Last month, Turkey’s president fired the head of the country’s Central Bank, Murat Cetinkaya. Markets were “unsettled” by Erdogan’s move. The president firmly stated that high lending rates were to blame for inflation [a view mocked by mainstream economists, who are either incompetent or deliberately playing dumb]. “We told him several times to cut interest rates at meetings on the economy […] We said that if rates fall, inflation will fall. He didn’t do what was necessary.” Sure enough, the CB did what Erdogan desired. That being said, Turkey’s key lending rate and interbank rate remain in the double digits. Meanwhile, private debt to GDP has stabilized at around 170 percent and the public’s desire now is to slowly unwind.
Here’s why Erdogan’s unorthodox view on monetary policy is correct. The CB’s lending rate is the cost of borrowing reserves; reserves are used by banks for accounting and settlement purposes. Banks DO NOT lend out reserves to their debtor customers. The ability of banks to approve loans is contingent on their capitaland the actual demand for loans: the presence of credit-worthy customers willing to borrow money. Banks first approve the loans, and later acquire the reserves if they need them. So long as a bank meets the capital requirement, it can always borrow reserves [in case it’s short on reserves] from the interbank market [from banks with a surplus of reserves] or from the Central Bank itself. The lending rate is a cost on liquidity. During a period of deleveraging, which the Turkish private sector wants to do, it’s not wise to increase this cost. At the same time, higher interest on reserves and on Government bonds translates into larger financial flows into the economy through the CB & Government interest payments channel.
A counter-argument can be made that, with a lower lending rate, speculators could borrow Liras more easily and use them to buy foreign currency. This is a legitimate concern, however, since Turkish private sector debt has peaked, fewer economic agents have a good balance sheet to engage in such activities, and at the same time, given the overall situation, banks are more prudent now, since their equity positions are shaky. This particular concern wouldn’t exist if the country’s laws ensured asset side discipline on the banking sector. Contrary to conventional beliefs, you don’t discipline banks on the liability side, but on the asset side. A bank’s liabilities are stable in value, but its assets [loans made] oscillate in value. The riskier the loans, the riskier the spread between assets and liabilities, endangering the bank’s equity position. Erdogan’s desire to have the Central Bank lower rates is beneficial in two ways for the Turkish economy. First, it allows for a smoother deleveraging phase. Second, it minimizes the volume of funds entering the economy via the CB & Government interest payments channel, easing inflationary pressures.
Here’s what Erdogan’s Government should do with regard to asset side regulations. Banks shouldn’t have subsidiaries of any kind, since keeping assets off balance sheet doesn’t serve public purpose and it makes it harder in real terms for Government regulators to monitor them. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to accept financial assets as collateral for loans, because leverage serves no public purpose. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to lend off-shore [for foreign purposes]; bilateral agreements between states should cover that type of activity. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to engage in proprietary trading or any profit making venture beyond basic lending. Banks would issue loans based on credit analysis, not market valuation; they would not be allowed to mark their assets to market prices. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to buy or sell credit default insurance. Banks shouldn’t be allowed to contract in an interest rate set in a foreign country. Banks would only be allowed to lend directly to customers, service and keep those loans on their own balance sheet. No public purpose is served by selling assets to third parties. The interbank rate should be abolished as well, since it serves absolutely no public purpose. The CB should lend directly to its member banks. The reserve requirement should also be removed, since banks can provision themselves with enough liquidity [from the State] by simply looking at the behavior of their customers. And under all these rules in place, limited Government deposit insurance can be upgraded to full insurance. Last but not least, in order to improve the ability of banks to manage risk and lower overall speculation, a principle from the Islamic banking model should be adopted. It works as follows – when a customer comes in to get a loan to acquire a piece of property [a house, an apartment, a vehicle etc], the bank buys that property and gives it to the customer for use, but the bank retains ownership over it, until the debt is squared. This provision serves another great purpose… it facilitates an easy transition from mainstream taxation to the Single Tax [Georgist] framework. With this rule in place, the responsibility for paying the land-value tax [LVT] falls upon the bank, not the debtor. The debtor makes the debt payments to the bank, and the bank uses those funds to pay the LVT.
Here are two examples:
Phasing in Land-Value Taxation. I bought land through a bank loan, and now the Government has eliminated the property tax and instead introduced a 10 percent LVT. I’m stuck with paying the LVT and the debt I owe to the bank, which is not fair. Therefore, the Government introduces the Islamic banking rule retroactively, and the ownership of the land goes to my creditor, who can’t kick me out, as long as I honor my debt payments. With this change in ownership, the bank accepts a loss of 10 percent [the LVT]. It’s much easier for Government to deal with financial firms in an orderly, institutional manner, than directly with every household faced with this double-burden. The State can temporarily relax capital requirements, should it be necessary in the transition from the antiquated, regressive and perverse tax code to the new, fair and efficient one. The boys and girls at the Bank of International Settlements will, of course, grimace at such a bold and informed move.
Full Land-Value Taxation is in place. Banks won’t be happy to accept land as collateral, given the fact land has a 100 percent tax liability on it. And those that do will have to hope for a near zero profit at best. So gaining access to land will be possible in most cases without any upfront cost. A citizen will simply pledge to pay LVT to the State, and he or she gets the respective plot.
Going back to the issue at hand… mainstream commentators can mock Erdogan as much as they want, but they’re the ones who are wrong about interest rates. The ‘natural’ interest rate on fiat money is zero! Anything below zero is a tax. Anything above zero is a subsidy. Those who claim that higher interest rates lower the volume of ‘malinvestment’ are arguing for a regressive and inefficient way to combat it. According to their logic, all pharmaceuticals should be sold at a premium, to make it more expensive for those seeking to buy the drugs for recreational use, instead of treating illnesses. Why should everyone pay more because a few abuse these products? Why should the cost of money be higher, just because some use it for speculation, rather than wealth creation? The correct logic is to distinguish between productive and unproductive economic activity. Encourage the former and discourage the latter. Higher interest rates across the board [levied irrespective of the type of economic activity] is as regressive as it gets and it hardly does anything to contain malinvestment. Those who blame the real estate bubble on low interest rates [so-called artificially low rates] are wholly missing the root cause: privatized land rents – landlords and money lenders appropriating the value of location [value which they did not create]. Without this phenomenon, asset price inflation wouldn’t occur. Under full land-value capture, property prices would be kept stable. If Erdogan wants to escape the looming recession and secure his power, instead of engaging in damage control, his Administration should push in the Georgist direction, even if that means completely pissing off the vested interests within and without Turkey.
Reply to Al Jazeera’s Megan Janetsky on ‘Xenophobia’
by Serban V.C. Enache
In this article, Megan Janetsky claims that “Venezuelans have faced increased xenophobic attacks and attitudes,” but doesn’t invoke a single example of such an attack. The fact that countries in Latin America have begun to take measures to stem immigration is not a sign of xenophobia, it’s the inevitable consequence of the reality on the ground. It’s simply impractical for these countries to accommodate higher and higher inflows of people from Venezuela. There’s only so much space, facilities, job offers, and money [foreign funds on which these countries are largely dependent] to go around. Instead of playing the xenophobia card, lecturing countries and governments about how bad they are for not being xenophiles, the author should lay the blame on Washington’s foreign policy, not just on Maduro’s Government. By the way, Megan Janetsky doesn’t mention the trade sanctions, doesn’t mention the West’s hostile policy toward the country at all. This fact alone betrays the article as being nothing more than propaganda, a liberal’s virtue signalling, false humanitarianism, and promotion of the ‘no-borders’ and ‘limitless immigration’ mentality.
Crippling Western sanctions and theft of Venezuelan assets held abroad, on top of efforts to foment civil unrest and treason within the country’s law enforcement and military, are the major factors – but Maduro’s Government certainly has its share of the blame, and it goes back to Chavez’s administration as well.
And, yes, it’s also a failure of Venezuelan type of socialism. Take Cuba, for instance. Cuba has lived under US trade sanctions for more than half a century [plus US-sponsored terrorism]; and despite the odds, living on the hegemon’s doorstep, it managed to retain socio-economic and political stability. Cuba doesn’t have a fraction of Venezuela’s natural wealth; but it does have 1/3 of Venezuela’s population. Since the 1960s, Venezuela’s birth rate, measured per 1000 people, has fallen dramatically as you can see in the graph below.
In order to move away from the ‘resource exporter’ model, a country requires an increase in population size in order to diversify production, without depriving its traditional sectors of manpower. Simply put, if you want to diversify without causing shortages elsewhere, you need a bigger labor force. Chavez and Maduro didn’t even try to diversify, nor would they have succeeded without promoting population growth. The fact that a country the size of Venezuela has only three times the population of Cuba is a statistic worthy of national shame. The same goes for my country of Romania, which has only two times Cuba’s population. The fact that there are stores, filled with produce while people face severe malnutrition, that gasoline basically has no price in Venezuela, but electricity is rationed and public transportation is curtailed or paralyzed, points to the fact that Bolivarianism, or more accurately Chavism, was carried out with a total disregard for true economic and geopolitical planning. While hostile state actors and domestic renegade forces do offer the ruling political class in Venezuela a degree of extenuating circumstances, such adversity doesn’t wash away the complacency and criminal incompetence of the country’s Left wing governing parties and leaders. All decision factors across the hierarchical chain, who place ideology or their own status above the Nation must be ejected and their designs carefully examined and purged of any ideological adventurism and self-seeking schemes. Maduro and his crew aren’t fit for office, and Guaido should be arrested and condemned for high treason.
Toward the end of October, local elections will be held in Bulgaria. The recently, legally-formed BTR party has announced its participation. Last year I wrote several radical proposals for Bulgaria, well aware that BTR was organizing and gathering signatures to make the shift from political movement to political party. I also put together a promo vid for them, in hopes of getting the word out and trying to persuade them to adopt the Georgist framework.
The main purpose of BTR [Bulgaria of Labor and Reason] is to activate its local municipal and regional structures, as well as to persuade the electorate it has a true alternative to the established neoliberal outlook and neocolonial way of doing business. BTR is trying to get the word out on its policies and attract people of various political persuasions under a single banner toward a common goal: the restoration of Bulgarian statehood, sovereignty, and prosperity. Anyone who longs to break the cycle of organized theft, sabotage, and national humiliation is welcome in BTR.
They sport many high-profile individuals at grassroots, patriots and excellent professionals, who can win the election and transform local politics and administration for the better. The main objectives are outlined in their manifesto. I’ll enumerate the more important ones and provide suggestions – the things I’d emphasize for these local elections in order to smash the traditional framing, to which all the other parties subscribe, that leads to nowhere.
On the social side, BTR wants: a Job Guarantee programs that offers work at decent pay to anyone willing and able to work, public health insurance and education services without extra fiscal drag levied on the citizens. And on the geopolitical side, BTR wants the restoration of Bulgaria’s sovereignty: to eliminate the currency board, [through which the ECB is effectively in control of the country’s money], and issue a sovereign, free floating Lev, and to get Bulgaria out of NATO and the European Union.
Running on an ‘old school’ labor platform, BTR wants to re-nationalize key industries and infrastructure, while pursuing the elimination of all regressive taxes. Treating the new Lev as a state-issued tax-credit, BTR recognizes the [extrinsic] value of the currency rests in the country’s land and natural resources, and in the citizens’ productive power of labor [manual and intellectual]. BTR wants to revitalize and expand the national infrastructure, revive the Bulgarian countryside, turn around the country’s catastrophic demographic situation, protect and promote the family [like the State used to do in a past epoch], put an end to economic migration, and excise all the bureaucratic overhead.
It’s good to advertise the macro plan, but since these are local elections, heterodox policies have to be carried out without the help of central authorities and against the rotten, neoliberal traditions of that same center. These policies include things like: untangling the bureaucratic quagmire, redistributing the fiscal burden from active / productive agents to passive / unproductive ones, investing in public utilities, promoting CLTs [Community Land Trusts, which ensure affordable housing], easing operation costs for farmers and securing demand for their produce, implementing biochar programs [good for agriculture and the environment].
I wrote about funding schemes for local governments in the past as well. I wish BTR, on top of promoting MMT [Modern Monetary Theory], would also firmly stress the Georgist philosophy on taxation. It’s quite simple. If you tax productive economic activity, you get less of it. If you tax unproductive activity, you get less of it and more productive activity. Labor, buildings, sales, and enterprise should be tax exempt. Economic rent and negative externalities [like pollution] should be taxed.
Local governments should evaluate and tax land values and eliminate the property tax. Land value taxation also takes into account the situation of poor farmers and the need for environmental protection. On the question of finance, the initiatives of public banking and credit unions [credit cooperatives] should be merged. Community banks don’t operate under the shareholder principle, but on the stakeholder principle, just like CLTs. There are no shareholders and there are no dividends; their goal isn’t to maximize markups or gamble on asset prices, but to finance productive economic activities within the community. These banks have trustees, who run the company – but they can’t sell their “trusteeship” to anyone else. So 100 percent of the revenue minus operation costs is reinvested in the company [the money is recirculated in the communities].
Disclaimer: I’m not a member of BTR, and I don’t necessarily agree with everything they pledge in their manifesto. However, being a new party with new people and some great ideas overall, I offer them my moral support and my two cents on policy.
In his article, ‘The Right’s Phony Class War,’ David Sessions claims that “woke capital” is a myth invented by the social conservative right, and the right’s opposition to this myth is somehow aimed at hurting the majority of Americans, from all backgrounds, because, after all, big corporations [and Big Tech in particular] are just benign suppliers of demand – it’s not as if they engage in social engineering or anything [sarcasm]. Sessions concludes that the right doesn’t have an economic program to empower the working class, quite the opposite. I agree with this conclusion, but I disagree with the premise.
Sessions doesn’t address at all the fact that conservative ideas and outlets, to one degree or another, are being censored by Big Tech, and he likely welcomes this phenomenon. More so, from his writing, the author doesn’t believe in a managerial class of vested interests in the United States that holds cosmopolitan views. Cosmopolitan elites are a fantasy in the author’s view. As if, somehow, there are no liberals, no xenophiles in the top echelons of society, part of trans-national corporate interests and factions who are pushing for Globalization. The author implies that the only elites are straight, white, xenophobes… xenophobes who haven’t built a single mile of new wall since Trump took office.
Denouncing “woke capital” — business interests voicing support for progressive social politics — has become an obsession. […] In June, Arkansas senator Tom Cotton gave a speech on the Senate floor denouncing “the dictatorship of woke capital,” by which he meant “a troubling trend among giant corporations using this wealth and power to force liberal dogma on an unwilling people.” The freak-out about “woke capital” not only rests upon a fictional sociological divide between a hostile ruling class and a resistant populace, but the residual fantasy of a socially conservative “moral majority.” The basic laws of capitalist marketing dictate that corporations respond to their customers’ tastes. What social conservatives interpret as economic power tipping the scales in favor of progressive values is really a response to what the overwhelming majority of Americans believe: between 65 and 69 percent of Americans, in all ethnic demographics and regions of the country, support gay marriage, and a clear majority supports trans rights.
This is plain manipulation. The author is using a [liberal] market argument to explain capitalism, which is funny, since writers for the Jacobin are marxists; and marxists claim that capitalism is all about replicating [certain] socio-economic relations in order to perpetuate itself. This means that the population is constrained in what it can demand and what the capitalist system is allowed to supply. It’s also important to distinguish between capitalism, as Adam Smith understood it / industrial capitalism as opposed to finance capitalism [maximizing shareholder value ideology], and the social engineering that’s going on today, just like it was during the Cold War, when State secret services sponsored both conservative and left-wing ideology. I remember a bit by George Carlin on national television on the issue of private vs public means of transport, asking himself, since when do the people get what they want?
I ask Sessions, what do gay rights and trans rights have to do with bs notions spewed in “progressive” echo chambers like: men can become pregnant too, gender is a social construct [not biological at all], the US flag is racist, only whites can be racist, the encouragement of children to engage in sexual activities, straight and otherwise, the promotion of Government-subsidized abortion irrespective of circumstances, the promotion of hormone therapy for minors, including toddlers, with sex change being the aim, the promotion of hedonism etc…
I agree that the tories aren’t the “moral majority” and that they haven’t real economic solutions, but spare me the sophistry. Big Tech is engaged in social engineering, and the establishment [State and private sector] clearly has had a liberal bias and it retains it – despite Trump being in office. Sessions also employs the appeal to majority fallacy and commits a straw man as well. He states that a majority of Americans support gay rights and trans rights. Sure, and a majority of Americans oppose socialism. What’s to be done, Mr. Sessions? You’ll most likely argue that a majority of Americans hold this view due to mainstream anti-socialist propaganda. Well, the conservatives can say the same with regard to the pro-LGBTQ stance. Sessions also cites a survey in which a majority of Americans say that immigration is a positive thing. This is the straw man I referred to earlier. The question was immigration, as in legal, regulated immigration – not illegal immigration; and the latter point is what conservative politicians oppose, well, in their speeches anyway.
No matter how loudly populist conservatives rage about cosmopolitan elites and woke capital, no matter how much they pretend the Left only cares about political correctness, there’s only one side that has a plan for the real America.
Yes, I’ve heard that before and quite the plan it is. Huge Government investment [Green New Deal], medicare for all, including for illegal aliens, and State-sponsored abortions irrespective of context, thus making the practice a preferred method of birth control, plus open borders [a boon to capitalists] – the result of all this being endless competition among workers, higher rents and interest payments and homelessness as a result of uncaptured land values, overcrowding, sanctuary cities, social and ethnic unrest, more crime, and a bigger slice of the pie for the vested interests. What a splendid vision of the future… Subsidizing the likes of the Koch Brothers while lying to voters that the “progressive” State is going to keep Big Capital in check by cranking up the marginal tax rate.
The American Left has sold out to CIA money more than half a century ago and did all it could to separate itself from the Eastern Block. That’s why they’re so alien today in visage and message to anyone who actually lived in a popular or socialist republic. Its obsession with open borders has everything to do with the [shared] agenda of its ideological nemesis. You can read more about it here. In conclusion, if Trump won’t get a second executive term, it’s not going to be a victory for the Left, but a defeat for Trump, losing on his own beard, as we say here in Romania.
RT CrossTalk host Peter Lavelle and The Duran’s Alex Christoforou discuss the Dayton, Ohio shooting in which nine people and the suspect were killed, and the El Paso, Texas Walmart shooting where 22 people were killed before the gunman was taken alive.
My comment: Peter Lavelle mentioned the ID propaganda spewed on Netflix, saying that all the men depicted in those movies are either weaklings, cowards, morons, or psychopaths. I personally don’t watch Netflix and have stopped watching mainstream movies a long while ago; but am well aware of the cultural and political propaganda these productions contain. Lavelle touched on the economic situation and on the issue of young men who find themselves in a position of involuntary celibacy; and that most women simply won’t marry men who make less money than they do. Single parent families were invoked as well, the absence of the father in children’s lives. The argument is made that things like porn, social media, and video games cannot fill the void created by the absence of family and faith. I wholly concur, and no sane human could object to that in my opinion. As far as mass shootings are concerned… there was only one mass shooting in the 1960s, ditto for the 1970s. And back then, racist political forces were part of the mainstream. The guns were always there. What changed?
In a recent article, Addiction, Polygamy, and Neofeudalism, I tried to tackle the larger phenomenon of socio-economic and spiritual decay, but failed short in doing so. Sadly, my longer articles don’t do nearly as well as my shorter ones. In another recent piece, I expose blatant anti-heterosexual propaganda in an NBC article from 2018.
Nearly a quarter of surveyed millennials claim they don’t have any friends. In order to even begin to understand the situation we’re facing today, it’s important to have a look at history. People may be familiar with dystopian novels like Huxley’s Brave New World  or We by Evgheni Zamiatin … But I show the reader the broad scheme for mass social engineering, the effects of which we’re living today, published in the year 1915. The following is not fiction, it’s a precise statement of political action.
“The historical mission of our world revolution is to rearrange a new culture of humanity to replace the previous social system. This conversion and reorganization of global society requires two essential steps, firstly the destruction of the old established order, secondly, the design and imposition of the new order, the first stage requires elimination of all frontier borders, nationhood and culture, public policy, ethical barriers and social definitions. Only then, the destroyed old system elements can be replaced by the imposed system elements of our new order.
The first task of our world revolution is destruction. All social strata and social formations created by traditional society must be annihilated. Individual men and women must be uprooted from their ancestral environment, torn out of their native milieus, no tradition of any type shall be permitted to remain as sacrosanct. Traditional social norms must also be viewed only as a disease to be eradicated. The ruling dictum of the new order is, nothing is good so everything must be criticized and abolished. Everything that was must be gone.
The forces preserving traditional society are “free market capitalism” in the social economic realm, and “democracy” in the mental political realm. The capitalist free market does not fight against the old economic order, nor does democracy lead a fierce hot battle against the forces of reaction which oppose the new order, therefore our transformative work will be imposed through the unifying principle of the militaristic spirit, the negative task of destroying the old established order will be completely solved and finished only when all the human masses are all forcibly collectivized as uniformed soldiers under imposed mass-conformity of new order culturing.
After destruction of the old order, construction of the new order is a larger and more difficult task…..We will have torn out the old limbs from their ancient roots in deep layers, social norms will be lying disorganized and anarchic so they must be blocked against new cultural forms and social categories naturally re-emerging. The general masses will have been first persuaded to join as equals in the first task of destroying their own traditional society and economic culture, but then the new order must be forcibly established through people again being divided and differentiated only in accordance with the new pyramidal hierarchical system of our imposed global monolithic new world order.” From the book/Manifesto, Der Geist des Militarismus, Stuttgart 1915, by Nahum Goldmann [a leading Zionist and founder of the World Jewish Congress]. From the English translation housed in the collection of the Leo Baeck Institute, p.37 – 38.
The neo-Marxist currents we see today, ever entrenching themselves in public and private institutions, increasingly curating our language, shaming and slandering anyone who dares to take a different point of view, has mutated in such a fashion to become perfectly compatible with capitalism, even though they profess to hate it.
I’ll give two examples of individuals [famous in their own professions], just to point out the destructive nature of this ideology. My examples are adult film star Nina Hartley and economist Murray Rothbard. Both are Jews and come from communist families. Nina Hartley’s been an ardent supporter of the porn industry. While she stated that she wants everyone to have a piece of the [economic] pie, Hartley’s career has nothing to do with class struggle, but everything to do with spreading hedonism to all – a sexual revolution – not to empower the proletariat, but to distract it, and inevitably, demoralize it. Many icons of the counter-culture were in fact agents of the Deep State [CIA & other organizations], or useful idiots in their employ. Hartley is no exception. And just to point out her vain materialism and faux sympathy for class struggle, I recall some of her posts on Twitter, back when I had a presence on that dismal echo chamber. A woman, a porn actress, tweeted that her boyfriend had asked her to be exclusive with him, so she dumped him without a second thought and was quite proud of it. To that tweet, Nina Hartley replied something along the lines of, ‘Did he pledge to take care of you financially in exchange of you dropping your career? I don’t think so.’ Interesting emphasis put on “career” by a leftist; the “career” of sleeping with other men for money, as if no other profession is available for women or ex-porn actors. Evidently, the so-called socialist Nina Hartley had asked a rhetorical question. Her mind was made up from the start.
Now let’s go to Murray Rothbard. He too came from a Jewish, communist family. He grew up among communist friends and neighbors too. But unlike them, Murray chose anarcho-capitalism. Rothbard’s particular brand of radical libertarianism is all about rentier markets [neo-serfdom] and the individual’s right to choose freely [more illusion of choice]. An ironic thing is that Rothbard defended price monopoly, so long as the monopolist in question was a private agent and got in that position via fair competition. A short, concise take down of this particular view of his is found here. Rothbard was funded by the [pro-open borders, pro-usury, pro-rent-seeking] Koch brothers, until he had a falling out with them over ideological lines. The Kochs made their fortune in the USSR, fulfilling contracts for Stalin, then used that money to fund the libertarian ideology in the USA, and later the Tea Party movement.
Is this what communist families produce? Are Hartley and Rothbard the norm, or the exception? I would say they’re the exception, because if we look at the actual policies of the communist republics, the State made it its mission to protect and promote the traditional family, condemned and combated hedonistic ideas and activities, ensured housing, jobs, health care, and education for all: men and women. Indeed, when the internationalist fervor died down, the national communists affirmed themselves. Romania’s Gheorghe Gheorghiu Dej famously put it to the Soviets that first and foremost, he was Romanian, and a communist second. The idea of the nation wasn’t sacrificed in favor of Globalization – quite the opposite, the nation state was resurrected and civic nationalism [as opposed to cosmopolitanism] was promoted. Romanian political dissident, Octavian Paler, in his old age, though a strong believer in misanthropy, didn’t fail to criticize Romania’s socio-economic and moral scene after ’89; and he didn’t fail to acknowledge the good things in the pre ’89 epoch.
To put it simply, without order, without purpose, life is a chore to live. Spiritual rot ultimately leads to emptiness, alienation, the destruction of the self, of the family, of the community… Some may criticize me for bemoaning the slow, but steady social implosion of the United States of America. After all, in its role of hegemon, is the biggest purveyor of terrorism. Yet, I can’t bring myself to wish a pox on other nations. I have friends in the US, and even if I didn’t, it would still be wrong to wish evil on others.
I’m an adept of the great Erasmus [de Rotterdam]. Back in 1995, Donald Phau wrote a superb article on him, “the educator’s educator.” The Platonic Christian outlook of Erasmus was reflected in northern Europe by the work of the Brotherhood of the Common Life, and later by the Oratorian Order. The Brotherhood, founded in the 14th century by Gerhard Groote, was dedicated to mass education, including the poor, and from an early age. Their teaching method encouraged their students to study the original writings and discoveries of the ancient Greeks. Instead of employing formalisms to be learned by rote, children were encouraged to replicate the actual creative thinking of the original authors. Erasmus carried forth the Brotherhood’s method in his writings throughout his life.
The printing and mass circulation of Erasmus’ books led to an unprecedented leap in literacy throughout Europe. In addition, he collaborated with leading intellectuals in England and Spain to revolutionize teaching methods, by developing a school curriculum which remains to this day a foundation for education. In the area of statecraft, Erasmus was in personal contact with most of the monarchs of Europe and called on them to emulate Plato’s “philosopher king.” At the same time, his works addressed the wider population on the issue of national sovereignty. Erasmus foresaw the necessity for an educated population to freely elect its own government. Lastly, he was in the forefront of a movement to reform the institution of the Catholic Church, to end its corruption and toleration of superstition. And when Venetian interests pitted Luther’s Reformation and the Church against each other with the goal to destroy the legacy of the Renaissance, Erasmus, virtually alone, fought for a reconciliation based on a Platonic Christian dialogue.
Since Alex Christoforou and Peter Lavelle were talking about the alienation of young men, the erosion of faith and family [the main pillars of a well-functioning society], I feel the next paragraphs from Donald Phau are seminal to remedy the problem.
A letter to a young teacher, written in 1516, shows Erasmus’ commitment to lift Europe’s 95 percent out of ignorance. The teacher, Johann Witz, had written to Erasmus that he was considering quitting the profession and moving instead to a higher paying and more influential position, perhaps at court. Erasmus replied the following…
“To be a school master is an office second in importance to a King. Do you think it a mean task to take your fellow-citizens in their earliest years, to instill into them from the beginning sound learning and Christ himself, and return them to your country as so many honorable upright men? Fools may think this is a humble office; in reality, it is very splendid. […] No one does more for it [one’s country] than the man who shapes its unformed young people, provided he himself is learned and honorable – and you are both, so equally that I do not know in which of them you surpass yourself. […] An upright man who is above all temptation is what that office needed, a man devoted to his duties even if he is paid nothing.”
Author William Wertz describes the teaching at one of the Brotherhood schools, as designed by Groote: “Imitating Christ themselves, the teachers […] preferred loving warnings to harsh punishments, sought to inculcate a love for individual research by letting pupils delve among the classics rather than confine themselves to text books, and taught the boys the use of their vernacular language. Poor pupils were given money for books, ink, and paper they needed in school. […] The basic idea is that the way to self-improvement is to think about an appropriate saying which helps one to overcome whatever obstacle to creative thinking arises in one’s mind at the moment it occurs.”
Gottfried Leibniz, one of history’s great polymaths, in a paper called Society & Economy from 1671, envisioned that artisans will work together happily in the large work rooms, singing and conversing, except for those whose work requires more concentration. On the question of education, Leibniz wished for children to be taken care of by Society. Parents shall be relieved of the task of educating their own children: All children… shall be rigorously brought up by women in public facilities. And scrupulous attention will be paid that they do not become overcrowded, are kept clean, and that no diseases arise.Note Leibniz’s desire for women to be part of, what Erasmus considered, the most important function in society, second only to that of the monarch.
Most of the work will be done in the morning. Pains will be taken to provide for pleasures other than drinking – for example, discussions of their craft and the telling of all sorts of funny stories, whereby they must be provided with something to quench their thirst, such as acida. There is no greater pleasure for a thoughtful man, or indeed for any man once he becomes accustomed, than being in a company where pleasant and useful things are being discussed; and thus every group, including the artisans, should have someone to write down any useful remarks that may be made. But the Society’s highest rule shall be to foster true love and trustfulness among its members, and not to express anything irritating, scornful, or insulting to others. Indeed, even rulers should eschew all insults unless nothing else is effective, since such behavior precludes the establishment of trust. No man shall be derided for a mistake, even if it be a serious one; rather, he should be gently admonished in a brotherly way, and at the same time, immediately and appropriately punished. Punishment shall consist in increased and heavier work, such as making a master work like a journeyman, or a journeyman like an apprentice.
My own philosophy is a mixture of what I discovered in my quest for knowledge throughout the years. I’m a Westphalian National Socialist and Georgist. By national socialism, I don’t mean Nazism / Hitlerism, but a philosophy completely divorced, purged of racist, supremacist ideology and imperialistic ambitions. One might also call it Christian Socialism, or Cooperative Individualism. The State has a fundamental role to look after the security and welfare of its citizens. Georgism is the philosophy that Land forms the Natural Commons, is not a commodity, and it should be taxed instead of labor, buildings, sales, and enterprise. And the Westphalian philosophy refers to a sisterhood of sovereign nation states, in which past transgressions and enmities are forgotten and forgiven in perpetuity, and each works for the benefit and dignity of the other: no nation prospers at the expense of another’s injury.
As economist and historian Michael Hudson points out, “To understand the crucifixion of Jesus is to understand it was his punishment for his economic views [crucifixion being a punishment reserved especially for political dissidents]. He was a threat to the creditors [rent-seekers and usurers].” Evangelical Christians are pro-war Zionists, pro-usury, pro-rent-seeking, and their loathsome, heretical ways don’t and cannot offer the meaning and structure craved by today’s demoralized masses. If religion cares not for the poor, it is useless and unable to steer Mankind toward a future worthy of pursuit. Without a holistic approach to one’s life, family, faith, community, and parent nation, the Great Adversary [an expression I use to anthropomorphize the forces of socio-economic and spiritual decay] will have permanent dominion upon this earth.