Since Oct 22, 2001

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My political ideology is succinctly summed up by the following list:
1. Illegal aliens are here illegally.
2. Pro-domestic employment is indispensable.
3. A strong military is essential.
4. Special interests must be eliminated.
5. Gun ownership is sacred.
6. Government must be downsized.
7. The national budget must be balanced.
8. Deficit spending must end.
9. Bailout and stimulus plans are illegal.
10. Reducing personal income taxes is a must.
11. Reducing business income taxes is mandatory.
12. Political offices must be available to average citizens.
13. Intrusive government must be stopped.
14. English as our core language is required.
15. Traditional family values are encouraged.
and was taken from the Tea Party's 15 Non-negotiable Core Beliefs.
After reading so many vile posts by those in FR who profess to be 'purists' in Christian theology and "conservative" political ideology, I am disgusted. These vile posters are, in words and actions, all but pharisees. Note to the professed 'purists': In your zealousness to display your 'Christian purity,' you've not only destroyed your testimony but you are causing people to reject Christianity. Rather than being what Christ would have you be, 'fishers of men,' you've left behind and forgotten something very important. You need a net. You've armed yourselves, instead, with whips and hammers, and in many cases, axes and chainsaws.

I do not stand alone against these unChristian behaviors and antics. Another Christian has stated her disgust:

I've been railing against what I call the Wolf Pack that's been operating on FR for up to about 20 months ago.....beginning then with the hate posts against the Morman Church, then escalating with hate and many times profanity against the Republican Party, candidate Romney, Republicans for Romney, conservatives for Romney, religious folks for Romney, etc. etc. etc.

These vicious posters are not only doing their best to turn FR into a hate/fringe site, but they consistently and slickly ACCUSE THEIR TARGETS of being the ones doing the hate and calling names....the targets who are routinely accused of being liberals, trolls, RINOS or members of other words, the Pack utilizes all the little tricks against their targets that they craftily accuse their targets of doing. It's fascinating how adept they are at doing this.

Over the 14 years I've been on this board, I've avidly and proudly referred many, many folks to the pages of FR, something I don't do any more. I'm embarrassed to do so. There are too many sick posters who are hoping for or helping Obama to win the upcoming election. I'm just hanging in here by a thread hoping that after the upcoming election the Wolf Pack will slink back into the woods and obscurity...... and that FR will return to some semblance of normalcy, class and high standards of debate again....or if it will continue to decline due to the actions of attackers who are using the hospitality of this forum to feed off the consummate hatreds of each other.

I know there are many more like me who decry the cancer of the haters on this site.....but who are too damn afraid to speak up....or they've actually become blase and numbed to the situation and just don't care. I happen to care about Free Republic.
Kudos to you, Leni, for stating the truth. Has it not yet dawned on you 'purists' that YOU may be the ONLY 'Christian' that some of the folks who you're so intent upon castrating and decapitating may ever talk to? How do you win over an unbeliever, a Jew, a Mormon, an atheist, a lost soul by behaving in ways similar to or worse than ANY non-Christian? Would you speak the same to little children and expect them to admire and respect you, to listen unquestioningly to your words and ideas?

You're to be as salt, not to inflict wounds, but to add a tasteful and meaningful difference to a lost world and in the process, draw others to Christ. Does this mean your actions will always be perfect? No, because in our own strength, we cannot be. However, Paul writes in Philippians, "Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ" (1:27). We must strive to become more Christ-like in our demeanor, behavior, and treatment of others. Though we are imperfect, we must strive to become more like Him.

"And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God [Phil 1:9-11].
"A Christian is not a man who never goes wrong, but a man who is enabled to repent." ~ C. S. Lewis
Concerning Romney, my good friend said the following:

"I held back from saying a lot of names I have been called in the past six weeks (it wasn't pretty). Fortunately, I had my epiphany much earlier. I had the pleasure of meeting Breitbart at a conference just before he died. He convinced me then, when Newt and Santorum were neck and neck with Romney (I really, really did not want Romney to win the nomination). He said: "Work like hell for the candidate you want, but when it's done, we all have to circle the wagons for who wins, because not to do so will be to rubber stamp and be responsible for the evil of the present administration."

I thought about it, and discovered I reluctantly agreed with him. I worked for Newt, hoped Santorum would pull it out after that, and once it was over, went and sulked, but never forgot who is the real enemy.

Now let's pull this together and eviscerate the Marxist creep in the White Hut!!!"

And I quite agree. (Well said, David.)

And yet another friend (mk) decries the 'purists' in his post:
I'm no "MittBott" and I've been here on FR coming up on 10 years next March, without ever being zotted, banned or anything of the like, CONTRARY TO YOU. Like our Founder, I put my own personal preferences aside and have chosen to act in the best interest of America, which means that in order to get rid of that filthy Communist in the White House, the only possible way of accomplishing that is to pull the lever for Romney & Ryan, do you know of another way? If so, by all means enlighten us. You may begin at any time.

Jokers like you are quick to sling around that 'MittBot' label when even a casual review of my posting history will show that up until last month, I took a back seat to NOBODY in opposing Romney as the GOP nominee.

What you fail to understand is that the removal of 0bama is the highest priority in this election. And if you are not part of the solution, you are part of the problem, so you can knock off that mewling about "sanity and reality returning to the conservative movement" because if 0bama is returned to office to complete the task of destroying what is left of this Republic, there isn't going to BE any 'movements', conservative or otherwise and that is because so-called 'conservatives' like you decided to remain lily white and 'pure' and voted for 0bama by default by refusing to vote for the only political ticket with a chance of defeating that lying Kenyan scumbag.
Perhaps one of mk's stories will help you get the point about voting or not voting for Romney:

Imagine for a moment that you are either a.) FDR or b.) Sir Winston Churchill in World War II. When faced with the reality of sending lend-lease to Joe Stalin and making him your ally in order to defeat the GREATER enemy which is Hitler, do you proceed, or do you stand on your 'higher principles' and tell ol' Joe that there will be no help coming from the Allies, that he's on his own, and we don't need his troops to push Hitler back into Germany? Now IF you were to send assistance to Moscow, would that mean that you endorsed the Soviet oppression of the Russian people, the philosophy of Marx & Engels as existed in that country at that time, would it make you a filthy stinkin' Commie?

You may not like the choices, but if you're going to sit this one out [or vote third party, or trash Romney], by default you are only helping 0bama to another 4 year term for him to continue destroying this Nation.

If you can look at yourself in the mirror with that realization, why not just go ahead and pull the lever for 0bama-Biden on November 6th since you clearly can't bring yourself to vote for Romney?

Think about that.

This is directed to the 'PURIST PATRIOT CONSERVATIVES' with ‘impeccable CONSERVATIVE credentials’ who would NEVER vote for Romney because he's 'just as evil as Obama':
Say what you want about Romney, but he isn't the one who would allow U.S. Navy Seals to be murdered, U. S. Ambassadors to be sodomized and murdered, American embassies to be besieged, refuse calls from Netanyahu, or participate in fundraising the day after these atrocities. Yes, certainly, be 'pure' and stick to your 'principles' by voting THIRD PARTY resulting in an Obama re-election. If you think that God honors that kind of purity which results in Americans continuing to be literally screwed, you've got some twisted and impure 'spiritual' and logical reasoning.

YOU'D BE THE TYPE TO ELECT A HITLER because you're 'too pure and lily white' to pull the lever for the only opponent who'd have been able to beat him. AND THAT'S A FACT. Had more people voted for Hitler's opponent (Paul von Hindenburg, Independent), perhaps there wouldn't have been a second run off election because von Hindenburg would have captured the majority of the vote, despite the voter fraud that occurred. Maybe the people who voted for some third or fourth party were also hoping to have their 'lily white and purist' candidate.

How is it 'pure' to do that which knowingly results in a greater evil? Voting for a third party always help the incumbent, in this case, the evil Marxist, Obama. Not voting is failing to participate in one's civil duty as an American and also helps the incumbent.

How is it 'principled' to refuse to take an action that would help reduce the likelihood of a mandate for an evil president, should he win, or, by numbers, ensure that an evil president cannot win?

IF this were the primaries, then an entirely different scenario exists. IF this were the primaries, I'd still be backing Newt, just as I was during that time.

But it isn't. It's over.

IF this was about electing a leader of an evangelical, non-denominational, or other Christian church for the position of pastor, deacon or elder, or other such RELIGIOUS Christian position, then Christians must adhere to what the Scriptures state about the type of man who may fill those positions. And for those types of positions, Romney is unqualified according to my reading of the Apostle Paul's writings in the Scriptures. Not because he is a bad man, has a bad heart, or has displayed any bad examples. It would revolve around his religious theology.

HOWEVER, the primaries are over and this is NOT now, nor ever was, the election of a CHURCH leader. This is about getting rid of a very evil man who belongs to a party which has thrice denied God. This is about getting their leader out of office and as the head of our nation. Come January, there will ONLY be one of two people who has ANY possibility of winning, and that is either Romney or Obama. I'll take the RINO Mormon over the Evil Marxist Moron.

I thought it would be a good to add excerpts in my profile of writings by Christian leaders I esteem as a reminder that Christ alone is Lord, Savior, AND Judge. "But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" [Romans 5:8]. If the Judge decided that each one of us was of enough value to die for while WE ALL were yet sinners, then who are YOU to decide that any sinner is deserving of YOUR scorn just because they don't think, believe, or act, more like YOU, YOU, YOU?"

C. S. Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity about our judging others: "It is not for us to say who, in the deepest sense, is or is not close to the spirit of Christ. We do not see into men's hearts. We cannot judge, and are indeed forbidden to judge." Yes, we certainly must discern right from wrong in our spiritual mentors and leaders, as well as actions and reactions within ourselves and others, but that is quite a different thing from judging others.

~ C. S. Lewis (excerpt from Book III - "Christian Behaviour," Mere Christianity)
The bad psychological material is not a sin but a disease. It does not need to be repented of, but to be cured. And by the way, that is very important. Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God's eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing, does some tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God's eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and a good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge.

We see only the results which a man's choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man's psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or the worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.

* * *

...Christian writers; they seem to be so very strict at one moment and so very free and easy at another. They talk about mere sins of thought as if they were immensely important: and then they talk about the most frightful murders and treacheries as if you had only got to repent and all would be forgiven. But I have come to see that they are right.

What they are always thinking of is the mark which the action leaves on that tiny central self which no one sees in this life but which each of us will have to endure—or enjoy—for ever. One man may be so placed that his anger sheds the blood of thousands, and another so placed that however angry he gets he will only be laughed at. But the little mark on the soul may be much the same in both. Each has done something to himself which, unless he repents, will make it harder for him to keep out of the rage next time he is tempted, and will make the rage worse when he does fall into it. Each of them, if he seriously turns to God, can have that twist in the central man straightened out again: each is, in the long run, doomed if he will not. The bigness or smallness of the thing, seen from the outside, is not what really matters.

Matthew 5:21-26

21 "You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not murder, and whoever murders will be in danger of the judgment.’ 22 But I say to you that whoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment. And whoever says to his brother, ‘Raca!’ shall be in danger of the council. But whoever says, ‘You fool!’ shall be in danger of hell fire. 23 Therefore if you bring your gift to the altar, and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar, and go your way. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift. 25 Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison. 26 Assuredly, I say to you, you will by no means get out of there till you have paid the last penny."

Matthew 15:1-9; 10; 17-20

1 Then some Pharisees and teachers of the law came to Jesus from Jerusalem and asked, 2 “Why do your disciples break the tradition of the elders? They don’t wash their hands before they eat!”

3 Jesus replied, “And why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition? 4 For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’and ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ 5 But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is ‘devoted to God,’ 6 they are not to ‘honor their father or mother’ with it. Thus you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition. 7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you:

8 These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are merely human rules. "

10 Jesus called the crowd to Him and said, "Listen and understand. 11 What goes into someone's mouth does not defile them, but what comes out of their mouth, that is what defiles them."

17 "Don't you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body? 18 But the things that come out of a person's mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander. 20 These are what defile a person; but eating with unwashed hands does not defile them."

How To Become Fishers of Men

And Jesus saith unto them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men."
~ Matthew 4:19.

WHEN CHRIST CALLS US by his grace we ought not only to remember what we are, but we ought also to think of what he can make us. It is, "Follow me, and I will make you." We should repent of what we have been, but rejoice in what we may be. It is not "Follow me, because of what you are already." It is not "Follow me, because you may make something of yourselves;" but, "Follow me, because of what I will make you."
* * *

Note, next, that we are not made all that we shall be, nor all that we ought to desire to be, when we are ourselves fished for and caught. This is what the grace of God does for us at first; but it is not all. We are like the fishes, making sin to be our element; and the good Lord comes, and with the gospel net he takes us, and he delivers us from the life and love of sin. But he has not wrought for us all that he can do, nor all that we should wish him to do, when he has done this; for it is another and a higher miracle to make us who were fish to become fishers—to make the saved ones saviours—to make the convert into a converter—the receiver of the gospel into an imparter of that same gospel to other people. I think I may say to every person whom I am addressing—If you are saved yourself, the work is but half done until you are employed to bring others to Christ. You are as yet but half formed in the image of your Lord. You have not attained to the full development of the Christ-life in you unless you have commenced in some feeble way to tell to others of the grace of God: and I trust that you will find no rest to the sole of your foot till you have been the means of leading many to that blessed Savior who is your confidence and your hope. His word is—Follow me, not merely that you may be saved, nor even that you may be sanctified; but, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Be following Christ with that intent and aim; and fear that you are not perfectly following him unless in some degree he is making use of you to be fishers of men. The fact is, that every one of us must take to the business of a mancatcher. If Christ has caught us, we must catch others. If we have been apprehended of him, we must be his constables, to apprehend rebels for him. Let us ask him to give us grace to go a-fishing, and so to cast our nets that we may take a great multitude of fishes. Oh that the Holy Ghost may raise up from among us some master-fishers, who shall sail their boats in many a sea, and surround great shoals of fish!

* * *
The fact is, the day is very dark. The heavens are lowering with heavy thunder-clouds. Men little dream of what tempests may soon shake this city, and the whole social fabric of this land, even to a general breaking up of society. So dark may the night become that the stars may seem to fall like blighted fruit from the tree. The times are evil. Now, if never before, every glow-worm must show its spark. You with the tiniest farthing candle must take it from under the bushel, and set it on a candlestick. There is need of you all. Lot was a poor creature. He was a very, very wretched kind of believer; but still, he might have been a great blessing to Sodom had he but pleaded for it as he should have done. And poor, poor Christians, as I fear many are, one begins to value every truly converted soul in these evil days, and to pray that each one may glorify the Lord. >b?I pray that every righteous man, vexed as he is with the conversation of the wicked, may be more importunate in prayer than he has ever been, and return unto his God, and get more spiritual life, that he may be a blessing to the perishing people around him. I address you, therefore, at this time first of all upon this thought. Oh that the Spirit of God may make each one of you feel his personal responsibility!

* * *

The great training-school for Christian workers has Christ at its head; and he is at its head, not only as a tutor, but as a leader: we are not only to learn of him in study, but to follow him in action. "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." The direction is very distinct and plain, and I believe that it is exclusive, so that no man can become a fisherman by any other process. This process may appear to be very simple; but assuredly it is most efficient. The Lord Jesus Christ, who knew all about fishing for men, was himself the Dictator of the rule, "Follow me, if you want to be fishers of men. If you would be useful, keep in my track."

* * *
Now, in the last place, the man whom Christ makes a fisher of men is successful. "But," says one, "I have always heard that Christ's ministers are to be faithful, but that they cannot be sure of being successful." Yes, I have heard that saying, and one way I know it is true, but another way I have my doubts about it. He that is faithful is, in God's way and in God's judgment, successful, more or less. For instance, here is a brother who says that he is faithful. Of course, I must believe him, yet I never heard of a sinner being saved under him. Indeed, I should think that the safest place for a person to be in if he did not want to be saved would be under this gentleman's ministry, because he does not preach anything that is likely to arouse, impress, or convince anybody. This brother is "faithful:" so he says. Well, if any person in the world said to you, "I am a fisherman, but I have never caught anything," you would wonder how he could be called a fisherman. A farmer who never grew any wheat, or any other crop—is he a farmer? When Jesus Christ says, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men," he means that you shall really catch men—that you really shall save some; for he that never did get any fish is not a fisherman. He that never saved a sinner after years of work is not a minister of Christ. If the result of his life-work is nil, he made a mistake when he undertook it. Go thou with the fire of God in thy hand and fling it among the stubble, and the stubble will burn. Be thou sure of that. Go thou and scatter the good seed: it may not all fall in fruitful places, but some of it will. Be thou sure of that. Do but shine, and some eye or other will be lightened thereby. Thou must, thou shalt succeed. But remember this is the Lord's word—"Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men." Keep close to Jesus, and do as Jesus did, in his spirit, and he will make you fishers of men.
One of the most important things conservatives need to do is understand our economic system and those who control it. We need to learn to identify the predictable games these people play which allow them to repeatedly steal from us our hard-earned money and how impoverishing us gives them great power over us. A good first step to understanding is to read The Creature From Jekyll Island: A Second Look at the Federal Reserve, by G. Edward Griffin. It will open your eyes, as will the article below.
Gold and Economic Freedom
by Alan Greenspan

Published in Ayn Rand's "Objectivist" newsletter in 1966, and reprinted in her book, Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal, in 1967.

An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense — perhaps more clearly and subtly than many consistent defenders of laissez-faire — that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument of laissez-faire and that each implies and requires the other.

In order to understand the source of their antagonism, it is necessary first to understand the specific role of gold in a free society.

Money is the common denominator of all economic transactions. It is that commodity which serves as a medium of exchange, is universally acceptable to all participants in an exchange economy as payment for their goods or services, and can, therefore, be used as a standard of market value and as a store of value, i.e., as a means of saving.

The existence of such a commodity is a precondition of a division of labor economy. If men did not have some commodity of objective value which was generally acceptable as money, they would have to resort to primitive barter or be forced to live on self-sufficient farms and forgo the inestimable advantages of specialization. If men had no means to store value, i.e., to save, neither long-range planning nor exchange would be possible.

What medium of exchange will be acceptable to all participants in an economy is not determined arbitrarily. First, the medium of exchange should be durable. In a primitive society of meager wealth, wheat might be sufficiently durable to serve as a medium, since all exchanges would occur only during and immediately after the harvest, leaving no value-surplus to store. But where store-of-value considerations are important, as they are in richer, more civilized societies, the medium of exchange must be a durable commodity, usually a metal. A metal is generally chosen because it is homogeneous and divisible: every unit is the same as every other and it can be blended or formed in any quantity. Precious jewels, for example, are neither homogeneous nor divisible. More important, the commodity chosen as a medium must be a luxury. Human desires for luxuries are unlimited and, therefore, luxury goods are always in demand and will always be acceptable. Wheat is a luxury in underfed civilizations, but not in a prosperous society. Cigarettes ordinarily would not serve as money, but they did in post-World War II Europe where they were considered a luxury. The term "luxury good" implies scarcity and high unit value. Having a high unit value, such a good is easily portable; for instance, an ounce of gold is worth a half-ton of pig iron.

In the early stages of a developing money economy, several media of exchange might be used, since a wide variety of commodities would fulfill the foregoing conditions. However, one of the commodities will gradually displace all others, by being more widely acceptable. Preferences on what to hold as a store of value will shift to the most widely acceptable commodity, which, in turn, will make it still more acceptable. The shift is progressive until that commodity becomes the sole medium of exchange. The use of a single medium is highly advantageous for the same reasons that a money economy is superior to a barter economy: it makes exchanges possible on an incalculably wider scale.

Whether the single medium is gold, silver, seashells, cattle, or tobacco is optional, depending on the context and development of a given economy. In fact, all have been employed, at various times, as media of exchange. Even in the present century, two major commodities, gold and silver, have been used as international media of exchange, with gold becoming the predominant one. Gold, having both artistic and functional uses and being relatively scarce, has significant advantages over all other media of exchange. Since the beginning of World War I, it has been virtually the sole international standard of exchange. If all goods and services were to be paid for in gold, large payments would be difficult to execute and this would tend to limit the extent of a society's divisions of labor and specialization. Thus a logical extension of the creation of a medium of exchange is the development of a banking system and credit instruments (bank notes and deposits) which act as a substitute for, but are convertible into, gold.

A free banking system based on gold is able to extend credit and thus to create bank notes (currency) and deposits, according to the production requirements of the economy. Individual owners of gold are induced, by payments of interest, to deposit their gold in a bank (against which they can draw checks). But since it is rarely the case that all depositors want to withdraw all their gold at the same time, the banker need keep only a fraction of his total deposits in gold as reserves. This enables the banker to loan out more than the amount of his gold deposits (which means that he holds claims to gold rather than gold as security of his deposits). But the amount of loans which he can afford to make is not arbitrary: he has to gauge it in relation to his reserves and to the status of his investments.

When banks loan money to finance productive and profitable endeavors, the loans are paid off rapidly and bank credit continues to be generally available. But when the business ventures financed by bank credit are less profitable and slow to pay off, bankers soon find that their loans outstanding are excessive relative to their gold reserves, and they begin to curtail new lending, usually by charging higher interest rates. This tends to restrict the financing of new ventures and requires the existing borrowers to improve their profitability before they can obtain credit for further expansion. Thus, under the gold standard, a free banking system stands as the protector of an economy's stability and balanced growth. When gold is accepted as the medium of exchange by most or all nations, an unhampered free international gold standard serves to foster a world-wide division of labor and the broadest international trade. Even though the units of exchange (the dollar, the pound, the franc, etc.) differ from country to country, when all are defined in terms of gold the economies of the different countries act as one — so long as there are no restraints on trade or on the movement of capital. Credit, interest rates, and prices tend to follow similar patterns in all countries. For example, if banks in one country extend credit too liberally, interest rates in that country will tend to fall, inducing depositors to shift their gold to higher-interest paying banks in other countries. This will immediately cause a shortage of bank reserves in the "easy money" country, inducing tighter credit standards and a return to competitively higher interest rates again.

A fully free banking system and fully consistent gold standard have not as yet been achieved. But prior to World War I, the banking system in the United States (and in most of the world) was based on gold and even though governments intervened occasionally, banking was more free than controlled. Periodically, as a result of overly rapid credit expansion, banks became loaned up to the limit of their gold reserves, interest rates rose sharply, new credit was cut off, and the economy went into a sharp, but short-lived recession. (Compared with the depressions of 1920 and 1932, the pre-World War I business declines were mild indeed.) It was limited gold reserves that stopped the unbalanced expansions of business activity, before they could develop into the post-World War I type of disaster. The readjustment periods were short and the economies quickly reestablished a sound basis to resume expansion.

But the process of cure was misdiagnosed as the disease: if shortage of bank reserves was causing a business decline — argued economic interventionists — why not find a way of supplying increased reserves to the banks so they never need be short! If banks can continue to loan money indefinitely — it was claimed — there need never be any slumps in business. And so the Federal Reserve System was organized in 1913. It consisted of twelve regional Federal Reserve banks nominally owned by private bankers, but in fact government sponsored, controlled, and supported. Credit extended by these banks is in practice (though not legally) backed by the taxing power of the federal government. Technically, we remained on the gold standard; individuals were still free to own gold, and gold continued to be used as bank reserves. But now, in addition to gold, credit extended by the Federal Reserve banks ("paper reserves") could serve as legal tender to pay depositors.

When business in the United States underwent a mild contraction in 1927, the Federal Reserve created more paper reserves in the hope of forestalling any possible bank reserve shortage. More disastrous, however, was the Federal Reserve's attempt to assist Great Britain who had been losing gold to us because the Bank of England refused to allow interest rates to rise when market forces dictated (it was politically unpalatable). The reasoning of the authorities involved was as follows: if the Federal Reserve pumped excessive paper reserves into American banks, interest rates in the United States would fall to a level comparable with those in Great Britain; this would act to stop Britain's gold loss and avoid the political embarrassment of having to raise interest rates. The "Fed" succeeded; it stopped the gold loss, but it nearly destroyed the economies of the world, in the process. The excess credit which the Fed pumped into the economy spilled over into the stock market, triggering a fantastic speculative boom. Belatedly, Federal Reserve officials attempted to sop up the excess reserves and finally succeeded in braking the boom. But it was too late: by 1929 the speculative imbalances had become so overwhelming that the attempt precipitated a sharp retrenching and a consequent demoralizing of business confidence. As a result, the American economy collapsed. Great Britain fared even worse, and rather than absorb the full consequences of her previous folly, she abandoned the gold standard completely in 1931, tearing asunder what remained of the fabric of confidence and inducing a world-wide series of bank failures. The world economies plunged into the Great Depression of the 1930's.

With a logic reminiscent of a generation earlier, statists argued that the gold standard was largely to blame for the credit debacle which led to the Great Depression. If the gold standard had not existed, they argued, Britain's abandonment of gold payments in 1931 would not have caused the failure of banks all over the world. (The irony was that since 1913, we had been, not on a gold standard, but on what may be termed "a mixed gold standard"; yet it is gold that took the blame.) But the opposition to the gold standard in any form — from a growing number of welfare-state advocates — was prompted by a much subtler insight: the realization that the gold standard is incompatible with chronic deficit spending (the hallmark of the welfare state). Stripped of its academic jargon, the welfare state is nothing more than a mechanism by which governments confiscate the wealth of the productive members of a society to support a wide variety of welfare schemes. A substantial part of the confiscation is effected by taxation. But the welfare statists were quick to recognize that if they wished to retain political power, the amount of taxation had to be limited and they had to resort to programs of massive deficit spending, i.e., they had to borrow money, by issuing government bonds, to finance welfare expenditures on a large scale.

Under a gold standard, the amount of credit that an economy can support is determined by the economy's tangible assets, since every credit instrument is ultimately a claim on some tangible asset. But government bonds are not backed by tangible wealth, only by the government's promise to pay out of future tax revenues, and cannot easily be absorbed by the financial markets. A large volume of new government bonds can be sold to the public only at progressively higher interest rates. Thus, government deficit spending under a gold standard is severely limited. The abandonment of the gold standard made it possible for the welfare statists to use the banking system as a means to an unlimited expansion of credit. They have created paper reserves in the form of government bonds which — through a complex series of steps — the banks accept in place of tangible assets and treat as if they were an actual deposit, i.e., as the equivalent of what was formerly a deposit of gold. The holder of a government bond or of a bank deposit created by paper reserves believes that he has a valid claim on a real asset. But the fact is that there are now more claims outstanding than real assets. The law of supply and demand is not to be conned. As the supply of money (of claims) increases relative to the supply of tangible assets in the economy, prices must eventually rise. Thus the earnings saved by the productive members of the society lose value in terms of goods. When the economy's books are finally balanced, one finds that this loss in value represents the goods purchased by the government for welfare or other purposes with the money proceeds of the government bonds financed by bank credit expansion.

In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. If there were, the government would have to make its holding illegal, as was done in the case of gold. If everyone decided, for example, to convert all his bank deposits to silver or copper or any other good, and thereafter declined to accept checks as payment for goods, bank deposits would lose their purchasing power and government-created bank credit would be worthless as a claim on goods. The financial policy of the welfare state requires that there be no way for the owners of wealth to protect themselves.

This is the shabby secret of the welfare statists' tirades against gold. Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.