Francis W. Porretto

Mount Sinai, NY USA

Author's posts

The Nature Of Money And Currency Part 4: The Emergence Of Banks And Banking

The “Money and Currency” series has attracted a lot of email. To date, we have: This discussion of the properties of money and currency; This discourse on Gresham’s Law and bimetallism; This narration of the transition to a fiat dollar. I was tempted to continue on into the sociopolitical pressures that have propelled the massive …

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The Nature Of Money And Currency Part 3: The Great Transformation

To one who grasps the logic of monetary evolution — from less satisfactory to more satisfactory money commodities as technology advances and the scope of trade expands — the great question that inevitably arises is “How on Earth did we get here?” It’s a good question that takes a fair amount of historical research to …

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The Nature Of Money And Currency Part 2: Bimetallism And Gresham’s Law

The previous essay merely set forth the properties that distinguish a money commodity from a currency. I trust it was clear that I greatly prefer moneys founded on a precious metal — once was once known as a specie standard — to currencies that cannot be redeemed in a similarly valuable and durable commodity. Yet …

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The Nature of Money and Currency

     Being an old fart, my education included a few items that are, let us say, no longer deemed suitable for dissemination to the impressionable young. However, had those young folks been exposed to a few of those items, quite a lot of our current miseries might well have been averted.      Two of those …

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Pieties

[In light of this piercing cartoon from the great Chris Muir, I have reposted the following piece, which first appeared at the Palace Of Reason on March 29. 2002. — FWP] A recent, tax-funded study, conducted by the Public Service Research Institute, dared to delve into the truth or falsity of the allegations that New …

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The Calculus of Freedom

Peter Grant has resurrected the most important political questions of all time: those that were undoubtedly on Thomas Jefferson’s mind as he penned the critical passage of the Declaration of Independence: Who decides what constitutes “happiness”? Who decides what constitutes “the populace’s welfare”? Who determines what is (or what should be) “the ultimate good” of …

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Licensure

Five years ago at Eternity Road, I wrote: A colleague of your Curmudgeon’s made a piercing observation the other day. Imagine, he said, that a group of policemen have come to your house determined to execute a warrantless, causeless search and seizure. When you cite your Fourth Amendment guarantee of the right to be free …

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On Privacy

I hadn’t intended to write about this, but it seems to have risen to the top of the public agenda. The activities of the NSA aren’t the only things that have privacy-rights advocates’ hair standing on end. The recent, extremely disturbing case of the harassment of John Filippidis by Maryland police must concern any Second …

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Exclaves

[This disturbing piece from Daniel Greenfield has prompted me to repost the following, which first appeared at Eternity Road on March 15, 2006 — FWP] Your Curmudgeon has occasionally referred to tight-knit Islamic communities in majority non-Islamic nations as enclaves. This is in keeping with the dictionary definition of an enclave: an enclosed territory that …

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The Great Pyramid Of Cheese

[Charles Hill’s brief post on the Velveeta shortage has prompted me to repost the following highly educational article, which first appeared at Eternity Road on March 17, 2007. —FWP] On one evening not too long ago, a friend of mine, who has an extensive extended family, was dining with most of them. Included were several …

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Wastrels

[In response to the quite overwhelming number of readers who remembered it and pleaded for it after reading this piece, below appears a post that first appeared at Eternity Road on November 22, 2009. — FWP] To those who come here for spiritual reinforcement, to those seeking uplift or tools with which to defend their …

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An Intellectual’s Duty

[John Derbyshire, one of America’s brightest opinion writers, has produced a subtly satirical screed about the electoral dangers of letting smart people vote. It moved me to reprint the piece below, which first appeared at Eternity Road on March 12, 2008. — FWP] There aren’t many persons who, if asked whether significantly above-average intelligence could …

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Ultra Vires: Quandaries For Catholics And Conservatives

[The following essay, which first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason in April 2003, is being reposted by special request. Having reviewed it, I find it germane to many of the conflicts within both the Church and the American conservative movement at this time. — FWP] April 21, 2003 In its unique way, the …

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It’s On: What Now?

As I said in the previous piece, now that the long-feared race war is on, the imperative question is What now? However, the previous observation is so striking, and so paralyzing, that many Americans won’t get around to asking themselves what they should do next. Unfortunately, for perhaps two-thirds of us, the failure to address …

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It’s On

Here’s the evidence. Read it. Here’s a little more. Read that too. Here’s a lot more. Read it all. Weep or not, as you prefer. For myself, I’m done with tears. And I’m too much of a realist to deny objective evidence and its implications. In either case, the question becomes: What now? If you …

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Tea Leaves By Twilight

Part 1: Portents      Among the greatest of the curses upon the race of Man is our propensity for “thinking” with our wishes rather than our powers of reasoning — our willful disregard of what is in favor of what we’d like. It leads us to imagine that we inhabit a world far distant from …

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When It Came

(The following short story first appeared at Eternity Road on March 1, 2009 — FWP.)     The president-designate’s eyes flicked briefly toward his chosen successor, then back to the helmeted soldier who stood before him, sidearm holstered at his hip. The soldier noticed the glance and smiled briefly.     “It’s all right, Mr. Secretary,” the soldier said. …

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Present Enemies, Future Wars

[I had intended to produce a gentle, philosophical musing with which to open the new week — something about why the Yankees can’t hit this season or what madness could have induced the Rangers’ front office to spurn Mark Messier as the team’s next head coach — until I came upon this bit of news …

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The Conservative-Libertarian Schism

[After I’d read this essay by humorist P.J. O’Rourke, it occurred to me that the time was right for a reprint of the following essay, which first appeared at the old Palace Of Reason in November, 2002. — FWP] 1. A Harmonization. In 1987, a California organization called the Advocates for Self-Government, led by a …

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You’re Getting Colder!

Today at Forbes, we have an excellent article by Peter Ferrara on the recently confirmed trend toward global cooling. The data, the correlations, and the grudging concessions by various powerhouses of global-warming alarmism leave no doubt that that house of cards, which always stood upon a shaky foundation of closely held temperature data and dubious …

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