Get AlterNet's Headlines Newsletter:
no thanks

Utah Considers Making Gold Coins Its Legal Currency


Maybe you saw this Fox News story, and if so, perhaps you thought, "Oh, there go the fringe-dwellers in another hayseed state":

Utah Considers Return to Gold, Silver Coins

... The Utah House was to vote as early as Thursday on legislation that would recognize gold and silver coins issued by the federal government as legal currency in the state....

The bill cleared a state legislative committee on Wednesday, the first of 11 similar bills in statehouses across the country to do so....

Attorney and Tea Party activist Larry Hilton, author of the original bill, said he doesn't foresee any roadblocks....

"Efforts such as yours in states around the country highlight the importance of returning to sound money," [Ron] Paul wrote in a letter to Hilton. "Even if such efforts fail to achieve legislative success on their first try, their importance lies in bringing to the public's attention the problem of the ever-weakening dollar and the necessity of returning to a sound monetary system."

Hilton said the bill before the House doesn't go as far as his original draft, which was more sweeping, including recognizing more than just U.S. minted coins and more details on specific tax treatment. But he said he's willing to take it step by step....

But here's an interesting detail:

...Jeff Bell, a policy director for the Washington-based American Principles in Action (APPIA), which helped shape the Utah bill, told that passage of the bill would send a message to Washington and other states....

American Principles in Action is not that far out on the fringe -- at least by current right-wing standards. It's not a Ron Paul-style group focused on gold and the Fed -- its main focus isn't money at all. And it sure isn't a bunch of hicks:

Created by conservative activist Robert George, APIA and its affiliate, the American Principles Project, has been involved in campaigns against same-sex marriage, sex education and immigration reforms....

APIA is based in Washington DC, and shares several leaders and the street address of a lobbying and public affairs firm with ties to many other conservative groups with connections to Mr. George.

Yeah, it's run by the kind of guy who gets profiled thoughtfully in The New York Times Magazine:

... Robert P. George [is] a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and a Roman Catholic who is this country's most influential conservative Christian thinker....

Karl Rove told me he considers George a rising star on the right and a leading voice in persuading President George W. Bush to restrict embryonic stem-cell research. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia told me he numbers George among the most-talked-about thinkers in conservative legal circles. And Newt Gingrich called him "an important and growing influence" on the conservative movement, especially on matters like abortion and marriage.

"If there really is a vast right-wing conspiracy," the conservative Catholic journal Crisis concluded a few years ago, "its leaders probably meet in George's kitchen."

... he is in many ways the public face of the conservative side in the most urgent culture-war battle of the day. The National Organization for Marriage ... has made him its chairman....

He's the guy behind the so-called Manhattan Declaration -- in the words of the Times, "a 4,700-word manifesto that promised resistance to the point of civil disobedience against any legislation that might implicate their churches or charities in abortion, embryo-destructive research or same-sex marriage."

No, I don't know why his American Principles in Action group has a campaign called Gold Standard 2012. I could get all Glenn Beck-y and start making connections -- for instance, I could note that several key staffers at Gold Standard 2012, including Jeff Bell, are also advisers to a similarly named group called The Gold Standard Now, which is chaired by Lew Lehrman, a wealthy former GOP candidate for governor of New York who wrote a book on gold with Ron Paul many years ago, and who is one of many right-wingers converted to Catholicism in recent decades by Father C. John McCloskey, who is -- if you haven't already wrapped yourself in tinfoil, this might be the time to head to the kitchen -- a member of Opus Dei.

Alas, I really can't tell you that there's a vast Paulbot/Catholic/Mormon/Opus Dei conspiracy to return us to the gold standard. I do think, however, that rich right-wingers, including a few Catholics from in and around the Big Apple, are surprisingly pro-gold standard (well, I didn't know) -- and somehow they've developed some influence in Utah. And maybe in a few other states. That's creepy enough, no?



No More Mister Nice Blog / By Steve M.

Posted at March 4, 2011, 9:47am

Sign Up!
Get AlterNet's Daily Newsletter in Your Inbox
+ sign up for additional lists
Select additional lists by selecting the checkboxes below before clicking Subscribe:
Election 2018
Today's Top Stories