OpEd: On the Absurdity of "Transgender Day of Visibility"

by Rob Yates
LPNC Communications Director

If you took a stance on the designation of March 31 as “Trans Day of Visibility” (TDOV) by the Biden administration, you were wrong.

It really doesn’t matter what it is, Libertarians bite – hook, line, and sinker – on every culture war issue that’s dangled in front of us. This time, it was the Biden White House proclamation declaring March 31 to be “Trans Day of Visibility,” a designation the Biden administration was the first to adopt, starting in 2021. The reason for all the online caterwauling was that Easter also happens to fall on March 31 this year.

Easter, the holiest day in all Christian religions, is the celebration of Christ’s Resurrection three days after His crucifixion. In most Christian religions, Easter is observed on the first Sunday after the Paschal full moon, which is the first full moon after the Spring equinox on March 21 (contrary to popular belief, this date has nothing to do with then-existing pagan holidays, and is actually related to a Germanic translation of the Latin word for “dawn;” English is a Germanic language.). Easter can be any date from March 22 through April 25. The next time Easter is on March 31 is in 2086.

Meanwhile, Transgender Day of Visibility was first championed by transgender activist Rachel Crandall in 2009, in an effort to increase recognition around the transgender community separate from “Transgender Day of Recognition,” which is in November, and from Pride Month in June. Rachel claims that there is no other significance in choosing the March 31 date except trying to keep trans issues in the spotlight and thus being significantly spaced out from those other two days. However, the more I research the more I suspect that Rachel was both aware and deliberate in choosing March 31 to stir things up. If so, it’s working.

The virtue signaling began quickly and predictably. Republicans, from Vivek to Trump and everyone in between, raced to see who could accuse Biden of going to war with Christianity the loudest. Meanwhile Democrats predictably summed up all Republicans as transphobic bigots, and used the opportunity to signal their virtue, from Kathy Hochul (one of the worst governors of all time) who had landmarks - including One World Trade Center, the Kosciuszko Bridge and the Niagara Falls - lit pink, white, and light blue, to the National Women’s Soccer League, which posted a TDOV message at roughly 9 AM ET, and then a Happy Easter message around non, leaving a three-hour window where there was no doubt which side they were on.

As an aside, lost in the finger pointing and pearl clutching, of which both sides of the uniparty are equally guilty, was the fact that Biden issued 48 executive actions in March, including these 19 other designations for a day, week, or month:

  • Read Across America Day
  • National Consumer Protection Week
  • U.S. Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day
  • National Poison Prevention Week
  • National Agriculture Day
  • National Donate Life Month
  • National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month
  • National Donate Life Month
  • Cesar Chavez Day
  • National Cancer Prevention and Early Detection Month
  • Arab American Heritage Month
  • National Public Health Week
  • National Child Abuse Prevention Month
  • Care Workers Recognition Month
  • Month of the Military Child
  • Second Chance Month
  • Greek Independence Day: A National Day of Celebration of Greek and American Democracy
  • National Equal Pay Day
  • U.S. Hostage and Wrongful Detainee Day

The entire recent discourse around the trans thing is almost entirely a western phenomenon, with the U.S. at the vanguard. This is not at all because of good intentions by any politicians, but rather is a symptom of the fact that culture war issues are incredibly effective at stirring up each party’s respective base. We gain nothing by engaging in these battles from a political perspective. Instead, we should be advocating for the complete removal of the government from anything around who can use what bathroom, childcare and education, and proclamations or designations of any day for anything (except Columbus Day, but that’s to remind us how awful the government is).

If you are a Christian who thinks that the whole trans thing is an abomination, I ask you this – how many people died today in wars the U.S. is funding? That should be where you focus your outrage, not on a perceived attack on your religion by president poopy pants (which, to be fair, he knew exactly what he was doing, but he probably was far more interested in rallying his base and donors than he was in provoking you). And, if you think everyone falls somewhere on a gender spectrum that only exists as a social construct, and you can’t see how some Christians (and non-Christians) might be upset with the coinciding of TDOV and Easter so they all must be fascist bigots, you believe in neither diversity nor inclusion, and you are the close-minded hate monger you would claim to stand against.

Of course, none of this means you can't or shouldn't have an opinion on the recent rise in challenges to the gender binary paradigm. I certainly do, and strong ones, which I am happy to share, in good faith, with anyone who wants to discuss them, outside of politics, not as a representative of the party, from the persepctive of how a free market might address the issue. I certainly don't think the state should dictate that schools can transition children without their parents knowledge. I also don't think the state should dictate anything to schools. I think the "science" supporting biological males in female sports is nonsense. But I think the leagues should determine who is eligible to play for them, and the government should have no part in it. In fact, no matter where you fall in this current debate, the only thing that should hold true no matter what is that we need to stop looking to the government to solve our problems and make our moral decisions.

Here are the facts… Trump is one of the least popular figures in American politics, outdone currently only by Biden, who is polling even lower. We have somehow again decided that the leader and face of our country should be either a sociopath megalomanic war criminal, or a sociopath war criminal with advancing dementia. The leadership in the uniparty is well aware the neither major presidential candidate can really stand on either his achievements or his moral standing, so they have nothing left to do but drive division, polarization, and hatred. We need to stop taking the bait.

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OpEd: Diary of a Red-Pilling

by: James Higgins, LPNC IT and LPMeck Secretary

Are you new to the party? Did you get sick of the uniparty and let social media memes lure you into believing you’re a Libertarian? Yeah, me too. Well not really, but it pushed me over the edge and gave me a name for my beliefs. I’m still sure I am a Libertarian but it brings me little comfort. I am working to change that. 

Being in a bastard third party is hard. It’s work. We are against two entrenched parties with billions at their disposal. That’s not a typo...Billions, with a B, and many times over. How much is legitimate or legal is debatable, but it’s of little consequence because the lawyers and judges we could petition share the same party loyalties as those taking potentially illegitimate monies and those verifying the legitimacy of said funds.

So, where does that leave third parties like us?

Not in a great starting block. We’re lucky to hear the starting pistol as the other parties gave us the wrong track, at the wrong field, in the wrong county, in the next state, on a different day, and that's before they paid off the refs. 

How does a party compete when they’re so obviously beset with roadblocks?

I wish I had all the answers, but I honestly don't know. 

That’s the bad news.

The good news is that I’m here to find out. I had kids young. I’m reinvigorating my career at the stage where my kids no longer need me. I have time to learn new things and money to spend to help me get there. I’m spending on travel, family, politics, and community, and I’m motivated. I’m trying to build a better future for my kids and (hopefully) future grandkids, and here I am, faced with the two worst candidates the Rs and Ds could possibly be stupid enough to run against each other again. I appreciate the value in life, in each of our lives, and I will give everything I can to give the people about whom I care a better future.

Not the Kumbaya steal all my money and government is going to fix everything future. Not the "inflation isn't coming," "oh wait, inflation is not that bad," " oh wait, inflation is actually a good thing" future. Not the 40 bombs a day for two decades future. Not the digital ID, thoughtcrime, total autocratic control future.

I am fighting for the “I got this” future.

  • The “I understand economics more than the Fed chairman” future.
  • The “I know stealing women’s luggage isn’t part of safely storing nuclear waste” future.
  • The “Ignoring crime isn’t criminal justice” future.
  • The “I will own everything and THEN I’ll be happy” future.

It seems a vast majority of the population is ready and yearning for a change, but how do we get there? How does the party with the right answers get a foothold? How do we grab the mic?

Altruistic Libertarian platitudes are everywhere. We have the widest set of the most deeply correct people on so many subjects; from human rights, to war, to economics, to foreign policy, and so on, and yet we can’t get any kind of groundswell. Maybe if we offered free stuff paid for by other people’s money? That surely works for pretty much all R and D causes.

But Libertarians can’t justify it, nor should we. We don’t take people’s stuff without consent, including their money, and we don’t hurt people, including our enemies, unless we are defending ourselves.

But this leaves a question that looms ever larger the more the uniparty tightens the clamps around us. How do we affect change, and how do we recruit?

I haven’t figured it out yet, but I’m new here. I won’t be new here forever, though. I have met so many great people dedicated to the cause of Liberty, and I am calling on everyone reading this to join the fight, or do a little more than you are already, if you can. We can figure it out together. The best-case scenario is we can get the folks that have felt the same in our party since the 70s to come out to the next meeting, the next event, the next election, and sit alongside the Ron Paul Libertarians who joined at the turn of the millennium, the members who were activated recently because of covid-related tyranny, and the new recruits who couldn't take the deliberate push by the uniparty to drive us apart, and everyone in between. Let’s share stories. Let’s build a community. Let’s volunteer together. Let's learn together and grow the next generation of Libertarian activists and politicians together.

Let’s grow the party.

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Five Best Cities to Visit in North Carolina

North Carolina is one of the most geographically diverse states. North Carolina enjoys serenely soft beaches, gently rolling hills, plush forests, and majestic mountains that grace Carolina blue skies. The state’s lively cities and sleepy towns are intertwined with its distinctly lavish natural atmosphere. Since 1789, North Carolina has blossomed into the state that it is today.

In this article, I am going to step back from politics and instead tell you my top 5 cities in North Carolina for any NC traveler. Whether you are traveling from out of the country, out of the state, or even within the state, these 5 cities are sure to impress.

5 - Pinehurst

Pinehurst is home to one of the most elegant golf resorts in the United States, the famed Pinehurst Golf Resort. The resort is open to the public, allowing you to enjoy drinks at the bar or by the fire pit. The town is built around this golfing atmosphere, providing a peaceful, quiet, getaway, even for those who do not enjoy playing golf.

The Pinehurst Spa is well-known in the area and a relaxing way to start a vacation. The village of Pinehurst has a European vibe with large oak trees, small shops, restaurants, pubs, and public gardens.

There are plenty of hotels in the area with most of them having a free shuttle to take you from place to place. The Holly Inn, built in 1895, is walking distance from the Pinehurst village making it a perfect place for safe drinking and dining while perusing the town.

Pinehurst is about two hours' driving distance east of Charlotte (2hr) and about an hour and fifteen minutes from Raleigh (1hr 15min).

If you are flying into North Carolina from out of state, you may have an easier trip flying into the Raleigh-Durham International Airport. Although, flight rates may be cheaper to fly into the Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

If you are looking for a tranquil vacation with the possibilities of golf, enjoying an old-world sleepy town, and relaxation, Pinehurst is a great place to visit.

4 - Raleigh

Raleigh is the capital of North Carolina, so it enjoys an elaborate mix of North Carolina charm, wilderness, and lively city life. There are plenty of forests, trails for hiking and walking, colonial architecture, rolling hills, metropolitan cityscapes, and outdoor adventures to be had. For those well-traveled, Raleigh may remind you of Nashville, Tennessee, for all of the good reasons and then some.

If you are looking for bar hopping, live music, progressive dining experiences, and award-winning restaurants, this is a wonderful place to visit. Raleigh used to be more of a sleepy town, but over the years it has seen major growth in the technology sector, banking, and real estate, establishing it as one of the wealthier cities in North Carolina.

One of the nicest hotels near the downtown area is the AC Hotel by Marriott Raleigh Downtown. This modern yet comfortable hotel is conveniently located within walking distance of the booming downtown, but the rooms remain quiet and safe throughout the night. There is a rooftop restaurant and bar in the hotel overlooking parts of the city where even locals enjoy gathering.

Suppose you want to visit a fun city in North Carolina. In that case, I recommend visiting Raleigh in late Spring to early summer to enjoy a peaceful morning brunch, green vegetation on your comfortable afternoon hike, an easy breezy rooftop diner with a view, and perfect weather for nightlife adventures.

3 - Charlotte

Charlotte is one of the most diverse cities in North Carolina. It is diverse geographically, culturally, and experientially. I don’t say that just because Charlotte is my hometown, but also because it is the truth. Charlotte is the most populated city in North Carolina and the fifteenth-largest city in the U.S.

Charlotte has plenty of adventures for almost everyone. Charlotte is home to NASCAR, the Carolina Panthers football team, the Charlotte Hornets basketball team, the U.S. National Whitewater Center, The Discovery Place Science Museum, and the Accenture IMAX Dome Theatre.

Charlotte also benefits from classical and modern museums, world-class chefs, international cuisine, country cooking, microbreweries, plush hiking trails for easy walks, ballets, operas, theatrical productions, shopping, a live music scene, a hilarious comedy scene, and classical and modern architecture.

An extra aspect of what makes Charlotte a unique city in North Carolina is how spread out it is. While the previous two cities mentioned are more convenient to the inner city region, Charlotte has plenty to do in and on the city's outskirts.

If you are looking to take in the majestic old world while being conveniently located for outdoor or indoor fun in the downtown area, check out The Duke Mansion for your stay. This hotel blends Southern charm with modern comforts and was a home owned by James Buchanan Duke who helped start Duke Energy and Duke University.

2 - Nags Head

Nags Head, North Carolina, is located along the northeastern part of the Outer Banks which is a long strip of land and islands on the coast of NC. It is a prime spot to enjoy clean, calm, public beaches graced by wild beach grass, a prime spot for watching the sunrise and sunset over the ocean, a unique location for moonrises and moonsets, and convenient to tour other famous attractions in the area. The Nags Head Pier is a great location for fishing and enjoying a walk. Nags Head is also home to the tallest active sand dune system in the eastern United States - Jockey’s Ridge State Park - a great place to watch the sunset with a lifted view.

Nags Head is about 20 minutes south of Kitty Hawk, which is the site of the first airplane flight by the Wright Brothers (NC is First in Flight). Nags Head is about 15 minutes north of Bodie Island Lighthouse, about 20 minutes east of Manns Harbor Alligator River Kayak Tour, 15 minutes east of Roanoke Island where the famous Lost Colony was located, and about 50 minutes south of Corolla where wild Spanish horses freely roam the beaches.

When visiting Nags Head, I found that it is much more peaceful to stay off the beaten path. Check out the bed and breakfast historic Outer Banks inn called the White Doe Inn. It is an old home converted into a luxurious inn located in the village of Manteo on Roanoke Island fifteen minutes west of Nags Head.

Nags Head is the perfect balance of sleepy beach town life, calming views, relaxing beaches, historical sightseeing, and outdoor adventure. The Atlantic Ocean is warmer than the Pacific Ocean, so it is also more conducive for swimming, seashell and sharktooth hunting, and temperately warm nights.

1- Asheville

Asheville is a city located in the Appalachian Mountains of North Carolina. It is a little over two hours west of Charlotte, almost four hours west of Raleigh, two hours south of Boone, about an hour east of Cherokee, and about four and a half hours east of Nashville.

Asheville is a perfect mountain getaway for those seeking mountain and valley views, plush green forests, river kayaking, easy-to-difficult hiking options, progressive dining experiences, award-winning bars, tasty inebriants, and old-world allure.

This Carolina town has a perfect medley of NC country style, outdoor escapades, natural hippy vibes, sophisticated intellectuals, laid-back craft breweries, old-money luxury, artistically forward-thinking individuals, and musical artists for every genre. The downtown is easily accessible and offers a variety of restaurants and bars. There are a ton of artists, so there are plenty of museums, art shops, and pop-up shows to enjoy.

Asheville is home to the largest private residence in the United States - The Biltmore Estate. This chateau has around 178,926 sq ft (16,622.8 m2) of floor space and 135,280 sq ft (12,568 m2) of living area sitting on 8,000 acres (12.5 sq miles). There are horseback riding trails nearby, and plenty to see outdoors.

When staying in Asheville, I recommend staying at the Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville. This place is more than an ordinary hotel. It offers a blend of cabin luxury with metropolitan artistic touches. If Bell and Gaston from The Beauty And The Beast had a home together, this hotel would have to be the center of their story in all of the best ways.

If you want to visit North Carolina and enjoy a true North Carolina city that encompasses a countryside and city atmosphere, Asheville is the place to tour. You will surely find more in this town than mentioned, as it is a true treasure trove of opportunities.

Joshua D. Glawson is Content Manager for MoneyMetals.com and a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)

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A Call for More Libertarian Experts in North Carolina

by Joshua D. Glawson
LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina needs specialists and those willing to speak if we are to grow as a party and as an influential organization in the state.

On January 27, 2024, I attended the John Locke Foundation’s Carolina Liberty Conference in Raleigh, North Carolina. 

I was sad to see there were very few outright libertarians speaking, and the liberty-light event was dominated by Republicans, conservatives, and conservatarians.  

Although I think highly of the John Locke Foundation, overall, and I believe they genuinely help to promote liberty in North Carolina and beyond, I have some concerns after attending this conference. 

During the event, the John Locke Foundation took a straw poll on various political topics. The results of the poll reflected a dominant government approach to each category and politicians that fall in line with such interventionism. 

A couple of the questions and results:

  • Question: “Should North Carolina allow for the development of casinos outside of tribal lands?”
    • Results: 45.2% said, “No;” 36.5% said, “Yes;” 20.2% said, “Undecided.” (I guess some people decided to vote more than once, with results equaling 101.9%)
  • Question: “If the primary election were held today, which candidate would you support to be GOP nominee for President of the United States?”
    • Results: 53.3% said, “Donald Trump;” 34.3% said, “Nikki Haley;” 6.7% said, “Undecided;” 4.8% said, “Ron DeSantis;” <1% said, “I do not plan to vote in the GOP primary;” and, <1% said, “Ron Paul.” 

Interestingly, almost every question asked in the poll was focused on the GOP and conservative talking points. 

Ten out of 14 questions asked directly about GOP candidates and none involved other political parties. 

If the conference is about liberty, one would naturally think there would be more liberty-related questions and results rather than a Trump bandwagon cloaked in the name of Liberty. 

Here Lies the Problem

The John Locke Carolina Liberty Conference is a prime example of why Libertarians should be more active in educating the public and being politically active, as Republicans, conservatives, and conservatarians butcher the name of liberty for their causes.

Their dominance over liberty is why much of the public is ignorant of the philosophy, politics, and economics of Libertarianism. Instead, much of the public, unfortunately, think Libertarians are a political extension of Republicans, conservatives, and conservatarians. 

In the essay Political Value Structures of the United States of America I discuss the hierarchical values of the four main political parties in the U.S.

In this essay, it is noted that Republicans and conservatives tend to use the guise of liberty to promote their own ideas of government authority over the individual, markets, and [political opponents] alike. Overall, Republicans believe that the government should do more for their causes at the expense of individual rights, liberty, and markets.

Out-of-State Pseudo-Libertarian Speakers 

The event had two libertarian-esque speakers present. These included William Ruger - President of the American Institute for Economic Research (AIER), and Scott Lincicome - Vice President of General Economics & Trade at the Cato Institute. 

Now, before you think this is just another example of libertarian infighting deciding who is and who is not a real libertarian, hear me out.

When Lincicome provided his lackluster yawner of a presentation, he alluded that more government intervention was the solution to problems with politicians and their meddling in markets and the lives of individuals without providing additional protections for the individual or markets.  

Even worse was when Ruger presented. Paraphrasing until the video is released, if they dare to post it, Ruger stated that free trade does not promote peace, and free trade for promoting peace is a myth that people have believed since the 1700-1800s. Even more frustrating is that he did not substantiate such an audacious claim, as he paid homage to Trump’s stance against trade with China at the expense of markets and the individual.

Libertarian Party of North Carolina

If Libertarians are to build a movement that relinquishes the death grips of the government over the lives of peaceful individuals and civil markets, while maintaining the truth of our message, we need more libertarian minds writing, speaking, and presenting on related topics. Not only for the sake of the Libertarian Party but more importantly for the lives of individuals and markets in North Carolina and beyond.    

If you are an expert in a particular field such as police reform, philosophy, history, taxes, entrepreneurship, housing, medical field, sound money, law, asset forfeiture, the US Constitution, NC Constitution, guns, free speech, filing FOIAs, or anything else, there’s likely an opportunity to have your work read and your voice heard.

The Libertarian Party of North Carolina is actively working on coordinating more opportunities to publish and present around the state, and we need your help.

If you are like me and tired of Republicans, conservatives, and conservatarians abusing the name of liberty to promote their own warped causes at the expense of free or unhampered markets and peaceful individuals in North Carolina, we need you.

We have a team ready to help you grow and excel. Even if that means speaking at a John Locke Foundation event, or any other, we need to keep our voices from being drowned out by Republicans, conservatives, and conservatarians.

Are you ready to climb out of the stagnant echo chamber and into the world of action?

Joshua D. Glawson is Content Manager for MoneyMetals.com and a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)

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Local Activism and Civil Asset Forfeiture

A Presentation Given at the LPNC Convention*

*edited slightly for print

by: Eric Rowell, LPMeck and LPNC

I want to start by thanking Dee [Watson, LPNC Secretary and Political and Policy Director] for the invitation to speak this morning and to the Libertarian Party of North Carolina for giving me the opportunity to talk about such an important topic. I’d also like to recognize fellow Mecklenburg Libertarians Rob Yates and James Higgins for their encouragement – it’s been great getting to know both gentlemen over past few years, it’s reassuring that even in the liberal stronghold that is Mecklenburg, there are so many advocates for freedom fighting to change the status quo.

My goal today - I hope to inspire at least one person here to head back to his or her hometown with action items on what to do to help end the abusive and corrupt practice of asset forfeiture in NC. And I will commit to being a resource for anyone who needs assistance.

A little bit about myself since I’m not exactly a household name in the liberty movement outside of Huntersville. I’m a North Carolina native, grew up in the Garner area in Wake County. Pretty traditional upbringing, both parents raised in the Garner area as well. I have three younger sisters, almost made it all the way through Webelos, played sports growing up and through high school, spent many a Friday night sitting on a tailgate in the Food Lion parking lot wasting time with friends waiting on something exciting to happen, and I always liked to read.

I graduated from NC State University in 2003 with a BA in Poli Sci, worked for a year delivering produce in the mornings and then going to work as a clerk at a law firm in the afternoons, and then was accepted into the first class at the Charleston School of Law. Since graduating law school, I have worked as a state prosecutor, defended individuals charged with felonies and misdemeanors while on the appointed counsel list for Mecklenburg County, spent two years doing insurance defense work at a small firm in Charlotte, five years as an adjuster with an insurance company, and for the past five years now working as general counsel and then risk manager for a large pool management company with offices in multiple states. I’ve also been a two-time candidate for town board in Huntersville. Even though I didn’t win, I’ve remained engaged locally trying to help keep the focus on limiting government locally whenever possible.

I have what I would consider a fairly conservative outlook, so of course I registered as a Republican when I turned 18. I’ve always loved listening to talk radio, still do, and I was a big fan of Rush Limbaugh (make fun all you want, but if it weren’t for Rush I probably would have never been exposed to the great economist and thinker Walter Williams, who used to be a guest host when Rush was out) and watched plenty of Fox News. But I was never active in politics through college other than being a regular voter, and it wasn’t until law school that I really began to think for myself and push back against the index card of allowable opinion, as Tom Woods would say.

Two anecdotes still stick with me from law school – that I’m mainly sharing for anyone here in the room still in college/grad school or who may be heading there soon – a family law professor who tried to accuse George W. Bush of being opposed to gay marriage by signing into law the Defense of Marriage Act when it had obviously been signed years before by President Clinton – I pointed this out to him respectfully after class and he was incredulous until I literally showed him on my laptop the facts. And then another instance in a Legislative Advocacy elective taught by a former legislative aide to Democrat Senator John Breaux (another anecdote involving Bill Clinton actually), who made a claim about Clinton’s popularity by citing his being elected by an overwhelming majority of the vote – when Clinton wasn’t elected either time with a majority of the vote – thanks mainly to Ross Perot. And of course, by the time I started Constitutional Law, I was the annoying student keeping everyone in class longer by constantly questioning the professor.

If my professors could be wrong about simple things that could easily be verified with some quick research, what else could all the adults be wrong about? Finally about a year after graduating law school I had my “red pill” moment while doing mindless legal document review and listening to a replay of Rush Limbaugh with Walter Williams filling in as host – when he shared a quote from Frederic Bastiat’s The Law. The next day I downloaded an audio version of The Law to listen to and I haven’t looked at the world the same since – every line in that work hit me like a ton of bricks – and that’s what started me down the liberty rabbit hole leading me here today.

I share all this with this group in particular to simply say – be patient with those in your network who may not be where we all are yet, who may still be stuck in the Republican Good/Democrat Bad world of the likes of Mark Levin and Fox News. Not everyone comes to the Liberty Movement at the same time, some of us take longer to get here, but Libertarians are fighting a major uphill battle against the legacy corporate media and [AT LEAST] 12 years of public school indoctrination and the general tendency of human nature to seek out pleasure and minimize pain – but if we are going to be successful in rolling back the state in areas like asset forfeiture, we will need all of the help we can get.

So, what does it mean to Lead Locally? To me it means spending time and energy focusing on attainable goals in your own backyard instead of wasting time and energy trying to accomplish far more unattainable goals like changing policy at the federal level. I know this is a presidential election year – and I’m not trying to diminish the importance of having strong candidates and voices from the Liberty Movement involved with presidential politics – but for the vast majority of us here, we can accomplish far more locally than in Raleigh or D.C. One person can make a very dramatic impact on a local level.

A few examples of local activism I’ve been involved with over the past 15 or so years.

  • Speaking at a town board meeting against town of Cheraw (SC) plans to purchase a local golf course – the town ultimately decided against and the golf course was purchased by private investors.
  • Speaking at a Charlotte City Council meeting (I lived in Charlotte from 2010-2013 before moving to Huntersville) and attending transportation subcommittee meeting to oppose a plan to strictly regulate pedicabs in Charlotte – worked with my city council member to minimize the anti-competitive impact of the original regulations.
  • Handing out copies of Bastiat’s The Law to town board members in Huntersville at my first town board meeting after moving there back in 2014 (which of course none of them have probably ever read) and being a government watchdog ever since – running a facebook group dedicated solely to Huntersville Politics since 2017 with now over 1100 members, including multiple elected officials.
  • Being awarded the 2021 Sunshine Award from the NC Open Government Coalition for my efforts at increasing transparency in Huntersville and for advocating for the town following open meeting and public record laws.
  • Helping make Huntersville the second town in the state to opt in to lowering alcohol sales times on Sunday to 10 AM after passage of the Brunch Bill back in 2017.
  • Pushing Huntersville to start live streaming board meetings back in 2015 so residents who couldn’t attend wouldn’t have to wait weeks for minutes to be released.
  • Earning a No Contact letter from an attorney on behalf of the Huntersville Fire Dept. back in 2018 simply for asking for records related to their finances (HFD, Inc. receives about 98 percent of their funding from taxes, but claim to not be subject to public records laws…).
  • Helping to break a number of stories locally as a result of my activism and cultivating sources over the years – HPD officer discharging a weapon into busy shopping area, former Town Board member receiving $97K in no-bid contracts, HPD officer writing speeding tickets with an expired radar certification leading to at least 20 dismissed tickets.
  • And bringing HPD’s involvement with the asset forfeiture program to the attention of the town board over the past few years through multiple posts online and requests for records – and finally last year getting the board to remove this item off of Consent where it was never discussed and forcing the chief to defend the practice and promise reforms.

Forfeiture Basics

Now let’s turn to why I’m here today – civil asset forfeiture. This audience is probably more familiar with this practice, along with the known problems and abuses, than most audiences, but a few basics for anyone not already familiar. We all have our individual areas of focus in the movement (whether it’s monetary policy, licensing, war and foreign policy, etc.), I think for me issues involving abuse by the police have been a focus because I have a background as a prosecutor and I am not blinded by some notion of the benevolent state. I’ve seen police abuse their power in person and I have not been afraid to ask tough questions involving the Huntersville PD.

Civil asset forfeiture is basically any situation involving law enforcement seizing money, vehicles, or other property from the rightful owner without requiring the owner to be convicted or even charged with a crime.

Thankfully, we live in one of the few states in the country that has abolished civil asset forfeiture and only allows property/money to be forfeited after a criminal conviction; NC law requires a criminal conviction and also a connection to a drug offense. Not only has NC taken steps to protect innocent individuals from being abused by this practice by requiring a conviction and by allowing an innocent third-party (like the spouse or parent of a drug offender) to contest the forfeiture in court, the legislature has also essentially eliminated the “incentive problem” by requiring any proceeds from property seized (or actual cash) to go to the local school board for the county in which the property was seized. The law enforcement agency involved does still have the option to retain the property for official use, but this isn’t typically done (does anyone remember Wake Co. Sheriff receiving criticism for keeping a Corvette Z06 a few years back?).

So, if NC doesn’t allow civil asset forfeiture, why am I here today talking about it? Because of what’s known as the Equitable Sharing loophole. Law enforcement agencies in NC are still permitted to benefit from seizing money or property through the Equitable Sharing program, potentially from innocent individuals. According to the Institute for Justice (IJ) – the leading public interest law firm advocating for change on this issue – equitable sharing allows state and local law enforcement agencies to partner with the federal government to seize and forfeit property under federal law—and receive up to 80 percent of the proceeds—regardless of state law. This happens in two ways – through “adoption” or via participation in federal law enforcement “task forces.” In Huntersville, for example, according to the most recent information provided to me by HPD, we have seven officers who are on loan to DOJ and Homeland Security “task forces” and that is where our asset forfeiture proceeds come from – we don’t have a formal policy prohibiting “adoption,” but our chief has stated publicly HPD does not get involved with adoption.

What do I mean by “adoption?”

When money or other property is seized as part of a state or local investigation or prosecution, the forfeiture of those assets can be “adopted” by a federal agency if the offense is also a crime under federal law (as most controlled substance offenses are). Why the federal government even has “federal drug laws” to begin with is an entirely separate topic; however, on a positive note, this is a modern example of nullification since an increasing number of states simply ignore these laws by legalizing marijuana.

Equitable sharing gives state and local agencies another avenue for forfeiting property and gaining a share of proceeds—one backed by the resources of the federal government. More than that, though, the program enables law enforcement agencies to circumvent their own state’s forfeiture laws in favor of forfeiting property under federal forfeiture laws. Thus, forfeiting property through equitable sharing may be especially appealing when a state, like NC, offers property owners more protections, or makes forfeiture less lucrative, than federal law does.

Proponents argue equitable sharing—and the revenue it generates—is essential for federal, state, and local law enforcement to effectively collaborate, especially when it comes to combatting the illegal drug trade. In theory, these forfeitures take the profit out of crime and provide state and local agencies with the resources they need to continually step up their crime-fighting abilities. But, according to IJ, recent research finds no evidence that this is actually true. Results from the 2019 study by economist Brian Kelly indicate equitable sharing payments to state and local agencies did not translate into more crimes solved or lower levels of drug use—though they did correspond to fiscal stress, suggesting equitable sharing use increases when the economy turns sour and law enforcement budgets are likely to suffer cuts.

Part of the reason participation in equitable sharing doesn’t equate to lower crime levels – often the cases/arrests/seizures don’t even take place in the town involving the local officers. Just last week I was provided with details on four recent task force related seizures involving HPD, none of which were actually in Huntersville.

For context – NC law enforcement agencies reported $16 million of forfeiture funds in 2023.


So what if law enforcement goes after the bad guys by taking money and guns and property from drug dealers? If you’re not a drug dealer what do you have to worry about, right? If you’re not guilty you won’t get your money seized.

Tell that to the hundreds, if not thousands of innocent victims of asset forfeiture across the country since the federal government ramped up its involvement in the early 80s, and those are only the ones we know about.

Tell that to Jermaine Sanders in Mooresville, or the child sex abuse victim in Mint Hill who can’t recover against her abuser, or Lyndon McClellan – a convenience store owner in Fairmont, NC, or Jerry Johnson – who owns a small trucking business outside of Charlotte, or any number of airport travelers in Charlotte or Raleigh who have been the victim of random stops by law enforcement for carrying perfectly legal amounts of cash for domestic travel.

Another problem – asset forfeiture too often targets the poor and the powerless. According to IJ, the reality is that the typical forfeiture is hardly the stuff of drug kingpins or major fraudsters. In the 21 states with available data, most currency forfeited in recent years was under $2,000, an average of $1,276 across all states. In most of the 21 states, the median forfeiture is even smaller—often much smaller. Huntersville has been unwilling or unable to provide this level of detail to elected officials about individual seizures – and the same probably goes for most of your towns.

The proceeds flowing into police coffers inflates their budgets and encourages wasteful spending because many agencies literally cannot spend all the money they bring in. Huntersville, for example, has averaged between roughly $350K-$500K at any given time since I have been asking for account balances going back to 2015. Last year they spent $15K on an electric golf cart ostensibly to patrol crime on the greenways! It has been used solely for promotional joy rides to date – not a single criminal apprehended by the greenway police. HPD has also used forfeiture funds to purchase spy cameras and drones – two drones for $55K total back in 2020 – along with other surveillance related purchases like license plate readers – all going to expand the surveillance capabilities of local police. They then share all of this data with multiple other agencies with no oversight of any kind by local elected officials.

As Professor [Michael] Munger would say about the problems with reforming the ABC system, what most of see as costs, many people see as benefits. Every dime of asset forfeiture funds brought in by local police is seen as a benefit to local elected officials who figure that’s less money out of the general fund they have to use for the police budget – hence their literal lack of interest in where the money comes from – politicians don’t see it as a cost if innocent individuals in another town are impacted by this practice when those individuals can’t even vote for them to begin with.

Lending local resources to the feds is also a form of double taxation on local taxpayers – who pay the salaries of local officers to be used on federal task forces (unless OT is reimbursed by seizure monies) while also not helping to do their job of stopping crime locally. Huntersville still has an unsolved murder from 2014 – could we be devoting more resources to solving this murder instead of those resources being used to bring in money from forfeiture? Just last week at the annual budget retreat the HPD chief asked the town board to approve additional funding for five more officers. As a reminder, we have seven officers currently being used for task forces – why not just bring those officers back to have them fill the needs?


So what can we do to end asset forfeiture in NC?

First, all of us can start by raising awareness about this issue in our cities and towns if our tax dollars are going to local law enforcement officers being used on federal task forces or if our local law enforcement is engaging in adoption.

Check the report from the DOJ – is your town/county listed? If so, I would suggest emailing your elected officials and encouraging them to ask the below questions any time your police department seeks to spend asset forfeiture funds, and about your police department's participation in the Equitable Sharing program in general. I would also suggest removing any agenda items related to expenditure of this source of funds from the Consent Agenda since there should always be questions from elected officials any time a town department seeks to spend asset forfeiture related funds. It is important for the public to know more about their local law enforcement's involvement in the Equitable Sharing program. It is worth the time it takes to ask these basic questions to try and ensure the funds you are authorizing your department to spend are not coming from innocent individuals.

  • Ask where these funds are coming from? How many cases? What types of cases? How many different individuals? What type of assets - cash, automobiles, real estate, weapons, other types of property?
  • Ask whether any of this money comes from individuals who have not been charged with or convicted of a crime related to the money/property taken from them?
  • Ask whether any of this money comes from individuals who may have had their civil rights or constitutional rights violated related to the money/property taken from them?

(Follow up these questions with records requests for more information. I will always be willing to help anyone interested in putting together a request.)

  • Please provide any and all forms/documents providing how many X Police officers are deputized or cross-deputized by any federal agency or who are are sworn members of any federal law enforcement agency; and
  • Please provide any and all forms/documents providing how many X Police officers are assigned to or who have participated in or had any involvement with any federal task force/federal agency or initiative since July 1, 2021;
  • Please provide the current balances for all equitable sharing/asset forfeiture monies being held for X Police involving DOJ and/or Treasury funds; and
  • Please provide any and all memorandums of understanding (MOU) between X Police and any federal agency related to X Police's participation in the Equitable Sharing Program.

Keep following up with your local electeds and local police for more information and details. With enough focus on this, you will likely expose the lack of oversight of law enforcement and the right electeds will take notice. Write letters to the editor of your local paper, post on social media, try to get the attention of local reporters looking for stories. There are abuses out there just waiting to be uncovered. Monitor your board’s meeting agendas for any forfeiture related items – any expenditures that have to be voted on – make sure these items are removed from the Consent Agenda so they have to be voted on by the board, force board members to take a stance one way or the other on this issue.

Even if the FAIR Act passes the House this Spring, it may not pass the Senate – so we could still be a long way off from reform at the federal level – and I’m not aware of any efforts in Raleigh to reform involvement with the equitable sharing program. If you can ask enough questions, maybe you can convince your town/county to cancel any contracts with federal agencies and opt out of the equitable sharing program entirely. The federal government has never had enough resources to enforce all the laws they pass – it has always had to rely on local resources for enforcement of many laws – examples like the fugitive slave act, the draft – using local draft boards in WW1, lock downs during covid, and obviously the war on drugs.

If we can significantly reduce, or completely end, law enforcement in NC’s involvement in equitable sharing, we can ultimately reduce the size and role of the federal government. Without local law enforcement’s participation, the war on drugs becomes harder to prosecute. And we can help to make our own communities safer by keeping police focused on crime reductions in their jurisdictions only (accepting for the sake of these remarks that privatizing the police isn’t happening anytime soon!).

Thank you for your time and attention this morning.

Watch Eric's talk, followed by the business portion of the 2024 LPNC state convention, here.

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OpEd: What it's Like being Married to a Libertarian

by: Valerie Yates, LPNC Communications Director wife

You know you’re married to a Libertarian when…

  1. It’s time for your kid to learn how to drive, and all you hear is why driver's licenses are unnecessary.
  2. You know more people than you want to who have run for office.
  3. You hear the statement “taxation is theft” more times than you can count, especially during tax season.
  4. Your son has to help set up a podcast at least twice a week (and is homeschooled and learning why the Fed is evil from the Tuttle Twins).
  5. While on a family vacation, “buddies” from that town will almost always come over to hang out.
  6. Cop videos are always on repeat.
  7. At any given moment, someone with a mustache and/or beard may show up on your doorstep.
  8. You’re never the oddest person in the room.
  9. Politics is not a welcome conversation at Thanksgiving with your super liberal siblings and their wives.
  10. You hear the words "secession" and "freedom of association" at least once a day.
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North Carolina, Go Vote

Just a few days left to vote in the primary, and it matters for the LPNC

by Brad Hessel
LPNC Renaissance Man

Do you know that March 5th is Super Tuesday and that North Carolina is one of 16 states that are holding primary elections that day?

Do you know that the LPNC has a contested primary for Governor for the first time this century? Shannon Bray and Mike Ross are vying to head up the party's Council of State slate—which includes candidates for Lt. Governor, Auditor, and Commissioner of Agriculture in addition to Governor. You can check out their debate at the state convention earlier this month here.

Do you know that if you're a registered L, this is the only gubernatorial primary you can vote in. So please help us pick a candidate who can garner enough votes to keep us on the ballot for another four years!

Do you know that if you are registered unaffiliated, then you have your choice of which party primary to vote in ...but in that case, please consider that ours is the only competitive race for Governor, as the polls show Josh Stein and Mark Robinson with commanding leads in the D and R primary contests, respectively. If you want your opinion to count, you should vote in our primary!

Do you know that the LPNC also has the only competitive Presidential primary? Donald Trump has things sewn up on the R side and the Ds only have one candidate on the ballot (Joe Biden, of course). There are ten folks on the Libertarian Presidential primary ballot, and five of them showed up at our convention. This race is wide open, so again, if you are registered unaffiliated, don't waste your vote in a D or R primary that is already decided...vote for your favorite Libertarian candidate and help us choose the best one!

Find your polling place here.


Governor candidates:

First 2024 Libertarian Governor Candidate Debate

2024 Four Party Governor Candidate Debate

Shannon Bray on Spectrum News 1

Mike Ross on Spectrum News 1


Presidential Candidates:

Jacob Hornberger LPNC Pre-Debate Interview with Dan Smotz

Michael Rectenwald LPNC Pre-Debate Interview with Dan Smotz

Mike ter Maat LPNC Post-Debate Interview with Dan Smotz

Lars Mapstead LPNC Pre-Debate Interview with Dan Smotz

Chase Oliver LPNC Post-Debate Interview with Dan Smotz

Liberty iNC with Mike ter Maat

Liberty iNC with Lars Mapstead

Liberty iNC with Chase Oliver

Joshua Smith on Liberty iNC coming this weekend. 

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North Carolina Gold Coins

The Rise and Fall of North Carolina’s Leadership in Gold and Sound Money

by Joshua D. Glawson
LPNC Strategic Communications Adviser

The first gold rush in North America began in North Carolina in 1799 after a 12-year-old boy named Conrad Reed found a 17-pound gold nugget. The news spread, drawing the attention of tens of thousands of prospectors to begin mining operations throughout the state.

This gold rush made North Carolina a central hub for gold mining and private coining. Gold mining became North Carolina’s second-largest market, behind agriculture.

When people mined gold in the U.S., they could turn that gold into standardized coins by taking it to a private mint or the U.S. Mint and would receive completed coins in return.

Private mints existed in America, such as John Higley’s private mint in Connecticut which minted copper coins as early as 1737; John Chalmers’ Maryland-based mint that started producing silver and gold coinage in 1783; and, Templeton Reid’s Georgia private mint beginning in 1830.

Until 1835, the only federal government minting location was the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia, which was too far away and costly for most people living in the Carolinas. Certainly, that would be a dangerous journey to be carrying large quantities of gold.

Since 1792, the U.S. Mint had provided free coining of gold, silver, and copper when people turned in their monetary metals. However, since it was free of charge, the process was slow as many more people turned their metals in.

In contrast, private mints charged a small fee but could coin much quicker than the Philadelphia Mint.

The private options for standardizing the content, purity, and weight of a gold coin were not guaranteed by the government as “legal tender,” but banks and everyday people readily accepted them.

These private mints were praised for their highest quality standards well trusted by the market and competed directly with government mints. Privately minted coins were quite common.

Although the Coinage Act of 1792 specified what the content, weight, purity, and denominations of U.S. coinage would be, the gold and silver coins produced were out of sync with world standards at the time in the sense that, in the U.S., silver was slightly overvalued versus gold.

Spanish silver coin - “Pieces of Eight”

Foreign coins (e.g. Spanish silver dollar known as “pieces of eight”), privately minted coins, and U.S. Mint coins all circulated within the United States. (That is until Congress intervened by passing The Coinage Act of 1857 to stop the circulation of foreign coins.)

From 1799 through 1830, North Carolinians either made the long trek to Philadelphia to have their coins minted or traded with local banks that then took the raw gold to the Philadelphia Mint.

Answering the market demand, Christopher Bechtler opened a private mint in Rutherford County, North Carolina, in 1830 and began privately minting gold coins in 1831 and 1832. Bechtler minted $1.00, $2.50, and $5.00 face value gold coins. The Bechtler dollar gold coin was the first gold dollar coin in the United States. The Bechtler family minted coins until the 1850s.

Both sides of a Bechtler gold dollar coin

Each Bechtler gold coin had the face value, “A. Bechtler,” “Carolina Gold,” and the weight in grams. For about 5 years the Bechtler Mint was the sole provider of gold coins in the Carolinas.

The federal government finally saw the need to open other mint locations around the country. In 1835, the U.S. Mint opened the Charlotte Mint, Dahlonega Georgia Mint, and the New Orleans Mint.

The Charlotte Mint in 1837

From 1835 to 1861 the federal government operated the Charlotte Mint and produced gold coins. During the Civil War, the Confederates converted the Charlotte Mint into a hospital and military office.

After the Civil War, the Charlotte Mint was converted to an Assay Office (1867-1913) before eventually being closed altogether on the notion that there was ostensibly no longer enough gold available to justify minting activities.

 Front and back of an 1860s Greenback

At the same time minting abruptly ended in North Carolina, central planners created the first U.S. income tax in 1861 and fabricated the US-Union fiat currency known as greenbacks in 1862 (Confederates made fiat greybacks). Truly a monetary seigniorage scheme.

They also created the IRS in 1862, established the federal tax levy court system, made private minting of coins or money illegal in 1864, expanded federal powers and territory through the National Banking Acts of 1863 and 1864 to create a false sense of demand, and created the Secret Service in 1865 to enforce those anti sound money laws and system.

Call me a skeptic.

This series of events that echoed throughout the American Civil War effectively ended North Carolina’s growth and leadership in gold mining and the private minting of sound money.

Today, you can still visit Reed Gold Mine in Midland, and the site of the Bechtler Mint in Rutherfordton. The Charlotte Mint building was relocated and reconstructed into the Mint Museum at Randolph in Charlotte in 1933 -- which was the same year that the U.S. government made owning gold bullion illegal.

Joshua D. Glawson is Content Manager for MoneyMetals.com and a writer and speaker in the Liberty Movement. He has been active with the Libertarian Party of California since 2015. He now resides in his home state of North Carolina. Check him out at Home - Joshua D. Glawson (joshuadglawson.com)

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OpEd: Back to Reality

by: Rob Yates, LPNC Communications Director

I went to Orlando a couple of weeks ago for a long weekend celebrating my brother's birthday. We spent essentially three full days at Disney. While not necessarily my first choice, I would be lying if I denied having fun or being incredibly impressed.

First of all, the security there was magnificent. Somehow, they manage to get the guests into the park quickly and with relatively little inconvenience, while making me feel completely safe. This is in stark contrast to the comedy of errors that was the TSA (but that's a story for a different day). Suffice to say, when a private organization is incentivized to keep guests safe while moving them through a checkpoint quickly, they do it well. When government employees are incentivized to follow a bunch of ineffective rules and guidelines, they do it well, and the end result is no one is safe and the process is laughably inefficient.

Nevertheless, we made it into the park, and then we experienced the full extent of the outcome when a company with Disney's resources is incentivized to create a world of complete fantasy and wonder. The "Magic Kingdom" moniker is well-deserved. The parks each built an illusion of magic, imagination, and wonder, spanning past, present, and future. They explored the fantastic and the wonders of the seemingly mundane, crossed great geographies and distances, and brought the extremes of science fiction and the beauty of the natural world right to you... Whatever your fantasy, Disney had anticipated it, curated it, and perfected it.

The illusion was perfect, and it was complete. We were immersed in the world of Disney for a few days, adults and kids alike, and, while Disney is not my normal cup of tea, and I also have some serious trepidation about supporting them in any capacity (another story for another time), the trip was fantastic, a sentiment echoed by everyone who went.

Of course, on the flight back, we were flung back into the real world as we had another miserable experience with TSA. Perhaps it isn't surprising, given that TSA security officers consistently report the lowest satisfaction and have some of the highest attrition rates of any government job. But we suffer the indignation of airport security because it ensures our safety, or at least we are told. It's true that we have not had another major terrorist attack on an airplane since 9/11. Of course, it's also true that we didn't have a long history of them before 9/11 either. But that safety seems to be more of an illusion, as a third truth is that the TSA has failed major audits in recent years where undercover agents were able to sneak 95 percent and 80 percent of hidden weapons through the gates. 

In fact, under the auspices of "keeping us safe," we have seen the perpetual re-approval of the Patriot Act, the creation of the DHS, illegal spying on citizens by the NSA, and the framework by which the government is now trying to control speech on the internet, even going so far as to propose the Orwellian "Disinformation Board," which, among other things, considered people who questions vaccine mandates as potential domestic terrorists (you know, like the kind that they can't find in the TSA, but they need to justify their existence).

Politicians from both parties create the illusion that your life or livelihood is at stake if you vote for the other person. Then they propose policies, which they rarely actually enact, without being honest about the potential downsides of what they propose. They rely on our tribal nature to rally support for their cause, building on this illusion and making anyone who supports the opposition candidate a mortal enemy. Whatever else you might think about Disney, at least they create a happy illusion for gain.

Politics, on the other hand, obfuscates basic truths that are disadvantageous to them getting elected, consolidating power, and hiding what they are doing from us. Then, they can enact the policies supported by their big money donors; the same donors who fund the marketing campaigns that build the illusions that we should hate each other based on political beliefs.

Here's the truth. Unless you are a shill for the state seeking to oppress people, defraud them, or take away their rights for your own gain, then I am not your enemy. We have more in common with each other by magnitudes of life than we do with the political elite and the corporate-connected dark money that keeps them in power.

Freedom can be scary, but the alternative is the illusion of safety at the cost of our rights, and that is much scarier.

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Sound Money in 2024

A Presentation Given at the LPMeck Convention*

*edited slightly for print

by: Jp Cortez, Executive Director, Sound Money Defense League

What Happened to Sound Money?

It didn't fail, to be sure. The gold standard did not fail. It was killed, by dishonest politicians who do not like honest money. The main way it was killed was by taxes. You can't use gold and silver anymore as money, largely because of the taxes associated with doing this.

In some states, when you buy gold and silver, you pay a sales tax. In every state, and then again with the feds, you're hit with a capital gains tax when you sell. There's too much friction involved to use gold and silver as money. So what we do [as an organization] is go state to state and DC, removing the disincentives, the frictions, the taxes, and the regulations around using sound money as actual money.

So maybe we'll take a step back. What we're talking about here when we say sound money, we mean money that has long-term purchasing power that has been tested by markets. Money is not determined by a government. If the world were flat, no executive order could make it round. And if the world were round, no act of Congress could make it flat.

On a long enough timeline, money wins out. The government does not get to decide what money is. The market's cheaper.  So what we're talking about here is a money that retains its purchasing power over the long-term. There are two pretty simple value propositions to understand the importance of sound money.

The first is that it allows people to plan for the future. If I were building a house, if I were taking out a 30-year loan, I would want to know that the unit in which the loan is denominated will hold its value. I need to be able to make that sort of planning to be able to build infrastructure, to be able to long-term plan.

And that long-term planning and the infrastructure is what increases livelihood, and what decreases is the mortality rate. These are the things that make a difference long-term.

And so you need a solid money to be able to do that. There are places around the world today where you have to be paid multiple times a day for your job, where you're paid in the morning, and then you're paid again at night, because if you hold the money for too long, twelve hours from now, your money's worthless.

In those places, they're carrying wheelbarrows of cash. Money is broken, and it's not that far away from happening here. This isn't an obscure thing. Historically, this happens all the time. On a long enough timeline, the survival rate for all fiat paper monies is zero. Every single one of them dies. It's just a question of when.

So the first reason why sound money is important is to be able to plan for the future. The second is that it shackles a government that would otherwise support it, spend recklessly, and do things that it's citizenry wouldn't pay for voluntarily through taxation. 

We're talking about wars of choice. We're talking about giant domestic programs, retirement programs. They're so bloated that they don't actually provide any safekeeping for the people who are relying on these things to retire, for example, for the future. So sound money is not just for the ability to plan. It also constrains the government. It keeps the government from doing things that we know we don't want governments doing. 

This idea is sort of for the academic heads, the Miseses, the Rothbards, the Hayeks of the world. This idea is Rothbardian. This definition of sound money comes from the Austrian or the free market tradition. While we know that the monetary problem is largely a federal problem, this is a problem that stems from the federal government and the Federal Reserve monetary system.

We know that, but that doesn't mean that states have to sit idly by and watch the purchasing power of their money be zapped away. All over the country, not just North Carolina, you have people unable to afford housing, unable to afford food, medicine, transportation, and that's not an act of God.

Inflation is a policy choice. This is something that the federal government is choosing to do. States do have options. And one of the primary things they can do is re-monetize other forms of money to allow for competition in currencies. If it weren't for legal tender laws, and if it weren't for the government requiring payment of taxes in the U.S. dollar, we likely wouldn't use the U.S. dollar. Just objectively, this is a piece of paper without any backing. very easily debased. They literally print millions upon billions of them a day, and that money that's regularly printed goes to fund really nefarious and horrible things all around the world.

Fortunately, I'm happy to say that sound money itself is in the middle of a movement. This past year, there were 26 states in the United States that introduced legislation to adopt sound money, and to remove taxes around the use of sound money. To invest physical gold and silver in state pension funds and in state reserve funds. In North Carolina's case, there is active legislation for the state to conduct a study about whether they should store gold, silver, and Bitcoin on the state's balance sheet.

Eight years ago when we started this project, it was a very minor thing. It was me and the people on our staff running around asking states and asking legislators to introduce this stuff. That's not the case anymore. Against a backdrop of record high inflation, of kids not being able to afford to go to college anymore, of public schools failing, of infrastructure failing, and of America regularly fighting wars that they have no business fighting, or at least funding wars they have no business funding, things are changing.

Against the backdrop of all of this, people are starting to say, wait a second, why is this the money we're using? And how does this money enable all of this horrible stuff?  So, again, states themselves are doing a lot of things to encourage individuals to invest in gold and silver, and for themselves to also invest in gold and silver. This was the list of more than half of the states in the country in 2023 that introduced legislation to promote sound money, to promote the preservation of purchasing power, to allow people to save long term.

Historically, in the past, when people wanted to save money, they would simply hold money, because the money itself would hold value. But that's not the case anymore. You can't just hold money as wealth preservation or as a savings vehicle. Because it loses – on purpose, a stated purpose - it loses at least 2 percent of its value a year.

And that's if you buy the official inflation numbers. Closer to 7 or 8 percent if you've walked into a grocery store in the last year, and you know for a fact it's not 2 or 3 percent. So, historically, people were able to store money and because the government broke the money, they're no longer able to do that.

Now you have to invest in risky stock market casinos. Now you have to buy ETFs and mutual funds and stocks. Now you have to buy third-world debt just to have your money keep up. And so now people who are planning for the future, myself, my younger brother, the people in this generation, they need to be working.

They need to be increasing their output by at least 2 or 3 percent a year just to break even. And that's impossible for this many people, the ask is way too high. And too many people are suffering because the money has been broken. People work for money, that broken money, that somebody else prints for free.

And that actually is, at its root, the nature of the failure of the central banking system like one we have today. These are called Cantillon effects, an economic term to describe how, when central banks print money, the people who get that money first are government actors. They're politically tied people.

And by the time the money comes down to you and me and the people in this room, inflation has already adjusted and prices have already risen. It's the people most entrenched, the people with political power, that get the easy money first. And by the time it reaches us, it's the same broken money that we're carrying in our wallets today.

There are also federal initiatives. It's not just on the state level. To be sure, I think at the state level is the best chance of passing policy. D.C. is largely a gridlocked place, a place for people who want to make a name for themselves, who want to grow personas. People interested in actually making a difference are in Raleigh, are in Nashville, are in Albany, are in Tallahassee, in the state capitals.

And that's where you can affect change. And so actually, maybe more than anything I've said today, the largest thing you can take away from what I'm saying is to please be an active participant in your legislature. You don't have power in D.C. I'm sorry.

You call D.C., an intern is going to answer the phone. The congressman may or may not get your message. Probably won't. It'll be filed away. You'll never be heard. When you call Raleigh, when you call state capitals, these people are not used to organized efforts.

Even just ten or twenty calls phone calls to a state switchboard and all of a sudden you have a hot issue on your hand. I understand the belief that political efficacy is at an all-time low, the belief that you don't have much power to change what happens in D.C. I'm sorry, that's probably true. But that doesn't have to be true on the state level.

And so I encourage everyone, be it sound money, be it drug legalization, be it civil asset forfeiture, be it education, no matter what the issue, be an active participant in your state legislature, because you have a voice there.

But we are doing things in D.C. We worked with Congressman Alex Mooney from West Virginia, who has really carried the sound money torch since Dr. Ron Paul retired. Congressman Mooney has introduced several D.C. federal sound money bills. The Gold Standard Restoration Act would peg the dollar to a price of gold based on the market price at the time.

The Monterey Meadows Neutrality Act, and Ted Cruz also introduced something similar to this as well, but Congressman Mooney has a federal bill that would exempt capital gains from gold and silver, which would mean the friction that I talked about, the tax that enforces or levies a tax on anyone who sells their gold or silver capital gains, this on the federal level would completely remove that. And most states operate their tax return based on the federal AGI. So doing this in one fell swoop would be an incredible win.

Many of you may know there is allegedly gold in Fort Knox. I personally have never seen it. I know that there is some sort of made-for-Hollywood TV showing where someone took a camera and they sort of looked at it for a second and then quickly panned away. And we're supposed to believe that there are hundreds of millions of billions of dollars worth of gold in there?

Maybe there is, maybe there isn't. More important than that, though, is whether or not it has any financial encumbrances. The gold might be there, but who owns it? Who has this been pledged to? Does China own it? Does Russia own it?

Does Germany own it? Whose gold is this? And so this bill would call for a full accounting of all transactions, all encumbrances, all financial swaps, or leases, or anything on the gold that supposedly is the backbone of America.

Central banks and the Federal Reserve are still buying gold, and they're telling you gold is not money, but central banks around the world are still actively buying gold. The question as to whether or not it's still there is incredibly important.

In North Carolina, there is legislation on the state holding gold, silver, and bitcoin on its balance sheet. Representative Mark Brody introduced legislation. We did pass it out of the House and we're hoping to get hearings in the Senate this year.

This is my first time at a Libertarian party event, I've never done this, thank you for having me, thank you. I was struck once, I remember having a conversation with someone who said something to me in reference to the Libertarian National Convention. Something like, well, you know, those Libertarians, those people are crazy, you know, they've got shirtless people on stage, they've got, you know, people with hats on, these are crazy people. 

And I said, yes, totally crazy. You know what else is crazy? Bombing the shit out of Aleppo. You know what else is crazy? A system that enables civil asset forfeiture, that allows a cop to pull me over and just take the things in my car because they say so, and with very little recourse for me after they've been taken. You know what else is crazy? That the Revolutionary War was fought over like a 3 percent tax on tea, and now 35 to 40 percent of my wages and everything I do is regularly taxed. Crazy? You guys want to talk crazy?

Come on. National debt will hit $35 trillion this summer. This is a massive issue. And the idea, like, Libertarians are so active, they've been so good for decades on gay marriage, on drugs, on war. Libertarians are the voice. They have been the voice of this country for decades. Long before Barack Obama endorsed gay marriage, Libertarians were writing about it in the 70s.

Libertarians are the background and they're the moral fiber of this country and they're such an important voice. The voice for Liberty, the voice for freedom, the voice for self-choice, for self-efficiency, for self-efficacy. Huzzah for being ahead of the curve. Thank you.

Javier Milei, the guy who just won the presidential race in Argentina. I'm here in L.A., I wake up every morning, I see this guy has cut another government agency, this guy has laid off another thousand government workers. Man, talk about a dream, right? But maybe we do live in the best timeline. Maybe we do. At the end of all his speeches, he says something and he says it in Spanish.

He ends all his speeches with the saying Viva la libertad carajo, which is Spanish for "Long live freedom, dammit." This should be the default. This is not for questioning. My rights are not up for a debate. They sure as shit aren't up for a for a vote.

Thank you so much.

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