As the global economic and political situation continues to worsen, the reliance of the powers-that-be on solutions that have never worked becomes ever more baffling. Even more puzzling is the silence of those same powers-that-be and their academic gurus when presented with a potential solution such as Capital Homesteading. After giving it probably more thought than it deserves, however, we may have come up with an explanation: hysteria.
No, not the screaming, ranting, raving, jumping-up-and-down sort of thing that most people refer to as hysteria — "Behavior exhibiting excessive or uncontrollable emotion, such as fear or panic." We're talking the clinical kind, "A mental disorder characterized by emotional excitability and sometimes by amnesia or a physical deficit, such as paralysis, or a sensory deficit, without an organic cause."
The fact is that far too many people in positions of power or trust — especially in academia — may rant and rave about the evils of the current system, but it's mostly just talk. The system has been very good to them. Nor do they understand how a system that has been good to them shouldn't be good for everyone else. They have great faith that the way things are is the way things were meant to be.
That being the case, there must be some conspiracy, usually by the greedy or the stupid, that prevents the benefits of the system from being spread around. Consequently, they don't see the flaws in the system that prevent everyone from benefiting from a system designed to fail.
Because this position is based on faith instead of reason, they cannot handle anyone questioning them or presenting them with evidence to the contrary. They react either with emotional excitability, even at times amnesia about events, but more usually with an intellectual paralysis. Unable to deal with something like the Just Third Way that lies outside of their faith-based paradigm, they ignore even overwhelming evidence that their understanding is incomplete or even in error, and remain silent, pretending that reality doesn't exist.
In any event, the best thing we can do when faced with hysterical reactions of this type is to go around them — as we've been doing this week:
• Yesterday's Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed blaming the 2008 market crash on "low interest rates and international capital flows" instead of a "saving glut." ("Monetary Policy and the Next Crisis," 07/05/12, A11.) A closer examination of the facts would reveal that it was not interest rates, high or low, or the mere shifting of aggregations of savings, however massive, that caused the meltdown. As in 1929, it was using those savings to bid up the prices of speculative assets, and the even more massive money creation for the same purpose that caused the Crash. In other words, it was not the use of credit, but the misuse of credit — a problem almost impossible to explain today when the distinction between real bills backed by the present value of actual private sector hard assets, and fictitious bills backed by nothing but speculative gains or a government's promise to pay out of non-existent future tax collections has been discarded.
• The release of "Affording Universal Healthcare: A Private Sector Alternative to Mandates," CESJ's proposed alternative to "ObamaCare" on July 4, 2012 to a limited audience was very well received. It is being forwarded to a number of civic and religious leaders concerned about the growing intrusion of government into everyday life and the consequent loss of civil liberties — and, yes, freedom of religion is a civil liberty.
• An issue that no one appears to be addressing is whether — presuming the legitimacy of legislation by judiciary in the first place — the Supreme Court can legislate on religious doctrine and practice as it has on science. The prohibition against teaching "creationism" in public schools is, after all, effectively a declaration by the Court that the theory of evolution is established scientific fact, not simply a theory, and it is illegal to teach anything else in a government-funded institution. (Being a Supreme Being, of course, the Court was able to do what the 1897 Indiana General Assembly could not in Bill No. 246 that attempted to legislate the mathematical impossibility of squaring the circle.) Refusing to extend an exemption to religious institutions engaged in what Christians call the corporal works of mercy and other faiths recognize as meritorious now extends the Court's power over both science and religion. This is analogous to the situation described by Dr. Leo Alexander, chief medical advisor to Telford Taylor at the Nuremburg War Crimes Trials, in his paper "Medical Science Under Dictatorship," published in the New England Journal of Medicine (1949, 241 (2): 39-47). As Dr. Alexander stated, "science under dictatorship becomes subordinated to the guiding philosophy of the dictatorship."
• The fixed belief that education (and high wages and better healthcare, etc., etc.) will automatically bring about the economic growth necessary to pay for the education, high wages, better healthcare, etc., etc., continues to shackle genuine economic growth by putting the cart before the horse — to say nothing of burdening students with unrepayable debt that they cannot discharge even in bankruptcy. Rather than being the ticket to the good life, education has become the fast track to permanent economic servitude for many. Even the Wall Street Journal seems to be starting to question the dogma that a good education means a good job and a high salary ("A New Market for Schools," 07/05/12, B5), but don't quite know what to do about it. Of course, an aggressive program of universal capital ownership financed by the expansion of commercial bank credit backed by the present value of the new capital being financed instead of existing savings, taxpayer subsidies or government deficits, and collateralized by capital credit insurance and reinsurance (such as Capital Homesteading), but such a possibility goes directly contrary to the principles taught by that same education. Thus, just as slaves and convicts are told that escape is impossible, modern academics have been taught that the education that keeps them in economic servitude is the only possible system. You'd think somebody would start to catch on after a while.
• Michael D. Greaney, CESJ's Director of Research, is being "profiled" by Connect Ireland, a program by the Irish government to highlight people who are being most effective in publicizing and implementing the innovative program.
• As of this morning, we have had visitors from 59 different countries and 52 states and provinces in the United States and Canada to this blog over the past two months. Most visitors are from the United States, Canada, the UK, the Philippines, and India. People in Sweden, Cambodia, Qatar, Spain and Germany spent the most average time on the blog. The most popular postings this past week were "Aristotle on Private Property," "Thomas Hobbes on Private Property," "CESJ's Orientation in Brief," Lies, Damned Lies, and Definitions, VIII: Abandonment of the Natural Law," and "Catholic Social Teaching and Economic Justice, I: Introduction."
Those are the happenings for this week, at least that we know about. If you have an accomplishment that you think should be listed, send us a note about it at mgreaney [at] cesj [dot] org, and we'll see that it gets into the next "issue." If you have a short (250-400 word) comment on a specific posting, please enter your comments in the blog — do not send them to us to post for you. All comments are moderated anyway, so we'll see it before it goes up.