This post contains compilations of work previously written by the author and published separately.
The word “fiat” is growing more aggrandized in the modern lexicon, however, despite its increasing popularity it is often ill-defined or misused. I regularly observe people falsely call bitcoin a fiat currency. This is thanks, not least of all, to the layman’s poor grasp of history and money. Fiat is of Latin origin, meaning authoritative sanction; a decree, command or order. Fiat does not mean “backed by nothing” or “redeemable for nothing” or “pegged to nothing.”
The phrase “fiat lux” is a Latin reference to some of the most prolific words ever written; from the book of Genesis in the Bible, “Let there be light.” We can see here how the word is used authoritatively, there was no light, God commanded that there should be light, and there was light.
Unfortunately for us (or perhaps to our great fortune), man’s emulation of the spoken word of God carries with it far less divine authority, and thus decrees of sapien origin must be enforced by coercion, which today usually comes in the form of complex legal and judicial systems. As long as men have ruled over one another with force, there have been decrees in this manner. A decree can be as simple as making a particular day an observed holiday, likewise it can be as foolish and convoluted as saying the sky must be green on a Tuesday. Here is the insufferable nature of humanity laid bare, man can make a decree, but he cannot necessarily make it so. Mankind does not manifest ends through his words but rather via his action.
Certainly, a ruler could devote vast amounts of his kingdom’s resources toward advancing the ends of his decrees, but his means may make it no more achievable than if he had nothing at all. In fact, a very charismatic and narcissistic leader might succeed in assuaging resistance against absurd and impossible schemes of a great variety. History is full of egocentric,…