Using Gold As Money Is Terrorism: U.S. Attorney Tompkins

Ever since I first wrote about the arrest of Norfed founder Bernard Von Nothaus in November 2007, I've publicly taken the position that the use of gold and silver as money, other than that issued by the U.S. government, is (wrongfully) illegal. I've taken heat for that claim, but I refuse to back off.

As I wrote in June 2010, “I've long been concerned about the fact that the liberty movement, for the most part, doesn't even know what USC 18-486 says or that it even exists. While many people in the movement now favor auditing the Federal Reserve's monetary policies and eliminating legal tender laws, it is quite apparent to me that most people don't realize that it is currently illegal in this country to use gold or silver coins as money.”

Until the liberty movement comes to terms with this fact, it will continue to be misled by people who argue that gold and silver are legal to use as money, a claim which is not true. Morally, it should be true, but legally it is not.

The federal government's policy to prevent people from using gold and silver as money clearly violates the founders' intentions and the spirit of what's written in the Constitution. I've often wondered why the founders, who clearly wanted to prevent the use of anything but gold and silver as money, made the mistake of only prohibiting the states from using paper money, but did not similarly, explicitly prohibit the federal government from doing the same thing. How, I've often wondered, could they have been so foolish as to not extend the same prohibition to the federal government? Sadly, that's the mistake they made.

The replacement of gold and silver with debt-based paper money is nothing short of legalized theft by the banking community on behalf and at the behest of the federal government. That's what makes the comments of U.S. Attorney Anne Tompkins so appalling. Tompkins is the prosecutor who won a conviction against Von Nothaus for counterfeiting. Counterfeiting! Tompkins convinced a jury that replacing something of lesser value with something of greater value is counterfeiting. It's hard to imagine how someone who issues a coin that is created 100% from a material that actually retains its value over time could be convicted of “counterfeiting” a currency whose primary purpose is to debase itself and systematically steal from all people who are forced to use it. Yet, that's what has happened.

Tompkins issued a statement after the trial that defies reason and sanity and that demonstrates beyond doubt that the U.S. government's greatest enemy, in the government's view, are the same people the government claims to protect and serve. Tompkins said, “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,” In other words, from her viewpoint, the real question of the trial wasn't whether the Norfed coins were intended to be counterfeits of the U.S. dollar. The real question, in her view, was whether those who advocate the use of gold and silver as money should be considered patriots or terrorists. In her view, honest people who want honest money that has honest value are terrorists.

The only way that the Norfed coins could possibly undermine the U.S. currency is if Norfed coins are worth more, not less, than official U.S. currency. Tompkins hoped that her audience doesn't realize that fact. Norfed's gold and silver coins cannot be confused for official U.S. dollars. Nor could Norfed produce enough such coins of pure silver or gold to make more than a tiny dent in the overwhelming size of the official money supply. The sheer, inherent value of those coins, based on their gold and silver content, prohibits that possibility at the values listed on the coins. Nor would any human being on earth be stupid enough to give up a so-called “$500″ gold Norfed coin at an equivalent value of $500 in U.S. currency or a $5 silver coin at an equivalent value of $5 in paper U.S. dollars. No, that kind of “undermining” is not what Tompkins meant at all.

Instead, she was talking about the fact that if the Norfed dollar were permitted by law to be used as a parallel currency in competition with the U.S. dollar, the marketplace would soon reduce the paper dollar to its true value: zero. That's why she views Norfed as counterfeiting and Von Nothaus as a terrorist. In her view, the Norfed dollar wouldn't undermine the U.S. dollar by diluting it. Rather, it would undermine the U.S. dollar by demonstrating in free market competition that the official U.S. dollar's true value is worthlessness, and she considers that possibility to be anti-American and those who support it to be terrorists.

It is imperative that everyone who reads this article understand the significance of what Tompkins said. In her view, as the official representative of the U.S. government in the case, if you advocate the use of gold or silver coins as money, you are a terrorist.

Some will claim that she was only referring to coins that are called “dollars” and that are made to look like U.S. dollars. Again, I refer them to her remarks.: “Attempts to undermine the legitimate currency of this country are simply a unique form of domestic terrorism.” She clearly did not, and could not, mean that these coins were intended to look and feel like U.S. dollars. She also clearly believes that only paper money issued under the authority of the U.S. Treasury are legitimate currency, and that privately issued coins are not legitimate. She knows perfectly well that the whole purpose for creating the Norfed dollar was to replace paper currency with something of real value, and this is precisely the purpose that she considers to be anti-government and terroristic.

That Von Nothaus will appeal goes without saying. Of course he'll appeal, and rightfully so. Will he win? I wouldn't want to bet on it. Morally, in terms of the intent and spirit of the Constitution and its authors, he should win. Legally, the way the government has structured the law, he probably won't.

This is why I believe it is absolutely imperative for the liberty movement to put the same energy into supporting Congressman Ron Paul's H.R.1098: Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011 as they have put, and continue to put, behind H.R.459: Federal Reserve Transparency Act of 2011, aka “Audit The Fed”. H.R.1098 would allow the creation of private gold and silver based currencies to compete with the U.S. dollar., and it would repeal, among other statutes, USC 18-486. If they don't put the same level of support and intensity behind this bill that they put behind the idea of auditing the Fed, even with a full, open Fed audit, there will be no real hope of achieving real monetary change for the better. If that happens, then Tompkins, the government, the Federal Reserve, and banking cartel will win, and the rest of us will lose. In light of that fact, I don't think I have to say who the real terrorists are. It's pretty obvious.

Walt Thiessen

Walt Thiessen

As founder of, I'd like to take this opportunity to welcome you to the website! My purpose with my column is the same as my purpose for the overall website. Libertarian ideas have been generally excluded from the public debate and ridiculed on those rare occasions when they have been included. This must change.

Rather than trying to force others to change their ways, I created this website to create an environment where all political views, including libertarian, could be expressed in a free yet respectful manner.
Walt Thiessen

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  1. dbhalling says

    My mistake, I did not read carefully. I agree

    Ever since I first wrote about the arrest of Norfed founder Bernard Von Nothaus in November 2007, I’ve publicly taken the position that the use of gold and silver as money, other than that issued by the U.S. government, is (wrongfully) illegal. I’ve taken heat for that claim, but I refuse to back off.

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