aNewDomain — So Ron Paul is flogging gold now.
Flogging is a British word, one of my favorites. It means selling, but carries a distinct undertone of snarky judgment.
As in, Jason Statham got his start flogging costume jewelry outside Harrods. Notice he never says in the interview that he sold stolen watches, and the interviewer skirts around the issue of whether he asked. Enough said.
And there Ron Paul is on TV with website ads flogging gold.
Why is this? Why would Paul shill for a bad investment?
You have to wear a particular set of blinders to be a good libertarian.
Something qualifies as logically correct if its assumptions add up to its conclusion, and the conclusion follows from the facts in evidence.
It can be logically incorrect, though, if the assumptions themselves are false. Libertarianism’s problem, for example, is that it proceeds to logical conclusions from faulty assumptions.
It would be nearly impossible to grow up in poverty, understanding generational poverty from the inside, and become an adult libertarian.
Libertarians tend to believe government has little or no role in addressing things such as poverty. Free markets, they say, naturally arbitrate such issues. Libertarians believe that people by and large get exactly what they deserve, with hard work being the metric for merit.
Even a casual acquaintance with the facts should disabuse someone of such selfish notions. Libertarian ideals are not solutions to the kinds of real-world problems we have today.
There aren’t a lot of libertarians digging through dumpsters or cashing in bottles for the 5-cent deposit. Libertarians are almost always white, and they tend strongly towards middle to upper-middle class. In the U.S., class means money — you can flog watches or gold and still have class here. It’s too bad, really. Because who better to engineer a good old-fashioned pump and dump?
Ron Paul doesn’t pump and dump, though. He just pumps.
Ron Paul is a one-percenter. His ridiculous spiel about the feckless fiscal-policy-induced end times is not at all about helping us.
That’s because Paul and many like him bet against the economy.
They bet against the Fed, the dollar and the rest of us.
And what they’re doing now, with gold, is a simple twist on an old con.
You’ve heard of the typical pump and dump scam: First, a message comes in overnight when rates are cheap to millions of people. The message says something like: Stock X is blowing up! Get yours while you can! There’s a tiny bit of reporter-esque copy crafted to make it all sound objective, like it may be coming from an objective and trusted third party.
Some poor rubes believe the sell and buy the stock and prices go up. And the people who already have all the stock dump it. That’s like gold.
In the newer twist on pump and dump, you see libertarians and various con men get on TV to tell you the economy is soon to collapse and you should buy gold right away. You buy it. And the prices go way, way up.
In this case the perpetrators of the scam are well stocked with gold, or they’re well stocked with bearer bonds for gold. Having a lot of actual gold lying around in your house isn’t good for you, it encourages theft and, sometimes, even angry pitchfork-wielding mobs.
So they pump but don’t dump. And the prices go up and up. But this time the hucksters don’t sell en masse, as they would in a traditional pump and dump. They hold on to it.
Gold hoarders have to keep prices high.
The trouble with holding on to your assets when those assets are assets solely because of a panic-induced bubble is that the price eventually comes back down. Gold peaked at around $1,900 an ounce in 2011. Now it’s just under $1,100. This means the gold hoarders, the ones dribbling it out slowly and buying in bulk, need to constantly try to keep gold prices high. They try to drive gold prices north, again and again.
And you can see how this gets perpetuated. Say you bought at the peak of the market. That means you got hosed on the price. Now you need to get unhosed by hosing everyone else.
That’s why Ron Paul is back on TV in short segments and posting advertisements on his site. His message is: Buy gold. The Preppers are right.
Only problem is, you can’t eat gold.
You can’t eat gold any more than you can eat dollar bills.
When the bottom drops out of the gold market — thanks to libertarian climate-change-deniers who bet against the Fed in order to sell gold –then all the gold in the world isn’t going to stop the ravening bands of cannibals. Eventually, they’ll dine on your carcass, no matter what you do.
You’d do much better if you just stuck with dollars and spent them not on consumer electronics or other crap, but on amazing experiences.
Go to China, walk the Great Wall. See Sun’s tomb. Eat some scorpions. Paint a coffin. Go to India, get painted, eat some things that make you ill. Go to the Arctic to watch the ice melt. Run with bulls. Skydive.
See, experiences never lose their value.
You’re going to die. Maybe soon, I don’t know you.
And when you’re dying, how much gold is worth at the time will leave you no solace.
A life well-lived, though, is insurance against the fear of death.
Do it all now. See what you want to see while it still exists.
And, while you’re at it, do yourself a favor and consider developing some empathy. Gold won’t keep you warm at night.
For aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias.
Cover image and last image: Great Wall of China, with American boy, 12, in frame via Gina Smith for aNewDomain in China, All Rights Reserved.