Someone suggested a post on arguments against Freegold. I thought it was a great idea, but then I
couldn't think of any arguments that hadn't already failed. I've been at this
task for four and a half years now, and I've read almost all of the 12 years'
worth of archived debates and arguments (now missing) at USAGOLD as well as
the random debates that pop up elsewhere and someone inevitably links them
here or brings them to my attention via email. And yes, I feel like I've seen
it all, but maybe I haven't. So here's your opportunity to present your best
argument against Freegold.
A reader and supporter of mine, an American medical doctor and surgeon named
Jeff Allen, once commented on his view of what it is that I do here and why
this blog is "so striking to so many people." I wanted to mention
this in the context of this post not only because I loved the way he
explained my logical approach to Freegold and its
necessary conclusions, but also because I think this is the
only way you're likely to succeed at debunking Freegold
if that's even possible—by presenting a competing premise through
principles, expressed in precisely defined, non-contradictory concepts that
are grounded in reality, which lead to inevitable conclusions that
necessarily exclude those of Freegold even when
viewed from a variety of perspectives.
So good luck with that!
I'm combining a couple of different comments here, but what Jeff Allen said
was that "the defining attribute of an objective manner of thinking
is the ability to--more deeply, the recognition of the necessity to--think in
principles. To see reality as it is, then to grasp reality in
non-contradictory conceptual form.
But thinking in principles will not succeed unless its elements--the
conceptual terms in which the principles are expressed--are solidly grounded
in reality. This is where the term "objectivity" arises. You best
reveal your own appreciation for this fact by the manner in which you
validate your unwinding of the concept "money."
This is not the way most people think, and this is why your blog is so
striking to so many people. But it is only your fellow thinkers-in-principles
who possess the capacity to respond in this way. Those who don't get it,
including those commentators to which you refer, lack that capacity. Ayn Rand called these the "anti-conceptual
mentalities." The anti-conceptual mentality has been fostered and
nourished by Pragmatism, the philosophy which dominated U.S. academia the
first half of the 20th century, and dominates our educational and political
systems still today. We swim in a sea of Pragmatism.
All new knowledge is inductive. Deduction is secondary, and depends on the
validity of one's prior inductions.
From whence comes your syllogism's major premise, "All fiat currencies
are eventually worth no more than toilet paper?" Was it deduced from a
prior generalization, or was it induced?
The answer, of course, is that it was induced. Your deduction merely applies
that general knowledge to the specific case of the dollar. If your
inductively generated major premise is not necessarily true, then neither is
your deductively generated conclusion.
From what prior principle did Newton deduce universal gravitation? Newton's
theory is the product of a grand induction, an integration of prior
inductions made by Kepler and Galileo, based on
observations of planetary orbits, and of the behavior of physical bodies on
Freegold, too, is a grand induction. Your method of
approaching the issue from a variety of perspectives, all leading to the same
necessary conclusion, after precisely defining your concepts, is essential to
a proper inductive process (which, by the way, the mere enumeration of swans is
It occurs to me that TA-based and GSR-based gold and silver trading is
probably an example of Pragmatism. I'm no expert on Pragmatism, but Wikipedia
says it "describes a process where theory is extracted from practice,
and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice."
The "grand induction" (Jeff's term) that we like to call Freegold was not my grand induction. Nor do I think it
was Another's. Another merely shared it with us along with some of its
"necessary conclusions". Why did he do that? I don't know, but I
have a few ideas.
As for the "grand induction" itself, I think it was a European
group effort that teased it out in the 1960s and 70s leading up to and also
following—and as a result of—the abrupt and predictable end to
the Bretton Woods monetary system in 1971. I won't go into the details here
because I want to keep this post under 100 pages, but the main point is that
I didn't come up with it.
Freegold is just a name. I didn't come up with the
name either. But if you don't understand what we're discussing and
extrapolating upon here at a conceptual level, ignoring the convenient name,
you're going to have a really hard time debunking it. In fact, I don't think
you can, even if you do understand it. That's one of the most remarkable
things I've observed about Freegold—that
those who make the effort to really understand it on a conceptual level not
only fall in love with its elegant simplicity and obvious inevitability, but
they also start buying physical gold hand over fist. And again, that's only
because of one of the "necessary conclusions" that are (IMO)
irrefutably drawn from it.
I will temporarily and conditionally lift the ban on the five commenters that
have been banished from this blog over the last four years so that anyone
is free to take their best shot. But only for this one thread, and only if
they behave. I will not put up with abuse, hate, spam or personal insults. In
other words, Art, AD and anyone else are all welcome in this thread only,
unless and until they abuse it.
But don't expect me to personally debate each and every argument. I'm not
going to waste my time on arguments that miss the mark like poor Skippy, our
"'A' for effort" dog at the top, or on those arguments that
have already been dealt with. There is one argument, however, that I hope
shows up to the party. And if anything worthy comes out of this thread, I'll
add it below in the space between the lines for the permanent record.
Just beware that Freegold is much easier to dismiss
on superficial grounds than to defeat on deep, logically-consistent
conceptual ground. So if you really want to avoid becoming another evil gold
hoarder, jerk, time misallocator and brainwashed
cult member, you should consider simply dismissing Freegold
on the surface-level ridiculousness of its necessary conclusions rather than
taking up the challenge in this post. Forewarned is forearmed.
And finally, you can't judge the worthiness of your own argument. That
judgment, like credibility, can only be made by others. As for what ends up
below in the space between the lines, that judgment is reserved for me, but I
will consider the opinions of others who I think understand what I think I
understand in making any decision. ;D