An excerpt from Thomas Frank’s “Gold Faithful,” from the July issue of Harper’s Magazine, on gold as a “moral investment, not a technical one”:

“This is not an investment position,” wrote Ruff of his prescribed hoarding of precious coins.  It was, he ominously declared, a “survival position,” as well as a “chaos-hedge.”

The political beliefs that undergird this kind of investing are not strictly conservative (although nearly every metalhead I have heard of is to the right of center).  Conservatives say they distrust big government–unless they happen to be the ones in power.  Metal mania goes one step further.  It is not so much an ideological preference as it is a repudiation of modernity–specifically, the form of modernity that began with Franklin Roosevelt.

It is a bet on disaster, on the imminent crashing of an economy guided and structured by human intellect instead of the government-limiting powers of those effulgent, dragon-guarded piles of precious metals.  How can a post-Keynesian economy, based on the “full faith and credit” of a bunch of shiftless public officials, deserve to survive?