Saturday, March 28, 2015

CRAIG EDWARD KELSO, Like An Ingrown Hair

What if the most radical, most subversive ideas a person could consider are not delivered through the typical package? 

Do notions challenging one’s cherished, deeply-held beliefs have to be iterated via a hoodie-wearing, tattooed laden, pierced, bandanna over the mouth sporting, self-described dissenter? Will arguments in favor or against something we never previously gave much thought to be completely distasteful to us due to the messenger? Is stretching our minds only something we do at phases of our lives, like a college experience, and then we rightfully choose our lot among the decent choices of conservative and progressive strains of acceptable debate?

Sometimes I wonder.

A friend recently queried me on my nearly adult-life obsession with economic theory, economic philosophy. My interests in such seemed to him obtuse, terribly abstract, and not particularly relevant when placed against his deciphering of the news cycle. What did all my reading and judging of monetary policy, markets, private property rights, and so forth have to do with ANYTHING? Seeing as how I was POOR, would be poor for the foreseeable future, and haven’t exactly lived a Rockefeller life, why do I even bother with economics? 

His question was a good one, and it’s one I’ve been asked for a long time. I’ve never really stopped long enough to ponder the question. The answer was obvious to me, I guess.

I think it has something to do with evil. 

Obviously I do not believe in any kind of supernatural evil, an external evil brought us by gods and their demons. Evil to me seems somewhat banal in the Arendt sense. Her controversial but highly insightful philosophy contained in the work Eichmann in Jerusalem spoke of how a war criminal wasn’t a monster in the way state propagandists insisted. He wasn’t a wide-eyed, hand-rubbing, white-long-haired-cat-petting evil genius. Rather, the mass extermination of European Jewry extended from his unthinking, unquestioning dutiful going-along-ness as a bureaucrat. Otherwise, Eichmann was a nice guy. He could be your neighbor. And anecdotal stories of Nazis taking homes in various South American countries point to Arendt’s brilliance in describing true evil. National Socialists on the lamb in Argentina didn’t set up shop and begin killing people there too. No. What they did was somewhat easily blend into the community, naturally and effortlessly living out the rest of their lives as grandfathers and pillars. One day you’d be having tea with this older fellow who had an odd accent to his Spanish you couldn’t quite place, talking about local concerns, admiring his phonograph collection; the next day, his picture would be splashed all over the newspaper for escaping international justice, having orchestrated massacres! That, to me, has always been more of the kind of thing I mean when I use the term evil.

Evil is insidious, grating and weighs upon us in the way super-small rocks make up a hill. You don’t see it, and then all the sudden you SEE IT. It builds, grows and has an internal, almost viral, logic. Bacterial even. Get it?

So it is with something as seemingly uninteresting as inflation. An obvious concern for the average consumer when inflation takes hold is the loss of relative purchasing power. That sucks whale nuts. Sure. But it’s worse, MUCH worse than that.

Inflation is the ancient tool of tyrannical governments (a redundancy because ALL governments are tyrant-filled actors). Yeah, inflation is a mostly man made device brought on for a specific purpose. No, you don’t need anti-Semitic rants, conspiracies about international cartels, in order to get there in an intellectually honest manner.


The concept is rather simple. Governments use inflationary policies to go around popular will or to buy popular will by generating give-aways and entitlements. Inflation has massive amounts of blood on its non-existing hands by way of wars.



Wars are VERY expensive. A hilariously sad axiom, where so-called conservative and so-called progressives AGREE, is the totally fucked idea FDR ended the Great Depression by flinging the United States into World War II. 

Please, for one second, THINK about that. 

Massive killing, waves and waves of munitions, grandmas and bunnies blown to smithereens, … for the purpose of EMPLOYMENT? 


I can imagine about a zillion better uses of capital, time, and human ingenuity. Maybe you cannot. In any event, to suggest wars are good for business is grotesquery. Of course, wars are undebatably FANTASTIC for governments, and wars’ impacts last far beyond the historically sweet bookmarking of tidy dates and cute names (Operation this, Shield that, Greatest huey, etc.). Wars give governments all they need to bend and control their domestic populace.

So what?

Well, how are these wars financed? Where does all that money come from to pay for them?

Governments inflate.

More recently, especially in the 20th and 21st centuries, governments accomplish their schemes through the printing press, printing currencies at will. Inflation. More paper tickets in circulation, the less value each has. But due to inflation’s lagging indicators, it takes time to SEE it, to notice your buck is losing value. Insidious like an ingrown hair on your ass. Sure, you sense the bump at some point, but not until it’s all puss-filled and pinching in pain do you FEEL its full impact. 

Same with inflation. 

These fake tickets are used to counterfeit government’s way, paying for guns, ammo, soldiers’ wages, uniforms, tanks, planes, and all the rest. The populace hardly feels a thing, though some sense a wrongness. If the government had to actually pay for the TRUE, immediate cost of war, the public would not stand for the immense increases in direct taxation. Revolt would be almost instant. Actually, I believe it would be economically IMPOSSIBLE for most of the wars of the past to have been initiated without inflation, but that’s even more controversial.   

For Mr. Obama (yes, I know, you revere and love him, but these are HIS wars now), sending tens of thousands MORE troops to Afghanistan, after having won the Nobel PEACE Prize, was a fiscally easy decision. Float some more dough out there via the Federal Reserve, in the form of Treasury bonds or even direct cash infusions, and, voila, few are the financially wiser. More importantly, protests aren’t really spawned because, as in the case of FDR, it’s felt as a money boon … at first! That’s not cynicism, I assure you. And, what’s more, it has been done for THOUSANDS of years.

Slow creep.

And you might accept the above, noting inflation appears to meet YOUR needs (heck, you have YOUR car, YOUR house, and your other material objects as a result of easy credit), hippy anti-war rhetoric notwithstanding . Until you live through a year like 2008, and you’re about to retire. Until you lose all the equity in your lone investment, your home. Until you lose your job, the one you’ve had for twenty years. Until you realize governmentalists sapped your EARNINGS, the sum total of your working hours, by fiat. 

Yeah, with one swipe of the finger, whoosh, all your accumulated wealth is gone. No, you cannot get worked up about our bombing brown people with funny names half a world away, but goddammit, now you can’t make a house payment! Get it NOW, slick? Thought so.

To pay for all those GOVERNMENT-inspired, MANDATED housing programs, the very ones created by easing credit through the Federal Reserve, our central bank, the government, you guessed it, inflated.

Banks were flush with money. Banks were goaded, harassed and legislated into pushing people into loans they could not afford (what banker, in her right mind, would ever loan to a person she KNEW could not pay it back … unless … unless … UNLESS there was a government guarantee? Oh, and I do agree many bankers agitated for such credit ease as well, but the point still stands: none of this was possible without government intervention). This, in turn, caused a massive labor shift to the construction trades, encouraging more jobs in that sector than were actually economically needed, which then caused incredibly high wages … which then encouraged more people to enter those fields. Now consider all the sub-industries associated with home-building. Now consider all the governments, local and state mainly, who derive their very existence on home properties appreciating! Now consider the surrounding commercial businesses created as a means to serve all those falsely-generated communities! 


ALL OF IT stems from government’s inflationary policies.

All of it. Wars. Booms. Bubbles. Busts. All of it.

The banality of inflation is an actual and real attack on our very existence. It’s so pervasive, we don’t see it. It’s such a part of our life, we carelessly ignore it.

And I mean it.

Craig Edward Kelso is the author of Anarcho-Capitalism (2014), a primer on the philosophy of peaceful, stateless cooperation. His curriculum vitae include a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science from San Diego State University, and a Post-Baccalaureate secondary education credential in both Social Science and English Language Arts. Kelso taught for nearly a decade in the American public school system, and was voted by colleagues Teacher of the Year, twice in his short tenure, earning numerous accolades from chambers of commerce, mayors, state assembly persons, governors, congresspersons, senators, and even Wal-Mart. Currently he struggles to earn an opportunity to be employed, working as a laborer, dishwasher. He is deliriously happily married to Myra Kelso, living in Southern California with their adorable children.

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