Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Virginia's Paranoid Coinage

The Virginia House of Delegates has passed a bill calling on the state to create its own money. Utah already has such a law, although no plans to implement it, and many other states are considering similar laws. They are driven, it seems, by fears of the Federal Reserve. I blame Ron Paul for this -- paranoia about the Fed was a fringe thing until he came along. But what, exactly, is it that people fear?

Some say inflation. The Post talked to delegate Robert Marshall, author of Virginia's bill:
Since the financial crisis, the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the economy to help avert what Chairman Ben S. Bernanke believed could have been the next Great Depression. Critics worry the Fed won’t ever stop. Marshall believes that the result could resemble the Weimar Republic of Germany after World War I: a worthless currency, skyrocketing inflation and a crumbling government.
But inflation is running at less than 2 percent and has been for years; is this really something we need to worry about?

I think the fear is something more basic and primal. People like Marshall have a vague sense that unseen, nefarious powers are controlling their country. Behind the scenes, evildoers are conspiring to wreck their lives and homes. Their influence pops up everywhere, from the morality-destroying dreck on television to the Boy Scouts welcoming gays. And it must somehow be behind the re-election of our half-black liberal President; surely it was the Fed pumping money into the economy that bought enough votes to bring that awful event to pass.

At its root this is just the old gnostic model of the universe, in which good people constantly have to struggle for their freedom against dark tyrants. And if you were a dark tyrant in our system, wouldn't you be based in the Federal Reserve? If Virginia ever does bring out its own coins, they should bear images from the Apocalypse of John; a seven-headed dragon vomiting sinners would capture the tone of this movement perfectly.

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