I am a NASCAR fan. That will conjure a number of images in the mind of the reader which will likely mislead. I also have a degree in English literature, enjoy sudoku, and am newly converted to the Oxford comma. Being an atypical stock car racing fan, I certainly find myself anomalous with the average attendee of a NASCAR event. This weekend was one example.
At Talladega raceway in Alabama, over 100,000 race fans gathered to watch the annual fall event at this particular race track. In the stands were men, women, and children from many races and nationalities. There were many shirts, hat, flags, and banners declaring allegiance with one racer or another. There were also shirts, hats, banners, and flags indicating devotion to, and support of, the United States, military personnel, police, firefighters, and the U.S. Constitution. At the outset of festivities, everyone in the stands stood for three things in which nearly all participated: the “pledge of allegiance,” a Christian convocation, and the U.S. national anthem. Presumably few at the event supported social protests involving kneeling, disrespect of the stars and stripes, questioning of foreign wars, or lampooning the current occupant of the White House.
While nearly all of these people likely believed the United States to be a free nation, few of them recognized the rights of other individuals to behave in ways they deemed unsavory or unpatriotic. Freedom, it seems, is within finely drawn lines defined by themselves. However, as distasteful as it may seem to them, the only true nation of freedom is one which tolerates all manner of positions, actions, and beliefs provided no infringement is made on the rights of others. This word freedom has been perverted to mean “free to do all the things I deem appropriate.” As such, it is virtually opposite the actual meaning of the word.
Keynesians and followers of the Chicago School are quick to dismiss those who argue for hard currency as “gold bugs.” We who understand the impact of monetary manipulation, however, have both history and logic on our side. While no medium of exchange is without its challenges, there are significant advantages of commodity currencies over the current fiat scheme.
Arguments against a commodity currency, like gold or silver, while numerous, are generally without merit. For example, the claim that not enough gold exists in the world to accommodate a return to the gold standard implies that there is a optimal amount of currency. However, as Ludwig von Mises explained in Human Action:
As the operation of the market tends to determine the final state of money’s purchasing power at a height at which the supply of and the demand for money coincide, there can never be an excess or deficiency of money.
Others claim that the price of gold is too volatile to allow it to be used again as a medium of exchange. However, the fluctuation in the money price of gold is at least partly due to monetary manipulation. Absent this, there would be little reason for a commodity media to fluctuate dramatically.
The real reason that commodity currencies are no longer used is related to that last point: they severely limit the ability of governments to inflate. With paper currency, governments can monetize their debt to fund international adventurism, war and the like.
Just over a week ago, a wealthy older man fond of gambling and otherwise unremarkable, gathered a small arsenal in a Las Vegas hotel and opened fire on a nearby concert, killing dozens of concert goers. Since the event, few answers have emerged regarding the motivation behind this despicable act.
Predictably, the gun control lobby shifted into high gear to capitalize on the event, calling for stricter gun laws. The question of how such laws would differ from existing restrictions, how gun control has failed to eliminate gun violence, or how the only way to restrict gun ownership is to put more guns in the hands of the state are apparently insufficient arguments to silence this particularly myopic political movement. Those of us familiar with the movement to disarm the masses know that self defense is often just as necessary against the government as it is against other criminal elements.
The Vegas shooter chose to take other human lives as his last waking act. Much like a suicide bomber, this man reached a point very few people contemplate and acted in a manner few are capable of. He could very easily have chosen explosives as his means and taken far more with him. Regardless of the method, Stephen Paddock’s goal was the death of others and no gun restrictions would have changed that.