I have been remiss in failing to note, in case some readers are unaware of it, that our erstwhile colleague Zippy Catholic is back blogging at his own website. Lately he has put up illuminating posts on torture and usury. It both cases he has taught me at least — and I wager many more of us here — some very important things, which without him I might have never learned. On the former, he has been steadily updating a Catalogue of Failed Arguments mustered in defense of waterboarding, an indefensible technique of interrogation which, sadly, our government regularly engaged in and which, even more sadly, most of our countrymen are insouciant about.
On the latter, in good Chestertonian fashion, Zippy has begun an inquiry into the Thomistic treatment of usurious forms of lending and finance which operates on the premise that maybe, just maybe, it is not the moderns who are wise and the mediaevals who are ignorant of finance, but rather the reverse. As Chesterton himself put it: “Do not be proud of the fact that your grandmother was shocked at something which you are accustomed to seeing or hearing without being shocked. It may be that your grandmother was an extremely lively and vital animal and that you are a paralytic.” Well, modern finance capitalism has produced some extraordinary paralysis, alright. We have right now a securities trade where the big banks borrow money at near zero percent from the Federal Reserve and then lend it at 2 or 3 percent to the Treasury. What a bunch of geniuses these guys are! Meanwhile the financiers develop increasing intricate arbitrage trading strategies that consist of piling up huge capital behind a momentary, fractional irrationality in some arcane market, and turning a big profit on the unearned increment that is available only to the huge player.
In any case, Zippy is back blogging, and, as ever, always worth reading.