The Gold Standard: Copernicus, Newton, Priestley… and Trump?

From left: Sir Isaac Newton and Donald Trump

Sam Kriss, in The Atlantic,┬áhas a wonderful new story, “Flat-Earthers Have A Wild New Theory About Forests,” in which I find an oblique allusion to… myself.

Still, among all the bizarre, self-enclosed universes the internet has to offer — gold-standard bores, UFO chasers, people who believe that cartoons are real in a nearby dimension or that the secret rulers of the world are betraying their existence by leaving little clues on the currency — the flat-earthers are special.

No, I’m not a UFO chaser, nor a believer in cartoon dimensions, or a proponent of the theory of secret rulers of the world. As to the latter, I once published a blog debunking, rather re-debunking, the alt-right canard that a Rothschild said something like “Give me control of a Nation’s money supply, and I care not who makes its laws.” (It’s a totally fabricated quote.)

I’m a gold standard bore. And I’ve been called, by a Washington Post Magazine (humor) columnist, “the second most conservative man in the world” for my gold standard advocacy.

There is a delicious irony in lumping a gold standard geek in with premoderns like Flat Earthers.

The gold standard’s pedigree runs from Copernicus (who dispelled the allied theory that the Sun goes around the Earth and also wrote brilliantly in favor of the gold standard), Sir Isaac Newton (founder of modern classical physics who, as Master of the Royal Mint, accidentally invented the modern classical gold standard), and Joseph Priestley (the discoverer of oxygen, who wrote at length about the gold standard). Continue Reading