November 28, 2006

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

US Mint Out to Get the Liberty Dollar?

It seems, over the last few months, that the U.S. Mint has suddenly been out to get the Liberty Dollar. This after years of investigations by the Secret Service and others which concluded that there was nothing criminal about it whatsoever. In the latest Liberty Dollar newsletter, which will be available on their web-site shortly, we read that "'threatening' letters have been received via certified mail by all the [regional currency officers] and [monetary architect Bernard von NotHaus] from Daniel P. Shaver, chief counsel for the US Mint." Also, NORFED, the organization behind the Liberty Dollar, has had their bank account closed under suspicious circumstances. This after the U.S. Mint suddenly reversed its position a few months ago and issued a public warning about the Liberty Dollar on its web-site.

Now, let me first say that I do not unreservedly support NORFED. I often find information in their newsletter misleading, and it is sometimes outright false. In my opinion, their biased propaganda is sometimes almost as bad as the government's. Furthermore, their positions are often quite extreme. Sometimes they come off as basically conspiracy nuts. However, there is one thing that NORFED has never misled anyone about, and that is that the Liberty Dollar is not US currency, not "legal tender," and not in any way backed or supported by the US goverment. In fact that is the whole point of the Liberty Dollar. It is not backed by the US government, it is backed by precious metals in a warehouse in Cour d'Alene, Idaho. Thus when people 'spend' Liberty Dollars, they are engaging in barter.

There are a number of issues here that greatly trouble me as a libertarian:

  • Money has a huge impact on how we live and do business and so forth. Fiat currency gives the government a huge amount of control over us, and I am uncomfortable with this. I understand that currencies back by precious metals destabilize economies, but not all economic instability is bad, and most instability is better than an excessively powerful government. Still, I wouldn't say I'm entirely decided on the issue.

  • The Federal Reserve is one of many privately-owned quasi-governmental organizations which exist in the United States. I regard the existence of any such organizations as one of the biggest problems with our system. As if that wasn't bad enough, the Fed is a for-profit organization, which means that the American monetary system exists to make a certain subset of Americans (the owners of the member banks) rich. This bothers me. A lot. True, the quasi-governmental nature of the Fed puts substantial control in the realm of electoral politics, but the whole thing is just ugly.

  • When the US left the gold standard, there were initially laws restricting the ownership of gold and silver. This is a clear violation of private property rights which, for libertarians, are the foundation of all other rights. This is a clear example of the government forcibly seizing power from the people (rather than being a government "of the people, by the people, for the people").

  • Now, with this Liberty Dollar stuff, the government is trying to interfere with a private organization's attempt to develop a barter economy based on the value of goods, and thus limit the government's (and the banker's) ability to use the monetary system to exert control on the populace.

Thus what we see here is a manifestation of the progressive power grab by big government. I don't want to be an alarmist, but at some point somebody has to be, or it will never stop. I won't stand for the government limiting my right to participate in barter transactions, and you shouldn't either. I'm still contemplating what, if anything, I can do about it. One obvious solution is, of course, to buy more Liberty Dollars and use them, but that's getting to be more and more of a hassle and there's a greater and greater risk of legal trouble. It's not a very good form of civil disobedience either, since most people don't relate strongly to it. If the government was interfering with a book exchange, or the ability to trade in your car at the dealer or something like that people would get upset, but the Liberty Dollar doesn't quite resonate. Hmm... What a mess. For now, I suppose, we'll just have to wait and see what happens next. Oh, and vote libertarian.

Posted by Kenny at November 28, 2006 9:23 PM
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