Thursday, December 20, 2007

That Crazy Gold Bug!

Mainstream pundits love to criticize Ron Paul for his outspoken support of sound-money and the gold standard. Normally, they simply call Ron Paul names like crazy, fringe, or anti-intellectual (my favorite). Now we are beginning to see the next wave which actually contains some arguments.'s Andrew Leonard launches the latest attack by appealing to the consensus.
Mainstream economists will be happy to argue about whether, at any particular point in time, the Fed is too eager to ease interest rates and prop up speculative bubbles. But few would suggest that the solution is getting rid of the Fed altogether, and even fewer that returning to the gold standard is a workable option.
Leonard correctly sees that most 'mainstream' economists disagree with Paul. Yet, many world renowned economists do agree with Paul--Freadrich Hayek, Milton Freedman, and Lidwig von Mises. Perhaps the most interesting endorsement of Paul's position comes from Mr. Fed himself Allen Greenspan, whom all these pundits worship as an economic god. Before becoming the Fed chairman, Greenspan wrote a short article "Gold and Economic Freedom." He concludes
In the absence of the gold standard, there is no way to protect savings from confiscation through inflation. There is no safe store of value. ... Deficit spending is simply a scheme for the confiscation of wealth. Gold stands in the way of this insidious process. It stands as a protector of property rights. If one grasps this, one has no difficulty in understanding the statists' antagonism toward the gold standard.
Although Greenspan pined this while still young, he has confirmed he still holds this position. During a Congressional oversight meeting the following exchange occurred:
‘Now my next question is, is it your
intention that the report of this hearing should be that Greenspan recommends a return to
the gold standard?’ Greenspan responded, ‘I’ve been recommending that for years, there’s
nothing new about that. . . . It would probably mean there is only one vote in the Federal
Open Market Committee for that, but it is mine.'
Ron Paul reportedly asked Greenspan if he still believed the pamphlet. Greenspan responded that he recently re-read it and "wouldn't change a word of it."

So, we can either consider Greenspan a crazy, fringe, anti-intellectual gold bug or give Ron Paul a fair hearing.

Some ancient wisdom to ponder during this election cycle.

Those who rule shall be like sea monsters,
swallowing up human beings like fish.
Free sons and daughters they shall enslave;
houses, fields, flocks, goods they shall seize.
With the flesh of many persons they shall wickedly
gorge crows and cranes.
They shall make progress in evil; they shall
be exalted in avarice
(Testament of Judah 21:7-8; 2nd Century BC).


I found this very interesting text where Solomon interviews Belzelboul, the Prince of the demons.

I said to him, "what are your activities?" He replied, "I bring destruction by means of tyrants; I cause the demons to be worshiped alongside men; and I arouse desire in holy men and select priests. I bring about jealousies and murders in a country, and I instigate wars." (Testament of Solomon 6:4; 1st-3rd century AD)

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Review: Williams Hebrew Syntax

Today, I reviewed Williams Hebrew Syntax at amazon. I have included the review below.

Beckman thoroughly revised and expanded Williams’ original work without losing it’s genius. He includes a concise and informative explanation for each grammatical category and gives a literal interlinear and idiomatic translation for every example. Beckman has helped all future Hebrew students with his extensive footnotes. For every category, he gives a footnote with the section number of the same category in the five major reference grammars—A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar, Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, Gesenius, Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and Jo√ľon. Thus, he made his grammar into an index of all grammars.

Despite these advances, I have one minor criticism. The authors do no include a separate section on hinneh, “behold.” This particle plays a key role in many constructions as evidenced in the grammar. However, the student must flip though the whole book to find these uses when they should be together. Perhaps the authors left this out to save space but they could at least include hinneh in the Hebrew word or subject indexes. I hope a future edition could correct this very minor oversight

I use this grammar every time I read Hebrew. When I arrive at a construction I need help with, I reach for William’s Hebrew Syntax first. Usually, I am satisfied with his description but if I need more I use his footnotes to quickly find the appropriate section in an advanced grammar. Beckman has made a grammar that is ideal for quick reading while also acting as gateway to more advanced study. I recommend all students buy Williams Hebrew Syntax and either Bruce K. Waltke and M. O'Connor An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax or Paul Jouon and T. Muraoka A Grammar of Biblical Hebrew. With this combination, you can quickly look up constructions without flipping though thousands of pages and still have access to advanced information when you need it.