Libertarians Without Gold
This article is from the archive of The New York Sun before the launch of its new website in 2022. The Sun has neither altered nor updated such articles but will seek to correct any errors, mis-categorizations or other problems introduced during transfer.
Two really excellent pieces have gone up on the Web this afternoon in respect of the Libertarian ticket of Governor Gary Johnson for president and Governor Wm. Weld for vice president. The first one, by Ira Stoll, focuses on the Libertarian default in respect of foreign policy; the Wall Street Journal touches on that, too, and both stress the choice the Johnson-Weld ticket represents in the face of Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton (or Bernard Sanders). We share both the Journal’s and Mr. Stoll’s concerns.
What we’d been hoping for from the Libertarians, for our part, is a focus on monetary reform. This was a central plank of the one-time Libertarian candidate, Ron Paul, now retired. As a Republican, he brought his campaign for honest money to a head in the 2012 primaries, when, for a few moments, he was running neck and neck in the polls with the sitting president, Barack Obama. We don’t mind saying we’re disappointed in the failure of Messrs. Johnson and Weld on this head.
Particularly because the opportunity to bring the monetary issue to the hustings is enormous this year. Sound money equals low unemployment, if one looks at, among others, the post-World War II era. Sound money is a proper way to look at the issues Donald Trump complains of when he carps about the Communist Chinese manipulation of exchange rates. Congress is ahead of all the candidates at this point, with the House having passed the Fed Oversight Reform and Modernization Act.
Secretary Clinton and Senator Sanders are clueless in respect of monetary reform. The Democratic Party intelligentsia is either ill-informed, indifferent, or invested in the idea that inflation is a virtue. Senator Ted Cruz endorsed the gold standard — or at least spoke of the dollar ideally being tied to gold — but didn’t make it his central theme. Mr. Trump has spoken as if he, too, likes the idea of a gold standard in principle, but hasn’t yet moved the issue to the fore of his campaign.
It may be that the Libertarian leaders will turn around and seize the issue of honest money. The Internet contains snippets that suggest Mr. Johnson favors the idea of private money and that Mr. Weld, who must be one of the smartest men ever to run for national office, has made is partial to Friedrich Hayek, who wrote of the denationalization of money. But the sad record is that both Governors Johnson and Weld have failed to develop this issue. Too bad, because the FORM Act, which would set the stage for monetary reform, is before the Senate now and would be a good issue on which to campaign.