Did anyone else see this story and just want to slap this smug, arrogant, self-satisfied puswad until his eyes switched sockets? Oh, and the idiot who wrote the story, too? Can Going Without Money Hurt the Economy? One Man's Quest to Be Penniless - Yahoo! Daniel Suelo is 51 years old and broke. Happily broke. Consciously, deliberately, blessedly broke. Not only does he not have debt, a mortgage or rent, he does not earn a salary. Nor does he buy food or clothes, or own any product with a lower case "i" before it. Home is a cave on public land outside Moab, Utah. He scavenges for food from the garbage or off the land (fried grasshoppers, anyone?). He has been known to carve up and boil fresh road kill. He bathes, without soap, in the creek. In the fall of 2000, Suelo (who changed his name from Shellabarger), decided to stop using money altogether. That meant no "conscious barter," food stamps or other government handouts. His mission was to "use only what is freely given or discarded and what is already present and already running," he wrote on his web site, Zero Currency. The question many people wonder: Is he insane, or a mooch, or simply dedicated to leading a simple, honest, dare we say, Christ-like existence? Christ-like? You might "dare to say it", but you'd be wrong. I don't know what Bible this idiot writer has been reading, but in mine, Christ was NOT a crusty, cave-dwelling bum, completely obsessed with some obscure focus to the exclusion of the true purpose of His teachings. Couple of other things here, while I'm thinking about it. "Bathes in the creek"? Leaving aside the fact that bathing without soap isn't bathing, I'm sure the other people in the area just LOVE having this maggot polluting the water supply with his filthy ass. Thanks tons, dude. Also, where the hell is this doofus relieving himself? Somewhere that THAT might also find its way into the local water supply? How's he disposing of his waste so as to not be unsanitary? What was really glaring here, though, is that this dipshit is proudly blathering on about his simple, primitive life (with no items that begin with "i"), but he has a website. How exactly does THAT work? One assumes he doesn't have a computer, since he's so proud of owning nothing but the clothes on his scabby back (and shouldn't he properly be naked to achieve his goal?). And, of course, he obviously couldn't pay for electricity to power it even if he did own one. So I would guess he either goes to a public library, which would constitute a handout from all the people who actually work and earn money to pay the taxes that fund the public libraries, or he has someone else run the website for him, which would also be a handout of sorts. They're good questions. And depending whom you ask, the answers vary. Suelo wasn't always a modern-day caveman. He went to the University of Colorado and studied anthropology, at one point considering medical school. He lived in a real house, with four walls, a window and a door, and shopped in stores, not their dumpsters. But over time he says he grew depressed, clinically depressed, mainly with the focus on acquisition. "Every time I made a resume for a job, signed my name to a document, opened a bank account, or even bought a banana at the supermarket, I felt a tinge of dishonesty," he said. What a load of bullshit. If you're too focused on acquisition, the evil isn't in the items you acquire. It's in yourself. By the way, if he's scavenging in store dumpsters, isn't THAT something of a handout? That's kinda taking his self-satisfied "I don't earn or spend any money" lifestyle at the expense of those who DO earn and spend money, without whom there would be nothing for him to scavenge. I guess it's a good thing for him that he's doing his little holier-than-thou schtick near a society full of people who aren't joining him. He was born into an Evangelical Christian home in Grand Junction, Colo., and took his religion seriously. Eventually, he started wondering why "professed Christians rarely followed the teachings of Jesus--namely the Sermon on the Mount, namely giving up possessions, living beyond credit and debt--freely giving and freely taking--giving, expecting nothing in return, forgiving all debts, owing nobody a thing, living beyond payback of either evil-for-evil or good-for-good, living and walking without guilt (debt), without grudge (debt), without judgment (credit & debt), living by Grace, by Gratis, not by our own works but by the works of the true Nature flowing through," he said. And here we go. Why is it the only time we're ever asked to respect and admire Christians is after they've abandoned the core precepts of Christianity and wandered down the path of some crazed secular interpretation? If this fool had bothered to really learn anything about Christianity, not only would he have had the answers to his stupid questions, he likely also wouldn't have wound up with such a fucked-up, miserable life that he felt compelled to run away and live in a cave. Let's look at this hogwash. First of all, Jesus did NOT teach "giving up all possessions". At no point in the Bible are Christians as a group expected to live like a bunch of homeless Neanderthals. This is a common misinterpretation of the story where Christ told a rich man that HE would have to give up all his possessions in order to follow Christ. The story goes on to say that the man was sad as he left, because he was unable to do that, making it clear that the story was intended to illustrate not that possessions are inherently evil and un-Christian, but that allowing them to become more important than worshipping and serving God is. Second, while living by your own labor is certainly important and desirable for Christians (because when you become dependent on others for survival, they own you), at no time are we instructed to separate ourselves from human society and community and try to become little individual islands unto ourselves. Quite the contrary, in fact. I don't even know where he got the whole "living not by works but by the works of Nature" line. He began toying with the idea of living full-time without money. He traveled to India, and became fascinated by Hindu Sadhus, who wandered without lucre and possessions. He considered joining them, but then he realized that "A true test of faith would be to return to one of the most materialistic, money-worshipping nations on earth, to return to the authenticity profound principles of spirituality hidden beneath our own religion of hypocrisy, and be a Sadhu there," he said. "To be a vagabond, a bum, and make an art of it - this idea enchanted me." Well, isn't that sweet. There's definitely some hypocrisy happening here, that's for sure. But he didn't do it in a vacuum; he maintained his blog for free from the Moab public library. Rather than just sitting on a mountain and gazing at his navel, he wanted to have an impact on others, to spread his gospel. Ahh, there we go. So he IS taking handouts. And I'm so glad he decided to "have an impact", to make up for the fact that he accomplishes and produces absolutely nothing of benefit to anyone whatsoever. Oh, yeah, THERE'S the gospel of Christ for you: don't work, produce nothing, benefit no one, and feel really proud of yourself for achieving a uselessly empty existence. In 2009, Mark Sundeen, an old acquaintance he'd worked with at a Moab restaurant, heard about Suelo through mutual friends. At first, "I thought he must have lost his mind," Sundeen, 42, said in a telephone conversation. But then he began reading his blog, and grew intrigued. Sundeen divides his time between Missoula, Mont., and Moab, where he was once a river guide, and he paid a visit to Suelo's cave. Gradually, he said he realized that much of what Suelo was saying made a whole lot of sense. This was right around the time the economy crashed, and "It felt like a lot of what he was saying was prophetic," said Sundeen. "That money is an illusion, an addiction. That resonated with me after the collapse for the economy." Sundeen was so intrigued that he decided to write a book about Suelo, The Man Who Quit Money, which was published in March. While the book reviews have been generally positive, Suelo has come under fire by some who say he's a derelict, sponging off society without contributing. They are valid criticisms: This is a guy, after all, who has gotten a citation for train hopping (what would Jesus say about that?). And he's not opposed to house sitting in winter--not exactly living off the land. Oh, you have GOT to be kidding me. "I don't take handouts . . . but I will steal services from people"? Really? And I guess his high-faluting, smug ideals kinda go by the wayside when the air gets a bit nippy. THEN it's okay to take handouts, huh? And besides: How is he actually helping others by going without? It's not like he's solving world hunger, or curing cancer. Or even contributing something as small as cleaning up litter by the roadsides. As far as I can tell, he's utterly useless to everyone else on the planet. Sundeen disputes these arguments. "He doesn't accept any government programswelfare, food stamps, Medicare," he said. "The only ways in which he actually uses taxpayer funded derivatives is walking on roads and using the public library. So in that regard he's a mooch--he's using the roads and not paying taxes. But if you try to quantify the amount of money he's taking from the systemit's a couple of dollars a year, less than anyone's ever used." Sorry, but while I appreciate that he's at least not on the dole, not harming people does not constitute benefitting them. And in addition to using roads and the public library, he's also living on public land, which is also paid for by the taxpayers. And how about all the mooching he does off of private citizens, as opposed to the public teat? From what I can see, his happy little "I'm so frigging wonderful" lifestyle is made possible by the fact that OTHER people around him DO work and engage in commerce. And none of this negates the fact that he contributes not a single solitary thing to the world by his existence, so why bother existing at all? Instead, he is actively promoting "his idea that money is an illusion," Sundeen said. "The Fed just prints it up, it doesn't mean anything and it's going to lead us down the road to serfdom." Suelo simply doesn't want to contribute to that, and so he lives life on his own terms. Except that "money" and "currency" are not exactly the same thing. How much of our commerce these days takes place without ever resorting to the little green rectangles the Fed prints? Why do people always resort to the line "the road to serfdom" to excuse being a lazy, useless pile of crap? That said, Sundeen wouldn't live the way Suelo does. "The appeal to me is the living outdoors part, but I feel like I got my feel of that working as an Outward Bound guide," he said. "At this point I have other priorities." Suelo, for his part, has no plans to bring money back into his life. "I know it's possible to live without money," he said. "Abundantly." Yeah, as long as other people have it. Okay, now that I've gotten this rant about this incredibly annoying story out of my system, I feel much better.