Monday, July 19, 2010

Religion and Usury

I'd like to address the religious aspects of outlawing usury before tackling the real issue. This is background stuff, don't go calling me anti-Semite or un-American. If I happen to draw attention to something that irks you, well, so what? Am I really going to change your faith?

As you probably know, Islam forbids usury. The Muslims have worked out a sophisticated banking system that does not directly charge interest, but as I've repeatedly reminded people, usury is much more than simple interest. The Muslim bankers still collect obscene “profits.”

The Catholics forbade usury for hundreds of years. They looked the other way though when Catholics dealt with moneylenders of other religious persuasions. Strange that every one of the three big religions once had a very low opinion of lending money at interest. Remember, this was in times before fractional banking -- they prohibited taking interest on "hard" money.

The bottom line is, for whatever reason, the major religions all once agreed that cheating people is not a good idea – to some extent, they still do. The mainstream view today, however, is that charging interest on a loan isn't really cheating. I wonder if God has switched to the mainstream view?

Anyway, I'll bet that usury is still a bit of a sore subject for most religious believers. Maybe they think it's wrong, somehow, but everyone does it anyway. Asking for interest is just a little sin, at worst, isn't it?

I can't speak for most religions, but I was nearly successfully brainwashed by the Southern Baptists. I learned that after Armageddon, a giant Jesus on a white horse and carrying a flaming sword, would descend from the clouds and bring us all peace at last.

The Southern Baptists taught me a lot of strange things, but the strangest was that to correctly interpret the word of God, you have to be a “believer.” They talk a lot about Jesus, but I think they missed His point completely.

According to my Sunday School teachers, Jesus was sent on a mission from God as a the final required blood sacrifice to save us from our sins. This should have come as good news for sheep. But if dying for our sins was all Jesus came for, He could have easily done so without drawing so much attention to Himself. You might argue that Jesus had to be famous or no one would hear of Him, but hearing of Him wasn't required if His only mission here were to die.

The Baptists tried to confuse me with stories out of the Old Testament (before Jesus) but I didn't buy any of it once they let slip that Jesus' real message, the point of His entire life, was to illustrate the effectiveness of the Golden Rule. He who has the gold rules. No, wait, it was “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Play fair. That's all He really said, and for that He was crucified.

Some people will argue that Jesus said more like,”Play fair 'cause God said so,” but whatever.

Anyway, my point is that there is a compelling religious argument against usury. If someone joins the movement to end usury for religious reasons, I would welcome them. Religious belief alone is not sufficient reason to ban anything is it? Let's ban usury out of good common sense.

Usury is cheating. There is a whole lot of cheating going on today. Most cheating has been so institutionalized that it is not only legal, but morally acceptable to most people. Poor people have become so accustomed to being cheated, that they just shrug and say the world isn't fair. What can you do, after all, when everybody is cheating you from every direction? Is it surprising that some people decide to cheat right back? As a former Marine, I know what payback is.

So, the religious connotation to calling for zero interest rates for all people is palpable. The topic is unavoidable so it must be discussed. The major religions have systematically fallen to the delight of usury. It's human nature to want to get one over on the other guy, isn't it? A predatory attitude is a profitable perspective, it's just good business. A little corruption erodes at integrity until there is a gaping hole in the middle of our economy. Thirty percent interest rates used to land people in prison.

My call for zero interest rates for all isn't based on any religious beliefs I may or may not have, but simply an acknowledgment that charging interest is the root cause of inflation and inflation is bad. Mathematically Perfected Economy(TM) requires zero interest to work. MPE(TM) is an important concept in a truly free society. I do wish they'd drop the TM, though...

We must free our money from the grasp of those who would control us through finance. Money measures wealth, and true wealth comes from work. American money should be created by Americans, for Americans to use in their pursuit of life, liberty and happiness. The way money is currently doled out by foreigners (the City) means Americans perform services that mostly benefits the status quo.

The way things are, money only appears where “they” want it to appear. For example, despite our current depression, I understand the military is still hiring. Government contracts out work, and sometimes that is the most efficient way to use the funds. Sometimes, government work actually improves our lives. Money well spent – almost makes up for the other 99% of money being wasted.

Our banking system makes a boatload of money for the bankers and generates a lot of cash flow for politicians. The debt has built up for years and now we're having trouble keeping up the payments. You can go into the technical details, but rest assured once you penetrate the purposeful obfuscation your gut feeling will be that you're being “used.” The bankers use the government to enforce usury. It's not fair, but that's the way it is. Isn't it time we square things up? Who should control American money?

Everybody understands something evil is running the world, and I've just explained who is doing the running of said world. The banker's power come from usury – it is how they fund the entire, corrupt system. Outlawing usury would end many of our world's problems.

I believe that a man has an inalienable right to the profit of his own work. Whatever you can accumulate in wealth without infringing upon others rights is OK, by me. I see nothing wrong with a world where some people are rich and others poor(er.) We may have equal rights, but we have different abilities and should be rewarded for extra effort. A working man is as entitled to his profit just the same as anyone else, including bankers.

I said earlier that money is work. I'm sure a lot of people pointed and cried,”Money is debt! I saw it on YouTube!” Now, what is debt? How did you create the debt? What are you going to have to do to fulfill your debt? A few of you have enough money not to work to pay your debts, but that money will cause someone else to work somehow, it always does. Money is work. Money directs work.

Viewing money as work explains why all those rich people keep trying to get richer despite having more money than they could ever spend. Control the productive output of society and you control where society is headed. Hire more police, fund more lawyers or research face-recognition software.

Realistically, I don't expect to convince very many people to demand zero interest loans just like those given to Ben Bernanke (except, of course, limited by real credit and collateral. Ben's just stealing.) But I'd like to plant a seed of thought that might germinate in the heat of financial conflagration.

Even the most ardent usurer must today agree that the system we live under is near collapse, the signs are there for all to see. There is a lot of work that needs to be done, but no money to pay for it. Roads and bridges and sewer systems are less important than the banker's bottomless pockets.

Something is about to change, I can feel it and I don't think it's going to be pretty. I think it is my duty to point out that “usury kills” so that it is clear what to expect from usurers (including governments.) Once the smoke clears, instead of a reset of debt followed by more usury, maybe we can finally break free of this cycle of madness. A handful of thoughtful laws that really stop cheaters would be infinitely preferable to the legal labyrinth that today enables a small group of people to use everyone else.

Don't stop using people because God forbade usury, just start legalizing fairness. The world needn't be unfair. Civil people shouldn't tolerate usury. Let's start by outlawing interest payments and work our way toward enlarging fine print.

One last point here, seemingly completely unrelated, is the controversy over abortion. Abortion is a wedge issue used to divide people on other issues. Nobody likes abortion. Maybe it should be illegal, but then what to do with all those orphans? Let's work this one out after we fix our money. One of the biggest arguments in favor of abortion is that children are expensive, after all. MPE(tm) will make everything more affordable, including children. With real money, life in general will become more pleasurable, so why not invite others to enjoy it?

In closing, let me say clearly that I am not a Jesus Freak. I would like to believe in God, but I don't.

I like the Golden Rule, whoever invented it. It's pretty simple: No one likes being ripped off.

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