Freedom Versus Slavery

by Keith Sharp

“Pervading nationalism imposes its dominion on man today in many different forms, with an aggressiveness that spares no one. The challenge that is already with us, is the temptation to accept as true freedom, what in reality is only a new form of slavery.” – Pope John Paul II

True freedom. What is it? How can it be distinguished from what Pope John Paul characterized as, “a new form of slavery”? Fortunately, in another place, he pithily described authentic freedom:

“Freedom consists not in doing what we want, but in having the right to do what we ought.”

See how nationalism can interfere with true freedom? People are often asked to sacrifice part of their freedom for the ‘general welfare’ or the ‘greater good’. And nowhere in our society is this felt more than in commerce. Pope John Paul…

“The historical experience of socialist countries has sadly demonstrated that collectivism does not do away with alienation, but rather increases it, adding to it a lack of basic necessities and economic inefficiency.”

Now, many people will agree with the idea that America has adopted many socialist attributes. But most would disagree that, it is through our money that society exhibits its socialism most profoundly. Capitalism, they say, is the ruling paradigm.

But think about it. Money is our medium of exchange. It is the blood that flows in commerce, linking together without force (ideally) people and communities. It transports vital nutrients – wealth and commodities – throughout society, uniting communities with the common purpose of  pursuing happiness.

In perhaps the cruelest irony of our time, in the Land of the Free, the world’s premier bastion of capitalism has unwittingly unleashed freedom on society in a most destructive capacity.

“When freedom does not have purpose, when it does not wish to know anything about the rule of law engraved in the hearts of men and women, when it does not listen to the voice of conscience, it turns against humanity and society.” – Pope John Paull II

Money and capitalism turn freedom on its head, when through these organs of commerce the State imposes collectivism on a free people.

How can this be? Very simply, it is through our money – our social blood – that the State operates and enforces its will in society. Fines, fees, and taxes of every sort pervade our lives, enforcing multitudes of statutes and regulations, all ostensibly for the good of society. Indeed, one is very hard pressed to find even a single activity in life, that is not regulated and enforced in some way through government and its revenue generating schemes.

What caused this? What mechanism in society transformed the Great Experiment (for so it was once called) into this kind of velveteen slavery, so antithetical to our roots? I say – and surely this will be stunning to some – it is usury that brought about this weird, twisted reality that is America.

Lending money at interest is the first order of the day in capitalism. Raising capital for industry and production puts labor to work. It is the wealth creation machine in the social body. It finances innovation, and raises standards of living all across the land. This all is made possible through our central banking system, the Federal Reserve.

But lending money at interest is akin to a dairyman watering down his milk for the market. Without going into much detail, the obvious consequence of watering down our money is, we get more volume – more money circulating in commerce – but its vital nutrient, wealth, is diluted. More wealth is not really created. Only the illusion of more wealth is created.

The second most notable order in capitalism is, the debt must be serviced. Making the interest payments on borrowed capital becomes ‘item 1’ in any responsible budget. People pledge property as collateral as security for their loans, and servicing the debt outweighs all other considerations, or one might suffer the loss of his collateral.

This natural consequence of debt, that of servicing it, necessarily brings about an unnatural and immoral course of action. People need things that aren’t easily quantified with money. Picking up a friend at the airport, or sharing vegetables from the garden with friends, things like this are lost in day to day commerce, because of the ever pressing need of servicing debt pervades society at every level.

Indeed, the social classes are formed by usury. It is by design that, when large sums of money are created by debt, a certain percentage of debt will never be repaid. People lose jobs and their homes are repossessed as a consequence of debt. Some people become extremely wealthy, while others become destitute and poor.

“Social justice cannot be created by violence. Violence kills what it intends to create.”  – Pope John Paul II

Practically all of our law is designed to enforce contracts. For without the force of law, the blood (money) would not flow. All law is force. In our society, government has a monopoly on the use of force. And, in yet another cruel irony, it is charged with enforcing the peace through violence, which is focused almost exclusively on enforcing contracts.

Our homes, cars, jobs, education, health care, and practically everything else are held hostage to servicing debt. This has caused much evil in society, not the least of which the fracturing of families and communities.

I say, usury is an assault on society. We have allowed the unholy pursuit of profit at all cost to disrupt our lives, and transform the Land of the Free into the Land of the Debt Slave. But there is a better way, and it is within our power to make it happen.