11A080 Dollars by Jim Davies, 3/22/2011    

The Coinage Act of 1792 defined a US "dollar" as 3714/16 grains of pure silver. It doesn't say one cannot exchange value for other coins in common use at the time, like the British pound and penny and florin, and the Spanish eight-piece, but that if you wanted to price your goods in "dollars," that's what a US Dollar is.

The Act has never been repealed, so by government law, a "dollar" is still, today, a coin with 371.25 grains or 24.056595 grams of pure silver. There are 31.1034768 grams in a troy ounce, so a dollar is (24.057 / 31.103 = ) 0.773 ounces of silver. That's the law. Currently, an ounce of silver is being bought and sold for 35 paper dollars, so the market (whose judgment is final) says that government paper "dollars" are worth only (0.773/35 =) 0.022 true dollars, or 2.2% of their legal value; hence 98% of that value has been lost.

I don't care about laws; a law is a one-sided contract and so has no moral validity whatever. But when someone is threatened with harm for breaking "the law" it's in his interest to know what the law says, and it's a heavy moral obligation on his jury, responsible for judging whether the accusation is valid, to know what the law does and does not say. And the law says, in 2011 as well as 1792, that a "dollar" is 0.773 silver ounces.

Bernard von Nothaus stood trial recently for circulating "Liberty Dollars" made of silver, on the pretext that they were counterfeit. The charge against him did not even allege that his coins contained less than 0.773 silver ounces - there was no such accusation. Accordingly, by law, he could not possibly have been guilty.

Yet last Friday a jury in Statesville, NC, did in fact find him guilty. Cackling in triumph at her victory, US Attorney Anne M Tompkins said von Nothaus' was an "attempt to undermine the legitimate currency of this country." This graduate of a government-licensed law school and professional enforcer of its will had evidently not read the 1792 Coinage Act, or else had read it but didn't care, or else had no concept of the meaning of the word "legitimate." That Act defines "dollar" and of course the US Constitution purports to authorize the FedGov to "coin Money [and] regulate the Value thereof..." but nowhere does any law grant it a monopoly in so doing. In any case, it's many years since it last made use of that power, and in any case in a free country residents would be able to exchange goods and services for any coin they so wished.

Mr von Nothaus is another hero of liberty whom the government will cage, for he was attempting to restore a valid, valuable (and incidentally, legal) standard of currency in this society, whose government legal-tender, paper "dollar" is itself utterly counterfeit and has lost 98% of its purchasing power since in 1913 the Fed was authorized to create as many of them as government sees fit. However, his brave attempt was premature. Here's what his sad case can teach us:

  1. Government does not care a fig what its own law says, and will stand that law precisely on its head, if it so wishes
  2. Juries are so abysmally ignorant that they let government get away with it
  3. Government is utterly reprobate and incorrigible, and so must be eliminated

The conclusion should be obvious, and has been stated here many times: there is one way to create a free society, and one only, and it is to re-educate the entire US population. Perhaps you can think of a better way - but meanwhile, TOLFA is doing the job.

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