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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers, Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

Major Study Finds The US Is An Oligarchy” was the way Business Insider reported the findings of a 2014 Princeton University peer-reviewed study of American politics.  In it, researchers Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page concluded,  “The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on US government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence.”

Since this is a Scripturalist blog dedicated to the proposition that the Bible alone furnishes us with knowledge, readers may question why this author would cite a secular, empirical study to make a point about the state of American politics in the early 21st century.  One reason for doing so is that, while this study reflects the opinion of its authors, he believes that their opinion is an accurate reflection, politically speaking, of the state of affairs in this nation.  Opinion, while not knowledge – knowledge is always true – nevertheless can be both true and useful.    

If this study is right, and the author is persuaded that it is, the United States, founded as a republic, has devolved into a vulgar oligarchy, which is defined as, “a government in which a small group exercise control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.”  Why has this happened? John Adams, one of America’s Founding Fathers put it this way, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”  Adams was, of course, right.  Paper restraints are wholly inadequate to hold back sinful man’s desire – and this desire is found both among those who would govern and those who are governed – for big government.  If the American people do not believe in constitutional capitalism, the political and economic expression of Christianity, then there is nothing to stop the nation from devolving into some form of authoritarianism.    

Now it may be worth pausing for a moment to explain that the common understanding of the term “religious” in Adams time meant “Protestant.”  The population of the American colonies at the time of the revolution was 98% Protestant, and it was this sort of religion that the framers had in mind.  Today, it is common for people to understand by “religion” or “religious” that the framers of the Constitution were referring to all religions – e.g. Romanism, Judaism, Islam.  But these three medieval religions are incapable of creating or sustaining a free society.  It is Christianity as expressed in the 66 books of the Bible and systematized during the 16th century Protestant Reformation, that alone provides the necessary ideas needed to constrain government to its proper, limited role of punishing evil doers and rewarding the good. 

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Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire; strangers devour your land in your presence; and it is desolate as overthrown by strangers, Isaiah 1:7

“…because of Western civilization’s love of material comforts, there is an unwillingness to face unpleasant realities.”

  • Gordon H. Clark, A Christian View of Men and Things, p.53

Just yesterday, we celebrated the 244th anniversary of America’s independence from Great Britain, while, ironically enough, a substantial portion of the country found itself under house arrest due to dictates from various government officials.  It’s almost as if we’ve come full circle.

Actually, it seems as if we’ve come more than full circle.  Government was much smaller, and the tax and regulatory burdens were much less, under British colonial rule than they are now under own home-grown government.  This is not to suggest that it was wrong to have fought the Revolutionary War, but it does say something about how far America has drifted from its limited government roots.   

What has been the cause of this political sea change?

In his Forward to Gordon Clark’s A Cristian View of Men and Things, John Robbins explained it this way, “A Christian View of Men and Things presents the argument that the West is disappearing because Christianity, on which Western civilization was built, has already virtually disappeared in the West.” 

It needs to be pointed out there that when Clark and Robbins speak of “Christianity,” they are talking about the plain statements and logical implications of the 66 Books of the Bible, the centerpiece of which is the doctrine of Justification by Faith (Belief) Alone.  That is to say, they are talking about the Biblical Christianity of the Protestant Reformation. 

There are other systems of thought that claim to be Christianity, Roman Catholicism for example, but which are not Christian, because they teach that sinful man in some sense is able to put God in his debt, as if salvation were the rightful wages of the sinner’s good works.  These other systems are, in fact, not Christian at all, and their growing presence in the United States and elsewhere in the West are the collapse of the West. 

Western Civilization is rapidly disappearing from the face of the Earth, yet almost no one, even among those who lament its disappearance, understand, as did Gordon Clark and John Robbins, the connection between the disappearance of Christianity and that of Western Civilization. 

Writing about the Northern Kingdom in his day, the prophet Hosea commented, “Aliens have devoured his [Ephraim’s] strength, but he does not know it; yes, gray hairs are here and there on him, yet he does not know it.  The kings and rulers of the Northern Kingdom, for which Ephraim was another name, lacked the discernment to realize the precarious position of the nation and to see that its collapse was nigh.  Some scholars believe Hosea wrote from about 750 BC until just a few years before the dissolution of the Northern Kingdom in 722 BC, when the Assyrians conquered the capital city of Samaria and took the inhabitants of the nation into captivity. 

So why did the Northern Kingdom fall to Assyria?  That is a very simple question to answer, one requiring no speculation: “[T]hey left all the commandments of the LORD their God” (2 Kings 17:16).  It was because of this that “the LORD was very angry with Israel, and removed them from His sight” (2 Kings 17:18).

It is this author’s contention that we in the West, the heirs of the Reformation, are in a position not entirely different from that of ancient Israel.  We have forsaken the Lord our God, his law and his gospel, and have followed after strange gods, which are not gods at all, but the work of the vain imaginations of men’s sinful hearts.  John Robbins put it like this, “the collapse of the West can be viewed as the collapse of the of the attempted Thomistic (Roman Catholic) synthesis of human philosophy and Christ, and the West’s fatal choosing of non-Christian philosophy, not Christ” (A Christian View of Men and Things, 12).   

It’s one thing to read about the collapse of the Hebrew Republic as documented in the pages of the Old Testament, or even about the collapse of the Roman Empire as recounted by Edward Gibbon.  It’s altogether another thing when the civilization in collapse is your own and you have the opportunity to watch it live streamed in high definition.

In the opinion of this author, it is high time that American Christians, and Christians in other nations of the West, face the reality of the situation we are in, as unpleasant as it is, and prepare themselves for the likely further collapse of the West. 

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An Auto Zone burns in Minneapolis early Thursday, May 28, 2020. (Nick Woltman / Pioneer Press)

Your country is desolate, your cities are burned with fire.

  • Isaiah 1:7

Writing late in the history of Judah, the prophet Isaiah’s work has long struck this author as having special application to our own time.  In his long career, Isaiah witnessed much, including the final destruction of the Northern Kingdom by Assyria in 721 B.C. and a remarkable restoration of the Southern Kingdom under King Hezekiah. 

In the opening chapter of the book named for him, Isaiah painted a stark and unflattering picture of the current state of Judah and Jerusalem in his day.  Although they had a Godly heritage, the people of the Southern Kingdom had not only abandoned that heritage but were acting in ways that were the exact opposite of what had been laid down for them in the Law of Moses.  Speaking through Isaiah, the Lord called them “children who are corruptors.”  Not only were they themselves corrupt, but they corrupted others.  Further, the Lord said of them that, “They have turned away backward.’  The inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judah not only were off course but were going 180 degrees away from the direction God had called them to go. 

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The Black Lives Matter street mural recently painted right next to Cincinnati City Hall. The Mainstreaming of this Marxist organization is all but complete.

“I have heard many such things; Miserable comforters are you all!”

  • Job 16:2

An old saying among military men is that generals are always ready to fight the last war.  Perhaps the classic example of this is the French military leaders, who, having learned by experience in World War I that trench warfare and fixed fortifications were the way to fight, built the Maginot Line to defend the nation against a future attack from Germany. 

From all accounts it was a well-built defensive line.  A very impressive military installation it was. And not only that, according to Encyclopædia Britannica, the 800,000-man strong French army, “was thought at the time to be the most powerful in Europe.” 

Unfortunately, as the French general staff again learned by experience in the Spring of 1940, in the intervening twenty of so years since the last war Germany had developed a new form of warfare, Blitzkrieg (lightning war).  Blitzkrieg, sometimes called third generation warfare by military historians, is based on speed and movement.     Instead of slugging it out toe to toe with the French in the trenches, the German army simply went around the Maginot Line through Belgium and down into the heart of France.

The Germans began their attack through Belgium on May 10, 1940.  France surrendered just six weeks later on June 22.  If it were a boxing match, you’d call it a first-round knockout.

The French generals, who were wonderfully prepared to fight World War I-style trench warfare, did not anticipate Germany’s new tactics and thus failed to defend their people.  In France’s hour of need, they were miserable comforters. 

In the view of this author, Republican and Evangelical leaders are making a similar mistake today.  Thinking that the country is still fighting the civil rights battles of the 1950’s and 1960’s, they seem to think that white racism is the root of all evil in America today.  They can’t wait to denounce white racism, as if there were a Klansman waiting behind every bush, when the truth of the matter is that it is white people, who, more often than not, are the victims of racist rhetoric, racist polices and racially motivated violence, not the perpetrators of it.

And yet, if you listen to leading Republican and Evangelical voices, one could easily believe they’ve all internalized the accusation Hillary Clinton leveled at Trump voters 2016 and really truly believe that their party and their congregations are made up of nothing but a bunch of irredeemably deplorable racists, sexists and homophobes, who, not only are being justly punished by the righteous and terrible swift swords of Black Lives Matter and Antifa, but that they have not yet received from the Lord’s hands double for all their sins.  The beatings will continue until moral improves.  This seems to be the motto of those in positions of authority, both in the state and in the church. 

Not only do Republican and conservative Protestant spokesmen fail to defend their own people who are being subjected to the most vicious psychological, spiritual and even physical attacks I’ve ever seen in this country, not only do they fail to stand up and speak up and refute the slanders of the Marxist mobs howling for the destruction of the country, the very country that was principally built by the people they claim to represent, but these same Republican and Evangelical leaders actually pile on, joining with the enemies of their own people in beating down their congregations and political base.

Miserable comforters are they all. Miserable! Inexcusably, utterly miserable.

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George Floyd, back row holding a Bible.

This represents the third post in this series, a series which I no plans to write in the first place, and one which, at least in part, I would rather not continue today. 

I could say that events compel me to write on this subject again, but that would be inaccurate.  Events compel not such thing from me. I am entirely free to write on whatever subject I choose, the events of the day notwithstanding.   

But given that the entirety of American society, including the professed Evangelical/Protestant church, seems bound and determined to draw all the wrong lessons from the recent racial tension in the United States,  I would be remiss as a blogger and as a Christian were I to pass over these extraordinary errors in silence. 

With that said, let’s get down to business.

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Philadelphia police and Pennsylvania National Guard take a knee at the suggestion of Philadelphia Police Deputy Commissioner Melvin Singleton, unseen, outside Philadelphia police headquarters on June 1, 2020, during a rally calling for justice over the death of George Floyd. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

That was quite a week, was it not?

Not since 911 have I been so transfixed by the news of the day.  I have to admit, I got hooked on Twitter watching the reports come in of the rioting last Sunday night.  It was the Lord’s Day, and I try not to get caught up in that sort of thing, but I just could not put my phone down. 

When I sat down to outline this post yesterday and came up with nineteen subpoints, I knew this was going to be a hard post to write.  Don’t worry.  I’m not planning on inflicting that much on you.  But still, there’s so much to say.  Where to begin?

Let’s start with this…

Who’s Paying for the Bricks?

There were numerous reports last week claiming that pallets of bricks were being staged near the riot areas.  The best report I’ve found so far is from NBC News New York.  The headline reads “NYPD’s Terrorism Official Says Unnamed Groups Planned Protest Violence in Advance.” According to the article, “New York’s top terrorism official says there’s strong evidence that members of anarchist groups from outside the city intentionally planned to incite violence at protests calling for justice in the death of George Floyd.” 

The official went on to state that, “there is a high of confidence within the NYPD that these unnamed groups had organized scouts, medics and supply routes of rocks, bottles and accelerants for breakaway groups to commit vandalism and violence.  There are strong indicators they planned for violence in advance using at times encrypted communications”… the agitators, “developed a complex network of bicycle scouts to move ahead of demonstrators in different directions of where police were and where police were not for purposes of being able to direct groups from the larger group to places where they could commit acts of vandalism including the torching of police vehicles and Molotov cocktails where they thought officers would not be.”

So who do the New York police think was organizing and paying for all this illicit activity?  No one has yet said publicly. Mayor Bill de Blasio seemed to hint that more information would be forthcoming.  I’ll believe it when I see it.  For my part, I think we’ll find out who was funding and organizing Antifa terrorism about the same time as we get an honest account of what happened to Jeffrey Epstein, what dirt he had on which masters of the universe, or where Ghislaine Maxwell is hiding. That is to say, the twelfth of never.

One interesting suggestion came in a tweet from forensic accountant Charles Ortel.  He suggests George Soros, the Obama Foundation, and the Clinton Foundation.  I’ve seen Ortel in interviews before and he struck me as a serious fellow, not someone given to hyperbole, so I don’t dismiss his accusations out of hand.

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A person holding a phone walks past burning vehicles following riots protesting the death of George Floyd, who died May 25 in the custody of Minneapolis Police, in Seattle, Washington on May 30, 2020.
JASON REDMOND

“Some therefore cried one thing and some another, for the assembly was confused, and most of them did not know why they had come together…And when the city clerk had quieted the crowd, he said…”we are in danger of being called in question for today’s uproar, there being no reason which we may give to account for this disorderly gathering.”

  • Eph. 19:32, 35, 39, 40

“Men, it has been well said, think in herds; it will be seen that they go mad in herds, while they only recover their senses slowly, and one by one.”

  • Charles Mackay, Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds

It’s hard to believe that less than a week ago almost no one knew the name George Floyd.  My, how things have changed.

Last week, I completed an outline for my planned post for today.  It was going to be a continuation of my series “This is Going to Hurt” and cover the topic of fiat currencies.  In fact, I planned on sticking with that topic as recently as yesterday.  But the more I thought about it in light of the riots convulsing my country, riots that are taking place even as I write, the less appropriate it seemed to address issues of monetary policy.  Not that monetary policy isn’t important.  But as a writer who seeks to apply the Scriptures to matters of economics and politics, sometime events reach a critical mass where they force themselves on you, whether you like it or not.  That’s where I find myself on this beautiful Sunday afternoon.

For my part, I’d rather avoid the topic of the George Floyd riots altogether.  For it is impossible to write honestly about these riots and without at the same time touching on the issue of race, an explosive topic that has intimidated more than a few commentators.  It may be that this author has himself ducked the topic over the years at least in part for that very reason.

Nevertheless, when major cities all across America are both figuratively and literally on fire – including my hometown of Cincinnati –  were I to remain silent, I would be shirking my duty as a writer.

So with all that said, let’s dive into this ongoing mess as see what items of interest we can find. 

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Jerome Powell, Federal Reserve Chairman.

“We print it [money] digitally.  So as a central bank, we have the ability to create money digitally. And we do that by buying Treasury Bills or bonds or other government securities.  And that actually increases the money supply.”

I probably shouldn’t be, but I often am, amazed an God’s providential timing in providing illustrations of points I plan to talk about.  As I’ve been thinking about this series of posts, I planned this week to write about the Fed and the process of money, more properly currency, creation. 

In one respect, the process the Fed uses to bring currency into being is fairly easy to grasp.  On the other hand, it is so obviously fraudulent that it shocks people when they hear about it. “That simply can’t be.” is, I think, a fairly common reaction. 

In the Lord’s providence, and quite apart from any planning by me, it so happened that Jerome Powell, the Chairman of the Federal Reserve, was interviewed on 60 Minutes last Sunday by correspondent Scott Pelley of CBS News.  You can watch the full interview and ready the transcript here.  In my opinion, Pelley did a good job asking important questions of Powell, especially concerning the process by which the Fed prints money.  At one point, Pelley asked Powell about the Fed’s response to the coronavirus (CV) crisis, and Powell ticked off a list of the Fed’s market interventions.  Here’s what was said next,

PELLEY: Fair to say you simply flooded the system with money?

POWELL: Yes. We did. That’s another way to think about it. We did.

PELLEY: Where does it come from? Do you just print it?

POWELL: We print it digitally. So as a central bank, we have the ability to create money digitally. And we do that by buying Treasury Bills or bonds or other government guaranteed securities. And that actually increases the money supply. We also print actual currency and we distribute that through the Federal Reserve banks.

There you have it.  The Fed chairman admitting on national television that the Fed creates money and uses it to buy, “Treasury Bills or bonds or other government guaranteed securities.”  He also noted that this activity, “actually increases the money supply.” 

What I would like to do in today’s post is to examine these statements – Powell’s saying that the Fed “creates money” and that this act “actually increases the money supply” – in greater detail.  Just how does the Fed create money and what are the effects of “increasing the money supply” on our daily lives? 

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The_Phillip_Medhurst_Picture_Torah_122._Abraham_purchasing_Ephron._Genesis_cap_22_v_16._Hoet (2)
Abraham purchasing the cave of Machpelah from Ephron by Phillip Medhurst. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Abraham weighed out the silver for Ephron which he had named in the hearing of the sons of Heth, four hundred shekels of silver, currency of the merchants.

  • Genesis 23:16

In his lecture “Money, Freedom and the Bible,” John Robbins argued that the manufacturing of money was not a proper function of government, because there is no warrant for this in Scripture.  The Bible charges the civil magistrate with the duty to punish evildoers and reward the good.  There is no mention of anywhere in Scripture of God granting civil governments the right to manufacture money.

The first time I heard this many years ago, I was shocked by this idea.  “But all governments manufacture money,” I thought to myself.  “If the government didn’t supply money, who would?” I continued.

Of course, my initial objection can be answered by pointing out that simply because a thing is done does not logically imply that it ought to be done.  In the 18th century, David Hume famously made this point.

Secondly, concerning who would supply money in the absence of governments, the answer to this is the market would take care of this.  As Robbins noted in his lecture, there is such an example of this in Genesis 23, where Abraham pays for the field to bury Sarah by weighing 400 shekels of silver, “currency of the merchant.”  Note that it was not the currency of Pharaoh, nor the currency of the King of the Hittites that Abraham weighed out.  It was the currency of the merchants.  That is to say, it was a unit of money that arose from the common practice of the free market.  Importantly, it was not a government issued currency, neither was it the product of a government licensed central bank.

For that reason, that it arose in the marketplace and was privately managed by the merchants who used it, the shekel weighed out by Abraham was an honest unit of money.  The same cannot be said for sovereign currencies of our day.  Not only do they fail to maintain purchasing power, but they are deliberately designed to lose value over time.  To this author’s knowledge, there is not one honest currency in use today, including, and perhaps especially, the U.S. Dollar.

Last week’s post titled “This is Going to Hurt, Part 1: Honestly Facing our National Bankruptcy,” discussed the disastrous economic numbers coming out as a result of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.  Please note, I did not write, “the disastrous economic numbers coming out as a result of the coronavirus pandemic,” but, “the disastrous economic numbers coming out as a result of the government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic.” It is not the Chinese coronavirus that caused over 30 million Americans to lose their jobs in the past six weeks, it is decision, more accurately decisions, of various government officials that have led to this disaster.

But oddly, as I also noted, the stock market has rebounded even as economic activity has made record declines.  How can this be?  The short answer to this question is money printing on a mind-blowing scale by the U.S. Federal Reserve, the central bank of the United States.

My purpose in this post is to lay out in non-technical language what a central bank is and what it does.  In subsequent posts, I shall illustrate the unbiblical, immoral nature of central banking by looking in detail at the origin, the workings and the disastrous effects Federal Reserve (the Fed) policy has had on our nation.

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