Once upon a time, lending money at interest was completely illegal (for religious reasons). Later, it was legalized for Jews only, which led (among other factors) to strong anti-semitism. Eventually, it was legalized for all.
Those who couldn’t afford a house right away, took the chance to have a mortgage (roughly translated, a “death-pledge”), in order to have the house they couldn’t immediately afford. This helped the poor.
But, of course, the practice spread. And with everyone able to pay more thanks to mortgages, prices rose. So what once helped a few poor, came to enslave nearly all.
Today, most people in the “developed” world are unable to buy a home without accepting decades of debt, with half the real house price going to interest payments. The worst part is, those least able to repay are charged most of all and run the risk of having their house repossessed.
Without this system of mortgages, would we be better off? We would be paying less in the long run, because of no interest. We would be paying less excluding interest, because of reduced demand. Society would be far more egalitarian without the banks taking interest.
Economists might say that the reason for the reduced demand and prices was everyone being less able to purchase, so people would be without what they wanted. But what is forgotten, is the egalitarianism of no bankers, would reduce the land wasted by the usurers, so that supply would increase for the needy and average man. Even if this didn’t fully compensate, cooperative systems of lending and giving and sharing, in and between families could fill the role, and ensure proper housing and freedom for all.

So what’s the practical conclusion? We should withdraw our money from the bank, to stop lending at interest. We (Christians, anarchists, socialists) should attempt to form new, fair, egalitarian systems of living, taking many varied forms (perhaps based around Churches or other associations). No anti-interest law is necessary if we all reject and replace it. Refuse the old world, and build the new in its shell.
These societies may lack at first, but after a while without interest, they are bound to prosper.

Here are some scriptures on money lending and usury.

The rich over the poor ruleth, And a servant is the borrower to the lender.
Proverbs 22:7

a servant—wast thou called? be not anxious; but if also thou art able to become free—use it rather
1Corinthians 7:21

To no one owe anything, except to love one another
Romans 13:8

His silver he hath not given in usury, And a bribe against the innocent Hath not taken; Whoso is doing these is not moved to the age!
Psalms 15:5

Thou dost not lend in usury to thy brother; usury of money, usury of food, usury of anything which is lent on usury.
Deuteronomy 23:19

In usury he hath given, and increase taken, And he liveth: he doth not live, All these abominations he hath done, He doth surely die, his blood is on him.
Ezekiel 18:13

At this point I should clarify: I don’t believe having money in the bank or being a banker is a ticket to hell. We live by grace now. But, I do believe charging interest is unjust (although it’s irrelevant if we’re forgiving debts as God forgives our debts). [Note from 2nd May 2014: I don’t know what I meant exactly by “We live by grace now”, but I think I may have meant our actions don’t matter to God any more. Just to note, I don’t believe that now.]

Here’s Peter Maurin’s Easy Essay, ‘Mortgaged’. You can see all his Easy Essays by clicking here.


1. Because John Calvin legalized money-lending at interest the State has legalized money-lending at interest.

2. Because the State has legalized money-lending at interest, home owners have mortgaged their farms; institutions have mortgaged their buildings; congregations have mortgaged their churches; cities, counties, States and Federal Government have mortgaged their budgets.

3. So people find themselves in all kinds of financial difficulties because the State has legalized money-lending at interest in spite of the teachings of the Prophets of Israel and the Fathers of the Church.

God bless you.

Thoughts on cynicism, hope and freedom in anarchism and Christianity

Many people (at least where I’m from) have a strong belief in humanity’s bad side. I share this belief, but I think our response to it is more important.
I doubt I know a single person who believes that the government is good. ‘Power corrupts’ is almost universally accepted. Yet, very few have any hope to save it. Evil is accepted. Only the anarchists have faith in defeating this evil. They accept the cynicism to power, and meet it with a hope of a better world.
Likewise, practically everyone agrees humans have evil in them. Call it what you will, mistakes, a bad side, foolishness, selfishness; we know it’s there and bad. Most accept it, and live on, believing it cannot be changed. Christians have faith in the defeat of this evil. Christians accept the cynics belief in humanity’s evil, and meet it with the hope of God’s complete redemption.

Having, then, such hope, we use much freedom of speech,
2Corinthians 3:12

Hope is a crucial part, to being free in the conditions of bondage. Our enemies surround us, but we fight on, because we have hope in better things to come.

The strange thing is, we can easily show people that they are in bondage, but most do not want to be free. Their bodies have moulded themselves into their chains, and to be without them is uncomfortable or even painful. How do you persuade a person to desire freedom (from human oppression and slavery to sin)?
I say, we must live out freedom as much as we can. If it is as desirable as we say it is, they will see it in us, and pursue it relentlessly.

God bless you.

A scripture on God’s grace (and anarcho-communism?)

Ho, every thirsty one, come ye to the waters, And he who hath no money, Come ye, buy and eat, yea, come, buy Without money and without price, wine and milk. Why do ye weigh money for that which is not bread? And your labour for that which is not for satiety? Hearken diligently unto me, and eat good, And your soul doth delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto me, Hear, and your soul doth live, And I make for you a covenant age-during, The kind acts of David—that are stedfast. Lo, a witness to peoples I have given him, A leader and commander to peoples. Lo, a nation thou knowest not, thou callest, And a nation who know thee not unto thee do run, For the sake of Jehovah thy God, And for the Holy One of Israel, Because He hath beautified thee.
Isaiah 55:1-5

I’ve been enjoying this passage for the last couple of days now. I love it.
It’s very interesting that the imagery used to show God’s kindness here, is of buying without money and without price, not just necessities (water) but the good and fine things of life too (milk and wine), as Peter Kropotkin hoped for. Christians are told to be perfect, as our Father in heaven is perfect, so should it be our ideal to be rid of money?
God’s point here is how wonderful His grace is, especially when compared with the works of false religion. He also gives us a clear way to imitate His grace, that would result in something like anarchist-communism.

God bless you.

Sand castle democracy

This current system of democracy is truly terrible. What strikes me is the amount that voting gives the great illusion of participating in change.
I‘d like us to imagine, if rather than pieces of paper being put into boxes, votes were cast by placing a single grain of sand upon a castle, and whoever‘s castle ends up greater, wins power. The castles may get magnificent, but your grain is forever lost. Did your grain ever increase its grandeur? Is placing the grain worth your trouble?
And then the castle that would be built would function as a symbol of the new government, that would quite surely crumble away, like the hopes of the voters in the party, as its lies are gradually revealed.
The greater the castle, the more tragic the mound of sand left at the end of the day.

Ahh, dreaming of a system designed to reveal its own faults. Pointless to plan, but crucial to imagine.
My point is, if you want something good to be done, don’t try to convince politicians through paper (or sand). Instead, do good things directly, and when necessary, actively protest against the government.
It is people, not institutions, and certainly not governments, that will make the world truly better.

God bless you.

Friendly anarchy

Anarchy‘s been given many bad names, some by the state and capitalist media, and some from the actions of a few anarchists. It’s actually the most friendly of all political ideas.
It’s not about hating everything, or mindlessly calling everyone you see a puppet of the system. It’s about hating injustice and revealing the system‘s love of injustice, and then building a better world.
It certainly isn’t about chaos and each man for himself. Anarchists believe people would naturally help each other. Think about it, do you know anyone who would murder, rape and rob whenever they got the opportunity (when all are equal as well)?
It’s far more friendly than capitalism. Capitalism says people are evil, and need superior people to rule them (despite these people being repeatedly shown to be, at least morally, inferior). “Anarcho“-capitalism says all against all, defending their own, and that the people who should be allowed to rule aspects of people‘s lives, are those most able to increase their power (who are repeatedly shown to be corrupt).
State communism is even worse. It says the superior will look out for all, but those in power always exploit those they believe to be inferior. But it’s worse than capitalism because the power is entirely centralized.
Only anarchists say we are equals, and we will look after each other.
There’s a crazy statist myth floating around, that we need government, and without it we‘d have a free for all. This ignores the remarkable amount we do freely for each other, and always better than the state, and the evil the state always pushes, for their own wealth and riches.
Are humans perfectly capable of looking after each other for the common good? No, not in my opinion, at least, not everyone and not perfectly. But it’s certainly not better to have certain humans over others by violence.
The least friendly part is the threat of violent revolution, which is a terrifying thought. But this is not a key part. Many want to achieve anarchy through non-violent protests or workers strikes.
Anarchy is about the hope of a world where we don’t run things by violence and selfishness. Where we look at needs not deeds.

Anarcho-capitalism vs freedom

“Anarcho“-capitalism is not anarchist, because it’s not really free. Every other anarchist believes everyone has the freedom to bread, to education, to housing, to work, to life and so on. Anarcho-capitalists only believe in the right to private property. That is, they only believe in the right of each man to dominate as much as he wishes.
Property rights and all other rights are incompatible, because one says one man may control everything for his own good, while the other shouts, “all things for all men“.
But how will I have any privacy without private property? Because while you can abolish property, (because it’s on paper) you cannot abolish belongings (because they’re in hearts and minds). If you need to know the difference, listen to ‘we belong together‘ by Mariah Carey. A farm belongs to its farmer, not its landlord, and food belongs to the hungry.
Now to leave concepts and get practical. I‘m not going to take from anyone’s property, because it wouldn’t be kind. But I should disrespect all property, especially my own, and respect other’s belongings.
So I won’t be breaking into your house, or stealing loaves from the bakers. But I may walk through private fields or forests, and pick grains and berries as I go, and I may give all I have to those in need.
But really, my anarchy is based entirely on love, and love is the only principle it needs.