"Wherefore We must interrupt a silence which it would be criminal to prolong, that We may point out...as they really are, men who are badly disguised." Pope St. Pius X, September 8, 1907, Pascendi Dominici Gregis


Thursday, January 18, 2018

The Choreography of the Revolution

Most of the politically aware are excellent first level thinkers. We might say a little too good. And so it is at the second level or some higher level of analysis that we find the influence of evil more defined - the devil is in the details, as it were.

We have established the outlines of our revisionist thesis, that in the grand story of Western Civilization it is in fact the element most oft maligned for its authoritarian influence that actually laid the groundwork for political freedoms of the West, the Church, while Her enemies took advantage of a strategic misstep on the Church's part in not recognizing a certain symmetry between Herself and the emergent bourgeois political movements in the post-'Enlightenment' era.

These enemies coupled the new political move towards self-aware capitalism with their anti-monarchical and hyper-rationalist mindset. While it is clear now that the bourgeois classes were much better off under the monarchies that prevailed before their political movement swept in democracies, a corollary to our thesis is that the leaders of this Revolution considered all along that the bourgeois were their cattle to slaughter. And while the Church in her right political mind had and would continue to have built in many defenses of the lesser owners of private property absent Her strategy in Her war with Her enemies, those who opposed Her set out to ride the catalyst of the social rearrangements that accompanied mass-industrialization to a political supremacy that would allow them to take these new classes of lesser capitalist for all their worth.

The proof is in the pudding. At no time in history have the Western peoples been more taxed, more regulated, less free and more disquieted. The superficiality of Capitalism that pervades the West is more a figment of the remnant of the Cold War imagination than a proper notion of what social system actually prevails in the West. Through a combination of soft and hard social measures, the elites of the West have a populace that owns property in name only. When any second level analysis is done it becomes clear that while property titles might be held in private names, what can be done with the property is almost entirely proscribed by the state. And even to retain nominally private title, the state must be paid off many times over.

How has this been done? How is it that a populace now nearly devoid of any of the prerequisites of private action are more convinced than ever that they suffer, to one degree or another, under the supposed constraints that such a system sustains?

No doubt it has been a piecemeal process. Part and parcel to this process has been the denaturing of any so-called conservative resistance. What we have seen in the United States in particular since at least the end of the Second World War is a choreography of conservative resistance to a sustained liberal onslaught.



What is simultaneously endearing and disarming is that the conservative popinjay is often seen as a very affable guy. While he retains the air of his patrimony, in point of fact, no longer having recourse to the unshakeable cornerstone of Christ the King and the Thomistic underpinnings of natural law, our conservative figures are found most often at a loss when pressed hard to stand for a consistently conservative agenda. This inability to stall the tide of liberalism plays perfectly into the aforesaid piecemeal approach of the Revolution.

Instead, each conservative figure becomes a fulcrum around which social changes progress unabated. Beloved as an inept throwback to those with conservative leanings, these figures embody the very state of conservative resistance, while they are sometimes snickered at and other times more lightheartedly mocked by those most ardent in their wish to destroy Western civilization. My parent's generation had Archie Bunker; the current political firmament, Donald Trump. One perhaps no less fictional than the other.

This planned obsolescence of conservative ideals, each succeeding generation of conservatives further removed from adherence to the foundational teachings of Western civilization, leaves the next generation of conservatives smaller in number and more adrift. The power elite are successful in their choreographed campaign of scorn against this evermore intellectually diminished contingent of society.

Yet, the truth is not easily overcome. There remains two distillations of Western thought that have remained largely immune to this failure of popular conservatism. One is the traditional element of the Church; the other is the natural law formulations of the School of Austrian Economics. The first represents the original and true foundation for our civilization. The other is an important refinement of natural law scholarship that makes crystal clear the ways in which the state is to be limited in order for private society to flourish. We are convinced that it will be a coupling of these two elements that will eventually undo the present hegemony of the liberal state.

Saturday, January 13, 2018

An Austro-Catholic Political Primer

The following synopsis of our social-political situation will draw on the specifics of the Catholic faith and Austrian economics to characterize the details thereof.
 
The history of Western civilization is one of a general rise and fall. We take the rise largely for granted. Our discussion will focus primarily on the political dynamics of the fall, which has its origin and impetus in the so-called 'Enlightenment.'
 
A funny thing happened on the way to Christendom. Actually, two funny things happened. The first was that, without fully realizing it, that is to say, without doing so with a conscious effort, the foundations of Western civilization were laid with an important duality. This was not a philosophical duality as much as a very important concrete one. The power of religion and the rule of law, which in the autocracies of the past had always been unified, was split between the Catholic Church and the various States of Christendom, with in fact the Church taking under ideal conditions at least the primary role and the state the secondary. For the first time in human history those who held the reigns of power were seen broadly to take a secondary role subject to a higher moral authority. Political power, thus, was broken, divided, distributed, and subject to a set of values it had in a immediate sense no role in creating. This is unique to the Western political situation and quite importantly explains why the West was able to develop in a way denied to every other civilization and culture in the world.
 
The second funny thing is that as this situation came finally into a more conscious existence, it is precisely in this process and at this time that its enemies took credit for the good therein and began a subtle campaign of overthrowing the very foundations thereof. This is what we will speak of primarily today.
 
A regime of decentralized power, and we call it so only in comparison to every other system that came before it, was indeed a product of the mind of the Church. Only Catholicism champions in its Thomistic philosophy 'subsidiarity,' a notion that "just as it is gravely wrong to take from individuals what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the community, so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do. For every social activity ought of its very nature to furnish help to the members of the body social, and never destroy and absorb them." So says Pope Pius XI in Quadragesimo Anno. Indeed, we would assert this as merely common sense. No special insight is needed to recognize such truth, except to man who is fallen. For the first time, in the West, this principle was enacted on a rather broad scale, resulting in the relatively small and overlapping 'states' and other jurisdictions of the Middle Ages which in competition with one another established favorable legal terms for voluntary associations and smaller (as well as the larger) holders of private property.
 
It is with sad irony then that just as the enemies of the Church began to get an upper hand during the Protestant revolt in some countries and then more broadly in the French Revolution, nationalistic uprisings and finally the moves to 'popular sovereignty' as it were towards the end of World War I, that the Church embraced more consciously the role of certain absolute monarchies, while the enemies of the Church began to identify themselves, if only deceitfully, with the emergent political self-consciousness on the part of the beneficiaries of the aforementioned decentralized political order. Part of our thesis might be summarized in this way, that as the international division of labor developed and intensified under the auspices of an expanding capitalism, the Church missed a natural alliance with the increasingly skilled, yet relatively politically weak bourgeois classes. Instead, and sometimes without sufficient consideration as to the ultimate basis for these newly self-aware capitalists, She threw Her weight more forcefully behind certain remaining centralized Catholic states. Of course, such a strategy is defensible at least in the immediate sense as this was seen at the time as the most efficacious means to defend the Church from the secular encroachment. Indeed it is the bourgeois classes that should express greater regret for having sided with the enemies of monarchy who ended up more tyrannical than the tyrannies they supposedly uprooted. However, in a broader sense it was clear that the more fully decentralized order of the Middle Ages, to which the Church in Her primordial role gave rise, was the true political order of Christendom, abandoned now because Her enemies had usurped the power of various states attacking thereby the role of the Church in society. In this way the Church was seemingly in need of somewhat comparably powerful states to defend it.
 
The deepest irony then is that just as the decentralized order that arose first in the Middle Ages, which gave birth to the notion of true Christian liberty wherein those who are capable of doing so are freed to fulfill their responsibilities to God directly, had obtained mere embryonic consciousness of itself under the auspices of the Church, the beneficiaries of this order allied themselves with the very enemies thereof. A fully conscious capitalism, as this economic order for better or for worse came to be known, resulted in the various, classical liberal movements in Europe. These movements were harnessed by the enemies of the Church as a means to uproot the old monarchical and ecclesiastical order. Yet both the Church, insofar as She missed Her preeminent role in giving rise to a decentralized, capitalistic order, and more especially the classical liberals, insofar as they were acting in good-faith, made a grave mistake. The logical or proper political order is such that the only way to organize society, absent a disproportionate role of the state, is the so-called capitalist or private property based social order. What was missing from many prominent voices of the Church, perhaps mistaking crasser politics for their ideal of the state, was a conscious realization that in siding with the existent monarchies without a concomitant affirmation of the role of the emergent capitalist classes they had, unwittingly perhaps, begun to intimate an out-sized role for the state. The capitalist classes, too, made the mistake of allying themselves with the contingent of radicals whose only purpose exists in overriding any duly established authority whatsoever.
 
The product of this mish-mash of Church allied to a centralized state, which with hindsight today it is clear is a primary competitor with Her for the souls of men, and the burgeoning capitalist class allied with the free-masonic desire to destroy all inherent social order is our current political predicament. Indeed, capitalism today is largely misidentified with the nations most enthralled to the free-masonic order, the United States and Britain, while "laissez-faire"-ism remains all but a four letter word in Catholic circles. Yet, as the foremost economist of the Austrian School today, a School gestated by the Austro-Hungarian monarchy whose principled adherence to private property and rightly-ordered decentralization is based entirely on natural law considerations, Hans Hermann Hoppe makes clear, the capitalist classes were much better off under the regime of monarchy which they had a primary role in overthrowing. The Masonic forces have made their ultimate ends much clearer with the arrival of now defunct Communism in the East and the much more resilient, at least to this point in time, popular socialism and cultural Marxism of the West. Indeed, Hoppe argues, it can only be under an umbrella of a universally recognized moral order such as the Church provided that any true capitalism can subsist. Moreover, our current political order with its state control over money issuance, education, excessive taxation, and hyper-regulation more resembles the political order envisioned by Marx and Engels than anything the bourgeois liberal parties had in mind.
 
Much as Christendom originally maintained herself, it is only through the physical removal of the opponents of a decentralized, private-property based social order that any semblance of civilization can be reinstated. It is only the Church, built upon Her universal morality, that can be heeded and entrusted with any such morally stringent policy. We have come full circle. The Western private property social order is largely eroded and must be re-established by the Church. This time with the aid of the Austrians, let Her do so somewhat more consciously.


Monday, December 25, 2017

Tom Woods On The Church & The Market

The quintessential thesis of ActualAnarchy is that the Church gave us Capitalism, the morals of the Church are the only way to sustain Capitalism, and the path to a reinvigorated Church must include a return to this property-centric, decentralized, voluntarist order. Tom Woods summarizes his The Church & The Market here.


Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Fr. Ripperger's Masterful Synopsis

In the video series below, Fr. Ripperger does a masterful job of summarizing our present predicament. One note, and we defer to those of equal authority who would say so, as far as a free market not existing in our present state of affairs, this is indisputable. But we will reiterate that the historical conditions most likely to sustain the existence of anything resembling a free market are the very ones which Fr. Ripperger is advocating, a Catholic culture, which gave rise to unbridled capitalism in the first place.



 



Sunday, December 3, 2017

A True Enlightenment Is Just Beginning

One of the saddest things we witness is faithful traditional Catholics of good heart and mind falling into the same economic trap as the statists, socialists and those that just oppose order and private property. Fortunately such Catholics realize that there is a universal truth and we are able with sufficient effort to assemble rationally the precepts of this truth. Not all is lost! This applies as much to economics as theology.

There's plenty of room for concern. The Angelic Doctor gave us a number of starting points when talking about economics, but these are not necessarily sufficiently organized in his writing to give us the discipline of economics forthrightly. It took further centuries to distill various Thomistic truths about economics, and ensure through validating the self-referential logic of the premises that they had formed into a coherent whole properly called economics.

The Austrians emerged the masters of this effort, which they picked up from the late Spanish Scholastics most notably when Carl Menger solved the diamond-water paradox through his use of marginal economic analysis (for Menger this was absent of any utilitarian considerations). That these same economists went on to faithfully serve the Hapsburgs, the last great Catholic monarchs, as tutors, professors, and government officials over multiple generations, held titles of nobility granted by the same, and even gave us the open-shut case against both the economic errors of Russia (more than 60 years before the end of the Soviet Union!) and, proportionally, our own socialist economic errors in the West today, should give Catholics at least some inclination towards their thought.

Who realizes all of this???

Sadly, many leading Catholic intellectuals are oblivious. They just don't see that Capitalism is rooted in Catholicism.

There is a way around this.

In fact, you can learn the most advanced economic truths brought to you by the same man that wrote The Church and The Market: A Catholic Defense of the Free Economy.

Get tutored just like the Hapsburgs by the leading Austrian economists of our day.

Enter Tom Woods' "Liberty" classroom today!

The materialists that control our modern political and economic system want to keep us in a true economic dark age. Their professed social goals are in religion, atheism, in economics, non-ownership, in politics, chaos.

Take ownership of your education today!

Russia has spread her errors around the world. Just as Our Lady of Fatima predicted, abortion, atheism, schism, communism and socialism have inundated the West. Our Lady has also promised us victory over these dire forces of Satan. Will you not join the effort and learn the economic truths that will free us from their anti-private property schemes?

Of course what we need is a synthesis of the economic truths brought to us by the Austrian School and the long-standing social mores of the Church. Imagine a free and prosperous Catholic country where stores are closed on Sunday, abortion is illegal, private property is protected, the charity of the Church takes a leading social role and money is as good as gold. How can we ever get here if traditional Catholics don't learn the best justifications for such an economic regime?

Learn the basics of Austrian economics today!

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

The Inversion of the Freemasonic Myth

The libertarian vanguard is increasingly coming to the realization that, just as libertarian theory would tend to suggest, the standard historical narrative told by the intellectuals enthralled to the ruling bankster and governmental elite, is an exact inversion of the truth.

In America in particular we come to the conclusion after decades of public school indoctrination that anything coming before the so-called "Enlightenment" is a priori, as it were, dark, authoritarian and backward. Adam Smith, not so coincidentally in the same year as the start of the American Revolution, gave us everything we need to know about economics recalled in his famous dictum of the "invisible hand." Of course Britain, that foremost protestant, Banker, and free-masonic power, spread the 'majesty' of her culture throughout the world, giving us the only chance the world had to achieve widespread economic freedom and a liberal political order, so the story goes. The greatest embodiment of this came to be America, a shining city on the hill.

This sounds well and good enough, until we start with even the smallest poking and prodding. It seems Smith also promoted the labor theory of value, which Marx demonstrated leads logically to communism, not capitalism. Marx was funded and promoted out of Britain. Protestant and Imperial Germany allowed Lenin to return to Russia during World War I, while the deeply Catholic monarchy of Austria-Hungary attempted to forestall this outcome.

Most of the former British colonies supposedly known for their economic freedom, the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, are now the most successful devotees to radical socialism, having implemented eight out of ten of the planks of the Communist Manifesto and advancing towards even further refinements of the liberal, social justice warrior credo. The last remnant of tiny libertarian states, Monaco, Liechtenstein, Andorra et al help remind us of the true origins of political liberty in the West and the all too necessary cultural prerequisites to its maintenance. And the only remaining economic tradition that coheres entirely to the libertarian political project is the one based on late Spanish Scholastic formulations and nurtured over multiple generations by the last great Catholic monarchs in Europe, the Austrian school. (Yes, we would concede Hong Kong and Singapore as remnants of the best of the British tradition, but we have also argued that the downfall of economic freedom was embedded in this tradition from the very beginning.)

As the Venetian national anthem above suggests, political liberty (Libarta!) was born early in the Catholic era. The very notions of secession, small states, subsidiarity, and political governance that did not build on a monopoly on the use of force in a given geographic area, that is to say the proscriptions of the libertarian ideal, were born in this era, not a self-conscious political movement, as it were, but as implicit to the overall Catholic culture in which there exists an all-encompassing, universal truth which itself governs those who govern. As such, the state is not a power unto itself but merely a means to an end. There was nothing holy about the state except insofar as it conformed to the truths of the Church and natural law.

We contrast this with today, living as we do in the era of Freemasonic "enlightenment" when there are no checks on state power. States are free to make their own positive law, the Church is unheard from, and even the natural law is subject to modification by man's own whims. Secession is ruled out of the question. States are seen as mere stepping stones towards continental unions and eventually world government on the way to the Freemasonic 'ideal.' And increasingly all matters must be decided at the top of the political pyramid, truth ruled non-existent and considerations of the good of your fellow-man viewed purely through a cynical lens. Such outright devotion to tyranny was unrealized in the middle ages, but comes as a matter of course to those who have taken the notion of liberty absent of all other considerations and run with it.

Without the Church, liberty and civilization must perish.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Tuesday, November 21, 2017

The Free Market Promotes Virtue

Having listened to Fr. Ripperger's recent talk "Problem with Self" about the negative personal impact of too heavily analyzing how every decision and every situation impacts only yourself, we were reminded of the vocation of entrepreneur. Let us strip away for a moment any misconceptions we have about entrepreneurs. They are not all wealthy. No, not even all of them succeed. There are many small-proprietors who run local businesses who content themselves with a middle class or even lower standard of living. Entrepreneurialism does not equate to a love of riches, although achieving great wealth is possible and should be regarded rather indifferently. Some aspiring entrepreneurs attempt to scrap together sufficient capital for a particular venture their entire life to no avail. The best entrepreneurs would do what they are doing regardless of financial success. Many struggle for decades with no success at all. Others are completely forestalled by the regulatory state and artificial barriers to entry. The success of others is not realized until after their deaths. All the glitz and glam of Wall Street and Silicon Valley aside, where government grants, privileges and contracts loom large, the greater part of the history of the entrepreneur is one struggling to be oriented towards others, other's needs, desires and circumstances.

Moreover, we would say one of the chief ways that Satan attempts to co-opt capitalism is to infect us with the belief that all entrepreneuralism is selfish. As the Church teaches, what is often just as important as what we are doing, is the intention with which we are doing it. If anything, we want to instruct others that commerce ought to be taken on with a notion of its inherent legitimacy accompanied with its legitimate purpose, the service of others.

Our view of the market process is often dimmed thanks to that dollop Marxist "analysis" one picks up in public school or a liberal arts course at university. Even so, it remains a good reminder that the market like all human institutions, even the Church as now, can fall into misuse. We are told that marketing for instance, what under virtuous circumstances should be the most outward oriented part of the market process, is riddled with fraud and deception aiming at getting people to buy what they don't need.

Yet, the greater truth is that marketing under all circumstances tries to meet us where we are. Unlike the vague and at times ulterior meaning this phrase can take on, there is nothing more concrete about the role of an entrepreneur. He must deliver what is in the opinion of others the best product, in the best way, at the right time, made known to others in the most cogent manner, or risk losing his livelihood. And he must do this everyday without end.

A brief word to those who remain skeptical. The market will merely value what consumers value. If we have an informed populace, all the Iowa farm-bill subsidies, GMO intellectual property laws, FDA swat teams, and big corporate media campaigning can't stop a company like Whole Foods from championing the opposite. Even if it costs more, this is the whole point to the power of the purse. One must make prudent decisions about how to spend one's money. Nature does not always allow a right to low cost and quality. And to Catholics specifically, there was a time when the condemnation of the National Legion of Decency meant a great deal to Hollywood producers. This was a time when Catholics were still believing and a sufficiently organized community.

It is this tendency of entrepreneurs to produce what the people want, and the people organizing so as to better express those desires that gave market-born cultures their great success. When we talk of civilization, can it be any other way? The Church should form our consciences to desire what is best for each other. When we venture into the material realm, it is the job of the entrepreneur to deliver the material appurtenances that support this culture. And so that both may be done successfully, the entrepreneur relies on the price signal to aggregate all of the information which the individuals that make up society have in relation to that good at that time. Notice how this is done spontaneously, and how any attempt to organize it beyond a mere abidance by the moral law is to be met with suspicion. It is in these societies where each is entirely dependent on fulfilling the properly-formed wishes of others in order to ensure his own livelihood that civilization flourishes most prominently. In these societies the material order is a mere picture, a mere reminder of the properly ordered spiritual order.

We must contrast this with civilizations such as our own today, where legal norms tend to replace the dictates of the market. In this system abidance to legal requirements often serves as a cover to one's morally questionable and ulterior motives. Legality becomes the judge of morality. It is in these societies that we see civilization crumbling. Instead of trust building on properly formed consciences, we see ever more crafty legal contracts and consent documents that must be litigated because fundamentally society is dishonest and out only for personal gain. Eventually, the cost of litigation outweighs the benefits from the division of labor, trust dissolves entirely and society crumbles. But for our technology, we are not far away from this outcome.

There is a longer story here; one not often enough told, a true history of Western civilization. While Catholics often hail Constantine for marrying the state to the Church, we forget that the children of this marriage were the plurality of jurisdictions of the High Middle Ages. The centralized, modern nation-state of the Post-Westphalian order, that one which corresponds to the famous Weberian definition of a monopolist on the use of force in a given geographic area has divorced itself from the Church. It is that order which most threatens spirituality and material prosperity today. We must recognize again that as with any marriage, that of the Church to the state was for the sake of the children first. That natural inclination of Church and government is towards aiding properly ordered commerce and concomitant material progress. This enlivens the material world. What we see today is an all powerful state not bound by the constraints of a universal morality, which is itself increasingly a threat to all material progress ordered and disordered.

Saturday, November 18, 2017

What Is The Just Price?

This article is one in a series of reactions to reading "To Build the City of God" by Brian McCall - See Previous

 

This article is one in a series mentioning the links between the Austrian School of Economics and the Catholic Hapsburg monarchy - See Previous

 

That the Church should have a say on the justice of how economic transactions take place is indisputable. This is the starting point of St. Thomas Aquinas in venturing into the initial topics that would later develop into the discipline of economics. We see in these initial formulations certain notions of truth that have yet to be fully developed and reconciled within the developing constraints of a particular discipline of knowledge. It may be theologically true, an even a higher truth, to say that labor, per se, has a value to God and accordingly to the laborer, regardless of how his fellow man economically values that labor. This is well and good, and serves to edify man when those around him do not value his efforts in the infinite way in which God does. But, as both history and logic demonstrate, we cannot build the discipline of economics on any such labor theory of value. This was the starting point of Communism.

Although man’s economic endeavors should be among the lesser of his concerns, they cannot be devoid of corresponding truths, be they lesser as well. It is true, though a lesser truth than the infinite nature of God, that man lives in a world of finiteness, or as economists tend to say it, scarcity. As such, it is not labor, per se, that has value, but only certain types of labor, and in relation to other ways in which the same labor can be employed. We must admit logical rigor, these laws of economics, if we wish to make any material progress in this world. Even the Abbey or Seminary, in order to be built and maintained, must make the decision between saying another rosary or making repairs to an outer wall. And so we see that while the Church calls us to higher truths, She is not the enemy of material progress, but its rightful directress and governess.

As all government should She does not govern in a way that would hinder justice, but hastens it. Those who interpret the economic proscriptions of the Scholastics as concepts to be imposed from outside of the context of market transactions miss the very basis for the market in the first place. For it is only with the affirmation of private property that the Church provides accompanied with the basics of a moral order, such as ‘Thou shall not steal, ‘Thou shall not murder,’ ‘Thou shall not covet thy neighbor’s belongings,’ and ‘Thou shall not give false testimony against thy neighbor’ that a market can develop in the first place.

As long as we are adhering to the parameters of morality as given to us by the authority of the Church, the transactions that make up the marketplace will adhere to justice. We will see this in just a moment. If we have attended to these basics, then to say that the market’s transactions still do not adhere to a ‘just price’ is to turn a fait accompli into a red herring that can only serve as a basis for abuse. This is the case because what is assumed in positioning any man, no matter his expertise or virtue, or committee of men, no matter how learned or wise, to make a determination above and beyond that which the market has already made attributes to that man (or group of men) qualities that only adhere in God. This leads us to idolatry of the very worst kind. All interventions in the marketplace, as Mises demonstrated, lead to socialism, a situation where the means of production are owned by the governing authority. This is either outright communism when done forthrightly or the kind of mockery of private property we see under the socialism of the West today. This full or partial dissolution of all private property is a materialism so rank that we see in a few of ourselves the ability to make good on what God says we can only gain by all of us submitting to His will. While we can hardly repeat it here, the economists have repeatedly demonstrated the only process which God has established for the determination of economic values which is able to sufficiently integrate all relevant information is the market. And as we have addressed, when it does so naturally within the bounds of a morality governed by the Church, we can be assured the justice of what has been done so far. We give this example:

Price fixing is itself devoid of justice. For voluntary exchange can, ipso facto, only take place when the “buying and selling seem to be established for the common advantage of both parties” as Aquinas says or satisfies “a double-coincidence of wants” as Mises puts it. In other words, both individuals transacting must have decided at the time the transaction is consummated that they are likely better off with what they are receiving, rather than retaining what they are giving up to receive it.

Given that this is true, a fixed price can only lead to one of the following scenarios:

1.       All of the transactions that would normally take place are allowed to do so anyway because the expert or other authority deciding on the price is lucky and chooses what would otherwise be the prevailing market price (and it can be only luck, for as the Spanish Cardinal Juan De Lugo says “Pretium justum mathematicum licet soli Deo notum.” - The figuring of a just price it is allowed only for God to know.)

2.       Some price other than the prevailing market price is chosen, and certain transactions that would otherwise take place no longer do so, either because the price is now too high for certain buyers that would transact under the market prevailing rate or conversely, too low for the seller in the same way. In this case, to reiterate, we see certain “buying and selling … established for the common advantage of both parties” is disallowed.


Thus, price fixing is at best unnecessary as it pertains to ensuring just transactions take place, and because it is unnecessary is, as a use of time and resources, itself an injustice.

Or price fixing in fact is detrimental to the justice of the situation in that certain transactions that are “established for the common advantage of both parties” are disallowed.

Our story does not end here, for the advance of economic thought did not cease in the 16th century. It was the founder of the Austrian School of Economics, Carl Menger, who would take the intellectual precision found in these principles to the next logical formulation, that of the determination of value at the margin. While the best of the Scholastics had begun to understand that the determination of  value was not intrinsic, the precise way in which this is not the case was first formulated by Menger, notably a tutor to Archduke Rudolf von Hapsburg. The center of gravity in the economic world was moving from the once great Catholic empire of Spain to another, that of Austria-Hungary.

It was Menger who finally resolved fully the diamond-water paradox. Why is water, serving an obviously greater intrinsic need to humanity, worth in the common estimation of the market so much less than diamonds, which are entirely superfluous at best? The truth is that for the purposes of human action the value of the latest available increment of a good is determined by the marginal use to which it can be put. That is to say, the supply of water is so great, that it not only fulfills the life sustaining role of satisfying thirst, but it can also be used to bathe, wash cars, water decorative plants, even fill decorative fountains or be used for swimming pools. On the other hand, diamonds are correspondingly fewer, and so the uses to which they can be put are demonstrably limited and so the marginal use has a higher value. Again, nothing is said about the intrinsic value of diamonds or water. We are talking, instead, about how these function in relation to serving human ends, and doing so, they are like all things, economically valued at the margin.

It is claimed that this discovery was a simultaneous occurrence between an English economist and two on the continent of which Carl Menger was one. William Stanley Jevons in Britain and Leon Walras in Switzerland continued in the utilitarian tradition of economics, wherein the marginal evaluation that takes place is one of marginal utility. Considerations of utility are notably absent from Menger’s analysis, where the marginal decision is merely made between different courses of action and not some imaginary notion of utility.

The concreteness that is characteristic of this burgeoning Austrian School, that of how man’s logic applies to specific circumstances at specific times, as opposed to theoretical models, mathematical formulations and statistical surveys that came to characterize the mainstay of economics, gave the Austrians the ability to demonstrate a priori the economic impossibility of both Communism, now historically apparent, and the Socialism that characterizes the West today. In the arguments which later come from Mises, student of Menger, we will hear the echo in what we have already said, about what another Austrian, F. A. Hayek, calls the “pretense of knowledge.” No man unto himself is sufficiently capable of metering out the least wasteful manner of production. Prices are a necessary prerequisite to the functioning of an advanced economy that arise as a compendium of the knowledge of all market participants as to the relative scarcity of various resources and relative effectiveness of various technologies of production. Without this spontaneous gathering of information, man’s wastefulness and idleness would necessarily increase. When the [human] Church can see clearly how Her higher truths are best served by these lower truths of economics, we will finally be on the path to unseating the economic materialists who hold sway today.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

An Ode To Matyrdom



There is no such thing as suffering. There is only man turning himself into justice. That thing for which statues are built, beautiful buildings adorned and formalities observed by government is only an empty, dead and material representation of what one spiritually becomes and remains forever by living and dying for righteousness. Spiritual blindness alone can lead you to believe you are suffering. And only evil would have you avoid it when it is necessary or choose it when it is not.

Theological note: We do not mean to deny the reality of the corporeal, only focus the mind on the higher spiritual truth. Ultimately man must live for his spiritual values and the flesh is meant to remain subservient. Spiritual joy is greater infinitely than corporeal loss.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Democracy: The Con That Succeeded



Much is made of the interests of the supposed weakest in modern society. Public education, a certain governmentally mandated minimum standard of living, social insurance schemes, access to healthcare, public transportation and other social services are all scrupulously embraced to one extent or another by any and all political actors from the entire political spectrum.

This is embedded in our culture. Anyone with consummate skill in one area is expected to behave as completely unconcerned and listless in every other aspect of life as those with no ability at all. We work hard to censor consistent expressions of inequality. The inequalities themselves remain, if not aggravated all the more.

There are certain pre-approved avenues for display of inequality in our society, it is true. University degrees, a certain amount of wealth, or placement within the mainstream media apparatus - with the open lie that these too are open to "anyone," so long as they adopt the requisite attitudes - entitle the holder to a certain temporary suspending of the bias against expressive inequality, but as soon as the authoritative opinions are given it is back to the pretense as before.

One must ask themselves, what is hid behind this fundamental dishonesty that infects all of modern culture? Why pretend that inequalities do not exist, when without exception the entire swath of human history, if it proves nothing else, proves this?

And what more are we to make of this distortion, as we approach the apex of modern democracy, the very form of government that was supposed to work to undo such differences, that social inequality is actually aggravated?

The truth will not be found in maintaining and enforcing the lie that all can be equal. Even monetary differences, if done away with, can be accomplished only by creating a power differential among men so great as has never been seen in human history. This is, as economist Murray Rothbard put it, a revolt against nature. The danger is that with advances in technology, we may actually succeed in our revolt, undoing our very ability to perceive reality in the process.

Instead, we yearn for the days when inequality was more expressive and less implicit. It is true that the patriarchal, Catholic order on which Western Civilization was built strove to make the hierarchical nature of reality as visible as possible. The truth in this was that the paths to virtue, though arduous, were in actuality open to everyone, especially the poor, weak and socially disadvantaged. Sainthood is the very recognition that one's station in life mattered not at all, only the values lived out. These would be not openly crude, materialistic values, but virtues of a life of personal and spiritual excellence despite, and often because of, a lack of materialistic focus.

A reminder to humanity that all are called, but few are chosen is exactly the impetus needed to ensure as many succeed as possible. When it is possible, superficially, to see oneself on par with ones superiors as it is in the modern world, there is no reason for the spiritually nearsighted to better themselves. It is only in a world where such differences are made apparent that those who can only walk by sight will be directed to begin to use eyes of faith and virtue.

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Why Bitcoin Is Actually Money

In his book The Mystery of Banking, Austrian economist Murray Rothbard reiterates the various qualities of money that determine which of the myriad of available commodities is most likely to become the common medium of exchange. These proper qualities of the commodity that the market will choose to use as money include that the commodity is already in widespread use, highly divisible while proportionally maintaining its value, easily portable having a high value per wight, and because value is always dependent on relative scarcity, its supply cannot be so easily increased, and durable over a lengthy period of time.

While some may hesitate in calling bitcoin money, we see that it easily can fulfill each of these market-demanded requirements. The particular type of commodity it represents already in widespread use is computing power. The innovative quality of the bitcoin, and its blockchain software, was to demarcate a specific type of computing power and also by this demarcation limit its otherwise abundant supply. Bitcoin is obviously highly divisible, maintains its value proportionally to its division, is easily portable and as recent price action indicates, is and can be highly valued. Bitcoin can be stored on various computer memory devices, and in this manner is highly portable. Perhaps durability remains to be proved at this point, at least relative to its main historical competition, gold, but there seems to be no apparent reason why bitcoin cannot outlast gold coinage or bullion.

Thus, we would conclude that bitcoin satisfies all the market requirements to be bona fide money.

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What Should Be Popular

Fads come and go, but the truth remains the same. When the truth once again becomes the fad, we will see a re-blossoming of human civilization not yet known or anticipated. While the beginnings of a cultural re-blossoming are evident in small ways, with the anti-political correctness seen in a candidate like Trump or the secessionist movement in Catalonia we are seeing only superficial overtures to the reappearance of true culture. The vast majority of the populace remains oblivious to the deepest fissure and problems within modern society.

Human civilization did not appear in one movement, nor shall it disappear in one moment. If our goal is truly the advancement of this civilization, we must recognize certain truths. Truth is not necessarily a rule to be followed if one desires objects contrary, as the modern world attests. Yet, rules are made rightly in order to aid our advancement, not hold us back. There are many complicated chains of causation that have led us to where we are today. To trace the path of truth in these times is not an easy task.

What we know is that Catholic faith and culture wins the Talebian test of anti-fragility. Nassim Taleb refers to this as the  "Lindy Effect" and we quote pg. 432 of Anti-fragile: Things That Gain From Disorder:

...Anything non perishable increases in life expectancy with every day of its life - unlike perishable items (such as humans, cats, dogs, and tomatoes). So a book that has been a hundred years in print is likely to stay in print another hundred years.

If we see Catholicism as the fulfillment of the Old-Testament Jewish religion, and it is hard to see how we could not, then by far Catholicism is the longest living religion, or religious tradition. And, as such, it is hard to argue that it would not be, so measured, the eternal, universal truth which God wishes to impart to man. As just mentioned, the scientific evidence for this is the Lindy Effect that Taleb references.

Traditional Catholicism is, therefore, fully ascendant and will always be. When Our Lady told us, despite the present difficulties, her Immaculate Heart will triumph, this is more than a prophecy, but a statistically likely outcome. Even in terms that modern man will accept, the Catholic faith is the most robust thing existent.

The current paradigm, by parallel logic, will fail. We will see the re-emergence of truth. It is better to get on the band-wagon early than late. This is what we champion here at ActualAnarchy.


Tuesday, November 7, 2017

Paying A Living Wage


This article is one in a series of reactions to reading "To Build the City of God" by Brian McCall - See Next, See Previous

 

It is a principle of advanced reasoning that certain truths will have to take precedence over other truths in a particular discipline. This does not invalidate the truth of either proposition; it is merely an obviously necessary part of living in a hierarchical universe. [For a lengthier explication of this issue, one may consult among others, "The Science Before Science" by Anthony Rizzi, pages 18-20 inclusive) The words of our Lord that appear to contradict each other if taken out of context [see note at bottom] only help us to recall our own limited nature, in that we do not understand with the mind of God, that is, we shall never be omniscient. It is also a reason, contrary to modernist “Christians," the superstructure of the Catholic Church is demonstrably the will of God, for every man left to his own devices or reading of scripture is bound to land himself in confusion.

More pointedly, while traditional Catholics who begin to take up the realm of economics may start with certain premises that are undeniably true (e.g., an employer ought to pay a living wage holding everything else constant) they are not necessarily equipped to handle the specific nuances of the complexity of economic action. One must be cognizant of the competing truth that, if an employer is bound by his conscious only to make job offers to men with families to support which entail paying a living wage, a truly valuable social phenomenon will be done away with. Men, with no employment experience, who will one day need to find a role that provides a living wage may find themselves thereby cut off from any paths to sufficient experience and skills to justify such employment. These very men may have families they cannot entirely provide for today. Shall we deny them any work at all? No, this is where the charity of the community is a more apt solution than demanding an employer abide by an unreasonable demand. Let us remember our humble condition. We cannot legislate or bind consciences as to demand we bring about an impossible utopia. Yes, employers may be bound by conscience to pay living wages to the extent they can and still run their business with a prevailing rate of profit. It is even better still that they forgo some of the profit rightfully due to them as an act of charity to aid his fellow man and pay a higher wage. But at some point, the business cannot support everyone. There will be roles that are only viable if not remunerated at the “living wage” rate. Is it unethical to offer such positions for hire? We answer in the negative, for reasons previously listed. And we think the conversation ought to be moderated still by a recognition of the materialist disorientation of modern man. Many of the dual income households today could make it on one income, if they would choose a smaller home, a more affordable part of town or fewer material possessions.

This contextual analysis is exceedingly important. A job offered to a man with a family to support at a wage truly below a living wage rate may in fact be something in parallel to a ‘near occasion of sin’ which we put ourselves in for the sake of achieving a greater good and can be necessary in certain circumstances. In both cases we accept a substandard state of affairs as a hopefully temporary attempt to solve a more important problem.

The logic here is cogent. Any profit driven enterprise, and by profit we merely mean to suggest an enterprise that creates more than it consumes, will reach a point where the marginal addition of one more employee at a living wage will cost more than the marginal amount of additional production. This is the law of marginality, which as we are about to demonstrate has nothing to do strictly speaking with monetary considerations, only judgments of relative value. [Note: We use the Austrian-Thomistic formulation not of marginal utility, but a value judgment that is made about a marginal course of action.] This law of marginal evaluation is patently true. We do not pray rosaries ad infinitum, even if we could and even if praying the rosary is an indisputably holy and necessary thing, because there are other necessary and holy things that sometime take precedence over praying yet another rosary. And we do not legislate the number of rosaries to be prayed, because it is more reasonable to let people be bound by their own conscience and the advice of their superiors.

We hope to make this article one in a series working towards a reconciliation the apparent divisions between libertarian oriented Catholics and their traditionalist counterparts having less familiarity with praxeological arguments. 

Finally, as before, we offer this article not as an authority, but in order to put an argument forward for inspection and correction by those who do have more knowledge than ourselves. 

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Just What Is Modern Paganism?

It has become almost cliché among traditional Catholics to point out the modern culture is increasingly ‘pagan.’ But this means so much more than just the obvious notion that religion no longer plays the leading role in the social sphere or most people don't believe in the literal truth of the gospels. The deeper truth is that the modern world, even with its best face put forward, and like the Greeks and Romans before it, literally worships idols. The three we will discuss are democracy, empirical science and statistics.

Neoconservative philosopher Francis Fukuyama is widely known for his assertion that we have reached the "End of History." The hyperbole is meant in earnest, as Fukuyama argues that modern liberal (and presumably scientific) democracy is the resting point, homeostasis as it were, for the social-political order. In fairness to him, his thesis was put forth during the height of Greenspan economics, when almost everyone thought the laws of economics had been sufficiently softened up by us mortals so that they wouldn't get in the way of unlimited prosperity. Our financial models said internet stocks would head in the general direction of infinity, and when reality interfered with that, we figured we just got the asset class wrong. It would be houses instead. The financial crisis of 2008, of course, finally reimposed a modicum of reality.

To Fukiyama's credit, his later book, Trust: The Social Virtues and The Creation of Prosperity, put forth a much more cogent case that social trust is a foundational norm of capitalism. Once lack of trust increases to a certain point, the potential gains to trade and specialization are offset by the costs of fraud, on the one hand, or litigation costs to prevent and prosecute such fraud, on the other. 

What is untenable is that, despite the failure of our economic and financial models, repeatedly, and on near cataclysmic scale, despite the mounting evidence that debt-based economics, made necessary by the lack of capitalistic virtue in the broader voting populace, is unsustainable, despite proof that science, while extremely good at describing in minute detail what is going on, has yet to explain why anything has the propensity to do what it does in the first place, most Americans for the most part still agree with Francis Fukuyama.

There is no need to go into lengthy justifications of the assertions of the foregoing paragraph. They already exist. Nassim Taleb, a mathematician's mathematician, has written an entire series of books explaining the limits to statistical financial methods and models. Limits that his fellow practitioners pretend do not exist or tend to gloss over. This pretense of knowledge is nothing new. The entire edifice of modern economics is founded upon it, as Nobel Prize winning economist F.A. Hayek pointed out. Even the Nobel Prize for Economics itself is more of a myth than a reality, since it is not actually one of the prizes established by the estate of Alfred Nobel.

That classical liberal economics, if we take the outrageous step of referring to what we have today as that, must be wed to democracy is also a long since discredited notion. The existence of Hong Kong, Singapore and Monaco ought to be sufficient proof, but the leading free-market philosopher of our day, Hans Hermann Hoppe, has explained that democracy is the god that failed and the the tendencies found in monarchy are more in accordance with economic law than democracy.

To decry scientific and technocratic democracy as just rationalism without faith doesn’t go to the depth of exactly what’s wrong here. Science does not deliver what it purports, and in fact it doesn't even make sense in absence of an absolute morality. Statistics will never deliver to us perfection, because the only model sufficiently detailed to take account of all of reality is the reality itself. And the minute you started trying to use the materials of reality to build a model on the same scale, you would be dismantling the very reality you are attempting to model.

What is needed desperately in the modern world is a sense of our own humility embedded within the beauty of our own material achievement. There is only one place this can be found.

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Did Trump Test the Trump?

After fleshing out all sides of the Trump debate, whether he is truly an outsider, a consummate insider, a trusted insider that will end up doing many good things despite, or just plainly the ultimate personification of the leitmotif of media meta-consciousness, we concluded put the guy to test.

Well, Trump may have done just that. We wonder now exactly how the ouster of Bannon and the apparent split between Trump and his trusted electioneering advisor went down. The word is that in the aftermath of the election of upstart Republican Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, all is well between the two again. Perhaps, it was more of a hedge than a split?

We can envision, but we have no way to verify, a conversation between the two: Trump tells Bannon there's no way we can make any headway with the batch of Republicans we have in Washington today. Bannon reminds him, you have to fight. Fight, sure, but we have to get something done, the President responds. Fine, these establishment guys want me out of here anyway; I'll go, Bannon says. You see what you get done by ousting me and coming off as conciliatory for a few months. I'll go back to the electioneering trenches and see if we can't unseat these Republicans. And we'll meet back in the middle after the midterms.

What will favorable midterms mean for the Trump administration?

The list of Republicans in office not seeking re-election in 2018 is growing.