Chapter 4 – Debt Slavery
Copyright Michael Bunker 2009
In Chapter 2 we took what I call “The Slavery Test”. I had hoped that taking that test might expose some realities we might not have previously been willing to face. I have spoken and counseled with hundreds of people over the years about moving towards a more separate and sustainable lifestyle, and I can tell you that the single excuse (or reason) I hear the most from people concerning why they cannot get out of the system, is that they are in too much debt, or that their current expenses make a move out of the system seem to difficult. Many people say they want to get off-grid, but they cannot see a way out of their current condition.
I know it is not fun to talk about, but the topic of debt slavery can be interesting and illustrative if you will apply yourself to it and pay close attention. The story of debt slavery ought to be of great concern to those who are interested in history, mysteries, and conspiracies. There are several different ways that people are likely to respond to this topic:
1. You aren’t in debt, so you say, “Hey, I’m on the same page. Debt is bad… Got it. Let’s move on.” To those of you who have no debt, I want to congratulate you and encourage you to stay steadfast and strong in that position. But I still encourage you to read and study this chapter, because there is some fascinating information here that may very well help you in the future, and that may also help you help others.
2. You aren’t very deep in debt, so you say, “I don’t have much debt. My debt is manageable. Certainly I’m not a slave to it. I’m not sure this information applies to me.” Again, I would encourage you first to get totally out of debt. This does not mean that, like the use of other intermediate means, some types of debt might not be legitimate and manageable. In some cases, the purchase of land in our current system is virtually impossible without some use of debt, even if it is short-term. I still would encourage all of you who read this to consider debt a mortal enemy and a danger to yourself and your livelihood. If you must use debt at all, make sure you make use of it in as short a term as possible. This is a proper attitude towards debt, and it will keep you right-minded as you make decisions in the future.
3. You are in debt pretty deeply; this includes those who may not have a great amount of debt per se, but who have managed their lives in a way that they have accumulated a large amount of monthly payments, so that it becomes difficult to manage over that cumulative monthly expenditure. You may know that debt is bad, and you may grieve over your mistakes, but you are in it and therefore you believe there is no hope or answer to your problem. Or, maybe you can see your way out, but you are disheartened by the challenge. Although I think everyone will benefit from the information and philosophy in this chapter; it is primarily written to you – and I think the bulk of my readers will fall into this category if they honestly examine their circumstances.
I know that many of you do not want to hear about how bad debt actually is. You think you have all the information, and that there is nothing more you can learn about debt that will help you. Maybe you are right, but I ask you to read on through this chapter anyway. Perhaps you will glean some new insight or tidbit that can help you on your way out of the system. Also, I do not pretend that this chapter is a complete (or even adequate) discussion on debt, slavery, credit, or any other topic. It would take many books to cover these topics in any kind of depth. What I do hope is that my cursory review of the issues will give you some new insight, and that it might spur you to further study the issues yourself.
As I have said before; in order for us to make a change in our circumstances, we have to know what we do want, and how we do want to live. Then we have to be convinced that a good and right change is possible, and that it is certainly possible for us to move towards a more free and sustainable way of living. We have to look past the giants in the land and trust in God and His promises. The single biggest link in the chains of our slavery is debt. But debt is something you can control, IF you really want to. The major part of coming to a right view of our condition is being able to see it properly, historically, and through eyes that are not shaded or clouded by the colonized mind. It is also important that we realize a salient fact: a slaveholder has a vested interest in keeping his slaves ignorant, indebted, and pacified.
The High Price of Free Corn
I’d like to illustrate a critical point by telling you a story that was sent to me several years ago by a friend who knew I’d appreciate it. This is a legend (or a parable) that has been around awhile, but it is so appropriate to our subject that I thought I needed to include it here. I cannot say for certain who wrote this story, but whenever I have found it, on the Internet or elsewhere, it has usually been attributed to “Steve Washam, based on a telling by George Gordon”. I hope that that will suffice for attribution. Anyway, here is the story:
The Wild and Free Pigs of the Okefenokee Swamp
Some years ago, about 1900, an old trapper from North Dakota hitched up some horses to his Studebaker wagon, packed a few possessions — especially his traps — and drove south. Several weeks later he stopped in a small town just north of the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia. It was a Saturday morning — a lazy day — when he walked into the General Store. Sitting around the pot-bellied stove were seven or eight of the town’s local citizens.
The traveler spoke. “Gentlemen, could you direct me to the Okefenokee Swamp?” Some of the oldtimers looked at him like he was crazy. “You must be a stranger in these parts,” they said. “I am. I’m from North Dakota,” said the stranger. “In the Okefenokee Swamp are thousands of wild hogs.” one old man explained. “A man who goes into the swamp by himself asks to die!” He lifted up his leg. “I lost half my leg here, to the pigs of the swamp.” Another old fellow said, “Look at the cuts on me; look at my arm bit off! Those pigs have been free since the Revolution, eating snakes and rooting out roots and fending for themselves for over a hundred years. They’re wild and they’re dangerous. You can’t trap them. No man dare go into the swamp by himself.” Every man nodded his head in agreement.
The old trapper said, “Thank you so much for the warning. Now could you direct me to the swamp?” They said, “Well, yeah, it’s due south — straight down the road.” But they begged the stranger not to go, because they knew that he’d meet a terrible fate. He said, “Sell me ten sacks of corn, and help me load it in the wagon.” And they did. Then the old trapper bid them farewell and drove on down the road. The townsfolk thought they’d never see him again. Two weeks later the man came back. He pulled up to the general store, got down off the wagon, walked in and bought ten more sacks of corn. After loading it up he went back down the road toward the swamp.
Two weeks later he returned and again bought ten sacks of corn.
This went on for a month. And then two months, and then three.
Every week or two the old trapper would come into town on a Saturday morning, load up ten sacks of corn, and drive off south into the swamp. The stranger soon became a legend in the little village and the subject of much speculation. People wondered what kind of devil had possessed this man that he could go into the Okefenokee by himself and not be consumed by the wild and free hogs.
One morning the man came into town as usual. Everyone thought he wanted more corn. He got off the wagon and went into the store where the usual group of men was gathered around the stove. He took off his gloves. “Gentlemen,” he said, “I need to hire about ten or fifteen wagons. I need twenty or thirty men. I have six thousand hogs out in the swamp, penned up, and they’re all hungry. I’ve got to get them to market right away.” “You’ve WHAT in the swamp?” asked the storekeeper, incredulously. “I have six thousand hogs penned up. They haven’t eaten for two or three days, and they’ll starve if I don’t get back there to feed and take care of them.”
One of the oldtimers said, “You mean you’ve captured the wild hogs of the Okefenokee?”
“How did you do that? What did you do?” the men urged, breathlessly. One of them exclaimed, “But I lost my arm!” “I lost my brother!” cried another. “I lost my leg to those wild boars!” chimed a third.
The trapper said, “Well, the first week I went in there they were wild all right. They hid in the undergrowth and wouldn’t come out. I dared not get off the wagon. So I spread corn along behind the wagon. Every day I’d spread a sack of corn.
“The old pigs would have nothing to do with it. But the younger pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn than it was to root out roots and catch snakes. So the very young began to eat the corn first. I did this every day. Pretty soon, even the old pigs decided that it was easier to eat free corn. After all, they were all free; they were not penned up. They could run off in any direction they wanted at any time.
“The next thing was to get them used to eating in the same place all the time. So I selected a clearing, and I started putting the corn in the clearing. At first they wouldn’t come to the clearing. It was too far. It was too open. It was a nuisance to them. But the very young decided that it was easier to take the corn in the clearing than it was to root out roots and catch their own snakes. And not long thereafter, the older pigs also decided that it was easier to come to the clearing every day.
“And so the pigs learned to come to the clearing every day to get their free corn. They could still subsidize their diet with roots and snakes and whatever else they wanted. After all, they were all free. They could run in any direction at any time. There were no bounds upon them.
“The next step was to get them used to fence posts. So I put fence posts all the way around the clearing. I put them in the underbrush so that they wouldn’t get suspicious or upset. After all, they were just sticks sticking up out of the ground, like the trees and the brush. The corn was there every day. It was easy to walk in between the posts, get the corn, and walk back out.
“This went on for a week or two. Shortly they became very used to walking into the clearing, getting the free corn, and walking back out through the fence posts. The next step was to put one rail down at the bottom. I also left a few openings, so that the older, fatter pigs could walk through the openings and the younger pigs could easily jump over just one rail. After all, it was no real threat to their freedom or independence. They could always jump over the rail and flee in any direction at any time.
“Now I decided that I wouldn’t feed them every day. I began to feed them every other day. On the days I didn’t feed them the pigs still gathered in the clearing. They squealed, and they grunted, and they begged and pleaded with me to feed them. But I only fed them every other day. And I put a second rail around the posts.” “Now the pigs became more and more desperate for food, because now they were no longer used to going out and digging their own roots and finding their own food. They now needed me. They needed my corn every other day. So I trained them that I would feed them every day if they came in through a gate. And I put up a third rail around the fence. But it was still no great threat to their freedom because there were several gates and they could run in and out at will.
“Finally I put up the fourth rail. Then I closed all the gates but one, and I fed them very, very well. Yesterday I closed the last gate. And today I need you to help me take these pigs to market.”
End of story
This story was originally written to emphasize the absurdity of the modern financial system and the idea of so-called “free money,” however; it perfectly illustrates how the modern industrial society has created slaves of a once free people. Free money has a very high price, and the concept of credit (debt) is originally sold to us as easy or free money. In the end, we see that this society has created a whole herd of Debt Slaves, and most of them do not really see how they actually enslaved themselves. The entire industrial/consumer society is designed around the idea that if you make things seem easier for people; if you coddle them so that they have no real skills and so that they become unviable outside of the system; if you control every aspect of their lives, and pander to their every lust and desire; you can control their behavior and make them do your bidding. In ancient societies, slaves were needed to do hard physical labor – like building pyramids, obelisks, or temples. Today, slaves are needed to eat, drink, buy, consume, and stay on the treadmill.
The Slavery Conspiracy
We only recently (somewhere around the year 2007) passed the 200 year mark since the transatlantic slave trade came to an end, and less than 150 years have passed since the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution outlawed slavery throughout America. There is no doubt that slavery based on race and man-stealing was an unbiblical precept and a monumental evil (Ex. 21:16; 1 Tim. 1:10); an evil shared and participated in by just about every people and nation, including by blacks in Africa, by northern slave-traders and businessmen, and by southern plantation owners. The enslavement of human beings (men who were stolen by other men) brought the judgment of God down upon peoples and nations all around the world, and rightly so. While some forms of slavery were evidently permitted or tolerated in the scriptures (such as the enslavement of nations who were losers in war, or who are otherwise sent into slavery by God as punishment; or the enslavement of those who would sell themselves into bondage), nowhere do we find license or permission for slavery based on skin color alone; nor do we find any sanction at all for man-stealing, which would be considered a crime against God and man. In fact, the book of Exodus prescribes the death penalty for man stealing: “And he that stealeth a man, and selleth him, or if he be found in his hand, he shall surely be put to death” (Exodus 21:16). It is important to note that this form of slavery was considered unnecessary and immoral in the nations and places where Biblical Agrarianism predominated as an economic and cultural philosophy. Nor would it have been needful or profitable under a pure Agrarian model; but this unjust form of slavery flourished when pure Agrarianism gave way to specialization, and when urbanism and the mercantile system of commerce made such slavery profitable. It is critical for our understanding that we solidly link in our minds the institution of slavery with the rise of specialization and of modern commerce, the ascendance of the cash crop and Mercantile Agrarianism, and the beginnings of Industrialism.
When trade ceased to be local and personal, unbiblical slavery was the inevitable result. This type of slavery was a stop-gap, or, an intermediate measure, filling the need for massive amounts of physical labor until the industrial system could invent and produce the machines that could keep up with the newly created wants (actually “lusts”) of the people.
The industrial world always knew that race based slavery would never be profitable in the new industrial economy, but forced or conscripted labor seemed necessary so long as the culture demanded more comfort and leisure in a time when the technology had not yet advanced enough to allow for the mechanization of low skill tasks. The prophets of greed and progress believed that forced slavery was necessary during the transition from a Mercantile Agrarianism to a more industrialized economy. We cannot know if the early slave traders knew whether or not it would last, but we do know that forced slavery could not continue for long; neither would the industrialists want it to last. This fact creates one of the most interesting ironies. Forced slavery became necessary because society had abandoned pure Agrarianism and was moving inexorably from Mercantile Agrarianism towards Industrialism. Yet the advocates of Industrialism claim that Industrialism was the engine or motive behind the abolition and death of race-based slavery. But were the industrialists really acting philanthropically when they became abolitionists? Was the rabid abolitionism of the northern industrialists truly based on a hatred of the concept of slavery?
The Industrialists knew that slaves (under the old system of slavery) didn’t have any money to buy products, and the chains and whips of the slaveholder are never big or thick enough to cause men to work harder when they can conceive of no possible personal reward or benefit. Industrialism needs an ever growing number of consumers, and traditional slavery does not produce consumers. In fact, with the advent of affordable harvesting and processing machinery in the early 19th Century, this form of slavery was already on its deathbed, even in the South.
In the middle of the 19th Century, Northern Bankers and other industrial and trade interests knew that Industrialism was dead unless the South could be soon brought under its umbrella. Agrarianism in the South could never be allowed to stand. A nation of people providing for themselves most of the necessities of life is not a market for commercial bankers and industrialists. Even though the South had already succumbed, in some measure, to the slow poison of Mercantile Agrarianism and the deception of the “specialized cash crop”, the movement towards commercial industrialism in the South was too slow to save struggling northern business interests. Therefore Northern banking and religious interests came up with a two-pronged approach for the destruction of Southern Agrarianism:
First, any attempts by the South to rid themselves of the burden of slavery would have to be thwarted. These attempts have been well documented and are readily available to the diligent student of history. If the South was free to divest themselves of slavery, it seemed obvious that they would tend to return to their more historic and idyllic Agrarianism. This would never do. Free men make horrible debt slaves. In fact, to the industrialists, the slavery problem in the South had to be amplified. Thus numerous attempts by Southern legislatures to mitigate and ameliorate the slavery problem were stopped cold by northern meddling, by the activism of northern agitators pretending to be southerners, by court cases, and by mandates from the federal government. This is not to say that there were not rabid slavery supporters in the South, because there were, just as there had been rabid slavery supporters in the North (so long as slavery was profitable in the North). Let us not forget that sin has no borders. We have to keep in mind that the so-called “Civil War” was not primarily about slavery, at least not in the way we have all been taught in school. Slavery was certainly an issue, but it was an ancillary issue. The war was another in a long line of wars of conquest, the ultimate purpose of which was the destruction of any way of life contrary to the interests of the prophets and kings of this world. War in the 19th Century was no different than war in the 5th Century; it was about expanding markets and government power, destroying competition, grasping natural resources, and increasing consumption.
Second, the northern states passed laws which would amplify the slavery problem for the South. Alexis de Toqueville in his book Democracy in America stated that northern states chose a very interesting form of emancipation for themselves (remember, slavery was still legal in the North). By a system of “gradual emancipation”, slaveholders in the North were forbidden by law to sell their slaves within their own state (note that they were not forbidden to sell slaves, nor were they forbidden to profit from the selling of slaves), and since northern slaveholders knew that, due to the new laws, there would be no market for their slaves in other bordering northern states, they took their slaves south where there might still be a free market. The new laws ensured that slaves could not be sold profitably unless they were taken south. Thus, by clever legal intervention, Northern states were able to accomplish several key goals:
First, they rid themselves of what they considered a “burden”, and they did so without suffering monetary loss, something later (at the prodding of the northern banking interests) they would absolutely require of the South. When former northern slaveholders later became avid abolitionists, they demanded that southern slaves be freed and not sold, and they hypocritically made this demand on moral grounds; quite a handy demand since they had already divested themselves of their own slaves at a profit.
Second, northern racists were able to make certain that millions of northern slaves would not be moving into their own communities. They had driven their fears to the South, thus shifting the “burden” onto other shoulders. Knowing that Southerners at the time believed much like they did themselves, they required that the South free the slaves in the South, and several northern states even enacted laws forbidding Southerners from driving their slaves up north to free them there. It was the official policy of the northern army at the advent of the War of Southern Secession to capture “escaped” (often freed) slaves and forcibly return them to the South. Later, northern military minds determined that “freed” slaves would make better soldiers than neighbors. Poor northern military leadership left the North’s armies constantly in need of more cannon fodder, so they offered emancipated slaves (who were generally uneducated, broke, and had no real hope of gaining employment or earning a living in the North) pay and other promises (primarily land and political power in the “new” South) if they would sign on to fight in the northern army.
*For those interested in an in-depth concurrent study on this slavery scam, please read R.L. Dabney’s book – A Defense of Virginia and the South.
Northern banking and industrial interests recognized that they needed a South that was under their thumb, and they would use the southern states as an example of how empire building and colonization could create consumers and customers for northern industrial products.
So you see, the South’s covetousness and greed first caused them to fall for selling out their pure Agrarianism for specialization and Mercantile Agrarianism. Under Mercantile Agrarianism, many farms that were once primarily a means of providing food and material to support families, became very specialized commercial businesses, providing cash crops for the massive and growing populations of northern cities. We confess that there have always been cash crops in any purely Agrarian system, but cash crops were usually what the farming family grew above and beyond that which was needed for the supply and maintenance of the farmer’s household.
Later, greed and the lust for comfort and riches caused southern farmers and plantation owners to institutionalize the trade and enslavement of stolen humans in order to maintain that cash crop system. Finally, the hungry and insatiable behemoth to the north used military might to put an end to the Agrarian system in the South; thereby creating of the several united states, one industrial/consumer entity: A Babylonian beast that would rival Rome and the Greek empire during their heydays. The unbiblical enslavement of one race of people was to be replaced with the slavery of everyone but the very elite. The system of debt slavery was to be color-blind, though it did focus its energies on the poorer classes of people.
The Credit Conspiracy
The next step in the scam was to make sure that all the new “consumers” who were created by anti-Agrarian machinations, by wars, and by conquests, would be able to purchase industrial/commercial goods.
Under pure Agrarianism, “credit” was in no way the debt-based credit system we know of today. Basically, if a free man had two dozen eggs, he could take those eggs to a local merchant who would give him some amount of “credit” for those eggs. As his profit, the merchant would keep a few of the eggs for himself and for the profit of his store. Some par value would be established, and then the store “credits” could be used to purchase other items from the store. Credit, then, was merely a way to make sure that barter was encouraged and expedited. Under this system, no debt was incurred. When pure Agrarianism gave way to Mercantile Agrarianism (where farmers began to focus on specialization and “cash crops”, instead of merely trading or bartering their excess), a more stringent and debt-based credit system evolved. For example, store owners would give a farmer large amounts of bulk seed with the promise of a portion of the crop when (and if) it came in. As Mercantile Agrarianism disappeared into the maw of commercial industrialism, the merchant or the banker now required some form of collateral for such “loans”. Generally, land and property were the preferred forms of collateral. It did not take long for most people to become mere tenants on the land once owned by their fathers; lands which were now actually owned by bankers and commercial interests.
It is necessary that we take just a moment here to speak about property taxes, and their role in creating debt slaves. Prior to the 19th Century (the Century owned and operated by the Industrialists), most land, if it was taxed at all, was taxed on a flat per acre basis. Many people rightly believed this to be a method of taxation that unfairly benefited the rich, since it did not account for the relative value of the land. For example, a wealthy landowner who owned prime real estate (such as a port, or land that had access to roads or rivers) would be taxed at the same rate as a poor farmer who had no such access. The poor landowner paid a much larger percentage of his net worth in property taxes. Pioneers, many who never considered that the whole concept of taxation on property was immoral and unjust, desired to eradicate the inequality of flat rate taxes on land by pushing for “Universality” laws, which were laws that would set the tax rate based on “value” (ad valorem) rather than on the number of acres owned. To the pioneers and settlers, this made sense because the property tax rates would be set by elected officials, which meant (in a fair and representative system) that they would have some power and control over their eventual tax rate. Little did they know that the Universality laws could backfire on them if ever the political system became corrupted. Pushed by the industrialists and the banking powers, from 1818 to 1896, around half of the states in the Union adopted Universality laws as it applied to property taxation. Most of the remaining states would eventually follow suit. With the advent of these ad valorem property taxes, in a very short amount of time, virtually 100% of the land became, in truth, owned by banks, commercial interests, or by the government. You could say you owned your own land and property, but so long as you had to make a monthly or yearly payment in order to maintain the right to make such a claim, the claim was just a fantasy that everyone agreed to accept as reality. The imposition of ad valorem property taxes was only one move in a very long chess game designed to make the people slaves on the land once conquered by free men.
In some form or other, credit had existed for thousands of years, but up until the Catholic Crusades, crop credit (and other early forms of credit) was generally only extended personally (meaning between individuals, friends, or family members who knew one another). Although out-and-out usury was illegal in most nominal “Christian” countries, new forms of credit would soon be devised by the “church” in order to maximize church power and authority throughout most of Europe. During the Crusades and other Roman wars of conquest, the Roman Catholic Knights Templar created a system of credit accounts whereby individuals, groups, guilds, or any other “body” could entrust valuable goods or monies to the Knights Templar in exchange for the protection and profitable distribution of those goods. From this early protection racket evolved the system of credit that would eventually become modern consumer credit (usury masquerading as expediting and easing trade).
All of this may seem complicated and confusing, but here is the important part for you to remember. These two issues (debt and slavery) are not unconnected. The Apostasy from true religion (which once righteously regulated human transactions), meant an apostasy from God’s plan for man and the creation. The wealthy of this world had a plan, and that plan involved making long-term slaves of almost every man in every nation.
The Bible provided for laws and regulations that allowed for true community to exist and thrive without the manipulations and machinations of evil men. Justice and righteousness were originally found in the decrees and commandments of God, and with the revelation of Jesus Christ they were to be found written on the hearts of regenerate men. Life in a Biblical society was governed by an over-arching law of Sabbath cycles. There were the Sabbath days, Sabbath years, Land Sabbaths, and eventually the Jubilee year. The idea that God’s creatures needed rest, and that true, vibrant, and just community required the hope of freedom, was inculcated in men from a young age. Every seven days, everyone (even slaves and animals) rested; they were freed from their burdens; and this happened for thousands of years as a lesson. On the Sabbath year (every seven years, on the seventh year), all debts were cancelled and anyone who was enslaved or indentured because of debt was freed. This concept brought about a constant renewing of harmony, equality, and community life. During the Jubilee year (the year following seven Sabbath years – or 49 years), on the 50th year, all debts were forgiven, and any land or property was to be returned to its original owner (except, interestingly, for the property of city-dwellers residing within city walls). While most Christian nations rightly determined that the very stringent land regulations stipulated in the law applied only to the Hebrews and to the land given to the several tribes, the idea that debt forgiveness was required during the Sabbath and Jubilee years was almost universally accepted in all Christian nations, including in America. In order, then, for the great conspiracy to move forward, it was necessary that these accepted laws and traditions be overthrown via religious apostasy, which, not coincidentally, accompanied the war against Agrarianism. While the War against the South was the crowning blow in the battle against Agrarianism, the battle was actually lost much earlier in many lesser known skirmishes, not the least of which was when the Unitarians captured Harvard in 1805. Up through the mid 1800’s we would see more and more denominations and “churches” abandoning God’s commandments and laws in favor of more syncretistic and worldly doctrines. As time passed, the pulpits no longer rang with condemnations of sin and encouragements to keep the commandments of God; the new “modern” pulpits were more likely to ring with exhortations to civic advancement, political activism, national pride, and upward mobility.
Apostasy from right religion in the North was a necessary precursor to the Trojan Horse of northern aggression and abolitionism that led to debt slavery for most of the world’s inhabitants. Like I said, it is a bigger topic than can possibly be tackled in a short chapter such as this one.
Technically, Debt Bondage is:
“An involuntary arrangement whereby a person is forced to pay off a loan with direct labor in place of currency, over an agreed upon or obscure period of time. When the debtor is then tricked or trapped into working for very little or no pay, or when the value of their work is significantly greater than the original sum of money borrowed, some consider the arrangement to be a form of unfree labor or debt slavery. It is similar to peonage, or indenture” (Via Wikipedia).
Through a myriad of interlaced arrangements, modern debt can appear to be free of the accusation of being “involuntary” or of being “debt bondage,” though in reality it is probably the most perfect form of it. The lender can say, “Modern debt vehicles are not involuntary”, but a close examination of the realities of this world would prove this statement to be only technically true. The society does encourage debt (and from an early age), and often requires some history of debt and debt management in the disposition of some benefits (some jobs, for example). Also, the system itself is so intimately intertwined with the debt culture, that most people are never educated about the alternatives to the use of debt. In fact, back in 1985 on my first day at a State University, as I registered for classes, I was handed a sack full of credit applications. What was I to conclude but that the state, the university, and the society desired for me to be a part of the debt culture?
The lender can also say, “We accept currency and not labor, therefore we cannot be guilty of engendering debt bondage,” when in reality, again, these lenders are so inextricably intertwined (through government incorporation, debt, and other financial machinations) to the corporations (state creations) that employ almost 100% of the people, that the difference is purely illusory. In fact, both the state and the state created corporations profit from the debt bondage encouraged by lenders, and reciprocate by creating and legitimizing laws that reward predatory and unbiblical lending practices (why do you think the American government just recently gave almost a trillion dollars to the bankers for making bad loans?) Almost any fair, honest, and in-depth examination of the modern debt system in the Western world would have to conclude that the system of debt that is prevalent today actually constitutes debt slavery for most participants.
I hope I have not made this confusing, and I have to tell you that trying to cover such a huge and complex conspiracy in just a few words is a very difficult and daunting task. I will endeavor to simplify it…
An industrial/consumer society requires one thing in order to maintain itself, and that one thing is GROWTH; meaning that there must always be more industries, more services, and more products and most especially an ever-growing customer base. This is the inviolable law of the industrial/consumer society. This is true whether we are talking about ancient Rome or modern America. In a growth-based consumer economy, debt is no problem (in fact it is encouraged) so long as there is never-ending growth and regular “cost of living” increases for consumers. So long as growth can be created, enforced, or conjured, the system will continue to seem alright. But when growth slows and eventually stops; when resources, be they human, natural, social, cultural, or philosophical, are weakened, drained, or otherwise become scarce, the collapse of that system is inevitable. The result is the collapse and disaster I have described for you in the first few chapters of this book.
Debt and YOU
So far we have discussed the debt conspiracy as it has unfolded in time, but what about YOUR debt? There are some things you ought to know. Regardless of its origin, consumer debt is the product of covetousness and greed; both on the part of the lender, and on the part of the borrower. For the borrower, it is the result of convincing himself that he needs things he really does need, or that he needs something now that he cannot afford. It is necessary that you take personal responsibility for the sinful attitudes and actions that have put you in slavery. Debt is a result of the colonization of the mind, but we must be willing to confess that our colonization has been willful, because the right answers have always been made available to us. Often unrighteous debt is the result of thinking only “inside the box” that the colonizers have built for us; and it is always the result of not thinking within the boundaries of wisdom and guidance given to us by God. Debt is a problem of ignorance, and it is a beautiful but scary fact that eliminating debt requires eliminating ignorance. It is always possible that the miraculous (or in some cases, maybe a curse) may occur that will free us from our debt without hard work, but for most of us, becoming free from debt is going to require that we work hard and follow a few important rules:
Rule #1 – Sell Everything!
Sell everything, because that is the first step in eradicating debt. Consumption and the acquisition of unneeded “stuff” is almost always the primary cause of debt slavery, so reducing consumption and liquidating unnecessary property is going to be a tool of our deliverance.
Here is a neat way to look at this. As in all things, I always try to picture important principles, and I try to do so using history.
In the beginning, “money” was basically these things (and this is by no means an exhaustive list): Land, cattle, food (seed, grains, fruit, etc.), spices (those with preservative value), pure water, and a category we will call “other” (meaning items that don’t fit neatly into one of these categories, but that had natural and intrinsic value, such as weapons, tools, etc.) You will notice that money was something with a universally accepted store of value. It was something that was worth something in and of itself. It had value because of its utility and because it increased the probability of survival, not necessarily because it could be easily carried or traded for other things of value. For the most part, “money” was something that benefited and advanced the opportunity for survival and the perpetuation of life.
In the next phase, “precious” metals were added as a form of “money.” Such metals had value primarily because they were rare, were easily formed or shaped, and because they became widely accepted as a store of value. Initially “precious” metals were traded as bulk metals which were weighed and graded to determine their value; only during the Babylonian era did metal coinage begin to reign.
From there, precious metal coinage became paper, and paper has now become a physical representation of digital debt. Debt is then quantified in the lives of most people by the accumulation and consumption of mountains of historically and eternally useless “stuff”.
If you want to see a roadmap showing you how to get back to a place of freedom, you must merely walk backwards through this historical “money” trail. Do your best to divest yourself of historically and eternally useless “stuff”. The end goal, of course, is to end up with those things which were considered “money” in the earliest ages. This is the key to surviving off off-grid, and therefore it is the key to our freedom.
As you get rid of your “stuff”, try to use every dollar gained by selling “stuff” towards eliminating the future need of more dollars. In other words, try not to spend the money you get from selling personal items except in ways that will eliminate the need for future spending. For example, if you were to sell your furniture and buy bees (or cows, or sheep, or chickens) with it, you will have intelligently utilized the dollars you have gained by the sale of the furniture. With every such exchange you are increasing survivability and viability outside of the system. Remember that every dollar you eliminate in monthly debt load is a link off of your chains. When you do spend money, like I said before, try to make sure it goes towards something that will provide more for you in the future.
Rule #2 – Simplify, Simplify, Simplify!
Do not keep things for sentimental value that will have zero real value in your Off-Grid life. In helping people move Off-Grid, I have noticed a few things that might help you as you get started. Many of the people who I have worked with who are moving Off-Grid have started (very wisely) by moving into a much smaller space. For example, if they were going to move into a camper or a small cabin, they would soon find that about 80% or more (probably much more) of the “stuff” they have accumulated will not fit into their new living space. Many of these folks (me included) started out by renting a mini-storage unit because they didn’t know what things they might need someday. Well, lo-and-behold, after a year or so of living off-grid, they determined that they never needed that stuff anyway! Almost all of the “stuff” we owned in our previous life became worthless to us in our off-grid life, especially almost anything with a cord attached to it. My advice is to make a very minimal and simplified list of the “stuff” you absolutely will need, and then sell all the rest. It is not a good idea to keep things (and to pay for their storage) just because you might need them some day. Constantly remind yourself to simplify.
It would be an interesting exercise (and illustrative to my point) to sell absolutely everything in order to turn it into some form of money. Take this net value and subtract from it your remaining debt. The amount that is left (for most people this would be a negative number) is your net worth, meaning it is the cumulative value of all the “time saving” and “life enhancing” products and services you have ever purchased. If you are left with a negative number, now divide into it the amount of hours you will have to work to pay for all of those time and labor saving devices the world told you that you needed. Like I said, I’m just making a point. The converse position, however, does not mitigate the point. If after engaging in this fun little exercise you are one of the few who ends up with a positive balance, do not think that your time and labor saving lifestyle has purchased you any time or ease, because it has not. Again, if there were a cataclysmic disaster or economic collapse in the near future, it won’t really matter how many “time credits” you think you have accumulated. Rich folks are usually the ones who are the most harshly affected by systemic collapse… something for us all to remember. As the song goes, “Somebody told me Wall Street fell, but we were so poor we couldn’t tell.”
Back to reality. Once you have sold virtually everything; once you have eliminated all the debt that you can eliminate; and once you have simplified your life very radically, then you can get a better picture of your situation. If you still find yourself in debt slavery, it is time to take more drastic action, which leads to Rule #3…
Rule #3 – Educate Yourself
“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13).
I will have more to say about “mammon” and the Kingdom of God later in the book, but it is very important at this point that I encourage you to educate yourself on the true nature of “debt” and what God has to say about it. A starting point would be to learn, study, and pray about what legitimate debt is, and what illegitimate debt is. Study contracts so that you know your rights. Every element of a contract, even if you entered the contract ignorantly and through blindness, can be used legitimately and righteously for the benefit of those who are parties to the contract. Read the “either… or”, or, “if… then” clauses of the contract. There are legitimate, legal, and honorable “outs” for people who have entered into many of these scam contracts. If you are in over your head in a contract for the purchase of a house or a vehicle, consider returning the house or the vehicle to the bank or lender. In many cases this is a viable alternative, and in some cases (provided you still want the house or the vehicle), in our current economy, the lender will be willing to work with you to help retire the debt at a much lower cost, especially if they become aware that they are going to absorb a bigger loss if they are not willing to work with you.
There is much, much more I can say on this topic, but again, it would take an entire book to just lightly handle the subject. I encourage everyone to do your homework and to endeavor with all your abilities to free yourself from the slavery of debt.
In the next chapter, we will discuss “the grid”, and the adventure involved with getting untangled from it.
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