A little learning is a dang'rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring;
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain;
And drinking largely sobers us again.
-- Alexander Pope
Not long ago I published an article that
criticized a Nevada bill to mint silver coins. I charged the bill with
mistake or fraud as a fiat money scheme dressed up in silver.
THEN IGNORANCE STOOD UP
That article drew an astonishing number of
responses - some questioning and intelligent, some appallingly ignorant, and
some outright rude. Amazingly, some of the most ignorant and rude came
from people who (I take it) fancy themselves the friends of silver,
gold, and sound money. The Internet, it seems, has not made people wiser or
more knowledgeable. It has only made propagating ignorance faster and more
efficient. As Will Rogers observed, "The trouble with people is not what
they don't know, but that they know so much that just ain't
No matter how long one
studies money, certain fundamental principles remain clear. Chief
among those stands this principle, that any sound and honest money must
offer value for value, or it will defraud the many and enrich the few. There
are, in fact, only two schools of monetary thought. The fiat
money school believes that money is whatever somebody declares it to be. In
their view, money in itself is valueless; only artificial social convention
gives it value. The sound money school believes that all money should offer value
for value. Money itself must have value in the marketplace, independent
of social or government artifice.
Another principle Aristotle (among others) had
already recognised in ancient times is that unrestricted usury (the taking of
interest) is impossible with a sound money system. The fiat system
that presently rules us is backed by nothing, of course, but debt. All
our money is borrowed into existence, and that single fact determines
the entire system and predicts it will inevitably unfold into instability,
tyranny, and poverty.
SYSTEMS, NOT PARTS
Now systems are built of articulated members.
What would you think of a mechanic who knew all about carburettors and brakes
and air conditioners and transmissions, but had never seen all the parts
assembled together into an automobile? Or a chef who had only studied food in
cans, but had never prepared a meal? If we only study the members without
studying how they fit and work together, we understand only disconnected,
unarticulated facts, unrelated to the whole system. We know everything about
the parts but nothing about the whole.
Fiat money never appears as an isolated
phenomenon. It is not merely a single evil conspiracy to suppress
silver and gold, as some seem to think (having drunk too deep at the
Internet's Pierian spring). Seeing only that,
they've got it all wrong. Rather, fiat money aims always to achieve
control over a whole society, indeed, the whole world. It will inevitably
enslave a people and transfer all assets into the hands of a few.
Miss this point and you do not and
cannot understand fiat money. Like war and death, fiat money
always walks hand in hand with debt, usury, income tax, oligarchy, big
government, militarism, and, in the end always produces tyranny and
impoverishment. Fiat money is not just an isolated enactment, but the
jugular vein of a system.
THE PARABLE OF THE CARDS
Now hear the parable of the cards.
It came to pass that five men, strangers all,
took ship for a distant land. And whilst the ship was in the way, a fierce
storm overtook it, and it sank, and all aboard drowned, save the five
passengers, who swam to a desert island.
And when they awoke, they traversed the whole
island, and found fruit and game in abundance, but very little in the way of
Wherefore the first stranger, whose name was
Everyman, said to his companions, Industry, Finance, and Government, Go to!
Truly, we will die of boredom in this place long before starvation gets us.
Let us therefore play a game of cards!
And Industry and Finance and Government did
smile on Everyman, and rejoiced at this pleasant suggestion. But then sadness
overcame them, and their countenances darkened, and Industry said,
"Alas, cards have we none."
Now the fifth stranger, Banker, stood
eavesdropping in the coolness of the shadows, and when Industry discovered
they had no cards, Banker stepped forward, out of the shadows, and whispered,
Let not my brothers be downcast, neither let them fret for want of cards. For
behold, said he, pulling a deck of cards from his pocket, See, cards have I
in abundance, and I will lend freely, upon execution of certain necessary
mortgages, notes, and encumbrances upon all your real and personal property.
And lo! The countenance of Everyman, Industry,
Finance, and Government did brighten, and they rejoiced with one another, for
they were simple men, and trusted themselves to Banker. For behold, said
they, doth he not desire our good, and will he not freely lend us all things,
Then Banker did lend Everyman, and Industry,
and Finance, and Government thirteen cards apiece, but upon this condition,
that Everyman and Industry and Government and Finance might borrow the cards
for but one hour only, and at the hour's end each must return to Banker
fourteen cards or forfeit. And in return for the thirteen cards they were
lent, every player did execute certain necessary mortgages, notes, and
encumbrances upon all their real and personal property.
And Banker had them.
And Banker knew it, but Everyman, and
Industry, and Finance, and Government had not a clue.
And lo, the hour did end, and Everyman had but
ten cards, while Government, Industry, and Finance were possessed of fourteen
apiece, and with great shew of sadness and
brotherly commiseration Banker did dispossess Everyman, and foreclose upon
him, and did take his duffle bag, and all his coconut shells, and his
flip-flops, and all his clothing, until Everyman stood naked under the sun,
as in the day he was born, without a card to his name, and verily, he was out
of the game.
Yet were not Government, Industry, and Finance
downcast by Everyman's loss, for in their haste to play cards, they forgot
his need, and heeded not the warning of his downfall. So they clamoured to
Banker, Give us cards again, that we may play, and make merry, and while away
our time in this desert place.
And Banker came close, and said, Brothers,
gladly will I lend again, only give me mortgages, notes, and encumbrances
upon all your real and personal property. And they did execute the same.
And Banker did lend seventeen cards to
Industry, and to Finance, and to Government, demanding at the hour's end the
return of eighteen cards apiece. And lo, they did play, and when the game was
over, alas, Industry had but fifteen cards, and Government and Finance had
And so Banker did foreclose upon Industry, and
did take his duffle bag, and his pocket knife wherewith he made clever things
for his brothers, and his sandals, and all his clothing, until Industry stood
naked under the sun, as in the day he was born, without a card to his name,
and verily, he, too, was out of the game, and busted clean flat.
And Government and Finance must play yet
again, and Banker must lend to them, and he did, and they did, and Finance
met the same fate as Everyman, and Industry, and they gathered themselves
together, naked and wretched, under a palm tree, watching Banker and Government
play the last hand. And lo, Banker did win, and took from Government all he
Then Government joined Everyman and Industry
and Finance, naked under the palm tree, and they lamented the low estate
whereunto their borrowing had brought them, and knew not what next to do.
Then Government asked, Brothers, why sit we
here idle? For although we be poor, mayhap have we something left we may
offer as collateral, and yet play cards again. And the others said, Yea, and
Amen, but what else have we?
And they approached Banker right humbly, and
gat them down on their knees, and entreated him, saying, O Banker, we have
nothing left for collateral, but lo! in the future we will once again
have stuff, and between now and then we will have stuff, and we will gladly
execute in your favour mortgages, notes, and encumbrances on all our future
stuff, but only lend us cards, for the boredom of this place surpasseth all bearing, and our souls are like to expire
within us if we cannot play cards, and what availeth
us life or liberty without cards?
And Banker smiled a great smile, and welcomed
this offer, and did cheerfully and quickly offer for their signature
mortgages, notes, and encumbrances on all their future stuff, and they did
And Banker dealt out cards, and again they
played. And in the course of time and cards, Banker did own all the future
stuff of Everyman and Industry and Government and Finance. Verily, Banker did
own it all, all their goods and their lands and their labours, and their
children's labours, and their children's labours, world without end. And
Banker waxed fat.
And Everyman and Industry and Finance and
Government were glad, and did honour to Banker, and rejoiced to serve him,
for verily they loved playing cards, and indeed, unless they served him, how
else could they get cards?
Here ended the Parable of the Cards.
Reprinted with permission from The Moneychanger. Franklin Sanders
lives on a farm in Middle Tennessee by choice, deals in physical gold &
silver, and has been writing and publishing The Moneychanger for nearly 26
years. In 1993 he wrote Silver Bonanza for Jim Blanchard. Last year he
published "Why Silver Will Outperform Gold 400% and & The
Professional Trading Secrets That Will Make the Most of Your Silver &
Gold Investments," still available at www.the-moneychanger.com/order/publications.phtml.
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