Anti-Gold Propagandist Steps into the Shredder

I have four things to say.

(1) David Weidner wrote an article critical of the gold standard.

(2) The article contains gems of knowledge like this:

Another problem is that rather than try to improve our currency systems, we keep going back to this 600 B.C. technology that’s a step up from seashells. Gold is pretty, but it’s just a piece of metal. Its uses are limited. It can be dug out of the ground. In other words, it’s really all about human confidence that gold is worth something. And, you know, the earth is flat too….

A big problem is that the gold standard never works. It’s like getting back together with that old girlfriend. Your memories of how good it used to be are tainted by your current pain of loneliness. I get it. The pull is very, very tempting. But haven’t we gone down that road enough already?

(3) Weidner probably never expected this insignificant, phoned-in piece of inanity to be subjected to withering ridicule and refutation, point by point. A refutation so thorough that it even smashes his clumsy efforts at humor (e.g., contrary to popular belief, and as I myself have pointed out, essentially no one believed the earth was flat).


Jefferson’s 19-Year Rule

I bring this up not to endorse or criticize either Jefferson or Madison, but just as a good example of the feedback members get in the Liberty Classroom forums. Someone asked, “In a letter Jefferson wrote to Madison about the Constitution he talked about how laws should have a termination date of 19 years. This option was better than just allowing for the repeal of the law. Is there more to it or if we were to follow Jefferson’s word should the Constitution have been rewitten many times over?”

Kevin Gutzman, who teaches U.S. History to 1877 for us, replied:

The letter you mention was sent to James Madison. Jefferson had been pondering the question whether we should inherit any government obligations, whether in the form of constitutions, statutes, public debt, or private debt. Having tentatively concluded that we shouldn’t, he wrote to Madison with this idea.

In response, Madison made several observations: 1) Obligations incurred by government in one generation may well yield benefits to the next. So, for example, if the government sells bonds to finance construction of a bridge, the succeeding generation may find itself facing the previous generation’s obligation, but it will also recoup most of the benefits associated with that obligation. To insist that every obligation have a 19-year sunset would make such government programs impossible. 2)


Conservatives and the Elephant in the Living Room

One of my pet peeves is the conservative who lectures us on the “limits” of markets and looks with a self-satisfied and condescending shake of the head upon the stupid rubes he must endure who persist in supporting the market all the same. Why, haven’t these dopes read Wilhelm Roepke, whose views are to be considered definitive?

In this unfortunate post, we get the usual laments about what “capitalism” has done to the public. If only banking had stayed local we wouldn’t have had all these problems, etc.

Absent as always from these critiques is any discussion of the Federal Reserve, the elephant in the living room, which is a friend neither of localism nor the free market. Likewise absent is any acknowledgment that to call the banking system of today a “free market” is at best an expression of one’s sense of humor. As I’ve noted elsewhere, the current system is rather far from the Misesian ideal; it includes:


Jefferson Was Right, Webster Was Wrong

In my exchange with Dean Clancy, I presented (in the comments section) a few of the initial problems that opponents of the compact theory of the Union (which holds that the Union was created by the sovereign peoples of the states) have to confront. The nationalist view, by contrast, holds that the Union was created by a singular…


Bill O’Reilly is no Constitutional Scholar

From The O’Reilly Factor, email segment for July 5:

“Bill, you keep asking what the Republicans have to replace Obamacare. Under the Constitution, there is no role for the Federal government in healthcare.”

“That’s not true, Felicia. The opening paragraph of the Constitution says the welfare of the people must be promoted. A just healthcare system comes under that banner.”

I couldn’t resist answering this.


Jefferson on Separate Confederacies

On the forums over at my Liberty Classroom, a member asks Brion McClanahan, one of our faculty members: “You mention in part one of Mr. Lincoln’s War that Jefferson believed there would eventually be multiple American federal republics. Can you tell me where to find more information on his thoughts regarding this?” Professor McClanahan replied: Jefferson…


Forbes: Nullification Is “Loopy”

In an unintentionally funny aside in an article at, a guy named Richard Salsman (who runs an investment research firm) condemns nullification in the most uncomprehending words — and as someone who’s written a book on the subject, I can tell you this is quite a feat.

(If you are unfamiliar with nullification, here’s what it’s all about.)

He tells us: “Such hostility to the judiciary today isn’t found only in Mr. Obama and his ilk or in the Democratic Party, but also in the Jeffersonian libertarians, as is obvious in the works of Thomas Woods and Andrew Napolitano, which defend the Jeffersonian notion of ‘nullification’ (a loopy, anarchic idea that says juries, legislators, and executive branch officials can decide on their own what’s constitutional, and thus can ignore, defy or nullify’ rulings by courts and judges).”

So he speaks of this “loopy” idea without once using the word “states”! This is his level of knowledge. Juries is one thing — there he’s just confusing state nullification with jury nullification, which of course (as I note in my 33 Questions) the Founding Fathers also supported. But legislators and executive branch officials? Does he mean federal or state? He never says. If federal, then he is confusing nullification with concurrent review, another Jeffersonian position.  (Concurrent review holds that all three branches, not just the judicial, have a responsibility to determine the constitutionality of proposed federal activities.) And of course if he means federal, then one might cite both Andrew Jackson and Abraham Lincoln as fairly well known fellows who had a different view from that of Richard Salsman.


Breaking Out of the Establishment’s Box

My speech from Nullify Now, Philadelphia, this past Saturday. Listen at least through my Norway joke. Then, if you’re so inclined, check out Nullification and Rollback, referred to in the video. (Erratum: for some reason I said “Siberian Khatru” came out in 1971, when of course I know it’s on the 1972 Close to the Edge album.)


The Supremacy Clause?

NOTE: Tom Woods will be the evening keynote speaker at Nullify Now! Philadelphia. Get tickets here – – or by calling 888-71-TICKETS


That poor soul from the other day who insisted Lincoln never said that blacks shouldn’t be voters or jurors, or intermarry with white people, or that he had no intention to interfere with slavery where it existed, still thinks the Constitution’s Supremacy Clause makes state nullification unconstitutional.

The Supremacy Clause merely begs the question. It reads, “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof…shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”

“Grand Old Partisan” takes this to mean:

“This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in pursuance thereof, plus any old laws, whether or not in pursuance of the Constitution… shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby, anything in the constitution or laws of any state to the contrary notwithstanding.”