A dramatic, widely noticed, three-part series in the Huffington Post by Harvard professor, esteemed historian, and public intellectual Niall Ferguson has -- if justice is served -- destroyed any vestige of even a pretense of credibility of Nobel Laureate, and New York Times columnist and blogger, Princeton professor Paul Krugman.
Drawing on Krugman's own Napoleonic bestowal, upon himself, of a title near infallibility, it is entitled Krugtron the Invincible. It is a devastating riposte to Krugman's own ill-founded critiques of Ferguson's work. There is an element of Greek tragedy here. By baiting Ferguson, Krugman precipitated his own downfall.
From Part 1:
"Maybe I actually am right," Krugman wrote back in April, "and maybe the other side actually does contain a remarkable number of knaves and fools. ... Look at the results: again and again, people on the opposite side prove to have used bad logic, bad data, the wrong historical analogies, or all of the above. I'm Krugtron the Invincible!" That last allusion is to the 1980s science fiction superhero, Voltron. The resemblance between Krugman and Voltron was suggested by one of the gaggle of bloggers who are to Krugman what Egyptian plovers are to crocodiles. Yesterday one of these thought, wrongly, that he had caught me out. Unwisely, the crocodile snapped its jaws shut.
I don't know which particular model Paul Krugman was using in the summer of 2012, but it certainly did rather a bad job of predicting what would happen. I laughed out loud at his recent lame excuse that his model couldn't have been expected to predict the action of the European Central Bank. What an awesome model: one that predicts everything about a monetary union except the action of the monetary authority.
Besides its wrongness, the other striking feature of Krugman's commentary on the euro is the vitriol he has directed against those struggling to cope with the crisis. In December 2011, he called the then Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti "delusional." In March of this year, incredibly, he appeared to liken the Finnish Vice President of the European Commission, Olli Rehn, to a cockroach. Some people, I have come to realize, are intimidated by this lack of civility. But I am with Dilbert. It's simply absurd for this man to accuse others of "derping," a childish neologism meaning -- in case you've forgotten -- to "take a position and refuse to alter that position ... despite being wrong again and again."
"I like to think," Krugman wrote on August 14, "that if I had been proved ... utterly wrong ... I'd have had the strength of character to admit it and question my premises. But I don't know for sure, and with some luck I'll never find out." Now that I have shown Krugtron the Invincible to have been utterly and repeatedly wrong about the euro, I look forward to reading his admission of error.
To be precise, I would like to see him admit that he got the biggest call of the last several years dead wrong, again and again and again. Not only should he admit his mistake, but he should also apologize to the millions of people who have suffered as a result of it. Or does he believe that his numerous, widely read predictions of imminent currency break-up had no impact whatever on the expectations of European investors and consumers?
Excerpts from Part 2 to follow....
A fascinating article, The Twilight of the Planners, by William Henry Chamberlain, in the May 1, 1964 issue of The Freeman throws a ray of light on the economic statesmen who restored a war-ravaged Europe to prosperity.
Image courtesy of ReadInk Books
The prominence of Jacques Rueff, mentor to Lehrman Institute founder and chairman Lewis E. Lehrman, is striking:
The recovery of Europe from postwar desolation to its present state of booming prosperity would never have taken place if early reliance on rationing, bilateral trade, government allocation of resources had not been scrapped and replaced by the normal methods of a free economy. And in this connection much credit is due to such statesmen as Ludwig Erhard in Germany, Reinhard Kamitz in Austria, the late Luigi Einaudi in Italy, and to truly liberal (not statist "liberal") economists, such as Jacques Rueff, Wilhelm Roepke, the late Walter Eucken, and, last but far from least, the late Per Jacobsson, who by their writings and official and unofficial reports strongly influenced the return to traditional economic wisdom.
Jacobsson was a mighty battler against the dangers of inflation and the fallacies of "dirigism," the European word for state directed economy. His reports for the Bank for International Settlements in Basel were beacon lights of common-sense realism. And in the post which he occupied until his death as Secretary-General of the International Monetary Fund he was able to strike many blows for three basic economic freedoms, free movement of men, money, and goods across frontiers.
Jacobsson’s contacts as representative of the IMF included the leading statesmen of Europe; and the transformation of the French franc from one of the softest currencies in Europe to one of the hardest may be, at least in part, the result of one of his talks with General de Gaulle. He recalled the fact that not the least of Napoleon’s achievements was the creation of a stable French currency, an achievement which long outlasted his empire. De Gaulle showed lively interest at the mention of the name of Napoleon and shortly after this talk measures were put into effect which stopped the continual erosion in the value of the franc.
Another military head of state, General Franco of Spain, proved amenable to the arguments of Erhard and Rueff, whom he had invited to Spain to offer advice as to how best to revive the Spanish economy, which had been limping along under a good deal of government interventionism. Controls were abolished or relaxed, the currency was stabilized, tourists flocked into the country in increasing numbers, and exports boomed.
One can but wish that Chamberlain's optimism about the Planners' sun having set had proved better founded. That said, one cannot but note how well-founded, by the outcomes, is his accolade for the "truly liberal (not statist 'liberal') economists, such as Jacques Rueff."
One cannot but be struck by the historically obscure, yet important, fact of Rueff's benevolent influence on Franco, and thus Spain.
And how crucial having a classical liberal at the helm of the IMF proved... and, if again tried, would prove ... to the restoration of dignity, liberty, and their attendant handmaiden, equitable prosperity.
Joseph Story is a name little known to the general public. Yet it is one relished by legal -- and Constitutional -- connoisseurs.
Photo courtesy of the Library of Congress
As summed up by the Wikipedia:
Joseph Story (September 18, 1779 – September 10, 1845) was an American lawyer and jurist who served on the Supreme Court of the United States from 1811 to 1845. He is most remembered ... especially for his magisterial Commentaries on the Constitution of the United States, first published in 1833. Dominating the field in the 19th century, this work is a cornerstone of early American jurisprudence. It is the first comprehensive treatise on the provisions of the U.S. Constitution and remains a critical source of historical information about the forming of the American republic and the early struggles to define its law.
Story's Commentaries, of course, treated extensively with the Constitutional monetary powers of the federal government:
§ 1112. Under the confederation, the continental congress had delegated to them, "the sole and exclusive right and power of regulating the alloy and value of coin struck by their own authority, or by that of the states," and "fixing the standard of weights and measures throughout the United States." It is observable, that, under the confederation, there was no power given to regulate the value of foreign coin, an omission, which in a great measure would destroy any uniformity in the value of the current coin, since the respective states might, by different regulations, create a different value in each. The constitution has, with great propriety, cured this defect; and, indeed, the whole clause, as it now stands, does not seem to have attracted any discussion in the convention. It has been justly remarked, that the power "to coin money" would, doubtless, include that of regulating its value, had the latter power not been expressly inserted. But the constitution abounds with pleonasms and repetitions of this nature.
§ 1113. The grounds, upon which the general power to coin money, and regulate the value of foreign and domestic coin, is granted to the national government, cannot require much illustration in order to vindicate it. The object of the power is to produce uniformity of value throughout the Union, and thus to preclude us from the embarrassments of a perpetually fluctuating and variable currency. Money is the universal medium or common standard, by a comparison with which the value of all merchandise may be ascertained, or, it is a sign, which represents the respective values of all commodities. It is, therefore, indispensable for the wants and conveniencies of commerce, domestic as well as foreign. The power to coin money is one of the ordinary prerogatives of sovereignty, and is almost universally exercised in order to preserve a proper circulation of good coin of a known value in the home market. In order to secure it from debasement it is necessary, that it should be exclusively under the control and regulation of the government; for if every individual were permitted to make and circulate, what coin he should please, there would be an opening to the grossest frauds and impositions upon the public, by the use of base and false coin. And the same remark applies with equal force to foreign coin, if allowed to circulate freely in a country without any control by the government. Every civilized government, therefore, with a view to prevent such abuses, to facilitate exchanges, and thereby to encourage all sorts of industry and commerce, as well as to guard itself against the embarrassments of an undue scarcity of currency, injurious to its own interests and credits, has found it necessary to coin money, and affix to it a public stamp and value, and to regulate the introduction and use of foreign coins. In England, this prerogative belongs to the crown; and, in former ages, it was greatly abused; for base coin was often coined and circulated by its authority, at a value far above its intrinsic worth; and thus taxes of a burthensome nature were laid indirectly upon the people. There is great propriety, therefore, in confiding it to the legislature, not only as the more immediate representatives of the public interests, but as the more safe depositaries of the power.
§ 1114. The only question, which could properly arise under our political institutions, is, whether it should be confided to the national, or to the state government. It is manifest, that the former could alone give it complete effect, and secure a wholesome and uniform currency throughout the Union. The varying standards and regulations of the different states would introduce infinite embarrassments and vexations in the course of trade; and often subject the innocent to the grossest frauds. The evils of this nature were so extensively felt, that the power was unhesitatingly confided by the articles of confederation exclusively to the general government, notwithstanding the extraordinary jealousy, which pervades every clause of that instrument. But the concurrent power thereby reserved to the states, (as well as the want of a power to regulate the value of foreign coin,) was, under that feeble pageant of sovereignty, soon found to destroy the whole importance of the grant. The floods of depreciated paper money, with which most of the states of the Union, during the last war, as well as the revolutionary war with England, were inundated, to the dismay of the traveller and the ruin of commerce, afford a lively proof of the mischiefs of a currency exclusively under the control of the states.
§ 1115. It will be hereafter seen, that this is an exclusive power in congress, the states being expressly prohibited from coining money. And it has been said by an eminent statesman, that it is difficult to maintain, on the face of the constitution itself and independent of long continued practice, the doctrine, that the states, not being at liberty to coin money, can authorize the circulation of bank paper, as currency, at all. His reasoning deserves grave consideration, and is to the following effect. The states cannot coin money. Can they, then, coin that, which becomes the actual and almost universal substitute for money? Is not the right of issuing paper, intended for circulation in the place, and as the representative of metallic currency, derived merely from the power of coining and regulating the metallic currency? Could congress, if it did not possess the power of coining money and regulating the value of foreign coins, create a bank with the power to circulate bills? It would be difficult to make it out. Where, then, do the states, to whom all control over the metallic currency is altogether prohibited, obtain this power? It is true, that in other countries, private bankers, having no legal authority over the coin, issue notes for circulation. But this they do always with the consent of government, express or implied; and government restrains and regulates all their operations at its pleasure. It would be a startling proposition in any other part of the world, that the prerogative of coining money, held by government, was liable to be defeated, counteracted, or impeded by another prerogative, held in other hands, of authorizing a paper circulation. It is further to be observed, that the states cannot issue bills of credit; not that they cannot make them a legal tender; but that they cannot issue them at all. This is a clear indication of the intent of the constitution to restrain the states, as well from establishing a paper circulation, as from interfering with the metallic circulation. Banks have been created by states with no capital whatever, their notes being put in circulation simply on the credit of the state. What are the issues of such banks, but bills of credit issued by the state?
§ 1116. Whatever may be the force of this reasoning, it is probably too late to correct the error, if error there be, in the assumption of this power by the states, since it has an inveterate practice in its favour through a very long period, and indeed ever since the adoption of the constitution.
And now you know... the rest of the Story.
Tom Paine, author of Common Sense, the Crisis, and other tracts powerfully formative of America's political character aroused (and arouses) strong feelings.
Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery
Napoleon reportedly said that "A statue of gold should be erected to him in every city in the universe." John Adams, however, in an 1805 letter to Benjamin Waterhouse, referred to him as "begotten by a wild boar on a bitch wolf, never before in any age of the world was suffered by the poltroonery of mankind to run through such a career of mischief." Wikipedia records that "Historian Roy Basler, the editor of Lincoln's papers, said Paine had a strong influence on Lincoln's style: 'No other writer of the eighteenth century, with the exception of Jefferson, parallels more closely the temper or gist of Lincoln's later thought. In style, Paine above all others affords the variety of eloquence which, chastened and adapted to Lincoln's own mood, is revealed in Lincoln's formal writings.'" Teddy Roosevelt referred to Paine, in his Life of Gouverneur Morris, as a "filthy little atheist."
There can be no dispute, however, about the intensity of Paine's hostility toward paper money.
In his DISSERTATIONS on government; the affairs of the bank; and paper money, published in 1786 -- the year before the Constitutional Convention (which suppressed paper money very definitively for almost a century) this is what Paine has to say:
I remember a German farmer expressing as much in a few words as the whole subject requires; “money is money, and paper is paper.”—All the invention of man cannot make them otherwise. The alchymist may cease his labours, and the hunter after the philosopher's stone go to rest, if paper can be metamorphosed into gold and silver, or made to answer the same purpose in all cases.
Gold and silver are the emissions of nature: paper is the emission of art. The value of gold and silver is ascertained by the quantity which nature has made in the earth. We cannot make that quantity more or less than it is, and therefore the value being dependant upon the quantity, depends not on man.—Man has no share in making gold or silver; all that his labours and ingenuity can accomplish is, to collect it from the mine, refine it for use and give it an impression, or stamp it into coin.
Its being stamped into coin adds considerably to its convenience but nothing to its value. It has then no more value than it had before. Its value is not in the impression but in itself. Take away the impression and still the same value remains. Alter it as you will, or expose it to any misfortune that can happen, still the value is not diminished. It has a capacity to resist the accidents that destroy other things. It has, therefore, all the requisite qualities that money can have, and is a fit material to make money of; and nothing which has not all those properties, can be fit for the purpose of money.
Paper, considered as a material whereof to make money, has none of the requisite qualities in it. It is too plentiful, and too easily come at. It can be had any where, and for a trifle.
There are two ways in which I shall consider paper.
The only proper use for paper, in the room of money, is to write promissory notes and obligations of payment in specie upon. A piece of paper, thus written and signed, is worth the sum it is given for, if the person who gives it is able to pay it; because in this case, the law will oblige him. But if he is worth nothing, the paper note is worth nothing. The value, therefore, of such a note, is not in the note itself, for that is but paper and promise, but in the man who is obliged to redeem it with gold or silver.
Paper, circulating in this manner, and for this purpose, continually points to the place and person where, and of whom, the money is to be had, and at last finds its home; and, as it were, unlocks its master's chest and pays the bearer.
But when an assembly undertake to issue paper as money, the whole system of safety and certainty is overturned, and property set afloat. Paper notes given and taken between individuals as a promise of payment is one thing, but paper issued by an assembly as money is another thing. It is like putting an apparition in the place of a man; it vanishes with looking at it, and nothing remains but the air.
Money, when considered as the fruit of many years industry, as the reward of labour, sweat and toil, as the widow's dowry and children's portion, and as the means of procuring the necessaries and alleviating the afflictions of life, and making old age a scene of rest, has something in it sacred that is not to be sported with, or trusted to the airy bubble of paper currency.
By what power or authority an assembly undertakes to make paper money, is difficult to say. It derives none from the constitution, for that is silent on the subject. It is one of those things which the people have not delegated, and which, were they at any time assembled together, they would not delegate. It is, therefore, an assumption of power which an assembly is not warranted in, and which may, one day or other, be the means of bringing some of them to punishment.
I shall enumerate some of the evils of paper money and conclude with offering means for preventing them.
One of the evils of paper money is, that it turns the whole country into stock jobbers. The precariousness of its value and the uncertainty of its fate continually operate, night and day, to produce this destructive effect. Having no real value in itself it depends for support upon accident, caprice and party, and as it is the interest of some to depreciate and of others to raise its value, there is a continual invention going on that destroys the morals of the country.
It was horrid to see, and hurtful to recollect, how loose the principles of justice were left, by means of the paper emissions during the war. The experience then had, should be a warning to any assembly how they venture to open such a dangerous door again.
As to the romantic, if not hypocritical, tale that a virtuous people need no gold and silver, and that paper will do as well, it requires no other contradiction than the experience we have seen. Though some well meaning people may be inclined to view it in this light, it is certain that the sharper always talks this language.
There are a set of men who go about making purchases upon credit, and buying estates they have not wherewithal to pay for; and having done this, their next step is to fill the newspapers with paragraphs of the scarcity of money and the necessity of a paper emission, then to have a legal tender under the pretence of supporting its credit, and when out, to depreciate it as fast as they can, get a deal of it for a little price, and cheat their creditors; and this is the concise history of paper money schemes.
But why, since the universal custom of the world has established money as the most convenient medium of traffic and commerce, should paper be set up in preference to gold and silver? The productions of nature are surely as innocent as those of art; and in the case of money, are abundantly, if not infinitely, more so. The love of gold and silver may produce covetousness, but covetousness, when not connected with dishonesty, is not properly a vice. It is frugality run to an extreme.
But the evils of paper money have no end. Its uncertain and fluctuating value is continually awakening or creating new schemes of deceit. Every principle of justice is put to the rack, and the bond of society dissolved: the suppression, therefore, of paper money might very properly have been put into the act for preventing vice and immorality.
The pretence for paper money has been, that there was not a sufficiency of gold and silver. This, so far from being a reason for paper emissions, is a reason against them.
As gold and silver are not the productions of North America, they are, therefore, articles of importation; and if we set up a paper manufactory of money, it amounts, as far as it is able, to prevent the importation of hard money, or to send it out again as fast as it comes in; and by following this practice we shall continually banish the specie, till we have none left, and be continually complaining of the grievance instead of remedying the cause.
Considering gold and silver as articles of importation, there will in time, unless we prevent it by paper emissions, be as much in the country as the occasions of it require, for the same reasons there are as much of other imported articles. But as every yard of cloth manufactured in the country occasions a yard the less to be imported, so it is by money, with this difference, that in the one case we manufacture the thing itself and in the other we do not. We have cloth for cloth, but we have only paper dollars for silver ones.
As to the assumed authority of any assembly in making paper money, or paper of any kind, a legal tender, or in other language, a compulsive payment, it is a most presumptuous attempt at arbitrary power. There can be no such powering a republican government: the people have no freedom, and property no security where this practice can be acted: and the committee who shall bring in a report for this purpose, or the member who moves for it, and he who seconds it merit impeachment, and sooner or later may expect it.
Of all the various sorts of base coin, paper money is the basest. It has the least intrinsic value of any thing that can be put in the place of gold and silver. A hobnail or a piece of wampum far exceeds it. And there would be more propriety in making those articles a legal tender than to make paper so.
It was the issuing base coin, and establishing it as a tender, that was one of the principal means of finally overthrowing the power of the Stuart family in Ireland. The article is worth reciting as it bears such a resemblance to the process practiced in paper money.
“Brass and copper of the basest kind, old cannon, broken bells, household utensils were assiduously collected; and from every pound weight of such vile materials, valued at four-pence, pieces were coined and circulated to the amount of five pounds normal value. By the first proclamation they were made current in all payments to and from the king and the subjects of the realm, except in duties on the importation of foreign goods, money left in trust, or due by mortgage, bills or bonds; and James promised that when the money should be decried, he would receive it in all payments, or make full satisfaction in gold and silver. The nominal value was afterwards raised by subsequent proclamations, the original restrictions removed, and this base money was ordered to be received in all kinds of payments. As brass and copper grew scarce, it was made of still viler materials, of tin and pewter, and old debts of one thousand pounds were discharged by pieces of vile metal amounting to thirty shillings in intrinsic value.”∗
Had king James thought of paper, he needed not to have been at the trouble or expense of collecting brass and copper, broken bells, and household utensils.
The laws of a country ought to be the standard of equity, and calculated to impress on the minds of the people the moral as well as the legal obligations of reciprocal justice. But tender laws, of any kind, operate to destroy morality, and to dissolve, by the pretence of law, what ought to be the principle of law to support, reciprocal justice between man and man: and the punishment of a member who should move for such a law ought to be death.1
When the recommendation of congress, in the year 1780, for repealing the tender laws was before the assembly of Pennsylvania, on casting up the votes, for and against bringing in a bill to repeal those laws, the numbers were equal, and the casting vote rested on the speaker, colonel Bayard. “I give my vote,” said he, “for the repeal, from a consciousness of justice; the tender laws operate to establish iniquity by law.” But when the bill was brought in, the house rejected it, and the tender laws continued to be the means of fraud.
If any thing had, or could have, a value equal to gold and silver, it would require no tender law: and if it had not that value it ought not to have such a law; and, therefore, all tender laws are tyrannical and unjust, and calculated to support fraud and oppression.
Most of the advocates for tender laws are those who have debts to discharge, and who take refuge in such a law, to violate their contracts and cheat their creditors. But as no law can warrant the doing an unlawful act, therefore the proper mode of proceeding, should any such laws be enacted in future, will be to impeach and execute the members who moved for and seconded such a bill, and put the debtor and the creditor in the same situation they were in, with respect to each other, before such a law was passed. Men ought to be made to tremble at the idea of such a barefaced act of injustice. It is in vain to talk of restoring credit, or complain that money cannot be borrowed at legal interest, until every idea of tender laws is totally and publicly reprobated and extirpated from among us.
As to paper money, in any light it can be viewed, it is at best a bubble. Considered as property, it is inconsistent to suppose that the breath of an assembly, whose authority expires with the year, can give to paper the value and duration of gold. They cannot even engage that the next assembly shall receive it in taxes. And by the precedent, (for authority there is none,) that one assembly makes paper money, another may do the same, until confidence and credit are totally expelled, and all the evils of depreciation acted over again. The amount, therefore, of paper money is this, that it is the illegitimate offspring of assemblies, and when their year expires, they leave a vagrant on the hands of the public.
"Men ought to be made to tremble at the idea of such a barefaced act of injustice." Paine was a great humanitarian. He was an influential force in the formation of the political character of the United States of America. And, if he lived today, Tom Paine certainly would not have refrained from indicting the fiduciary nature of Federal Reserve Notes -- or in demanding that the dollar be defined as a fixed weight of gold. "'[M]oney is money, and paper is paper.' — All the invention of man cannot make them otherwise."
Reuters published, on July 17th, an epic, mythic, blog about conservatives, the gold standard, and fairy tales by Prof. Charles Postel.
Image courtesy of Papergreat
It is entitled Why conservatives spin fairytales about the gold standard. It is fraught with factual errors both of commission and omission; strange, insupportable, inferences; and odd interpretations.
It presents, for example, Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn) as having an agenda to restore the gold standard. This is an inference for which there is no evidence. It blisters gold-standard proponent David Stockman ... while omitting to note that Mr. Stockman adheres to much of the classic populist indictment of Wall Street.
Prof. Postel, an ardent champion of populism, presents gold standard proponents as defenders of privilege, rather than opportunity -- of capital in preference to labor. The contemporary evidence is very much to the contrary
Reading Postel's progressive fable is a recipe for becoming something between baffled and bewildered. This blogger has addressed some of the mistakes therein in his weekly column in Forbes.com. Addressing all of Prof. Postel's errors and omissions would have been far too tedious except for the most tendentious of readers. There are a plenitude of other errors.
Conservatives do not, strictly speaking, spin fairy tales about the gold standard. In a way, Prof. Postel has his very premise backwards. Composers of fairy tales often wove gold into their stories.
From the Brothers Grimm:
by The Brothers Grimm
translated by Margaret Taylor (1884)
There was once a poor man and a poor woman who had nothing but a little cottage, and who earned their bread by fishing, and always lived from hand to mouth. But it came to pass one day when the man was sitting by the water-side, and casting his net, that he drew out a fish entirely of gold. As he was looking at the fish, full of astonishment, it began to speak and said, "Hark you, fisherman, if you will throw me back again into the water, I will change your little hut into a splendid castle." Then the fisherman answered, "Of what use is a castle to me, if I have nothing to eat?" The gold fish continued, "That shall be taken care of, there will be a cupboard in the castle in which, when you open it, shall be dishes of the most delicate meats, and as many of them as you can desire." "If that be true," said the man, "then I can well do you a favour." "Yes," said the fish, "there is, however, the condition that you shall disclose to no one in the world, whosoever he may be, whence your good luck has come, if you speak but one single word, all will be over." Then the man threw the wonderful fish back again into the water, and went home. But where his hovel had formerly stood, now stood a great castle. He opened wide his eyes, entered, and saw his wife dressed in beautiful clothes, sitting in a splendid room, and she was quite delighted, and said, "Husband, how has all this come to pass? It suits me very well." "Yes," said the man, "it suits me too, but I am frightfully hungry, just give me something to eat." Said the wife, "But I have got nothing and don't know where to find anything in this new house." "There is no need of your knowing," said the man, "for I see yonder a great cupboard, just unlock it." When she opened it, there stood cakes, meat, fruit, wine, quite a bright prospect.
Then the woman cried joyfully, "What more can you want, my dear?" and they sat down, and ate and drank together. When they had had enough, the woman said, "But husband, whence come all these riches?" "Alas," answered he, "do not question me about it, for I dare not tell you anything; if I disclose it to any one, then all our good fortune will fly." "Very good," said she, "if I am not to know anything, then I do not want to know anything." However, she was not in earnest; she never rested day or night, and she goaded her husband until in his impatience he revealed that all was owing to a wonderful golden fish which he had caught, and to which in return he had given its liberty. And as soon as the secret was out, the splendid castle with the cupboard immediately disappeared, they were once more in the old fisherman's hut, and the man was obliged to follow his former trade and fish. But fortune would so have it, that he once more drew out the golden fish. "Listen," said the fish, "if you will throw me back into the water again, I will once more give you the castle with the cupboard full of roast and boiled meats; only be firm, for your life's sake don't reveal from whom you have it, or you will lose it all again!" "I will take good care," answered the fisherman, and threw the fish back into the water. Now at home everything was once more in its former magnificence, and the wife was overjoyed at their good fortune, but curiosity left her no peace, so that after a couple of days she began to ask again how it had come to pass, and how he had managed to secure it. The man kept silence for a short time, but at last she made him so angry that he broke out, and betrayed the secret. In an instant the castle disappeared, and they were back again in their old hut. "Now you have got what you want," said he; "and we can gnaw at a bare bone again." "Ah," said the woman, "I had rather not have riches if I am not to know from whom they come, for then I have no peace."
And yes, Prof. Postel, you may correctly infer that, like the fisherman's wife, this conservative blogger would rather know the source of any riches he might gain. And thus have peace.