A man was recently convicted
of counterfeiting, terrorism, and presenting a “danger to the economic
stability of this country.” Bernard von NotHaus had minted about $7
million dollars in silver Liberty Dollars that looked similar to U.S.
coins. But unlike the money produced by the government, von NotHaus
made his coins out of precious, not base metals.
The real counterfeiters, of course, are the members of the Federal
government and their state-level cohorts. Indeed, while the
Constitution does state that the Feds can “coin money,” the Feds are
supposed to ensure that only “gold and silver coin” shall be “a tender in payment of debts.” The State’s power to “regulate” money extends only
to its responsibility to ensure that coins contain the amount of
precious metals they claim to do and that the money shall not be
debased. Further, there is no prohibition in the Constitution against private coinage (only against states engaging in that behavior). Private money was not a rarity in the Nineteenth Century.
(And if the Feds are so concerned with money that is not born in its
own vaults, why does it not prosecute municipalities that issue their own “currency” good only in that city as a promotion to “shop locally”?)
As for “terrorism,” it is the State that forces people to accept its money via “legal tender” laws. The customers who bought Liberty Dollars did so voluntarily and happily. No coercion or threats were involved.
Of course, von NotHaus probably was guilty of potentially
destabilizing the U.S. economy. The monetary inflation created by the
Feds has stolen/robbed the citizens of this country of 98% of the
dollar’s value over the past century. Maybe – just maybe – people might
have become aware of this fraud and finally realized what the
government has done to our money. At that point, perhaps the whole
house of cards might have collapsed.
Some self-styled “freedom” lovers have stated that von NotHaus deserved
to be convicted since he obviously did break the law. If he was not
convicted, then “anarchy” would ensue because the “rule of law” would
have been ignored. But morality trumps that which is merely
“legal.” The “rule of law” is a valid principle only within a moral
framework. Otherwise, we should vilify those who broke the “law” to
oppose state-imposed segregation; who ignored the Fugitive Slave Law;
who engaged in jury nullification to state that slavery itself is
No one is under the least bit of moral obligation to obey an
unconstitutional, immoral “law.” As Jefferson said, such legal
sleights-of-hand have no validity or force. Morally and legally, it is
as though they did not exist.
Von NotHaus violated no rights. Those and only those actions that
violate rights should be illegal. For anything else, the State should
mind its own business.