New York Times: Utah Law Makes Coins Worth Their Weight in Gold (or Silver)
Writing for the New York Times, William Yardley investigates the philosophical underpinnings of the Utah Legal Tender Act:
“This is an incremental step in the right direction,” said Lowell Nelson, the interim coordinator for the Campaign for Liberty in Utah, a libertarian group rooted in Ron Paul’s presidential campaign. “If the federal government isn’t going to do it, then we here in Utah ought to be able to establish a monetary system that would survive a crash if and when that happens.”
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Utah has a strong conservative streak, but there are other reasons why it was first to pass such a law.
For many of its supporters, the new law represents an extension of the notion of preparedness that is nurtured by Utah’s powerful founding institution, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Many of the law’s supporters believe policies like stimulus spending, the bank bailout and national health care will soon bankrupt the government, sending inflation soaring. Owning gold and silver, they say, will help protect people.
“It’s kind of written into our theology that we’re supposed to be prepared for any eventuality,” said Mr. Nelson, who was involved in early meetings with state lawmakers about the law.
Wayne Scholle, the marketing director for Old Glory Mint, in Spanish Fork, Utah, showed off a commemorative silver coin the company made honoring the new law, one he said he hoped could be a model for a future state-minted coin. The front — or obverse — includes an image representing “the miracle of the gulls,” an important story in Mormon folklore in which seagulls are said to have suddenly appeared and eaten insects that were destroying the first crops Mormon settlers raised, a year after arriving in Utah in 1847.
“Their messaging is spot on with this,” Mr. Scholle said. “It’s preparedness. It’s protecting yourself.”