Jewish libertarian stuff about government and freedom and whatnot
Well that was interesting. I’m the guy in the blue jeans and brown shirt who kind of looks like me.
I woke up this morning at 4:45 to go to the Mikveh and then to Har Habayit with Moshe Feiglin. He stayed in Jerusalem apparently so I drove there myself for the first time though I’ve gone with Moshe several times before, and parked on Derech Hevron because looking for a parking spot in or around the Old City scares me. When I got there at 7:30 it took about half an hour for the police to let us in. Then we had the “No praying no bowing no kneeling no singing, no religious activity” thing and the customary full body search for any religious articles including a complete emptying of the contents of my wallet just like my two year old Daffy does when I leave it within her reach. In case there is religious contraband tucked away in one of the pockets or folds of my wallet.
We get up there, me in my Vibram 5-fingers, others in flip-flops, Feiglin in socks because he intends to go right up to Kipat HaSelah, Dome of the Rock so he can’t have any shoes on at all. I was intending to go one step closer than I usually go, but I’m not ready to go up to the Dome yet, and Moshe asked us politely not to anyway, and to leave the דין כיבוש stuff to him, no problem with that.
We get to the gate and immediately we hear in the background some Alla-hu Akbars. They are faint and I don’t mind them. I know they mean to insult me and intimidate me, but I can’t but wholeheartedly agree with them. God is great. Thank you Arabs for noticing, and for timing your chants with the entrance of God’s representatives here, us. So I can’t but feel flattered.
As we continue on, the chants get louder and more Arabs begin to congregate around us, fine, no problem. Nobody has violated the non aggression principle yet. Everyone has a right to chant God is Great at me as much as they want. I keep smiling and walking slowly. Heavily armed police surround us.
Non Jewish tourists, mostly Jesus-worshipers, stare at us and wonder why we are the focus of all the Akbars. Two old ladies from the Jesus group join us, apparently from Australia. They want to be part of the excitement, apparently.
And then the trigger. The Waqf guy sent each time to oversee that we don’t do anything religious is standing in front of us. Then Moshe goes up to one of the police guys and tells him that it was agreed with the higherups in the police department that at least for part of the time, the Waqf guy would not be our escort. So, to the police guy’s credit, he starts to escort the Waqf guy away from us. A scuffle ensues, and the Waqf guy is removed.
And then the chants get really loud and the number of screaming Arabs multiplies to hundreds, possibly over a 1000, but I’d have to see an aerial picture.
The news says that “a couple of young Arabs began screaming” but that is quite far from what was happening. Arabs of all ages began converging on us, men, women, a few kids, young and old alike, כל העם מקצה as they say in Sodom. מנער ועד זקן טף ונשים.
They start getting closer, and I start feeling a bit smushed. My heart rate only now begins to jump up a bit. Just a bit. Police are on all sides of us pushing away Arabs jumping in our direction.
The old Jesus ladies try to calm us down and say, “Thank you Jesus, thank you Jesus, thank you Lord!” One Lord for every two Jesuses. The Jesus-thanking is not helping me slow my heart rate, and I really feel caught between Esav and Yishmael now, though Yishmael wants to kill me and Esav just wants me to thank Jesus. I just want to daven, but the Jewish policemen for sure are not going to be happy about that, and they’re busy at the moment pushing away rioters so I’d rather not give them a hard time.
The police turn us around about 1/5th into our circuit. We’re headed back. Michael Puah has the camera, telling everyone to calmly smile, and Moshe is in the middle walking calmly as he always does. As we head back, I see one rock the size of a grapefruit fly above me and land about 10 feet behind me. So I stop looking at Feiglin in favor of keeping my eyes out for any rocks headed toward my skull.
I didn’t see any others.
One of the Jesus ladies asks me what group this is. I say it’s Feiglin’s group. She says who? I say Moshe Feiglin. Sudden recognition and excitement on her face. “Oh, Moshe Feiglin?! Where is he? Can I shake his hand?!”
“Sure,” I say. “He’s over there, in the suit.” She rushes up to him and shakes his hand.
“We’re with you,” she says to Moshe, “the nations are with you. We’re from Australia. Thank you Jesus!” Moshe shakes her hand and smiles back at her.
We get off Har Habayit. Then a Mahane Yehuda-looking Jew sees Feiglin and immediately insists on a picture with him.
“אני לא תומך בך” he says. “I am not one of your supporters,” “אבל אתה בוודאי תהיה ראש הממשלה הבא”. “But you will definitely be the next prime minister.”
He takes a picture, still holding his cigarette, with Moshe. We disperse.
The police now have two choices for next month. Ban Moshe Feiglin from Har Habayit, or ban Arabs from Har Habayit while Moshe is there. Let’s see what they do.
The worst part about the whole experience was not the Arab rioters. Rioting is what they’re good at and it doesn’t disappoint me. It was not the rocks, as I can easily dodge them. And it was not the fact that the rioters were not expelled from Har Habayit instead of us, who were being peaceful. I expect nothing from the police, and the fact that they prevented Arabs from physically attacking us (rocks aside) is more than I expected. Good for them.
No, the worst part was as I was driving away I hear on the news that “Knesset Member and Vice Knesset Chairman Moshe Feiglin was removed from Har Habayit today along with a group of right wing activists after rioters began shouting at them and throwing rocks.”
They had the chutzpa to call ME a “RIGHT WING ACTIVIST?!”
Check in next month for more “Adventures with Yishmael on Har Habayit!”
There’s some hoopla going on about the fact that there will be a tetrad of total lunar eclipses in the next year and a half that fall out on the first day of Pesach and first day of Succot 2014, and then again on the first day of Pesach and Succot 2015. In between those four “blood moons” so-called because the moon turns red with the Earth’s shadow, there will be a total solar eclipse on Rosh Chodesh Nissan 2015.
The last time this happened, when all four total lunar eclipses fell out on Pesach and Succot, was in 1967-68. The time before that was 1949-50. And then before that 1493-94. As for a total solar eclipse happening on Rosh Chodesh Nissan right smack in the middle, I don’t know if that has ever happened before.
Pastor John Hagee, who I have always found mesmerizing but rather creepy, is going all out about this stuff predicting the second coming of Jesus and whatnot. He wrote about it, was featured on Fox News about it, gave a three part sermon on the coming of the Rapture about it, music played in the background during the more emotional Jesusish parts, he kept saying over and over “the King is Coming” and referring to Psukim with bad translations and incorrect chapter/verse numbers.
Hagee wants to say that four blood moons signifies something about the Jews, 1493-94 being the expulsion from Spain (it was actually 1492), 1949-50 being the founding of Israel (it was actually 1948) and 1967-68 being the reunification of Jerusalem, which is on the dot. Therefore, something big is supposed to happen in 2014-15 involving the Jews and Israel, and Hagee expects it to be the Rapture, the Second Coming, either, both, whatever, I don’t know.
Hagee takes a verse from Yoel which he calls 2:32, but which does not actually exist. The verse is 3:4. He erroneously places it in chapter two because along with most Christians reading a book that is not theirs in a language not theirs, he doesn’t know how to read. Chapters 1 and 2 concern the past, being the locust plague Yoel describes. Chapters 3 and 4 concern the future, which Yoel is comparing to the locust plague that had just happened. In any case, the verse Hagee quotes is this one:
הַשֶּׁמֶשׁ יֵהָפֵךְ לְחֹשֶׁךְ, וְהַיָּרֵחַ לְדָם–לִפְנֵי, בּוֹא יוֹם יְהוָה, הַגָּדוֹל, וְהַנּוֹרָא.
“The sun will turn to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great terrible day of the Lord.”
Well, OK, that seems to be talking about a solar and lunar eclipse, so maybe there’s something to this. But there’s a lot that Hagee is missing. I’ll fill some of it in. Some of this stuff comes from a friend of mine who’s into seeing signs and such.
The three religions that sprang from ancient Israel are governed by three different calendars. Islam has a purely lunar calendar. Christianity a fully solar calendar. Judaism is a combination of both, with leap lunar years to compensate for the differences in the calendars. We are currently in such a lunar leap year. The moon represents Islam, which is loosely identified with Yishmael. The sun, Christianity, loosely identified with Edom, or Esav.
The generally accepted Rabbinic view of the battle of Gog and Magog on Israel is that Edom and Yishmael will battle each other on Israel’s territory. Israel will not be directly involved, but will only be caught in the crossfire. In other words, Christianity and Islam will duke it out over here for whatever reason.
The first question that occurred to me when seeing the coincident dates of 1493, 1949, and 1967 was 1967 and 1949 I get. But why 1493? Forget about being a year late, but really, was the expulsion from Spain all that cosmic? We’ve been expelled from lots of places. It was traumatic, but earth shattering day-of-the-Lord? Not really.
The answer is, a tetrad lunar eclipse, if it does signify anything, has nothing to do with Jews. The moon is Islam. It has to do with Muslims. And 1493 was indeed a big year for Islam. It was the year they lost Europe. So was 1949, the year the Muslims lost the war against Israel. They were still fighting in 1948. The armistice and defeat was in 1949. If the tetrad lunar eclipses signal something about Jews, it would have been 1948, but 1949 was the defeat of Islam in Israel, not the founding of the State. In 1967 they lost Jerusalem and it happened in 6 days, so that one was on the dot.
As for a solar eclipse happening on Rosh Chodesh Nissan, that was the day when the Jewish People received their first national commandment, the first מצוה. The Mitzva of the calendar.
הַחֹדֶשׁ הַזֶּה לָכֶם, רֹאשׁ חֳדָשִׁים: רִאשׁוֹן הוּא לָכֶם, לְחָדְשֵׁי הַשָּׁנָה.
Rabbinically translated, “The new moon will mark the start of each month for you, and this month (Nisan) will be the first month of the year.”
Giving someone their own calendar is symbolic of freeing them from the forced calendar of slavery. But why should the new moon on the first signify a new month? Why not the full moon on the 15th, which would be counted as the first? In other words, why count from new moon to new moon rather than from full moon to full moon? After all, Israel were still slaves at that point, on Nissan 1. The 10th plague hadn’t happened yet. It wouldn’t happen for another two weeks. Why start the calendar now? At least wait until the deal is sealed and they’ve gotten out of Egypt.
In fact, now that I think of it, all of the beginning of Exodus chapter 12 is temporally displaced. Moshe warns Pharaoh of the 10th plague in chapter 11, warning that it will happen at midnight on the 15th. Then chapter 12 goes back in time 14 days about what God said to Moshe on the first of the month. Then it skips forward to the 15th and Israel gets out the next morning.
The answer is that by the first, God started the Mitzvot, which began with the calendar, and moved to the Pesach, Matza, the blood on the doorposts etc. By then, even though while technically still in Egypt, the fog of slavery had lifted, and all the people had to do was follow God and stay out of the way. Those who followed were saved. Those who didn’t, who knows.
If the solar eclipse next Rosh Chodesh Nisan means anything, and I’m not conceding that it does, then it could mean that Israel’s dependence on Christianity, Edom, AKA the US, will end on that date, just as its dependence on Egypt ended on that date even though Egypt didn’t give up until two weeks later.
So a combination of lunar eclipses on Pesach and Succot and a solar eclipse on Rosh Chodesh Nisan, if it signifies anything, would signify that both Christianity and Islam will block each other out, perhaps by fighting each other.
It is also significant that the final lunar eclipse of the four will occur on Succot, the very holiday focused on in the Battle of Gog and Magog on Israel. As for the significance of 2015 itself, my friend and I have been thinking about that for months before either of us knew about the four blood moons.
There are two things notable about 2015. First, it will be a shmitah year, when debts are liquidated. The last shmitah year was 2007-08, a year of a LOT of debt liquidation. The shmita before that was 2000-01, the end of the Nasdaq bubble and a LOT of debt liquidation. Another notable shmitah year was 1987, the year of the Black Monday market crash. Before that, 1980, the peak of interest rates and the 1980 gold bull top. 1973 was the year of stagflation, the first time the American economy experienced both stagnation and inflation together.
But 2015 has something else going for it. The Hebrew year will be תשעו, written fully התשעו, or rearranged תשועה, meaning “salvation”. That is 5776, starting in September 2015.
I am no kabbalist, but what follows is a translation from my friend’s blog. Let’s be cute and call this Purim Torah:
וַיְהִי בִּימֵי אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הוּא אֲחַשְׁוֵרוֹשׁ הַמֹּלֵךְ מֵהֹדּוּ וְעַד כּוּשׁ שֶׁבַע וְעֶשְׂרִים וּמֵאָה מְדִינָה
“In the days of Achashverosh, that is Achashverosh who ruled from India to Ethiopia, 127 states.”
It is well known that the Book of Esther contains within it many hints and secrets regarding the final redemption. The book falls within the context of Ezra’s move to Israel and the rebuilding of the Temple which was postponed at the time. This parallels our time, especially since Esther and Mordechai are both from the tribe of Binyamin, and we are under the rule of Mashiach Ben Yosef of Binyamin.
(Rafi’s note, I don’t know what he’s talking about with the Binyamin thing.)
וַיֹּאמֶר הַמֶּלֶךְ לְאֶסְתֵּר בְּמִשְׁתֵּה הַיַּיִן מַה שְּׁאֵלָתֵךְ וְיִנָּתֵן לָךְ וּמַה בַּקָּשָׁתֵךְ עַד חֲצִי הַמַּלְכוּת וְתֵעָשׂ
“And the King said to Esther at the drinking party, ‘What is your request and I will grant it, what is your wish? Up to half the kingdom and it will be done.”
The fact that the Temple is encoded into the Book of Esther we know from the Gemara in Megila:
Says the Gemara Megila 15B: “Up to half the kingdom and it will be done,” half the kingdom and not the whole thing, nor something that smacks of a kingdom. And what smacks of a kingdom? The Temple.
From here we can extrapolate the redemption of Mashiach Ben David. Achashverosh is limiting Esther, who represents Mashiach ben Yosef, up to the point of the Temple. The “up to” in “up to half the kingdom” comes from the blessing of Binyamin by Yaakov, which says “You will eat up to the morning”.
“Half the kingdom” – if Achashverosh rules 127 states, half of that would be 63.5. If we count from the beginning of the State of Israel, which is the beginning of the era of Mashiach ben Yosef, that turns out to be 2012, which is the beginning of the years of preparation for Mashiach ben David, which are 5772-5775. (Rafi’s note: He brings in a source here for that but I haven’t sifted through it.)
Therefore, the meaning of the verse is this: Up to half the kingdom and it will be done. “Up to half” means up to 5772 (2012). From then, Mashiach ben David begins to rise. And when is it complete? At the end of Shmitah, and when does that fall out?
It will be done is ותעש. Or תשעו. If you switch the letters. 5776.
My friend continues to point out that every time the word תשועה is mentioned in Tanach, it always has to do with David. No exceptions.
And there are other hints at 5776 throughout the Torah. Here’s a fun one though, one that I can proudly say I found. It’s in Breishit 38. Yehuda leaves his brothers after the sale of Yosef. Figuratively, after the downfall of Mashiach ben Yosef. Yehuda settles near a guy named Hirah, who has a friend named Shua. Yehuda marries the daughter of this guy Shua, and for the rest of the story this woman is only known as בת שוע, or Shua’s daughter.
It’s always bugged me why she doesn’t have a name.
When Bat Shua dies, Yehuda goes down to Timnah to sheer his sheep. Tamar, who has been sitting around waiting for Yehuda to give him his third son after the first two died, hears about it and follows him down. This leads to Yehuda thinking Tamar is a prostitute, sleeping with her and starting the Mashiach’s ancestral line.
So why Bat Shua?
אל תקרא בת שוע אלא ב-תשוע. Or 5776.
Also note that David’s wife, the one that gives birth to Shlomo, is בת שבע, or 5772.
And the fourth and final blood moon occurs on Succot, 5776, the holiday of Gog and Magog, when every nation is supposed to come to the temple to worship God.
All in all, this could all be nothing. I’d like to believe it, but can’t say that I do. But in case it isn’t nothing, let it be recorded here that I believed it plausible enough that I wrote it down as Purim Torah.
נכנס פורים יוצא סוד.
A friend and I have been back-and-forthing on various biblical themes with a libertarian lens. One of the characters we keep coming back to is Joseph. In a mainstream read, he’s a hero, a character that changes for the good, does teshuva, saves his family, rises to glory. A complete success story. He is referred to by Chazal as Yosef Hatzadik, Joseph the Righteous. But I have since been rereading the Joseph story in a libertarian light and have come to more complicated conclusions. Not that they necessarily contradict the read that Joseph was basically a good guy who succeeded in life, but a perspective that has liberty at the forefront tells me that Joseph was a much more limited and narrow person than people generally think.
In broad strokes, Yosef is the master socialist, statist, economic central planner. These are all bad words in libertarian-speak, but it is not that simple. The first thing we know about Yosef is that he has dreams of power and he seeks to control, without necessarily being in control of himself first. This initially got him into trouble when he was sold by his brothers to Egypt. There he is humbled and gains some self control, working hard to make his way to the top wherever he is, and not being sidetracked by feeling sorry for himself and depressed all day, as I’m sure many of us would feel if we were one day sold by our own family into slavery in a foreign country.
At some point, his own self control is tested, and he passes the test so well that it sets him back. He refuses to sleep with his boss’s wife, who then ironically accuses him of attempting to rape her, and he is then sent to prison.
But even then, he refuses to wallow in self-pity and does his best, rising to the top of the prison and eventually getting out by interpreting a few dreams.
Then he finally has his opportunity. He impresses Pharaoh with his interpretation of the cows swallowing cows and corn swallowing corn. And here’s where we come to a serious libertarian rereading. According to mainstream thought, Yosef saved the entire region from starvation by executing an ingenious plan of storing food. Without Yosef, the thinking goes, the entire middle east and western Africa would have been dead from hunger.
But is that really true? My contention is no. Yosef didn’t save anybody. All he did was some central economic planning through which he was able to give Pharaoh near absolute power in Egypt. The Otto Von Bismarck of his time, so to speak.
Had not Yosef interpreted Pharaoh’s dream correctly, what would have happened? There would have still been plenty of surplus food produced during the seven years of plenty. Instead of it all being monopolized in Pharaoh’s royal granaries through either coerced sales or probably outright theft, the supply would have remained decentralized.
My evidence that it was outright theft of the surplus comes from the word שילש used to describe how Egypt was divided when Pharaoh put Yosef in charge to begin collecting the surplus food. שילש is a very belligerent term, which also describes the head of an Egyptian war chariot, as in ושלישים על כלו. It is a term also used in the קדושה, as in יחד כולם קדושה לך ישלשו, describing how the angels praise God in heaven. The phrase the angels use is the famous triple קדוש, as in קדוש קדוש קדוש ה׳ צבאות, or Holy Holy Holy is the Lord of Hosts, in other words the commander of an army, with the angels being God’s army. So it is probably that Yosef sent soldiers in to simply confiscate the surplus.
There was little resistance because there was so much surplus that nobody wanted to put up a fight about it. But the key is that had Yosef not appointed thugs to confiscate the surplus, it would not have simply been wasted. All major cities had stockpiles of grain in case of a siege, and it’s not like famines were uncommon things those days. The food would have been stored, but instead of monopolized by Pharaoh with Yosef as his agent allowing him to charge an arm and a leg for it later, the price would have been competitive as many sellers would have competed for buyers during the famine years, lowering the price to something more reasonable than everything you own plus a 20% income tax for eternity, which is what Yosef ended up instituting.
So all Yosef did was give Pharaoh the window of opportunity for the greatest power grab in history up to that time. And Pharaoh took it. 3 years into the famine, Pharaoh owned all the silver in the entire economy. 4 years in, he owned all the cattle. 5 years in he literally owned the entire country. ותהי הארץ לפרעה. And it was Yosef that instituted the income tax on the Egyptian people.
That’s the bad part. The good part is that Yosef the Socialist Economic Central Planner did get his family a privileged spot through all the turmoil. There was no income tax on Bnei Yisrael. How do we know this? Because the income tax only applied to people who were forced to sell their land. The Torah clearly says that the Egyptian priests did not pay the 20% tax because they didn’t to sell their land because they got free food from the Egyptian Crown as part of the deal of being priests of Amun, or Aten, or On or whatever Egyptian god they were priests of. You know who else got free food during the famine? We did. From Yosef. So we never got taxed. And that’s why the Egyptians got really pissed off and turned on us later, enslaving us. Because our Statist brother Yosef enslaved them first with taxation.
This helped me answer a burning question I’ve always had about one little thing Yosef did in the aftermath of revealing himself to his brothers. At one point before he reveals himself, he gives Benjamin, his only full brother, 5x more food than everyone else. This is easily explainable as a test to see if it stokes their jealousy. But what always bothered me was that even after Yosef reveals himself to his brothers, he still gives Binyamin 5x more changes of clothes than everyone else for the way back!
Why? Because deep down, despite all the improvements in his persona which are undeniable, Yosef is still the same power-hungry crony capitalist who, just like government and big business, picks his favorite and showers him with gifts. He can’t help himself from using his power. It’s beyond his personality to be able to control it once he has it.
This, I believe, is why Mashiach ben Yosef has to die (non violently!), why Yosef cannot lead in the end, why the 10 tribes led by Efraim ben Yosef had to split off from Yehuda, which only happened when Yehuda, in the form of King Rechavam, took power to his head and became too much like Yosef, attempting to raise taxes too high and become a powerful nationalist state. And finally, why the true Mashiach has to come from Yehuda, the one who finally breaks Yosef down to crying when he offers himself in Binyamin’s place. In the end, Yehuda is the one who really knows how to treat Binyamin – as an equal, not as a favorite. Yosef treats him as a favorite and he cannot change his constant power-playing, the same mistake that led to his sale and enslavement in the first place.
Yosef is the force of Jewish nationalism. It is the force that drives classical Zionism, and it is a good catalyst for getting the nation together. It gave rise to the State of Israel which, as bad as it is, does keep the nation together. Yosef-minded Zionist people got together and put together a benign dictatorship, a Jewish State to run every aspect of Jews’ lives here, to tax them way above and beyond Joseph’s 20% rate, to indoctrinate their children in state schools and kidnap them into their army, expel them from their homes when they feel like it and all the other horrible stuff we all know about.
It is also useful to note that, just as Yosef is not a bad guy, but actually a good guy with a serious limitation, so too the current Israeli leadership, despite being evil at times, is also essentially good, but only within its own failed context and limited scope. It cannot complete the task, but it cannot be blamed either. It simply does not have the ability to even see what the task is.
Mashiach Ben Yosef has already come. He is just a catalyst for the next phase, which is liberty. It is time for Mashiach Ben Yosef to dissolve (through nonviolent means of course), and to make way for Yehuda, who, just like he did when he offered to take Binyamin’s place, will have to bring classical Zionism to its knees in some sort of catharsis.
The next step is for Yosefian Zionist nationalism to dissolve, making way for true liberty, חירות, at the hands of Yehuda. We’re getting closer. Stay tuned.
Back to blogging. Things are heating up. You may have heard that the Knesset will be debating the issue of Jewish sovereignty on the Temple Mount this Tuesday. I’ll be going. I don’t really like the term “Jewish Sovereignty” because it’s an Orwellian term. It really means that the agents of the State of Israel will control what goes on at the Temple Mount, instead of what the situation is now, which is that the Jordanian state decides it.
If we are to stick to strict libertarian theory as to what should be done with Mount Moriah, the answer is give it to the nearest Kohen Meyuchas, or ancestor of a Kohen that can actually trace his lineage to someone who served in the temple 1944 years ago before it was destroyed. They are the last ones to have owned the place rightfully, so gather them all together (and there are a few of them around) and give private ownership of Har Habayit to them by shares of stock in it and let them decide what to do with it. The Arabs can take what’s on the surface and get off, or stay on, if that’s what the majority of Kohanim Meyuchasim decide.
But I digress. This won’t happen. So the next best thing is to give it to some State of Israel official who is something of a next of kin, since we’re at least related to the Kohanim. And this just came one step closer to happening 2 weeks ago. It was quite poetic actually.
How it happened
The status of Har Habayit has never come up in the Knesset. Ever. This is the first time since the destruction of the Temple that a Jewish authority will even discuss it. So how did it happen?
The Knesset has its own weird parliamentary rules. Moshe Feiglin brought up the motion to discuss the status of Har Habayit with the goal of having the Knesset pass a resolution to allow Jews to enter the compound from all gates and to pray there. The status quo currently is that Jews can only come through one gate, between 7am and 10pm only on certain days in very small groups, must be surrounded by police at all times, cannot carry any “contraband” including religious articles to the site, move their lips in prayer, bow, look at the Waqf the wrong way, or steal the Dome of the Rock.
The weird parliamentary rules are these: Once Feiglin brought up the motion, the Speaker can either deny a vote, at which point the motion goes to committee, or call a vote. If the vote passes, the discussion will happen. If the vote fails, the discussion will not happen. (A “discussion” is basically when Knesset Members are invited to the podium to bloviate. The only one who ever actually says anything of substance is Moshe.) So basically the speaker can either deny a vote and let the fate of the motion be decided in committee, or he can roll the dice with an immediate vote which will decide the fate of the motion immediately.
The Speaker at the time was the loveable Ahmed Tibi, the loud-mouthed Arab gynecologist and envy of all sewer rats. In the plenum at the time were Tibi, Feiglin, Amir “Unionize this Mustache” Peretz and Yisrael Eichler the Haredi guy. Tibi figured the numbers were on his side. He’d vote against a discussion of Jewish Sovereignty on Holy Al Aqsa, Peretz would too because he’s a lefty, Eichler would too because he’s Haredi and thinks Jews going up to Har Habayit is like Nadav and Avihu offering up Esh Zarah and holy fire will descend from heaven, so he thought it’d be 3 to 1 against and the whole issue would die right there.
But Tibi tracht und God blacht. Tibi called the vote. Tibi votes no. Feiglin votes yes. So far it’s tied.
It goes to Mustache Peretz…and he isn’t even paying attention. No vote.
So it all comes down to Eichler. He looks at Moshe and Tibi, and decides, to hell with holy fire, let the Jews discuss it, and he’d rather be on Moshe’s side on this one than Tibi. He votes yes.
And suddenly, for the first time in one thousand nine hundred and forty-four years, the Jews will discuss their own sovereignty on Har Habayit this Tuesday.
If we take a step back, this is a structurally flawless mircocosm of what’s going on now in Jewish history. The Jewish ideologue proposes a vote to bring geulah one step closer. The Arab, thinking he will win, puts all his cards on the table and forces the other two Jews – the secular socialist and the haredi socialist, to make a decision. The secular socialist is asleep at the wheel. And the haredi tips the scales.
And God takes a small bow, making sure only the astute even notice the divine choreography at play here.
Let’s see what happens on Tuesday.
This is a response to Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith as well as a response to Rabbi Gordimer’s and Rabbi Yitzchak Blau’s responses to it here and here. (Technically Rabbi Gordimer’s article was a response to a proto-manifesto of Zev’s, but…you know…whatever.)
Though Rabbi Zev Farber’s parents and my parents happen to be the same exact people, I still have absolutely no standing in the Modern Orthodox or Open Orthodox halachic commentary world whatsoever. I nevertheless thought perhaps this would get passed around on a sort of pseudo-nepotismic/curiosity basis anyway. I’m like Open Orthodoxy’s father’s brother’s nephew’s cousin’s former roommate, but what the hey, let’s get our Schwartz twisted and see what happens. The beauty of commenting from the outside is that I have no one to answer to, no skin in the game, so I can say whatever I want however I want. And that I will do.
By my dress and general behavior that people can see on the outside, most would consider me Modern Orthodox, or Open Orthodox, or at the very least “generally Halachically observant.” That’s the lifestyle I live together with my family. But that’s all window dressing. Halachic practice is important to me in a way, but only cosmetically so. At my core I am a libertarian. That is what is really important to me in a crucial, moral sense. By that I mean, I abide as much as I can by the non-aggression principle (NAP), and preach that others do the same. Indeed I preach that being a libertarian is what God actually, really wants from every human being on Earth, first and foremost Jewish human beings as His chosen exemplary people (I assume we are, reasons below).
Abiding by the NAP means I do not initiate violence. I don’t murder, I don’t rape, I don’t hit people outside the context of self-defense, and I don’t steal. All that is well and good. But here’s the tricky part:
I’m dead serious. By “steal” I mean taking money from other people without their explicit voluntary consent. This includes straight up everyday theft and burglary, but also includes anything that is not a mutually agreed upon exchange. That means government money, all defined by me as “stolen property”, as it is taken from people under threat of imprisonment by the government, which is not voluntary. If taxes were not backed up with the threat of violence, the vast, vast majority of people would not voluntarily pay them. Therefore, as a libertarian, I reject as many government benefits as reasonably possible. For example, I accept no child stipends from Bituach Leumi (National Insurance in Israel, everyone with kids gets them) and never took an unemployment check. Exceptions are that I drive on government monopolized roads, I drink government monopolized water and I use the government monopolized Karnei Shomron sanitation system, none of which I can avoid without hermetizing myself, which I am unwilling to do.
Full disclosure, other libertarians like Dr. Walter Block (a Jew) argue that accepting government money is legitimate, but I differ, and believe one should strive, within reason, to reject as many benefits as possible on the grounds that accepting government money legitimizes the existence of governments in the eyes of the masses, and libertarians should live by example, just like Jews should.
Like other libertarians I have a theory of property rights that says whoever homesteads a piece of land – plants things on it or builds on it first – owns it. Ownership can then be passed voluntarily as a gift or by mutual exchange. Further, “democracy” is illegitimate. In a country of 3 people, A B and C, A and B cannot legitimately “vote” to “tax” C’s property and split the proceeds just as A and B cannot vote to murder C either.
Now, what does this have to do with Judaism and Torah and Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith?
Zev had a lot of pop culture quotations in his Manifesto (and most of them were good except the one from Abraham Lincoln) so I’ll do the same. I’m reminded of a scene from South Park. A bunch of people die and are met by the gatekeeper of hell. One of the dead people is disturbed at the fact that he is at the entrance to hell. He, after all, is a protestant. So he asks the gatekeeper which religion was the correct one. “The correct religion was Mormon.”
Assuming everyone understands the absurdity of the above scene, I’m betting most understand the absurdity of the following scene as well:
A Jew dies and meets God at the gates of the World to Come. “Did you believe that the Exodus, Yetzias Mitzrayim, really happened historically and that the Torah was written word for word by Moshe?” asks God.
“Well, not really,” says the Jew. “I mean, there wasn’t any physical evidence of an exodus from Egypt and the Torah really looked to me like it was written by a few authors. At least that’s what I thought when I was alive. But I did abide by the NAP as fully as I could and I preached liberty wherever possible on the grounds that every man is created in Your image and deserves to be able to make his own voluntary choices,” responds the Jew at Heaven’s Gate to God Himself.
“Well, the NAP is great,” replies God, “But the lack of evidence of the Exodus and seeming multiple sources in the Torah were just tests to see how well those who didn’t believe in its historicity and My man Moshe’s authorship can lie to themselves to convince themselves otherwise. Sorry! Hell it is!”
My point is, I don’t care what anyone believes regarding the authorship and historical veracity of the Torah, and in my opinion, neither does God. It doesn’t matter. Those who think it does matter nowadays are narrow-minded dogmatists with almost no awareness of what’s actually important in the world. They are spinning their wheels and wasting their time and ours impressing us about how much they can quote Chazal and Rishonim. Whipping a dead horse, barking up the wrong tree and other annoying metaphors.
Two questions: 1) What about all of Chazal and Rishonim and the rest who said it really DOES matter? Were they narrow-minded dogmatists with no awareness of what’s important either? Short answer, NO. 2) Zev addressed this next question, but I want to readdress it in the light of what I’ll say below: Should we just scrap the whole Jewish Nation as a myth founded on a lie and blend in to the rest of humanity, calling all of Jewish history quits? Short answer, NO.
Before I get into the long answers, I remember several years ago, maybe around my high school graduation in 2002 or thereabouts, my family was having Shabbos dinner and Zev was there at the table. At the time he was a “Drisha Girl” learning with Rabbi Silber. (That’s his joke, not mine. He was learning with Rabbi Silber in some kind of fellowship or other in the Drisha building before he enrolled in YCT.) We were discussing the historicity of Tanach, the Flood and whatnot, as we often do given our father is a Conservative Rabbi and modern biblical scholarship was often a point of discussion. Zev had said something that night that I used as my principle for the next decade or so of my own life. He said (again I don’t have this exact) that when one reads the Torah and has to decide what is historical and what is not, it is important to get into the mind of the author, so to speak.
Meaning, when you read the Genesis creation stories, you have to decide, is the author (or God forbid authors) trying to tell me how many days it took to create the world, or is he trying to teach me a lesson about the relationship of God and man through the stories? Well, given that first the author says it took 6 days, and then he (or a different one) says it took 1 day, he or they are probably not trying to tell me how many days it took to create the world. This is not historical. So I don’t have to freak out when I see dinosaur bones or lose sleep over evolution.
When reading the story of the Flood, is the author trying to tell me that a flood happened and it lasted so many days and this is the sequence of it? Or is he actually just trying to rewrite a popular ancient Middle Eastern myth the desert-wandering Exodus Israelites or their cultural descendants were familiar with but wanted to put in a monotheistic context? It could go either way, perhaps both, but I decided it wouldn’t upset me if the Flood and accompanying Noah’s Ark story never actually happened. I could still take the Torah seriously.
Same thing with the Tower of Babel. The author is not giving me a language history lesson as I doubt that is important to my religious education. The story seems more to do with the importance of human diversity in the Divine plan for the world. It gets a little tougher with the historicity of the Abraham and Isaac, and it gets really hard with Jacob and the 12 tribes, but I decided I still wouldn’t have a crisis if not every detail of those stories actually happened.
But, Zev said, and I remember this, and I guess he changed his mind in the last 12 years unless I’m mistaken, which is fine either way (really), that when you get to the Exodus from Egypt, it is impossible to take the author of the Torah and therefore the Torah itself seriously unless you assume the author is trying to tell you something that actually, historically, happened. In other words, if the historicity of the Exodus goes, then so does the rest of it because then it all just seems silly. If this didn’t happen, then what is the author smoking? Does he think I’m stupid? It all becomes a big joke.
I mention this not to call Zev out, but to point out that for many, the historicity of the Exodus from Egypt as written is crucial to their Halachic practice and Jewish identity. Going through the Pesach Seder seems especially dumb if it’s all a fairytale. Further, I believe that anyone who says that, on an individual basis, he no longer follows Halacha because he no longer believes in the historicity of the Exodus, is doing something completely understandable and legitimate.
Now the long answers to the two questions. First, the Chazal/Rishonim/et. al issue. Is the Rambam, for example, just a simple minded dogmatist because he wrote that anyone who doesn’t believe in total Mosaic authorship of the Torah is a heretic?
The answer is, there is a big difference between exilic Judaism and national Judaism. In order to survive thousands of years of exile culturally intact, you’ve got to hunker down in order to keep the nation together without its land, especially when your numbers are small and you could come under attack by some crazy murderous government at any moment without warning. If the Rambam or a Tana or Amora or Gaon or any other Rishon (all generational terms for Rabbis) or any other famous “dogmatist” wrote more or less what Zev wrote 800 or 1000 years ago and it came into prominence and was accepted, there probably would not be a Jewish People today, at least not in my opinion. If Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith came out in, say, 1242, it probably would have been justifiably burned, not for being wrong (that is not to say that it’s right), but for being dangerous to Jewish national survival. We’ll get to why Jewish national survival is important in a minute.
Most people are Amei Ha’Aretz, laymen, then and now. Tell them the story is not historical in 1242 and most would ask why in the WORLD am I risking my life being Jewish? Yeah, today nobody with any serious governmental coercive power is actively trying to kill us so we have the luxury of going to Shul or lighting candles or having a Seder or whatever whether or not we believe the book is real or a fairytale. But back then, you need the people in line if you’re going to preserve the Nation for eventual restoration in its land.
Am I saying the Rambam didn’t really believe what he wrote about Mosaic authorship and heresy? No, I am not saying that. The truth is I don’t know what he personally believed. If I had Maimonides in a room alone with me and asked him to respond to Rabbi Zev Farber’s Manifesto of Torah and Faith and promised him complete confidentiality, I honestly don’t know what he would tell me. Does anyone else? What I am saying is I don’t care what he or any other Rabbi actually believed. It’s not important. Not anymore.
It was important when we were trying to survive without a land to keep the Jewish People culturally intact, but now it’s not.
So that leads me to the second question, why was it ever important? Who cares if Jews exist or not? Why not just scrap the whole thing and just become pig-eating shaatnez-wearing Shabbos-breaking libertarians, turn the Temple Mount into the Israel branch of the Ludwig von Mises (a jew) Institute, dedicate the Cave of the Patriarchs to Murray Rothbard (a Jew), build a Museum dedicated to F.A. Hayek (a Jew) next to Yad Vashem and call it a day?
My answer is, the Tochacha. That chapter at the end of Leviticus, repeated in Deuteronomy, maybe even (!) by two different authors. Those verses that predict with sickening cruelty what we would go through in agonizing detail. It even understated it, terribly so. The agony, the genocide, the promise that we’d never be wiped out completely, and finally, the redemption.
Whether or not you believe in the historicity of the Exodus or whether Moses wrote the Torah or even existed, the Tochacha is really, really old, written at the latest before the vast vast majority of all the worst stuff on planet Earth happened to us. You can ask Zev. He’ll tell you it’s really old. And it came true. And whoever it was wrote it down and we still have it. And now we’re back in Israel, again, just as written, and the Jews today are historically and culturally continuous and contiguous with the Jews of whenever the academics and the frummies agree you can start the historico-cultural timeline.
There is no way that there could be any cultural survival if a conscious God wasn’t watching us to preserve us for some huge, important, cosmic purpose. There is no historico-cultural parallel to the Jews’ collective national survival. It is impossible without a Divine historical Director, regardless of who wrote the thing. Somebody wrote it and it’s accurate.
From the Tochacha I go back to the Flood story. It begins as a continuation of the creation story and the Garden of Eden. Man starts multiplying like crazy, and all the sudden man starts violating what? The non-aggression principle of course. The NAP. The Torah complains about “Hamas” which means chaotic violence, destruction, theft all around, people taking whichever girl they find at will which I assume means rape. Total force, aggression, the NAP is in shambles. God says, “I can’t take this anymore.”
Why did God destroy the world according to the story? Because the NAP, libertarianism, completely died. Only one man was decent enough to save. Noah was libertarian all right. He was a non-interventionist. But he wasn’t a preacher. He didn’t really care about other people as long as he was left alone. He kept to himself. He was also a drunk, which doesn’t violate the NAP, but it’s not so flattering. You can’t start a nation with that kind of man as an example. Whoever wrote it down was trying to say that the planet will survive (barely) as long as someone follows the NAP, but it won’t progress if society as a whole doesn’t.
10 generations later, according to the narrative whose historicity does not concern me in the least, God decides on a different strategy in order to get the world moving again. He’d pick one man who was libertarian, someone who believed EVERYONE had the right not be violated or stolen from with no exceptions, but who also preached it and whose life was exemplary. That man was Abraham, Zev’s father. God promised Abraham that his children would remain intact, and He’d even give them a slice of land with which to practice libertarianism as a nation and serve as an example to the rest of mankind, as a light unto the nations. In order to stay intact, they’d need commands to separate them from the rest of humanity. Dietary restrictions, peculiar clothing, Shabbat, a Holy Temple, etc., which would all remind them that man has One Creator and rights come from Him and not from man, not from government, not from the majority, not from whatever money our “representatives” can squeeze out of other people by force.
Now guess what my fellow Yidden. I have news for you all. The exile is over. We can all come out of our dogmatic caves and wake up and smell what’s going on in the real world. We can all stop worrying about who believes what and activating the different strands of the Jewish Thought Police. It’s time to get serious and stop worrying about how many Jewish skeletons you can find in the Sinai Desert from 3,000 years ago.
It’s time to worry about how men in Israel, some of them Rabbis, with the power of force and violence, extract money with the threat of violence out of other Jews for their own purposes whatever they are which causes Jewish groups in Israel to mercilessly hate one another. Learning at Yeshiva with tax money, learning at a University with tax money, forced curriculums, police that can break down your door and tazer you in front of your children without you being charged for a single crime, a raise for Knesset Members, a raise for government monopolized port workers who are legally protected from competition, billions of shekels to kick Jews out of their homes by force in 2005 in Gaza, how one group of Jews has been trying for 20 years to use government force to kick hundreds of thousands more Jews out of their homes through the “Oslo Peace Process”. Because of this mutual force and theft, everyone hates everyone else. We all talk about stopping the Sinas Chinam, the causeless hatred between us but nobody seems willing to stop the massive mutual theft and aggression of everyone against everyone that is causing it.
It’s time to worry about how the government controls by force and violence every single aspect of our lives here in Israel. There’s a government minister for everything. For what food we can import, for what hospitals we can build, for what we can smoke and can’t smoke, for where we can send our kids to daycare and where we can’t, for what school we have to send our kids to and for how long, for how much or how little we are allowed to work for. There’s even a “Culture and Sports Minister” that tells us God knows what. The government owns 93% of all the land here jacking real estate prices up and complains they’re too high but wants to keep the monopoly. I see how the government-appointed taxpayer-funded Chief Rabbinate does nothing but stir up ever more Sinas Chinam and rage between different Jewish groups. How most secular Jews have nothing but contempt for government Rabbis that they have to pay to do their weddings and divorces by force. How they have a special list of Mamzers that they don’t allow to marry. How they manage to just piss everyone off for every reason because they have their dirty Rabbinic desecration of God’s Name hands in every conceivable thing. Most Jews who hate Judaism hate it because of them. It’s time we realized that and shut them down. Who can convert, who can marry, who can get a kosher certificate, who can build a Shul.
How everyone fights over how much force everyone else has to shoulder and the burden of violence, drafting into the army by force for three years where you can die, how it should be “equalized” and slavery burden “shared” instead of eliminated and freedom reign. How we are actually contemplating dragging people into the army who promise to revolt and we think somehow this is going to be good for us. We are insane. How the government monopolized prison system keeps letting murderers go, breaking the heart of every bereaved family and spitting on the graves all those murdered and cheapening the lives of everyone who risked theirs putting them away. And of course, endangering us all. How the government forbids Jews from praying on their most holy spot, Har Habayit, the Temple Mount, and nobody seems to care. Everyone’s obsessed with who can pray at the stupid government-owned Wall. How the government is now going to take my fingerprints and put them in a biometric database as if I were Jude on a German cattle car being tattooed by the SS. That one particularly sickens me to the core, the Israeli government about to take my fingerprints by force just like the Nazis took my grandparents’ arms as if they own my body, too. The violence is increasing and getting unbearable.
You want to know the real importance of the Exodus story? It’s not its exact historicity. It’s the message of liberty. Slavery is illegitimate. So says God.
Nobody has any right to take anyone’s body or property for any reason without his voluntary consent. Period.
How do we make the world libertarian? It can’t be done by individuals. God tried that and had to destroy the world in a flood because it failed. It has to be done by a whole nation. An entire People who can serve as an example to the world. This is why Jews still exist. To be libertarians. We do it by being Jews. By following the halachic system voluntarily, with punishments only for violations of the NAP as per Rabbi Akivaesque Halachic tradition. Why Halacha? Those who grew up with it as I have and have studied it can recognize the moral genius of most of Chazal and the later generations of Rabbis. I am aware that there are libertarian as well as non-libertarian sources in Halacha. I accept the former and reject the latter. It’s easy when you have a clear moral compass.
Anyone who has trouble meshing Halacha with my brand of anarcho-libertarianism in particular, I refer you to Midrash Rabbah Shoftim on שום תשים עליך מלך. It’s the most anarcho-libertarian Chazal source out there to my knowledge.
I for one plan to do my best to tear down as much government in Israel as I possibly can while I’m on the planet.
As for the historicity of Yetzias Mitzrayim, believe what you want to believe. If you believe in every detail, good for you. If you don’t, what are you supposed to do? Lie to yourself to get into Olam Haba? That sounds like the stupidest of all childish games. People believe what they believe. That’s it. I personally believe something like it happened because to think the whole thing was made up would make Judaism seem silly to me even given the truth of the Tochacha, but I don’t care exactly which details are historically true or not. The story was definitely put together very, very carefully by someone who knew what he was doing. I would be happy if archaeological proof were found, but I’m not too worried about it, because I do know that God is behind Jewish history in some way, or else we wouldn’t exist.
Follow Halacha if you believe in it. Don’t follow it if you don’t. It won’t affect your personal Olam Haba status, if that exists. That I’m sure of. I personally have no preference for what anyone does on a personal level as long as they follow the NAP, though it would be nice if people followed both Halacha and the NAP. It is not, however, my priority to get people to be observant Jews. I just don’t care enough for that to motivate me.
My priority is freeing Jews from theft and enslavement by other Jews. We have to stop worrying about individual Halacha and start thinking about the national sphere, like Jubilee and its built in design to limit government power like the 93% monopoly Israel’s government currently has over the land supply. If we had Jubilee and it were operative, would there be a land monopoly? We should think about how Halacha structures the Jewish judicial system and start acting accordingly. In a halachic system, Judges don’t elect themselves as they do here in this judicial dictatorship of a country. I bet we can get even the most ardent atheist to be interested in Halacha in that sphere.
But we’re all still busy putzing around worrying about who believes what happened 3,000 years ago and who doesn’t while everyone’s stealing from each other and kidnapping each other’s children into forced army service and everyone’s even younger children into government indoctrination schools NOW.
And you know the first question God will ask me when I die? It ain’t got nothin’ to do with who wrote the Torah. The question will be:
נשאת ונתת באמונה?
Were you honest in business? That’s Shabbos 31A for you.
Did you steal from anyone? Did you make your money through voluntary exchange, or by force, burglary, violence, theft, taxes? Did you follow the NAP?
Thank God Zev wrote his Manifesto of Torah and Faith. Gordimer should be applauding him for his intellectual honesty. Instead he’s busy like most other “Rabbis” who have totally lost track of what matters yelling about who’s getting into heaven or not, just like Christians go around accusing each other of “losing salvation” because they don’t believe in Jesus in the exact correct way according to Pope Francisco or some other catechismic irrelevant. How Goyish.
As for Rabbi Yitzchak Blau, I had the pleasure of being his student for a short time and very much enjoyed his response to Zev, which was much more relevant than Gordimer’s angry self-righteous “you’re not getting into heaven” nanny-nanny-boo-boo-*raspberry* screed. It’s Mormons, Rabbi Gordimer, in case you missed that South Park episode.
The only problem with Rav Blau’s article was the end, where he tries to urge people to reject Zev’s views because they are “outside Orthodoxy.” What the heck is Orthodoxy? Is it a club? Who’s the bouncer? Is he a bald guy with a beard and payis? Does he wear sunglasses? Where are the gatekeepers? How many of them are there? Does anybody care who’s in the club besides them? What if somebody says something that the bouncer doesn’t like but it’s true? Does that matter? Does he still get to dance in the club? Do people who only dance outside the club still go to heaven? Do they serve mojitos? What about Long Island Iced Tea?
Zev wrote something he thinks is true. Get over it. Here’s what I think is true:
This used to matter, but only as a means of national survival. It doesn’t matter anymore, not since our exile ended. If we can get past the “historicity” question, maybe we Jews can start dealing with the Sinas Chinam issue we all think is really important around Tisha B’av every year but then we devolve into this heresy nonsense. We can stop the Sinas Chinam when we stop the theft. When everyone starts respecting everyone else’s boundaries and letting them live who they want to live. So let’s stop it and start freeing the Jews from their slavery to the evil Israeli government. And then, just maybe, free from coercion, Jews will start coming back to Halacha like you all want them to.
The State Comptroller today came out with a report about how there is such “lawlessness” in Judea and Samaria and so much building is going on without the State’s knowledge and resulting property taxes. So Jews are rightfully homesteading land and making it productive, but since the State doesn’t get its loot, it wants to stop this.
It calls these builders “criminals” because it didn’t get an opportunity to rob them of their money. That’s like a guy breaking into your house calling you a criminal for putting your valuables into a safe so he can’t get them.
A few months back I saw a headline in Jpost about Avigdor Lieberman pushing through a law cutting Knesset Member salaries by 10% in the face of the economic situation (caused by them in the first place). I was pleasantly surprised but of course thought that they should cut buy at least 90%, and preferably 100%. I also doubt they’ll do it because they are, of course, professional thieves who think they are noble. Then I read that they have voted to reverse the cuts down to 1%. I am surprised they didn’t change it to a 10% pay raise.
Moshe Feiglin proposes a law to allow something. I am in favor of any law to allow anything but the initiation of violence against innocent people. Laws to allow are by definition laws to shrink the State. The specific thing Moshe wants to allow is for car insurance companies to sue reckless drivers in the event of an accident. Insurance pays victim, then counter sues offender if applicable. This would be great, of course, because drunk drivers would be responsible for paying the medical fees or God forbid funeral fees and family restitution of the people they murder. Most likely their freedom of movement would be restricted for a long time and forced into slavery as they work to pay off the debt, perhaps even for life as salaries are mortgaged. This would greatly discourage reckless driving of all forms. A better idea would be to get government out of insurance altogether and to simply allow insurance company and client to formulate whatever contract is mutually agreed upon, which would include who is responsible for what in the event of reckless driving. But Moshe’s proposal is a good start. Unfortunately, it is shot down in committee because most Knesset Members are schmucks and schmucks don’t like losing control of industries and not being able to tell them what to do, even at the expense of hundreds of drunk driving murder victims.
Egypt is in a revolution again, after realizing that the new government hasn’t freed anyone from slavery. So now they’re looking for a NEW government again to do the same thing. The answer, nobody realizes, is to replace Morsi with nobody, dissolve the government and not institute a new one.
We see an acquaintance in the park with their kid. We ask where she is going to preschool next year. Acquaintance says she doesn’t know. The system hasn’t told her yet. We ask how the system determines which kids go to what preschool. She says that the kids with government connections get the best ones, the others are randomly assigned. I am filled with disdain.
I get an email today from a faceless bureaucrat named Aviva Something telling me that my daughter will go to preschool at a place I’ve never heard of with children she does not know. Aviva doesn’t know a damn thing about my daughter. Aviva has never met her. My daughter is simply a name on a sheet to her she gets to shuffle around on a whim after all Aviva’s friends get first dibs on whatever they want. She gets to decide where my daughter will go to preschool next year, rather than me, her parent, because Netanyahu passed a law nationalizing preschools all over the country. Now I have to fill in a piece of paper petitioning Aviva to send my kid to a preschool with her friends from this year and rely on Aviva the preschool goddess’s good graces, when all I really want to do is (insert stress relieving word here) for telling me where I can and can’t send my kid to school. If I don’t fill out this paper and instead try to send her where I want without going through the bureaucratic motions, bad things will happen to me in proportion to the amount of non-bureaucratic force I apply. The fact that this random government placement of children does not incur the righteous anger of other parents saddens me to no end.
A cousin in law I have never met looks at my wife and says that the two of them probably have similar political opinions. She says that she doesn’t think so, because she is an anarcho-capitalist. What does that mean, asks the cousin? It means that all of our political opinions are negative, meaning, there should be no politics. For example, the fact that Aviva decides where my daughter goes to school makes my daughter’s education a political issue depending on my personal connections rather than my market talents and what I can or cannot afford. After about 20 minutes of explaining that we do not believe in government and how a free market would solve whatever issue she brings up, she asks, “Well what you are describing is total…anarchy. Do you want your children growing up in such a thing?” Some people just don’t get it.
I paid my yearly car extortion fee of 838 shekels to “license” my car for another year to use road services that are horrible, unsafe, constantly jammed and filled with drunk drivers who are not responsible to pay for the damages they cause.
I paid my national insurance extortion fee even though I do not want their services.
Mandatory child stipends I have no choice but to accept will be cut next year. A ray of hope and freedom shines on my world.
A few months back I ripped up a check the Likud sent me for being a poll monkey at elections. It was quite satisfying. I tore it up in front of the local Likud chapter financial guy and he winced. It was great. He accused me of wasting the money when I could have given it to the shul. So I wrote him an equivalent check for the shul from my own pocket to shut him up. I would love to become a Knesset member if only to be able to rip up State checks on the podium in front of the entire country, or better yet, take my State salary in cash and destroy it live on the Knesset Channel, getting rid of just a bit of inflation and enriching every single shekel holder in the country equally and paradoxically accomplishing every socialist’s dream through returning the money instead of through stealing more of it.
דמיינו לרגע שאני רוצה לקנות רכב שעולה 100.000 שקל, אבל אני לא רוצה לעבוד קשה ולחסוך. במקום זה אני מחליט פשוט להדפיס 100.000 שקלים במזומן כדי שאוכל לקנות את האוטו הנכסף. אני מדפיס את השטרות, מעביר את הערימה לסוחר המכוניות, והרכב הוא שלי.
מה בדיוק קרה כאן? זייפתי 100.000 שקלים והגדלתי את כמות הכסף במדינה ב100.000 בדיוק ברגע שמסרתי את השקלים לסוחר. בן אדם ממוצע שצריך לעבוד קשה עבור השקלים שלו היה טוען שגנבתי 100.000 שקלים. אבל מומחי כלכלה של היום כמו סטנלי פישר היו טוענים בדיוק ההיפך: שאני נתתי “תמריץ כלכלי לתעשיית הרכב.” אבל מה באמת קרה כאן? בואו נעמיק קצת יותר.
מכוניות כמשל – החסכן מול המדפיס
כשבן אדם ממוצע עובד במשק הפרטי וחוסך כסף כדי לקנות רכב, הוא מייצר יותר ממה שהוא צורך, ומכאן חסכונותיו. במילים אחרות, הוא מכניס יותר לכלכלה מאשר הוא מוציא, וההבדל מיוצג על ידי החסכונות שלו. עכשיו יש יותר ערך במשק הודות למאמציו, והוא לוקח את הערך האמיתי הזה שטמון בשקלים שלו וקונה מכונית ב100.000 שקל.
עכשיו יש לסוחר המכוניות 100.000שקלים של ערך אמיתי להשקעה בהרחבת העסק שלו, והודות לערך שהוסיף החסכן למשק באמצעות מניעת צריכה, עכשיו יש יותר ערך בכלכלה באותה כמות כסף. ערכו של השקל עולה קצת כי אותם שקלים רודפים יותר ערך והמחירים יורדים. כל אחד שמחזיק בשקלים עכשיו קצת יותר עשיר הודות למאמציו של החסכן. סוחר המכוניות יכול להרחיב את עסקיו ולהניח בבטחה שהביקוש נמצא שם כדי להתאים לגידול בהיצע שהוא יכול עכשיו להציע. הכלכלה, לכן, צומחת.
עכשיו, אם במקום להוסיף ערך למשק אני מחליט פשוט להדפיס 100.000 שקלים ומוסר אותם לסוחר, מה הוספתי למשק? מה תרמתי לחברה? שום כלום. אפס. לא עבדתי, לא חסכתי דבר. כל מה שאני עשיתי הוא לקחת בלי לתת. גרוע מכך, 100.000 השקלים שהוספתי להיצע הכסף מפחיתים את ערכו של השקל, משום שעכשיו יש יותר שקלים שרודפים אחרי אותה כמות של סחורה במשק, כי עוד פעם, לא הוספתי דבר חוץ מנייר. המחירים עולים, וכל אחד אחר מעכשיו נאלץ לעבוד קצת יותר קשה בגללי, חוץ ממני כמובן, כי אני קניתי את הרכב לפני שהמחירים עלו. אני, מדפסן הכסף שיכול להשתמש בכסף החדש לפני כל אחד אחר, יש לי אוטו. אחלא בשבילי.
עכשיו, נגיד שאני מפסיק להדפיס כסף וסוחר המכוניות מרחיב את עסקיו עם השקלים החדשים שהדפסתי. מאחר שכולם כיום עניים יותר, אין באמת דרישה חדשה שתתאים להיצע החדש של סוחר המכוניות. הוא פירש את הכסף כאות על הגדלת ביקוש, אבל האות הייתה מטעה, כי 100.000 השקלים שהודפסו לא ייצגו ערך מוסף למשק באמצעות חיסכון. לכן מתברר שהוא הרחיב את העסק שלו יותר מהביקוש מאשר, ועכשיו הוא צריך לקצץ ולמכור את המכוניות שלו במחירים יותר זולים ממה שהוא העריך בראשונה. הוא מפסיד. העסק שלו “הולך למיתון”, אבל עכשיו מכוניות קצת יותר זולות לכל אחד אחר. כל אחד אחר מרוויח.
אבל בואו נגיד שאני לא מפסיק להדפיס שקלים. נגיד שאני מדפיס 100.000 שקלים כל יום וקונה מכונית אחרת יום אחר יום. סוחר המכוניות ימשיך לפרש את הכסף כביקוש חדש וחזק, אבל הוא טועה, ובגדול. הוא ימשיך להשקיע בעסקיו. בסטטיסטיקות שיפרסמו הכלכלנים, זה ייראה כאילו שהכלכלה צומחת וצומחת, אבל באמת, רק אני וסוחר המכוניות נהנים. כל אחד אחר סובל מאינפלציה ופתאום לא יכולים לקנות את מה שהם היו יכולים בעבר עם משכורותיהם. בשלב מסוים גם אני, מדפסן הכסף, אצטרך להדפיס יותר מ 100.000 כדי לקנות כל מכונית משום שהיצע הכסף במדינה מתרחב כל כך הרבה, אבל זה לא עניין גדול בשבילי. זה לוקח אותו מאמץ כדי להדפיס 150.000 במקום 100.000. אני כל הזמן מתעשר ללא קשר לאינפלציה. אותי אינפלציה לא מטרידה. אבל לגבי סוחר המכוניות, הוא לא יודע את זה אבל הוא תלוי באופן מוחלט בי, ואם אני מפסיק להדפיס, הוא בצרות של ממש. בינתיים הוא ממשיך להרחיב את זיכיונו ומכוניות עכשיו כל כך יקרות שאף אחד שאסור לו להדפיס כסף לא יכול לקנות אותם. אבל “הכלכלה צומחת” לפי הסטטיסטיקות, כי הסוחר מוכר יותר מכוניות כמובן.
נגיד שעכשיו אני שם קץ לזרם הכסף ומפסיק להדפיס. מה יקרה? עסק של סוחר המכוניות מתרסק לחלוטין כי אף אחד לא יכול לקנות את המכוניות שלו במחירים העכשיויים. הוא פושט רגל ומוכר את כל המכוניות לציבור במחירים זולים ביותר במכירת חיסול. העסק שלו “נכנס לדפרסיה הגדול”, אבל מכוניות הן פתאום זולות לכולם וכל אחד אחר נהנה.
כך אנחנו רואים כי כל פעם שמישהו מדפיס שקלים:
1) מי שמקבל אותם ראשון, הם אלה שנהנים
2) מי שמקבל אותם ראשון, הם אלה שגם תלויים בם באופן כמעט מוחלט
3) מי שמקבל אותם אחרון, הם אלה שסובלים מהאינפלציה ומעלייה ביוקר המחיה
אנחנו גם רואים שכל פעם שמדפסן כסף עוצר את מכבשי הדפוס:
1) כל מי שקבל ראשון, סובל הכי הרבה
2) כל אחד אחר נהנה מדפלציה ונפילה חדה ביוקר המחיה
איך זה קורה במציאות?
אבל זה לא בדיוק איך זה קורה במציאות. מה באמת קורה? המוסד האחראי על הדפסת שקלים הוא בנק ישראל בראשותו של סטנלי פישר. התפקיד של פישר הוא לא “להמריץ את תעשיית הרכב.” לא לא. כשפישר מרחיב את היצע הכסף, הוא לא קונה מכוניות. הוא קונה אג”ח ממשלתי בכסף מודפס וממריץ ישירות את הממשלה. הממשלה היא תמיד הראשונה לקבל את הכסף החדש.
הממשלה אז מכניסה את רוב הכסף למערכת הבנקאית, ושומרת ומשתמשת באחוז קטנטן כדי לשכור עוד שרי ממשלה על מנת לספק לשותפיו הקואליציוניים, לתת העלאות שכר לעובדי הממשלה כדי שהמשכורות של הח”כים תהיו צמוד למדד (כי כמובן אסור לפוליטיקאים לסבול מאינפלציה). היא גם נכנעה לאיגודים ענקיים כמו ההסתדרות כשהם מאיימים בשביתה כללית ונותנת להם פריבילגיות חקיקתיות שתורמות עוד ליכולתם לאיים בשביתה כללית, ומפזר עוד רווחה לארבע כנפות הארץ כדי לקנות עוד קולות. לכן הראשונים בתור לקבל את הכסף החדש של פישר הם:
1) הממשלה, עובדיה, ושותפיה כמו ההסתדרות
מי הבא בתור? אחרי שלב קניית הקולות וייצוב הקואליציה, הבנקים לוקחים את רוב הכסף החדש ומשקיע אותו ישר לבורסה והלוואות משכנתא. אז הבא בתור הם:
3) שוק המניות
4) שוק הנדל”ן
יחד עם העליות בשוק הנדל”ן, באים עליות במחירי שכירות, לא רק על מעמד הביניים – העובדים השכירים – שהם תמיד תמיד האחרונים בתור לראות את הכסף החדש, אלה גם על שוכרי נדל”ן אחרים כמו שופרסל ורמי לוי, ולכן הוצאות המזון שלך עולות גם כן. בינתיים הממשלה והבנקים מתעשרים באינפלציה, ויש גם עליות שערים בבורסה. אבל אין לך מספיק כסף כדי להשקיע שם כי, יחד עם האינפלציה ועליות בשכר דירה ומחירי המזון, אתה נכנס לחוב. לבנקים במובן.
וככה זה, שכל פעם שפישר מדפיס שקלים, הממשלה והבנקים והטייקונים שמחזיקים בנדל”ן ומניות בבורסה מרוויחים והמעמד הביניים מפסיד וסובל יותר ויותר. העברת העושר ממעמד ביניים לעשירים היא חלק הכרחי מתהליך זה. למה? כי אם, למשל, בנק ישראל רוצה להגדיל את היצע הכסף במדינה בחמישה אחוז ובמקום לקנות אג”ח ממשלתי הוא פשוט מוסיף 5% לכל חשבון בנק במדינה באישון ליל, כל המחירים יקפצו 5% תוך יום או יומיים וכל מעמד הביניים ישים לב לזה.
כדי שזה יעבוד, זה חייב להיות כל כך איטי וערמומי עד כדי כך שמעמד הביניים לא יבין מה קורה בכלל. זה צריך להיראות פחות או יותר כזה:
האינפלציה חייבת להתבצע לאורך עשרות שנים, כך שפתאום 50 שנה עוברות ואנשים תוהים מדוע עכשיו לוקח שתי משכורות ושלושים שנים כדי לשלם משכנתא, במקום עשרים שנה במשכורת אחת, כמו שהיה לפני חמישים שנה. ואז אנשים חפים מפשע בראשות פופוליסטים בורים כמו דפני ליף פתאום יוצאים לרחוב ומפגינים, אבל הם לא יודעים בכלל מה לדרוש על מנת לתקן את המצב. רק שהממשלה “תעשה משהו”, כמו להדפיס כסף ולפזר למעמד הביניים. אולי זה יעבוד.
למה זה קורה? מכיוון שהכסף שלך הולך ומאבד יותר ויותר ערך מדי שנה ואילו המשכורת שלך גדל בקצב איטי ואיטי יותר כל שנה. חבל שאתה תמיד האחרון בתור לקבל כסף מודפס. כל פעם שערך השקל יורד, העשירים נעשים עשירים יותר, כי הם תמיד הראשונים לקבל את הכסף החדש.
אם אתה רוצה להאשים מישהו או משהו בעליית יוקר המחיה לעומת משכורתך והגדלת הפער בין מעמד הביניים לעשירים, תאשים את פישר ובנק ישראל ואת הממשלה שכופה עליך להשתמש בכסף הצו שפישר מדפיס.
האינפלציה היא לא “טובה” כשהיא יחסית נמוכה ו”גרועה” כשהיא יחסית גבוהה. האינפלציה היא תמיד, תמיד רעה, משום שהשפעתה כל הזמן מצטברת. לדוגמא, אם המחירים עולים ב4% בשנה אחת בזמן שהמשכורת שלך עולה רק 2%, אז סך הכל איבדת 2% כח קנייה. אתה עני יותר ב2%. אם בשנה הבאה המחירים עולים “רק” 1% והמשכורת שלך עולה חצי אחוז, איבדת עוד חצי אחוז כוח קנייה בנוסף ל2% שכבר איבדת. המצב רק הולך ומחריף.
בסופו של דבר העברת העושר ממעמד הביניים והעניים לעשירים תהיה כל כך קיצונית שהמערכת תקרוס בהייפר-אינפלציה. זה בלתי נמנע. אלא אם כן נפעול כדי לתקן את זה מייד.
הפתרון – תקן הזהב
איך מתקנים? דרך כסף כנה, כסף שלא ניתן להדפיס אותו ופשוט לתת לממשלה ולבנקים. כסף עם ערך אינהרנטי, כסף קשיח, כמו כסף של ממש או זהב. עם כסף קשיח, מעמד הביניים תמיד מתחזק. איך? עם כסף קשיח, היצע הכסף נשאר קבוע או רק גדל לאט לאט יחסית לאספקת סחורות במשק שגדלה הרבה יותר מהר, ולכן המחירים במשק הולכים ופוחתים מדי שנה. דוגמה בוטה אחת מארצות הברית מראה שבמשך 50 השנים האחרונות, מחיר ממוצע של בית פרטי בדולרים עלה 780%. איזה עלייה בדולרים. אבל מחירו של בית נמדד באונקיות של כסף למעשה ירד 64%. חבל שמעמד הביניים מרוויח דולרים ולא אונקיות כסף. ומה עם משכורת הממוצעת? שכר הממוצע בדולרים עלה 766%. אחלא לכל שכיר. אבל הדבר המדהים הוא, שבאונקיות כסף, או כוח קנייה אמיתי, השכר הממוצע צנח דרמיית ב65%. במילים אחרות, בכסף צו, כסף נייר, זה נראה כאילו שהמשכורת עולה באופן מטורף, אבל למעשה כוח הקנייה שלה יורד. מעמד הביניים והעניים תמיד מפסידים בכסף צו כי עד שהם מקבלים את הכסף המודפס החדש, המחירים כבר עלו. אבל הם יזכו בכסף קשיח, ובגדול.
מה שצריך לעשות הוא זה: דוקטר סטנלי פישר עם תואר שלישי מMIT חייב למכור כמעט את כל המט”ח שבבעלותו ולקנות זהב, שהוא הכסף הטבעי הבינלאומי המוכר ביותר כבר אלפי שנים. אחרי השלב הזה פישר חייב למכור את כל האג”ח שברשותו בהקדם האפשרי ולהוציא את כל התמורה ממחזור במשק. הוא צריך להודיע לכולנו כי הוא מפסיק להדפיס כסף לחלוטין, לחלק את כמות השקלים שהותירו במחזור בכמות הזהב ששייך למוסד שלו, ולהודיע לכל אזרח ישראל וכל מחזיקי שקלים על פני הגלובוס שמותר להם פשוט ללכת לבנק ישראל, למסור למשל 5000 שקל ולקבל אונקיה אחת של זהב בתמורה, בשער קבוע לנצח. כל המחזיק בשקלים גם יכול להפקיד זהב בבנק ישראל ולקבל 5000 שקלי נייר בתמורה, בשער קבוע לנצח. הזמן היחיד שפישר יהיה רשאי להדפיס שטרות הוא אך ורק בתמורה לזהב שהוא מפקיד.
מה היה קורה אם זה אכן נעשה? זה לא יהיה נחמד בהתחלה, לא נחמד בכלל. אלה שהיו ראשונים לקבל כסף מודפס, הם יתרסקו בדיוק כמו סוחר המכוניות. הממשלה תצטרך להתכווץ באופן דרמטי מאוד, רוב הבנקים יפשטו את הרגל, שוק המניות יתרסק בוודאות, ומחירי הנדל”ן יצנחו תוך שבועות. מחזיקי אג”ח יאבדו כמעט את הכל. תחול ירידה דרמטית ביצוא והיצואנים עלולים להתפרע, אך היבואנים ירוויחו והיבוא יהיה זול מאוד לכל מעמד הביניים. זה יהיה כואב מאוד לכל מי שמסתמך על האינפלציה, כמו עובדי ממשלה, בעלי ההון וההסתדרות. אבל זה יועיל מאוד לכל מי שנפגע מעליית יוקר המחיה. אנחנו נראה העברה מאסיבית של עושר מהבנקים והבורסה ושוק הנדל”ן ישר למעמד הביניים שמעכשיו ירוויח זהב של ממש שבנק ישראל לא יכול להדפיס.
במקום המצב כיום למעמד הביניים שמשכורות עולות אבל המחירים עולים מהר יותר, המצב יהיה הפוך 180 מעלות. משכורות השכירים יירדו, אבל המחירים יירדו מהר יותר, כך שמעמד הביניים ירווח ואט אט יתעשר. העניים יהיו מעמד הביניים החדש.
מכיוון שהמשכורות יירדו במונחים של שקלים, האיגודים המאסיביים כמו ההסתדרות יצטרכו לוותר על כל יתרונות חקיקיתיות שיש להם עכשיו, או שתהיה אבטלה מאסיבית בכל רחבי הארץ. הם כמובן יאיימו בשביתה כללית ואנחנו חייבים לשבור את כוחם לעשות זאת. מאוד חשוב גם לשים קץ לשכר המינימום לנצח מכיוון שהמשכורת הממוצעת תיפול במונחים נומינליים. אם לא שמים קץ לשכר המינימום, האבטלה תתפשט בכל המדינה.
ההתרסקות תקרה בסופו של דבר בכל מקרה. אבל אם ננקוט בצעדים האלה עכשיו ומשחררים את המשק, המשק תחדש את עצמה באופן קיצוני כעבור שנה. אחרי ההתרסקות בהתחלה, רוב הבנקאים ייאלצו לעבוד בתחום אחר ולהתחיל את חייהם מחדש. מעמד הביניים ירוויח כסף אמיתי. בנקים יהיו קטנים יותר, הבורסה יציב יותר, איגודים הרבה הרבה יותר חלשים, אם הם יתקיימו בכלל, וחלוקת העושר תהיה הרבה יותר שוויוני בכל רחבי הארץ. ובעוד עשרים שנה, ייקח רק חמש עד עשר שנים ורק משכורת אחת כדי לשלם את המשכנתא במלואה.
זה יהיה מעבר קשה מאוד. או שנעשה את זה עכשיו, או שנאלץ לעשות את זה בכל מקרה בשלב כלשהו בעתיד הקרוב. אנחנו אמורים להיות אור לגויים. ביחד נתקן את בנק ישראל וירושלים תהיה באמת של זהב. כמדינה היחידה בתקן הזהב, זהב יזרום אלינו מכל מקום בעולם והשקל יהיה המטבע החזק ביותר מעל פני הגלובוס. עם ישראל יאיר כאור כלכלי לכל הגויים.
Cars as an example: The Money Printer vs the Money Saver
Imagine for a moment that I want to buy a car for 100,000 shekels. I’d rather not work and save, so instead I decide to simply print 100,000 shekels in cash so I can buy the car. I print it, I hand the pile over to the car dealer, and the car is now mine.
What just happened here? I counterfeited 100,000 shekels and increased the money supply by 100,000 when I handed those shekels over to the car dealer. The average person, the kind that has to work for his money would say that I stole 100,000 shekels. But today’s economic experts like Stanley Fischer and Ben Bernanke and Paul Krugman would say that I gave “economic stimulus to the automobile industry.” So what really happened?
When an average person works in the private economy and saves money to buy a car, he produces more than he consumes, hence savings. In other words, he puts more into the economy than he takes out, the difference represented by the money he saves. There is now more value in the economy, more stuff because he worked harder, and he takes that real value represented by the money saved and buys a car for 100,000 shekels.
The car dealer now has 100,000 shekels of real value to invest in expanding his business, and thanks to the value that the saver added to the economy through saving, there is now more value in the economy with the same money supply. The value of the shekel goes up and prices drop just a little bit, and everyone owning shekels gets a bit richer thanks to the saver. The car dealer can now expand his business and safely assume the demand is there to match his increase in supply. The economy grows.
Now, if I simply print up 100,000 shekels and give it to the car dealer, I added zero value to the economy. There is no more useful stuff. Just paper. I did not save a thing. All I am doing is taking from the economy without adding anything to it. Worse, the 100,000 shekels I added to the money supply makes the value of the shekel go down a little bit, since more shekels are now chasing the same amount of goods. Prices go up. Everyone gets poorer, except for me of course, because I got to buy the car before the money supply went up. The act of me buying the car was itself the action that made the money supply go up in the first place. I, the money printer and the first new money user, am up one car. Yay for me. But everyone else besides the first person to use newly printed money loses.
Now, let’s say I stop printing money and the car dealer expands his business with the new shekels. Since everyone is now poorer, there is no new demand to match his new supply. The signal he got of new demand for his cars was wrong, because the 100,000 shekels I printed did not represent added value to the economy through saving. Demand is not there, his business overexpands and he has to cut back and contract by selling cars for cheaper and taking a loss. His business shrinks or “goes into recession”, but cars get less expensive for everyone else.
But let’s say I keep printing 100,000 shekels every day and buy another car with it day after day after day. The car dealer will keep misinterpreting the sales as new demand that doesn’t actually exist. He will keep expanding. It will look like the economy is growing and growing, the statistics the government puts out on car sales will skyrocket. But really, only I and the car dealer are benefiting. Everyone else is suffering inflation and getting poorer and poorer every time I print. At some point I will have to print more than 100,000 to buy each car since the money supply is expanding so rapidly, but that’s no big deal for me. It takes the same effort to print 150,000 as it does to print 100,000. I keep getting richer. Inflation doesn’t bother me. The car dealer keeps expanding and cars become so expensive that no one can buy them. Then let’s say suddenly I stop printing shekels and stop buying cars. The car dealer’s business totally crashes, and he goes out of business in a bankruptcy sale. All the cars get sold to the public for ultra cheap. His business “goes into depression,” but cars are suddenly cheap for everyone else.
So we see that every time money is printed:
- The ones who receive it first are the ones who benefit the most
- The ones who receive it first also become entirely dependent on it
- The ones who receive it last suffer inflation and a rising cost of living
And we see that every time I stop printing money:
- Those who were receiving it first, suffer the most
- Everyone else benefits from deflation and a falling cost of living
What happens in reality?
But this is not exactly how it happens in reality. The institution in charge of printing shekels, the Bank of Israel headed by Stanley Fischer, does not “stimulate the automobile industry”. No no. That’s not his job, at least not directly. When Fischer expands the money supply, he buys none other than government bonds with printed money and stimulates the government. The government is always the first to get the new money.
The government then puts most of the money into the banking system, and uses a small tiny percentage of it to hire more government ministers in order to satisfy coalition partners, give raises to government workers in order to keep up with consumer prices (because God forbid a Knesset Member should suffer the ravages of inflation), cave in to unions like the Histadrut when they threaten a general strike which gives them even more power to shut the country down in future spats, and pass out more welfare to the four corners of the Earth to get more voters. So the first ones to receive new money from Fischer are:
- The government and its workers
- The banks
Who is the next in line? After buying votes and coalition stability with printed money, the banks then take most of the money and invest it in the stock market and mortgage loans. So the next in line are:
- The stock market
- The real estate market
As the real estate market rises, so do rent prices, not only on the middle class wage earner who is always last to get the new printed money, but on other renters like Supersol and Rami Levy, so your food bill goes up, too. Meanwhile the government and the banks expand blissfully, and the stock market goes up, but you don’t have enough money to invest there because, with inflation and rent and food going up, you are going into debt. To the banks of course.
And so it goes, that every time the Bank of Israel prints money, the government and the banks and the land owning tycoons get richer and the middle class gets poorer. The wealth transfer from middle class to rich is a necessary part of this process. Why? Because if, for example, the Bank of Israel wants to raise the money supply by 5% and instead of giving the money to the government and the banks, it simply adds 5% to all of our bank accounts overnight, the prices of everything would go up 5% in a day or two and the Bank of Israel would have accomplished nothing but stark and immediate price inflation. The trick is to give it to one group and its buddies, being the government and the banks first. That way it takes time for inflation to affect prices and people don’t even realize they’re getting poorer, or if they do, why it’s even happening.
In order for it to work, the inflation it has to be slow and insidious so people don’t even realize what’s going on. It has to look something like this:
It has to take place over years and decades, so suddenly 50 years pass and people wonder why it now takes 2 salaries and 30 years to pay down a mortgage instead of 20 years and 1 salary, like it did 50 years ago. And then innocent people led by ignorant populists like Daphne Leif suddenly go out in the streets and protest, but they don’t know what to demand in order to fix it. Just that the government “do something,” like print money and hand it out or something.
Why is this happening? It’s because your money is losing more and more value every year while your wage grows at a slower and slower pace. You are always the last to receive any new printed money. You are a middle class wage earner. You are not a government buddy. Every time money loses value, the rich get richer, because they are always the first ones to get the new batch first. Government, banks, stock market, real estate.
If you want to blame someone for the cost of living going up and your paycheck staying flat, someone to blame for the rich always getting richer and the middle class always shrinking, blame paper money and the Bank of Israel, and the government for forcing you to accept its garbage money.
Inflation is not “better” when it is lower and “worse” when it is higher. It is always, always bad, because the effect is cumulative. Inflation of 1% one year does not “make up” for inflation of 4% the year before. If prices go up 4% one year while your paycheck only goes up 2%, you now have 2% less purchasing power. If the next year prices only go up 1% and your paycheck only goes up .5%, you lose another .5% purchasing power in addition to the 2% you already lost. It only gets worse. Every year. And the losses keep adding up for the middle class. You are being robbed. Every year. All the time.
Eventually the wealth transfer will become so extreme that the system will collapse. It is inevitable. Unless we act to fix it, right now.
How? By honest money, money that cannot be printed up and simply given to the government and to the banks. Money like actual silver or gold. With honest money, the middle class always gets stronger. How? Because with honest money, the money supply stays constant or increases only very slowly, but the supply of goods in the economy grows much faster, so everything gets cheaper over time.
To give you one stark example from the United States, over the last 50 years, the price of a house in dollars has risen 780%. But the price of a house measured in ounces of silver has actually dropped 64%. What about the middle class wage earner? The average wage in dollars has gone up 766%, but the amazing thing is that, in ounces of silver, or real purchasing power, the average wage has dropped a dramatic 65%. In other words, it looks like wages have increased, but there is actually 65% less purchasing power even in that increase. That’s how insidious inflation is. It looks like you’re gaining but you’re actually losing. The middle class and the poor always lose with paper money, but they would gain with real, hard money.
What needs to be done
What needs to be done is this: The Bank of Israel needs to sell all of the foreign currency it owns and buy gold, which has been natural money for thousands of years. Then it needs to sell all the government bonds it owns and buy gold. All of them, as quickly as possible, and destroy the shekels it reabsorbs through the sale. Then it needs to announce that it has stopped printing money forever, divide the amount of shekels left in the economy by the amount of gold it now owns, and announce to every citizen of Israel and any holder of paper shekels in the world that he can now go to the bank of Israel with, say, 5,000 shekels and get 1 ounce of gold in exchange, at a set rate forevermore. Anyone holding shekels can also deposit gold in the bank of Israel and get 5,000 paper shekels in exchange, at a set price forevermore. Only when someone deposits gold can the Bank of Israel print more paper. Then, and only then.
What would happen if this were done? It will not be pretty. Not at all. In fact, the first year will be very rough, like a heroin addict going off drugs cold turkey. The ones who were first to receive printed money, they will crash badly, just like the car dealer. The government will have to shrink dramatically, many banks will go bankrupt, the stock market fed by paper money will crash, and real estate prices will plummet. Bondholders will lose almost everything. Exports will drop dramatically initially, but imports will become extremely cheap to compensate. It will be very painful for everyone who relies on inflation.
But it will be very helpful for everyone who is hurt by inflation. We will see a massive transfer of wealth away from the banks and the government and the stock market and real estate which will all crash and back to the wage earning middle class who will now be earning gold.
Unions like the Histadrut will have to forego all legislative advantages its members now have, or risk massive unemployment throughout the country. They will of course force a general strike and they will have to be stripped of their power. The minimum wage which discriminates against unskilled workers, will have to be eliminated. Wages will fall in nominal terms, but the purchasing power of wages will increase dramatically.
Instead of wages going up but the price of goods going up even faster, the situation will be reverse. Wages will go down but the price of goods will drop even faster. This is what builds the middle class.
The crash will happen eventually anyway. But if we take these steps now and free the economy, the economy will be radically restructured in about a year, the middle class will be earning real, hard money that gains in value every year instead of loses it and they will become richer. The poor will become the new middle class. Banks will be smaller, the stock market more stable, unions much much weaker if they exist at all, and the distribution of wealth will be much more even throughout the country. And 50 years from now, it will take 5 to 10 years and only 1 salary to pay down a mortgage.
It will be a very hard transition, but either we make it now, or it will be forced on us anyway at some point in the near future. We are supposed to be a light unto the nations. Let’s make Jerusalem truly of gold. As the only country on the gold standard, gold will flow in from everywhere in the world and the shekel will be stronger than any currency on the planet. Israel will shine as an economic light to the nations as a beacon of honest, hard money for all the world to see.
Ron Paul often opened his congressional speeches with the line, “Imagine for a moment…” In honor of Dr. Paul, and also for its sharp effectiveness, I will do the same here in explaining why all forms of marriage should be outlawed.
Imagine for a moment.
Imagine for a moment that in order to be friends with somebody, you needed government approval. Imagine that you met somebody you liked talking to, hanging out with, drinking a beer with, whatever. But you couldn’t legally be friends with him until you both applied for a government “friendship license”. A friendship license, by the way, costs 600 shekels which goes right into government coffers, not to mention a week of rat-racing around to 6 different bureaucrat offices filling out forms (so all the bureaucrats can have jobs and “stimulate the economy”), so you lose a week’s salary in the mess. Once you pay up and you have those forms, you can then apply for a “friendship license” which gives you and your friend the legal right to get a whopping 2% sales tax break at any restaurant in the country where you order together at the same table, upon presenting a proper friendship license, of course.
Imagine for a moment that not everyone in the country could legally apply for a friendship license with anyone he wanted. Imagine that an unmarried man and a married women, or vice versa, could not get a friendship license. It could lead to adultery, after all. Imagine that an Arab and a Jew could not get a friendship license. It’s a matter of national security, or something like that. Imagine that a father and son, or mother and daughter, could not get a friendship license. Family cannot be friends. Imagine that no more than two people could carry one friendship license. A group of three, for example, could not legally be considered friends, as that would be polyfriendamy. Therefore, all these people – the single man and married woman; the Arab and Jew; the father and son or mother and daughter, the group of three or more – all of them could not legally be friends and therefore they all had to pay that extra 2% in sales tax at restaurants.
Imagine for a moment that a “national discussion” starts taking place, the kind that enlightened media and intellectual elite like to call “a real meaningful debate” and other linguistic smokescreen nonsense. Shouldn’t an Arab and Jew have the legal right to be friends? Why can’t a married man and unmarried woman be recognized by Big Brother as friends? Shouldn’t three people have the right to be friends?
“Friendship equality for all!” the liberals would say.
“Friendship is a sacred human institution that has been around for thousands of years! Family cannot be friends! What sacrilege!” the conservatives would say.
Meanwhile, the libertarian looks around and sees the utter insanity of the whole situation. Take a deep breath and here it is in one sentence:
The government, looking for a way to extract more money out of private people, baits them with the possibility of a 2% tax break, which is essentially a promise to steal slightly less from them, if they pay 600 shekels and run around for a week begging for a license from a massive and totally unnecessary bureaucracy funded by millions of shekels in tax money for a relationship that is essentially private and has nothing to do with the government anyway, and instead of people repudiating these petty friendship licenses and ignoring them, they start fighting with each other about who has the right to a government license with catchphrases like “the right to be friends” and “friendship equality” and “the sanctity of friendship,” while in the meantime both sides are being stolen from in order to fund the bloated bureaucracy that is running the friendship license boondoggle so the government comes out of this way in the black with all the license fees and taxes and levies to fund the system and instead of uniting against the common thief and calling an end to friendship licenses and just lower sales taxes at restaurants for everyone by the measly 2% so we can stop having this STUPID argument and being at each other’s THROATS, we fight with each other about who gets to have the stupid licenses and who doesn’t.
People, we are being hoodwinked. No matter what the government says, the government does not define marriage, nor can it, not any more than it can define friendship. All it can do is promise to steal from us less if we engage in whatever relationship The Man endorses.
But in Israel the situation is even more ludicrous. In Israel, the State taxes you MORE if you get married because single parents get tax benefits. So you have people in Israel arguing with each other about who can “legally get married” and who “cannot get married” essentially fighting each other NOT over who gets a tax BREAK, but rather who gets the merit of being taxed MORE by the government, in exchange for precious, precious State recognition. State sanction to “marriage” is so important to people that no one can see how Uncle Shmuel is simply playing both sides against each other and collecting from both as we duke it out.
This is why marriage should absolutely be outlawed. NOBODY should have the right to be married. Not gays, not straights, not Jews to Arabs, not Arabs to Jews, not polygamists, not polyandrists, nobody.
Someone might say “Marriage has been around for thousands of years! How can it be outlawed?” Marriage has been around for thousands of years. Just as friendship has. If there were friendship licenses, those should be abolished as well, as their only purpose would be to promise us to steal a penny less in return for us funding a gigantic friendship government bureaucracy. The house always wins. It seems to me the institution of friendship, whatever that is, survives wonderfully without government recognition and intervention. So will the institution of marriage, whatever that is. For thousands more years to boot.
If you want to be married to anybody, you have to do it without any legal recognition. You will have to do it in private, without the government’s knowledge, and you will not be allowed to be taxed more for being privately married. Sorry, you’ll have to keep your money in exchange for not having any government recognition of who you marry.
To get to this ideal, I call upon a national boycott of all government sanctioned marriages. Paying bureaucrats for marriage licenses should be a crime. Participating in any way in the marriage license boondoggle should be frowned upon and shunned.
Marriage should return to the private sphere and outlawed as a public institution. Then we can stop fighting with each other over who gets to be stolen from more in exchange for government recognition of marital status.
Imagine for a moment we could have a debate about something that actually mattered instead of get distracted by who gets government recognition while they get all of our money.