The new Spielberg/Favreau movie, Cowboys and Aliens, tells a story about a town named "Absolution ... about to experience fear it can scarcely comprehend as the desolate city is attacked by marauders from the sky. Screaming down with breathtaking velocity and blinding lights to abduct the helpless one by one, these monsters challenge everything the residents have ever known." Arguably, it is a political allegory about Republicans (cowboys) vs Progressives (aliens) much as James Cameron's blockbuster Avatar was an allegory of environmentalism.
But its interest, here, has nothing to do with its politics. The movie is predicated on the aliens' motivation to get gold: "Aliens, in this film, come to earth for a specific purpose rather than invading the whole of humanity. We are told that these aliens want ‘gold’, so they steal anything which is made out of gold – coins, shields and they even resort to extracting gold directly from earth deep in the mountains."
Gold holds such an enduring fascination for the human imagination that finds its way even into the predicate of a science fiction movie. Conversely, the 1951 science fiction classic Foundation, by Isaac Asimov, posits a planet on which the currency is forged not of precious metals but of stainless steel. From pages 48-49 of the Doubleday edition:
"Let's get back to business," urged Hardin. "How would you take these so-called taxes, your eminence? Would you take them in kind: wheat, potatoes, vegetables, cattle?" The sub-prefect stared. "What the devil? What do we need with those? We've got hefty surpluses. Gold, of course. Chromium or vanadium would be even better, incidentally, if you have it in quantity." Hardin laughed. "Quantity! We haven't even got iron in quantity. Gold! Here, take a look at our currency." He tossed a coin to the envoy. Haut Rodric bounced it and stared. "What is it? Steel?" "That's right."" "I don't understand."
In 1951, an iconic novel by one of the three most famous science fiction writers of the era considered that the oddest and most alien concept for currency would be to forge it from base metal.
Odd how science fiction so often anticipates reality. And how reality often repeats itself. As the prophet Isaiah wrote, around 700 BC, complaining of Israel's debased standards, "thy silver is become dross." That is, its coinage was adulterated with base metal:
How is the faithful city become an harlot! it was full of judgment; righteousness lodged in it; but now murderers.
Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water:
Thy princes are rebellious, and companions of thieves: every one loveth gifts, and followeth after rewards: they judge not the fatherless, neither doth the cause of the widow come unto them.
In every era, past, present or most distantly imagined future, gold connotes value and integrity.
George Gilder, whose new book publishes today, is one of the original pillars of Supply Side economics. As stated by Discovery Institute, which he co-founded, “Mr. Gilder pioneered the formulation of supply-side economics when he served as Chairman of the Lehrman Institute’s Economic Roundtable, as Program Director for the Manhattan Institute….”
He was the living writer most quoted by President Reagan. And he is back with his most brilliant work yet — one of potentially explosive importance if taken to heart by our political and policy thought leaders. It is a radical guide, with surprising insights on almost every page, to the creation of a new era of vibrant prosperity.
As reviewer Paul Brodsky, a professional investor in New York City, perceptively notes,
"Lewis Lehrman is one of a very small group of contemporary gold advocates able to successfully bridge the gap separating practical conservative intellectualism from fleeting, half-baked idealism. His CV lists great success across many fields including education (degrees and teaching fellowships from Yale and Harvard); industry (past president of Rite Aid); politics (narrow loser to Mario Cuomo in the 1982 New York governor’s race); finance, (past Morgan Stanley managing director); private sector entrepreneur (founder, L. E. Lehrman & Company); public sector advocate (founder, Lehrman Institute); historian (author, Lincoln at Peoria: The Turning Point); and recognized philanthropist (awarded the National Humanities Medal by George W. Bush in an Oval Office ceremony). ... Only someone erudite and elegant in demeanor could hope to pull it off . In an irreconcilably over-leveraged world where irritated bond vigilantes question economic sustainability and angry Tea Partiers protest the immorality of it all, Lehrman’s views are considered and his convictions carry weight. He brings gravitas to his cause, and he does so from within as a member of the club."
Before the Fed: JP Morgan Summons the Bank Presidents
"Finally, on the night of Sunday, November 2, Morgan summoned the presidents of the major New York banks to his new library, at the corner of Madison Avenue and Thirty-sixth Street, an Italian Renaissance-style palace he had built next door to his house to showcase his collection of rare books, manuscripts, and other artwork. Its marble floors, frescoed ceilings, walls lined with tapestries and triple-tiered bookcases of Circasian walnut, crammed full of rare Bibles and illuminated medieval manuscripts, made it an incongruous setting for a meeting of the banking establishment. Once the moneymen had gathered, Morgan had the great ornamental bronze doors to the library locked and refused to let anyone leave until all had collectively agreed to commit a further $25 million to the rescue fund."
— Liaquat Ahamed, Lords of Finance (Penguin Books, 2009, p. 54)
Lately we have been engulfed by headlines reporting financial turmoil on every continent, in almost every nation, large and small. The commissars of central planning who so marred the history of the 20th century have been replaced by central banks in the 21st. In Cyprus, the new leadership now dares to confiscate citizens’ wealth with a one-time tax of up to 60 percent on bank deposits above 100,000 euros. Self-interested prime ministers blame continental monetary policies for instigating the currency wars that they themselves surreptitiously carry on.
America recently celebrated — well, maybe we didn’t celebrate – the 80th anniversary of Franklin Roosevelt’s action to end to the gold standard. But America is also celebrating – well, maybe not everyone is celebrating – the 100th anniversary of the legislation creating the Federal Reserve System.
As Lewis E. Lehrman...
Constitution.org provides an extensive and thoughtful Memorandum of Law by Larry Becraft, Esq., of Huntsville, Alabama, on Article I, Section 10, clause 1 of the US Constitution.
Sir William Blackstone courtesy of Wikipedia
One of many interesting matters the Memorandum treats is Blackstone's Commentaries, a book that was a fixture in the...