An Interview with the u201CRosa Parks of Monetary Liberty,u201D Bernard von NotHaus
I’d like to invite you, Dear Reader, to participate in a brief thought experiment with me. Read the following statement, then shutter your vision for a moment and imagine in your mind’s eye what this scene and the person described therein would have looked like.
Statement: I just completed an interview with a known terrorist. Our government recognizes him as a clear and present danger to the security of the United States itself. He has been tried and convicted in US federal court, and is awaiting sentencing into the federal penal system. It is possible he could spend the rest of his life behind bars.
What did your terrorist look like? What crimes did he commit? How deeply does he endanger the United States? Do you feel safer with him locked up?
Now I am not a betting man, but if I were, I would be willing to wager your terrorist had a thick, black beard. He probably spoke a different language than you do and he may even have been adorned with subtle religious accoutrements. His deep, brown-black eyes likely betrayed a seething hatred for America and all things sheltered beneath the Stars and Stripes. He’d kill you in an instant, if he only had the chance, out of a genuine u201Chatred of your freedoms…u201D
Okay, now take that image in your mind, and compare it to the picture of the real person to which I refer below. Let’s see how close the two resemble each other….
Are you terrified yet? Quaking in your boots? No? Well, you should be — but for reasons very different from what the government is suggesting… more on that below.
The man pictured above is named Bernard von NotHaus, a friendly and engaging man who is the former Mintmaster at the Royal Hawaiian Mint, and later the creator of the Liberty Dollar, a free market, commodity-backed, private currency used in bartering between some 250,000 Americans in communities all across the States. And, according to the US government, that is where the roots of this u201Cterroristu201D begin…
You see for some reason, the idea of conducting barter via a private currency which actually maintains its purchasing power seemed like a good idea to the hundreds of thousands of people which began using the Liberty Dollar. In contrast to Federal Reserve notes — a paper currency backed by nothing other than the u201Cfull faith and credit of the US governmentu201D (and we’ve seen how u201Cironcladu201D that is, with the recent downgrade of US creditworthiness, and a persistent u201Cnegativeu201D outlook) — the Liberty Dollar was backed by precious metals, allowing the holder to redeem his certificates for metal at any time of his choosing.
While most Americans using Federal Reserve notes see prices rise year after year, diminishing their FRN’s effective purchasing power, those bartering with Liberty Dollars would spend just as much for a gallon of gas now as ten years in the future — if not considerably less. Hmm… if you had a choice between money that continuously loses its value versus one that maintains, if not gains in value, which would you choose?
Most people are not aware that the US Constitution is very explicit in this matter. Article I, Section 8 states:
u201CNo State shall… make any Thing but gold and silver Coin a Tender in Payment of Debts.u201D
The Founders’ knew all too well the calamitous dangers associated with fiat currencies, thanks to their financial experiences during the Revolution and throughout the time of the Articles of Confederation. But this wisdom was eventually lost, first with the institution of an unconstitutional central bank in 1913, and then when President Nixon removed the last remnants of a gold backing to the US dollar in 1971.
When a currency is backed by nothing but promises, that just is not enough to prevent the corrupting influences of man from simply printing more money when the need arises. And the more new money that is printed, the less each individual bill of fiat cash is worth. Prices rise in order to account for the diminished value of each new note in circulation, forcing each citizen to continually try to earn larger and larger sums of money, just to keep pace with inflation. If an American cannot consistently increase his wages, his standard of living will decline.
Bernard von NotHaus was not unique in recognizing this surreptitious destruction of the American People’s wealth, via erosion of their purchasing power. He was unique, however, in deciding to take direct action against it. In creating the Liberty Dollar, Bernard did far more than simply provide people with a private, sound money alternative to Federal Reserve notes. In essence he created an existential threat to the private central banking cartel ensconced in the heart of the federal government. And they would not react kindly to this threat…
In post-9/11 America, civil liberties are perhaps the only things being eroded away faster than the fiat dollar’s purchasing power. With the creation of the Department of Homeland Security, the pronouncement of numerous draconian Executive Orders, and enactment of the Patriot Act (an Orwellian name if ever the was one), nearly anyone can be declared a terrorist, and as such can expect to find the full weight and force of the federal government arrayed against him. For Bernard, the full weight and force of the federal government began to make itself known when the Liberty Dollar offices were raided by armed agents of the FBI and Secret Service on November 14, 2007.
Over eight tons of precious metals — the money backing all Liberty Dollar certificates — were confiscated by the federal government and he was indicted in May of 2009, on a litany of fraud and counterfeiting charges. On March 18, 2011, Bernard was convicted in federal court and now faces up to fifteen years in prison — all for trying to provide a Constitutional monetary alternative to a system which clearly wants no such choice to ever again exist.
I spoke to Bernard briefly between staggered doctors’ and dentists’ appointments, as he made all preparations he could before being sent u201Cup the riveru201D for who knows how long. By his positive attitude and jocular quips, one might never guess that he was talking to a man who might potentially spend the rest of his life behind bars. But to hear him recount the fascinating odyssey that has led him to this point, it becomes immediately clear that Bernard is a man who has dutifully chosen to put his own life and freedom on the line so that others’ liberty might still persist.
Bernard has been called by some the u201CRosa Parks of Monetary Freedom,u201D and no doubt that is a fitting moniker. Rosa Parks had the courage to stand up to the face of naked governmental and societal injustice, and we as Americans are all the beneficiaries of her courage and commitment. May the same be held true with Bernard von NotHaus, that his sacrifice and dedication to freedom may eventually help form the foundation of a reinstated system of Constitutional money and rebirth of the American Republic.
Scott Ledd: I’m pleased to be able to talk to you now, it’s a great honor for me.
Bernard von NotHaus: Well, thanks, but you know we’re all in this together, I just happen to be the point person right now.
SL: I know it, but it’s incredibly brave, what you have done. You are at the tip of the spear and I hope that we can, like you said, work towards creating a better tomorrow. We sure need one.
BVNH: Yeah, well, at lot of it hinges upon money, because when the money goes bad, everything else goes bad. When I had my epiphany on September 11, 1974, I spelled out in my economics research paper the interrelationship between economic, political, and social systems, and when you take the value out of one of those, like the monetary system, well then you have a loss of equal value in the social and political systems, and I think we are seeing this now.
SL: I think you’re absolutely right, we’re seeing this played out on a daily basis now; it’s happening so fast.
BVNH: Yeah well it’s been a while since September 11, 1974… I don’t know where you were then but that’s almost 40 years ago for me.
SL: The last that I researched, the average time for a fiat money system is approximately 29 years or so, so this one is past due.
BVNH: Yeah I saw some articles about that too, recently. I know someone ran the average time for a fiat system, it was something like 20-30 years.
SL: So we have really been on borrowed time with this one, and of course now we’re seeing the death throes of it and it is just a complete disaster. I just wish more people could understand what was going on. If they understood what was happening to them, as you know Henry Ford said: “It’s a good thing Americans don’t understand their banking system, for if they did there would be a revolution by tomorrow morning.”
BVNH: Yep, that’s what Henry said… but the problem is that people really just don’t care and they have been “educated” not to care about the monetary system: that it’s boring, it’s difficult to understand, we need to have high minded people like “Greenscum” and Bernanke to do things like this (and don’t forget Volcker, there’s the whole cast of them). The thing is that people have been educated or miseducated or brainwashed into believing that this is wayyyy too complicated for regular people to understand and that we need to let PhD economists guide us along in terms of what’s right… and that’s all bull.
SL: I agree with you. Inherently people have to be able to understand, at least in their own life, that if there’s more money going out than coming in, they are going to ultimately end up in major trouble. So the weird thing is, how does that inherent understanding you would have for yourself — where is that disconnect, that if you apply that to the government or the banking system, that it’s somehow magically different?
BVNH: Well the thing is the government is very good at hiring the “brightest” and most glib people around and you’ve probably heard this phrase: “What’s with the national debt? Why should we worry, we just owe it to ourselves, why should we even be concerned about that?” And not so bad as that, when I was on tour, people would say “We don’t need a value-based currency, we can go out and buy gold and silver with US dollars now.” I mean that it is so utterly brain dead, because they miss the whole point: the reason we need to have a gold and silver based currency is to bring discipline to the financial system so the government can’t go out and do all sorts of bad things. I’ll throw out there 9-11 and the wars, and the list starts at Ruby Ridge, and it ends at your doorstep, and well, it ended at my doorstep when they came knocking. So the thing is that people don’t understand these things; they’ve been misled and miseducated, and the government is very good at doing this.
SL: Well, I understand your background and where you are coming from with this. Would you be able to give a little bit more biographic info of how you came to your understandings and ultimately how you came to create the Liberty Dollar?
BVNH: Sure. The thing is I don’t have a background in this field whatsoever at all. I’m very proud to say I only took one course in economics in college, and it was on Saturday morning — Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday at 8 o’clock. Now I don’t know what your college experience was like, but I’ll tell ya, on Saturday morning at 8 o’clock, the last thing I wanted to do was go to economics class. And the guy was BORING to death, I mean he was just terrible, and to make matters worse, he knew nobody wanted to come on Saturday morning at 8 o’clock so he gave a pop quiz that constituted 50% of your grade. So a lot of people would come just to take the pop quiz at exactly 8 o’clock on the money, every Saturday morning. In any case, this was my only exposure that I had to economics, and I really hated it. I hated the professor, I hated Saturday morning, I hated everything about it, because to me everything about it, it was just absolutely terrible — I think I got one of my rare C’s in that class. So anyway, I had a bad attitude about economics, but then I had my epiphany on September 11, 1974, which really was fantastic in the sense that it opened me up to not so much economics, but it opened me up to the world of money and how exciting it is and the cause and effect of money…
SL: September 11, 1974, is that the day it became legal to buy gold again?
BVNH: No it wasn’t, this was the year before that. It became legal on January 1st, 1975.
SL: So what was the actual epiphany event? Why September 11, what happened?
BVNH: I wrote an economic research paper entitled “To Know Value” and it opened me to realize that the physical manifestation of gold is nothing more than the physical manifestation of value itself, a spiritual one — there’s a strong interrelation between spiritual values and physical values exemplified by gold in that economic research paper — which is actually included as an appendix in the book I wrote in 2003, 29 years later. Anyway I wrote that and it became the basis of where I went with this, I got involved in gold and silver markets, distributed a lot of gold and silver to people, friends of mine, in Ahualoa, a little area on the Big Island [of Hawaii]. It's a pretty remote place. I was living in a little house without electricity, lived there for three years, grew up in the gold market, moved over to Oahu and started the Royal Hawaiian Mint, did that for 25 years and retired in 1998, launched the Liberty Dollar as my philanthropic, nonprofit entity to awaken Americans to two things: 1) to the dangers of fiat currency, and 2) to the solution to fiat currency was of course the Liberty Dollar. So I retired, I moved to the mainland and I was on tour for the next ten years until I was arrested in 2009.
SL: And when you would go on tour, you would go to colleges, convention centers, anywhere you would be able to talk and try to explain this to people?
BVNH: Oh yes, right. As the Liberty Dollar became better known, I was invited to participate in a variety of forums — as a matter of fact, I was the keynote speaker for the Liberty Forum, I believe that was 2008, maybe 2006, but anyway I was the keynote speaker there — so yes, I did a lot of phone calls, conference calls, meetings, we held Liberty Dollar University (we had 15 of those across the United States) and the organization just grew and multiplied as more people heard about it. And of course as the price of silver went up, more and more people started paying attention. When we got started, silver was in the $4 to $5 range, so how things have changed, right?
SL: Going on ten times as much now.
BVNH: Yes, amazing, huh?
SL: Yes and I’m afraid this is just the tip of the iceberg…
BVNH: Well maybe it’s the tip of the iceberg in terms of people getting informed and taking action too, because it’s really only through people’s action where we will find a solution, and that is what distinguishes the Liberty Dollar from any of the others. And you know there a lot of organizations out there, and a lot of them are not worth a damn. A lot of them just suck you dry of money, making you feel good, and deceiving you into thinking you are doing something. The Liberty Dollar was not one of those organizations, this was a grassroots, bottom-up, activist organization putting our money where our mouth was, and doing a damn good job of it, and attracting a lot of really quality people in terms of doing this, because we were DOING something, we weren’t talking about it. First thing I told to Ed Griffin, who became a good friend of mine, is “the last thing we need is another damn book about the problem!” I mean, I like “Creature [From Jekyll Island]” I think “Creature” is a great book, he did that in 1995 so, I couldn’t fault Ed for that because it was good book, a legendary book in our movement, but as time went on, I realized that we don’t need any more books. And of course when it comes to the Federal Reserve, there’s an awful lot of books out there; in my library, I bet I’ve got 200 books if I’ve got any on the Federal Reserve. And we don’t need any more books, we need action, and that’s what the Liberty Dollar did, it gave people a way to take action. Our catch phrase was you want to “make money, do good, and have fun,” and people really responded to that.
SL: Yeah well it’s kinda amazing to people when they start to realize that it’s a pretty simple thing to do, to get back into a sound money system by buying at the very least some sort of precious metals, taking your money out of the banking system that is completely corrupt. It simultaneously allows you to protect yourself while collapsing their corrupt system; there’s really nothing easier you could do.
BVNH: Well, yes, in that regard, it’s pretty damn easy, take your money down and buy some gold and silver. But that doesn’t do anything towards actually creating a value-based monetary system. That turned out to be a lot more difficult and a lot more thoughtful, on my part anyway — and maybe I’m just slow — but I worked on it and researched it and read a lot of Austrian economics of course, but I mean a lot of other stuff too — Murray Rothbard was a good old favorite of mine, I like Murray, he was a character, I just wish I had a chance to meet him — but the bottom line is that it was really, really difficult, from my point of view, to come up with a free market currency — the world’s first free market currency — that was 100% backed by a commodity which is very volatile in terms of prices. We were starting a $5 and I knew that it could certainly go a lot higher, and of course it was a lot higher — it was $50 back in 1979, 1980 — so how do you accommodate wild, volatile price swings like that and base a value-based currency on a commodity which is so volatile? It was difficult to, as I say, be a monetary architect: to actually come up with the model. And as a matter of fact, that’s what I’m writing about right now, which is how that happened, and how I designed the Liberty Dollar to withstand those swings because as you know when the Liberty Dollar came out, it was $5, so it was a $10 base, then it went to a $20 base, then it went to a $50 base. This didn’t happen, this econometric price structure did not happen overnight, because I didn’t have a model, there was nobody around to help me — plus I was stuck out there on an island in the middle of the ocean (actually, that was good, because I didn’t have any negative influences, and I didn’t have anybody trying to tell me what to do, if I didn’t like their idea). But that’s how that came about, it was not simple — 23 years of designing and developing actually — before I launched it on October 1st, 1998.
SL: So I actually just watched an interview with a Mexican citizen named Mr. Price…
BVNH: Oh yeah, Hugo.
SL: Yes and he’s been leading a charge to get silver reintroduced as a peso, but not with any actual peso amount minted on the coin, but that it does just circulate…
BVNH: Can I give you my opinion?
BVNH: Hugo is a well-intending guy, but his system is never gonna fly.
SL: And why is that?
BVNH: Because he doesn’t have a denomination on it, is the first reason, and second, it has to be run through the central bank of Mexico. These are the people who gave us the problem; these are not going to be the people who will give us the solution. And I really slam Hugo because, for all of his money — he’s a billionaire! — do you think that if he was really serious about doing something other than just “ego-ing out” that he could have spent — I spent $3 Million and guess what? we had the Liberty Dollar, which is the most successful, most vocal, most active organization PERIOD, in terms of presenting a positive solution — if Hugo was serious, he should put his money where his mouth is. I’m sorry, I don’t have any respect for Hugo, because he could have done, should have done, and I’m waiting for him to do something more than fly in his private jet, and show up at this conference, and fly in his private jet and show up at that conference. Hey, that doesn’t get it, I’m sorry.
SL: Well I think that’s the big distinction, because…
BVNH: …I don’t have a private jet!
SL: (laughing) Well, that. And I think you summed it up: he is obviously ridiculously well-to-do, has so many resources at his availability, but I guess he only wanted to go so far, so as not to upset the apple cart.
BVNH: Well not only that, when he first came out, he said he was the first person to develop a free-market currency. I emailed “Hugo, you missed by 8 years, Jack.” (laughing) Don’t give me this line of crap, just go and google “libertydollar.org.” Don’t make that claim because that claim is false and it brings dishonor to what you are trying to do — which is good, what he’s trying to do — but he really hasn’t, he talks the talk but he doesn’t walk the walk. I can tell you after I was arrested and after I… was convicted, Hugo, you know he doesn’t wanna do what I’m doing. He’s too lily white. I know Hugo, I stay on top of all the different currency models.
SL: The main reason I mentioned him is that it seemed his idea was more simple in the sense that, because he didn’t put the actual amount on the coin… ultimately at least I heard him say, he’d like to get to the point back to where you could buy stuff in pesos or you could buy stuff in these rounds of silver, which are an ounce, and ultimately bring money back to the understanding of money being ounces of metal… How did you come up with the way to deal with the underlying volatility of the commodity backing the Liberty Dollar?
BVNH: I don’t think we have the time to answer that… that’s a long story. Not that I don’t want to tell you the story, but you’ve only got so long to do this interview… it took 23 years of research, design, and development for the Liberty Dollar, and you already know that it moved up from the $10 base, to the $20 base, to the $50 base. It is a very disciplined econometric system and guess what? It worked. Just look at the numbers, millions of Liberty Dollars are out there in circulation. That’s without any advertising, without any marketing, just two ladies sitting in an office…. what do you think Hugo could do? I do this driving around in my fat-ass Cadillac… what do you think Hugo could do in his private jet?? I mean, my god!
SL: So, in specific relation to the Constitution, Article I, Section 8 says Congress shall have the power to coin money, regulate the value thereof (with the emphasis being COIN money) and then Article I, Section 10 says no State shall coin money, again COINing money; it says no State shall emit bills of credit — which is basically a paper, fiat dollar — or make anything but gold and silver coin a tender in payment of debts. So how do you interpret these lines of the Constitution with respect to the Liberty Dollar?
BVNH: Well, you know, in the first section.. Article I, Section 8, it says the government can coin money. Well they’re using the word u201Ccoinu201D as a verb, and so they can mint money and that’s good, but they don’t say that Congress has the EXCLUSIVE power to do that. If you go and you look at Article I, you’ll see that there are two other sections where the word “exclusive” is used in Article I, so it proves that the Founders were not adverse to using the word exclusive when they wanted to. They used it twice in the same Article I, so if they wanted to give the government exclusive rights, they would have, but they didn’t. And how could they? Because at that time the Piece of Eight and the Russian Ruble, and the [Spanish] Peseta, and gee, there were so many other different currencies that were being used in the colonies and then in the States at that time, so the reality was that they didn’t have exclusive right. Banks can’t do it, banks that are creatures of the State; the States couldn’t do it because of Section 10; ok, so what that means is that we can fall back on the 10th Amendment. The 10th Amendment says those powers that are not reserved for the federal government, or prohibited to the States, are the right of the People! Well dammit, the last time I looked in the mirror, I’m a People!
SL: (laughing) Right, the 9th and 10th Amendments are very clear on this.
BVNH: They are very clear on that. So the thing is, there was no exclusive power given, and I felt a patriotic urge to exercise my right in the Republic. You know the thing that distinguishes our country is that it is a republican form of government — anything that is not outlawed or specifically barred or regulated by the [Constitution] is LEGAL. So this was not barred or specifically prohibited at all. And so it was absolutely legal for me to coin my own money if I so chose, because I am an individual, dammit! And I’m pretty individualistic about it!
SL: I think you’re right… and I don’t just think you are right, anybody that can read the Constitution knows you’re right.
BVNH: Yeah, and hopefully the Court will agree with you, and agree with me, but my two… attorneys, who did a really piss poor job, when my one attorney wrote the motion for a new trial, he refused to put the “exclusive clause” in his 71-page motion — 71 pages and he still couldn’t fit it in there! As a matter of fact, two days before the deadline, he refused to put it in there. So the following day, I busted my buns and I was at the courthouse window at 3:59 (it closes at 4 o’clock). I was there at 3:59 on the last day that I could file an addendum to his motion, that brought up the exclusive clause. And then I fired his ass. So now I’m a pro se litigate.
SL: And your second attorney, did you get another one right after that?
BVNH: No I had two at the same time and I fired both.
SL: So did the exclusivity clause finally sneak in, or no?
BVNH: Oh yeah, it’s going forward to the appeal, its definitely in there, but what’s interesting is that it was also brought up by the two amicus attorneys — two appellate attorneys who wrote the amicus briefs — and they brought up that point quite well, as a matter of fact. And that was without me even asking them. I didn’t participate in the amicus brief, because although I was the subject to the amicus brief, I was not the client, the client was GATA. They were actually doing it for GATA; they didn’t interview me, they never even called me, they went ahead and did it as they thought best, and they did a hell of a good job.
SL: Well again, you read the Constitution, it’s quite clear, and you also can’t put the TV on without seeing ads for coins that have been minted by the Franklin Mint —
BVNH: Nope — no, no, no, no. I gotta correct you there. There is no… Franklin Mint never did any coins except for foreign governments. A COIN is something issued by the government. That’s why I could never do a coin, that’s why we never called the Liberty Dollar a coin, and we never allowed people to call them coins because they’re NOT coins. They can’t be coins because, guess what? I’m not the government. Nor would I EVER want to be the government — I don’t know how you feel about government, but I’m not really happy about them… So we never did any coins, Franklin Mint never did any US coins, nobody is doing anything like what the Liberty Dollar did. Nobody put denominations, or as we morphed it into, MSRP, on any pieces of gold and silver out there.
SL: So then, that’s why the Liberty Dollar was targeted specifically by the government, because —
BVNH: No, no, no — it was not. It was not targeted because we used the dollar sign. It wasn’t targeted for any of those reasons. It was targeted purely on political grounds. They were scared. I just kept always laughing about it, to be honest with you… hey, look, [I’m] a happy-go-lucky surfer from Hawaii, and the government is going to be scared of me?? I mean, give me a break. And don’t think anything scares this god damned government — and I use that phrase specifically.
SL: But obviously, it’s because essentially you… you are a person who is telling the People the emperor is not wearing any clothes.
SL: As long as everyone goes on believing that he is [clothed], and they are afraid to say otherwise, then everything still works. But you were one to stand up and say, “Look, this is not real,” and of course that’s why they were terrified.
BVNH: I don’t know, terrified may be stretching it, but yes, they were obviously concerned enough to launch into the investigation and indictment and arrest and trial. The trial… I should have won the trial hands down, but the attorneys did just a god awful job. Now it remains to be rectified in the appellate court, but yes, I think what they were afraid of — if they were afraid of anything — they were afraid of the idea and they were also afraid of the competition. Just look at it. In eight years while “Bushwhack” was in office, we went from $10 base to a $50 base. That means that the Liberty Dollar appreciated 500%. In that same time frame the US dollar lost 50%. So the difference between where the US dollar went and where the Liberty Dollar was was a 1000% difference. My god! If I had a competitor beating me by a 1000% difference, and I had the power of the court and the power of the gun, well then, I don’t know, maybe I’d be corrupt enough to use those powers. Obviously the government has those powers and has corruptly used those powers, and has convicted me.
SL: So, specifically, can you go into what happened that day? Lately a lot of things have been in the news, now we’re seeing federal agents coming and raiding Amish farmers because they’re selling unpasteurized milk; Gibson Guitars just the other day was raided because they didn’t select the appropriate type of wood for some of their guitars. Can you actually describe the scene on November 14, 2007, when the FBI and the Secret Service raided your establishment?
BVNH: Actually, I’d like to, but I’m gonna have to ad lib, because I wasn’t there. I was out on my speaking tour. I only went to the office two or three times a year. I was never at the office — why would I want to be hanging out at the office? I mean Evansville, Indiana is a nice small town area but, listen, I got bigger fish to fry. I gotta be out there on the circuit, talking to people, meeting with people, stirring up things. So yeah, I never even sold any Liberty Dollars; of course I motivated a lot of people who did own a lot of Liberty Dollars. You know that in a three-day period, we distributed over a quarter of a million Liberty Dollars, in three days. So no, I wasn’t there, but Sarah did call me while the FBI was there, and they bagged everything except for the carpet and some of the second-hand desks that we had at the office. Of course they ordered her to open the safe, and they’ve got the guns, so she opened the safe and they took everything out, I mean EVERYTHING, of course they went to Sunshine [Mint] and they confiscated about nine tons of gold and silver there, and they actually hit six different places in four different States on November 14, 2007.
BVNH: Yeah, “Wow” would be an apt description.
SL: I can only imagine. And then from there, the indictment, the trial, and then ultimately the conviction. And then in the post-trial discussion, US Attorney Anne Tompkins described what you were doing with the Liberty Dollar as “a unique form of domestic terrorism that’s trying to undermine the legitimate currency of this country.”
BVNH: Can you imagine that? They built me into a “unique terrorist.” And you know why they built me into an u201Cuniqueu201D terrorist, don’t you?
SL: The Patriot Act?
BVNH: Well, no, it has to do with the crime of being a terrorist. You see, every statute for terrorism requires violence. No violence on my part… for them to build me into a terrorist, when there was no violence means they are lying. Now I know this is gonna shock you, the fact that the federal government would flat out lie…
SL: Well that’s why I bring up the Patriot Act, because of the terrible provisions in there, essentially anyone that’s labeled a terrorist — and it’s down to the President essentially saying if the person is or is not. If they’re labelled as such, now they can be prosecuted under the Patriot Act as well. Are you concerned about that, as hopefully your conviction is overturned? Do you think they will come back at you again with the Patriot Act this time?
BVNH: You know, that’s all conjecture, I have no idea. What I’m really concerned about is the way the government is trying to use my case as a gross door-opener to Gibson Guitars and the Amish and you know the world is beginning to see this trickle out, who knows where this will be a year from now, two years from now, five years from now… I mean it used to be illegal to confiscate people’s property, look at what’s happening now: last year they did something like 5.7 Billion DOLLARS in confiscations! It used to be ZERO! So the government gets their foot in the door, and then they drive a tank through it. This is what I’m really, really concerned about. I mean I may make light of being a domestic terrorist, but if they can brand me a domestic terrorist and confiscate all my materials, and then expand into confiscating other people’s materials, and then go after Gibson Guitars and so many other different people… they can go after you, they can go after everybody, we could all be “terrorists.” That’s really the big concern.
SL: As you say, that really sums it up, that essentially all the mechanisms are in place — and we’ve seen it now happening time and time again — where essentially any person can be labeled a terrorist and then have the full weight of the federal government come down upon them. This is something that is so far removed from what the Founders could possibly have ever conceived of, it’s atrocious.
BVNH: Well I think the Founders probably did conceive of it, that’s why they made the Constitution as ironclad as possible, and of course the populace was concerned of it too, and that's why there was such a push in terms of the Bill of Rights. You know nobody else has a Bill of Rights, nobody in Europe… Germany doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, England doesn’t have a Bill of Rights, nobody else has a Bill of Rights. You know, the United States is very unique, and that is in the Bill of Rights and the fact that one third of the population is armed… nobody’s armed in Canada, nobody’s armed in England, nobody’s armed in Germany, it’s amazing, the United States is a really stand alone class act.
SL: At least it has been… and let’s hope that it able to persist in this way, but with these types of things coming down against you, it’s going to be very difficult for other people to be able to avoid the same types of things coming down onto them. So I hope that more and more people are able to learn from this, see what’s going on and wake up, and do what they can to wake others up.
BVNH: Well I think it’s noble, but I think in reality people are gonna be more scared than they ever were because of my conviction. Most people are cowards.
SL: Speaking of your conviction, what is the status of your sentencing and the appeal? How much time could you serve, and what is the likelihood of getting this conviction overturned?
BVNH: Who knows? All those questions, wonderful questions… there are no answers to any of them. I mean, the answer is I could get sentenced up to 15 years, so it could be anything from a year to 15 or something like that. Appeal can’t happen until I’ve been sentenced.
SL: Do you have a better defense team or someone that’s able to help with your defense this time around?
BVNH: There is no defense, I already lost.
SL: I guess I should say for your future court dealings, for the appeal.
BVNH: The attorneys who wrote the amicus brief are appellate attorneys and they want to do my appeal. That’s already been squared away. I’m just waiting to be sentenced right now. I’m waiting for the judge to rule on a post-trial motion, that’s what I’m waiting on.
SL: Alright Bernard, if people would like to learn more about the Liberty Dollar, where can they go for information on it?
BVNH: Google “Liberty Dollar.” The website is down, we had to take the website down, and if they want to stay in touch with the Liberty Dollar, they should sign up for my monthly newsletter. I’ve written a monthly chronicle as a history of the Liberty Dollar, ever since day one, October 1, 1998. Every month I write a newsletter, I do an update in there about the legal happenings every month. It’s free and we email it to you. All they have to do is go to: www.libertydollarnews.org and sign up. If they go there, they’ll also see all of the newsletters, alerts, and notifications since the time of the raid, posted on that same website.
SL: Okay, and that one is still up and running?
BVNH: Yeah, because that is freedom of speech, I still have freedom of speech; I’m convicted but I still have freedom of speech, I’m still doing this interview. So yeah, I cannot sell Liberty Dollars, I can’t market Liberty Dollars, and as you notice I’m not telling you or anyone to buy any Liberty Dollars, right?
BVNH: So I can talk about the trial. There’s been no gag order about the trial, so I write the newsletter and it goes out to about 25,000 people every month.
SL: One last question, specifically for the Liberty Dollar as it is: I saw that CoinWorld was trying to determine the status of what it is, as far as the Feds are concerned, and essentially they’re saying now that it is “contraband.” What about the people who participated in the Liberty Dollar? They have a claim on those dollars with government, don’t they?
BVNH: They have a claim on the certificates. People who have paper or digital certificates have a bonafide claim on the silver and the gold that backs it up. Now if it becomes contraband, then the government would return the market value. In other words, if they own ten one-ounce Liberty Dollars, then they would get 10 times the market price of the silver on settlement day, probably mailed to them. Hopefully they are going to get their silver back; the good thing is that the money is in silver, so it keeps appreciating, even though it’s in bad hands right now.
SL: Right. And well that’s the trick, isn’t it? Conceivably they will have to do a class-action lawsuit to get it pried out of the government’s hands.
BVNH: Oh yes, they will have to fight for it unless I win on appeal.
SL: It’s just a disaster.
BVNH: It is a disaster, I agree, I agree. That’s why I’m still staying plugged in and doing everything possible to get that silver back for the people who trusted in the Liberty Dollar. They deserve to get their property back. The government has acknowledged that the paper certificates and in fact the digital certificates are legal, so they have every basis to get their property back. It may take some time — silver might be a couple hundred dollars an ounce — but they will get their property back… or the fair market value.
SL: Bernard, I can’t tell you how much we appreciate your time for speaking with us. You’ve been called the Rosa Parks of monetary freedom and Constitutional money, and I think that’s pretty accurate and I really salute you.
BVNH: Actually that was two different people, Alex Jones said that just recently on an interview, which I thought that was pretty cool, but actually before he said that rather impromptuitively, Judy Shelton — a PhD economist whom I do like and I do respect — she called me the u201CRosa Parks of monetary policy.u201D I thought that was very cool.
SL: I salute you for that, and I thoroughly agree with them both. It takes a lot of guts —
BVNH: I’m not much into policy, but monetary freedom, yeah… Monetary Liberty, that might even be best.
SL: And that’s it, you touched on it — that’s something I came to realize myself, and the Scuttledd project is really about that. The three different areas of focus are the politics, philosophy and economics of freedom. In the past, I was like you in that I had initially discounted economics. I focused on the politics of freedom, the philosophies underlying it, but I didn’t understand the economics of freedom, until several years back I started to understand it was the CRUCIAL component: if you can’t have monetary freedom, then that gives way to the state ultimately growing up so powerful that it is going to deprive you of your other liberties.
BVNH: There you go, you got it. Without your right to have money that holds its value, all else just fails because you don’t have any real money. And that’s what they’re doing — they are robbing us blind.
SL: They’re robbing us blind. Bernard, thanks so much for your time and all that you’ve done.
BVNH: Thank you for the interview.
December 26, 2011