Monday, January 10, 2011

Some Capital Homesteading Questions, Part I: Following Instructions

Back in 1981 — you know, the Stone Age — Stephen J. Cannell premiered a rather . . . we'll call it "odd" television show, The Greatest American Hero. Briefly (which describes the suit that star William Katt had to run around in), some aliens concerned with saving the Earth give a suit that looks like a pair of red long johns with a Phi Beta Kappa key on the front to high school teacher Ralph Hinkley (unaccountably changed to "Hanley" in Episode 5, although Mr. Cannell continued to refer to him as "Hinkley") and FBI agent Bill Maxwell, played by Robert Culp. Both are eventually assisted by Ralph's girlfriend, Pam Davidson, played by Connie Sellecca.

That kind of star-power sounds like overkill for a show with a silly premise, but the actors did not put themselves above the material (fatal to good comedy), and played it straight. Ms. Sellecca in particular pulled off the almost impossible feat of playing a beautiful and intelligent attorney who was not a) a shark, b) a man-hater, or c) incompetent ditz. Culp's character Maxwell was a slightly off-center FBI agent with a deep and abiding love of the United States and a slight tendency to see commies under every bed — and, unfortunately for Katz's character's sanity, usually turned out to be right. Maxwell also had the unfortunate habit of expecting Pam to get him coffee and a Danish, which Ms. Sellecca's character fielded with just the right amount of tolerant resentment.

The show's gimmick was not the super suit dumped on Ralph Hinckley. As a comedy, that would have turned the show into another Earthworm Jim. (Okay, heck with it. I tried to find the opening sequence to EJ, but all I found was Pinky and the Brain — you were expecting Captain Simian and the Space Monkeys?) Nor was it — precisely — the story of all the problems that an average guy has on suddenly becoming a superhero. That would just have made The Greatest American Hero into a rehash of Captain Nice (and yes — "Carter Nash" was played by William Daniels, a.k.a. the voice of Knightrider and co-star of Boy Meets World, 1776, etc., etc. . . . even actors have to eat) or Mister Terrific . . . and probably as short-lived.

No, the hook (and the reason for mentioning the show on this blog) was that Ralph Hinckley had been given access to almost unlimited power to help solve the world's problems . . . and he had lost the instruction book. Poor Ralph, with all the goodwill in the world, had to learn of the suit's capabilities by trial and error — mostly error. Every episode involved several crash landings (fortunately, due to the suit's protective capability, more embarrassing than injurious for Ralph), the usual double-takes by "normal" people, and a plethora of misunderstandings.

Ralph, however, always managed to make things come out right. This is in sharp contrast to the way the immense power of the world's commercial and central banking systems are used. It's even worse than that. The financial powers-that-be can't claim to have lost the instruction book — nor are there aliens in the background to bail us out (the Stargate program has been shut down). The principles of commercial and central banking have been known for millennia. No, it's not that they don't know the instructions. They simply reject them and refuse to follow them — and then become completely baffled when the system doesn't do what they want it or expect it to do. There's a basic difference in philosophy that seems to prevent them from seeing the truth.

This difference in approach means that there are some questions that pop up every now and then — questions that are based on the unquestioned assumptions that drive the misuse of the system. That's why, when we got an e-mail last week asking some questions, we decided to make our answers a short blog series to cover us for the week. So, for the rest of this week, we'll be answering the following questions:

1. Are you in favor of 100% reserve banking, or fractional banking?

2. In what would the self-liquidating credit under a Homestead Act actually be invested in, in a climate such as the current one?

3. Were you aware there's an actual present-day movement to have a real estate Homestead Act (I believe involving government held land for self-sustainable agriculture)?


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