Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ezranomics Re-run

"""The Puritans were Bible-crazy, but they did not bring the Hebrew Scriptures only. The culture of Adams and Jefferson is a Latin culture with a mixture of Greek. Otis wrote a Greek Grammar which he destroyed, or which was lost for the lack of a competent printer. During the prosperous colonial era the arts of silversmithing, furniture making, and architecture developed. The houses, although made of wood, were a Greek dream. Numbers of them burned down. From Germany came groups of religious sectarians. They brought with them the art of glassmaking, and organised, at least once a year, a Bach Festival. Monticello is full of refinement. The polygrapher longed for a complete civilization equal to that of an Italian Court, ceremonies omitted, of the Fourteenth Century. He got into debt.

Adams was frugal, and used the weather-boards of his attic study as a handy file for his correspondence. For at least a century New England took as an idea: “Low Living High Thinking”.

Usury spoiled the Republic. Usury has been defined as too high an interest on money. The word finance became fashionable in the bank-paper era. And it is to this that Jefferson alludes in the phrase: “No one has a natural right to be money-lender save him who has it to lend.” With the “financial” era the word usury disappeared from polite conversation.

There is no greater imbecility than to leave one’s own bank-account or one’s own sources of information in the hands of an enemy, or an irresponsible man.

The struggle between the people and the exploiters, in America, was waged around these forms of imbecility.

A handful of people, who lived on little and did not run into debit brought to, and preserved in America, a rather high, severe culture, and a civic sense nourished by the traditions of English legal liberty, that is, by a centuries-long conquest in which the traditions of North European tribes and Roman Law converge.""""

(Ezra Pound,
An Introduction to the Economic Nature of the United States).

What might the Darwinian materialist say of usury? A type of Madoff meme, perhaps, something to the effect of "take advantage of the plebes as often as you can, and don't get caught, and if caught, lie as needed". A naive or duplicitous atheist may be as pernicious a figure as the biblethumping yokel.


One Brow said...

What Darwinian materialists would say of usury probably depends on the political inclinations of siad materialists.

J said...

Yes, but they could not actually call it Evil, could they, except in a colloquial sense. And why not be a Madoff, if you can get away with it?

I'm not necessarily suggesting Darwinists or atheists are more corrupt or shark-like than believers or non-Darwinists, but I do think--contra some of the neo-atheist crowd--that religious considerations, like "usury is a sin" (at least traditional) may prevent some people from engaging in certain activities which we consider immoral, injust, predatory, so forth.

That said, I am an agnostic, and don't believe there are any knockdown arguments for the existence of G*d (especially not the dogmatic sort favored by the Feserites). Yet Im not sure there are knockdown arguments in favor of atheism (though the problem of evil fairly powerful, as is Darwin and Lyell, evolution itself)

Even Bertrand Russell admitted one could not really disprove the possibility of theism (or polytheism, pantheism, whatever religious flavor you prefer). The universe is a rather large domain to be predicating over.

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