Our Madness Today Foretold
American Author Garet Garrett was commenting on the Bi-Metal US Treasury debacle of the late 19th Century in his 1922 novel “The Driver.”
His words were a scorn for political ideas and ideals which somehow imagined to replace reality with their newly defined declaration of substance.
It was a systemic insanity to his eyes & mind, a madness which we find griping ourselves now, as we imagine some populistic declaration of redistribution of wealth and re-segmentation of the measure of wealth, that being currency, will somehow positively affect our economy.
“You may define a mass delusion you cannot explain it really. It is a malady of the imagination incurable by reason that apparently must run its course.”
“They had not the notion why or how they were mad because they unable to realize that they were mad at all. “
“I have recently turned over the pages of the newspapers and periodicals of that time to verify recollection that events as they occurred were with no awareness of their significance. And it so Intelligence was in suspense. The faculty judgment slept as in a dream the imagination loose inventing fears and phantasies.”
Yes, he recognized that economic policy not based in cold hard fact and sound understanding of the functions were faire tales of the worst sort – much like our presently fantasies of “Green Shoots” and “[self]-stimulus money.”
Profoundly he rings forth with several truisms:
“Money is not a thing either true or untrue. It is merely a token of other things which are useful and enjoyable.”
“Naive trust in the power of words to command reality is found in all mass delusions.”
And goes on to mock the inane notion that government can simply “say it is so, and it will be so” as if in a children’s story:
“[Adherents of the Popular Socialism of the Day] were laughed at for thinking that prosperity could be created by phrases written in the form of law. Congress thought the same thing.”
We are caught in a madness. A madness being defended by a government willing to work to suppress the open statement of knowledge that it is “all made up.” It would be as if every person watching the naked emperor in the children’s story had their mouths taped up, or preferably to the machinery in action now, that they would never had even had a voice.
Garrett also notes that the populist “Madness” must simply run its course. Perhaps a solution can be found, maybe even in accidental “unintended consequences” of otherwise unsound actions, but more likely by the population slowly coming to – regaining awareness – of the folly trying to steal from yourself is.
Recommended book, “The Driver” (the Mises.org reprint is said to be the best of the lot) and an unavoidable future as the “great experiment” runs it course.