Tuesday, April 30, 2019

Did Jesus Lie?

Did Jesus Lie?
Thomas Allen

    In Chapter 7 of John, the King James Versions (KJV) reads:
(2) Now the Jew's feast of tabernacles was at hand. (3) His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may see the works that thou doest. . . . (8) [Jesus said,] Go ye up unto this feast: I go not up yet unto this feast: for my time is not yet full come. . . . (10) But when his brethren were gone up, then went he also up unto the feast, not openly, but as it were in secret.
Most older translations and newer King James translations and many other modern translations read like the KJV, with “yet” in verse eight.
    The American Standard Version (ASV) reads:
(2) Now the feast of the Jews, the feast of tabernacles, was at hand. (3) His brethren therefore said unto him, Depart hence, and go into Judaea, that thy disciples also may behold thy works which thou doest. . . . (8) [Jesus said,] Go ye up unto the feast: I go not up unto this feast; because my time is not yet fulfilled. . . . (10) But when his brethren were gone up unto the feast, then went he also up, not publicly, but as it were in secret.
Some modern translations read like the ASV, without “yet” in verse eight. Older Greek manuscripts omit “yet.”
    As shown by the above quotations, Jesus is conversing with his brethren just before the feast of tabernacles. His brethren urge him to go to Judea and publicly show himself and display his works. In the ASV, Jesus replies that he will not go to the feast. Later, he goes to the feast. Consequently, he appears to have lied as he said that he was not going to the feast but later went to the feast.
    Most likely the original reads like the ASV: That is, Jesus was not going to the feast. The version of John that Porphyry (234 – 305) and Jerome (347 – 420) used read like the ASV and not like the KJV.
    Apparently, some later copyist avoided this ostensible lie by changing the sentence to read as it reads in the KJV, i.e., Jesus replied that he would not yet go to the feast.
    Porphyry’s explanation of Jesus’ apparent lie is that he was fickle and inconsistent. He blames Jesus’ fickleness on the weakness of his human nature.
    Jerome claims that Jesus avoided the truth because of his temptable human nature. Moreover, Jesus lied in the interest of prudence and utility. For Jerome, Jesus’ lying was an act of mendacity and excusable as a weakness of the flesh. The doctrine of Jesus’ absolute sinlessness argues against Jerome.
    Nathaniel Lardner (1684 – 1768) argues that Jesus always intended to go to the feast, but not as soon or as publicly as his brethren wanted him to go. That is, he spoke of delaying his journey but not to go to the feast at all. Lardner’s explanation leaves Jesus open to the charge of lying because his brethren could not know his real intentions and merely understood his words as spoken. Either Jesus changed his mind as Porphyry claims or he deceived his brethren.
    According to Henry Alford (1810 – 1871), both the “not going to the feast” and “not yet going to the feast” give the same sense. Because Jesus used the verb “going” in the present tense, he meant “I am not at present going up.” Thus, his argument depends on violating a common law of language: using the present tense to refer to a future event. When the present tense is used to refer to a future event, it is usually an event unalterably determined. When Jesus said, “I go not up,” his brethren understood him to mean that he did not intend to go up — consequently, Alford’s argument fails. (Alford argues that if Jesus did not intend to go, he would have used the future tense.)
    Charles John Ellicott (1819–1905) rejects Alford’s argument. Also, he rejects the notion that Jesus stated his intention and later changed his mind. Ellicott argues that Jesus read the thoughts of the inquirer and answered his thoughts, the question that he wanted to ask instead of the question that he actually asked orally. The question asked implied a worldly, self-seeking spirit. It is the question of the inquirer's thought that Jesus answered and not the one actually vocalized. Thus, he did not intend to go to the feast as his brethren wanted him to: publicly. However, he went, but not in the sense understood by his brethren, who understood his answer literally and not spiritually. The flaw of Elliot’s explanation is that it presents Jesus as deliberately deceiving his brethren. He understood the question asked, but he answered not that question, but a different question.
    Levi Paine (1837 – 1902) gets around the problem of Jesus appearing to lie by placing the Gospel According to St. John as written in the mid second century A.D. Thus, the apostle John did not write the gospel named after him. Whoever wrote John presents the words in John 7:8 as spoken by Jesus, although he may never have said them. If Jesus never really said “I go not up,” then he did not lie.
    In a lecture on lying, Pastor Peter J. Peters (1946 – 2011) claims that Jesus did lie. If I recall correctly, he explanation for Jesus lying was security — preventing injury to himself and possibly others by the Jews. (The theme of his lecture is that at times lying is appropriate for Christians. For example, if a gang of governmental officials comes to a Christian household seeking to carry away the children for the pleasures of their pedophiliac overlords, who want the children to satisfy their sexual deviations culminating in torturing the children to death, should a Christian be truthful and obey the government per Roman 13 by surrendering the children to the government or should they conceal the children and lie about their location?)
    Everett Harrison (1902-1999) states that Jesus could not go to Jerusalem simply to gain popularity as the brethren wanted him to do. When he said that he was not going, he meant that he “was not going on the terms suggested by his brothers.” “He would go in his own time and way.” Harrison’s explanation suffers the same flaws as Lardner and Ellicott’s. Based on his answer that he was not going to the feast, the brethren understood that he was not going at all. Consequently, he deceived them.
    Alan E. Brooke (1863–1939) believes that Jesus changed his mind and decided to go after the brethren had departed. Thus, his excuse is similar to Porphyry’s.
    Floyd Filson (1896–1980) states that which reading is original is uncertain. In any event, Jesus did not go for the full length of the feast.
    W.K. Clarke (1879-1968) notes that the version without “yet” is preferred to the version with “yet.” He argues that Jesus did not go with the brethren because the time for his public entry into Jerusalem had not arrived. As true as this is, from the perspective of the brethren, he had lied to them.
    J.R. Dumaler remarks that many authorities omit “yet.” However, even if “yet” is omitted, it is understood to be there. Thus, he avoids Jesus lying. His argument suffers the same flaws as Alford’s.
    Robert Wilkins comments that the omission of “yet” is major. Without “yet,” Jesus seems to have lied.
    Did Jesus lie? In Matthew 7:7, he says, “ Ask, and it shall be given you.” In John 14:14, he promises, “If ye shall ask [me] anything in my name, that will I do.” Apply these promises, and you will have your answer.

Brookes, A.E. “John.” A Commentary on the Bible. Editor Arthur S. Peake. New York, New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, n.d.

Clarke, W.K. Lowther, editor. Concise Bible Commentary. New York, New York: MacMillan Publishing, 1953.

Dummelow, J.R., editor.  A Commentary on the Holy Bible. New York, New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1909, 1936.

Filson, Floyd V. The Gospel According to John. Editor Balmer H. Kelly. The Layman’s Bible Commentary. Volume 19. Richmond, Virginia: John Knox Press, 1970.

Harrison, Everett F. “John.” The Wycliffe Bible Commentary. Editors Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison. Chicago, Illinois: Moody Press, 1962.

Paine, Levi Leonard. The Ethnic Trinities and Their Relations to the Christian Trinity: A Chapter in the Comparative History of Religion. Boston, Massachuttes: Houghton, Mifflin and Company, 1901.

Wilkin, Robert N. “John.” The Grace New Testament Commentary. Editor Robert N. Wilkin. Vol.  1. Denton, Texas: Grace Evangelical Society, 2010.

Copyright © 2018 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Monday, April 22, 2019

Mencken on the Failure of Puritanism

Mencken on the Failure of Puritanism
Thomas Allen

    In 1926, H. L. Mencken (1880-1956) wrote Notes on Democracy in which he expressed his views on democracy and related issues. He was a journalist, satirist, and critic and a libertarian and one of the leaders of the Old Right. In his book, he describes the failure of Puritanism, pages 177-186. Below is an overview of his discussion on the failure of Puritanism; my comments are in brackets.
    Mencken describes the action of Puritanism as follows: “Under the pressure of fanaticism, and with the mob complacently applauding the show, democratic law tends more and more to be grounded upon the maxim that every citizen is, by nature, a traitor, a libertine, and a scoundrel. In order to dissuade him from his evil-doing the police power is extended until it surpasses anything ever heard of in the oriental monarchies of antiquity.” [For example, ever more things said by a White, especially a White male, and even more so by a White Southern male, that might possibly hurt the feelings of a supersensitive person who is searching for someone to hurt his/her/its feelings is proscribed. If such words do not result in a jail sentence, as often happens in Europe, they certainly lead to expulsion from school and a loss of employment.] As a result, “it is almost a literal fact that the citizen has no rights that the police are bound to respect.” [One can hardly imagine Mencken’s disgust of the power that the police now have in America’s emerging police state where the police can often arrest a person for resisting arrest when the police have not charged the person with any crime.] Mencken continues, “These awful powers, of course, are not exercised against all citizens. The man of influence with the reigning politicians, the supporter of the prevailing delusions, and the adept hypocrite — these are seldom molested.” [Hillary Clinton is an excellent example of one who is not molested; she is shielded.] “But the man who finds himself in an unpopular minority is at the mercy of the Polizei [police], and the easiest way to get into such a minority is to speak out boldly for the Bill of Rights.” [One needs only to listen to talk radio, especially on shortwave and the Internet, to discover many people whom the government has victimized for speaking for the Bill of Rights. Also, many judges deny the defense appealing to the Bill of Rights.]
    The procedure operates as follows: “First an unpopular man is singled out for persecution, and then a diligent search is made, with the police and prosecuting officers and even the courts co-operating, for a law that he can be accused of breaking. The enormous multiplicity of sumptuary and inquisitorial statutes makes this quest easy. The prisoner begins his progress through the mill of justice under a vague accusation of disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace; he ends charged with crimes that carry staggering penalties.” [One cynical commentator claims that between the time the average person gets out of bed and eats breakfast, he has already committed five felonies. During the day, the average person probably commits several felonies and dozens of misdemeanors and even more civil infractions without knowing that he has committed a crime. The government has made a criminal of everyone, which makes imprisoning everyone who becomes a nuisance legally easy. To increase the likelihood of people violating a law, laws are often written to contradict other laws. Thus, by obey one law, the person has to disobey another law.] Making criminals of people “for merely thinking unpopular thoughts,” as many Puritans[, Yankees,] want to do today, is not new. Mencken comments on laws that outlawed unpopular thoughts. He writes, “Once he is accused of such heresy, the subsequent proceedings take on the character of a lynching. His constitutional rights are swept away as of no validity, and all the ancient rules of the Common Law — for example, those against double jeopardy and hearsay are suspended in order to fetch him. Many of the newer statutes actually suspend these safeguards formally, and though they are to that extent plainly unconstitutional, the higher courts have not interfered with their execution.” [This situation that Mencken abhors has gotten infinitely worse since he wrote. For example, double jeopardy appears in the application of many civil rights laws. If a White person is found not guilty of a crime against a Black person, then the U.S. government may file charges against the White person for violating the Black person’s civil rights. The White person is being charged with committing a crime of which he has been found innocent by merely changing the name of the crime.] He cites the Volstead Act as an example of a law that “destroys the constitutional right to a jury trial, and in its administration the constitutional prohibition of unreasonable searches and seizures and the rule against double jeopardy.” [The Volstead Act was the law that enforced the Eighteenth Amendment, the Prohibition Amendment. Much of the legislation enacted by Congress since 9-11 voids the Bill of Rights.] He continues, “The mob is always in favour of the prosecution, for the prosecution is giving the show. In the face of its applause, very few American judges have the courage to enforce the constitutional guarantees — and still fewer prosecuting attorneys.” [This explains the lack of popular support for the people who are persecuted and prosecuted for standing up for liberty and the inalienable rights guaranteed by the Constitution.]
    Furthermore, “a prosecuting attorney’s success depends very largely upon his ferocity. American practice permits him an extravagance of attack that would land him in jail, and perhaps even in a lunatic asylum, in any other country, and the more passionately he indulges in it the more certain becomes his promotion to higher office, including the judicial.” Judges who had previously been prosecuting attorneys “seem to be generally convinced that any man accused of crime is ipso facto guilty, and that if he is known to harbour political heresies he is guilty of a sort of blasphemy when he mentions his constitutional rights.” [An early television judge showed such bias and prejudice. Whenever someone appeared before him whom he thought was a “racist,” that person lost his case even if the evidence overwhelmingly supported his cause.]
    Mencken notes, “This doctrine that a man who stands in contempt of the prevailing idealogy has no rights under the law is so thoroughly democratic that in the United States it is seldom questioned, save by romantic fanatics, robbed of their wits by an uncritical reading of the Fathers.” [Mencken’s observation may be true of a true lover of liberty, a libertist, but it is not true of others. However, courts have gone out of their way to ensure that the rights of Communists and their allies who want to abolish all real liberties and convert the United States to totalitarianism are protected.]
    Next, Mencken remarks, “It is difficult, indeed, for democracy to reconcile itself to what may be called common decency. By this common decency I mean the habit, in the individual, of viewing with tolerance and charity the acts and ideas of other individuals — the habit which makes a man a reliable friend, a generous opponent, and a good citizen.” [One of the most amusing ironies in America today is that the people who preach tolerance and yell the loudest that we must all be tolerant are the most intolerant people in the country. What would one expect from a Puritan Yankee, to use a tautology?] Then Mencken adds, “The democrat, despite his strong opinion to the contrary, is seldom a good citizen. . . .His eagerness to bring all his fellow-citizens, and especially all those who are superior to him, into accord with his own dull and docile way of thinking, and to force it upon them when they resist, leads him inevitably into acts of unfairness, oppression and dishonour which, if all men were alike guilty of them, would quickly break down that mutual trust and confidence upon which the very structure of civilized society rests. Where democratic man is so firmly in possession of his theoretical rights that resistance to him is hopeless, as it is in large areas of the United States, he actually produces this disaster.” [Can one say “California?”] For “any well-informed and self-respecting man” living in such a community is almost impossible. Not accepting “the democratic epistemology and the Puritan ethic” of such communities, he is harassed until he flees.
    Continuing, Mencken explains the uneasiness in American life: “This irreconcilable antagonism between democratic Puritanism and common decency is probably responsible for the uneasiness and unhappiness that are so marked in American life, despite the great material prosperity of the United States. Theoretically, the American people should be happier than any other; actually, they are probably the least happy in Christendom. The trouble with them is that they do not trust one another — and without mutual trust there can be no ease, and no genuine happiness.” [Multiculturalism and multiracialism, both of which the Yankee has forced on the country, cause much of this distrust and the resulting unhappiness. As European countries have become more multicultural and multiracial, they too are suffering from distrust and the resulting unhappiness and uneasiness. People in monoracial and monocultural countries are more trusting of one another and, therefore, happier.] Mencken concludes, “The thing that makes life charming is not money, but the society of our fellow-men, and the thing that draws us toward our fellow-men is not admiration for their inner virtues, their hard striving to live according to the light that is in them, but admiration for their outer graces and decencies — in brief, confidence that they will always act generously and understandingly in their intercourse with us. We must trust men before we may enjoy them.” Then he remarks that “it is impossible to put any such trust in a Puritan. With the best intentions in the world he cannot rid himself of the delusion that his duty to save us from our sins — i.e., from the non-Puritanical acts that we delight in — is paramount to his duty to let us be happy in our own way. Thus he is unable to be tolerant, and with tolerance goes magnanimity. A Puritan cannot be magnanimous. He is constitutionally unable to grasp the notion that it is better to be decent than to be steadfast, or even than to be just.” Furthermore, the democrat “is simply a Puritan doubly damned.” [Mencken seems not to realize that “Puritan” and “Yankee” are synonymous. That is, a Puritan is a Yankee and a Yankee is a Puritan. Hillary Clinton is an excellent contemporary example of a Puritan Yankee.]

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Friday, April 12, 2019

Does the Monetary Unit Determine the Value of Bullion?

Does the Monetary Unit Determine
the Value of Bullion?
Thomas Allen

    One of the debates that economists had during the era of the gold-coin standard[1] was whether the monetary value of the gold coin determined the value of gold bullion or gold bullion determined the value of the gold coin. Is the value of each unit of money determined by the value of the bullion in each unit? Or, is the value of bullion in each unit of money determined by the value of the monetary unit? In other words, is the monetary unit the independent variable, or is gold bullion the independent variable?[2]
    In his book Money (1882), George Weston argues that the value of bullion is determined by the value of coin, the monetary unit. The value of coin is determined by the quantity of coins and paper money. Weston is a proponent of the quantity theory of money. Other things being equal, the quantity of money fixes the value of the monetary unit, which he usually seems to mean its purchasing power. This is true not only for inconvertible fiat government paper notes, it is also true of full-weight gold coins and other types of money. According to him, governments can keep their government notes from deprecating by properly controlling their quantity. Moreover, he seems to prefer fiat paper government notes to full-weight gold coin. (A full-weight gold coin is a coin whose monetary value equals the value of its gold content.)
    Weston believes that a parity between full-weight coin and paper money can be permanently maintained by limiting the quantity of paper money. Moreover, he contends that controlling the quantity of paper money is more reliable than redeeming paper money in coin on demand, which he considers to be “hopelessly treacherous as it is costly and clumsy.” He adds that using the requirement to redeem bank notes in gold coin on demand to regulate the issue of bank notes is “false and fraudulent . . . and had proved itself in practice one of the worst scourges which has ever afflicted mankind.” Such a system causes the quantity of money to fluctuate too much. A superior system is to use the price of gold to regulate the issue of inconvertible paper money. Perhaps, he is correct, but no government has ever achieved the goal of maintaining parity or near parity of paper money with coin or bullion for more than a few years without redemption. Furthermore, rarely does a government use the price of gold to regulate the issue of inconvertible paper money. Such methodology is too restrictive and obviates the purpose of resorting to inconvertible paper money, which is to issue money based on politics and not on economics.
    Weston prefers a static supply of bank notes as the banking systems of England and most other European countries had where nearly all bank notes were backed by gold coin. A major problem with this static money supply is that to fit periods of high demand for notes, such as around Christmas, a large quantity of notes has to remain unused in vaults for most of the year. European countries overcame this inelasticity problem with checkable deposits, which Weston rejects as money. By expanding checkable deposits when demand was high and contracting them when demand was low, banks satisfied the markets’ monetary needs.
    Moreover, Weston believes that the law gives gold its value. Furthermore, the value of gold as merchandise is not an element constituting its value as money. This monetary value of gold can be regulated by varying the quantity of paper money in circulation. Increasing the quantity of paper money decreases the value of gold coin. Here he seems to confuse value with purchasing power. The two are different. Besides, increasing the quantity of paper money does not always lead to a decline in purchasing power of gold coin. In the United States, during the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the purchasing power of gold coin rose while it was accompanied by a rising supply of paper money (some fiat like the U.S. note[3] and some not like national bank notes[4]) and legal-tender silver dollars.[5] However, fiat paper money and fiat silver dollars may have prevented prices from declining more than they did.
    Also, Weston seems to believe that gold and silver are not money (Murray Rothbard strongly disagrees; he declares that gold is money, whatever its form.) People desire them because of ease of converting them to money — presumably, he means coin and possibly bullion as reserves for paper money. However, gold bullion has been used as money, and not merely as backing for paper money, before and after coinage.
    According to him, civilized people today (1884) do not desire gold for ornamentation but solely for its use as money. If true, the manufacturing of gold jewelry would be an unprofitable undertaking.
    Weston claims that silver coin can be kept at parity with gold coin by limiting the quantity of silver coins. He cites several examples in Europe. Silver coins in the countries that he mentions were either subsidiary coins to gold coin or soon became subsidiary coins. These countries were on the gold standard, and their silver coins were convertible to gold either directly or indirectly. This convertibility — not their quantity — kept the monetary value of these coins at par with gold coin, although the silver content of these coins was worth less than the monetary value of the coin. (If the monetary value of a coin fixes the value of its bullion content as Weston contends, why did not the value of silver rise to match the monetary value of the silver coin?)
    Weston seems deceitful about subsidiary coins and uses them to support his contention that the metal content of a coin does not determine the value of the coin, but the value of the coin determines the value of its metal content. Subsidiary coins are token coins used for transactions so small that full-weight gold coins cannot be used without receiving change in token coins. Moreover, token coins can be redeemed in gold coin. If a subsidiary coin is to circulate, the value of its metal content has to be less than its monetary value or else it will be melted for its metal.
    Nevertheless, his comments on the European silver coins fit the silver dollar in the United States at that time. The silver dollar was fiat money whose quantity was fixed by Congress and the Secretary of the Treasury. According to Weston, it was kept at par with the gold dollar by limiting the quantity of silver dollars manufactured. Although the value of the metal content of the silver dollar was worth less than a dollar, Congress declared the silver dollar to have a legal-tender value of one dollar. Although the silver dollar could not be directly converted to gold, it could be converted indirectly to gold. One means of achieving this conversion was to deposit silver dollars in a bank and then withdraw the money in gold coin. This indirect conversion to gold kept the silver dollar at par with gold.
    Historical examples argue against Weston’s position. As shown below, the value of bullion controls the value of the coin, and not the monetary value stamped on the coin.
    In 1985, Congress authorized the minting of a one-ounce gold coin with a legal tender value of $50 and a one-ounce silver coin with a legal tender value of $1. This action occurred 14 years after gold had ceased having any formal part of the world’s monetary systems. Likewise, it occurred decades after silver had any formal part of the world’s monetary system except as subsidiary coins, which use ended in the mid-1960s.
    If the monetary value of gold coin determined the value of its gold bullion content, which was $327 at end of 1985, then the gold coin should have pulled the value, price, of bullion down to $50 per ounce. Instead of the coin pulling the value of bullion down, bullion raised the value of the coin up. Likewise, silver bullion in the one-ounce $1 silver coin raised the value of the coin instead of the silver coin pulling the value of bullion down to $1 per ounce.
    Under the  Bretton Woods system, the US government guaranteed the US dollar to have the value of one thirty-fifth of an ounce of gold and exchanged one ounce of gold at the rate of $35 per ounce when a foreign government or its central bank redeemed its dollars. During the 1960s, the value, price, of gold bullion rose above $35 per ounce. If Weston were correct in that the value of the monetary unit determines the value of bullion, such a dichotomy could not have occurred. The price of gold could not have risen above $35 per ounce. As a result of the divergence between the monetary unit and bullion, the Bretton Woods system was abandoned in 1971.
    The same effect occurred in Weston’s day when Congress authorized the issuance of government notes called US notes and nicknamed greenbacks. Soon after issuance, the $10 US note began trading at a discount to the $10 gold coin. Although the magnitude of the discount varied, the US note did not exchange at par with gold coin until it became redeemable in gold. If the monetary unit determines the value of bullion, then the $10 US note should have remained at par with the $10 gold coin. Moreover, if the monetary unit determined the value of bullion, then subsidiary silver coins should have remained in circulation. They did not. For several years subsidiary silver coins ceased circulating because their value as bullion exceeded their value as money.
    According to Weston, the value of the dollar is determined by the quantity of coin and paper money. As S. McLean Hardy’s statistical study shows, during the War, the value of the dollar had more to do with Confederate victories and defeats than with its quantity. Confidence, not quantity, gives inconvertible paper money its value, although its quantity affects confidence. Convertibility gives paper money its value whatever its quantity.
    Weston does acknowledge that paper money can depreciate against gold coin and cause gold coins to cease circulating. How can this be if the value of money determines the value of gold bullion in the coin? How can the value of the bullion content of a $10 gold coin rise above the $10 monetary value stamped on the coin, if the monetary value of the coin determines the value of its bullion content? The experience that he witnessed with the US note proves that the value of the monetary unit does not fix the value of its bullion content.
    Centuries before the first precious metal coin was ever minted, people bought and sold goods and services with gold and silver bullion. Genesis 23:16 records such an event when Abraham bought a burial plot for his deceased wife by weighing out silver.
    More proof that a coin’s bullion content governs its monetary value is that well-worn coins exchange by their weight rather than by the monetary value stamped on them unless the law prohibits such discounting. In which case, the law is often ignored by refusing to accept the worn coin in trade at its full monetary value. (Unfortunately, creditors often had to accept worn coins in payment of debt.) Some countries under the gold standard allowed by law exchanges of well-worn coins by weight rather than by tale. Even in some countries that prohibited such discounting guaranteed the full-weight of their coins by exchanging new full-weight coins for worn coins.
    Weston asserts that suspension of the gold standard, i.e., the suspension of convertibility of paper money, in one country adds to the number of gold coins in other countries. The resumption of the gold standard, i.e., returning to convertibility of paper money in gold coin, draws gold coins from other countries. He ignores the large sink of hoarded coins, gold bullion, jewelry, ornamentation, plate, and other gold products that can absorb the excess gold under suspension and can return it under resumption. Thus, according to him, the abandonment of the gold standard in one major commercial country causes the value of gold in other countries to fall. Resumption of the gold standard causes the value gold in other countries to rise.
    When a country suspends species payments, Weston claims that its coins flow to other countries and reduce the value of money, and by that, the value of gold, in these countries. If so, the effect is only temporary. The value of gold as bullion and in coin is nearly equal worldwide. Moreover, the global quantity of gold available for monetary use is so massive compared with what may flee one country that the effect of the fleeing gold would be small or even insignificant. Weston would counter that this new supply of gold is sufficient to lower its value worldwide.
    If Weston is correct in that whatever gold that flees a country that has suspended the gold standard flows into the monetary system of other countries, only a small part will end up in circulating gold coins. Most will go to banks as deposits and become the basis for credit expansion. Most of the money created by this expansion will be as checkable deposits while some will be as bank notes. This credit expansion is what causes monetary inflation and the resulting rising prices. Its contraction results in deflation and decline in prices. However, many problems associated with credit expansion can be avoided by using sound banking practices (not fractional reserve banking practices, which allows multiple parties to use the same money simultaneously). Sound banking practices include not borrowing short and lending long and backing all checkable deposits 100 percent with full-weight coin or commercial money.[6] (Commercial money is a real bill of exchange that is self-liquidating usually within 90 days or less; it can only function under a commodity standard like the gold standard.)
    The decline in purchasing power, Weston contends, results from a reduction in demand for gold as coin when the gold standard is suspended. However, he claims that the loss in purchasing power results from a loss of the value of gold coin. The reverse occurs when the gold standard is resumed and paper money is again convertible in gold. Purchasing power of coin and paper increases because the value of gold increases. He ignores the quality of money theory, which explains the fall and rise of money’s purchasing power, which he calls value. When the gold standard is suspended, low-quality inconvertible paper money, which has less value and purchasing power than gold, replaces gold coin. When the gold standard is resumed, a high-quality money, gold coin and paper money convertible in gold, replaces low-quality inconvertible paper money.
    Moreover, he seems to credit the rise and fall in prices mostly on changes in the supply and demand for monetary gold. He sees the changes in prices being caused by changes in the value of gold. He ignores changes in credit money, except bank notes, which he considers to be real money and not credit money,[7] have much more effect on prices than changes in the supply of gold.
    Weston fails to explain how the monetary unit gets its initial value. Under the gold standard, the monetary unit gets its value from gold. The monetary unit is defined as a specific weight of gold and the monetary unit has the value of that weight of gold. For example, the Gold Standard Act of 1900 defined the dollar as 23.22 grains of gold. Therefore, the dollar had the value of 23.22 grains of gold. This is more proof that the monetary unit derives its value from its metal content as the value of bullion precedes the monetary unit.
    This notion Weston rejects. He claims that the value of the monetary unit, the dollar, gives the 23.22 grains of gold its value. The dollar may give 23.22 grains of gold its price, but it does not give the gold its value. Value and prices are not the same things. Value is subjective; price is objective. Moreover, not everything that has value, has a price; for example, love of one’s mate and children has great value but no price.
    An example of the difference between price and value is that, under the gold standard, when a person buys a shirt for $10, the shirt has the value of 232.2 grains of gold and a price of $10. (Today, when one buys a shirt with a $10 federal reserve note, what is the value of the shirt? Without defining the dollar in terms of itself, which is a poor and unsatisfactory definition that should be unacceptable and not used, such as the value of the dollar is a dollar’s worth of goods, no one can definitively define the value of the dollar.)
    Before any commodity became money, a medium of exchange, it had to have value independently of its monetary use. Its monetary use adds to its value as a commodity, but does not create it. Weston acknowledges that gold had value as ornamentation, etc. before being coined, and its uses as coin add to that value and even gives gold its highest actual value. If true, no gold coin would ever be melted for use as ornamentation, for the highest value of gold is that in the form of a coin. However, as gold coins were often melted for their gold and that gold was used for other purposes, gold as coin is not always its highest use.
    Moreover, Weston is unclear about how paper money gets its value other than the government limiting its quantity. How this limitation initially gives paper money, especially inconvertible paper money, its initial value, he does not explain. Convertible paper money derives its value from the gold that it represents. Inconvertible paper money derives its value from the gold coin that it replaces. Quantity has nothing to do with this initial value.
    In his argument to prove that coin fixes the value of bullion, Weston shows that government can easily manipulate their monetary systems and the purchasing power of their money — usually to the detriment of the people. However, he fails to identify or to describe a governmentally manipulated monetary system that works better than, or even as well as, the gold-coin standard accompanied by a well-functioning credit system, although as an example, he offers Brazil, which used the price of gold as an index to regulate its fiat paper money supply.
     Under the gold-coin standard, the government does not regulate the quantity of gold coins produced. However, it often intervenes to restrict the quantity of bank notes issued, although such intervention is not necessary and probably undesirable as it can distort the markets. Market forces decide the quantity of gold coins minted and gold coins melted. When the government does not intervene, and to some extent, even when it does, market forces regulate the quantity of bank notes issued.
    Whether bank notes and government notes[8] are convertible or inconvertible to full-weight gold coin, Weston argues that they are money in their own right. They are real money and are not merely forms of credit money. True, they are used as a medium of exchange. Also, when they are inconvertible, they nearly always become the unit of account, especially if the government makes them legal tender. However, real money like full-weight gold or silver coin performs one monetary duty that these notes cannot perform. That is, full-weight coin not only discharges debt, it also extinguishes debt because it is no one else’s liability. Bank notes and government notes can only discharge debt. They do so by passing the obligation to another, which is ultimately the person or entity responsible for the note.[9] For example, the US government is the responsible party for today’s federal reserve note. Contrary to Weston’s assertion, bank notes and government notes are not real money; they are credit money and cannot extinguish debt.
    Weston rejects the notion that bills of changes and checkable deposits are money. According to him, they do not have the effect as bank notes and do not increase the quantity of money. Today, as checkable deposits far exceed bank notes as money in industrialized countries, most monetary disturbances like inflation comes from changes in checkable deposits than fluctuation in bank notes.
    Therefore, Weston’s quantity theory of money ignores commercial money, real bills of exchange, as part of the quantity of money. Like bank notes, commercial money is a form of credit money that can be used to purchase goods and discharge debts. Unlike bank notes, commercial money has a specific life, usually 90 days or less, before it expires. Commercial money often exceeds bank notes in quantity and even exceeds the quantity of coins and paper money. If the quantity of money is the sole determinant of the value of money, other things being equal, as Weston asserts, or even the primary determinant, then how can he ignore commercial money? Nevertheless, Weston rejects the notion that bills of exchange are money and, therefore, need no consideration as part of the quantity of money or any quantity of money theory.
    Likewise, Weston’s quantity theory of money also ignores checkable deposits, checkbook money, as part of the quantity of money. Like bank notes, checkable deposits are a form of credit money that can be used to purchase goods and discharge debt. Unlike bank notes, which can pass through many hands before returning to a bank, checks usually pass through only one or two hands before returning to a bank. The major difference between a bank note and checkbook money is that a bank note is an order drawn on a bank to transfer gold from the bank’s account to the bearer and a check is an order to transfer gold from the drawer’s account to bearer. In Weston’s time (1884), in the United States, checkable deposits exceeded bank notes and coin in purchasing goods and discharging debt. He acknowledges that checks are used for most transactions. Moreover, under fractional reserve banking, which was practiced in his day as it is today, checkable deposits exceed species, commercial money and in Britain bank notes and in the United States silver dollars and US notes held by the bank; thus, they exceed what Weston considers real money. Any quality of money theory that ignores checkable deposits is a highly deficient theory. Nevertheless, Weston rejects the notion that checkable deposits are money and, therefore, need no consideration as part of the quantity of money or any quantity of money theory.
    A bank note is merely a check that a bank writes on itself. (Under the system advocated by Weston as modeled after the British system after 1844, this is not the case. Under the British system, what were called bank notes were similar to gold certificates issued in the United States. Whereas gold certificates were fully backed by gold, a fraction of the British notes was backed by nontradable government securities. Like gold certificates, they were warehouse receipts promising to pay the bearer in gold. Unlike US gold certificates, which were not legal tender, British notes were legal tender. Although Weston implies that making bank notes legal tender makes them real money, he seems to accept gold certificates as real money though they were not legal tender.) A bank note, even if it is merely a warehouse receipt, is a credit instrument because it is someone else’s liability. Weston rejects the notion that bank notes are credit instruments: a check that the issuer writes on itself to pay the bearer money, i.e., gold coin. To him, bank notes are money in their own right and are not promises to pay money, i.e., gold coin.
    An interesting note cited by Weston is that John Stuart Mills mused that under the right conditions, deposits and checks might replace currencies altogether. Weston thought that such a replacement was absurd. However, today, most countries are moving to eliminate currency and to force people to use bank deposits and checks, preferably with debit cards instead of paper checks. If this happens, the quantity of money, according to Weston’s theory, goes to zero: Money would cease to exist by his definition of money. Then what would fix the value of gold bullion?
    Weston displays inordinate confidence in the government to manage the country’s monetary system. As the history of the last 100 years shows, governments are highly incompetent in managing their monetary systems if the objective is to avoid inflation, hyperinflation, panics, depressions, recessions, and other economic and monetary disturbances and disasters. If the objective is to transfer wealth and power from the common people to the rich and powerful, they has been highly successful.
    When his quantity theory of money fails, Weston has an out, which is “everything else being equal.” When it fails, it is because “everything else is not equal.”
    In conclusion, Weston argues that the value of gold bullion does not control the value of gold coin or paper money kept at par with it. To the contrary, the opposite is true: The maximum value of gold bullion fluctuates with and is regulated by the value of gold coin and paper money at parity with gold coin. Moreover, the value of the monetary unit depends, other things being equal, on the quantity of monetary units, both coin and paper money.
    Weston errs when he claims that the value of the monetary unit gives gold bullion its value. To the contrary, the value of gold bullion gives the monetary unit its value. The value of gold preceded its use as money, and its use as money preceded its use as coin. Weston confuses value with price. The monetary unit gives gold its price, which is objective, but it does not give gold its value, which is subjective.

1. See “What is the Gold Standard” by Thomas Allen.

2. See “Is the Price of Gold Fixed Under the Gold Standard” by Thomas Allen.

3. See “The U.S. Note, 1862-1879" by Thomas Allen.

4. See “National Banking System” by Thomas Allen.

5.  See “The Silver Dollar 1873-1900" by Thomas Allen.

6. See “Real Bills Doctrine” by Thomas Allen.

7. See “Differences Between Real Money and Fiat Money” by Thomas Allen.

8. See "Difference Between Bank Notes and Government Notes" by Thomas Allen.

9. See “Extinguishing Debt” by Thomas Allen.

Copyright © 2017 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2019

A Letter: Miscegenation

A Letter: Miscegenation
Thomas Allen

[Editor’s note: The following is a letter written in 1996 responding to Mr. William Jasper about an article that he wrote, which was published in The New American, a magazine associated with the John Birch Society.]

    I must take issue with Mr. William Jasper ridiculing the very thought that miscegenation is genocide in “Phoney Trail to Oklahoma City.”
    Based on his attitude toward race or about the races of man, a person can be placed in one of several classes. Some know that the races are different, but the differences do not necessarily make one race innately superior to another in all things. Some are racists, who believe that one race, usually their own, is innately superior to others in most, if not all, things. Then there are the egalitarians, who believe that the races are equal and therefore identical, i.e., there is no perceptible difference between the races. Next are those who pride themselves for not noticing a person's race and those who claim that races do not exist. Finally, there are the integrationists, who believe that the highest form of man is amalgamated mongrel man. The following analogy and example should clarify these five positions on race.
    Eggs and feces both come from a chicken’s vent. Those who claim that the races are different, but that one is not necessarily superior to another, claim that eggs are superior human food and feces are superior plant food. The racists claim that eggs are superior; unless they are allergic to eggs and enjoy growing vegetables, then they claim that feces are superior. The egalitarians claim that no differences exist between eggs and feces and that feces are as good for human consumption as eggs are. Those who pride themselves for not noticing race and those who claim that no races exist do not know what they are eating. The integrationists claim that scrambling the eggs and feces together obtains the best dish.
    Apparently, Jasper believes that the best dish is eggs scrambled with feces, or else he cannot tell the difference.
    [Here is another analogy. Herefords and Jerseys are two different races of cattle. Those who claim that races are different but that one is not necessarily superior claim that Herefords are superior meat producers and that Jerseys are superior milk producers. Racists who prefer beef to dairy products claim that Herefords are superior. However, racists who prefer dairy products to beef claim that Jerseys are superior. Egalitarians claim that Jerseys are as good meat producers as Herefords and that Herefords are as good milk producers as Jerseys. Those who pride themselves for not noticing race and those who claim that there are no races would probably go broke in the dairy or beef business, for they would never know what kinds of cattle were in their herds. Integrationists claim that if Herefords and Jerseys were interbred, the results would be cattle that are superior to Herefords in meat production and superior to Jerseys in milk production.]
    Genocide is the systematic destruction of a race of people. Miscegenation, if carried to its conclusion, results in the destruction of at least one, often both, of the races that are intermarrying. Thus, miscegenation is genocide.
    To illustrate this point, consider an island with 50 men and 50 women of race A and 50 men and 50 women of race B. The 50 men of race A kill the 50 men and 50 women of race B. What is the result? Genocide. Race B has ceased to exist.
    Again, the 50 men of race A kill the 50 men of race B. They then rape the 50 women of race B, who then have hybrid offspring of mixed race AB. Or the 50 women of race B voluntarily become the wives of the men of race A and have children by them. The result is still the same; they have hybrid offspring of mixed race AB. Finally, if the men of race A have no sexual relationship with the women of race B, the women of race B have no children. What is the result of all three of these scenarios? Genocide. Race B ceases to exist when the last woman of race B dies.
    You may say (but then again, you may not) that these are obvious incidents of genocide because violence and murder are involved. However, what you fail to realize is that genocide can occur without violence and can even be voluntary.
    Return to the example island. The 50 men of race A lust (or desire or whatever verb you want to use) after the 50 women of race B and marry them while the 50 men of race B lust after the 50 women of race A and marry them. No violence or force is involved. Each man and woman freely and voluntarily chooses his mate. The offspring of these mixed marriages are of mixed race AB. When the last man and woman of race A or race B dies, that race ceases to exist. What is the result? Genocide. Both races have ceased to exist.
    Genocide can just as likely be voluntary as it can be involuntary. Genocide can be murder when one race deliberately kills another. Genocide can be suicide when one race deliberately kills itself by breeding itself out of existence. The only real difference between genocide by murder and genocide by miscegenation is that genocide by miscegenation usually takes longer. In both cases, the results are the same. The race has ceased to exist. Thus, miscegenation is genocide.
    Breeding the races out of existence is the liberal and neo-conservative solution to the race problem. It also appears to be Jasper’s solution. I find it repugnant and unscriptural.
    People who care so little for any race that they have no objection to breeding it out of existence must be filled with hate. I have no other explanation of why anyone would not object to breeding his own race and the other races involved out of existence. Anyone who loves his own race and those of his fellow man must adamantly oppose miscegenation.
    If this magazine’s position on miscegenation is that of Jasper, and I assume that it is since he is a senior editor, then let us have no more complaints about third world immigrants, legal or illegal. If the White race is not worth saving, then certainly Western Civilization, a culture built by and for the White race, is not worth saving. There is no need to object to races with alien cultures coming to this country and supplanting the culture brought here by Europeans. There is no need to object to other races coming to this country to breed the White race out of existence.
    In comparison with the National Alliance, The New American is more correct on economic matters and most political issues. However, on racial issues, the National Alliance is far ahead of The New American. Jasper criticizes the National Alliance leadership of being kinsmen of Marx on political-economic issues. From what I know about neo-Nazi groups, I agree with him. However, on race Jasper, not the National Alliance, is the Marxist.

Copyright © 1996, 2019 by Thomas Coley Allen.

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