Monday, July 20, 2015

The Summa Total of God and Economics

Random thoughts from the vertical spindle.

To be a consequence of forces exterior to oneself is to be a liberal. Therefore, a liberal is someone who pretends to be responsible for others while having no responsibility over himself. This infinite regression grounds the ideology in irrationality.

This thought was prompted by a book I've never gotten around to discussing, Who Designed the Designer?, which is of course a stupid question -- which never stops atheists -- because God is in principle without cause. Rather, he is the uncaused initiator of vertical causes.

And man is in his image. Or better, -- let's keep an open mind -- man either is or is not in God's image. If he is, then this would explain how it is that man is the only being in creation who can be a self-conscious initiator of causes, including causes "of" himself. Or in other words, this is why man is capable of conscious change and growth. He is the being who can always get better. Or worse, if he forsakes the imperative to transcend his sorry ass.

Dávila wrote over 10,000 aphorisms, but one of my favorites is The permanent possibility of initiating a causal series is what we call a person. Never before in the field of human comment have so few syllables given so much truth to so damn few of us.

In short, we have the possibility of initiating change, AKA potential; and not only, for this must be a permanent possibility, for the very reason that it is a prolongation of the Permanent. Otherwise it has no explanation, for which reason it is understandable that the left would prefer to just make it go away.

But this still makes imperfect nonsense, for what prompts the white liberal to believe, say, that the poor black person is incapable of change, such that only the intervention of white liberal statists can change him? Is this because the white liberal is a person -- i.e., capable of self-change -- and the black person is something less?

In a word, yesandno. The only thing that saves them from overt racism is the belief that white liberals are equally bereft of free will, thus the deranged axiom that we are all racist.

First of all, like anyone could know that. And even if that were true we couldn't know it, because we wouldn't have the freedom to do so. Nevertheless, it means that for the white liberal, the black person is as incapable of controlling his impulse to commit crime as is the white person incapable of controlling his impulse to despise blacks. Both forms of mental slavery require a ginormous state to remedy them.

I know, the whole thing makes no sense, but we must try to understand the sense it does make to the person whose life is organized around this nonsense. Not all religions make rational sense, you know.

By the way, perhaps you have noticed -- I have -- that I haven't been discussing overtly spiritual subjects as much lately, say, an arcanum-by-arcanum discussion of Meditations on the Tarot, or a book-by-book analysis of Balthasar's Theologic, or a comparison of Meister Eckhart and Abhishiktananda.

Well, what I believe I am attempting to do is widen out the cosmic perspective so as to have an all-embracing view of the totality, including things that aren't typically thought of as particularly theological, such as economics.

But just this weekend it came to me quite dramatically that economics is very much at the heart of the whole existentialada. This was brought home to me while reading the excellent Popular Economics. I suppose that whenever and whatever I read I'm always making farflung connections between this and that. For me, nothing is simply what it is, but rather, densely connected to everything else, both horizontally and vertically, making it something else. Everything is relationship and process, not monad and stasis.

Well, in reading this book it occurred to me that even the staunchest defender of the free market is missing an important and even insane point in not tying it together with God. The first thing a vulgar troll will say is something along the lines of "this is nothing new. Religious wackos have always deployed God as an excuse to justify inequality," or some other such nonsense.

That is not at all what we are saying, even though we will say that inequality is most certainly from God. In other words, God is the very principle that accounts for all this hierarchical diversity. In the absence of God, there would be no inequality, just a blob of undifferentiated oneness. And it is because of inequality that equality (or the dynamic movement toward it) is possible. Pure equality would prevent the dynamic tension that has lifted man out of universal poverty -- as in communism, or in human history prior to the market revolution.

As usual, Dávila puts it most succinctly: Hierarchies are heavenly. In Hell all are equal. Or, If men were born equal, they would invent inequality to kill the boredom.

To demand more of the government is to expect less of ourselves. To be Obama is to expect nothing of us except to be in the way. To be something other than a bag of wet cement is to interfere with his plan for progress.

However, to understand progress one must be capable of distinguishing it from regress. And The egalitarian passion is a perversion of the critical sense: atrophy of the faculty of discrimination. The end result is that people like Obama, who are in no position to even identify progress, are forcing it upon us.

Let's go back to what we said above about persons having the potential to initiate change, AKA liberty. Freedom is not a "thing," but a space and a vector. As Dávila says, it is indispensable not because man knows what he wants and who he is, but so he can find out who he is and what he wants.

This means that the state can only "give" a kind of faux-freedom that actually diminishes it, because freedom can only be allowed and protected. For example, to "give" Obamacare or "homosexual marriage" is to deny a host of personal freedoms. It's only starting.

Let me see if I can wrap some words around the thought I had yesterday about God and economics.

Not sure if I can do that, but perhaps I can relate some notes to myself, the sum of which may just be greater than the parts (all inspired if not plagiarized from Popular Economics).

--Membership in the "1%" never lasts long, any more than it does in professional sports

--If you don't like the wealthy, prove it by ceasing to enjoy all the things they made possible, like your smart phone, or boner pills, or automobile

--Forced equality is a ban on success

--A free economy is an information processing system that will generate inequality by matching ideas with capital

--Which is why "supply side" economics is the idea side, the creativity side, the prosperity side

--One must produce or supply something of value before being a consumer

--For which reason it is kooky to believe in Keynesian demand-side macroeconomics

--No one was demanding smart phones before they were supplied by creative people with ideas; conversely, but no amount of consumer demand will make a failed government policy go away

--Taxes are a penalty on work, and ultimately punishment of the productive in order to reward the unproductive

--The capital gains tax is a penalty on success and discouragement of risk

--People only risk because things are unequal. If things were equal, there would be no reason whatsoever to take a risk

--The creative person needs capital to transform ideas into reality

--Why not call it dynamic and generative disequilibrium instead of inequality?

--Under conditions of freedom, not everyone need concern himself with material disequilibrium. For example, I prefer to spend my life thinking about the disequilibrium between myself and God, and doing something about it; time is scarce and has alternative uses, not all of which are about money

--The most significant and consequential facts about a free economy cannot be measured or reduced to quantity. Doing so will entirely miss all the dreadful things that don't happen because of it, nor does it begin to appreciate all the miraculous things that occur when idea meets capital and places a bet on the ability to satisfy a need or desire in man

I'll give you folks the freedom to add it all up. I'm outta here.

15 Comments:

Blogger ted said...

Why not call it dynamic and generative disequilibrium instead of inequality?

It just doesn't fit well on the protest signs.

7/20/2015 01:12:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

How stupid of me not to have thought of this first: Monk Rock.

7/20/2015 01:39:00 PM  
Blogger julie said...

I can't believe there are so few comments. Must be Monday.

...nothing is simply what it is, but rather, densely connected to everything else, both horizontally and vertically, making it something else. Everything is relationship and process, not monad and stasis.

Yes - if something were actually just what it is, completely disconnected from anything else, it wouldn't be something so much as nothing. Or, in the context of a study of an aspect of the functioning of life (economics, say), if it were just what it is, it couldn't possibly be true. For instance, the idea of zero-sum economics.

Well, in reading this book it occurred to me that even the staunchest defender of the free market is missing an important and even insane point in not tying it together with God.

Yes again - this grim truth came to mind last week, after the Planned Parenthood video came out. Absent God, in a perfectly free market there's no good reason why someone shouldn't sell the parts of aborted babies. After all, there's a supply and a demand, and it was just going to waste otherwise. In a world of cold reason where Man is just another widget and not the image of God, it's quite sensible.

The creative person needs capital to transform ideas into reality

Though notably, depending on just what it is one is trying to create, it may require far less capital now than at any time in the past.

7/20/2015 01:43:00 PM  
Blogger ted said...

Yes, but we need the cultural artifacts to go along with it. How about MoTT trading cards?

7/20/2015 01:48:00 PM  
Blogger mushroom said...

To demand more of the government is to expect less of ourselves.

We have been systemically destroying all of our virtues because we are being told that we have no virtue except obedience to a beneficent and omnipotent state.

The truly virtuous are the greatest threat to tyranny.

7/20/2015 03:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Monk Rocker said...

Three Chords Good.

7/20/2015 03:47:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

Interestingly, one of the first punk rock groups before the name even existed was The Monks.

7/20/2015 03:52:00 PM  
Blogger Gagdad Bob said...

For them, one chord was good, two chords was pushing it, and three chords was jazz.

7/20/2015 03:54:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

"I'll give you folks the freedom to add it all up. I'm outta here."

Ok. Given that A + B = C, then given that A=: "Freedom is not a "thing," but a space and a vector. As Dávila says, it is indispensable not because man knows what he wants and who he is, but so he can find out who he is and what he wants."

, and B =: "--The most significant and consequential facts about a free economy cannot be measured or reduced to quantity. Doing so will entirely miss all the dreadful things that don't happen because of it, nor does it begin to appreciate all the miraculous things that occur when idea meets capital and places a bet on the ability to satisfy a need or desire in man"

, why is it that so few realize that C so clearly =: "Well, in reading this book it occurred to me that even the staunchest defender of the free market is missing an important and even insane point in not tying it together with God."

?. Anyone? Buehler?

Because almost all of them want to include at least some itsy bitsy personal favorite F in the mix, with F=: "To demand more of the government is to expect less of ourselves. To be Obama is to expect nothing of us except to be in the way. To be something other than a bag of wet cement is to interfere with his plan for progress."

And that means that we'll all have to experience more of Y, which is =:"However, to understand progress one must be capable of distinguishing it from regress."

7/20/2015 04:28:00 PM  
Blogger Van Harvey said...

Mushroom said "The truly virtuous are the greatest threat to tyranny"

Boom. Which is why govt is always so intent on living at least some portion of your life for you - hedging their bets by ensuring that we are always at least a little (too start) less than virtuous.

7/20/2015 05:52:00 PM  
Blogger John said...

And Uncle Monk:
http://youtu.be/QASt6cmwlqM

7/20/2015 06:10:00 PM  
Blogger James Sheives said...

FYI:

http://orthosphere.org/2015/07/20/gnosticism-in-modern-scholarship/#more-7604

7/20/2015 06:31:00 PM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"--One must produce or supply something of value before being a consumer."

Aye. The deadly economics of the left only produces scavengers and thieves.
It's a fearamid scheme.

7/21/2015 12:43:00 AM  
Blogger USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

"Well, what I believe I am attempting to do is widen out the cosmic perspective so as to have an all-embracing view of the totality, including things that aren't typically thought of as particularly theological, such as economics."

Indeed. Just because something isn't particularly thought of as theological (or having a connection to it) doesn't mean it can't be.
Again, with the potential.

With the Obamas and Hillarys all one gets is notential. Instead of having the freedom to evolve into a better human, one is forced to devolve into a primitive human, or worse, a subhuman.

7/21/2015 12:52:00 AM  
Anonymous Harry Callahan said...

Well, do you feel lucky, monk?

7/21/2015 12:55:00 AM  

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