Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Golden Perspective

"From the first moment I saw Ron Paul on C-SPAN (at some point before the Internet Boom) I felt that he must have been sent to Earth from another planet. How else can you account for such honesty, determination, and courage when faced with the doublespeak from financial officialdom? To just take one example of Paul’s determination to call the emperor naked, in February of 2000 Paul challenged Sir Alan Greenspan regarding increases to M3 which at the time had well exceeded the Fed’s own targets. Greenspan responded with some sort of excuse that money is difficult to define so Paul shouldn’t worry about one definition of it, but Greenspan was forced to admit that many of the various monetary aggregates used by the Federal Reserve have left something to be desired. Without missing a beat, Ron Paul concluded his questioning to Greenspan with the quip, “So it's hard to manage something you can’t define.” (You will note that the Fed stopped publishing M3 data around 2006).  Representative Paul’s honesty- almost childlike in its probity- is one of many characteristics associated with those from a planet far, far away: Planet Goldbug. Other character traits include fierce independence, skepticism toward any dogma or orthodoxy, and a defiant desire to wake earthlings up from their stupor regarding various lies on planet Earth. Although many residents from Planet Goldbug believe in the power of reason, they understand the rampant and manipulative abuse of reason by many in authority on this planet. So I have always felt that Goldbugs by definition have respect for heterodox, mystical, or hidden forms of knowledge. Sometimes this respect for heterodox thinking has led the opponents of honest money to denigrate buying gold as a “religion” (by which it is taken to mean that such investing is irrational.) However, I am just fine with the apparent accusation that owning precious metals transcends conventional definitions of reason. I take my cue from the gentleman who coined the term Goldbug, Edgar Allen Poe, in this regard. Poe belonged to the great tradition of nineteenth century romanticism, a tradition which understood the complex, contradictory, and humbling aspects of human consciousness.  Poe’s short story with the title The Gold-Bug (published in 1843) relates the supposed story of a man, Le Grand, who was bitten by a bug made of gold. The bite gives Le Grand supernatural power- clairvoyance really- to find the long-lost treasure of Captain Kidd (deposited somewhere along the southeast coast of the United States) in order to restore the Le Grand family fortune. At the end of the story, Poe has Le Grand relate to his friend that the power of the Goldbug was not what led to the treasure, but rather Le Grand’s own reasoning powers, or ratiocination. But in keeping with Poe’s usual portrayals of the mystical and terrific in his stories of ratiocination (meaning ones ability to reason in a superhuman manner) the reader is left wondering if it wasn’t in fact the transcendent knowledge of the Goldbug which aided Le Grand after all. A large part of Poe’s writing leaves room for intuition and magical insight, implying that these are as much a part of reason and intelligence as anything else. An important point to keep in mind the next time someone derides gold and silver investing as a “religion.”  Part of the reason why Goldbugs are often mocked as “conspiracy theorists” is due to their over tuned ratiocination- their well honed skeptical stance, attempting to uncover the hidden truths in this world. Honesty and candor- practiced to perfection by people like Representative Paul- are values from this different, golden planet. And when those values are betrayed, Goldbugs speak up. There are several other distinct, unusual traits possessed by Goldbugs, as well. One is faith in the autonomy of the individual- no matter how difficult it may seem to give the individual power over his/her own life. It may be mocked as na├»ve, but the alternative to faith in the primacy of the individual is the world of Big Brother. No man should be king, and no expert is qualified enough to dictate to others how to live. Freedom may be scary, but Goldbugs thrive in the spirit of embracing self-sufficiency, or independent living, and demand that individuals accept responsibility for their actions. (I know, another very corny platitude.) Governments by definition lie to their subjects-- I mean citizens. It is the same now as it has ever been. Power corrupts and absolute power makes men not only corrupt but stupid as well. I could go on and on, but you get the idea."
Ryan Jordan
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