The poet W. B. Yeats strove to make a unity of his life. “Hammer your thoughts into unity,” was his expression of that. Few things are more important for us today, as things and causes are automatically shunted into categorical boxes where they are rendered impotent like a freshly slaughtered Egyptian chicken tossed into a large can, there to thrash about until finally dead. “Kettling” anyone?
Thus, deeply moved by the Occupy Wall Street movement and its spread far and wide, and alarmed at the attempts of the media to ignore it or trivialise it, and the attempts of the various alternative ideologues to categorise it according to their predilections, I want to bring this event up against another theme, that of hidden idolatry. This theme, Uthman Ibrahim-Morrison and I touched upon before in The Age of Freedom although it seemed to us much more obvious that Freedom as exemplified by the Statue of Liberty had become an openly worshipped idol rather than an example of concealed idolatry.
Finally we have woken up to the power realities of the age: forget the governments; go for the bankers. Governments have been exposed as powerless before their creditors to whom they humbly submit with a sycophancy that is repellent. At the core of the process there is yet another idol. We might characterise an idol as some thing that is feared or hoped for with unrealistic expectations. To the outsider, the worship of the idol can seem strange and self-evidently dysfunctional. As the votary prostrates and pleads before some stone figurine and supplicates it, the observer is repelled by the oddness of the whole experience, unless afflicted by a misplaced dose of anthropologist’s empathy. “It is only a stone,” one wants to cry out, “it can neither hear you, nor answer your prayers!”
However, most of us are just as guilty as the most primitive animist or polytheist; we hourly attribute wealth to bits of paper with numbers printed on them, for around 4% of the time, and, for the rest of the time, to electronic impulses whizzing through circuitry. And because of this primitive delusion, we are prey to those who print this dwindling portion of what they laughingly call ‘the money supply’ and who indeed are increasingly resorting to printing gazillions of it at the slightest urge, and prey even more to those who simply create money by entering some figures in a spreadsheet.
Now, the most terrible threat facing the ‘Occupy Together’ movement is not suppression or police brutality, but to settle for reform, and this dreadful possibility is already implicit in the way that the movement’s goals have been framed. The slogans read “X% of the population control Y% of the wealth”, which suggests that if we can rebalance those figures in some arbitrary way, we can all go home. But. As long as we are in thrall to money that is invented at will by disreputable people – and be under no illusion about this; these are some of the most sordid human beings you will ever meet, except that they have simply no intention of meeting the likes of you and me – the percentages are irrelevant. Why? Because if there is an even playing field and one player can invent money out of nothing and charge even a minuscule rate of interest, he must in the end take the entire game. It is a rigged game. The rules are inexorable.
The answer? Return to a money that cannot be invented at will. It does not really matter what that is. People throughout history have put gold and silver at the top of the list. Then? Put a stop to those percentages because even with gold and silver if someone can charge others even a minuscule 1% interest, he is going to end up with it all again, and we are back where we started. Is that all? No. There is more, but that is a good start. Some of it is in Banking, the root cause of the injustices of our time. Buy it here.