I was not surprised to hear that Ben S. Bernanke advanced to head of the Federal Reserve Board with little fanfare earlier this week. Dubbed the Prince of Paper because of his suggestion that the the US could simply print its way out of economic troubles (a frightening idea to anybody who understands money) I expect that he will continue in the footsteps of those who have lead the Fed before him. This might come as a surprise to most people out there, but this won’t be good for the country.
With the national debt now over 8 trillion dollars, 4 trillion of it being held in private hands (which means we pay interest on that portion of the debt) The question really becomes “why are we paying others to carry debt that we owe ourselves?”
I was listening to a local talk show host, Patrick Timpone, recently; and heard excellent idea from the guest. Didn’t catch who he was (don’t think I heard his name) but his argument amounted to “…if we are going to endorse the fiat money system as the way to do money in the modern age, then we need to make sure that the citizens of the US are the ones who profit from the use of our money, not the banks and individuals who own the debt.” The treasury should take back the ability to print money (this will require a constitutional amendment) and simply print the money it needs itself. Any subsequent benefit to the debt’s existence would accrue to the Americans to whom the debt is owed.
Maybe the way to make money more elastic (without engaging in inflationary money printing ventures like the Paper Prince will embark on) is to adopt a system like the Ripple or Cyclos monetary systems, allowing us to privately monetize ourselves what we currently have to go to the banks for.
Something to think about. But I’d still prefer to have the silver in my hand rather than any IOU, even if that IOU is backed by the full faith and credit of the United States.
A friend of mine dropped me a note the other day commenting on my light handed touch on the subject of the Fed, Bernanke and Bush in this article. He sent me a link to his site where the subject is discussed at much greater length as a representation of what a proper beating should read like.
Clearly, a lot more work went into his article than into mine, but I like to go for the quick jabs and then get out of there. Hanging around debating the subject just gives them more of a chance to nail you in return. It’s like boxing, but without the bruises and daim branage.
For those who don’t want to wade through the lengthy dispatch, the three paragraphs concerning Bernanke are pasted below (along with the references) Like I said, much more work:
Dubya has nominated economist Ben Bernanke to be the new chairman of the Federal Reserve System. If the Senate confirms Bernanke, he’ll replace Alan Greenspan, who, sadly, is the best we can ever hope for as Fed chairman. Anyone better would push to abolish the organization, which was established in 1913, ostensibly to eliminate monetary boom-bust whipsaws in the economy.
Since then, the Fed’s presided over recessions or depressions in 1918-19, 1920-21, 1923-24, 1926-27, 1929-42, 1945, 1948-49, 1953-54, 1957-58, 1960-61, 1969-70, 1973-75, 1980, 1981-82, 1990-91, and 2001. Those are just the official dates from the National Bureau of Economic Research. Sometimes the malaise lingers after. In between these contractions, the Fed’s given us inflation, most notoriously from the early 1960s to the early 1980s. Sometimes we get both, as in the stagflation of the 1930s  and the 1970s through the early ‘80s. Today each basic Federal Reserve Note, a.k.a., “a dollar,” buys about 4 cents worth of goods or services.
Greenspan actually knows better. To be charitable, he may have been constrained as chairman from making necessary but radical changes for the better, because doing so entailed more clout than he possessed, or because he couldn’t impose changes without creating adverse effects elsewhere. Bernanke, however, is on record that fiat currency can create prosperity, and that the Fed won’t permit deflation.
25 Andrews, Edmund L. et al. “At the Fed, an Unknown Became a Safe Choice.” New York Times 26 Oct. 2005: A1+. 26 Mayer, Martin. The Fed: The Inside Story of How the World’s Most Powerful Financial Institution Drives Markets. New York City: The Free Press, 2001; Woodward, Bob. Maestro: Alan Greenspan and the American Economy. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 2001. 27 Greider, William. Secrets of the Temple: How the Federal Reserve Runs the Country. New York City, 1987: 268-284; Rothbard, Murray N. A History of Money and Banking in the United States: The Colonial Era to World War II. Auburn, Ala.: Ludwig von Mises Institute, 2002: Pt. 2. 28 Greider, op. cit., 289-291; Rothbard, History of Money and Banking, op. cit., 272-273. 29 Greider, op. cit., 293. 30 Greider, idem., Ch. 10; Rothbard. America’s Great Depression, 5th ed., Auburn, Ala.: Mises Institute, 2000: Ch. 8-12. 31 Greider, op. cit., 329. 32 Ibid., 334. 33 Ibid., 344-346. 34 Greider, op. cit., 206-207; Schulman, Bruce J. The Seventies: The Great Shift in American Culture, Society, and Politics. New York City: The Free Press, 2001: 142. 35 Greider, op. cit., Ch. 12-13; Schulman, op. cit., 218-219. 36 Frum, David. How We Got Here: The 70’s – The Decade that Brought You Modern Life – For Better or Worse. New York City: Basic Books, 2000: 293-294, 296; Greider, op. cit., Ch. 1, 3, 6; Nocera, Joseph. A Piece of the Action: How the Middle Class Joined the Money Class. New York City: Simon & Schuster, 1994: 76-83, 167-190; Rothbard. What Has Government Done to Our Money? 4th ed. Auburn, Ala. The Ludwig von Mises Institute, 1990: 51, 54. 37 Rothbard. The Mystery of Banking. New York City: Richardson & Snyder, 1983: 251. 38 Nocera, op. cit., 183; Schulman, op. cit., 129-143, 210. 39 Thornton, Mark. “The Continuing Bull Market in Gold: How High Can It Go?” Speech. Mises Institute conference, Austrian Economics and Financial Markets. Las Vegas, 19 Feb. 2005. 40 Greenspan, Alan. “Gold and Economic Freedom.” 1966. Rpt. Rand, Ayn et al. Capitalism: The Unknown Ideal. New American Library, 1967: 96-101. 41 Bernanke, Ben. “Deflation: Making Sure ‘It’ Doesn’t Happen Here.” Speech. National Economists Club. Washington, D.C. 21 Nov. 2002; Bernanke. Essays on the Great Depression. Princenton, N.J.: Princeton UP, 2000: Ch. 1.
The national debt is a virtually meaningless number. It took me ages to figure that one out. The number is meaningless because we, the government, back the money system. The only way it fails is if we fail to continue to support the system into the future. Should we limit spending to things that seem reasonable? Certainly. Define reasonable in a country as large and influential as the United States is.
Anyone who has called my house recently knows what an enjoyable time I have messing with telemarketers and their ilk. Just stumbled across a script for talking to telemarketers that I might just have to try:
Telemarketers make use of a telescript – a guideline for a telephone conversation. This script creates an imbalance in the conversation between the marketer and the consumer. It is this imbalance, most of all, that makes telemarketing successful. The EGBG Counterscript attempts to redress that balance.
I just checked the bank accounts. Not even going there. The teenager is frustrated. I’m not going there either. The range is on the fritz. Re-queue that song, quick. I better finish quickly while I can.
One of those rare times that I talked about music and the emotional effect it can have on me on the blog. Meniere’s took most of my love of music along with the bass parts of my hearing. Music has become largely soulless for me. It is a select few songs that speak to me now, if I haven’t heard them and learned to love them already. If you already know the work, your brain will play it back for you provided you can still hear anything. Luckily I still can hear some parts of the music.
…and it’s music from Marc Gunn’s Irish & Celtic music podcast too. I’m glad. He needs more listeners. I knew I’d been listening to that for a long, long time. I hadn’t realized how long until just now.
The passion has gone out of it for me. I never did obsess about following trends like most people seem to do, and once I became detached from music what little I did catch that was trendy was lost. Now I’d rather hear Marc and Andrew sing Lily the Pink than I would try and understand what passes for music these days.
So, what is the Liberty Dollar? This is the forum where we hope to answer those types of questions. If you are new to ALD, take some time and read the many pages of information that can be found on the Liberty Dollar site. I’d start with the Introductory Essay. Don’t want to read about it? You might want to check out the History Channel special that is linked on the Libertydollar.org front page, or just click here. (download link)
Still too much information for you?
Short and sweet then. The Liberty dollar is money. Technically speaking, it is money based on one ounce of silver; a dollar value is attached to that ounce of silver that roughly equates to the Federal Reserve Note dollar value of the 1 ounce silver numismatic items currently in circulation.
Huh? Too short? Sorry. Once upon a time…
There was a time in the not too distant past when the US dollar was based on an amount of real metal, and you could trade paper dollars and checkbook dollars for real silver dollars if you wanted. (If you really want to know more about that go here) Even before that time, US money was based on a quantity of metal. From the very beginning of the US as a nation, the dollar was represented as being worth a certain amount of silver (371 4/16 grains) and it remained that way through most of US history until the Federal Reserve was established to regulate money. Since that time, the number of dollars in circulation has been increased to the point that what was once a dollar worth of silver is now (at this writing) nearly 10 dollars. The Liberty Dollar was created as a way to combat this growing problem. The Liberty Dollar is first and foremost based on a unit of silver weight (1 ounce .999 fine silver) The ounce of silver is then divided into the number of dollars that current market price for silver dictates, based on a formula that can be found here. What it amounts to is that the dollar value increases as the silver value increases, providing a store of value as money ought to be.
The liberty dollar is not just silver rounds, though. It is also available as certificates and as an online ‘electronic‘ currency, all fully backed by silver, and redeemable for silver.
Still have questions? Well, that is what we are here for. There are many other resources to tap at the liberty dollar site, including “The Mother Lode of Information“. Look around there, browse here; or just post a note. We’ll try to point you in the right direction.
This is an introduction to the American Liberty Dollar that I wrote for the Liberty Dollar Online forums. Those forums are long gone from the internet and can barely be found in the Wayback Machine archive.
The one embarrassment that I have about this article is the numerous links to the Liberty Dollar site itself. Bernard’s notions of salesmanship have never been to my liking, and every one of those links goes to examples of his marketing. I have left them here for their instructional value alone. The title was changed at some point in the distant past from Reminting Fee.
Someone has been stirring up trouble over at the American Liberty Dollar (ALD) forum under the subject heading “Customer No Service” and it reminded me of a thing I went through on Clark Howard’s BBS a few years back. It reminded me of that event because Customer No Service is a trademark Clark Howard phrase, and Clark Howard has hated ALD from the beginning.
I used to listen to the Clark Howard show on a regular basis. I gave it up when his forum hitmen banned me for posting this stuff. I still don’t listen to him, although the mere sound of his voice no longer sends my blood pressure over the red-line. I’ll take silver coins over green paper any day; but there are some people who seem to think the words Federal Reserve Note (FRN) equate to some kind of guaranteed value.
Attention Clark Howard Listeners:
The Silver Liberties are not paperweights. They are made of .999 fine silver. They are stamped with a value of $10 (that’s FRN value) and can be exchanged for same if you desire green paper instead of real silver.
You can go here: http://www.norfed.org for more information.
For local Austin Retailers who accept Liberty Dollars, go here:
For local silver info:
http://www.austinsilver.com (dead link -ed.)
The caller to the show that complained about receiving silver instead of FRN’s highlights the predicament that the monetary system is in. Something with actual value is worthless in her mind, while the worthless green paper has value.
The banks OF COURSE will not take private money. The private money is a liability for them, whereas the Federal Reserve has been a cash cow that generates unprecedented returns for member banks. The last thing they want is for the inflationary reserve notes to be replaced.
I can print green pieces of paper all day for the people who think paper has value because it says FRN on it. An ounce of silver will always be an ounce of silver; a green back could be worth as much as a Continental tomorrow. Who knows? Perhaps you should read The Creature from Jekyll Island before casting aspersions on others.
You might want to put on your foil hat first. Don’t want those weirdo free thinker rays to penetrate, do we?
Actually, the foil hats are most often used to keep the gubbament and alien mind control rays out. ( The mind control rays from the combined gubbament and alien conspiracies are particularly damaging.)
It contains many technical details and ideas not easily found just anywhere. It and its many links to other technical information are just as much–or more–useful as your links about gubbament conspiracies.
The calculator for computing required thickness of the foil is especially useful–and I rank its value right up there with your conspiracy theories, too.
The website is quite comprehensive, so the only technical detail I might add it that there are aluminum foil tapes used to seal ductwork, which might be more effective than scotch tape in constructing a foil beanie.
Hope this helps.
I’ll grant that what occurred with the establishment of the fed was a conspiracy; but to refer to it as a theory is to discount the exhaustive research that went into not only The Creature from Jekyll Island, but the 4 or more works that were written previously on the subject, and that are referenced in the book.
It would be equivalent to saying that gravity is a theory, or that sunlight is a theory. Doesn’t wash, sorry.
The FED was a sucker ploy, and the U.S. fell for it. We live now in the world Jefferson warned us about.
If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around them will deprive the people of all property until their children wake up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.
And a green piece of paper will still be a green piece of paper tomorrow, unless I destroy it. Similarly, your ounce of silver will always be an ounce of silver, unless you destroy it. Silver has no more intrinsic value than paper. Both have the value that they have because people will trade goods and services for them. If that changes, either one could be worthless when trying to acquire goods and services. For example, in a case of a major earthquake, you might have trouble buying clean water and food with paper or silver, but you could use cigarettes. In that case, the “money” is worthless, because the food and water others have are much more valuable. The cigarettes are something people value, though.
“Silver has no more intrinsic value than paper”…and, in fact, I think I’ll let that statement stand by itself.
For those who doubt the veracity of the above, you might want to check into a concept known as “investing“, and the materials known as “precious metals“. Just a thought.
… from someone who posted a note like yours. Maybe you can join some fellow simpletons in the tax protest movement?
Be sure to ask “how high?” the next time you’re in for an audit. After all, once you’ve waived your fifth amendment rights and sent in that 1040, you are an admitted criminal waiting to be found.
Just a thought. http://www.anti-irs.com (none of the sites that make claims concerning the validity of the IRS should be taken seriously unless you are wanting to adopt the teachings of White Nationalists. -ed.)
I’ve learned not to use the word ‘intrinsic’ since this exchange took place. Tangible is what most people would equate to intrinsic in meaning.
At the time I posted this stuff I wasn’t a Liberty Associate, I was simply attempting to enlighten the public concerning money and value. I did eventually sign up with the Liberty Dollar a few months after that. The moderators on Clark Howard’s BBS banned me, leveling the charge that I was trying to profit off of his audience. A false accusation, at the time.
If the average American can’t figure out why Silver money has value and paper money does not, then things are much worse than I had originally thought, and the time to get behind precious metals is now.
Where to start with this one? I’d like to pretend that I was on drugs and so not responsible for most of the text here, but that would be lying and I’m trying not to do that here. I left the two quotes in that I did when I re-edited this article specifically to illustrate the baiting that was going on in the BBS at the time. There was a lot more back and forth like that like that. One of the two quotes is from someone that, in hindsight, I wish I had taken more seriously. He was, at least, trying to be even-handed. In my blind belief in Libertarian ideals, in the fact that physical commodities would always have more value than promissory notes, I let the sense that several people tried to focus on me be deflected by those beliefs.
…which is why I now end up having to strike out the bullshit that I was repeating at the time. In my defense, I was desperately trying to distinguish between the natural limits on a physical commodity as opposed to the near unlimited supply of paper currency which could be created. As opposed to the truly uncounted and uncountable electronic dollars that currently reside in most bank accounts across the world. Without the social order, tradable commodities will have value when other things do not. Metals will have more use and therefore more value than old printed paper so long as humans trade commodities. This is simple fact, not something to be debated.
The problem with all of these distinctions is that they are subjective in nature. Paper has no more or less value in relation to minted silver unless you look at the subject through human eyes. They both simply exist. This is more than could be said for any form of electronic currency including the now long-dead Electronic Liberty Dollars. I quit supporting Bernard Von Nothaus when he crafted Donald Trump Liberty Dollars. No matter what I think about holding and trading physical commodities as stores of value, I can’t be associated with anyone who thought that Donald Trump should be president.
I’m working on an EPHN article about money. One of these days I’ll get around to publishing that one, too.
The city of Austin proposed a smoking ordinance in 2003 that would have banned smoking in public places. It passed. They then went on to offer to sell smoking permits to businesses that wanted to allow smoking. In other words, they could pay to get a permit to do something that they should have been able to do anyway, but now have to pay for because the city government felt pressured to act. Then they realized they’d created a massive cash cow that they could suck funds out of. It’s a beautiful world, isn’t it? There was a chance that other alternatives to the original ban might be entertained alongside the permits idea.
Rock Howard proposed the following in response to the suggestion that any form of compromise would be an abandonment of our principles as libertarians. This is a compromise on the smoking ordinance that would simply clarify business practices that already exist, allowing the customer to then make an informed choice.
To me an example of a workable compromise would be:
a) If they wish, an establishment can sign up on a city maintained smoking registry, but doing so is not necessary if the owner puts up a sign near the entrance(s) of the establishment detailing their smoking policy. (Minimal signage would be: “Smoking Permitted”.) or
b) If they wish, an establishment can sign up on a city maintained “smoke free” registry, but doing so is not necessary if the owner puts up a sign near the entrance(s) of the establishment to the effect detailing their smoking policy. (Minimal signage would be: “No Smoking” or “Smoke Free”.)
This compromise would hopefully placate those who consider cigarette smoke as an assault on their personages. (For some people it actually is an assault) As far as abridging rights goes, it is simply coupling the right of the property owner to the equal and legitimate responsibility to make their smoking policy clear to prospective patrons either through signage or by the public process of signing up on a registry.
As far as the permit idea goes, let’s see if we can dig up actual examples where a permitting process for smoking turned into a ban. If we can do that, then that would be helpful as it might give the business owners more intestinal fortitude about defending their rights. At this point many are seeing this as a life and death issue for their businesses and that makes more susceptible to a slippery slope compromise.
When further objections were offered, he then posted the following.
It is possible to stay with our principle but also get involved with the current process too. If we refuse to get involved for the sake of principle, then we abandon our constituents to their fate (which likely entails a slippery slope compromise that dooms them in the future) The only other avenue is the courts, but we have no friends or power their either.
I have seen this fight in other cities and with the current political mindset of the voters, as long as it remains a political battle, we are doomed. If we can be smart and lucky we might be able to help craft a compromise that staves off the rights-snatchers for a while and, more importantly, helps preserve the livelihoods of our core constituents for the time being. If we do, then we will have bought ourselves some time as well as additional support for the long term project of opening up the minds of the people to the larger issue (i.e., the critical importance of personal property rights.) This will take time and money and, without it, we are just kidding ourselves about our ability to win this battle.
The only reason that I used the word compromise in the first place is that there are only two possibilities right now: 1) no compromise happens and the current harsh Smoking Ordinance goes into effect; or 2) a compromise occurs to stave off the most harsh effects of the ordinance for some time. I do not accept that there is a third option (as much as we would all prefer it) in the near future. I suggest that to get to the preferred outcome that we all want, it makes sense to be involved in the current process as the outcome of “no compromise” will simply kill off many of the small businesses that we are supposedly trying to support.
In point of fact, if the local [LP] works against some sort of compromise, then we are, in effect, working to enact the Smoking Ordinance. Go ahead and do so if that is what you want, but in my considered opinion that approach is counterproductive in the short, medium and long run.
Then the argument really started.
If we try to mediate a compromise in this case, we are saying that government taking away just some of our rights is ok verses taking all of them. If we need to take this to court to fight this injustice we should, it would really make a name for ourselves. We should stand up for what’s right, not for what we feel is acceptable for the moment.
What about the rights of the non-smokers to do business in a smoke-free environment? What about the real health issues involved in breathing smoky air? I assure you that the solid majority of Austinites are 4-square behind an outright ban based on those two arguments alone.
I don’t agree with them, but they are our audience.
A requirement to sign the exterior of your business is no different than putting ingredients on the outside of packages, or spelling out the details of a contract in advance. It’s not a compromise it’s collaboration, an acknowledgement that there are telling arguments for those who support a ban, but that a ban is not necessary or even desirable.
IMO, signing the exterior of your business IS what is right. Some of us would prefer to do without the smoke. Thank you, Rock, for the level headed suggestion.
The outcome of the vote on the smoking permits was a landslide in favor of it, the council couldn’t resist that cash cow. The local LP candidates (except for the exceptional Rock Howard) opposed all compromises and sunk any chance of sidestepping what happened then, and what happened next. At the suggestion of the moderator at TCLPactive, I then moved the resultant discussion to my Liberty List
Getting in your car and driving will lead to serious health consequences, to the same degree that lighting a single cigarette will lead to serious health consequences.
It has nothing to do with the number of trips. I can get in my car right now and drive, and while I stand a statistical chance of harm, the mere act of driving the car does not increase the chance in and of itself.
My wife and I were test car drivers for quite awhile. She has driven more than a million miles. She’s still breathing.
A relative of mine has smoked 3 packs of filterless cigarettes a day for 30 years. He’s had cancer twice, (thankfully not lung cancer) cancer that is statistically related to smoking, and he still insists that the smoking isn’t the problem, all the while smoking like a chimney. He may still be breathing now, the latest radiation treatments won’t start for a few more weeks. The man could have lived in good health to the age of 100 or more, without the cigarettes. I personally don’t think he’ll see 70 because of them.
Your rights are not being transgressed when someone smokes in your presence, because you are free to leave, or not to breathe the smoke, or to wear a mask. Your rights are being transgressed when someone forces you to do something that harms you or others, or when they harm you directly.
When I am engaged in commerce, dining out for instance, I and the parties I am doing business with have entered into an informal contract. Part of that contract involves a smoke-free environment if you are doing business with me. During the process of commerce, while I’m eating for example, someone decides to engage in their particular form of self-destruction and lights a cigarette.
How am I free to leave? I daresay that the owner of the establishment would take exception to my departure before contracts are satisfied, before I paid, in this example. As someone who is known to demand a smoke-free environment, why should I be expected to leave? Since non-smoking is something that I demand up front, should not the smoker be ejected if he refuses to leave?
…”wear a mask”. Why doesn’t the reverse apply? Since smoking carries no negative impacts, let the smokers wear a mask and not waste a single breath of their precious nicotine.
…”not to breathe the smoke”. Not breathing as a choice. No, I don’t think so.
The truth is, when someone lights up in my presence, they are in fact forcing me to engage in their habits. It’s a cop-out for libertarians to say “you’re free to leave” or “it’s a (property) rights issue”, because that is just the surface. The reality is much more complex than that.
Your usage of “informal” is as a euphemism for implied. A contract not discussed and not agreed to is a contract which does not exist.
Informal does not equal implied. The words have different meanings. Walk on a check at a restaurant and see if the restaurateur doesn’t think you have a contract. That you are expected to pay for services rendered and food consumed is an informal contract; informal because you did not agree to the contract in writing, in advance.
When people complain about an aspect of free-wheeling liberty (such as people lighting up whenever they please whenever the owner of the property they’re standing on doesn’t mind), it is my reflexive assumption that the person making the argument would turn a blind eye toward government force should it be stamping down on that aspect of liberty…
I have the right to object to harm and I will exercise that right vehemently. To put the shoe on the other foot; do you put tags on your car? carry a driver’s license? pay income taxes? If you answer yes to any of those questions, then by your definition you can apply the label to yourself, because government force is used to mandate things which are infringements on our liberty as we define them.
Austin banned smoking recently, and no, I’m not going to spend time fighting that battle now. The alternative wording (see above) that I agreed with was deemed a compromise by the local activists, and they decided to stand on principle and go down with the ship. Well, the property rights ship sank, and smoking is banned here now, unless the business owner agrees to pay the city for the privilege of allowing smoking. As Austin is “the liberal island in the conservative sea of Texas”, this is probably the way it’s going to be for awhile.
The net effect is positive for me personally, since health issues are deemed too touchy-feely to be taken seriously by hard-core types. My choices were reduced to either choke on the smoke of the free-wheeling, or breath the socialist air. So my fellow libertarians (who love to talk about choice) forced me to pick the lesser of two weevils. Not a position I relish, I assure you.
That’s also an assertion. I don’t know what study it’s based on but I’ve enough smoking and second hand smoking studies demolished by examining their statistical methods that I don’t put any stock in them. Cato has plenty of these. The claim that 400,000 Americans die every year from tobacco is an outright fabrication from the American Cancer Society, for example.
Back to the original question, the only acceptable smoking ordinance IMO is having establishments clearly post their smoking policy at the entrance so you can make your decision before entering, as was suggested by Rock Howard previously
About the only thing that the writer got right was that it’s not an issue of smoker’s rights.
What most people who aren’t in the architecture field don’t realize is just how controlled building standards are in EVERY OTHER AREA except indoor air quality. The establishment of building codes that spell out minimum standards would go a long way toward addressing the problems of smoking vs. non-smoking, giving more choice to people in the long run rather than a strict smoking/smoke-free establishment.
Back in the good ol’ days the upper class spent the money to have smoking rooms, because it was ill-mannered to smoke in front of the ladies. Now we’re all slaving in a socialist paradise, chucking the niceties of proper etiquette and the class structure, dragging the unwilling along with us kicking and screaming in whichever direction the whim of the majority takes us. Soon we will all be trailer trash (what in math is referred to as a Lowest Common Denominator) and not even the trailer trash will be allowed to smoke. Ah, democracy.
Business owners want one thing over all others: profit. I say fine, but let’s get to the real cost and benefit of the systems that we create. restaurateurs and club owners will not take a hard stand for property rights. It doesn’t sell food and drink. Oh, they’ll cheer us on, but they’ll toe whatever line that a) causes the least trouble, and b) makes them the most cash in the system.
…and the system does not take long-term health effects into account.
So, you had business owners who were more than happy to crowd everyone together with sub-standard ventilation, breathing each other’s exhaust fumes, because it was cheap and the majority of the population smoked. Now the majority are non-smokers, don’t want to smell smoke, and are willing to subvert property rights (Just as it’s been done since the beginning of time) in order not to have to. Guess what? The business owners will make the just-enough-to-prove-a-point noise about it, and then roll over and comply. That’s how they ‘work the system’ to their advantage. They get to appear sympathetic to the ‘poor smoker’, but they can follow the majority and their dollars into a non-smoking paradise; best of all they get to keep their poorly ventilated, overly crowded buildings just the way they are, and look good in the process.
Best bang for the buck that there is.
This has been my point all along. Ya’ll can stay on the high horse of property rights, and loose. You will lose, mark my words. If it’s a choice of defending this myth that business ownership is some kind of grandiose last stand for property or defending my desire to breathe cleaner air, then I’m going to breath easier.
I could do that or we could establish that the system should take account of air quality, just as it does minimum structural standards, minimum exiting standards, minimum bathroom sizes, etc, etc, ad infinitum. Call it signage, call it minimum codes, call it defending my property, my body, from the negative health effects of your bad habits, even when I’m not physically on land that I own. I don’t care what you call it but it’s better than establishing smoking bans all over the nation, which is where we are headed right now. Then we can add tobacco to the list of black market drugs. How about ‘smoke-easy’ establishments? They probably already exist in New York.
Do you know what I would love to see? Smokers wearing space helmets to smoke in. With a HEPA filtration system on the helmet, no smoke would escape to annoy the non-smokers. Can you arrest him for smoking in his own private space? Would anyone bother? That would be an argument involving the rights of the smoker and no one else. Do you think we’d find a volunteer to test the theory? Or does even the most devout smoker balk at being cooped up in small space with too much smoke in it? If you really believe that it’s not a health hazard to smoke, then why would you not be willing to?
There’s no way to rule innocent men. The only power government has is the power to crack down on criminals. When there aren’t enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws.
I’m sure some of you out there dismissed my solution out of hand “Bah, more minimum standards. Just another there-oughta-be-a-law solution for problems that are none of the gov’ts business.”
Now, if I were talking about law, then I would agree with you. However, that wasn’t the subject. Building codes are not laws. Yes, I know, in most places they are adopted and enforced as laws; but they start out as guidelines drawn up by groups concerned about public safety. They are minimum standards for safe building, and are as necessary in the scheme of things as any written manual. Anyone interested in limiting their liability, and most businesses are interested in this, will attempt to follow some acceptable standard of practice. So the creation of minimum standards for building was inevitable and actually desirable.
The problem with building codes is that they become bound up in the bureaucracy of government. Wander down to the building department in nearly any city in the U.S. and you will see the stellar results we get from this approach. In Austin, the indecipherable rat’s maze of overlapping authorities has lead to the need to create an office – the Development Assistance Center – just to tell the newcomers where they should start in the maze. One size fits all – and you will comply with the standards.
Tying the codes to government has several other undesirable side effects. I want to focus on one of them: The negative effects that rigid standards imposes on innovation. Many of the new technologies face impediments placed in their way by codes that were drawn up before they existed. IMHO, minimum standards for indoor air quality is one of the areas that has been affected by this, which has lead to the panic over the negative effects of secondhand smoke.
The solution to making the codes more responsive is to divorce the creation and enforcement of building codes from the government altogether. Much like independent Underwriters Laboratories creates minimum standards and tests assemblies and devices based on those standards, building codes should be based on logical, definable standards that can be tested, inspected and approved by any sufficiently educated third party. Allow the property owners and the professionals who design the facilities to decide what standards they wish to meet; and then hold them accountable for failures in design.
…and the solution to the smoking issue in the built environment is to create a minimum standard for indoor air quality that addresses the public’s concern.
It is not the strongest species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the most responsive to change
Editor’ note and Postscript
This is another historical argument from my file of archived messages. Austin passed several smoking bans. Passed and overturned and passed again. This back and forth of the issue of how to handle the hazards of smoking in the city of Austin lead to some interesting thoughts on mine and other’s parts. This is some of it.
Since Yahoo has shuttered its groups and removed the group archives from public access, this record and others like it scattered across blog sites on the internet are the only records available of the more than twenty years of conversations that happened in groups hosted by Yahoo unless Archive.org or some other group interested in preserving history gets ahold of those old group archives.
These conversations were a clusterfuck to edit together the first time, and it has been a clusterfuck every other time I have tried to re-edit them. Pulling quotation marks and semicolons left and right. Typing out full words for stupid abbreviations. I think it sort of makes sense now. This article remains a cautionary tale for trying to record conversations in a format that doesn’t permit real dialog. The question that should be asked before embarking on this task is this one: “is it really worth the trouble? Can I turn the dialog into a monologue that doesn’t sound insane?” If the answer to that question is no, then don’t even start the editing process in the first place.
There were arguments along the way through the conversation about smoking bans that suggested something to the effect that “the average person doesn’t care about smoking, and so the smoking ban will never pass if put to a vote.” Not too long after the Round 3 discussion, a referendum on banning smoking indoors in Austin was put before the voters, and it passed by a slim majority. This development put Case Closed on the subject of smoking here in Austin, and it reversed the council’s transparent attempt to milk cash out of business owners who wanted to cater to smoking clientele.
The battle went on in court over the new ban, but it never looked good and eventually was upheld. Personally, I don’t think the courts want to reverse a ban instituted by referendum. There is such a fear of the will of the majority that minority rights are ignored when the majority deems it necessary. This has been true since the day when democracy was invented.
So the dust up over the property rights of business owners comes to naught, except for those business owners who see a serious dent in their profit margin in complying with the new ordinance. Which is pretty much how I saw it shaping up in the beginning.
The image to the right is intended to be placed on a t-shirt. It contains a simple statement about value and how to retain it. Pretty innocuous, don’t you think?
Looks can be deceiving….
One of the members to the list this image was a part of wrote:
The statement is false. $30,000.00 in silver 1 .oz at time will not buy a house in my market…won’t even touch it besides the fact no one would take payment for a house in silver liberty. Just an evaluation.
Being bored, and wanting to make a few people think, I wrote the following:
If you had saved 30,000 dollars in silver dollars, as minted by the US prior to the 60’s (which was 1 dollar for 1 ounce) you would have 300,000 dollars in silver coins (at least) today. Enough to buy a house in almost any market. That was the point being made; silver retains value, which makes the statement true. I would be willing to bet that a deal could be made in which silver can be exchanged for property. Most people who own property understand what real value is.
Then this response flew out of the peanut gallery:
The math is off here… Most US silver dollars (Morgan’s, Peace) have a net silver content of .77344 per $1(This is a higher content than the pre-65 dimes, quarters and halfs). 30,000 times .77344 equals 23,203.2 ounces of silver times $7oz equals $162,422.40. This amount is further contingent on someone actually giving you spot. Return on investment(real inflation maybe?) Annualized Return: 4.31% Return for the entire period: 440.80% Starting date: 9/8/1965 Starting value: $30,000.00 Ending date: 9/8/2005 Ending value: $162,422.40
My reply “whatever, enough to buy a house” lead to a rather lengthy exchange concerning house values, the definition of return, the definition of dream house, the questionable parental blood lines of parties to the argument, the sexual practices of those involved, etc. and ad nauseam (the average flame war) which then ended up with this:
I’m beating a dead horse here, but I like horse paste, I guess. All the bitching about what the value of silver coins from 40 years ago would be today lead me to investigate what was available 40 years ago, and what it would be worth today. If you go here there is a description of what was available, coinage wise, and why, during the period being referenced.
So the coins that were available (and at face value then) were the Morgan and Peace dollars. Referencing the price guides at the links above, and going with the lowest price listed (15 dollars, if I’m not mistaken) for a silver dollar of that era, we get a rough value for 30,000 silver dollars being something in the realm of 450,000 dollars, not the 300,000 thousand that I originally estimated. As you can see, I was being conservative in my estimate.
Of course, the coins would probably have to be sold at auction, and so the value might be lower, but then there would be the odd coin that would have a greater value, and so the value might also be higher.
…BUT, even given the (inflated) average value for a house in the US as stated by others, 225,000 dollars, you could clearly buy a ‘better than average’ house (a ‘dream house’ in the estimation of the average person) with 30,000 silver dollars saved for 40 years.
With that argument, gentlemen, I rest my case. 😉
There was, of course, another explosion from the peanut gallery (something about my mother, I’m sure) but I consider the case closed. I’m probably mistaken though.
Why? Because this sort of stuff can just kept cropping up:
This might provide a more easily comprehensible example to those of us who have not been 29 for 35 or so years.
When I was in high school, (58, 59, 60, and 61) you could go into any bank and exchange Federal Reserve Notes in any denomination for Silver Dollars (also known at the time as “Cartwheels”. They contain 371.?? grains of fine silver and some other metals to make them wear better as circulating coins. They were therefore 90% silver as required by the U.S. Constitution and the 1792 Coinage Act made in pursuance thereof. They were honest weights and measures.Convertibility into silver was stopped in 1964.
Had you, in 1963 placed 3,000 Silver Dollars into one Safe Deposit Box and 3000 one-dollar Federal Reserve Notes in another Safe Deposit Box, and still had them today, you could make this comparison.
In 1963, If memory serves, you could buy a fully loaded mid-line Chevy for about $3000.00. (remember, you could convert paper to silver and silver to paper then one-for-one) If you went to your Safe Deposit Boxes today, and drew out those two stashes of $3000.00, the 3000.00 silver dollars would still buy you a brand new mid line Chevy (because you could convert them into $30,000.00 in Federal reserve notes by selling them at current market prices.) However, the 3000 Federal Reserve Note “dollars” that you took out of the other Safety Deposit Box, would probably scarcely buy you much more than a nice set of wheels, tires and wheel covers. … The U.S. “Government” has become the greatest enemy of Freedom and Prosperity ever to exist on this planet. It smashes and crushes Liberty everywhere; like a plague of Locusts it consumes everything its path, leaving “scorched earth” and rotting bodies behind, all the while, grinning like some evil clown and proclaiming that it is trying to “Spread Freedom” to all peoples.
It is effectively a parasite which is like a vampire that has learned not to immediately kill the host; but simply drink it’s blood a little at a time, keeping it weak and emaciated but still retaining it as a food source.
The Federal Reserve admits that the income tax is NOT to raise revenue to run the government, but is primarily to facilitate the “re-distribution of income.” What do they mean by that? What they mean by that in plain English is that it’s purpose is to raise money to buy votes with and thereby enable it to continue it’s consumption of all that is good in America.
America today is like a once robust, but gaunt, weak and sickly “Paul Bunyan”, lumbering along – unaware of the giant vampire bat attached to the back of his neck. The Vampire (U.S. Government) grows bigger and stronger by the day and will soon be larger than the host. It, like any parasite, will continue to feed until the host dies, unless the gentle giant awakens to his plight and removes the Vampire from his neck.
I mean, it never ends, does it? Now I have to go fight a vampire federal government, when all I was worried about was some newbies question about a t-shirt design involving using US silver dollars to buy a house.
…and remember. If you don’t hold the physical metal yourself for 30 years, you don’t get to keep the accrued value all to yourself. This is the problem with physical assets. You have to be able to hang onto them. This proposition requires social stability, a fact that anarchists never seem to take into account when arguing that we don’t need government. We do, if what we want is to hold onto what we’ve already acquired. This lesson can be learned simply by looking at places that do not have strong property rights protections.
Yet another conversation from history that now only exists on this blog unless some of my antagonists preserved a record of it as well. Some of those people meant well, they were trying to explain the con that was being conducted right in front of all of our eyes, but were failing to touch on the specific point where the con originated. It wasn’t the historical value of silver that was the problem, but was instead the value of silver being manipulated by those who were turning silver into a currency again. They were driving the price of silver upwards, not the value of the metal in and of itself. They knew this, even if we average silver traders didn’t.
Silver does lose its value if silver can’t be bartered for what you want directly. If you can’t barter with it, it has no value as a currency. If you have to treat silver like a commodity and sell it for currency of whatever denomination in order to do whatever you want with that value, then you as a barterer have admitted that silver does not have value as a currency. Silver has lost its value and you simply won’t admit this fact to yourself. Now we need to update the U.S. Constitution to reflect the reality on the ground in the United States today. Good luck with that effort.
The base value for an ounce of silver in the American Liberty Dollar system doubled from 10 dollars to 20 dollars at the end of last November. Anyone currently holding certificates or rounds denoted “10 dollar base” has effectively doubled their money.
PLEASE BE INFORMED… (1) If you had digital eLD, your account balance has been doubled. (2) If you wish to redeem your eLD, you will get the new $20 Silver Liberty. The $20 Base paper Silver Certificates will be available by March 2006. Please note article below and the Question of the Month for more info. (3) If you have paper Silver Certificates, you can exchange them for new $20 Silver Base certificates by March 2006 at NO charge or you may redeem them for one ounce Silver Libertys at any time, up to 20 years from date of issue. (4) If you have one ounce $10 Silver Libertys, you may exchange them for one ounce $20 Silver Libertys with a reminting fee of only $1.50 each through your RCO or the National Fulfillment Office in Evansville, Indiana. The $1.50 reminting fee is a SPECIAL OFFER FOR ONLY 60 DAYS: from November 24 to Friday, January 20. After January 20th the reminting fee will be $3.00 for each $20 Silver Liberty and $1.50 for each $10 Half Liberty, still a great price to “double your money.”
Silver rounds are available NOW. The reminting fee will be a buck fifty until January 20th, when it will go up to 3 dollars. Certificates, as stated in LIBERTY DOLLAR NEWS will be available in March of next year.
In the second article on the subject for the blog, I’m just blithely stating the profit margin guaranteed the minter in exchange for maintaining the American Liberty Dollar system. Never mind that he holds tons of silver that goes up in value every day that the system continues. It is a nice racket to be in.
I never understood the point of ELD or Electronic Liberty Dollars. I never understood buying the promissory notes/certificates. The point of wanting to own silver was that you didn’t know if the silver was real unless you held it in your hands. The Liberty Dollar organization saying trust us, it’s in the vault is no different than the bank telling you trust us it’s in the vault, and if you are already buying the silver from lack of trust, operating on a basis of trust is more than just a bit counter-intuitive. Are they treating you like the mark in a confidence game? I wouldn’t bet against it.
If such a thing did occur (sudden collapse of the economy due to lack of oil) there wouldn’t be much left that is worth living for, much less investing in. Thankfully, there are replacements for natural oil that are making headway in the marketplace. Biodiesel is one example.
When I first stumbled across the doom and gloom mantra being preached by modern ‘environmentalists’ (I was recycling when recycling wasn’t cool, BTW. I don’t think much of today’s crop) I did some research into the subject of shortages and what has happened through history when they occurred.
The one that seemed most similar was the period when we shifted from whale oil to crude oil (the IMHO misnomered ‘fossil fuel’) there were similar predictions of doom and gloom, none of which came to pass because the markets simply shifted to crude oil. I was unable to track down the articles I originally referenced for these facts, they have been covered up by thousands of repetitive articles on ‘Peak Oil’. That fact says more than any number of historical links. It’s the ‘in’ idea of the moment, and that’s all they are talking about. But it isn’t convincing to me.
To quote Steven Levitt:
What most of these doomsday scenarios have gotten wrong is the fundamental idea of economics: people respond to incentives. If the price of a good goes up, people demand less of it, the companies that make it figure out how to make more of it, and everyone tries to figure out how to produce substitutes for it. Add to that the march of technological innovation (like the green revolution, birth control, etc.). The end result: markets figure out how to deal with problems of supply and demand.
This observation sums it all up for me. I just don’t have time to contemplate end of the world scenarios, I guess. And the guy bailed on the whole group after I posted that. Do you think I was coming on too strong?
Query answered. No, I was not coming on too strong. People want to believe that fantasies can occur in the real world:
…and it is someone’s task to relieve them of this misunderstanding. It might as well be me.
This is my first time to talk about it, I’m going to call it what it is. Anyway, Jason gave the site I moderate a favorable plug, I thought I’d do the same for his blog that plugs it. http://austinsilver.blogspot.com (Thanks Jason!)
I was introduced to ALD about 4 years ago by Michael Badnarik, back when he was just a computer programmer looking for work, and not the most recognizable Libertarian on the face of the planet. If I only knew then what I know now… I’d have bought more silver, that’s for sure.
I’m enjoying the fall chest crud. I’m crawling back off to bed.