Ron Paul, Constitutional Scholar

From RedState, by Leon H. Wolf, February 8, 2012 – 

People like to say, “Ron Paul’s got a great domestic program, it’s just his foreign policy I don’t like.” Really, people only say that because they don’t take the time to understand what Ron Paul’s domestic program is all about, or at least the more insane details thereof. One particular example of this is Ron Paul’s view on monetary policy.

Paul, who likes to present himself as some sort of Constitutional scholar, has said in his last several concession speeches that “the Constitution still says that only gold and silver can be legal tender!” This absolutely absurd reading of the Constitution is universally rejected by anyone who can read English.


Let’s look at Article 1, Section 10, from which Ron Paul draws his support:

No State shall enter into any Treaty, Alliance, or Confederation; grant Letters of Marque and Reprisal; coin Money; emit Bills of Credit; make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts; pass any Bill of Attainder, ex post facto Law, or Law impairing the Obligation of Contracts, or grant any Title of Nobility.

Emphasis mine. However, it is also worth noting that Article 1, Section 10, is conveniently titled “Powers Prohibited of States.” Ron Paul might still have at least a non-farcical point if it were not for the existence of Article 1, Section 8 (helpfully titled “Powers of Congress”):

The Congress shall have Power. . . To coin Money, regulate the Value thereof[.]

Get it? The reason states do not have the power to create their own legal tender (other than gold or silver coin) is because that is a power expressly reserved to the Federal government. Remember that this was one of the central evils of the Articles of Confederation – that every state had its own currency, which hindered trade and created economic chaos – and so the founders reserved to the Federal government the right to establish a single currency for the whole nation. States are absolutely and completely prohibited by these sections of the Constitution from generating their own currency other than literal gold and silver coins.

Therefore, even if you ignore that Article 1, Section 10 is expressly confined to restrict the powers of the States, it would not stand for the proposition that Ron Paul wants it to stand for, which is that the Federal government must constitutionally adhere gold/silver standard. It would instead mean that the Federal government was prohibited from using currency that was not literally gold or silver coin. This conclusion is of course absurd (and ultimately would have no salutary effect on monetary policy whatsoever) which is why no person who hasn’t suggested that the government is using paper money to try to track you has ever suggested it.

I get that some people want someone who is a principled, small government isolationist constitutionalist. Sadly, Ron Paul is not that person – he’s just a nut onto whom people are projecting those qualities.

11 responses

  1. Be prepared to be barraged by emails calling you a “neocon”. They will come from many libertarians and Democrats who will support Ron Paul in the primaries, then vote for Obama in the general.

  2. Senator-Blutarksy

    Who is YOUR candidate, Al ? Please extoll some virtues of him/her

    Thanks……I am waiting

    1. There is no “my candidate”. I will vote for any one of them against Obama; but I would vote for some with more enthusiasm than for others.

      Now, for whom will you vote in the general election? If the Republican is Paul, can I assume you will pledge to vote for Paul? Now, what if it is Romney, or Gingrich, or Santorum? Will you vote for the Republican?

      1. Senator-Blutarsky

        Mr Lee for Congress – since when did blindly voting “Republican” equate to limited government, fiscal responsibility, respecting individual rights, or doing anything effective to negate collectivism?

        Bob Dole? John Mccain ? The Bush gangsters which handed out TARP bailouts, war prizes like candy, emphasized outsourcing our manufacturing base, deliberately leaving our borders WIDE OPEN, and pushing thru every Orwellian idea such as REAL ID, and the Patriot Acts? The ones who turned a blind eye to high financial crimes, but tossed the public a bone with Martha Stewart? ( Gee I sure felt better when she was in the big house, doing time.)

        The Bush-era gangsters who had Don Rumsfeld flip his middle finger at Americans wanting to investigate @ $3 TRILLION missing dollars in the Pentagon ?

        Those “Republicans”, Mr Lee? The closet Democrats?

        Al lee’s 8th-grade logic is what passes for reason among the hypnotic “conservatives.” They traffic in moronic slogans and cheap cliches`.

        As for limited government, this is the most frazzled short-circuit in the whole RepubliCON brainwave: constant warfare builds big government, it doesn’t shrink it. Claiming to work for limited government while issuing blank checks for every war the Pentagon demand we undertake or support is like having sex for virginity. Electing Romney, gingrich, Santorum President of the United States so as to return godly government to our shores is a spectacular example of voting for the Republic’s executioner while being too obtuse to recognize him as such. To possess so faulty a vision at so late a date ensures more wars and more Homeland Security to police the domestic front. As a Globalist president, Santorum would further enable a police state, as Clinton, Bush and Obama have done, for the reason Sen. Lindsay Graham has given, “we’re at war” — and by that Sen. Graham means perpetual war, war for generations. This is what a vote for Santorum, Gingrich or Romney entails.

      2. Your logic and thoughtful reasoning have overwhelmed me. I do not think I can respond with an equivalent level of cogency.

        I am just short of being won over–left with only a few questions:

        Do you believe that George Soros should design a defense plan for the US? Is he on our side?

        Do you believe that Barney Frank is qualified and should be trusted to design the American defense plan?

        Would you trust a politician who collaborated with that sort of partners to design an American defense plan?

        Are you aware of Agenda 21? Does the word “Sustainable” mean anything to you?

        Would the name “Sustainable Defense Task Force” set off any alarms?

        Would you support a candidate who promoted a defense plan devised by those anti-American sorts of folks I described above?

        Well, go see who made up that SDTF.

        Is one of the Republican Presidential candidates in that group? Are there ANY conservatives in that group? (Hint: CATO Institute is Libertarian, not Conservative.)

        Did Soros, through one of his organizations, pay for TV ads for a Republican candidate who participated in that group?

        Does that same candidate seem to have a lot of supporters who are actually liberal Democrats? Will those liberal Democrats actually vote Republican even if that candidate were to win the nomination, or would they go vote Obama while laughing about how they screwed up the Republicans one more time?

        Does Soros have one candidate on the Dem side and one on the Repub side?

        I guess that is the only small point that is keeping me from jumping on the bandwagon.

  3. Frank Williford

    I don’t much care about what Ron Paul’s position is on coining money. I have not studied the ramifications and therefore I express no opinion. I did read the presently posted article and if it is represented as originally written I come to the conclusion it says the following…….

    The U.S. shall coin silver and gold and that coinage should be the legal money of the land. No mention of paper being legal.

    States on the other hand will NOT have the right to coin gold or silver and will NOT substitute anything else for legal tender.

    Seems to me the country has drifted pretty far away from the constutionally referenced mandate.

    I suppose I can rationalize that paper backed by gold and silver is the same as or as good as gold or silver and much more convenient, but I cannot stretch that rationalization to include paper money backed by nothing.

    Just my thoughts…….also not backed by gold or silver!

  4. Well said Frank. I would also add that it took me all of 3 seconds to come to an entirely different conclusion, than the author. Simply combining his highlighted words states the following: “No state shall make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payments of debt.” That means a mint in Ft. Worth (Texas…a state) cannot print fiat paper. A mint in Denver (Colorado…a state) cannot mint fiat dimes. As he wrote, the title of article 1 section 10 is “powers prohibited of states”. This is as “no brainer” as it comes. States cannot issue their own currency, and they don’t, they must follow article 1 section 10 and issue FEDERAL gold and silver coinage…but they don’t. Whats the author even talking about. He’s using quotes to back Austrian economics and Dr. Paul 100%. Fiat money is un-Constitutional. On a side note, why talk bad about a man who is trying to help us? It’s so dis-heartening. This is not a game…our Constitution is being ignored and disgraced all at the same time and most politically active individuals are still playing some sort of “my guy vs your guy”. OF COURSE Constitutional bills don’t usually pass, OF COURSE Dr. Paul has a horrible record or passing legislature…it’s because “your guys” don’t follow the Constitution and would never vote for it.
    As Frank so wonderfully said, Just my thoughts…also not back by Gold and Silver!

  5. A mint or treasury printing operation that is owned by the Federal Government and is located in Fort Worth is not owned by Texas any more than a ship at sea is owned by the Atlantic Ocean. It is pretty clear that The Constitution says that Congress decides what the money will be and states may not print their own currency; BUT they MAY accept silver or gold as legal tender.

    There are as many serious problems with a monetary system based on precious metals as there are for a fiat system. Neither is perfect. What the constitution intended to prevent was chaos caused by competing currencies with ever-changing exchange rates. We have that now with foreign trade and they did not want those problems with interstate trade.

    Europe has tried to accomplish that with the Euro; but they were too far down the road with too much individual national history to make it work and the Euro will likely fall apart and each country will go back to its national currency soon.

  6. Senator-Blutarsky

    Al Lee – you offer quite a stretch comparing UN Agenda 21 “Sustainable Development” scam, and the use of the word “Sustainable” in other uses and contexts. Yeah, America needs a Congressman with leaps in logic like that! We already suffer enough fools in DC.

    Let me tell you and Glenn beck a little secret – your reference to Soros & Paul is a similar stretch, and has no “legs”. re- becks talk show on Jan 4, and a few articles spawned from it

    It has about as much comparability as this – Ron Paul is a baptist ! Yikes . A baptist preacher in Waco was convicted of murdering his wife recently. Yikes !……….sooooooooooooo-

    Ron Paul associates with murderers ! Egads !

    1. You are probably right. It is probably just a coincidence that they used the word “Sustainable” in the Soros-dominated task force and that Soros is involved with Agenda 21 which also, by some coincidence, likes that word.

      I can fully understand that you would not vote for or support me. Making that sort of unproven connection just based on such flimsy circumstantial evidence is unforgivable. I am going to reexamine my decision to run.

      Thank you for pointing that out to me.

      Maybe I can reform my thinking and get myself on a Soros project to, say, move all military contracting to China or to Brazil so as to increase our national security and then I will meet with the approval of thinking voters. I guess I have been unduly influenced by that old, outdated Reagan maxim: “Peace Through Strength”.

  7. Ron Paul should be in charge of the monetarysystem and if he had the power that the fed now has would there be a dramatic change, you bet and he would not be printing our money and giving away under the table.

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