quote:Some people falsely assume that money is ‘backed’ only by something that already exists – something that exists before new money is issued. They imagine a fixed quantum of gold, for example, or some other commodity or precious metal. When these people hear pundits or politicians attacking the Fed for ‘printing money,’ they accordingly assume it’s a bad thing – something that automatically causes … inflation.
But this is a mistake – a mistake with huge consequences. And it’s not hard to see why.
Let’s start with inflation. The thing to remember about inflation is that it’s a relation. Say that again: Inflation is a relation. To simplify slightly, it’s a relation between the quantity of money on the one hand and the number of available goods and services on the other hand. Hence the colloquial definition of inflation as ‘too much money chasing too few goods.’
I know that some of you will criticize me for not putting my answer in my own words but at this point, I don't understand some of the concepts enough to know the words.
Once Phat has made the corrections himself, I will remove this from mine. Please reply to Phat's own message, not to this one.
Edited by dwise1, : ABE: QS of portion of Phat's message with format corrections
This experience with recent chatbots has left me feeling that perhaps some significant aspect of what we deem progress is merely change combined with forgetting a lot of what the previous generation knew. Who thinks that virtual buttons are an advance over real buttons? Who thinks that TV as it transitions to streaming has gotten better? Has anyone here had a car accident or near accident because they were forced to look at the touchpad while driving because the buttons can't be felt? I have a universal remote with real buttons. I don't have to look at it for most functions. I tried one with virtual buttons a little over a decade ago, it was the high-end popular one but I forget the name now, and I programmed it up the kazoo, then abandoned it after only a week. I don't like having to look at my remote to hit a button.
I had an iPod, then when its battery died I upgraded to an iPod Nano. I loved that trackwheel and consider it one of the only things that Apple really got right. I had my daily playlist that I would set to shuffle and then put the Nano in my shirt pocket. If I decided to skip the song that came up, all I had to do was to reach into my pocket and skip it completely by touch. My friend at work drove a motorcycle and would do the same thing with his.
Then they discontinued the iPods and replaced them with the iTouch. Now you had to free up both your hands, hold the iTouch in one hand, look at it (a wonderful idea if you're riding your cycle), and use the other hand to press a virtual button. No more trackwheel!
I never got an iTouch, but rather kept my Nano and used it at work until I retired in 2018. For a few of those last years I never used iTunes, which is still on my Windows box, but rather charged my Nano on my work computer's USB. When I recharged my Nano a few months ago iTunes wanted to start deleting songs, so I quickly pulled the plug and recharged the Nano on my laptop (no iTunes there).
As I said, I loved that trackwheel and still think it was the best thing that Apple ever came up with. I mean, when I got cable I was extremely disappointed that I didn't have it on my remote so that I could fast-forward so much more efficiently ("What do you mean you can't do that?"). And they dumped it! Though I recently saw an ad for an Apple streaming device and I'm pretty sure I saw a trackwheel on its remote. Still sticking with my Roku.
Also, virtual keyboards on phones with AutoCorrupt just drive me crazy for anything more than a quick text. Nothing beats touch-typing on a computer keyboard.
My current church is probably Ed Taylors Calvary Chapel. dwise1 remembers Chuck Smith in California. (The Jesus Freaks and all that. Calvary Chapel became somewhat of a franchised name, but if I understand correctly, each individual Calvary Chapel has a character and (perhaps) a specific mission or calling of its own.
I seem to recall from long ago as new Calvary Chapels were springing up in other parts of Orange County that they were independent, but there was also some tenet of faith that they had to maintain, or maybe some kind of organizational requirement. I think the one in Mission Viejo was the first new one and that it was founded by Chuck Smith's son. All I heard about it was from a couple with young children who joined our UU church: they had gone there and were appalled by being commanded to beat their children, so they left and were glad to find our church. Also, conversation in the dancers' group of the 50-plus singles ministry of Rick Warren's Saddleback Church turned to talking about that same Calvary Chapel church and how extremely legalistic they were -- you know, like the NT mischaracterization of the Pharisees as being, obsessing over every little dot and tittle of every little law (even though the Golden Rule came from the Pharisees who taught that it replaced all the other laws). IOW, those fundamentalists were exactly like they accused the Pharisees as having been.
Chuck Smith's (he died a few years ago well before the pandemic) Calvary Chapel was the first one, to my knowledge. It's called "Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa" even though for as long as I've known of it (starting around 1969) it has always been in Santa Ana -- actually, on the Santa Ana side of Sunflower Avenue, which forms the border between Costa Mesa and Santa Ana. My older sister and her husband are members and he verified my suspicion that it had gone through its own "church in a box" phase (as our UU church had done during which we'd get a public use permit to use school auditoriums) and that they would meet at a member's house in Costa Mesa.
But while each Calvary Chapel can have its own "personality", I've noticed that that personality can evolve over time. I have noticed that happening with the Costa Mesa church.
I use the analogy of the evolution of a virus as presented by Michael Crichton MD in his book, The Andromeda Strain. Basically, a virus will evolve into forms with strategies that enable it to reproduce more (basic natural selection in action). In the case of the extraterrestrial virus in the book, it started out very aggressive and deadly, but it's not a very good strategy for a virus to kill the host before it has a chance to spread, so variants that are not so deadly will spread more readily and take over. Thus there's a tendency for a virus to become less deadly over time. In the opposite direction there's the example of syphilis which was fairly benign in the native American population where lack of much clothing allowed for it to spread readily through skin contact. But it became virulent when Europeans brought it back with them and it could not spread as readily through the layers of clothing Europeans wore, so becoming more virulent was its new strategy.
Church personality evolves in a similar way. At first, it was going through explosive growth which was driven by aggressive street proselytizing (not unlike your plan to accost and covert school children in back alleys, remember that discussion?). During that time, you couldn't turn around without somebody trying to convert you. In fact, that trait of that church still impacts it as non-members, remembering having suffered through that time, still want nothing to do with fundies and regard them with contempt. At first the term "Jesus Freak" was meant as an insult, but like blacks have done with the "n-word", the fundies chose to embrace the name. Though it probably didn't hurt that many of them were burned-out hippies and "freak" is another name for "hippy" and some of their slogans were borrowed from their former drug culture (eg, "Hooked on Jesus" was a popular bumper sticker at the time.
It was during that time that I read their proselytizing training materials (much use of cartoons depicting a "conversation" with the intended victim in which the "saved one" would hit his mark with difficult questions intended to be unanswerable by the mark and hence would either throw him off balance and more open to conversion or else to discredit him and his position in the eyes of bystanders. Half a century later, we still see that tactic being used by creationists like Kleinman and Dredge (candle2 and eWolf have tried it, but they're even weaker at it than Dredge is).
In that initial "Jesus Freak" phase, they were very virulent using hardcore proselytizing tactics against everybody they could and it did work in growing their numbers, so it was successful and persisted ... for a time. A key teaching, more of an obsession for many of them, was The Rapture and The End Times. And finding "666" everywhere they could -- in barcodes (eg, claiming that the Mark of the Beast would be a barcode tattooed on your forehead in order to buy anything), I'm pretty sure I saw a gov't building (IRS or Social Security I seem to recall) in Santa Ana at the time with a 666 street address, but the one that they have all missed in the present day is Jared Kushner's NYC address of 666 Fifth Avenue.
True story: at one job our company president was third-generation fundamentalist and his son was fourth-generation. Since their connection predated and bypassed the Jesus Freaks, they did not engage in proselytizing and were actually very nice people to know and to work with. The son graduated from high school and went to attend Northwestern in Chicago, but he'd fly back home between semesters and would work with us (automated greenhouse control systems). After his first semester he said school was going OK, but he felt lonely since he didn't know anyone. Knowing that many colleges have campus Christian clubs, I suggested he try one at least for fellowship. He said he had tried that and would never make that mistake again. All those clubs would do would be to devise plans for converting the other students. That was around 1990 and they were still at it.
So what changed here? The story goes that early Christians took Jesus' promise to return within their lifetimes very seriously to the point where they wouldn't even plant trees because they would never mature to bear fruit before the Second Coming. But finally they had to admit that it wasn't going to happen so they returned to planting trees and other activities for building the future.
The same happened at Calvary Chapel. These burned-out hippie Jesus Freaks started getting a life and having to start building a future: they fell in love and got married, got a job or even a profession, bought a house, had children, then grandchildren. Their numbers were already up and growth in church membership came from having children (which would then drive a later phase). As a result they engaged much less in overt proselytizing and more in simply "witnessing". Not only did they have less need to drive up membership, but they also had other priorities (the ones that come with getting a life) as well as less free time to engage in proselytizing.
Oh, that drive to proselytize is still there, but it seems to be funneled into anti-abortion and creationism. And they always did and still do push for what's now called Christian Nationalism (formerly Christian Reconstructionism, Dominion Theology).
One thing that may have weaned them off the End Times fanaticism was when it came to something of a head in the 80's with the arrival of a conspiracy theorist who claimed to have formerly been a practicing Satanist with stories of newborn babies being sacrificed, etc. He stirred up a lot of trouble at Calvary and Melodyland (a theater-in-the-round across from Disneyland when then became a church). I've asked them casually about it and nobody wants to talk about it; I'll allow that the stories I heard are probably exaggerations.
Well, now they seem to be entering a new phase of more aggressive proselytizing because of their children -- the chickens are not coming home to roost, but rather are fleeing the coop. Even churches' own youth ministries admit that they have a very serious problem as about 75% (figures range from 65% to 80%) of their children raised in the faith are fleeing, running as fast as they can away from religion. Youth ministers are trying to figure out what's causing it and they blame everything else that they can but never consider that it might be caused by those children's experiences growing up in that religion. Of course, I immediately want to blame the pack of lies which is creationism and will point to instances of deconversion after discovering the truth about science and evolution (and the age of the earth, etc). But if you read the testimonials at deconversion sites such as
you find that in many cases it they deconverted because of psychological damage that the religion had done them.
But whatever the causes, there's still the fact that churches are losing the next generation, so their membership is dropping. When you lose the kids, then you have to go out and recruit new members. Which from what I hear it's what's happening at Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. My sister and brother-in-law are about 80 years old and they are feeling disaffected at Calvary. Besides losing their old friends and Chuck Smith, the mood/personality of the place has been changing. MAGAt influence, COVID denial, Christian Nationalism, Qanon conspiracy theorizing, push to return to hardcore proselytizing, etc. I think my sister still meets with her Bible study group, but they no longer feel very much at home there now. They are getting ready to move to Georgia and will probably look into attending a church there.
So while an individual church can have its own "personality", that personality can and does change over time.
Members of my high school friend's family converted to fundamentalism through Chuck Smith's Calvary Chapel. He and I, both still atheists, became "fellow travelers" where we learned what they were teaching and preaching.
I had left Christianity half a decade before because I started reading the Bible to see what I was supposed to believe and I found that without a doubt I could not believe what I was reading, so I left. My mistake was assuming that I had to take what I was reading literally, which I don't even know whether my church required that. So it's ironic that now I was seeing a church that explicitly required my stupid assumption, biblical literalism, which means that I really couldn't believe what they were selling. Then studying creationism a decade later succeeded in permanently immunizing me from such religious nonsense.
My friend and I would read their materials and discuss them. A popular genre were "novels" about the End Times, all of them badly written. Many months ago (years probably) I watch a YouTube video discussing why Christian movies are bad; I think that it is this one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50_3J6Go5Ng&t=421s . Either this or another video compares Christian films and normal films for their cinematography and editing showing where Christian films fall flat and why they do. This video gets into a reason for that, which is that, whereas normal films are made by filmmakers whose goal is to make cinematographic art, Christian films are made by preachers whose goal is to preach a sermon. And I think that the same was true of those Christian novels and which was why they were so poorly written.
We also read every Chick Pubs tract we could lay our hands on (and they were laying around everywhere). Always good for a laugh. A few decades later in a public restroom someone what left Chick tracts in every stall, which I found to be a poor idea. The pages are too small for effective use as toilet paper in case the regular stuff ran out -- Sears & Roebuck catalogs they ain't!