The Gold Standard For Libertarians

I have written two articles recently, tailoring arguments for the gold standard to groups who are not sympathetic. I wrote The Gold Standard for Democrats and The Gold Standard for the 1% to show them the harm they are suffering under the regime of the dollar. We have to address their existing beliefs before anyone will come on board.

We also need to stop reiterating weak arguments like inflation. People care about rising prices—but not that much. Workers get wage increases. Democrats are inclined to blame greedy employers when they don’t keep up. The rich have investments. They’re pretty darned pleased when their portfolios go up faster than the cost of living.

The essential case against the dollar is not about prices. It’s about the counterfeiting of credit, unstable interest rates, endlessly rising debt, and inevitable default. These are not bugs in the dollar system, but features. People care about honesty, stability, sustainability, and the future of their children much more than they care about price trends.


This article is different than those others, because libertarians already favor gold. There’s no need to preach to the choir. However, I think libertarians need to hear a different point. When they argue in favor of gold, they sometimes do more harm than good.
One way this occurs is through this flip tone that’s used all too often. I cringe when I hear glib phrases like “worthless fiat money” roll off a libertarian’s tongue. It’s just not true. Everyone knows that it can be used to buy food, gasoline, and yes even gold. If a listener doesn’t even know what fiat means, he may feel patronized.

Fiat means force. The dollar is forced on us by tax and legal tender laws. Why not define the term, and take the time to make this point? Most people resent being forced, so this is a compelling argument.

The dollar may become worthless, but that’s what we have to prove. We cannot assume others agree. Hyperbole is a particularly ineffective tactic, and it gives the opposition free ammo. For example in the summer of 2009, I heard a highly respected libertarian—an Austrian School guy and successful investor—declare that hyperinflation would set in “by the end of the year, or early 2010 the latest.” His fans may be willing to overlook this claim, but not gold’s enemies. Paul Krugman crows about blunders like this.

At least with the prediction of dollar collapse, it will be true eventually. On the other hand, conspiracy theories are sometimes mixed together with the case for gold. One typical allegation is that the price of gold is manipulated. Add in chemtrails, vaccines, and 9/11, and it’s enough to make most people turn away. For the love of gold, keep this stuff out of the money discussion!

Think about how it sounds to normal people. We’re trying to persuade normal people, right? Most people are honest. They want to succeed at their jobs, save for retirement, spend time with their families, and do normal stuff like watch the Super Bowl. Think about it from their perspective.

We risk making gold look like a cult.

To them, it has all the signs. Gold advocates sometimes speak in tongues, using secret code words known only to initiates. We seem to believe the sun revolves around a flat earth. And we accept predictions that never seem to come true.

The goal here is to win friends and influence people for the gold standard. So let’s focus on what matters. Gold is stable, sustainable, and doesn’t lead to massive booms and busts. These issues resonate with normal people.

Gold is honest money.


Keith Weiner
Keith Weiner is president of the Gold Standard Institute USA in Phoenix, Arizona, and CEO of the precious metals fund manager Monetary Metals.
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