Saturday, April 30, 2005

Must Reading From Antal E. Fekete

Note that Mr. Fekete's article is a rebuttal to Paul Krugman who wrote , The Gold Bug Variations - The Gold Standard and the Men Who Love It

Mr.Fekete has challenged Mr. Krugman to open the columns of The New York Times to an impartial discussion of the future of the irredeemable dollar but has received no reply. If one were to read Mr. Fekete's response in its entirety, or even the article linked here, there's little wonder as to why.

From the link

What the United States did in 1971 was defaulting on its gold obligations to foreign creditors, the biggest act of bad faith in history theretofore. This default, and the making of the dishonored debt money, was the cause of the destabilization of interest rates, as well as the explosive growth in the volatility of prices that have been plaguing the world ever since and causing ever greater economic distress. Krugman's euphemism in calling the greatest default ever "the abandoning of the stabilization policy of the gold price", and calling the promotion of the dishonored paper as money "a measure designed to prevent deflation and the decline of prices" is doublespeak, the hallmark of dismal monetary science. Krugman suggests that an equilibrium now obtains that didn't before. What we have is not an equilibrium; rather, it is a burgeoning disequilibrium, one that will continue its devastating course.

We must remember that the financial annals do not record a single case in which a default has not been followed by a progressive increase in the discount on the paper of the defaulting banker, until it reached 100 percent - possibly several years or even decades later. Obviously, the defaulting banker would try to slow down the process by hook or crook. However, ultimately economic law was to prevail and the remaining value of the dishonored paper would be wiped out.

There is no reason to believe that the dollar default will end differently. Suppose that the price of gold is $420. Let us calculate the discount on the dollar.The gold value of the dollar has been reduced from 1/35 to 1/420 = 1/12ᅲ35. Therefore the loss is (1/35)(1 1/12) = (1/35)(11/12) = (1/35)0.9166... In percentage terms the loss, also known as discount, is 91.66 percent. Not yet 100, but close enough. Small comfort, as the last 8.33 percent of the loss, coincident with the death-throes of the dollar, is likely to be most violent and painful, revealing the full extent of the devastation. Remember, the loss affects not only cash holdings, but all dollar-denominated assets, including bonds, annuities, pensions, insurances, endowments, etc. As the discount on the dollar approaches 100 percent, the dollar price of gold will approach infinity. To assert that the dollar is going to escape this fate is tantamount to asserting that the laws of economics and logic have been turned upside down, and the penalty for default has been replaced by reward in perpetuity.

I urge all of our viewers to re-read that last paragraph several times...particullary the part where he says:

"As the discount on the dollar approaches 100 percent, the dollar price of gold will approach infinity."

The Vatican's Best, 1895-1995

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of film in 1995 the Vatican came out with a list of the most important movies of the previous century. The list was divided into three categories: Values, Religion, and Art with fifteen films in each. Aficionados will quibble with some of the selections (Bergman's Wild Strawberries?) and some of the omissions (Bergman's Winter Lights?), but it is an excellent reference for parents who wish to expose their children to good movies, although, to be sure, not all of the films are appropriate for children. Also, many of the films are foreign and may not be accessible to English-only viewers.

These are the top fifteen films in the Religion category:

Andrei Rublev * Andrei Tarkowsky (1969, USSR)
The Mission * Roland Joffe (1986, UK)
La passion de Jeanne d'Arc (The Passion of Joan of Arc) * Carl T. Dreyer (1928, France)
La vie et la passion de Jesus Christ (Life and Passion of Christ) * Ferdinand Zecca and Lucien Nonguet (1905, France)
Francesco, giullare di Dio (The Flowers of St. Francis / Francis, God's Jester) * Roberto Rossellini (1950, Italy)
Il vangelo secondo Matteo (The Gospel According to Matthew) * Pier Paolo Pasolini (1964, France/Italy)
Therese * Alain Cavalier (1986, France)
Ordet (The Word) * Carl T. Dreyer (1955, Denmark)
Offret - Sacrificatio (The Sacrifice) * Andrei Tarkowsky (1986, Sweden/UK/France)
Francesco * Liliana Cavani (1989, Italy/Germany)
Ben-Hur [A Tale of the Christ] * William Wyler (1959, USA)
Babettes gustebud (Babette's Feast) * Gabriel Axel (1987, Denmark)
Nazarin * Luis Bunuel (1958, Mexico)
Monsieur Vincent * Maurice Cloche (1947, France)
A Man for All Seasons * Fred Zinnemann (1966, UK)

The rest of the list and commentary by Steven Greydanus can be found here.

Screwtape Revisited

Megan Cox Gurdon, in an article at NRO last March, revisits C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters in order to update the cast of characters and let us in on what they have been up to. It's very clever. Here are a few excerpts:

They drink, and put down their glasses. Screwtape looks hard at his nephew, his fingers moving the stem of his glass back and forth along the polished surface of the desk.

"I wonder, young Mildew, if you understand why I have been promoted - one might say exalted, even - to such heights?"

"I have heard," Mildew begins, and blushes. "The fact is, Uncle, I have heard things that seem impossible. Is it really true that you have found a way to get them to eat - "

" - their young?" Screwtape interrupts with a hungry smile. "Yes. Yes! I have found the key, the key, my boy, to unlocking the worst in the human heart. Oh, massacres are entertaining enough, and reasonably productive. Rapine and thieving and savagery and the usual nonsense go a good distance to wrecking men's souls, but not in sufficient numbers. Not for us to win for good - that is, ha-ha, for ill. We must forever be stoking grievances, feeding pride, and constantly thrusting and parrying with the Enemy and his agents. No, the beautifully corrupting key that I have found is vanity."

"Do you think," says the uncle witheringly, "that people who believe that life on earth is the only one they have, that once they die there is nothing, that there are no consequences to their choices - one of Our Father Below's most successful slogans, by the way, choice - do you think, my boy, that they will hesitate if we give them the chance to cut and sew their medical destinies for the mere price of another's life? As Our Father pointed out to the Enemy during that unfortunate incident involving the man Job, "A person will give up everything in order to stay alive."

Read the whole thing. You'll enjoy it.

Rising Tide of Anti-Christian Hatred

Stanley Kurtz at NRO has a must-read article on the rise of anti-Christian bigotry which cites the May issue of Harper's as exhibit A. Here's a taste:

For a very long time now, secular liberals have treated conservative Christians as the modern embodiment of evil, the one group you're allowed to openly hate. Although barely noticed by the rest of us, this poison has been floating through our political system for decades. Traditional Christians are tired of it, and I don't blame them. That doesn't justify rhetorical excess from either side.

But the fact of the matter is that the Left's rhetorical attacks on conservative Christians have long been more extreme, more widely disseminated, and more politically effective than whatever the Christians have been hurling back. And now that their long ostracism by the media has finally forced conservative Christians to demand redress, the Left has abandoned all rhetorical restraint.

Meanwhile, as Harper's levels vicious attacks on conservative Christians, the California assembly has passed a bill designed to prevent politicians from using "anti-gay rhetoric" in their political campaigns. Opposition to same-sex marriage itself is considered by many to be "anti-gay." So has public opposition to same-sex marriage been legislatively banned? Conservative Christians have good reason to fear cultural ostracism. The mere expression of their core religious views is being legislated against.

The courts have banned traditional morality as a basis for law and have turned instead to secular Europe for guidance. Traditional Christians can't even set up a college in New York City. And now Harper's is calling them evil fascists.

Judicial imposition of same-sex marriage has poured fuel on the fire. When Frank Rich compares conservative Christians to segregationist bigots, when Chris Hedges compares conservative Christians to evil fascist supporters of Hitler, its the Christian understanding of homosexuality that's driving the wild rhetoric. None of the American Founders would have approved of same-sex marriage, yet suddenly we're expected to equate opposition to gay marriage with Hitler's genocidal persecutions.

The secular left sees Christian conservatives as the only obstacle standing in the way of their achievement of total cultural hegemony, and, as Jesus promised, they hate them for it. Unless those Christians who are indifferent to, or unaware of, the festering antipathy which has grown quickly to a boil since last November, wake up, pay attention, and start exercising their political rights and power, the situation will doubtless continue to worsen. One lesson of 20th century history is that haters always continue to push until they meet strong opposition. If they don't encounter that resistance their hatred attains a momentum which becomes very difficult to stop and which ultimately results in violence.

It's odd that the current tide of anti-Christian bigotry, whose virulence is unique in our history, has gone largely unremarked in the MSM. Or at least it should be odd.