The Gold Standard

Guest essay by R. J. Rushdoony 

When God listed the charges against Judah which required judgment, one of the indictments read, “Thy silver is become dross, thy wine mixed with water” (Isa. 1:22). Fraud governed winemaking: the wine was mixed with water. Fraud also governed their money: the silver had given way to baser metals, to slugs.

Repeatedly, the Biblical law calls for just weights and just measures (Lev. 19:36; Deut. 25:15), and this refers not only to scales and bushels, but also to money. The shekel was not only a measure of weight but also of money, so that a shekel of gold or silver meant a certain weight of gold and silver. The American monetary standard was built on the Biblical method, by weight. The major coin was the $20 gold piece, called the double eagle: its weight is an ounce of .900 fine gold. The $10 gold piece is half an ounce, and so on down. People in Asia, Europe, and Africa did not know what a dollar, pound, franc, or mark meant, but they all knew weights, and a dependable weight of 22 carat gold was to be trusted: it was real and honest money. American gold was thus very popular, as was American silver.

A $20 gold piece used to cost the Treasury almost $20 in gold plus labor. The paper money of today, Federal Reserve notes and U.S. banknotes cost perhaps a dollar to print $100,000 worth. Is it any wonder modern governments get bigger and bigger since they discovered “instant money,” paper money? They can create their own money, by borrowing or by printing, and be the richest buyer in the market and the biggest employer.

The gold standard meant honest weights and honest measures. Paper money is an ever-inflating and changing measure: it gives less and less security to people who save. It is a form of legalized robbery by which a central government can have instant wealth and progressively crowd out the people and destroy their wealth. Paper money is a rubber yardstick.

But our world today is full of rubber yardsticks, false standards, because the first and foremost measure or rule, the Bible, has been replaced by man’s word, a rubber yardstick. Men preach today, not the Word of God, but man’s word, their own political beliefs and opinions, self-help psychology, pleasing and entertaining sermons, anything and everything but the Word of God. Religiously, we are off the gold standard; our silver has become dross; we are on slugs.

We should not be surprised therefore at the consequences. Every man is his own law, and the result is lawlessness, increasing anarchy and corruption. We need a return to the true measure of all things, God’s Word. “To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them” (Isa. 8:20). 

Paper money is an ever-inflating and changing measure: it gives less and less security to people who save. It is a form of legalized robbery by which a central government can have instant wealth and progressively crowd out the people and destroy their wealth.


This article comes from the book series A Word in Season, Volume 7, published by Chalcedon Foundation 

The late Rev. R.J. Rushdoony (1916-2001) was the founder of Chalcedon and a leading theologian, church-state expert, and author of numerous works on the application of Biblical Law to society.

© 2019 Used by Permission

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