God, The Fed, And The Constitution

I was in discussion yesterday with a seemingly intelligent scientist type, who proclaimed that our present economic system is capitalist because it allows a private party(The Federal Reserve) to create money and loan it to other people at a profit.

I pointed out to him that this was certainly a basic definition of capitalism for private businesses, but the essence of capitalism is that there is free competition among all businesses, and if a monopoly is achieved, it is achieved by the one that provides the best, most efficient service at the most economical prices. This means there should be more than the Federal Reserve Bank.

I am constantly amazed at how proponents of government regulation or socialism will twist the simplest arguments to hammer a square peg into a round hole. I am even amazed that so-called capitalists will nod their head in agreement to such arguments. But the real foundation of his argument was this:

Since the banks loaning money as private institutions are capitalism, this makes government necessary to control runaway capitalism, since unregulated bankers will control all wealth. His argument was seriously flawed, as I pointed out to him, by the simple fact that:
1.If such a system is to be truly capitalist, there must be competition among currency systems
2.If there was such competition, people would naturally turn to that system which best served the interests of each person

When I pointed out that the Federal Reserve was nowhere allowed in the Constitution, that only gold and silver were the recognized tender for all debt, he responded “Sure, go back to gold and silver, and watch our economy collapse”.

This is another red herring argument similar to the one he proposed in definition of capitalism. No doubt the economy would collapse if we went back to gold and silver, but that still doesn’t change the fact that only gold and silver are recognized as legal tender by the Constitution. By that simple definition , the Federal Reserve is unconstitutional.

His next argument was that, since the Constitution was the supreme law of the land, it had sovereign power to declare paper money as legal tender. Where have I heard that before? Oh yes, the “Legal Tender cases” argued just after the Civil War. SCOTUS had clearly declared, in early cases, that paper money was unconstitutional as legal tender. President Grant got elected, and there was some court packing with new justices sworn in, and suddenly paper money was constitutional!

What was their argument? That the Constitution was sovereign, so it could recognize paper money as legal tender. Specifically no authority is given, and the only place mentioned is in restriction to the states, so, argues my deceptively intelligent adversary, only the states are prohibited from issuing paper money.

Of course this has no weight at all, since one only has to look to the 10th amendment:
“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people”.

A simple statement. If a power is not delegated to the United States, it remains to the states or the people. Since the states can only recognize gold or silver as legal tender, the federal government is bound by the same rule. If no power is given, then no such power can be claimed. You might break it down even simpler, but there simply is not and cannot be any federal authority to recognize paper money as legal tender. By obvious and plainly written law, neither the states nor the federal government can declare paper money constitutional.

John Marshall had written, as Chief Justice, that so long as a law promotes an end within the scope of some enumerated power, extraneous objectives do not render it unconstitutional. Unfortunately, there is no enumerated power for legal tender.

The argument for the first central bank, the Bank of the United States, actually was proposed for reasons consistent with capitalism. Hamilton himself had argued that a federal bank could make private loans to augment business capital or satisfy consumer wants. certainly, under a general idea of capitalism, there is no reason why banks should not freely compete for business. But such competition opened up a can of worms in “McCulloch v Maryland”. Could the state tax federal banks? Certainly if it could tax state banks, it ought to have the right to tax federal banks, in the interest of free competition.

Marshall pointed out that the power to tax is the power to destroy, and the Bank of the United States could be destroyed by unregulated power to tax. Therefore, it could not be taxed. The argument from capitalism broke down right there. The fact that the federal banks were not taxed, while state banks were taxed, created a monopoly by the federal banks, who could ignore state taxes as part of their costs. They were immune in their functions to state scrutiny.

Not only is there no power given to create a federal bank, there is no authority given to create a corporation as a federal bank. Marshall had, in one act, given legitimacy to both federal corporations and federal banks with no evidence of any constitutional authority. But keep in mind that there was no argument on the abandonment of gold and silver as legal tender. The only issue was, can a federal bank be taxed by a state?

It wasn’t until the Legal Tender Act of 1862 that gold and silver were gradually abandoned as legal tender. In support of Lincoln’s war efforts, paper money was used to finance the needs of the war, and the confederacy was no different, issuing its own currency to finance the war for the South.

In 1789, the founders had eliminated the clause giving power to congress to “emit bils of credit” for financing its needs. By eliminating this clause, the 10th amendment became the true authority in such considerations, and no such power was permitted.

The court decided, in regard to paper as legal tender, that, “the degree of the necessity for any congressional enactment or the relative degree of its appropriateness, if it has any appropriateness, is for consideration in congress, not here”.

Passing the buck, not acting on plainly written laws, but simpy looking the other way. That’s what SCOTUS did in the interest of winning the war for the North, and later for giving almost unlimited power to the North for monetary expansion.

SCOTUS had not one law to support paper money as legal tender, so they threw it to congress. In “Knox v Lee” SCOTUS held that the government’s monetary power was inherent in its sovereigny; thus it need not be enumerated in the Constitution.

IOW, the federal government could do precisely what the constitution said it could not do!

In dissent, Justice Stephen J. Field declared:
“If there be anything in the history of the Constitution which can be established with moral certainty, it is that the framers of that instrument intended to prohibit the issue of legal tender notes by the general government and by the states; and thus prevent interference with the contracts of private parties”.

So, if the power of the Fed to issue paper money is capitalism, then so can other parties issue paper money as a competitive enterprise.

But the issue, as presented by my pseudo-intellectual friend, completely ignored the difference between “legal tender” which presents a monopoly on all transactions, and free competition among systems of “tender” for private contract. If, as he said, the Fed is a private banking business, the best it can offer is “tender” for payment, and not legal tender, since it is not an agency of government. If it IS an agency of government, all notes would of necessity be backed by gold and silver, since the Constitution plainly declares that only gold and silver are recognized tender.

These are simple arguments; logical, consistent with law, and presented many times, yet SCOTUS, which originally offered no resistance to congress to create legal tender, and now enforces congress on legal tender, actually refuses to look at the plainly written law itself and make a ruling on constitutionality. In fact, SCOTUS has forfeited all claim to judicial authority in that act alone, by their own statements!

You can’t actually call them a lawbreaker, since they stepped back and let congress decide on what was obviously unconstitutional, and then forfeited all authority to a private banking institution, but you CAN call them irresponsible and incompetent, and by law, you can simply ignore them.

Where does “God” come in on all of this? Even God has declared no monopoly on our actions. He has shown no claim on one belief over another, nor has He determined that any one system of government or religion has a power over any other, yet our states and federal government declare themselves “under God” doing exactly what God himself has never done!

“God” And Nightmares

Our culture seems to be haunted by often recurring dreams in different forms. Frankenstein, the man re-created from spare parts, in a time pre-dating our technology of human spare parts. Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where imagined a group of aliens leaving pods that became identical replicas of our friends and loved ones. Terminator, where we battled the machines that developed their own intelligence.

All of them seem to be variations of our realizations of our own selves, of our own powers, extended technologically into a possibly nightmarish world that we once hoped to be happy and fulfilling.

As Slater writes:

“Every technological advance contains within itself a monster, for each one expresses in one form or another man’s monstrous narcissism as well as the simple desires of which it appears superficially to be an expression”.

McLuhan pointed out(Understanding Media) that “narcissus” comes from the Greek “narcosis”, and is a form of “numbing” as we extend ourselves into our environment. All technological extensions of any body part act as a kind of “local anesthetic” on the part being extended. Our fantasies, therefore, really are part of us, just as the nightmares are also a part of us. For the Terminator, there is the machine that wants to overcome us, and this is a very real part of ourselves, as we are the mechanical extensions of negative feedback processes of the genes, that cartel creating the “purpose machine” that uploaded themselves into our bodies. We are, in fact, a means to an end, and that end is the replication of other genes.

Slater, in agreement with McLuhan writes:

It is with the psychic equivalent of Novacain that we do manage to adapt to change. By numbing ourselves to life, by distancing ourselves from our senses, by losing events in a haze of conceptualizations, we escape the trauma of personal disruption.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers is very real, because we are, after all, controlled by a kind of mechanical “body snatchers” that operate within us, and we are subject to their functions and malfunctions. The genes are “us” but they are not “us”, yet we must have them to survive. We are a colony of genes, and mechanically operated genes at that, with only the goal of replication.

Again, from Slater:

“The attempt to control and master the environment thus automatically pollutes it, for it decreases that aspect of the environment that renews, refreshes, surprises, and delights us….our mastery of the world has proceeded to the point where the parts of ourselves that we have extruded into it keep backing up and flooding the personality with its own rejected components.”

In systems of nature, as Slater points out, living systems must recycle the waste that they produce. What we produce, by our deadening of the senses and the narcissistic control of the environment, is psychic waste. The ever more powerful controls we force on our environment comes back to haunt us, and we fear the effects of our own technological extensions. If the genes operate by adjusting and seeking equilibrium from negative feedback, our conscious minds seek to achieve equilibrium using coping mechanisms of conscious choice to escape the negative feedback of our own technologies.

But more recent discussions suggest something more than just cultural memes”, but also “temes”, technological memes which extend and compete for recognition as further extensions of our lives. There is the feedback from which Terminator comes. “I” seek to be in control of my environment because I know I am not in control of my environment at some unconscious level, so I must find ways to extend and enlarge that control, whether by organizing(which simply brings the same competitive forces into play), or by voting(which merely reduces your “power’ to an average of all who vote), or by seeking a democracy(which is merely reducing all social power to statistically decided decisions of majority rule).

Each strategy above is merely the reduction of your personal power to the control of the superorganism, merely a conscious extension of the cartel of genes that seek to replicate, and your individual power within society is minimized so that you must maintain “equilibrium” in order to successfully “replicate”.

In fact, you have merely taken the “numbing” of your brain by technological extension and used that same extension to create yet another numbing effect of government by statistical extension of “you”, in the hopes that it will generate enough similarity and control of others so that “you” can be recognized. This becomes the near perfect strategy for the replication of genes and memes.

So we feel now that we are the victims of conspiracies to take over our lives, and we have merely contributed to our own conspiracies. As Pogo said “We have met the enemy, and he is us”.

But let us not forget the zombies that have recently taken over our imagination. The “living dead’ who feel no pain, whose only need is to feast on us, and thereby infect us with their “deadness” . These zombies,  the symbolic extensions of our technological selves into an environment from which we wished to escape, only to be cornered from every direction by the living dead.

As DESO author Reed Kinney writes, our society seems to be guided by “pathology and necrophilia, where necrophilia is defined as “the compulsion to dismember life.”

But what of pathology? Slater writes:

…the dearest wish of the thoroughly indoctrinated individualist is that he might pursue a life devoid of negative feedback–that he would be ‘right on’ eternally, never deflected from his rigid and purely self-perpetuating course.
“In brief, the existence of linearity betrays the absence of negative(that is, corrective) feedback, and the inability to receive negative feedback is ultimately calamitous….If the concept of pathology has any utility at all, linearity is pathological.

Remember that the “purpose machine” built by the genes functioned by establishing equilibrium based on negative feedback. If the human body which is a product of the genes finds ways of ignoring negative feedback, the ultimate result is a cancer-like condition, a “balance wheel lost, and the system runs amuk”.

The problem, not yet fully realized, is that the human brain, even with its decision-making abilities, was NOT created to ignore negative feedback, but to respond with behaviors that ensured the genes were secure to function in their own capacity. The fact that human minds began developing symbol systems that involved linearity, shaped by the alphabet, allowed them to extend their cultures by virtue of that symbol system, and begin ignoring feedback. We come full circle to the “Tower of Babel and The Gray Goo” in my essays below.

Slater writes:

“The schizoid defense becomes possible with the emergence of the capacity to generate manipulate, and relate symbols. Once that ability exists it is possible for the organism to withdraw from the complex network of mutual feedback in which it is embedded and respond to its inner circuitry alone. Nature and the body no longer rule the organism”.

The organism begins to respond pathologically to its own inner circuitry, and seek to extend itself into the environment, controlling it, and reducing nature to what is contained within that linear symbol system.

It was Jesus who offered us the counter process to this system:

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
“And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these”.(Matthew 6:28)

This was not the advocacy of a “do nothing” lifestyle, but the realization that we are embedded in a natural system in which all living things interact and respond according to mutual feedback systems. We are part of all that is. As to those who follow the policies of pathologies and Necrophilia, Jesus responded “Let the dead bury the dead”.

“God” Is Not What You Think!

The fundamental unit, the prime mover of all life, is the replicator. A replicator is anything in the universe of which copies are made….Once a replicator has come into existence it is capable of generating an indefinitely large set of copies of itself”–Richard Dawkins, The Selfish Gene

The replicator involved in making copies of life here on earth is referred to as the gene. Its job is to make copies of itself, and to control its immediate environment as much as possible in order for perfect replication. The study of the “selfish gene” in Dawkins’ book is to show what environmental factors encourage certain developments that ensure successful replication.

If the gene is directed by a “purpose”, therefore, its purpose is to replicate and maintain equilibrium with its surrounding environment in order to keep replicating. In order to replicate, as Dawkins has already shown us, the “purpose machine” we call the gene “Measures the discrepancy between the current state of things and the ‘desired state’, and it is built in such a way that the larger the discrepancy, the harder the machine works“.

Eric Hoffer, in The True Believer, pointed out this same parallel, whether he realized it or not, when he asked, “Whence comes the impulse to proselytize?” What Hoffer described as an “insufficiency at the center” could also describe the “discrepancy between current state of things, and the ‘desired’ state”.

This is also the principle of “negative feedback” described by Norbert Weiner in 1943 on the study of Cybernetics. He wrote a paper titled “Behavior, Purpose, And Teleology“. Robert Wright describes this process in a book titled Three Scientists And Their Gods:

“One point of the paper was that, with the aid of the concept of feedback, purposeful behavior could be explained in a concrete, scientific manner, without attributing present events to future events, and without reference to states of mind. Thus, a working toilet is a perfectly mechanical thing, and it complies entirely with the laws of physics. We presume that it has no sensation of ‘wanting’ to be filled and that there is no sense in which the future state of fullness is ‘causing’ the alteration of its present emptiness. Rather, the information is set up to flow in such a way that the toilet will behave as if these things were the case. So too with the bacterium: the causes and effects lying behind its relocation have nothing mystical about them; perfectly concrete , abiding by the laws of physics, just flows in a way that fosters the illusion of guidance. And, really, it’s not an illusion; these flows of information amount to guidance.”

Now we can look again at the statement of Dawkins. “The larger the discrepancy(between current state and “desired” state) the harder the machine works“. Now, we can return to a parallel presented by Hoffer:

“The proselytizing fanatic strengthens his own faith by converting others. The creed whose legitimacy is most easily challenged is likely to develop the strongest proselytizing impulse”.

Think about it in terms of Weiner’s Cybernetics. Why would his proselytizing zeal become stronger the more easily his creed is challenged? Because the larger the discrepancy between the present state and the ‘desired’ state, the harder the machine works.

If the proselytizing fanatic feels driven by a compelling power greater than himself, it is most likely that he is! His “feelings” will be driven by the desperate need to create equilibrium between himself and his environment! In truth, however, he is merely operating according to the laws of physics, and serving the needs of the “replicator” within himself.

Hoffer continues:

“It is doubtful whether a movement which does not profess some preposterously and patently irrational dogma can be possessed of that zealous drive which ‘must either win men or destroy the world.’ It is also plausible that those movements with the greatest inner contradiction between profession and practice–that is to say with a strong feeling of guilt–are likely to be the most fervent in imposing their faith on others.”

Hoffer has merely described purely mechanical conditions that follow the laws of physics according to Cybernetics and Information Theory! An individual who senses a strong inner contradiction between current state and desired state will work with the greatest zeal to achieve equilibrium between the two! This is not something mystical. it is not something that requires a “higher power” other than the “higher power” of the replicating gene seeking to gain equilibrium for successful replication. It is a simple and basic description of a mechanical process defined in Cybernetics.

We may begin to define “religion” as a perceived disequilibrium between the current state and the desired state. Instead of adapting the replicating process to the current state, religion increasingly seeks to make the current state adapt to the desired state, an actual reversal of biological processes of nature. The greater the perceived discrepancy, the harder the religion works to establish equilibrium between the two. We use words to describe this, such as “narcissism” and “anthropomorphism”, making “man” the center of all purpose, and extending it in a linear fashion into our environment.

This takes us back to the earlier essay on the Tower of Babel and the “Gray Goo”. The people, aware of their ability to organize and and define goals, focused on one goal, the building of the tower, not realizing that their goal would create an even greater discrepancy between their desire and the current state of their environment. By focusing on the building of the tower to the exclusion of more direct needs of survival, they were destroying the very environment on which they depended. This is the fundamental principle we recognize as entropy. The more you organize in one area, the greater “chaos” results in related areas, because energy can neither be created nor destroyed. It must be ” borrowed” from another system to “organize” the system on which we focus. In their attempts to focus on a singular goal to “reach unto God”, the people created a humanly devised religion, and they were creating a discrepancy between the existing state of the environment on which they depended, and the desired goal of getting to God.

According to genesis 11 therefore, “God” did exactly what religions do NOT do: he confused their languages so they had to respond more as individuals to their environment. The harder we seek “God” by following “internal circuitry” the greater the discrepancy between existing state and desired state!

In seeking “God”, human nature actually works ass backwards!