לסטנלי פישר ובנק ישראל לא מגיעים שמץ של שבח

סטנלי פישר הוא נגיד בנק ישראל. כבנקאי הבנקים, הוא בריון הממשלה האחראי על הדפסת כל שטרות הכסף במדינה כולה. כל שמייצר כסף חוץ ממנו נשלח לכלא. בחוכמתו האינסופית, הוא אמור לדעת בדיוק מה ההיצע של כסף צריך להיות בכל המדינה כבל עת, בגלל שהוא כביכול חכם שאין כמוהו – גאון מטורף עם מוח פועם ואיכשהו יודע את הדברים האלה עד סופם. אולי אלוהים מדבר אליו בחלומותיו ומגיד לו כמה שקלים צריכים להיות במשק וכמה הוא צריך להדפיס ולתת לבנקים ומתי.

או אולי, רק אולי, הוא סתם בן אדם פשוט כמו כולנו, שאין לו שום מושג מה הוא עושה, חמוש בנשק גרעיני כלכלי, משהו שאסור לבן אדם כבן אדם להתחמש בו.

סטן הסופר שקל-מן לאחרונה יצא בהכרזה כי הוא ייפרד מתפקידו מוקדם. מלבד הספקולציות למה (אני חושב שזה בגלל שהוא יודע שעוד מעט יתרחש פה ובכל העולם כולו צונאמי כלכלי בלתי ניתן לעצירה ב3-5 השנים הקרובות, והוא רוצה להתחמק מוקדם), לא ראיתי שום דבר חוץ משבחים מקיר לקיר עבור הצאר המתכנן המרכזי מדפסן הכסף סובייטי זה. בטוח שהוא חביב אישית. יש לו קול נעים, מבטא זמבי חמוד, מבלבל זכרנקבה בדיקדוק כל הזמן (כמוני), והמשק הישראלי לא התמוטט לחלוטין בשנת 2008 כך שכולם מניחים שאדון השקל הציל את כולנו מעוני מוחלט. אבל כל זה מיתוס גדול ועצוב, ואני חייב להגיד, מכעיס ומשגע אותי עד מוות.

בואו ננתח את זה.

בואו נזוז הצידה רגע מדמותו של סטנלי האדם עצמו. לא הוא כבן אדם הבעיה העיקרית. כפי שאמרתי, הוא נחמד. הבעיה העיקרית היא המערכת עצמה של בנקאות מרכזית שנותנת לאנשים כמותו דרך כפייה ואיומים כוח מופרז על כל החיים הכלכליים שלנו, כוח אשר, ברגע שאתה מבין את ההיקף וההשלכות שלו, יכול לגרום לך סחרחורת. (אל תחשוב על בנק ישראל תוך כדי נהיגה.)

נעליים לדוגמה

דמיינו לרגע שתי כלכלות לאומיות. אחת שבו האספקה ​​של נעליים והמחירים שלהן נשלטות על ידי אדם אחד וכל מי שמייצר או משתמש בנעליים מלבדו זורקים אותו לכלא, וכלכלה אחרת שבו האספקה ​​של נעליים והמחירים שלהם נשלטות על ידי אף אחד, כלומר השוק החופשי, כלומר מספר עצום של יזמים ואנשי עסק חופשיים מייבאים מייציאם ומייצרים נעליים בהתאם לביקוש מלקוחותיהם. בשוק חופשי בו כל אחד יכול לייצר לייבא לייצא ולקנות כמה נעליים שהוא רוצה, ההיצע, הביקוש, והמחיר של נעליים נוטים להגיע לנקודת שיווי משקל שבו הרווחים יישארו קבועים ויציבים. חברות נעליים סיטונאים, מייצרים, וקמעונאים כאחד,  יתחרו אחד עם השני כדי למכור את רוב הנעליים לציבור. כדי לעשות זאת, הם יצטרכו למכור נעליים באיכות הגבוהה ביותר במחירים הנמוכים ביותר על מנת למשוך לקוחות.

אם האספקה ​​של נעליים מטפסת גבוהה מדי, מחירי נעליים יפולו, שיסחוב איתם גם את הרווחים, ובכך מגביל את כמות נעליים שיווצרו, שיבלום את ההיצע, ומחירי הנעליים יעלו בחזרה לשיווי משקל בין היצע וביקוש. אם הביקוש עולה גבוהה מדי, מחירי נעליים יעלו, משהו שיגדיל את הרווחים, שיעודד סנדלרים לייצר יותר כדי להרוויח את הרווחים המוגברים. היצע שוב מתאים את עצמו לביקוש, ומחירי הנעליים יירדו בחזרה לנקודת שיווי משקל.

עכשיו, במשק שבו האספקה ​​של נעליים והמחירים שלהם נשלטות על ידי אדם אחד, נקרא לו יו”ר בנק הנעליים של ישראל, אנחנו סומכים על אדם אחד בודד:

1)      לייצר את כל הנעלים בכל הארץ, משום שכל מי מייצר נעליים באופן עצמאי נחשב זייפן נעליים ונשלח לכלא

2)      לדעת באופן על-טבעי את ההיצע הנכון של כל הנעליים בארץ בכל רגע נתון

3)      לקבע את מחירי הנעליים בהתאם למה שהוא חושב, סתם ככה.

4)      לא לנצל לרעה את הכוח האבסורדי הזה

שוק הנעליים בארץ כזאת יהיה בלגן מוחלט וכל מי שזקוק לנעליים תהיינה אומללות. מכיוון שלפי החוק, מותר רק לחברה אחת, בנק הנעליים המרכזי לישראל לייצר ולמכור נעליים, שגם מחייב כל אזרחי המדינה לנעול רק את הנעליים שלו לא תהיה תחרות כלשהי ואיכות הנעליים תדרדר. אם יו”ר בנק הנעליים של ישראל, סטנלי סנדלר, קובע את מחירי הנעליים נמוכים מדי, כלומר הוא ממעיט בהערכת ביקוש, אנשים יתחילו לאגור את הנעליים ולקנות יותר ממה שהם צריכים, ויהיו מחסור בנעליים למי שלא הספיק לקנות. אם הוא קובע את המחירים גבוהים מדי, כלומר מגזים בהערכת ביקוש, אנשים שהם זקוקים לנעליים חדשות לא יקנו אותם, ופשוט ימתינו למחירים נמוכים יותר. אולי הם ינסו לתקן את הנעליים הישנות שלהם, או יחתכו את הנעלים הקטנים עליהם. התוצאה היא עודפים עצומים של נעליים בבנק המרכזי לנעליים.

בינתיים, ללא קשר לשאלה האם סנדלר סטנלי יוצר מחסור בנעליים או עודפות עם קסמיו הלא-מדויקים על מחירי הנעליים המתאימים וההיצע האופטימאלי, לאנשים לא יהיו ברירה אלא לקנות נעליים ממנו בלבד, והוא יתעשר ללא שום קשר לאיכותם, אפילו אם הם הנעליים המחורבנות ביותר. אף אחד לא רוצה ללכת לכלא על “זיוף” נעליים.

לתת לאדם בודד את האחראיות והסמכות הבלעדית לספק נעליים לציבור הוא די רע. אבל מה שגרוע הרבה יותר הוא לתת לאדם אחד אחראיות עם סמכות בלעדית על כמות הכסף במדינה כולה, משום שההיצע והביקוש של כסף עצמו מנתב את כל כולו של המשק, כולל נעליים.

אני יודע שמושגים כמו “הביקוש לכסף ” ו”מחיר הכסף ” נשמעים קצת מוזרים. האם לא כולם מבקשים כסף כל הזמן? איך זה יכול להשתנות? כיצד יכול להיות שלכסף עצמו יש מחיר? הלא כסף הוא כסף? תהיה איתי. אברר.

זה קשה לאנשים להבין את המושגים האלה בימים אלו, משום שכספי “פיאט” (כלומר, כסף בלי ערך אינהרנטי) ממשלתיים שולטים בעולם מאז 1971 באופן כמעט מוחלט, וממשלות בכל רחבי העולם לקחו על עצמם את הסמכות הבלעדית לייצר כסף,מה שאסר על כל דבר אחר מלהיכנס לשוק ככסף. אבל במציאות, כסף, בדיוק כמו נעליים, הוא סחורה כמו כל סחורה אחרת. ההבדל היחיד הוא שכסף הוא הרבה יותר “סחור” מאשר נעליים בתמורה לסחורות אחרות. למעשה, כסף הוא הסחורה הכי סחור שקיימת. זאת הסיבה שהוא משמש ככסף.

עכשיו, “מחיר הכסף” וכן “הביקוש לכסף” מקבלים ביטוי בדרכים רבות ושונות במשק. הם משתקפים בכמה כסף מלווים (בנקים) גובים כדי ללוות כסף, הידוע כשער הריבית. אם שער הריבית גבוה, אז מחיר כסף הוא “יקר”. אם כסף הוא יקר ומלווים יכולים לגבות ריבית גבוהה, “הביקוש לכסף” הוא יחסית גבוה. אחרת, אנשים לא יהיו מוכנים לשלם מחירים גבוהים כל כך כדי ללוות כסף. אם שער הריבית נמוך, אז כסף הוא “זול”. אם כסף הוא זול מלווים ייאלצו לגבות רק שער ריבית נמוך יותר על מנת למשוך לווים. במצב כזה “הביקוש לכסף” הוא נמוך.

המחיר והביקוש לכסף באים לידי ביטוי גם במשק כולו במחירים הכספיים של כל הסחורות ושירותים האחרים במשק. בזמנים בהם הביקוש לכסף הוא גבוה, שמגביר את שער הריבית, זה אומר שאנשים רוצים להחזיק יותר מהכסף שלהם (לחסוך) ולא לבזבז אותו. אם אנשים רוצים לחסוך יותר כסף, התוצאה היא שמחירים הכספיים של כל הסחורות והשירותים האחרים במשק ירדו. דברים יהיו זולים יותר לקנות, משום שעל מנת למשוך מכירות, סוחרים יצטרכו להוריד מחירים כדי לפתות יותר כסף מחוץ לחשבוני החיסכון.

שיעורי הריבית הגבוהים, או מחיר גבוה של כסף, בתורם משרתים להביא את מחיר הכסף בחזרה לשיווי משקל בשוק בעתים שהביקוש לכסף הוא גבוה והמחירים במשק נמוכים, כי חוסכי הכסף (מלווים) ירוויחו שיעורים גבוהים יותר על חסכונותם בתמורה. החוסכים ירוויחו יותר, ובאופן זה הם יוציאו את הכסף שהם הרוויחו מהחיסכון שלהם, המחירים יעלו, ושער הריבית יירד תוך שמלווים ייאלצו להסתפק בשיעורי ריבית נמוכות יותר על מנת למשוך יותר לווים. הביקוש לכסף, לכן, ירד, מה שמאפשר לסוחרים להעלות את המחירים במשק, ביקוש לכסף יורד, ושער הריבית יורד גם כן.

סיכום קצר:

ביקוש לכסף למעלה = ריבית למעלה = מחירים למטה

ביקוש לכסף למטה = ריבית למטה = מחירים למעלה

בסופו של דבר, כל התהליך הזה יגיע לנקודת שיווי משקל שבו מחירים היחסיים של סחורות ושירותים במונחים של כסף יישארו פחות או יותר יציבים עם שער הריבית.

עכשיו, מה לגבי היצע הכסף? זה החלק המגניב. בשוק חופשי, היצע הכסף לא יהיה תחת שלטון סטלי שקל-מן, אלא שלטון השוק, כלומר חברות כריית זהב וכסף בשיתוף פעולה עם מייצרות מטבעות כסף וזהב פרטיות והם ישתפו פעולה עם בנקים פרטיים. הנה איך זה עובד:

1)      חברת כרייה A חצבה 100 ק”ג כסף, אך זקוקה למטבען מכובד ומוכר כדי לקנות דברים עם הכסף. סוחרים איננו מקבלים סתם ערימות של כסף לא ממוטבעות, משום שאין דרך לדעת כמה טהור הוא הכסף. אז הוא הולך למטבען B ונותן לו 100 ק”ג של כסף.

2)      מטבען B מעביר את הכסף במכונת ההטבעה שלו, בודק את הטוהר של הכסף, ומחתים אותו בחותמתו, אישורו, על ידי הטבעתו לעיגולים קטנים. הוא שומר 2 קילו של מטבעות לעצמו כעמלה עבור שירותיו.

3)      חברת כרייה A ומטבען B הולכים לבנקC  ואומרים לו, “תעשה לי טובה בנק C, יש לנו מטבעות אלה כאן. הם כבדים מדי. אתה יכול בבקשה לשים אותם בכספת שלך ולתת לנו קבלות נייר שהכסף יושב כאן? נא לתת כסף לכל מי שמציג את הקבלות.” בנק C לוקח את מטבעות הכסף, מספק להם קבלות ולה מייצר יותר קבלות מכסף שיש להם בכספת, וגובה עמלה קטנה מחברת הכרייה והמטבען עבור שרותו.

4)      כל הצדדים יוצאים לשוק וקונים דברים עם קבלות נייר שנקראות “כסף” או “ממון” שזה “מן” הכסף.

איך היצע הכסף מוסדר בשוק חופשי? בדרך הבאה: כאשר הביקוש לכסף עולה והמחירים של סחורות אחרות יורדים, חברות כרייה תרוויחו יותר מהכסף והזהב שהם חוצבים משתי סיבות:

1) היות והמחירים של כל דבר הולכים ויורדים, זה כולל מחירי כריית הכסף מהאדמה.

2) היות והמחירים של כל דבר הולכים ויורדים, חברות הכרייה תהיינה מסוגלות לקנות יותר דברים עם הזהב והכסף שהם מייצרים.

שני גורמים אלה יגרמו אותם להגביר את ייצור של זהב וכסף, הגדלת ההיצע, שמביא את שיעורי הריבית לרדת ומחירים של סחורות ושירותים אחרים לעלות. כאשר מחירים של סחורות ושירותים אחרים עולים, זה יעלה את מחירי כריית הכסף, והם יוכלו לקנות פחות עם הזהב והכסף שהם חוצבים. בסופו של דבר, רווחי כריית זהב וכסף ירדו לנקודה שבה הם ייאלצו לחצוב פחות. היצע הכסף יתחיל לרדת והמחירים של מוצרים ושירותים ירדו גם כן.

בשוק חופשי לכסף, המטבענים הטובים ביותר, היעילים ביותר, והישרים ביותר יקבלו את מרבית העסק והמטבעות שלהם ינצח את השוק. המטבענים שמרמים ומשקרים על טוהר המטבעות שלהם יאבדו עסק ותפשטו את הרגל. המטבעות שלהם לא יזרמו בשוק, או שהם יזרמו בהנחה יחסית למטבעות אחרים טהורים יותר.

בשוק חופשי לקבלות או “שטרות” כסף, מדפיסי השטרות הטובים ביותר, היעילים ביותר, והישרים ביותר שלא משקרים על כמות הכסף שיש להם בכספת לאומת הקבלת שזורמים במשק, יאחסנו את מרבית הכסף. בנקים פרטיים שמרמים ומשקרים על כמה כסף או זהב שיש להם במרתפיהם ומנפחים (“אינפלציה”) את כמות השטרות מעבר לכמות הכסף וזהב שברשותם, שמועות יתחילו להסתובב, משתמשי השטרות שלהם יבקשו את הכסף הממשי בחזרה מהמרתף, ואם הם לא יכולים לספק את זה, הם יפשטו את הרגל וכל רכושם ייתנו למחזיקי שטרותים. שטרותיהם המאונפלצים לא יזרמו בשוק יותר, לטובת השטרות הישרים הלא מאונפלצים.

בשוק חופשי לכסף, יהיה לך כמה מטבעות שונים מתחרים. אנשים בשוק יקבלו את האמינים ולא יקבלו את המנופחות, או המאונפלצים.

שיעורי הריבית והמחירים יישארו יציבים, ביקוש ומחירי הכסף ימצאו נקודת איזון, וכמו בכל משק מפותח, סחורות ושירותים יגדלו מהר יותר מההיצע של כסף עצמו, מה שיאפשר רמה הולכת וגדלה של איכות חיים בכלל.

או אפשר לנו למנות אדם אחד “להשגיח” על כל הכסף במדינה כמו סטנלי פישר, להדפיס סתם נייר שכזה שלא מייצג שום דבר בכלל וכלל, ולזרוק כל “זייפן” לכלא, מה שגורם לעליית מחירים מתמשכות ושטרות כסף שערכם הולכים ומדרדרים בכל דקה, מה שהופך את כולם חוץ מהבנקים לעניים ואומללים יותר.

סטנלי פישר לא הציל את המשק הישראלי מקריסה. הוא פשוט לא ניצל לרעה את הכח המטורף שניתן לו באותה רמה שבנקאים מרכזיים אחרים ניצלו: כוח המונופול להדפיס כסף ולאסור כל כסף מסוג אחר מלהיכנס לשוק. כוח זה, אגב, ניתן לו באותה דרך שסטנלי הסנדלר, יו”ר בנק הנעליים המרכזי, קיבל את הכוח שלו: על ידי ממשלת ברינים שזורקים את כל מי ש שמייצר נעליים לכלא. או במקרה הזה, כסף. ולאיזה סיבה ממשלת ישראל תאסור על כולם חוץ מסטנלי הבריון שלה לייצר כסף? כי כשיש לך שליטה מוחלטת על היצע הכסף כולו, אתה יכול להוציא אותו על כל דבר … שעולה … על…ליבך…השחור…המאוס…והמרושע. רווחה. ומושבי עור לח”כים. והעלות שכר לשרים יחד אם העלות מסים. ומכוניות שרד לראשי מפלגות. וטיולים לצרפת לשרי ביטחון. וסובסידיות לבורים שאתה רוצה שיצביעו בשבילך. ומשרדים המערכות שלמות שמשעבדים אותנו ואת ילדינו כל יום כמו משרד החינוך. ופוסטרים ענקיים ומודעות טלביזיה וכבישים פקוקים כל יום שעליהם אלפים מתים כל שנה ורק אלוהים יודע מה עוד.

כאשר אדם אחד שולט בשוק הנעליים, איכות הנעליים יורדת וכל מי שנועל נעליים, סובל. כאשר אדם אחד שולט בשוק הכסף, האיכות של כסף הולכת ויורדת. הוא מאבד ערך. כל מי שמשתמש בכסף, סובל, חוץ מעובדי הממשלה שמרוויח על חשבונינו.

בכל פעם שסטנלי פישר הדפיס שקלים בלחיצת כפתור, הוא גנב מאנשים כמוך וכמוני שצריכים לעבוד כדי להרוויח את השקלים שלנו. הוא גנב ממך. הוא גנב ממני.

סטנלי פישר הוא זייפן וגזלן שיש לעצור אותו. הוא לא גיבור שיש לשבח אותו.

Conversations with a Statist: Round 1, “Free Medical School”

It’s a dumbfounding experience speaking to a man who really believes that the State exists to take care of people, that it is trustworthy, that if only some law were passed so taxpayers could fund just one more thing, everything would be fixed.

The statist believes in force. He believes in laws. He fears liberty. He thinks it will lead to chaos. He does not trust the market, he has a low view of man, but paradoxically, believes a man-run State is somehow exempt from the low status of mankind he has bestowed upon the tax paying portion of the population. The tax parasites, those are the noble ones, living off the productivity of others like leaches.

In one conversation with a statist who is some sort of researcher or teacher at a medical school , I accused him of supporting taxpayer subsidies because he is part of the two most heavily subsidized industries – healthcare and higher education. He responded that most of his money comes from “private research grants” rather than tuition from indebted students that get their money from government loans. There’s always a way to weasel out and say you’re clean.

Private research grants probably from Big Pharma companies that have spent millions lobbying congress for extra regulations and hoola hoops and barriers for smaller companies from entering the industry. Let’s see one small cap company successfully break through the insanely expensive phase III FDA barrier without Big Pharma lending a “helping hand” and securing revenues for itself. Private research grants…fah. What he means is research grants given by huge conglomerates that have special corporatist privileges from government.

He’ll read this, deny it, say the money is clean because it comes from pure capitalists who are not in bed with government, which will then contradict his whole value system because, of course, he is supposed to love government and hate pure capitalists as greedy pigs.

Anyway, he suggested that the best way to eradicate student loan debt is to…get this…make medical school… “free”. What genius. Here is how I responded to that wonderfully ingenius proposal:

With what money are you going to make medical school free? Who is going to pay for it? The Feds, who are in the hole over $100,000,000,000,000 in unfunded liabilities? This is what I can’t understand about about you people and it brings me almost to tears. Don’t you get it? There is no more money. It’s all gone. How the hell are you supposed to make medical school free? The answer is you force people who don’t want to go to medical school to subsidize people who do want to go to medical school, more theft.

You say the trillion dollar student debt is unfair, and they you have the chutzpah to suggest free medical school? Do numbers mean nothing to you? Or do you just ignore them? Does your brain turn off when you hear the debt? Do you think it’s fake?

What do you think is going to happen when the debt cannot be paid? All the trillions of dollars of treasury bonds are going to flood American shores. The dollar will collapse completely. All your savings will be wiped away in a few months. You won’t even be able to afford to buy food and clothing, let alone “free medical school”. My God. You can’t see it. You think money is pieces of paper.

Go ahead, enjoy your free medical school. The debt is just a fairy tale after all.

Here is his Statist response:

“With what money are you going to make medical school free? Who is going to pay for it?”

That you ask the question shows that you don’t know how the US health care system works, or the numbers involved. The total cost would be under $5 billion annually. The savings from a single drug — Lipitor — going generic would have paid for it. And it would dramatically reduced costs in the long run.

“more theft”

As I pointed out, taxes aren’t theft. Period.

“Do you think it’s fake?”

About 40% of it is in fact fake, as the US includes debt held by government agencies in the national debt calculations. If you eliminated the national debt as it is typically defined, you would also eliminate 96.5% of the US currency in circulation, which would be catastrophic for the entire planet.

“What do you think is going to happen when the debt cannot be paid?”

The only reason the debt won’t get paid would be if the Republicans refuse to raise the debt ceiling or shut down the government. Japan’s national debt as % of GDP is more than double that of the US, and nobody is ranting the way you are about its solvency. The problems in the US are political, not fiscal or economic. And attitudes such as yours are a major part of the problem.

So let’s break down this bull.

First paragraph:

That you ask the question shows that you don’t know how the US health care system works, or the numbers involved. The total cost would be under $5 billion annually. The savings from a single drug — Lipitor — going generic would have paid for it. And it would dramatically reduced costs in the long run.

That you answer the question this way shows that you don’t know how the US government system works or the numbers involved. The total cost would be advertised by politicians as under $5 billion annually. They would say things like “the savings from a single drug going generic will pay for it! And we’ll have dramatically reduced costs in the long run!”

I can picture some senator saying that right now. It would sound beautiful. Just one more law will fix EVERYTHING! I know where I’ve heard that line before. From FDR, when he started Social Security. Huge savings. Little cost. Nothing to worry about. And LBJ when he started Medicare. Huge savings. Little cost. Nothing to worry about. And George WTF Bush when he wanted to bomb Iraq. Little cost. In and out. Huge oil savings. Nothing to worry about. Now both programs encompass HALF THE ENTIRE FEDERAL BUDGET OF OVER $3 TRILLION DOLLARS. And Iraq cost over $1 trillion MORE.

You know what’s going to happen when medical school becomes “free”? Here’s what would happen.

The government would be ecstatic that it now has a whole NEW chunk of the economy, medical schools all over the country, under its tight satanic grip. With all the money now in the hands of disgusting politicians trained to squeeze money out from wherever they can, Senators from states with “underprivileged medical schools” would get lobbied to increase the taxpayer funded budget for the medical school in their state. Commercials from doctors unions would be run “decrying the horrible state of medical education” and there’d be an emergency 2am vote in the Senate to double the national medical school budget and make sure our “national medical education infrastructure remains safe for future generations.” Then inside that bill doubling medical school spending, you’d have 50 porkbarrelled riders adding gyms and saunas “off budget” to the medical schools where you have the most relatives of senators.

Then you’d start the campaign to expand the medical school student population for the underprivileged, inner city poor kids who have no shot of getting out of the ghetto unless they go to medical school. We have to include all of them, so we have to expand the budget. Let’s double it again and bring in at least 30% minorities. Any medical school that doesn’t bring in at least a 30% minority student base has its budget cut and subsequently spent on the next stupid “War on Terror” horror episode. Any school that brings in a higher percentage gets increased funding.

A huge government contractor now wants a new project. He has a friend high up in some medical school close to Washington. The friend wants to give the contractor a job building a new platinum encrusted wing in memory of some politician’s great niece to a medical school. So the friend says to the government that without a new wing that will cost at least $30,000,000, the quality of medical education at his institution will decline precipitously. He knows the exact man for the job. Ride it onto some spending bill. Sounds good.

Soon all the medical schools want new wings dedicated to more politicians. The budget balloons.

And so on and so forth. $5,000,000,000? And how much was social security and medicare supposed to cost? $1.6 trillion of course. And counting. Feh.

Savings. That’s what the government wants to do. Save you money. That’s why they’re the most indebted institution to ever have existed on planet Earth. Because they want to save you money, that’s why. Perhaps it’s because they like spending money they extract from you? Just a thought.

Why even get into the aspect of inter-government debt and it being a fiction? He doesn’t understand what debt is. According to him, since the government owes the government, it’s all fake. Ha, that’s a good one.

Here’s a reductio ad absurdum. Joe of planet Earth owes Bob of planet Earth $16 trillion dollars. But since they’re both of planet Earth, Earth owes it to itself, so the debt is fiction.

Sounds good to me! Let’s keep spending! And as long as we can keep upping the debt ceiling and borrowing more money to pay off money we already borrowed, everything will be fine! Nothing’s going to crash! This isn’t some sort of positive feedback loop! Interest rates will stay at historic lows forever! Nothing to see here! Just keep spending!

PEACHES AND CREAM!

Iran trading in gold to avert sanctions

From Arutz Sheva:

Report: Iran Skirting Sanctions by Trading in Gold

The Iranian regime has found a way to circumvent the economic sanctions imposed by the West and delay the crash of the local economy. It is engaging in illegal (editor’s note: FAH!) trading in gold, according to a Tuesday morning report in the British newspaper the Times.

The report says that after the United States made it clear it would treat any breach of the sanctions on Iran as money laundering, Iran began to demand gold in exchange for oil. The Islamic Republic is doing so through a large network of private front companies.

How dare the United States tell Iran what to do? If they want to build a nuclear weapon, power to them. Israel will take care of it if we so choose. Franklin D. Roosevelt, that horrendous thief, made trading in gold illegal for all US citizens back in 1933 and simply confiscated all gold belonging to private people and devalued it. Now Obama wants to make it illegal for Iranians too.

America, that imperialist power, also makes it illegal for anyone in the world to buy oil with anything but dollars, by threat of force. Then America takes that power and buys its citizens welfare. What a sick bully country. That is the only thing keeping the dollar from turning into toilet paper – the fact that the world must use it to buy oil. The real story here is that the petrodollar is slipping, because Iran is now trading oil for gold. Good for them. The dollar just got another kick in the gut.

Let it fall.

Moshe Feiglin’s got something up his sleeve regarding Pollard

In an interview today on Galei Yisrael, Feiglin hinted that he has something planned for Obama’s trip regarding freeing Jonathan Pollard. At the very end of the interview, the journalist asked if he can share what he has up his sleeve.

Feiglin answered, “Do you want Pollard, or do you want a headline?”

“Are they mutually exclusive?” the interviewer asked.

“In this case they could be, so I’d rather keep it quiet.”

Let’s see what Moshe does when his good friend Barack Obama shows up to say hello. Could be interesting. Listen to the whole interview here.

Give me the Bank of Israel and I’ll destroy it

In response to one of my posts on the Manhigut Yehudit listserv, of which I am a frequent commentator on free market issues, one of my allies responded with the post, “Rafi Farber for Finance Minister!”

To which I responded thusly:

I don’t want the finance ministry. I want the Bank of Israel. Let me be BoI Chairman in the Feiglin administration and I know exactly what I’ll do and how. Without the Bank of Israel printing the money and creating inflation, the Finance Ministry is completely castrated, and it will have to raise taxes like crazy in order to fund all the waste and welfare, which would be impossible to do without endangering the regime itself. The government will be forced to either shrink down or risk a revolution.

Give me the Bank of Israel, and within a year I will sell almost all the dollars and the rest of the foreign exchange, buy gold and silver, hand it out to every bank in proportion to how many shekels each bank has on its books, tell them that they are now all completely on their own, close the BoI doors, fire everyone who works for me, resign, and call it a day.

Whew! Wouldn’t that be awesome. I salivate and get teary eyed just thinking about it. I’d need to hire a bodyguard.

Moshe Feiglin walks into a gay bar

This is my own translation of an article in Ma’ariv (original here) written by some guy who’s pretty decent, but doesn’t quite understand the concept of liberty all that well. To him, it’s a government guy saying he’ll fight for someone’s right to marry someone of the same sex, as if it matters who the government says you can marry at all, as if marriage were some sort of government institution. Marriage is whatever private people want it to be.

Moshe Feiglin himself does not fully grasp what liberty is, though he’s pretty close. According to him, the “status of the classical heterosexual family” has to be “protected,” as if saying that if the government does not actively “protect the classical family,” all of society will disintegrate into dysfunctional and total homosexuality.

What Feiglin doesn’t like, and I agree with him, is the government stealing money from one group and giving it to gay people. But the author of this article sounds like he’d like his own government goon to spend someone else’s money to promote same sex marriage with government funded advertising campaigns or something. I just want people to do whatever the heck they want to do without stealing money from anybody through government programs.

If the government subsidizes a gay couple (like gives them a tax break for being married according to the government), the people who don’t like gay couples get angry. If the government subsidizes a straight couple, the gay people who also want the subsidy get angry for not having “the right to be married”. It’s got nothing to do with a right to be married. It has to do with the right not to be stolen from. If straight people can get stolen from less (get a tax break) for being married, why can’t gay people? It’s always about money. Not marriage or love or tolerance. Let’s not forget that.

All Feiglin really should say is that the gay community should do whatever it wants, raise its own money, and stop trying to legislate laws which cost money and force unwilling people to pay for something they don’t believe in. And that as an MK, he will make sure neither straights nor gays are being stolen from by government unequally.

Gay Jews, I call a truce! How about this: We the straight people promise to not get government to fund straight causes. You the gay people promise to not get government to fund gay causes. Then we can all go out for a drink at a mixed gay/straight bar. I’ll have the vanilla vodka with sprinkles and a cherry. You’ll have the whisky. Then we’ll go home and both do our familial thing, whatever that is.

This article was a Kiddush Hashem. Whoever doesn’t see that and is wrapped up in the “homosexual abomination” thing, really does not have his eye on the ball of how healing this is. Moshe, thank you for doing this. Keep it up.

Feiglin and the Gay Community; a Reconciliation

The historic visit of the religious right wing MK at a gay hangout in Tel Aviv at first looked like a recipe for disaster • But then came the moment when he told how the story of how the son of a good friend came out of the closet and had a conversation with him that “influenced [him] more than any discussion on the topic ever could.”

Rabbi Ron Yosef is the only openly gay Orthodox Rabbi in Israel. “First of all, the fact that there is dialogue between the gay community and religious public figures – that’s a statement,” he tells me when I ask him about the significance of what is going to happen here tonight. “Once people see someone like Feiglin of Likud, considered a right winger, and as a religious person even known as a little extreme in some ways – it says to people: Wait a minute, something’s happening here. The very fact that this discourse will lead to questions for both sides as well as the public is great news.”

Afterwards I ask him why he thought Feiglin – who has in the past came out against gay pride parades, and even penned an article entitled “I am a proud homophobe” – suddenly decided to come here, to the Association for the Gay Community on Nahmani Street in Tel Aviv. Rabbi Ron Yosef replied to me that in his opinion, he realizes that there is a community in the country that has a right to have its voice heard and that as a public servant, he can no longer ignore it.” But just then, we heard a shout of “Please clear the way!” and the new (and a bit too tall, one might add) MK Moshe Feiglin entered the room followed by hordes of photographers trampling everything in their path, including Orthodox rabbis, homosexuals and journalists like me.

But it doesn’t matter, because the answer to my question I got an hour and fifteen minutes later, at the most intriguing moment of the evening in my opinion. One man threw bitter accusations at Feiglin that people like him, public figures, who speak against homosexuality in public, sow public homophobia that leads to murder. That moment was the first time that evening I saw Feiglin’s face change, and for a moment, this man – who throughout the evening had kept a cool that in my opinion very few are able to keep – looked as if something in him cracked, maybe even softened.

“In a way I have changed,” he said in the broken tone of an average man rather than that of a member of Knesset, and went on to tell how recently the son of one of his best friends came out of the closet in a conversation that “affected him more than any other discussion on the topic.”

I believed him. It was too human a moment not to believe him. Up until that point he had thrown all sorts of phrases in the air that had surprised me: “Within the framework of my own Jewish faith, a belief that integrates identity, inner meaning, and liberty, the freedom of all people is almost, I would say, the foundation… and so, in the most basic natural sense of my own understanding of Judaism, I fight for the freedom of every person and first and foremost the freedom of my people, which is also your freedom. I fight for you as much as anyone else. ” At one point he even stopped one of the speakers and told him that he came here to find where the two sides can identify rather than fight.

It was not easy. I must say the room felt like it was loaded with a sort of anger and there were several people in the audience from the gay community who I felt did not really come to listen, but to saturate Feiglin with the anger and frustration that had built up within them for years. But Feiglin was not really affected by it.

It seemed as if he knew that this was part of the game and that he honestly came here to be part of a genuine dialogue. The whole evening he sat with legs crossed and played with his fingers and just listened, commented at the appropriate times, and even laid out his philosophy concerning the classical nuclear family – a philosophy that he knew would not be welcomed very openly in the place he was sitting. “The classical family is the building block of society. If it falls apart – we would have no society,” he declared. And no one applauded.

Bridging the gap

I do not think that Moshe Feiglin will ever really be the spokesman for the gay community in Israel, and I do not believe we will ever hear him voicing support for a family that includes two fathers or two mothers, and despite his declarations, there is still a long way between him and the title of Freedom Fighter. But one must compliment him for the effort and courage to come here today and start the discussion. I think this is what “openness” is.

Towards the end of the evening Feiglin said: “The importance of the conversation is the very fact that it is taking place and dialogue is starting.” I wrote myself a note in my notepad: In the GLBT youth lounge at 9:20pm in Tel Aviv, I realized that the gap is still wide, but the sides are getting closer. Judging by the satisfied smile of Rabbi Ron Yosef on my right, it seems he understood that as well.

Moshe Feiglin the Movie, Premier at Tel Aviv Museum Feb 18

Next will be Feiglin the lunch box, Feiglin the breakfast cereal, and of course, Feiglin the flamethrower! (The kids love that one.)

I’ve seen the movie, it is extremely well done. We’re going after the whole pie now. We want the Likud chairmanship, and we’re going to take it. Time to step on the gas.

Sign up for your free reserveration here.

In order to be there, reservation is required. I’m going. Here’s the trailer.

Stanley Fischer deserves not one iota of praise

This man is no hero.

Stanley Fischer is the head of the Bank of Israel. As such, he is the government appointed goon in charge of money printing. In his infinite wisdom, he is supposed to know exactly what the supply of money should be, because he’s purportedly a chacham she-ein kamohu – a crazy genius who has a pulsating brain and somehow knows these things. Or maybe God comes to him in his sleep and tells him how many shekels should exist and how much he should print and when.

Or maybe he’s just some guy who has no idea what he’s doing, given a power the equivalent of an economic nuclear weapon, something that no one man should ever, ever have.

Stan the Super Shekel Man recently came out with an announcement that he would be quitting his post early. Aside from the speculation as to why (I think it’s because he knows there will be an unstoppable economic tsunami in the next 3-5 years and he wants to duck out early and quit while he’s ahead), I have seen nothing but wall to wall praise for this central planning money printing soviet-style currency czar. Sure he’s kindly, has a sweet voice, an endearing Zambian accent, cutely mixes up male and female in his Hebrew grammar all the time, and the Israeli economy didn’t totally collapse in 2008 so everyone assumes the money master is responsible for saving us all from destitution. But this is all a big, sad, sorry myth.

Let’s break it down.

Let’s step aside for a moment from the persona of Stan the Man himself. He as a person is not the main problem. As I said, he’s a nice guy. The main problem is the very system of central banking that give men like him inordinate power over all of our economic lives, a power which, once you realize the scope and consequences of it, can make you dizzy.

Imagine for a moment two national economies. One where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by one man and anybody else who manufactures or uses shoes besides him goes to jail, and another where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by the free market, meaning a myriad of entrepreneurs freely importing and exporting shoes based on the demand for them by customers. In a free market where anyone can manufacture and buy as many or as few shoes as he wants, the supply, demand, and price of shoes will tend to reach an equilibrium point where profits will remain constant and steady. Shoe firms like wholesalers, manufactures, and retailers, will all compete with each other to sell the most shoes to the public. In order to do this, they will have to make shoes of the highest possible quality at the lowest possible prices in order to attract buyers.

If the supply of shoes gets too high, shoe prices will tend to fall, lowering profit margins, thereby restricting the amount of shoes manufactured, choking off supply, and bringing shoe prices back up to equilibrium. If demand gets too high, shoe prices will tend to rise, increasing profit margins, encouraging shoemakers to produce more in order to earn those increased profits. This brings supply back up to match demand, bringing prices back down to equilibrium again.

Now, in an economy where the supply of shoes and their price is controlled by one man, let’s call him the chairman of the Shoe Bank of Israel, we are entrusting a single person to:

  1. Manufacture every single shoe in the country, because anyone else who does that is considered a shoe counterfeiter and goes to prison
  2. Know automatically what the supply of shoes in the country should be at any given moment
  3. Set the price of shoes at whatever he thinks it should be
  4. Not abuse this power

The shoe market in such a country would be a complete mess and everyone who needs shoes would be miserable. Since only one firm would be allowed to make and sell shoes, there would be no competition and the quality of the shoes would deteriorate. If the Chairman of the Shoe Bank of Israel set the price of shoes too low, meaning he underestimates demand, people would start hoarding the shoes and buying more than they need, and there would be shoe shortages. If he sets the price of shoes too high, meaning overestimates demand, people who needed new shoes would not buy them, instead waiting for a lower price. Perhaps they would attempt to repair their old shoes, or cut open the ends if they didn’t fit. Huge surpluses of shoes would result.

Meanwhile, regardless of whether Stanley Shoemaker creates a shoe shortage or a shoe surplus in the country with his inaccurate divining of the appropriate shoe price and supply, people will have no choice but to buy shoes from him alone, and he will get richer selling them regardless of how crappy the shoes are. Nobody wants to be arrested for being a shoe counterfeiter after all.

Having one man in charge of the shoe supply in a country is bad enough. But it is infinitely worse to have one man in charge of the money supply in an entire country, because the supply and demand for money controls the entire economy, shoes included.

I know that the concept “demand for money” and “price of money” is hard to wrap your head around. Doesn’t everyone demand money all the time? How can it change? How can money itself have a price? Isn’t money money? Bear with me here.

It is difficult for people to understand these concepts these days because fiat government currencies have ruled the world since 1971, and governments the world over have taken upon themselves the exclusive right to produce money, forbidding anything else from entering the market as money. But in reality, money, just like shoes, is a good like any other. The only difference is that money is more easily tradable than shoes for other goods. In fact, money is the most easily tradable good that exists. That’s why it’s used as money.

Now, the “price of money” and the “demand for money” are reflected in many different ways. They are reflected in how much money money lenders (AKA banks) charge to borrow money, otherwise known as interest rates. If interest rates are high, then money is “expensive”. If money is expensive and money lenders can charge high interest rates, the “demand for money” must be high too. Otherwise, people would not be willing to pay such high rates in order to borrow money. If interest rates are low, then money is “cheap”. If money is cheap and money lenders are forced to lower interest rates in order to attract borrowers, then the “demand for money” must be low.

The price and demand for money is also reflected in the general economy in terms of the money prices of all other goods and services. At times when the demand for money is high, forcing interest rates up, that means people want to hold more of their money (AKA save) rather than spend it. If people want to save more money, the consequence is that the money-prices of goods and services will go down. Things will get cheaper to buy, because in order to attract sales, merchants will have to lower prices in order to entice more money out of savings.

The high interest rates, or high price of money, will in turn serve to bring the money market back into equilibrium at times when the demand for money is high and prices low, as money-savers (lenders) will earn higher rates of return. This will earn savers more money on their savings, and in that way they will be enticed to spend the money they earned from their saving, bringing prices back up, money out of savings, and interest rates back down as lenders are forced to settle for lower interest rates in order to attract more borrowers again. The demand for money is thus lowered, enabling merchants to raise the money-prices of other goods and services, prices go up, demand for money down, and interest rates down.

A short recap:

Demand for money up = interest rates up = prices down

Demand for money down = interest rates down = prices up

Eventually, this entire process reaches an equilibrium point where relative prices of goods and services in terms of money will stay more or less stable along with interest rates.

Now what about the supply of money? This is the cool part. In a free market, the supply of money will be controlled NOT by Stan the Shekel Man, but by gold and silver mining companies teaming up with private money coiners who in turn team up with private banks. Here’s how it works:

  1. Mining Company A has mined 100 kilos of silver, but needs them coined by a recognized and respected money coiner so he can buy stuff. Merchants don’t accept uncoined blobs of silver because there is no way to tell how pure the silver is. So he goes to Money Coiner B and gives him 100 kilos of silver.
  2. Money Coiner B puts the silver through his coining machine, checks its purity, and stamps it with his stamp of approval by coining it into little circles with his certification on it. He keeps 2 kilos of newly minted silver coins as a commission for his services.
  3. Mining Company A and Money Coiner B then go to Money Bank C and say, “Do me a favor Money Bank C. We have these coins here. They’re too heavy. Could you please put them in your vault and give us paper receipts that the silver is sitting here? Please give the silver to whoever presents you with the receipt.” Money Bank C takes the silver coins, provides them with receipts, and charges Mining Company A and Money Coiner B a small fee for storing the coins and providing the receipts.
  4. All parties go out and spend the paper receipts, AKA “money” in the economy and buy stuff.

How is the supply of money regulated in a free market? In the following way: When the demand for money goes up and the prices of other goods go down, mining companies will make higher profits on the gold and silver that they mine for two reasons:

  1. Since the prices of everything are going down, it will become cheaper for them to do the mining itself, increasing profit margins.
  2. Since the prices of everything are going down, the mining companies will be able to buy more stuff with the gold and silver they produce.

These two factors will entice them to increase production of gold and silver, increasing the supply, bringing interest rates down and prices of other goods and services back up. When prices of other goods and services go back up, it will cost the mining companies more money to mine gold and silver, and they will be able to buy less with the gold and silver they mine. Eventually, profit margins for the gold and silver they mine will go down to a point where they will be forced to lower production. The supply of money will go down and the prices of goods and services back down again with it.

In a free market for money, the best, most efficient, and most honest money coiners will get the most business and have the most coins circulating on the market. Those coining companies that cheat and lie about the purity of their coins will lose business and go bankrupt. Their coins will not circulate, or they will circulate at a discount.

In a free market for money, the best, most efficient, and most honest money receipt issuers (currency printers, private banks) will store the most money and issue the most currency. Those private banks that cheat and lie about how much silver or gold they have in their vaults to match the receipts and “inflate” their currency will lose business, inspire their receipt holders to call in their receipts for silver and if they can’t provide it, they will go bankrupt. Their currency will not circulate, or it will circulate at a discount..

In a free market for money, you will have several different competing currencies and coinages, with people accepting the ones with the best reputations and rejecting the ones that are unreliable.

Interest rates and prices will remain stable as money supply and money demand equilibrate, and as in any developed economy, goods and services will increase faster than the supply of money, allowing for a gently falling price level and everyone to get richer in real terms.

Or you can have someone like Stan the Shekel Man Fischer in charge, printing sheets of paper backed by absolutely nothing, causing prices to continually rise and government controlled money to continually lose value, making everyone poorer and more miserable.

Stanley Fischer did not save the Israeli economy from collapse. He simply did not abuse the insane power given to him as badly as other central bankers did: the monopoly power to print money. This power, incidentally, was given to him in much the same way as our fictional Stan Shoemaker’s was given to him: By a bully State ready and willing to arrest anyone besides Stan who manufactures shoes. Or in this case, money. And why would the Israeli government forbid anyone but Stan their goon from manufacturing money? Because when you have control over the entire money supply, you can spend it on anything…you…want. Like welfare. And leather seats for Knesset members. And armored cars for party heads. And first class trips to France for Defense Ministers. And subsidies to ignoramuses who you want to vote for you. And huge campaign posters and TV ads and God only knows what else.

When one man controls the shoe market, the quality of shoes goes down and everyone who wears shoes, suffers. When one man controls the money market, the quality of money goes down. It loses value. It makes you poorer.  Everyone who uses money, suffers.

Every single time Stanley Fischer printed shekels with the flip of a switch, he stole from people like you and me who have to work to earn our shekels. He stole from you. He stole from me.

Stanley Fischer is a thief who should be arrested. He is not a hero who should be praised.

Vote Likud and give Netanyahu hell

If you want to make it impossible for Bibi to do anything stupid like dismantling outposts and robbing Jews of their land, then the best way to stop him is to vote Likud. The bigger it is, the less he can control it.

If you vote Bennett, Likud will be smaller, he will have less internal Likud opposition, and Bibi will use Bennett like a spare tire. Bennett will join the coalition when Bibi needs him, and when Bibi wants to do something stupid like “peace negotiations” or “gestures to the Palestinians”, he’ll kick out Bennett and bring in Yesh Lapid or Karl “Yechimovich” Marx and do it anyway.

The bigger Likud is, the more people in the coalition that cannot be kicked out at Bibi’s convenience. When Bibi wants to do something stupid, I’d rather he have 40 Likud MK’s to fight with that he can’t kick out rather than 30.

Bibi wants the smallest Likud possible while still maintaining his PM seat. That’s why he kicked down Moshe Feiglin last time, and that’s why he launched a suicidal inane distasteful campaign against Bayit Yehudi this time. To get the right wingers disgusted with him so they’ll  vote for an outside party that he can control with ease.

So help us stop Bibi. Vote Likud. Make it so huge it’s unmanageable. Give Bibi hell.

And if you really hate Likud and can’t bring yourself to do it, which is understandable, vote Aleh Yarok.

A fascinating Jewish response on anarcho capitalism

I debate with some of the statists in Manhigut Yehudit, or the Jewish Leadership faction of the Likud, led by Moshe Feiglin. I’m the token anarcho capitalist in the group, supported by one other minarchist who is open to anarcho capitalism in theory. I’m at a slight disadvantage since I’m debating in Hebrew but all in all I’m not so bad at it. Aside from the constant male/female grammar mistakes I make over and over again, I get my point across well enough in slightly dumbed down language.

The following is an exchange, my translation, that was absolutely fascinating and opened up new connections between Judaism, Halacha, and anarcho-capitalism. It began when one of the people in the group responded to my contention that the “Right of Return” should be abolished, all land privatized, and immigration regulated by the free market.

One person responded that “Even the most extreme liberals concede that the government must be in charge of the army, borders, and immigration.”

My response, translated from my own Hebrew, was as follows, with a few additions.

It seems there exist libertarians that are even more extreme than “the most extreme” and that I’m one of them. Greetings. They call us “anarcho capitalists”. The label “liberal” grosses me out because the connotation of the word implies forcing “liberal” values on the public like homosexuality and feminism and the like. I am not that type at all. My only value is live and let live, and the Torah and Judaism, for me at least, reflect that value in the most accurate way. And of course I believe in Torah from Sinai as a matter of historical fact.

On that note, it is not the State’s responsibility to raise an army or police force. It is the responsibility of society generally through the free market. How does one raise an army without a government? Very simply. People generally buy insurance to protect their property. So individual people would hire a company or companies that carry weapons and tanks and planes as insurance in order to protect their property from outside threats. It is reasonable to assume that a subscription to a private regional army would cost a lot more money in border cities rather than in the middle of the country.

What do we do if some deadbeat freeloader doesn’t want to pay the army subscription fee because he just doesn’t feel like it? It would be fairly easy to expel him from the regional or local economy without the use of force. The local supermarket owners could refuse to sell him food. Companies could refuse to hire him. The road owners could ban his car from the private roads, etc.

With a  private army, if such a company would allow even a single rocket to fall in an area under its jurisdiction, the army company would pay dearly. The “citizens” would be able to complain vociferously and directly to their army company to do what was necessary to crush the enemy within minutes, or pay the price from the wrath of its customers. No other foreign State would be able to condemn us for any military action no matter how swift and brutal in the UN because there would be no State to condemn in the first place, only a private army company.

So too, if Jews desire to once again live in Gush Katif in Gaza, they would be able to hire a private army company to protect them there and simply rebuild the whole bloc anew. If armies were private, it is needless to say that the destruction of Gush Katif and the Jewish communities in Gaza would have been impossible. It is also needless to say that years beforehand, the Arabs in Gaza would have been either somewhere else, or still in Gaza but quiet, living in peace with a respectable job in some agricultural or construction firm under truly free Jewish bosses.

By the way, the “borders” would be defined ad hoc by virtue of the Jews that live in the cities furthest out from the center of the country. If Jewish armies were private, no tiny settlement outpost would have been built surrounded by hundreds of thousands of Arabs. It would be too expensive to defend. Rather, settlement would proceed in an orderly fashion eastward as more territory in Judea and Samaria were bought up or conquered in a defensive war and settled by Jews, the border expanding slowly eastward.

As for invasions, if an army company on the border needed help from another company to repel an invasion, they could work together on a financial arrangement between companies in the event of a war.

I expected that everyone on the Manhigut Yehudit listserv would consider me crazy and I’d get a “what are you nuts” response specifically from the person addressed in my little essay. I was wrong. Instead, I got this response in a private email from him. Maybe the writer did not want to be stigmatized as even considering ending Tzahal (the IDF) as I have stigmatized myself as the great “liberal” of Manhigut Yehudit, a term which really gives me the creeps:

First of all, thank you very much for your letter. The ideas were new to me so I read it several times. Thanks to your ideas (editor’s note, they are not mine) I also understood the position of the chachamim (sages) in Midrash Rabbah Shoftim that reject the appointment of a king. (Editor’s note, Midrash Rabbah is a compilation of Rabbinic exegesis on the Torah. Shoftim is the chapter where the mitzvah to appoint a King is discussed.) For a long time I thought the chachamim were against appointing a specific persona that functions as king, but in light of your words and rereading the Midrash, it is clear to me that they were describing a governmental system similar to what you describe here. Seemingly, this is also the opinion of Rabeinu Saadya Gaon (9th century Rabbi) and also the Ibn Ezra.

This is all in contrast to the opinion of Rebbi Yehuda ibid, and several chapters in the Bavli (Babylonian Talmud) in tractate Sanhedrin that hold that appointing a King is an imperative mitzvah.

You could say that the Bavli is the Torah of the Diaspora and therefore strives for a monarchy in Israel, and the Midrash (written and compiled in Israel) strives for liberty (already being in Israel). This issue also comes up in the ancient nussach (prayer service text) in the silent Amidah where there is no prayer for the Davidic dynasty, but rather a prayer for the building of Jerusalem alone that merely mentions the House of David in passing. As for the practical management of such a system, there is one place in Israel that functions in a similar way to what you suggest, and that is Caesaria. (See here.)

Nevertheless, regarding practical application and the Jewish halachic vision of things, I have a lot to say about such an anarchic system. In the meantime, suffice it to say that this system notwithstanding, at the time when Joshua conquered Israel, he ruled monarchicly, and only after conquering and dividing the land, the path was open for a different kind of governmental regime. We are still in the phase of conquering and dividing the land.

As to his final point, I believe he’s right. This is why I’m involved in “politics” in the first place even though I don’t believe in government. We have to free the country on a basic level first, and then move on to tearing down the rest.

And I must say, I am now seriously considering reverting to the old Yerushalmi version of the Shmoneh Esreh and getting rid of the separate prayer for the House of David in my daily davening.