As the debt limit negotiations drag on, the Prolix Patriot was reminded this morning by a cousin-in-law of this passage from Atlas Shrugged:
Then you will see the rise of the double standard – the men who live by force, yet count on those who live by trade to create the value of their looted money – the men who are the hitchhikers of virtue. In a moral society, these are the criminals, and the statutes are written to protect you against them. But when a society establishes criminals-by-right and looters-by-law – men who use force to seize the wealth of disarmed victims – then money becomes its creators' avenger. Such looters believe it safe to rob defenseless men, once they've passed a law to disarm them. But their loot becomes the magnet for other looters, who get it from them as they got it. Then the race goes, not to the ablest at production, but to those most ruthless at brutality. When force is the standard, the murderer wins over the pickpocket. And then that society vanishes, in a spread of ruins and slaughter.
"Do you wish to know whether that day is coming? Watch money. Money is the barometer of a society's virtue. When you see that trading is done, not by consent, but by compulsion – when you see that in order to produce, you need to obtain permission from men who produce nothing – when you see that money is flowing to those who deal, not in goods, but in favors – when you see that men get richer by graft and by pull than by work, and your laws don't protect you against them, but protect them against you – when you see corruption being rewarded and honesty becoming a self-sacrifice – you may know that your society is doomed. Money is so noble a medium that it does not compete with guns and it does not make terms with brutality. It will not permit a country to survive as half-property, half-loot.
"Whenever destroyers appear among men, they start by destroying money, for money is men's protection and the base of a moral existence. Destroyers seize gold and leave to its owners a counterfeit pile of paper. This kills all objective standards and delivers men into the arbitrary power of an arbitrary setter of values. Gold was an objective value, an equivalent of wealth produced. Paper is a mortgage on wealth that does not exist, backed by a gun aimed at those who are expected to produce it. Paper is a check drawn by legal looters upon an account which is not theirs: upon the virtue of the victims. Watch for the day when it becomes, marked: 'Account overdrawn.'
The Prolix Patriot does not advocate for a return to the gold standard, as this would be disastrously impractical even in the best case. At the same time, it is fast becoming obvious that our trust in the "full faith and credit" of the U.S. government as the basic measure of value is sorely misplaced. Even if default is avoided this time around, what's to stop future politicians from further corrupting of our entire economic system?
More importantly, insurance companies, mortgage lenders, and retirement funds should not be punished because of the profligacy of our government. The last case is especially wicked. In exchange for a lifetime of honest work, millions of retirees and those nearing retirement are left with nothing except faith in the word of a politician.
It is written in scripture that, "No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." Alas, our elected officials thirst only for power and don't even serve mammon, and the motto "In God We Trust" stamped on our currency has become a twisted joke.