August 26, 2003
wish this were a joke, but like so many things these days that
ought to be gags this is a real, honest-to-Pete news item. A man recently
went to a clinic in Brazil complaining of an earache and walked out with a
Ive heard of medical
blunders I can understand, as when surgeons amputate the wrong leg.
Thats pretty dumb, but at least the surgeons are right in principle:
they know the patient is supposed to have a leg detached, and their error
is one of mere detail. But how do you confuse an ear with the private
parts? Would a woman with an earache have received a hysterectomy?
Im not letting the patient
entirely off the hook. He should have at least piped up at some point.
Perhaps he trusted the experts too much and said to himself, Well,
I dont quite get it, but presumably these guys know what
If thats what he thought,
he isnt so different from the American voter, who keeps electing
people to uphold the U.S. Constitution, only to find himself getting the
political equivalent of unwanted surgery on his private parts. He figures
these guys must know what theyre doing.
Oh yeah? USA
Today reports that gasoline prices in this country are at an
all-time high. Theyve broken the old record of $1.41 per gallon, set
in March 1981. Wait a minute! the naive reader will cry.
Id kill to pay $1.41 for a gallon of gas!
Yes, but in todays dollars that would be $2.87. Your money is now
worth less than half its 1981 value.
When the Constitution speaks of
a dollar, it doesnt mean a piece of paper. It means
371.25 grains of silver. As Congressman Ron Paul, the Texas Republican,
puts it, This historical definition of the dollar has never been
changed and cannot be changed any more than the term
inch, as a measure of length, can be changed.
Paul subscribes to the quaint
view that words in law should have stable meanings. This puts him in a
tiny minority in Congress, the great majority of which believes that the
Constitution is a living document, whose historical
meanings dont matter, and that the government can make it mean
whatever it pleases.
The Constitution says that Congress shall have the power to coin
money and regulate the value thereof. The word regulate in this
context meant regularize, not arbitrarily change. Congress
is supposed to keep the value of money stable. Otherwise government
becomes a huge counterfeiting ring, printing funny money according to its
whims. And funny money is no laughing matter, except maybe on Mount
Olympus, where the gods are said to get a kick out of observing mortal
Ninety years ago, Congress
unconstitutionally delegated this responsibility to the Federal Reserve
System, a quasi-private agency. The idea was that private bankers would
know how to protect the U.S. currency against inflation.
Result? The value of the dollar
has been fluctuating and mostly shrinking ever since. Your
dollar is actually a near-total counterfeit.
It bears the words This note
is legal tender for all debts, public and private. That means you are
legally required to accept it as money, even if you realize that its true
value is meager and depreciating.
Paul quotes Stephen T. Byington,
who wrote in 1895, No legal tender law is ever needed to make men
take good money; its only use is to make them take bad money.
There. You cant put it more plainly than that.
So the living
Constitution philosophy has given us what might be called the
living dollar. As the power of government has grown, the
value of our earnings, our savings, our investments, and our property has
steadily diminished. In short, the government constantly robs us
through both taxes and inflation.
Probably nobody in Congress
thinks of himself as part of a criminal enterprise, any more than a termite
thinks of itself as a pest. They just do what comes naturally, without
comprehending the destruction they wreak. And as long as they
dont comprehend it, they wont care about it.
Congressman Paul is the
exception almost the lone exception. He wants Congress to resume
its responsibilities by abolishing the Federal Reserve and restoring sound
money based on precious metals.
Paul even wants to restore the
Constitution he and his colleagues are sworn to defend. I suppose that
makes him a utopian.