|Caesar, God, and the
Unholy Demise of Money
Sam Aurelius Milam III
The famous passage quoted above, if it is to be believed, suggests that some things have remained the same from that time until now. The "scribes and chief priests" continue to fear the people, deception remains one of their weapons, they still try to lure people into the authority and jurisdiction of the governor, and people still don't understand money.
I've heard people erroneously claim, just as Jesus appears to have done, that the money isn't ours. It is owned, those people claim, by the U.S. government, by the Federal Reserve System, or by some other such institution. We merely possess it temporarily. However, that idea is fundamentally flawed.
When I work to produce something, I own the thing that I produced. I own it because I produced it. It is mine. Whether I sell it by prior agreement at the instant of production, as in an office or a factory, or sell it later, as in my own business, the thing that I produce is mine until I sell it. When I sell it, I expect to own whatever I'm paid for it. If I don't, then I haven't sold it at all, but instead have given it away for nothing. If I don't own what I'm paid for my labor, then why should I work? I'm giving away my labor and I'm not acquiring anything in return.
When I buy something, I must pay for it with money that I own. If I don't own the money, then I'm not buying something. I'm stealing it. In that case, why not sneak into my neighbor's house, take what money I need, and use it for my purchase? Either behavior is equally proper. Either way, I'm buying something with money that isn't mine.
It's obvious that for a market economy to make any sense at all, it must be possible for people to own money. The idea (where it is advocated) that people cannot own the money results, at least in part, from confusion caused by the fact that there isn't much money available to own. There hasn't been for a long time. Money is a real, tangible, physical thing.2 It can be physically possessed and personally controlled, thereby proving ownership. Today, it has been largely replaced by any of several intangible abstractions, which are deceptively called money, and which resist either possession or personal control.
If I work today, I will probably not be paid in money. I'll probably be paid with an intangible abstraction. That's also what I'm encouraged to use when I buy something — an intangible abstraction. One result of the abstraction-based economy is that people don't own a lot of what they think they own. I can provide two interesting examples. You don't own your house. You can prove it for yourself. Just stop paying the rent (property tax). The real owner (county government) will evict you from its house. You don't own your car. You can prove it for yourself. Just stop paying the rent (registration fee). The real owner (county government) will repossess its car. How did it happen that you don't own those things, and that the government apparently does? I believe that at least part of the reason is that you paid for them with something that wasn't yours. You bought them with the government's "money". That's who owns them.
You also don't own what you're paid for your labor. That is demonstrated empirically by the fact that the government can take whatever it wants from your pay without being guilty of theft. If you owned what you're paid, then taxation would be theft. Is it any wonder that there isn't any respect for a person's property? If no-
|body owns it anyway, then why respect it?
Is money the root of all evil? I don't think so. I think it's far more likely that the demise of money was the root of all evil. The demise of money corrupted everything that it touched, and it touched everything. It appears that the "scribes and chief priests" are still deceiving us. They've converted our money into intangible abstractions and told us that it's money. They've used the abstractions as weapons to deliver us up to the authority and jurisdiction of the "governor". All the while, they've been telling us that we are free and wealthy, and we foolishly believed them.
If we want to end the deception and retrieve our liberty, then first we must end our ignorance. As a good beginning, I think that it would be very educational if we were to try to reinvent money.
Danforth's Folly Revisited
Letters to the Editor
— Steve; Fremont, California
(Update from John Webster)
Today the judge ruled on a major motion of my legal case. I was hoping that my having to register as a "Sex Offender" would give me the opportunity to get a trial. Unfortunately, the judge made a ruling that we all thought he couldn't make. He has decided that I am a special case; that Magen's Law doesn't apply to me. He ruled that I no longer have to register AND that I won't have my plea bargain vacated.
The Mercury News article3 (March 25, 2000) talks about my attempts to get a trial and my running for office. The reporter read the article to me over the phone. Generally he shows me in a fair light, he does gloss over my accusations of police altering evidence (police "enhanced" the evidence tapes). They did list my Web-Page ....
Needless to say, drop that ad of mine till it looks like I will get a trial again.
— John Webster
Buck Hunter Shoots Off His Mouth
Have you read Homer's great epics?
— Professor of Literature
Dear Professor of Literature
I saw the TV versions. I thought his trip to Duff Gardens was the best one.
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— Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor