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Libertarian Meets "Sound Money" Hero

September 12, 2013

(left, Bernard von NotHaus - Who is the real counterfeiter? )

The government called him a "domestic terrorist"
for producing currency backed by silver and gold.
Found guilty in March 2011, he still has not been

 "Monopolies can't last. Not even the world's most powerful government can keep quality and consumer preference at bay forever. His idea pointed to a bright future in a revolutionary way. The revolution will not occur with guns and battles, but through enterprise, entrepreneurship, and a billion tiny acts of peaceful consumer choice."

by Jeffrey Tucker
(The "Domestic Terrorist" You Can Call a Hero)
(Abridged by

I dreamed I saw Bernard von NotHaus, free as you or me.

Said I, "But Bernard, you've been jailed two years."

"I never was," said he.

Bernard has been the called the Rosa Parks of the alternative money movement. More than 10 years ago, he decided to make his own money -- not the fake stuff we are used to, but the real stuff made of actual silver. He called his currency the Liberty Dollar (and why not, since there is no trademark on the word dollar?).

The feds raided him in in 2006. In 2007, the government outright stole 2 tons of coins from him, many of them featuring an image of Ron Paul, plus 500 silver coins and 50 gold coins. They threw him in jail and dragged his name through the mud.

He was later convicted of making counterfeit coins -- an ironic conviction given that he was making silver coins to compete with official coins made out of scrap metal. That conviction was in March 2011, fully 2½ years ago. The government labeled him a "domestic terrorist." Yet -- and this is what amazed me -- he still hasn't been sentenced. He walks around as free as you or me.


liber.jpgTruly, I was stunned. I was sitting at a wonderful gathering last October in San Diego, Calif., called Libertopia. It is several days of lectures, exhibits, and panels, along with lots of socializing, by libertarians of many different stripes. I had just finished giving a talk and was sitting out on a puffy chair underneath an outdoor awning.

Up walked a thin, lively, bearded man who introduced himself. My jaw dropped. I got up and said the first thing that came to mind: "My God, man, you are a hero," and he blushed sweetly. I asked how it was that he was not in jail. He explained his saga without pathos or fear, and full of confidence that he would be exonerated.

The feds threw every conceivable charge at him. The jury didn't buy it, but finally did have to admit that he seemed to be producing and distributing what claimed to be dollars, but differed rather substantially from U.S. government dollars. That was the basis of the counterfeiting claim. The claim alone implies that somehow he was tricking people, which is ridiculous, since the whole reason his coins were marketable was precisely because his customers knew that his coins were real and, in this respect, differed completely from the U.S. government replicas.

For decades, some very high-level intellectuals had taken note of the decline of the quality of money, from about, oh, 1913, all the way to the advent of pure paper money in 1971. The inflation of the late 1970s made the point: There has to be a better way. Economist F.A. Hayek wrote that it was entirely possible that a high-quality private money could compete with a government money.

252px-Liberty_Dollar.jpegBut who would step out and make the attempt? What entrepreneur would dare come forward and offer up an alternative as a product in the consumer market?

Bernard von NotHaus was the man. There is nothing illegal about minting silver into round shapes and putting pictures on them. It's not even clear that there is anything wrong with calling it a dollar, provided he didn't try to claim it was a government dollar. He never did.

The money monopolists in Washington went absolutely nuts about this. They threw the book at him, and added some of the most hilarious rhetorical flourishes that one can imagine. The attorney who prosecuted the case for the government said the following:

"Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism. While these forms of anti-government activities do not involve violence, they are every bit as insidious and represent a clear and present danger to the economic stability of this country. We are determined to meet these threats through infiltration, disruption, and dismantling of organizations which seek to challenge the legitimacy of our democratic form of government."

A present danger? More like a present solution. The paper dollar hasn't brought economic stability, but precisely the opposite. It's been a long string of terrible booms and busts, bubbles and explosions since that fateful day when the gold backing of the dollar was completely removed. The notion that government was trying to protect a marvelous system against domestic terrorism is mind-boggling, since the truth is rather obvious: The government was trying to protect a terrible system from being overthrown by competition.

But they stopped Bernard, right? Didn't he fail? He can be very confident in knowing that he made a gigantic mark in history. He demonstrated that it could be done. He threw a model out there that would not go away. And only two years after the looting of his business, an ambitious computer programmer created a code protocol that became what is now known as Bitcoin.


But the inventor of Bitcoin -- whose identity is either completely unknown or one of the best kept secrets in history -- knew better than to operate like a business. He made not silver rounds, but digital units. He didn't store these units in one place, but rather had them live on a globally distributed network that no government can shut down. He relied not on a third-party transmitter, but instead made it possible for this new currency to be traded peer to peer.

Bitcoin is a brilliant combination of the Liberty Dollar's soundness and Napster's distribution methods, with a few extra features thrown in to protect it against shutdowns.

In other words, Bernard von NotHaus took one for the sound-money team, and, in time, the world will see that his instincts were exactly right. Monopolies can't last. Not even the world's most powerful government can keep quality and consumer preference at bay forever. His idea pointed to a bright future in a revolutionary way. The revolution will not occur with guns and battles, but through enterprise, entrepreneurship, and a billion tiny acts of peaceful consumer choice.

When I think of this sweet, inauspicious, brilliant man, I can't help but smile. He is not a revolutionary in the mold of Lenin or Napoleon or even a fulminating media figure. His mode is to make something cool and offer it to people. It's the American way, and it's the height of hypocrisy that he would be persecuted in the Land for the Free simply for having made a better mousetrap.

This is why he is a legend. This is why he will go down in history. And perhaps this is why he continues to wait for his sentencing to take place.

Thanks to Navraj for sending this!

Makow Comment: I believe a metal-backed currency would be extremely deflationary. Currency is a medium of exchange, a coupon with no intrinsic value. We can never find enough metal to satisfy our need for credit. The real issue is that the government can and should issue currency debt-and-interest free to itself rather than indenturing humanity to a handful of Illuminati Jewish families. Nonetheless, I found this article charming and like to be informed of the activities of "sound money" people.

First Comment by Tony Blizzard

Von NotHaus is not a hero and his silver medallions are not "sound money."  This confused rant is typical of the libertarians' refusal to do the homework on money.  Years ago, when I was the main contact for The Spotlight, von NotHaus emailed or called me from Hawaii (memory fades) and asked why we were not promoting him.  I asked him how his customers, who bought his medallions with federal reserve notes, were supposed to get full value from them since his "money" had to profit him or he was out of business.  He never replied to the question.

He was correctly warned by the federal government several times that he could sell all the silver medallions he pleased but he could not call them dollars because dollars they are not since our legal tender is denominated in dollars and his medallions are not legal tender.  He refused and got what the law demands.

Federal reserve notes are the same farce as his medallions except for the simple fact that congress has unlawfully made them our legal tender money.  (Money is a matter of law, not of substance.)  This is insane because our legal tender - which proper, lawful money must be - is now federal reserve bank debt, which means that our legal tender is an impossible promise to pay instead of actual payment, which money must be in order to properly function for a society. This setup, allowed by our criminal congress, is an unlawful conveyor belt of all property, all value, to the few bankers of issue (of their debt), the fed, a Rothschild controlled criminal scam.

But von NotHaus' medallions are even worse.  They are simply barter, the most crude and inefficient manner of exchange and the reason money was invented by man.  Plus a scam of an added layer of loss on the buyer.

So we are screwed out of all value we have or create by our governments' prostitution of itself to the very private criminal federal reserve Rothschild bankers while those who buy von NotHaus' medallions are doubly screwed by buying them with their federal reserve notes (or resulting "bank credit") in order to get even less value from them than from the notes, while guaranteeing a living for BOTH von NotHaus and the owners of the fed - among a multitude of other costly errors such as the all important consistency of the volume of money in circulation which is purposely manipulated by the fed and they don't like competition in that scam.

Bottom line.  Two criminal scammers do not result in Americans having any honest money.

AJ Fozdyke on Tony:

But von NotHaus' medallions are even worse.  They are simply barter, the most crude and inefficient manner of exchange and the reason money was invented by man. - See more at:
"Money is a matter of law, not of substance."
Love it!
You know, there is no such thing in the English language as a perfect synonym.
Poor old Tony has confused 'money' with 'currency'.

"But von NotHaus' medallions are even worse. They are simply barter, the most crude and inefficient manner of exchange and the reason money was invented by man."
How bizarre - on any number of levels!

As I've said before: Buy as much silver as you possibly can. Leave Tony to his collection of printed paper. Soon those with gold and silver and those like Tony will get an in your face lesson in political-economy (including bartering). All it will take is for China to release their US dollar reserves (even more than they are presently doing). That's what a lot of us are working on currently, inter alia...

Tony replies:

Some interesting responses here. 

1. AJ totally ignores my statements that the fed's scam is identical in essence to NotHaus' as he pushes for suckers to accept worthless metal when all history shows that only LAW creates MONEY, which we have none of these days other than small change.  At the same time he lie-fully implies that I am in favor of the bank credit garbage which I also condemned. The word "money" derives from the Greek word for "law."

2.  "Jan" needs to actually study monetary history.  It is NOT government which is the great corrupter of money, it is always private bankers.  This goes back to the beginning.  After all, the people can eventually do something about those in government but they have no control whatsoever over private bankers, as the whole history of the U.S. since the traitorous banker lackey Alexander Hamilton's "Bank of the United States" is witness thereof.

3.  For the first time ever, an attempt was made to destroy my ability to use email on my computer awhile ago. 

Interesting results.

Comments for "Libertarian Meets "Sound Money" Hero "

Michael said (September 13, 2013):

Interesting article. The point which jumped out for me is that the market value of the Liberty Coin is utterly dependent (as one must purchase them with US paper dollars) upon the inflationary/deflationary value of the silver itself in relation to the value of the paper dollar at any given time. So, based on that unavoidable premise, any attempt to create a ‘fixed’ value (and thus, independent method of transaction)) for the Liberty Dollar is doomed from the outset. Anything less than a fixed value is just a mirror currency for the established form (or mode) of commerce.

Eliezer said (September 13, 2013):

The word "Dollar" originates from "Thalers," which were originally 90% silver and 10% alloy, but more importantly, and as a discipline of honest weights and measures, a Thaler was never permitted to deviate more than 5% in weight from a standard of 371.25 grains of pure silver. As author James E. Ewart explains in his book about MONEY, "the phrase ONE DOLLAR is not an indication of what the coin is worth; it is the formal guarantee of how much the coin weighs."

Further writes Ewart, "the Congress, via the Act of April 2,1792, established that a Dollar, meaning 371.25 grains of pure silver, would be exactly 15 times the weight in silver content of the weight of one "Dollar" in pure gold. Today, warns Ewart, because of "the habit of hearing and saying "I have five Dollars," we have lost sight of the precise meaning of our words."

Indeed, today even though our currency is denominated in Dollars, there are no "Dollars." They are those Dollars that appear to be in name only, but are not. Federal Reserve & Bank Of Canada "Notes" are simply tokens, promises to pay nothing. In fact, in recent memory, Bernard von Nothaus is one of few who have actually minted genuine "Dollars."

Anon said (September 13, 2013):

Henry thank you for posting articles with which you disagree. You have character.
Personally, I believe people should be free to use inflationary, deflationary,
stable, real, electronic, or paper currency, or barter.

The bottom line of alt money is freedom versus progressives. You find them
counting as threat anything promoting freedom. They need diktats. All major
evils have been reform programs, from the Fed to "agricultural reform" pogroms/programs.

Notice NLP at work. It's incredible. Sometimes we see, sometimes we don't.
Fast-n-Furious Skull-n-Bones Cocaine Import Agents nuke NYC for mindless Wars
on Words, because someone hates our freedoms, which they protect?
We grasp that con, but swallow it over money. Wise, gray men must protect us
from deflationary terror. Uh-huh.

What gov should do is never done, because it's a racket. Every con it perpetrates
wears NLP word cloaks. That's how it got 1913 done: promises to protect. The
real terrorists are the ones who scream "unique form of terrorism" to scare
us into loving Big Brother.

Alt money progressives echo them. Those on your site parroting agitprop need
a wakeup call. NotHaus only threatens the Fed and progressive philosophy. Blizzard's
idea that NotHaus should labor, yet not turn a profit, is 1984 crimestop. Does
Blizzard believe miners should work unpaid too? If people find prices too high,
they'll shop elsewhere.

Debate over who owns the term "dollar," and what it means, is doubleplusgood
crimestop. The term means a weight of specie. Orwellian Big Brothers redefined
it to mean unpayable musical-chairs debt to them. See how proles obey NLP?
We can't discuss money in Newspeak.

The real fear of progressives is that chits can't survive metal competition
in a free market. That's history's lesson over six thousand years. They want
coins outlawed under reform banners. Like all progressives and revolutionaries,
they restrict us for goodness and light. They see apotheosis, Real Soon Now,
a novel event, a Second Coming of Money, when wise, gray progressive committees
will legislate us into their holy clutches for the common good...where have
I heard this tune before...

I prophesy that Antichrist, a "master of stratagem" he's called, will have
alt money progressives carnival-barking his global currency in no time flat.
Just watch. He'll be a trained economist quick with NLP and Yiddish Fedbabble.

Jan said (September 13, 2013):

Makow Comment: I believe a metal backed currency would be extremely deflationary. The issue is that the government can and should issue currency debt and interest free to itself. Nonetheless, I found this article charming and like to be informed of the activities of "sound money" people.

Henry, I have great respect for your opinions, and have passed on many of your articles. I have learned a lot from you.

However on the issue in your comment shown above, I have to disagree with you.
History tells us that any government that was in charge of the issue of money have always become corrupted.

Much better that the people itself in a free society handled this issue of issuing currency.
This was done successfully in ancient history, without any government control.



I am speaking of a government that represents the interests of the people, if we can still imagine that.


Deadeye Dick said (September 13, 2013):

I agree completely with Tony's comment. If anyone wants to see the result of private currencies, look at the panic of 1837. Andrew Jackson (under the guidance of traitor Aaron Burr and arch-
imperialist Jeremy Bentham) had destroyed the national bank of the United States, and allowed private banks to create their own currencies backed by precious metals.

And what happened? A hyperinflationary panic, a deflationary crash, and decades of depression concluding in the American civil war.

The only "real" money is a creature of the law. There's nothing wrong with a little barter between friends, but it won't produce
the infrastructure, industrial and agricultural production on which our civilization depends.

Dan said (September 13, 2013):

I observed the whole Ron Paul 'rEvolution' rise rise from it's 'Mr. Smith Goes to Washington' startup in 2007. What started as voter desperation to escape the clutches of the war mongers that run the US government and maybe - just maybe, reopen investigation of 911, morphed gradually into the Cult of the Whore of Babylon - Ayn Rand.

It turned out that Ron Paul was what we call a "Pied Piper", a NWO agent like Timothy Leary was. Except instead of altered consciousness with LSD - it's GOLD FEVER.

It's a cheap tactic, seems to work again and again -- it's a LONG CON. Few of Ron's followers remembered that he'd done the same schtick in the election of '88 as the Libertarian candidate. By the way, at least three Libertarian candidates since 1980 have been admitted CIA.

When it morphed from talk of restoring the original US Constitution to wasting time reading 'Atlas Shrugged' and 'The Fountainhead' I was ready to reach for a loaded gun.

Then Ron predictably passed to torch to his son RAND, named after AYN RAND and the social Darwinist utopia. A place that can only exist if the Georgia Guidestones are carried out.

The sheeple always forget why they started following another Pied Piper in the first place. Most of Ron Paul's followers never heard of Ayn Rand, and they didn't understand Libertarianism. They confused the word Liberty [1] with the notion of individual freedom.

[1] 'Liberty' is when the sailors are allowed to leave the ship, but if they don't report back to ship on time the Shore Patrol goons throw them in the brig.

Steven said (September 12, 2013):

This business about the silver coins or medallions not being sound money is absurd unless the coins are not real silver.

If they are real silver then there can be no sounder money except for gold coins. Naturally the purer the metal the better.

What does the author think sound money is? A promise to pay nothing of value or substance for goods and services?

If the liberty silver coin is real silver I would accept it over bitcoin any day.

Al Thompson said (September 12, 2013):

I was at a breakfast group with Bernard in Huntington Beach, Ca in the early 2000s. And if my memory serves me correctly, Bernard said that he called all of the appropriate federal authorities and asked if it was legal for him to make an alternate currency. He said something to the effect that they said it was legal so he continued with his idea.

He was left alone for awhile because he was just a small business. But once he started to gain traction, the new world order moneychangers didn't like the competition. Bernard seemed to be an excellent salesman. So, I wasn't surprised by the success of the Liberty Dollar.

Whatever new money system that get established, the key will be to completely eliminate interest and usury and issue debt free money; otherwise that system will fail. Income tax is just the forced payment on the phony debt and not one penny of income tax goes to run any government.

I'm also a bit puzzled as to why he got convicted and now is still free. I find that extremely odd, but I've long learned not to try to use reason and common sense when talking about government.

Anthony Migchels said (September 12, 2013):

Great to hear von Nothausen is keeping himself out of jail, I hadn't heard of him since the verdict and presumed him locked up for a long time.

Of course private currencies can be very effective. But buying the gold for the coins is expensive and nobody will lend them out interest-free. The same goes for Bitcoin.

Better to just create some ultra low cost, interest-free Mutual Credit.

Like the Swiss WIR (turnover: 2 billion per annum) and as is happening all over the place now.

Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at