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Morgan Silver and the Matrix of Debt

Ryan Jordan

Morpheus: Let me tell you why you’re here. You’re here because you know something. What you know you can’t explain, but you feel it. You’ve felt it your entire life, that there’s something wrong with the world. You don’t know what it is, but its there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. It is this feeling that has brought you to me. Do you know what I’m talking about?

Neo: The Matrix.

Morpheus: Do you want to know what it is?

Neo: Yes.

Morpheus: The Matrix is everywhere. It is all around us. Even now, in this very room. You can see it when you look out your window or when you turn on your television. You can feel it when you go to work… when you go to church… when you pay your taxes. It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth.

Neo: What truth?

Morpheus: That you are a slave, Neo. Like everyone else you were born into bondage. Into a prison that you cannot taste or see or touch. A prison for your mind.


To be perfectly honest, I think I discovered David Morgan (the Morpheus in sunglasses) when I was searching online for Morgan Silver Dollars. (These dollars, named for their designer George T. Morgan, were minted between 1878 and 1904, with one final appearance in 1921) It is possible I thought that David Morgan was some sort of descendant of the original designer, and for all I know, maybe he is- I’ll have to ask. In any case, the video above depicting Mr. Morgan as the silver-giving Morpheus encouraging Neo to crawl deeper down the rabbit hole appealed to me, regardless of what you think of the acting (sorry, David.) We live in a matrix of debt, created by the banking state, and it is very hard for most of us to be unplugged, to begin the process of making our escape.

Going down the rabbit hole (a reference to Alice in Wonderland), perhaps like you, has been a personal affliction since an early age. I guess like most kids, I would pester my father to “tell me the whole story” whenever he would not explain something to my liking. A case in point: my dad once gave me a 100,000 Papiermark from the Weimar Republic, since he knew that I was going through a coin collecting and paper money phase (that never ended). Looking at the all of the zeros, I was puzzled at how so much money made so many people so poor.  Did this mean, I thought, that our dollars are only worth the value of the paper they are printed on (or less)? What is money, I asked my dad?  I can’t remember the answer so it probably was not satisfactory.  Yet I am willing to bet that, digging down the rabbit hole in this manner has led to my cognitive dissonance about the financial world around me.

I sometimes think that I am cognitive dissonance personified. For example, how do I justify embracing precious metals when I fear that such an investment might help bring down the western financial system? Is my investment in precious metals really about principles, about civil disobedience, or am I simply rationalizing greed?  How do I justify trying to be a realist in a financial system which embraces “confidence” as the glue holding together all economic transactions? Are those of us who hold precious metals prepared to be blamed as “profiteers” “hoarders” or “arbitrageurs” by having made fortunes with our precious metals investments?  Or will those fortunes simply be confiscated and taken away by the state? Will it matter how much money we have if we are forced to flee our home country?

Going too far down the rabbit hole is a sure-fire way to end up as a writer, if not locked up in an insane asylum (or both). Thinking too much exposes all of the loose ends, all of the indeterminacy, all of the chaos lurking just beneath the floorboards of our existence. We are not sure who our enemies are. We are not sure what to do even if we could correctly identify our enemies. We do not trust ourselves to be able to break free of the ensnaring webs of dependence brought about by newer technologies or by newer, innovative institutions of credit. People are trapped, perhaps they have always been trapped, and that begs the basic, almost naïve question: can anyone really be free? Is Ron Paul just another Don Quixote tilting at windmills when critiquing the global banking state on behalf of some ideal called libertarianism?

Meanwhile, the cognitive dissonance train lumbers along. To paraphrase Jim Grant, I thought money was distilled work: so what does it mean that money can now be conjured up on a computer screen? What does it mean that central bankers have morphed from simply supplying liquidity during banking panics to creating money on a continuing basis? Aren’t bankers just an updated aristocracy? Who really benefits from touting a “growing” American economy that leaves its middle class without savings while encouraging the myth of endless consumption? What does it mean that most of the objectives stated by the American Socialist Party in 1934 have come to pass? Are we a capitalist country, or are we a socialist one? What do terms like socialist or capitalist even mean anymore? Is it possible to be a libertarian socialist? Was there ever a free market, when the government was involved in everything from canals to the internet? I thought the term “capitalism” was invented by Karl Marx? Are the bankers controlling all sides of the wars or battles being fought in the world, whether ideological or militaristic?

Speaking of bankers supporting both capitalists and communists, I had a student last year who was always interjecting questions in my U.S. history class on this point. I let him speak, even as one of the female students actually moved her desk away from him while he was talking. (I later pointed my student toward some helpful titles on the subject of banking history) But why is it that some of my students seem to ask more probing questions than many of the talking heads or other wannabe intellectuals on TV? Do you have to sell your soul to be a public intellectual? Is it possible to be an anti-intellectual intellectual?

Caught in the Web of the System

The Matrix is about being caught in the web of the system. Much of my scholarly work concerns religion, civil disobedience, and the tensions within definitions of liberty. In particular, my first book on the Quakers and the abolitionists concerned a group of people caught in a system- the American slaveholding republic- that they were not sure how to get out of. In the 1830s, 40s, and 50s, many Americans feared a civil war over the slavery issue, even as Northerners grew increasingly alarmed at the injustice of going along with a draconian Fugitive Slave Act. As committed pacifists who had expelled slaveholders from their church in the late 1700s, the Quakers coped as best they could with bad options as the United States seemed to be lurching toward violent civil disobedience and civil war. Many leading Quakers opposed overt political involvement against slavery, even as other reformers in the church hoped that their civil disobedience would not be seen as legitimizing violence. But ultimately they were proved wrong. At some point in the early 1850s, the abolitionists, as with other Northern radicals, gave up on the American state completely. After President Pierce sent Marines to Boston to forcibly re-enslave Anthony Burns under the terms of the Fugitive Slave Act, it was Henry David Thoreau who said, “My thoughts are murder to the state.” Over the next several years, sporadic acts of violent resistance broke out throughout the country- culminating in John Brown’s raid on Harper’s Ferry, VA in 1859. This Northern abolitionist received support from hundreds of other abolitionists to incite insurrection among the enslaved blacks of the South. Brown didn’t get very far, and was ultimately hanged for his actions. But his plot basically ensured a civil war.

In fact, I was in an archive on the morning of September 11, 2001 reading papers from the family of Edwin Coppoc, a Quaker who was executed with Brown in December 1859 for his role in the Harper’s Ferry plot. Edwin’s aunt, Ann Coppoc, remained unapologetic regarding her nephew’s support for violence to end slavery as she believed that “under the present peculiar crisis…some of the best of our flock may be required as a sacrifice for our country and our cause.” Reading these letters from people once thought to be domestic terrorists, but now viewed as heroes in many circles, I reflected on whether or not in my lifetime I would see people willing to sacrifice their lives because of their intense hatred for an economic or political system. It was around this time that word came into the archive about what had happened in New York. I would like to believe that politicians can help their citizens not embrace war as a safety valve for domestic economic problems, but history usually demonstrates just the opposite.

“Most of these people are not ready to be unplugged”

I believe it was in an interview with Al Korelin that David Morgan  (Silver Morpheus) explained that he greatly admired people like Martin Luther King or Gandhi in terms of standing up for unpopular principles. Many others in the gold and silver community have likened their investments to acts of civil disobedience, and so have I. Precious metal purchases certainly are done in opposition to the propaganda machine which includes both the Federal Reserve and the media. The system sent out another thought control attempt last Sunday night. I had the frustrating experience of watching the “Ben Bernank’s” 60 minutes interview with family members and friends. Adding insult to injury I had to endure a family friend – someone who owns gold and silver- telling me that it all sounded reasonable to her, and that I should be more understanding toward the nice man on the television. I was the one overreacting, or not giving the Ben Bernank enough credit for having saved us from ourselves. Good grief.

Inflation favors debtors over creditors; the improvident over the thrifty. Inflation can also be used by the state and those most closely connected to it to confiscate wealth. This was the observation made by John Locke over 300 years ago when he wrote in defense of maintaining the silver content of English coinage after the debasement of the early 1690s. Locke was opposed to the arbitrariness and authoritarianism of inflation. As has been stated repeatedly, inflation- or more accurately deficit spending- is useful in fueling wars. John Kenneth Galbraith  wrote that all revolutions are paid for with paper money. Here is another bit of cognitive dissonance for any hard money advocate: how do we justify that our own American Revolution was financed with paper money, the Continental? What does it mean that one of the first paper money schemes in the western world originated in the colony of Massachusetts in the 1690s? Between the Continental, wildcat banking, state banknote issuance, Greenbacks, and central banking, is the history of the United States the history of one big ponzi scheme waiting to blow up?

You know, now that I’ve done some more thinking about it, if I were facing the Silver Morpheus I might ask if I could have both my paper money and my silver- sort of like a monetary version of Pascal’s wager. This is because as a drone of the fiat system, I too am not ready to be unplugged.


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