Usury and the Corruption of American Society

7/21/13, by Clement Pulaski


Many of those on the far-right today are aware of the Federal Reserve and the negative impact that it has had on America since its founding in 1913. But this is not the first time that a questionable state-sanctioned bank has been accused of corrupting American society, as those familiar with the presidency of Andrew Jackson know. Perhaps the defining feature of Jackson's tenure in office was his war against the National Bank of his day. The Second Bank of the United States was established in 1817 with a twenty year charter, but by the 1820s the Bank had already become widely unpopular. Jackson argued strongly against renewing the charter of the Bank, and thanks to his efforts the charter was allowed to lapse in 1836, effectively destroying the Bank. And while Jackson was successful in some respects, his victory was only a minor setback for the corrosive Money Power, because he failed to deal with the inherent evil of usury.

When looking at Jackson's attacks on the Bank, the words seem to apply perfectly to our current situation under the Federal Reserve. (The following quotes are taken from Jackson's 1833 and 1834 State of the Union addresses):

[T]he question is distinctly presented whether the people of the United States are to govern through representatives chosen by their unbiased suffrages or whether the money and power of a great corporation are to be secretly exerted to influence their judgment and control their decisions. It must now be determined whether the bank is to have its candidates for all offices in the country, from the highest to the lowest, or whether candidates on both sides of political questions shall be brought forward as heretofore and supported by the usual means.
At this time the efforts of the bank to control public opinion, through the distresses of some and the fears of others, are equally apparent...while through presses known to have been sustained by its money it attempts by unfounded alarms to create a panic in all.
[The Bank has] actively engaged in attempting to influence the elections of the public officers by means of its violation of the express provisions of its charter, it [has] by a formal resolution placed its funds at the disposition of its president to be employed in sustaining the political power of the bank.

According to Jackson, the Bank manufactured panics amongst the public to justify its own existence, and used the power of money and the press to control the election process. Furthermore, this use of public funds was contrary to law:

It is a constitutional provision "that no money shall be drawn from the Treasury but in consequence of appropriations made by law". The palpable object of this provision is to prevent the expenditure of the public money for any purpose what so ever which shall not have been 1st approved by the representatives of the people and the States in Congress assembled...According to this plain constitutional provision, the claim of the bank can never be paid without an appropriation by act of Congress. But the bank has never asked for an appropriation. It attempts to defeat the provision of the Constitution and obtain payment without an act of Congress.

Jackson also pointed out that despite the claims of its supporters, a national bank simply was not necessary:

Happily it is already illustrated that the agency of such an institution is not necessary to the fiscal operations of the Government. The State banks are found fully adequate to the performance of all services which were required of the Bank of the United States, quite as promptly and with the same cheapness.

Finally Jackson warned the American people of the great dangers that await them if the Money Power were to have free reign:

The bold effort the present bank has made to control the Government, the distresses it has wantonly produced...are but premonitions of the fate which awaits the American people should they be deluded into a perpetuation of this institution or the establishment of another like it.

Indeed the problems of the 1830s were but mere premonitions of what has befallen America in the last 100 years.

When reading Jackson's words, one notices that while his criticisms are aimed only at the National Bank, in most instances they apply equally to private banks. Private banks are quite capable of using their money to control the press, manufacture economic crises, and manipulate elections. While a powerful National Bank that directly uses tax-payer money is more sinister and more dangerous, unchecked private banks are dangerous enough. It would be unfair for us to attack Jackson for his failure to go after the private banks, for acceptance of usury was pervasive in the 19th century. By the time of the American revolution the nations of Europe, both Catholic and Protestant, had fallen away from the strong Medieval aversion to usury. It was not until the fascist and national socialist movements of the 1920s that Western civilization began to formulate a comprehensive response to the problems of interest-banking and industrial capitalism.

In his book Manifesto for the Abolition of Interest-Slavery prominent National Socialist economist Gottfried Feder argued that interest-banking was at the root of societal decay. Feder understood that the worship of money in general (mammonism) and interest-banking in particular are deadly to civilization:

Mammonism is the heavy, all-encompassing and overwhelming sickness from which our contemporary cultural sphere, and indeed all mankind, suffers. It is like a devastating illness, like a devouring poison, that has gripped the peoples of the world. By Mammonism is to be understood: on the one hand, the overwhelming international money-powers, the supragovernmental financial power enthroned above any right of self-determination of peoples, international big capital...on the other hand, a mindset that has taken hold of the broadest circle of peoples; the insatiable lust for gain, the purely wordly-oriented conception of life that has already led to a frightening decline of all moral concepts and can only lead to more.
The chief source of power for Mammonism is the effortless and endless income that is produced through interest.
The idea of interest on loans is the diabolical invention of big loan-capital; it alone makes possible the lazy drone's life of a minority of tycoons at the expense of the productive peoples and their work-potential; it has led to profound, irreconcilable differences, to class-hatred, from which war among citizens and brothers was born. The only cure, the radical means to heal suffering humanity is the abolition of enslavement to interest on money. The abolition of enslavement to interest on money signifies the only possible and conclusive liberation of productive labor from the hidden coercive money-powers. The abolition of enslavement to interest signifies the restoration of the free personality, the redemption of man from slavery, from the curse whereby Mammonism has bound his soul.
The avalanche-like growth of loan-capital surpasses all human capacity for calculation, through eternal, endless, and effortless income from interest, and from interest on interest.

Through the practice of interest-banking an ever larger percentage of currency (either real or imagined) is in the hands of the banks, and less and less in the hands of productive individuals. In this sense interest-banking is almost a type of illusion or spell cast upon the minds of men. Year by year the banks are wealthier and producers are poorer, but the imbalance in productivity between the two groups remains constant. The power of the banks comes from us agreeing that they have power. This reveals the other necessary condition for the domination of society by money-lenders: the greed of the common people. Our people undoubtedly have a "purely wordly-oriented conception of life", and agree to the system of the bankers because they still desire the banker's credit. The common people are minor, temporary beneficiaries of the banking system, taking pleasure in living beyond their means, ignoring the impending destruction of their nations. The common people benefit from interest-banking in the same way that addicts benefit from drug dealers: they receive the fleeting enjoyment of something they do not truly need while handing over all their wealth to their exploitative masters. Most of our people would rather accept easy credit from the banks than engage in the difficult struggle against the money power. We are like junkies who repeatedly go after another high rather than making the painful but life-saving choice to kick the habit.

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