Why Sins Against the Holy Spirit Are Not Forgiven

As per Lk 12:10. I know there have been cases when people freaked out thinking that they have sinned against the Holy Spirit and are therefore damned.

To avoid such mishaps, this point should be rightly understood. The very purpose of our existence in this world is to achieve unity or unities of different kinds:

  1. between oneself and other people through charity;
  2. between oneself and God through a combination of charity and religion;
  3. between self and the material world through artistic mastery of nature and technological and economic improvement;
  4. with one's own body through health and fitness;
  5. in the "big picture," both complete, coherent, and true, contemplated by the mind through knowledge, understanding, and wisdom;
  6. between one's intellect and will through morally approving of all that one enjoys and through enjoying the things one morally approves of;
  7. between self and existence through (minimally) avoiding suicide and (normally) love and enjoyment of life.

All these unities require appropriate forms of love which is the 2nd-level unitive force. Love is of course a natural power but can be upgraded by God the Holy Spirit through grace.

Now reflect on the sacrifices God the Father has made in order to produce a world in which growth in love is possible.

He sacrificed billions of His angels, including the best created being ever, who became demons.

He sacrificed a massive amount of natural happiness for humans, for suffering in this world is ubiquitous, varied, and enormous.

He sacrificed His Son by bidding Him to receive the grace of charity for humans and then choose whether to accept the grace and love us or reject the grace and essentially destroy the world.

Sinning against the Holy Spirit, i.e., refusing to love or even hating what one ought to love instead, is acting contrary to the very purpose of life. Ignorance (sin against the Father) or weakness (against the Son) can be forgiven, as being obstacles to charity but not the essence of its contrary. Hatred (say, of other men or one's own life), on the other hand, is an explicit act of defiance of God's project and everything that living in this world is about.

The world in which each creature was first created in autonomous natural happiness is now to be unified as per the will of God into what eventually will be a far more astonishing and beautiful creation. Refuse to go along, and you may as well dive into hell right now.

“Exploiting” Animals

To deny that "people have a moral right to make money off exploiting animals" is to confuse self-control with self-ownership.

All living organisms control themselves and their own actions to a greater or lesser extent. A cheetah decides by and for itself whom to hunt and where to rest in a limited sense. We say that it is guided by "instinct," whatever that means. But it moves itself; no external force moves it directly. Humans exercise self-control superlatively and rationally, but for our purposes, the difference is in degree not kind.

However, it can be proven that humans are also self-owners in a legal and moral sense. No such proof is available for animals. Since an animal does not own itself (despite controlling itself), it can be legitimately owned by a second party, such as a human being.

Killing Animals

Humans are enjoined to make each other happy, including by cooperating in accordance with the teachings of economics; religion enlivened by the grace of God goes further and teaches that they ought to have charity for each other.

Now murder is a black sacrament of either (1) hatred or (2) madness, which is why it is forbidden.

Certainly, hatred for fellow man is a ticket to hell.

Assuredly, we also ought not to hate animals or take pleasure in their suffering. Even mosquitoes, though enemies of mankind to be exterminated en masse, should not be hated but killed dispassionately. But when cows are slaughtered, it's pretty clear the farmers are not being sadists, so condition (~1), absence of hatred, is fulfilled.

But a man who kills another man even without any hatred in his heart (such as when Elmer murders his grandfather for the inheritance) still is a monster for failing to recognize a creature who benefits rather than harms him while alive for what it is. All humans are useful to each other according to natural law (and their mutual usefulness happens to be maximized under laissez-faire). To fail to grasp a fact so basic is to be insane.

(I am saying of course that the proposition "murder is wrong" can be rigorously proven by reducing something like a Crusoe-Friday relationship to pure self-interest. I do not mean that in daily life people decide whom to kill and whom to spare by calculating which of their fellows are useful to them at any given moment and which are not.)

But a cow is not useful to a man in the same manner that a fellow man is useful to him. Hence, the reasons why it is (even naturally without grace) rational to abstain from murder do not apply to killing a cow for its meat. Condition (~2), sanity, is also present.

Nor does it seem that more pain and suffering are created when animals are slain by humans, such as instantly by an electric shock, than when they are killed by predators or die from disease or by being slowly eaten alive in old age.

Consequently, it seems permissible by natural morality to kill animals for food, etc.

See also: Animal Rights.

Love Between the Father and the Son

It may be that God the Father and the Son love each other in their own ways and give each other unique gifts.

In other words, the Holy Spirit, known as Love and Gift, can proceed in both directions.

Thus, the Father loves the Son by begetting Him or by giving Him existence (by nature not by will), and He gives to the Son the gift of full comprehension of His own essence.

On the other hand, the Son loves the Father by enjoying His gift to much that He is fully and infinitely happy with His endowment, and also gives the Father the gift of "striving" to be perfect like Him. The Son is "true to the Father," as in: conforms to Him, never falters from reality, never errs, never sins. The Son is the apple of the Father's eye.

Essence of Gender

How do you tell, in heaven, by "looking" at a separated human soul or an angel, whether it's male or female?

Institutions of Capitalism

Those are:

  1. The state;
  2. A large number of competing and cooperating business firms owned by different people, each producing a small (in comparison with the entire output of the economy) variety of items;
  3. Free and mobile labor;
  4. Consumer sovereignty; and
  5. Entrepreneurial freedom.

Is God the Father Countable or Uncountable?

Can He be fully comprehended by a finite creature such as a human saint in the state of glory in heaven over the entire period of his everlasting life?

Or would all the knowledge thereby gained not diminish the mystery of God at all, just as |ℝ| - ℵ0 = |ℝ|?

Note that in either case, the Father cannot be fully comprehended, because a saint's life is merely potentially infinite: it never ends, but at any moment the saint will have actually lived only a finite amount of time, will have had only a finite amount of experiences, etc.

So, if uncountable, then it's kind of a bummer. Each creature will ultimately trace an infinite path through the Father, but the cardinality of this infinity will be smaller than the "cardinality" of the Father.

If countable, then it seems that the Father is not so big after all, being (almost) within reach.

I don't know what the answer is.

4 Problems with Basic Disequilibrium

Imagine a standard supply and demand graph for a single good with the price below equilibrium, so the quantity demanded exceeds quantity supplied.

Here are the problems: (1) allocative inefficiency; (2) strife among the buyers; (3) harm to seller; (4) harm to the market process.

I've outlined part of the reasoning earlier. Read it first.

(1) If C cannot resell X to A which is likely since C is taken to play the role of a consumer, then a mutually beneficial exchange fails to take place. The efficient allocation of X is not achieved.

(2) To quote further, "the immediately seen inefficiency is that it introduces competition between A, B, and C for X, such that only one of them can obtain it. The buyers are in each other's way, disrupting the social harmony. It makes the first recipient of X depend on luck." Or even on how eager he is to shove the other fellows out of his way.

A related point is that if the disequilibrium causes a line of buyers to appear, then not even the lucky buyers benefit. Here's why: when a queue is composed of people, of buyers waiting to be served by a seller, it is at the same time inefficient and self-dissolving. This is because the costs of waiting are pure losses. It pays to the seller to raise the price of his product and eliminate marginal buyers from the queue. The remaining buyers are happy to pay for saving time not waiting, and the seller is happy to get their money. The seller thus captures the benefits that are otherwise pointlessly dispersed into nowhere.

In short, the lucky buyers pay less in money but more in wasted time.

(3) The seller is obviously harmed, because he would still sell the entire stock at a higher price. He then cheats himself out of pure profit.

(4) Quoting again, selling X at a higher price "encourages me to stay in business and keep producing X." If I receive profits, then the profits are a signal to other potential entrepreneurs that there is cash on the table which they can help themselves to. As they imitate me, in time, the supply of X increases, and its price falls, benefiting society.

Under the disequilibrium in this scenario, this signal is muted. Yet the market process and therefore economic improvement proceed most sprightly and vigorously when everyone is seeking profits with his whole soul in the game.

Divisions of Fear of God

For St. Thomas, these are the fears that "make us turn... to God or away from Him."

He calls the fear that prompts rejecting God "worldly." The people who overcome this fear most spectacularly would then be Christian martyrs. But as a general rule, there are "certain things, viz. sinful deeds, which no fear should drive us to do, since to do such things is worse than to suffer any punishment whatever."

The fears through which we are turned toward God are of punishment (by God) and of fault.

Regarding fear of punishment by worldly authorities, St. Thomas argues that when justice is preserved, "the secular power inflicts punishment by acting as God's minister." The same presumably is true for a priest when he imposes penance for a confessed sin. This, too, is indirect fear of punishment by God. Moreover, love of neighbor ought not to take precedence over love of God; thus, in cases where the good of neighbor and justice toward God are in opposition, the latter is to be preferred. As a result, fear of temporal evils must not eclipse regard and love for God. In other words, if love of worldly goods exceeds love for God, then of course, the fear of losing these goods will exceed the fear of losing God's friendship or grace. And that is considerably perverse and wicked.

The standard Biblical example of worldly fear is Peter denying Christ.

This, incidentally, is how St. Thomas distinguishes between fear of punishment as such and "servile" fear of punishment. Fear of punishment is perfectly good and useful even if admittedly rather primitive and painful. Servility becomes attached to fear when "the good to which the punishment is contrary is loved as the last end, and consequently the punishment is feared as the greatest evil." Then the influence of fear is at least greater than that of charity; more likely even that one is then "devoid of charity" entirely. But fear of punishment is compatible with charity when "the punishment is directed to God as its end, and consequently is not feared as the greatest evil." A man is then a slave when he "loves not justice, and fears nothing but the punishment."

Interestingly, St. Thomas argues that it is only proper to love God as an end; loving God as a means to worldly goods is "mercenary love" and "always evil." But can the two loves coexist? Isn't thanksgiving for some success entirely proper?

Another problem with servile fear is that it may lead to despair, as punishment sometimes can be considerable. On the other hand, as long as there's charity, there is hope even under great penance which we know some saints have experienced.

Further, if God is viewed as the cause of punishment and is not loved, the evil of the effect might seep into the perception of the cause. Now God does no evil to anyone absolutely, but evil may come from Him (or His "ministers" as noted above) relatively as part of the good of dispensing justice. So, hating God for punishment might not be the worst sin, insofar as the person is operating under a defective concept of God and so is hating an illusion. It's a bit like hating cops for doing their job well: a futile and absurd emotion.

Finally, there are 3 effects of sin, according to St. Thomas: corruption of nature, debt of punishment, and stain on the soul. (ST, II-I, 85-87) Moreover, he writes that "separation from God is a punishment." So, all 3 of these types of consequences, not just the penance, are to be feared.

Filial fear, on the other hand, is fear "whereby a son fears to offend his father or to be separated from him." As one's will straightens out and one wants to be good, fear of punishment diminishes. If one has no interest of committing crimes, why should he (under ideal circumstances which God certainly represents) be afraid of the authorities? On the other hand, the will directed toward righteousness loves God more and more and so fears of offending Him ever more fervently. Thus, St. Thomas argues that charity diminishes servile and increases filial fear, the former "because one thinks less of his own [temporal] good to which punishment is opposed; secondly, because the faster he clings, the more confident he is of the reward, and consequently the less fearful of punishment."

There is a slight inconsistency here: are corruption of nature and stain on the soul objects of servile or filial fear? Perhaps the stain or privation of grace belongs to filial fear, while corruption of nature is a kind of fear of failure. I mean that an athlete is rightfully afraid of injuring himself during exercise or training: not only is an injury more probable for him than for an average fat slob, but it is likely to be more severe and further can prevent him from competing or performing in the future. Similar reasoning applies to a spiritual warrior: he does not want to corrupt his soul as a natural consequence of sin. The fat slob in this case would be someone so afraid of evil than he refuses to do good; the athlete would be someone committed to mastering the flesh, the world, and the devil who, through this daring, is more exposed to adversity and is in greater danger.

There is another reason why filial fear gets stronger with charity. Grace builds upon nature as its foundation. Imagine then Smith's soul as a palace beautiful from bottom (nature) to the top (grace). Even a single mortal sin can demolish the palace or at least ruin its loveliness, which is a far greater tragedy inspiring indeed a far greater fear than the destruction of Jones' rickety shack of a personality.

Regarding the problem of whether fear remains in heaven, I think the capacity to feel fear remains as part of human nature. But neither servile nor filial fear nor fear of failure will actually in the state of glory ever be felt.

I disagree with St. Thomas on whether fear is the beginning of wisdom. On the contrary, fear of the law is the fruit of "wisdom" and "charity." A fully fearless man is a mad dog, subhuman. Some recognition of what sort of creature he and fellow men are (wisdom) coupled with a absence of hatred for others (charity) produces fear of consequences of harming other people. However, it is true that only minimal wisdom and charity are required to yield fear that humanizes a man; on which all further developments of personality, including improvements in wisdom and charity, rest.

Re: Whether Longer-Lasting Evils Are More Feared?

This is a shorter title than St. Thomas' "Whether those things are more feared, for which there is no remedy?" (ST, II-1, 42, 6) But it's the essence of the question.

For merely material objects, the essence of temporality is exhausted with the relations before and after. There are events; in between events, time is of no import. A billiard ball in inertial motion relative to something does not care how long it keeps moving like this.

For humans, on the contrary, the length of the duration of a given pleasure or pain is a crucial issue. Thus, we want production to take as little time as possible to minimize the disutility of labor involved (as well as the disutility of waiting for its fruits); but consumption, i.e., the enjoyment of the goods produced, should be as long as possible. (Hence as productivity of labor increases through capital accumulation, people tend to choose to work increasingly less and forgo money for the sake of more leisure.)

So, a good that lasts longer is appreciated more; conversely, a future evil that threatens to imperil one for a longer amount of time is considered greater and is feared more therefrom.

A good example is hell: those in hell do not fear it, having no hope of ever escaping its torments; we in this world fear hell exceedingly, precisely because of its horror's infinite duration, given the theological virtue of hope of salvation.

St. Thomas makes a useful distinction in reply to objection 3, namely that the reason why something is good is distinct from how long it lasts. An axe is good as a tool for chopping wood; that's its very definition. But a more durable axe is preferred to a less durable one.

Re: Whether Sudden Things Are Especially Feared?

There is first a generic "fear of the unknown" or fear of painful future surprises.

The suddenness of a threat temporarily magnifies the apparent evil of it, even as a trivial noise makes us jump in fear for our very lives for a second; also it leaves us in a weakened state due to being unprepared to deal with it right away and due to a kind of stupefaction at the temporary loss of wits (the immediate response is fight or flight, not think).

Experience with the world increases the mastery of subjects, such that fewer things confound us; it makes us more prudent and capable of predicting the future better, which diminishes the sources of surprises; and it imparts a certain mental fortitude and presence of mind, such that we are not rendered witless by sudden frights.

There is an interesting objection from Aristotle: "those are feared most, not who are quick-tempered, but who are gentle and cunning." Because their wrath is unpredictable, the quick-tempered themselves are feared, but the harm they can do, not so much, since their rage can dissipate as quickly as it rose. They are not the kind to hold grudges, for example, and one quick to anger can be quick to generous giving, as well. On the other hand, the gentle and cunning can be managed, but they are also more competent and persistent at inflicting harm on you, if they set their minds on it.

It can also happen that fear can grow. Dwelling on a fearful thing can consume the mind, suck out the courage, and even drive one to despair. But on the whole, I agree that sudden occurrences tend to cause extra fear. (ST, II-1, 42, 5)

Re: Whether Evil of Nature Is an Object of Fear?

An artificial object that I love may be subject to natural forces that I fear, as I may fear that my computer's hard drive will crush and destroy my data, so I do backups to secure myself. The cause is natural; the effect or good threatened is not.

At the same time a natural evil, such as death by being murdered, can be artificially inflicted, such as by a corrupt cop. The cause is intelligently designed; the effect is a natural evil that destroys a good of nature: human life.

In both cases, there may be reason to fear.

St. Thomas qualifies this by saying that evils that are far off (or improbable?) are not feared, and neither are evils from which there is no hope of escape. Yet even inevitable evils, like death, can be feared as long as there is hope for delaying their arrival. (ST, II-1, 42, 2)

Re: Whether Fear Itself Can Be Feared?

Best I can tell, St. Thomas considers fear to be an unpleasant or painful passion; indeed the fear of a future evil is itself a present sorrow. Hence it is possible now to fear a future fear. (ST, II-1, 42, 4)

Let me, however, suggest how fear can be feared more specifically. I'm talking about fear of failure.

And fear of failure has the potential to cripple or paralyze you with dread. A key advantage of courage and self-confidence then is that the execution of your plan of action will be smoother, less self-conscious, more effortless, and therefore more successful.

Fear of failure can even deter you from even trying something difficult, or if you do try, impair your performance. (How can you seriously hope to undertake a tricky maneuver if all you can focus on is not the maneuver itself but the horror of messing it up? Even relying on muscle memory for things like flying a plane can be undermined in this fashion.) So, if you know yourself to be prone to such fear during arduous projects despite yourself and have experienced yourself withdraw or fail precisely because of such fear, then you have a distinct reason to fear your own inordinate fear of failure.

An Evaluation of Homosexuality

A FaceBook thread on which I posted some arguments that considered the moral status of homosexuality was deleted by the original poster, because, as he decided, "I don't want all of us looking bad because of two guys."

The two guys included himself. No names shall be named to protect the innocent.

Now, however, I feel compelled to summarize the argument.

1. I consider both hetero- and homosexuality to be neither an unchangeable inborn trait like one's biological gender or even IQ; nor a mere lifestyle choice like preference for vanilla vs. chocolate ice-cream, i.e., a matter of taste easily swayed; but a persistent, ingrained, and deep-seated disposition, i.e., a habit.

Homosexuality would then be a "nasty habit," a vice; and gay sex prompted by the vice would be a sinful act.

Innate predispositions to homosexuality are not denied, any more than natural timidity or proneness to alcoholism.

2. St. Thomas considers homosexuality to be an "unnatural vice" as being "contrary to the natural order of the venereal act as becoming to the human race"; he numbers among such vices

procuring pollution, without any copulation, for the sake of venereal pleasure: this pertains to the sin of "uncleanness" which some call "effeminacy."

Secondly, by copulation with a thing of undue species, and this is called "bestiality."

Thirdly, by copulation with an undue sex, male with male, or female with female..., and this is called the "vice of sodomy."

Fourthly, by not observing the natural manner of copulation, either as to undue means, or as to other monstrous and bestial manners of copulation.

3. I judge the homosexual lifestyle to be:

- physically unhealthy,
- aesthetically ugly and repulsive,
- loveless and joyless, as there is no natural basis or specialization for a spiritual union of the "partners" any more than for physical union,
- childless.

The homosexual personality must differ from a heterosexual one greatly.

4. Gay sex is furthermore sensually debased. The many sensations of the body in straight sex are united to elevate the experience away from just the orgasm and into an overall bodily ecstasy. Gay sex seems to be directed simply to come and be done with it.

5. In addition, it is unworthy of a real man as a spiritual warrior, as taking it up the ass is a monstrous humiliation.

Here's why: it is indeed proper for a man (metaphorically) to possess his wife who surrenders to him; but it is a horrid indignity and injustice for a man to be possessed by another man.

If it is objected that gay sex does not involve possession, then it by that very fact misses out on a key joy of sexuality.

6. If, furthermore, as I allege, gayness is loveless and childless, then nothing unites a gay couple into a one, a family. Their relationship must then be ephemeral and faithless. It is no accident that gays are, as a rule, fantastically promiscuous.

Conclusion: Homosexuality offers an illusion of pleasure which, however, pales in comparison with heterosexual union and familial bliss properly executed and achieved.

It is a burden or cross to bear, a sorrow, and if the habit resists changing, it may be sufficient for holiness to abstain from the sinful act; otherwise, homosexuality is not a definitive obstacle to grace, improvement in charity, or salvation.

God = Goodness, 3

If I did not believe that God was fundamentally and inimitably good or Goodness in the precise senses described below, [1], [2], I would be an atheist.

If I thought that the question "Why did God create?" made sense, and God created not out of self-diffusion of overflowing goodness but out of some felt need, such as because he was bored or needed company or wanted to improve himself, then I would not bother with such a being.

It would be intolerable that my destiny would depend on the whims of an omnipotent, capricious, and perhaps crazy tyrant. Such a thing wouldn't be my kind of God; it wouldn't be anything I'd be willing to worship. I'd look for another god.

Rather than spend my time figuring out how I could appease such a being or curry its favor, I'd prefer simply not to acknowledge its existence.

It follows, perhaps somewhat surprisingly, that for people who do not understand the nature of goodness or do not ascribe goodness to God and have instead a faulty concept of God as indeed an arbitrary despot, atheism can be a liberating step up.

Why Is God Goodness?, 2

I have outlined why God (the Father) can be called uniquely good or Goodness. This is knowable by natural reason alone, with proofs properly supplied.

But there is a 4th reason why God is good which can only be assented to by a Christian.

The basic idea is that the world, mankind, and each individual are somehow -- mysteriously and even in a stunningly surprising manner -- improving and always will be.

It is obvious that there are numerous disasters, wrong steps, sins, statist gov't policies, and other victories of entropy, both physical and spiritual. Moreover, the ascendance of decay and death seems inevitable to an atheistic or merely deistic mind.

Yet a Christian can cling firmly to the idea of the victory of the good and the triumph of a "world without end."

The feature of the divine providence as having made a world whose purpose is the everlasting process of its own self-improvement is the defining feature of theoretical faith.

The Pride and Envy of the Fallen Angels

According to my story of the second creation, in particular of the sanctification of the angels, it was pride that caused some of the angelic creatures to refuse the grace given to them by the Holy Spirit. These angels would not stoop to serving humans. A war ensued, as a result of which the demons were cast out of their natural heavenly home and entrenched in this world as its rulers and enemies of mankind.

They aim at our destruction which would defy the Holy Spirit's vision of a unified creation. Upon victory over us, the demons further intend to recapture heaven from the good angels and live there in their natural state forever.

However, pride would only ensure that the demons felt contempt for humans. They would still try to destroy us, but they would not waste any emotions on us. They would indeed consider us filth, cockroaches, meddlesome pests, but just as the exterminator does not hate the vermin even as he kills them by the thousands, neither would the demons hate us. They would work rather dispassionately in order to attain a definite end.

Traditionally, however, the demons are motivated by another emotion, viz., envy. The demons realize that the battle is far from being determined. They know they can (and hopefully will) lose and be imprisoned in the demonic hell. If we win, we will obtain 3 things.

First, the kingdom. We will become children of God and fully part of the divine family. No mystery or pleasure of God will be closed to us. We'll inherit both paradise and heaven, from the latter of which the demons were explicitly exiled.

Second, the power. We will have defeated an enemy that is naturally superior to us, in fact led by the most spectacular creature out there, Lucifer, in a no-holds-barred merciless combat. In so doing, we'll have proved ourselves greater than they. We will be raised above them in the exaltation of might, triumph, and dominion.

Third, the glory. While the demons hope merely to keep their natural happiness, humans are promised a far greater destiny: the glory of the saints. Our grace here is the beginning of the glory in the hereafter. It is the clarity of perfection, honor, and charity of the unashamed soul and participation in the inner life of God.

Understanding all this, the demons envy us for the favor shown to us by God. But envy is a species of hatred. The demons consider our good to "conduce to the lessening of their own good name or excellence," as St. Thomas puts it. They sorrow over the fact that the alleged pests could surpass them. And that is why they hate us and are far from dispassionate in their feelings. But this only aggravates their sin.

The New Nobles

"The hardship to which the serfs were subjected... stemmed from... subjection to triple yoke, represented in contemporary cartoons by monarch, noble, and cleric riding on the peasant's bent back." (Servitude in Modern Times, 26)

So, we've formally gotten rid of the nobles: there are no slaves or serfs within any manorial system; churches have been divested of all coercive powers; but somehow we are loving our 3rd oppressor: the state. This needs to change ASAP: abolish the state (almost)!

At the same time, we can look at business firms within industries that are protected by the government from competition and therefore enjoy permanent profits as the new nobles. Again, Hayek points out:

There has never been a more cruel exploitation of one class by another than that of the less fortunate members of a group of producers by the well-established. This has been made possible by the "regulation" of competition.

Few catchwords have done so much harm as the ideal of a "stabilization" of particular prices or wages, which, while securing the income of some, makes the position of the rest more and more precarious. (The Road to Serfdom, 67)

The industries are regulated not for the greater good but for the sake of the dominant firms in them to ensure that they cannot be imitated as part of the market process. They are assured profits over long periods of time, even though they do not improve their products or business practices. Ultimately, however, these vicious and complacent firms sign their own death sentence. Other, less constricted, industries showing growth eventually attract both investors' money and consumer demand. The privileged companies, grown lazy and bureaucratic through government protection, find their profits slipping away, may not be able to adapt, and eventually disappear.

Only if the entire economy is frozen in place will protection truly be forever. But the fact that no new enterprises are being started means that no new jobs are created. As a result, it becomes impossible for workers to change their occupations. They once again become bound to their employers, as though in serfdom. The nobles are back with a vengeance.

The 4th Function of Money?

In addition to being a medium of exchange (corresponding to consumption), unit of account (investment), and store of value (hoarding), money is a unique thing that can be loaned and borrowed.

A capital or consumer good can be rented; when you rent a good, you do not come to own it but do come to own its services for a period of time. Thus, the apartment you are renting lets you consume the apartment's services of protection against the elements for a month. It makes no sense to speak of loaning such a good.

On the contrary, money cannot be rented but can be loaned out.

Understanding the exact differences between loaning and renting is, I think, one of the hardest and also most important problems of economics.

Can Slaves “Cost Less”?

Bush pronounces that yes, they can "cost less" than free labor. It's not 100% clear what he means by this. But suppose that there was a large difference between the cost of an average slave and his productivity. Then it would pay current slave owners to sell and resell their slaves at higher prices until equilibrium were reached, and the discounted capitalized value of a slave would equal his productivity over his lifetime.

If, on the other hand, free workers demanded wages than were unjustified by their marginal value product, the competition between them would bid down the prices.

The purchase of a slave would yield no more profit to the owner than the hiring of a free man.

A slave regime might, however, enable the profession of slave hunters who would roam the realm profitably for themselves enslaving and selling free people.

The theoretical inefficiency of slave labor lies in the the lack of incentives to the slave to improve his skills and accumulate his human capital: knowledge and experience with various tech and compatibility with complex capital goods. Bush himself writes that "slaves had their own devices for remedying the gross imbalance of advantage created by the slave-master relationship, notably feigned stupidity, working within limits and only to order, abiding by custom, malingering, petty theft, and so on." (17)

A free man is far more likely to "feign intelligence" than stupidity in order to convince an employer to hire him, as is obvious from every self-glorifying resume!

Bush replies by pointing out that "masters could combat this array of negativity by dispensing rewards..." But insofar as there were rewards, the slave-based economy was no longer pure but blessed with some aspects of tax serfdom, a far superior system.

Thus, Mises argues that we the liberals

attack involuntary servitude, not in spite of the fact that it is advantageous to the "masters," but because we are convinced that, in the last analysis, it hurts the interests of all members of human society, including the "masters."

If mankind had adhered to the practice of keeping the whole or even a part of the labor force in bondage, the magnificent economic developments of the last hundred and fifty years would not have been possible. We would have no railroads, no automobiles, no airplanes, no steamships, no electric light and power, no chemical industry, just as the ancient Greeks and Romans, with all their genius, were without these things. (Liberalism, 22)