows:

Theses 1–17: God’s Sovereignty and Biblical Authority.
Theses 18–31: God’s Law and Christ’s Redemption.
Theses 32–39: Against the ‘Sinicization of Christianity’.
Theses 40–44: Church as the Body of Christ and His Kingdom.
Theses 45–72: The Relationship between Two Kingdoms and the Separation of Church and State.
Theses 73–95: Against the ‘Three-Self Movement’, and Affirmation of the Great Commission.

With some of Wang Yi’s 95 theses I heartily agree, and with others I firmly disagree on grounds both biblical and historical. I intend hereafter to write several blog posts here evaluating the principles expressed in these 95 theses. In the meantime, some will find it useful to read Chloë Starr’s 2016 article ‘Wang Yi and the 95 Theses of the Chinese Reformed Church’.

為流產、墮胎死去的小孩舉辦案葬禮

教會若為流產、墮胎死去的小孩舉辦案葬禮,邀請全體的基督徒來送殯,經常在耶和華面前致哀痛悔,結果會如何呢?

https://m.weibo.cn/status/4248091403501809