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By Jack McManus
Theme: Toward an Integral Catholic Culture: Variations on a Theme of Father Feeney
Title: The Place of Sound Money in an Integral Catholic Culture
Yes, it has a place, and Mr. McManus provides plenty of reasons why. Beginning his presentation with the rather provoking claim that sound money is a basic cause of order in society, many eyebrows were immediately raised in the audience. Then he went on to prove that without a means of exchange that a society accepts as a whole we would all be reduced to a rugged individualism where each family would have to feed itself, shelter itself, and clothe itself for self-preservation and that would be it as far as production was concerned. Culture, therefore, depends on sound, honest money in a very real sense. For how could men pursue knowledge, the arts, and sciences without paying others for their services and without being paid by others for one's own services?
Mr. McManus delivered a veritable course in summary on financial economics. He began with a history of money as a means of exchange. The most ancient quid pro quo's involved a barter, a this for that, a sheep for a cow, etc. When non-permanent commodities, whatever they happened to be, live animals, furs, salt, tobacco, or shells or whatever, proved ineffectual as media for exchange, civilizations began to look for a commodity that lasted, that had permanence. Metals, he explained, especially gold, silver, and bronze became the most commonly used media. Gold took the top spot because, not only was it permanent, but it was scarce, but not too scarce to be exhaustible. His explanation of what the Constitution allowed concerning the government's authority to mint coinage (money) in exchange for gold (or silver) is a fascinating and simple lesson in economics. Mr. McManus also explained how fiduciary money, redeemable notes, came into being, which, as the name indicates, had a value based on trust. Money, he emphasized, is a commodity, like any other commodity, and, therefore, it does not need to be managed by bureaucrats.
A main point of the presentation had to do with the more modern corruption of culture that followed upon the government's taking over the banking industry through the creation in 1913 of the Federal Reserve Bank, which is actually a privately owned agency. Its board of directors, he maintained, have unconstitutional power, and by manipulating the value of money they actually have power over the government, and therefore, over the citizenry. When FDR took our nation off the gold standard, and the Federal Reserve created at will fiat money, unredeemable paper notes, every citizen became a debtor to the government as the value of his dollar fell. And, as Mr. McManus further explained, financial enslavement has led to a collapse of culture: less time for families to be together, mothers having to work to supplement the father's income, and the emergence of a short-lived economy of inflated dollars that sustains itself on frenzied consumerism. Only by abolishing the Federal Reserve Bank, and returning to the gold, or silver standard, can our country even begin to recover. Mr. McManus speaks as a realist. Our hope must ultimately be based on a return to the laws of God without whom no society can be just.
2009 SBC Conference
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