. . .
if you believe them they will be completely in charge of their
marble homes and granite banks from which they rob the people
of the world under the pretense of bringing them culture. Watch
out, for as soon as it pleases them they’ll send you to protect
their gold in wars whose weapons, rapidly developed by servile
scientists, will become more and more deadly until they can with
a flick of the finger tear a million of you to pieces.
I don’t know
when I first fell in love with the leprechauns. It may have been
in my youth, whether as a genetic gift from my Irish ancestors,
or as a lingering sense of the enchanted nature of life so common
to children. Whatever the origins, I have long been attracted
to these wondrous beings, who managed to synthesize the importance
of defending their property interests with their need for personal
liberty. Should you discover and steal their gold, you can be
assured that your life would be rendered miserable until they
managed to recover their wealth. But in the course of doing so,
the one thing these people would never risk was their liberty.
value individual liberty more highly than they do their material
well-being stand in sharp contrast to most thoroughly modern men
and women who find it difficult to imagine that such options have
any meaning. The disparity between the two choices may be partially
explained by some superficial ideas about money being the root
of all evil. The Watergate years introduced us to the need to
"follow the money" to discover the underlying motivations
of political policies and programs. But "money" has
no motivation, no will to act upon the world. Like "guns"
– which shallow minds imagine to have their own deliberate, lethal
purposes – money has value and importance only to minds that so
value it. If you doubt this, please explain the diminished importance
of Confederate currency in our modern economy. Nor do beads or
tobacco continue to serve as money systems in America.
As with most
of our difficulties in the world, the "why" question
arises: why are so many of us willing to judge the propriety
of our actions by the standard of how much money we will receive
in the process? Why do we regard the motivations of the
leprechauns with either amusement or disdain? Unlike
a problem in mathematics, the answer does not have a self-evident
quality to it.
– even the existence – of life depends upon satisfying our material
needs. This is why I have long regarded the Industrial Revolution
as the most humanizing period in human history. When widespread
deaths through starvation and disease – particularly among children
– were overcome by industrialized production, our ancestors discovered
the secret for resolving the economic difficulties inherent in
politically-structured and restrained societies. Having learned
how to live productively would understandably attract us
to the systems we had created to serve such ends.
But why –
and how – did such a creative episode occur? Did some proto-Keynesian
philosopher-kings suddenly appear on humanity’s doorstep with
their complicated system of economic planning – which, of course,
they intended to direct? Or did this inventive and prolific era
arise because of the relative absence of such centralized controls?
Was the process particularly fruitful in America because of the
presence of a frontier that allowed men and women to continually
move to less-restrictive territories?
environments, alone, cannot account for such life-enhancing creativity.
What preceded our experimentation with systems for maximizing
our material well-being was a major spiritual, artistic, and intellectual
revolution. Johannes Gutenberg’s 15th century invention
of movable type initiated and/or sustained various expressions
of an inner life force that greatly enhanced human understanding.
The Renaissance, the Reformation, the Enlightenment, the Scientific
and Industrial Revolutions, owe much of their energies to Gutenberg’s
primal contribution to the second stage of mankind’s uncovering
of the powers of information.
As we are
continuing to discover in ever-expanding technologies – including
the Internet – there is nothing so creative and liberating as
the increased movement of information. The First Amendment to
the Constitution was a confirmation that the open expression of
ideas and other information was essential to a healthy society.
We have learned this truth, as well, from "brainstorming"
sessions whose synergistic processes produce solutions to problems
that no individual could have generated separately. In so many
ways are we reminded of the powerful energies that inhere in life;
a potency we often suppress by committing ourselves to institutional
You and I
are this life force – the spirit that continues to seek
expression in the material world. Contrary to our divisive thinking
that sees such a pursuit as a conflict between material
and spiritual needs – a struggle to be resolved by a "balancing"
of these supposedly competing ends such attributes require integration
in our lives. In furtherance of our attachments to institutional
purposes which we have been conditioned to believe are essential
to our material well-being, we have been taught to reconcile the
ensuing contradictions; to rationalize our confusions; and to
accept our resulting "normally-neurotic" behavior as
an unavoidable problem to be dealt with through drugs, alcohol,
or through watching mindless television programs. With such exceptions
as are now occurring in technological innovations, the creative
periods that helped to define Western Civilization are in decline.
What was once thought of as "the American dream" has
become a government entitlement or a winning lottery ticket!
If we are
to live well – in both the material and spiritual meaning of what
this implies it is not a balancing of our contrary and
disordered thinking that we so require, but an ending of
our contradictory mindset. Only by integrating life-enhancing
values can we learn to live with integrity.
This is where
we can learn from the leprechauns. Unlike so many minds in our
deranged culture that insist on trying to synthesize life-destroying
insanity with social responsibility, the leprechauns live with
a wholeness that is expressed with both material and spiritual
passion. Our society is burdened by thinking that rejects
the pursuit of "materialism" while, at the same time,
degrading "spirituality" for its "impractical"
(i.e., non-material) qualities. When I am challenged by advocates
of either perspective, I ask the former: "who will feed,
clothe, and house you?," and the latter "what is the
material value of a baby?" In each instance, the response
is a plate-glassed stare.
are not burdened by such contradictions. They are driven by both
material and spiritual energies. But to these marvelous
beings, the spirit is not some abstract set of ideas with
which to entertain themselves, but the manner in which one acts
upon the world. To them, spirit is a verb, unavoidably
connected to the action necessary for spiritual fulfillment in
the physical world. This is why the human spirit finds its expression
in individual liberty, a system that allows one to pursue one’s
interests in human society. This is why "spirit," "liberty,"
and privately-owned "property" become synonymous concepts.
The leprechauns understand this. They know that the liberty to
live a spiritually-directed life, and to enjoy respect for the
inviolability of the material rewards received from their self-interested
pursuits, is the very essence of what it means to live well in
the fulfillment of the human spirit are qualities whose pursuits
are confined to individuals; they do not translate into
anything of use to the institutional order, whose interests are
more focused on acquiring and controlling material values. In
order to secure the participation of human beings in their schemes,
institutions twist words and practices into self-contradictory
forms with a superficial attraction to them. George Orwell’s "war
is peace; freedom is slavery; ignorance is strength" is,
perhaps, the most familiar example of this. In exploiting young
men and women to participate in life-destroying and dehumanizing
wars, the state will resort to such slogans as "be all you
can be in the Army," an ersatz appeal to personal fulfillment.
Domestically, Boobus has been conditioned to think of "freedom"
as the availability of 24-hour convenience stores, or getting
to choose between "paper or plastic" at the grocery
store – a limited choice that many cities have begun to prohibit!
means by which the state exploits people for institutional advantage
is found in the paper money system. Unlike Boobus – who remains
convinced that if the money supply increases by 20%, while his
salary goes up by 5%, that he is better off than before – the
leprechauns have a devotion to systems grounded in reality. This
explains why protection of their gold is so important to them.
They are more motivated to guard their twenty ounces of this basic
element than in possessing
a one hundred trillion dollar bill issued by the Zimbabwe government
– an "asset" that might allow them to purchase a loaf
In our politically-directed
world, empty appearances prevail over substance. Institutions
lack the spiritual, passionate, and other emotional qualities
that are found only in life. Such artificial organizations are
driven solely by materialistic pursuits; by values that can be
measured and expressed in terms of numbers. In order to enlist
Boobus’s support for its dispirited undertakings, the established
order must convince people to identify their interests
with institutional purposes, and to repress the inner voices
that warn them of the dangers implicit in their systemic attachments.
through the veins of institutions and energizes those who identify
with them are material values such as the pursuit of money.
Those who give their lives over to the established order accept
such purely physical rewards as money, medals, trophies, job titles,
diplomas, positions of power over others, certificates of accomplishment,
and other testimonials in exchange for ignoring the inner voices
that insist upon their liberty to act in the world.
are unwilling to sacrifice the inner sense of their beings. What
courses through their veins is energized spirit, that innermost
power that can neither be seen nor measured. To such beings, state-issued
money is simply another way to manipulate them in furtherance
of purposes not of their choosing or under their control. But
leprechauns are not hair-shirted ascetics. They know that their
self-interests must be pursued in the material world; that their
rewards come from cooperating with others for mutual benefit.
But they also know that such rewards require protection from those
who might resort to looting rather than voluntary
exchange. Gold (as well as silver) while being a material
substance of the world, is not as subject to the predations of
the state as is paper currency. Unlike the practices of governments
with their printing presses, the alchemists confirmed to us that
there is no manufacturing process by which the supply of gold
can be arbitrarily increased.
long ago learned how to integrate their needs for liberty and
for safeguarding the wealth generated by their self-interested
pursuits. Gold – not decorated paper – is the material embodiment
that helps to preserve the value of what liberty and respect for
property ownership has created. No contradictions to be "balanced"
here. If you want to learn more from these creatures, invite one
to lunch. They are all around you, if you but know where to look!