The Creature from Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, 5th Edition by G. Edward Griffin (Westlake Village, California, 608 pages, 2010), $19.44.
“The most boring question in the world,” announced the accounting professor to my B-School class, “is whether the government should have bailed out the financial system in 2008.” In his eyes, the answer was an obvious yes. End of story. But that struck me as a rather odd stance. For the question, to bailout, or not to bailout? seemed to me to be among the most fascinating topics imaginable in the field of finance and accounting. And in truth, any answer one could give would have to go well beyond finance and accounting, touching upon the basic philosophical disciplines of politics, ethics, and ultimately epistemology. Further, any answer given would go a long way to telling you something about the man himself. So no, it was not a boring question at all. That is, unless you’re interest is in perpetuating the status quo, in which case you would prefer that it not be asked at all.
I have elected to introduce my review of G. Edward Griffin’s The Creature from Jekyll Island [hereafter, the Creature] by way of this personal account, because it illustrates perfectly the sort of close-minded contempt that emanates from the financial mainstream toward anyone who dares question its reigning orthodoxies. Examples of these nostrums are: Central bank issued fiat currency is good, but the gold standard is a barbarous relic, the money supply cannot be left to the free market, it must be a function of a government appointed central bank; banks are not like other businesses, they must be chartered, regulated, and, if needed, bailed out by the government using taxpayer funds. None of these orthodoxies is true, for none can be supported from Scripture. Yet they are accepted by politicians, academics and ordinary folks alike almost without question.
G. Edward Griffin, on the other hand, is a man who does question these orthodoxies, concluding at the very beginning of his book that the Federal Reserve must be abolished. He provides seven reasons for this, namely:
- It is incapable of accomplishing its stated objectives.
- It is a cartel operating against the public interest.
- It is the supreme instrument of usury.
- It generates our most unfair tax.
- It encourages war.
- It destabilizes the economy.
- It is an instrument of totalitarianism.
The remainder of the book is used to flesh out why these things are so. In Griffin’s words, the book is a who-dunit, which, in the words of USA Daily, “documents an organized and successful attempt to seize control over the U.S. monetary system by powerful American and European families.”
At this point one may by asking himself, why is it that Christians should care about the obscure workings of the Federal Reserve System [hereafter, the Fed]? Why not just leave banking to the bankers and get on with more important matters? After all, talking about money doesn’t seem very spiritual. And doesn’t the Bible say that money is the root of all evil? Wouldn’t it be best simply to leave the whole matter alone and focus on the Great Commission instead?
Taking these objections in reverse order, let us consider what Christ commanded in the Great Commission. What did Jesus say to his followers? Go into all the world and teach the five fundamentals? No. Christ called his disciples to go into all the nations and to teach, “them to observe all things that I have commanded you.” The Great Commission includes all of Christ’s teachings. And since there is no field of endeavor not covered by Christ’s teachings,, all statements of all men in all areas of study, including banking, finance, and accounting, must be brought back to Scripture and judged by it. Therefore banking is a proper field of Christian study.