Why Fiat Currency is Monetary Idolatry

Fiat currency and idolatry are outgrowths of the same error. What is that error? Believing that a substitute for something is the real thing. Idolatry did not begin as someone suddenly believing that a stone statue is actually god. That would be ridiculous. It evolved slowly, through layers of derivative errors. The Rambam explains how this happened in the first two halachos of Hilchos Avoda Zara, the laws surrounding idolatry. He writes:

בימי אנוש טעו בני האדם טעות גדול ונבערה עצת חכמי אותו הדור ואנוש עצמו מן הטועים היה. וזו היתה טעותם. אמרו הואיל והאלהים ברא כוכבים אלו וגלגלים להנהיג את העולם ונתנם במרום וחלק להם כבוד והם שמשים המשמשים לפניו ראויין הם לשבחם ולפארם ולחלוק להם כבוד. וזהו רצון האל ברוך הוא לגדל ולכבד מי שגדלו וכבדו. כמו שהמלך רוצה לכבד העומדים לפניו וזהו כבודו של מלך. כיון שעלה דבר זה על לבם התחילו לבנות לכוכבים היכלות ולהקריב להן קרבנות ולשבחם ולפארם בדברים ולהשתחוות למולם כדי להשיג רצון הבורא בדעתם הרעה. וזה היה עיקר עבודת כוכבים. וכך היו אומרים עובדיה היודעים עיקרה. לא שהן אומרים שאין שם אלוה אלא כוכב זה. הוא שירמיהו אומר מי לא ייראך מלך הגוים כי לך יאתה כי בכל חכמי הגוים ובכל מלכותם מאין כמוך ובאחת יבערו ויכסלו מוסר הבלים עץ הוא. כלומר הכל יודעים שאתה הוא לבדך אבל טעותם וכסילותם שמדמים שזה ההבל רצונך הוא:

In the days of Enosh, mankind committed a big error and the sages of that time and Enosh himself committed this error. This was their error. They said that since God created the stars and the spheres to direct the world from on high, and gave them honor and they, the spheres, served Him, that people should serve them, too. And that this is the will of God to serve and respect those things that serve and respect God, just as any king would want respect for his closest servants. Because this occurred to them, they started building temples and sacrificing to them in order to appease God in their false ideas. This is the essence of idolatry. It’s not that they believed that idols or stars were actually god, but their error was in thinking that God willed that they worship intermediaries.

ואחר שארכו הימים עמדו בבני האדם נביאי שקר ואמרו שהאל צוה ואמר להם עבדו כוכב פלוני או כל הכוכבים והקריבו לו ונסכו לו כך וכך ובנו לו היכל ועשו צורתו כדי להשתחוות לו כל העם הנשים והקטנים ושאר עמי הארץ. ומודיע להם צורה שבדה מלבו ואומר זו היא צורת הכוכב פלוני שהודיעוהו בנבואתו. והתחילו על דרך זו לעשות צורות בהיכלות ותחת האילנות ובראשי ההרים ועל הגבעות ומתקבצין ומשתחוים להם ואומרים לכל העם שזו הצורה מטיבה ומריעה וראוי לעובדה וליראה ממנה. וכהניהם אומרים להם שבעבודה זו תרבו ותצליחו ועשו כך וכך ואל תעשו כך וכך. והתחילו כוזבים אחרים לעמוד ולומר שהכוכב עצמו או הגלגל או המלאך דבר עמהם ואמר להם עבדוני בכך וכך והודיע להם דרך עבודתו ועשו כך ואל תעשו כך. ופשט דבר זה בכל העולם לעבוד את הצורות בעבודות משונות זו מזו ולהקריב להם ולהשתחוות. וכיון שארכו הימים נשתכח השם הנכבד והנורא מפי כל היקום ומדעתם ולא הכירוהו ונמצאו כל עם הארץ הנשים והקטנים אינם יודעים אלא הצורה של עץ ושל אבן וההיכל של אבנים שנתחנכו מקטנותם להשתחוות לה ולעבדה ולהשבע בשמה. והחכמים שהיו בהם כגון כהניהם וכיוצא בהן מדמין שאין שם אלוה אלא הכוכבים והגלגלים שנעשו הצורות האלו בגללם ולדמותן אבל צור העולמים לא היה שום אדם שהיה מכירו ולא יודעו אלא יחידים בעולם כגון חנוך ומתושלח נח שם ועבר. ועל דרך זה היה העולם הולך ומתגלגל עד שנולד עמודו של עולם והוא אברהם אבינו:

As time went on, false prophets arose that said that god told them to worship such and such a star or all the stars or to sacrifice and pour libations in such and such a way, and they made a form representing the star so that all the people could bow down to the form. The false prophet would describe a form that he made up and would say, “this is the form of the start that spoke to me in my prophecy.” In this way they would make forms in their temples and under their trees and on their hills and bow down to them and the people would say that this form can do good or bad to you and you should worship it and fear it. And the priests would invent a way of worshiping that they said was the right way. This spread throughout the world to worship different forms and sacrifice and bow to them. As time went by, the whole world forgot about the one true and awesome God and they no longer knew Him. They all only knew the representative forms of wood or stone and the temples of stone that they were taught about as children, to bow down to and swear by. And their sages thought that there was no god but the stars and the spheres represented by the idol forms. This is how the world deteriorated until our father Abraham, the pillar of the world, arrived.

And so we learn from the Rambam that idolatry is really the worship of divinity substitutes.

What is fiat money? How was it born? It was born as a money substitute. When the first paper monies were used, they were nothing but receipts for real money, which was gold and silver. Nobody believed they were real money. But then as people got used to using the paper money substitute, they forgot what real money was. And they built temples to the paper money substitutes called central banks, inflated these substitutes over the real money supply to spend them and extract value from them, stealing the purchasing power of others. And they constructed convoluted theories and rituals about how and when to increase the money supply based on complicated econometric equations that made absolutely no sense.

And the people got used to using these manipulated inflated money substitutes as money and completely forgot what real money was. They began to believe that the substitutes were money itself and that the temples to the money substitutes, the central banks, and their priesthood the central bankers, knew exactly what they were doing and their ritualistic worship with econometric equations were wise and would make the money substitutes work well. But nobody realized that the fiat money they were using was actually still only a substitute for real money, and that its value and usability depended ultimately on its continued exchangeability for real money, for gold and silver. The people began to mock real money gold, calling it a “barbarous relic” and a “doorstop” and disparaged its usefulness.

And then people decided that they could even make their own money called bitcoin, whose value would hang entirely on the genius and hubris of man, but they did not realize that bitcoin was only a substitute itself for a money substitute, and ultimately depended on the substitute’s (dollar’s) exchangeability for real money, gold.

But they will figure it out once, at the end, their money substitutes no longer work, their bubbles blown up from the inflation of the money supply implode, and the bitcoin substitutes for those money substitutes fall to zero as well, and everyone will have to reject their idolatrous money substitutes and substitutes for those substitutes, and return to money itself, gold and silver directly, or the division of labor will break down.

How We Beat the Green Passport and the Covidian National Socialist Hypochondriac Party

Thursday, August 19, 2021. The winds of Covidian Nazism are blowing strong. Pfizer lab rats, to the right. Those who insist on maintaining their humanity, to the left.

We have a family membership at the country club for the pool and the gym. I work out there several times a week and we take our kids swimming often as well. Management knows us.

We do not carry the green Swastika. We have no “green pass”. We will not even be part of it by getting a fake one. We have never taken a single serological or PCR test. We never, ever, wear masks, we do not quarantine (unless we are actually symptomatically sick and it makes sense of course). We are not part of the Covidian National Socialist Hypochondriac Party. We do not consent, and we will not comply.

We drive to the pool. Me, my wife, and my 5 kids, ages 11 to 2. Our plan is to walk straight in, ignore any requests to present a green pass, and just go right to the pool. Before we enter, we pray to the Holy One Blessed Be He to protect us from Covidian Nazis and to give us strength to maintain our calm. I tell my kids, “As long as we are doing the right thing, Hashem (God) will protect us.” I look each of them in the eye. We walk on.

We get nearer to the door, and there it is. That revolting green Swastika. That nauseating green pass sign that says we are now less than human because we refuse to submit to a mass medical experiment. We ignore it. We enter the building, and walk past the turnstile.

“Do you have a Tav Yarok (green pass)?” asks the clerk.

“No, we do not.”

“Then you have to come here to take a corona test.”

“No, we will not.” And we keep walking.

“Wait! Stop!”

I turn back to her as I’m walking in the direction of the pool.

“Call the police if you want. We are going swimming.”

She picks up the phone to call the head manager. We head to the pool and put our stuff down on the turf. There is almost nobody there at all. Very rare for a hot August day, day one of Green Pass enforcement. We see the manager, who knows us, walking towards us. Before he even gets near us, I say loudly, “I’m not interested in talking about it at all. Call the police if you want to. We are going swimming.”

He says he is calling the police. He picks up his phone and walks away.

Thirty minutes pass by as we enjoy the pool, almost alone. We explain to our older kids what is going on and why the police might come and arrest us soon. They understand. We are shaking in the pool as the 4 year old is swimming between us. We are trying to maintain calm, wondering if the police are going to come fish us out of the pool any second. All the sudden the manager comes back out and asks politely to me, “Can I talk to you for a second?”

This sounded reasonable, so I said yes, sure.

“Look, you’re my customers, and I don’t want to call the police on you. Nobody’s coming anymore and I don’t want to lose you as customers. I know a lot of people like you and I understand. But there are laws in this country and I have to follow them.”

“I will not follow them. The Nazis had laws, too.”

“I can’t say anything to that, but I won’t bother you. Just, there are ways to go about this. You don’t just barge in like that,” he says. Fair enough.

“Look, I’m sorry about that. You know me. I’m glad that you understand, and I respect you and I thank you. I’ve been under pressure for 18 months now and I am sick of the injustice of all this. I’m sorry I barged in, but I’m just very short on patience. I don’t want to cause you any trouble at all. Just know that I am going to keep coming here, I will walk straight in, do my work out, I do not have a green pass, and I will never take a single test, ever.”

“Then that’s at your own risk,” he says.

“Of course, 100%. It’s my responsibility, not yours. Thank you very much, and I’m glad we’re on the same page.”

My wife and I hug, he turns back and sees us, he smiles. We have a very nice swim with our children. I ask my 7-year-old son how he’s feeling. He says to me, “I knew the police weren’t going to come.” He seemed very confident, without a worry in the world.

“I wasn’t so sure, but I guess you were right. I should be more brave like you,” I tell him. Pride swells and I have a lump in my throat. He is a good man.

Anyone can do this. Anywhere. You must do this. Just walk in, and call their bluff. Tell them to call the police. The worst that will happen, if you are calm and stand your ground, is that you will get a ticket, that you can then appeal in court, and the ticket will be cancelled, because they do not want anything going to court, lest they lose, there’s precedent, and the whole totalitarian system crumbles.

Call. Their. Bluff. This is all just fear. There is nothing to be afraid of. Pool conquered. Gym conquered. Supermarket conquered. The counterattack progresses.

Thank you God for giving us the strength to do Your will and to fight back.

How My Wife Bravely Defied the Maskers

Today, August 11, 2021. I went to the gym this morning. I live in Israel. I do not have a green pass. Technically, I am not allowed in to the gym. As I walk there, I’m thinking what to do if police prevent me from going. Do I go in anyway or back out, jump the fence and work out?

It turned out not to be an issue. Nobody was at the front desk so I just walked in, did my work out, and left.

I walk home, and when I turn the corner to my street, I’m reading The Tower of Basel so I’m not looking up. I hear my wife scream my name and immediately my blood pressure shoots up. She’s unloading groceries with my two oldest daughters, 11 and 9.

Apparently, as I was working out at the gym, my wife was having a workout of the mind and soul at the supermarket.

“Rafi, they called the police on me!”

“What, is everything OK? Does this have a happy ending?”

I immediately want to know if this is a good or bad story. I have been constantly on edge for about 18 months now, and I am in no condition to handle any sort of suspense at all.

“Everything’s fine,” says my wife. I breathe a sigh of relief.

“So what happened?!”

A bit of background. My wife and I made a pact a while back. We would not put on masks anymore for any reason. Not to keep a job, not to placate the police, nothing. (The last time I put one on was for an interview to get a weapons license 3 months ago, and I had to annul vows for that.) Why are we so adamant? Because it is time to set an example, and so we are. Neither I nor my wife have ever gotten a ticket for not wearing a mask. I’ve been threatened, even booked and detained by police, but never ticketed.

She begins the story. She’s heading into the grocery store with our two oldest daughters. The guard stops her at the entrance and tells her she can’t come in without a mask. She says yes, she can, and that she does not have to wear a mask. She simply walks past the guard. The guard follows her inside and continues to harass her. She just continues shopping, with an asinine back-and-forth about what the “law is”.

“Show me your exemption,” says the guard.

“I don’t have to show you anything,” she insists. And keeps shopping. My daughters are witnessing all of this, also unmasked.  

As this is going on, the manager of the store comes out and takes my wife’s side, which was nice. “If she says she doesn’t have to wear a mask, then she doesn’t have to wear a mask! Enough already!”

The guard slinks off. Meanwhile, random masked grocery shoppers continue to harass my wife in front of my kids. She ignores them all and keeps shopping.

Then, she gets to the self-checkout counter and starts scanning her stuff. She swipes her credit card, the machine says there’s a problem (what a coincidence) and to call a clerk to help. A clerk comes, and she says, “Sorry, this checkout isn’t working. You’ll have to start over. And the police are coming. You have to put on a mask.”

“No, I don’t,” says my wife.

Then the store intercom starts blaring. “The police are on their way. Everyone must make sure their mask covers both nose and mouth.”

My wife just stands there, with my daughters. She can’t leave, because payment hasn’t gone through. She suspects someone shut down the machine to pin her there as the police were coming. Plus, my oldest just happened to have a bee sting on her foot from the day before that was swelling up again and needed to be iced, but my wife did not want to use that excuse to leave, because it would look cowardly. It is time to stand up. So she just stood there calmly, unmasked.

Police arrive outside the supermarket, taking pictures. They do not come in.

Still waiting, she’s the only person unmasked in the entire store. The checkout machine comes back to life. A new screen pops up on for a manager to swipe a card again. My wife calls the manager over, she swipes the card. The machine now says to swipe the credit card again. She does. Receipt comes out this time, finished.

She’s now walking out of the store, my oldest’s foot in a lot of pain. She gets past the guard again, and she simply walks past three policemen standing there. As she passes them, the guard says, “That’s her that’s her!” to the cops. But my wife just keeps walking to the car, two daughters in tow. They help her load the car, and she drives off home.

That’s it. That’s the whole story. This is all one big bluff. Our enemies are empty shells. Evil is emptiness.

Show no fear. Stare the bastards down. Keep your calm. They’re nothing.

I would bet that nobody in my entire city has the sheer courage of my wife. I am blessed with the most amazing woman in the world.

Appoint A King Over Yourselves? Not so Fast!

The Role of Government in Israel: Almost Nothing, or Absolutely Nothing?

“You shall surely place a king upon yourselves, one that Hashem your God has chosen…”

~Deuteronomy 17:15

We are told in this week’s Parasha that we are required to place a king upon ourselves. From here it is assumed that the Torah supports the idea of monarchy. It’s not that simple.

There are two main tanaitic positions regarding this Pasuk. The more familiar one originates from the Tanah Rebbi Yehuda Bar Ilai. He holds that having a monarch is a positive mitzva. If so, what are the monarch’s responsibilities?

According to the Rambam, Hilchos Melachim 4:10, the only areas of jurisdiction he has are defense and courts. Nothing else.

Not education, not welfare, not culture, not price controls, not central banking. In libertarian terminology, we would call this the minarchist position, meaning absolute minimum government.

But there is another position, that of the Yerushalmi Rabanan. Says Midrash Rabba Shoftim:

“Say the Rabanan: Said the Holy One Blessed Be He: In this world you requested kings and kings from Israel rose up and killed you by the sword. Saul killed them at Mount Gilboa…Ahab stopped the rain…and Zedekiah destroyed the Temple.

“When Israel saw what happened to them during the reign of their kings, they all started screaming: We do not want a king from Israel! We want our original King! (Isaiah 33) For God is our Judge and our Legislator. God is our King and our Savior!

“Said the Holy one Blessed Be He to them: By your lives! This I will do!

“As it says (Zechariah 14) ‘And God will be King over all the Earth etc.’”

The Rishonim Abarbanel and Ibn Ezra agree with this second position. Says Ibn Ezra:

“A king is only an option. Only a prophet or the Urim and Tumim may choose one. The people may not elect one themselves.”

So much for democracy.

Abarbanel says explicitly that the minarchist position is incorrect and that the pre-Monarchic regime of the Shoftim was preferable. Essentially, appointing a king was therefore an option, but a mistaken one.

Let’s not forget that this pasuk about a king has been abused by evil people like Rav Shlomo Aviner who defended the expulsion of Jews from their homes on the grounds that the government is like a King and must be obeyed.

The most important thing though is that the machlokes in Halacha on government’s role is between absolute minimum government as per the Rambam (courts and defense only) and no government at all, as per the Ibn Ezra and Abarbanel.

Whichever side you fall on, there is no legitimacy to the government doing anything else whatsoever.

Mohamed Ali, A Personal Hero

I don’t love everything about Mohamed Ali. I don’t like everything about anybody. But he was a good man fundamentally, though confused about some things. He taught everyone that while being a jerk for entertainment may have been distasteful and annoying, being a decent human being where it counts is what really matters.

He was a fighter for entertainment. Fighting with people who agreed to fight him back. A boxer in words and fists. And he stood up against the US Government and he would not let them take him to Vietnam to go kill a bunch of Asians and burn their children.

Politicians are all polite and decent in their external, superficial personas. Deep down they all have evil souls. They will go after UFC fighting rings like John McCain and call them “human cockfighting” and try to pass a law saying it is “indecent” while they go around authorizing more bombing campaigns to kill millions.

Boxers like Mohamed Ali are not polite and decent superficially. They are trash talkers but only superficially, because that’s the entertainment they provide. But when it comes down to what really matters – are you going to kill people or not, people who did nothing to you – he stood up to the State and said no. He would not. He would rather go to prison. And so would I. And so he did. And he lost his sport, his livelihood, his reputation for a while, but in the end he won that greatest of fights, too. Not in the ring with another boxer, but in the global ring with the government – he fought and he won.

And he didn’t let all the academic bull about patriotism and duty and American the Great and Beautiful confuse him. America is not great and beautiful. Only some individuals are. Some are not.

Ali was wrong about the enemy being the “white people” obviously. The enemy is the State, which grinds races against one another by taking money from one to give to another. But for his absolutely courageous bravery in standing up to the warmongering politicians, he is my hero.

I love Mohamed Ali, and the world is worse off without him in it.

יהי זכרו ברוך.

Why Adele is Just as Awesome as Amy Lee

A few months ago I wrote a post about Amy Lee, praising her for her music but most of all for being a normal person.

Adele fits that category too. I’ve known about her for years but her latest single Hello got me interested in researching her a bit. Apparently, she’s pretty freakin’ normal too. She’s engaged with a kid at 25 (she had a kid at 25, she’s older now), she’s plus size and not a perfect music star body type, but she has lost significant weight since whenever it was she came out with Rolling in the Deep. So it’s not like she’s let herself go or anything like that. Her soon to be husband looks like a fun character goofball type.

You can tell her hair is usually crazy and requires a lot of taming for the stage. Everyone in my family has crazy hair, except me because I cut it off and my son doesn’t have any hair.

When she gets on stage she just sings. She doesn’t womp around on stage, and she wears very nice dresses. She’s a talented enough singer that she doesn’t have to distract you with dance moves. It’s rare that a singer just sings these days. Her performance is almost entirely in her face. The entertainment is to just listen to her and watch how her own music affects her and let it affect you. She feels like a throwback to the 20’s or 30’s with a modern twist. Just beautiful music.

Most importantly, she’s considered a recluse among the famous people community. She doesn’t want anything to do with that and would much rather just live a normal life.

This quote, for example, is gold:

“I think it has a lot to do with becoming a parent,” she added. “When I was turned 25 I was quite shocked. I didn’t think I was old or anything like that, I just couldn’t remember where the last five years had gone. I think it’s the same that happened with every area of my life: My real life, my career, obviously becoming a mom, and stuff like that. It was not remembering very much of it because so much happened and it frightened me.”

The 27-year-old singer also shot down claims that she was a “recluse,” instead revealing that she just won’t give into the Hollywood spotlight.

“I’m not blinded by the persuasion of fame,” she said. “Fame is not real, so how am I suppose to write a real record for anyone to enjoy if I’m living a very fake life?”

Wow is that relatable or what? Also a wysiwyg woman, which is obvious from her stage name, just Adele. She was discovered after she put a demo on Myspace in 2006. (What the heck is Myspace? Hehe…)

I’m more into the louder rock/metal music but I recognize her songs are great. So I searched around for metal covers and I found this TOTALLY AWESOME GUY from Norway. His facial expressions are so nuts it’s great! Cracks me up…

My Reaction to the Supreme Court Jerusalem Ruling

I wrote this on Facebook just now, in a comment:

I don’t understand why anybody cares what a bunch of deadbeats on a bench think of what should accepted as the “capital” of another group of deadbeats in the knesset. Well, I understand it. People think the deadbeats’ opinions matter and have some cosmic meaning on something. I just think it’s stupid, and it won’t affect anyone’s life, and people can still (!) amazingly, consider Jerusalem the capital of the universe if they want to, and politicians, whether they are on the bench or in the knesset or in jail or on the moon, don’t matter.