"Flanders, do you still have that store?" - Homer Simpson
"For two more days. Then it becomes Libertarian Party headquarters. I hope they have better luck than I did." - Ned Flanders
Back in February of 1976, libertarian standard bearer Reason published an entire issue dedicated to denying the Holocaust. You can read all the embarrassing details in this Pando post from 2014, but in addition to the American nazis and Holocaust deniers, the magazine also has a treasure trove of libertarian goofiness, some of it kinda cute and much of it still alive today.
We begin with the obsession with gold and its Periodic neighbors silver and platinum, metals whose resistance to corrosion and ease of separation led people who lived in more ignorant times to value them highly as currency. Today, people who think we should go back on the gold standard (looking at you, Ted Cruz) are considered fringe lunatics, but that doesn't stop crooked outfits like Goldline from using sales pitches that look an awful lot like these ads from 1976:
250% profit in 63 days is awfully specific, but then again so is an inflation rate of 40% in 1977. (Actual inflation rate in 1977: 6.5%.)
This one is selling gold and silver:
This ad basically is Goldline's scam: coins that sell for far more than the metal is worth. Also, check out the letter to the editor complaining about the overtly political nature of their review of a book about atheism. The flame wars have been going on for a very long time.
This next one is truly special:
The "Republic of Minerva" was a bunch of loons squatting on a pile of sand in the middle of the Pacific for a few months in 1972 (they were expelled by the irresistible military might of Tonga). By the time this ad was printed, they'd been gone for four years, which means whoever was selling these was getting rid of inventory. Coins tend to lose value when the fake country they're based on collapses under the weight of its own foolishness.
But, hey, it's not all gold. Silver rises!:
There's a wonderful amount of crazy packed onto this page even outside the silver ad. We've got a dictionary laughing at Christian missionaries getting eaten by cannibals plus teases for book reviews of Ludwig von Mises and Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. (There's a combination you don't see everyday.) Oh, and Congress is heading towards fascism. (For context's sake, Congress at the time was the clean government obsessed Watergate Babies.)
There are also classified ads, which also peddle gold but keep up a good sideline in "hiding places":
I'll bet there's a lot of weird shit buried in and around Orange County.
Moving on, the personal ads are so earnest as to be painful:
Even in L.A., Gay Objectivist dating in the 70s must've been a harsh, harsh world. I hope Jack did okay. Maybe Tracie Ray of Hollywood made his hair look fabulous. The saddest personal ad, however, is in the "Books" section:
At thirty-six pages, it better be a thorough critique. The more "serious" book ads are even loonier:
I can't wait to read a 464 page analysis of our position "vis a vis Soviet Russia". Of course, just a year earlier we made a deal with "Soviet Russia" to send them tons of grain since they couldn't feed themselves. However will we defeat them? As for "The Dispossessed Majority", I'll skip the defense of WASP culture and citations of "certain minorities that he considers unassimilable". It's 1976, we can presume he means black people, but what about the Jews?
"If something goes wrong, blame the guy who can't speak English. Ah, Tibor, how many times have you saved my butt?" - Homer Simpson
This is from an ad warning about "Three-Digit Inlation By 1978":
For only $32 dollars, Dr. Hans will send you a "tape set" about how to avoid inflation. I'll bet he mentions gold. Oh, and he's also selling "Attractive and convenient" tape cassette player-recorders for only $49.95, $44.95 if you order them with the tapes.
Dr. Hans isn't the only one selling solutions, however:
Anthropologists believe that early spam, while not as voluminous as the kind we have today, nevertheless annoyed people just as much.
In our more refined time, we all know that "the breeding of money from money" is in no way unnatural:
Of course, thanks to Delaware and the Supreme Court, most usury laws have been completely neutered, anyway.
Finally, their review of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest:
"The film could have the beneficial effect of jolting public and legal opinion into recognition of the civil rights of patients in mental institutions. In addition, more thoughtful viewers will recognize the movie's mental ward as a microcosm of the relationship between the current government and those of us who are its unwilling inmates."
Only the "more thoughtful" individuals will realize that they are the true victims, not those people getting the electroshock and lobotomies.
So that's Reason from 1976. If you're so inclined, you can page through the whole thing on Scribd. The last 40 years haven't seen the world fall back on gold, nor have the libertarians ever gotten a moment in the electoral sun, but it's fun to see the same foolishness being peddled. After all, here's Goldline's homepage:
The scams remain the same.