Sunday, February 13, 2011
Defending the Precious
This blog must be confusing to first-time visitors. I can only imagine. I remember the first time I came across an excerpt of ANOTHER's writings posted in a forum thread. It was a bit strange, but somewhere deep inside of me a spark was lit and a hunger began to grow. The excerpt I came across was on a popular thread asking other participants what they thought about the quote. No one ever responded. ANOTHER went completely ignored.
After that I spent about a month reading the archives, soaking them in, and trying to wrap my head around what I had found. Then once I had a pretty good idea of just how big this thing was, I went on a quest for someone, anyone willing to talk about it. But this Freegold view, it turned out, was either banned or ignored on every forum I tried. I even had my account deleted on one forum for mentioning Freegold and ANOTHER. Eventually, sometime after I started my own blog out of pure frustration, I did find a small group, maybe a couple dozen people, that had been discussing events as seen through the Freegold lens, but it was no wonder I didn't find them sooner; it was all in Dutch!
Today my stats report tells me that in the last 12 months this blog has had 267,000 absolute unique visitors who visited 900,000 times and clicked on a total of 1.35 million pages during those 900,000 visits. That since Feb. 13, 2010. For the last four or five months, it has been around 100,000 visits per month. Seems I've found a few people to talk to now! :)
While this is very exciting, I am still conflicted about the concept of promoting my view. Many have offered me the means to drive traffic to my blog in the thousands. But this thought makes me very uncomfortable. I remember that little spark that was first lit deep inside of me, but now with a wider perspective I can see how rare it is that one gets caught up in the hunger for more that I experienced. And it is for this reason that I do not promote my blog. In fact, I never even send people I know to my blog. Not family, not friends, not even my gold dealer friend. He does not know that I am FOFOA. This blog is simply too… what's the word I'm looking for? Abstruse? Esoteric?
I am aware of this, and I am fine with it. I do realize that I am not simply extolling the known virtues of gold repetitively. There are plenty of places on the Internet where you can find that kind of sustenance, if that is your hunger. What I try to do here is to push the envelope of understanding… in plain-spoken English. And I am continually amazed that a few of you are right up to speed with me, so much so that you can actually pick out that same brightest point of light that I too saw when writing a post.
After reading The View: A Classic Bank Run, Blondie wrote a comment that knocked my socks off. He wrote:
"I read this to find FOFOA has cut the Gordian Knot which was the cryptic words of Another. Seems he was simply telling it as is all the while, but the ascent to the spot from which to see it was the difficulty, and yet the view is relatively simple.
"And the implications are... fairly urgent.
"A highly recommended investment of one's time, in my humble opinion."
While I covered much ground in that post (as I usually do), what struck Blondie like a lightning bolt was exactly the same thing that to me was the pinnacle of the post. I saw maybe one other comment that revealed another reader saw the same thing as Blondie. You see, unless you have read the ANOTHER archives at least two or three times and spent some time quietly contemplating the deep meaning in his words, you could have easily missed the significance of what Blondie found in that post. But that is why I write. Not necessarily for the masses, but for Blondie, and a few others. And I know that one out of (gosh, I don't know how many) will also experience that spark and the hunger that follows. There are few personal experiences as rewarding as a light bulb suddenly lit.
I remember this song from church as a little kid. It went something like, "This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine…" This is how I try to live my life. I lead only by example. I may not send my family and friends to my blog, but I am not shy about sharing the peace of mind that gold has brought me after leaving the stress of stock marketing my savings. And I suspect that each of us has a light inside that is worth sharing with others.
I would like to share with you an email I received last week from someone who got "the hunger" a while ago and then read through not only my entire blog, but also the A/FOA archives twice. Jenn is an FOFOA supporter and also a commenter on the blog. Jenn works at a college:
Speaking of funny, a funny thing happened to me yesterday.
The day before yesterday I was reading one of your older posts -- can't remember which one -- and a whole slew of things started to click for me. Anyway, for whatever reason, I thought to myself, "Good thing I have this new understanding. I bet you that means I'm going to run into Robert soon (the former chair of the econ department) so I can try to explain Freegold to him again. Well wouldn't you know it, yesterday I head over to the student center around 9am to hear the president's speech. The president of our college has been meeting with the 700 faculty/staff about every 3 months with updates on our budget challenges (they are basically asking us which benefits we are willing to give up -- faculty are unionized, staff are not). So I show up, get some coffee, and who walks in the student center and looks right at me? Robert! He comes over to say hi, I return the salutation and ask him,
"So can I try to explain Freegold to you again?"
"Sure" he says. So we sit at the same table and I start talking about gold and he says to me,
"What's that?" I said.
"Going back to a gold standard" he said.
"No Rob, not a gold standard. The world is never going back to a gold standard."
So I keep talking and 3 or 4 more times he says,
"I can't understand what you are talking about if it is something other than gold backing a currency."
So I say to him,
"Okay, think of this. Imagine you buy an AM/FM radio in USD for say, 10 bucks, then go to Japan and see the same radio for 900 Yen, do you see how this radio can be priced in two currencies?"
"yeah, that's called purchasing power parity".
"Exactly! Now think of gold in terms of purchasing power parity".
So he thinks for quite some time and says to me,
"So, countries are going to settle balance of trade in real gold?"
"And who is going to clear these trades?"
"I'm not sure, but my best guess is the BIS."
"Do you own gold?"
"Yes, I own gold."
BIG SHOCK. He moves his chair back.
"I'm not going to tell you that Robert. Why don't you tell me how much you have in your retirement plan, how much your salary is, and how much debt you have?"
"Which one should I answer first?"
"Rob, I'm not going to tell you how much gold I have."
"And when did you start buying?"
"Oh, I made my first purchase back in 2005. But I started trading silver for gold about 3 weeks ago."
"But wait, then you were steering Joe (another economics professor) in the wrong direction when he bought those 20 silver eagles!"
"I hear ya Rob. I didn't understand back then. But silver is still going to hold up in hyperinflation, it's just not going to perform the way gold is."
"Why won't it go up in value like gold?"
"Can you show me a central bank with silver on the asset side of their balance sheet."
"Ah. I see." he says.
I said to him,
"You should buy gold too."
"I can't afford gold", he says.
"Sure you can. They sell 1/20 ounce eagles at the bank down the street for $75."
Long look from him again -- and then a big smile.
"So ok, can you give me something short to read?"
"Robert, I can't. You've got to read a couple of thousand of pages to get this concept."
"C'mon Jenn, isn't there something short you can give me?"
Knowing that he also studies oil as do I, I printed out Aristotle's 5 part post from the Hall of Fame. That should get him thinking, don't cha think? ;-)
Anyway, I'm PUMPED he's finally starting to understand. He still uses me as an example in his classes (without using my name) as the one that goes to the bank every so often to exchange FRNs for silver eagles. "Not anymore" I told him. "Tell your students that now I only buy gold -- and now that we've had this conversation you can tell them why."
Being able to bring that kind of understanding to professor of econ that will be teaching for years to come -- and no less a Keynesian(!) -- is just incredibly awesome -- and I have you to thank for it.
FOFOA, you ROCK!
No Jenn, YOU rock!
I would now like to thank Jenn and several others (you know who you are!) that have been consistently contributing to my "gold defense fund" since June, multiple donations, as many as twelve from one supporter, to enable me to keep this blog going at a consistent pace.
But why do I need donations, you ask?
Well, I used to be a small business owner, but today this blog is my only job. And the funny thing about running a not-for-profit blog that I'm finding out is that it doesn't generate income. Now I have modest gold savings, modest living expenses and almost no debt. And no, I am not a Giant pretending to be poor. In fact, I'm not poor. I simply have no income with which to defend my gold savings against my expenses. And frankly, the defense of my savings against the call of expenses is my top priority, although this blog is a close second.
None of the donations that have come in have gone to buy me more gold. They are only used to defend the gold I already had when I started this blog two and a half years ago. And I want to thank all of you, from the deepest recesses of my heart, that have made it possible for me to keep writing during this most-interesting (and important!) period of time. The amount of content you see here is the result of a full-time effort, whether it seems like it or not.
So here's the thing. I can get a job if I need to. I am somewhat competent in several areas. And I will take a job before I have to sell one single gold coin in order to meet my humble expenses. And while the donations so far have been absolutely stunning, there is a reason why I am making this post right now. As much as I detest having to write posts like this one, I must, in defense of the precious. If I have to take a job in order to defend my gold you will see a lot less in the way of contributions from me on this blog. So if you value this forum of discussion, please consider lending me a little support.
There are around 3,000 of you that come here every single day, some more than once. 200 of you have supported my gold defense fund enabling me to focus on writing about Freegold. To the other 2,800 of you, I ask, please consider a small donation relative to how much you value my efforts. I know some of you do not value my efforts and you only come here for the opportunity to make that clear. If that is you, you do not need to contribute. You can continue coming for free.
I do not publish a list of donations, but at this time I would like to thank some of the public names that you all know; those that have supported my ability to keep this blog going through monetary donations. If I missed your pseudonym, please send me an email and I will add it to the list. Likewise, if you want your name off the list let me know. Like I said, there are 200 of you so this is only a list of the names everyone should recognize. Again, thank you deeply to everyone who supports this effort!! The list is in no particular order:
Greyfox It's the Debt Stupid
We all need to defend our treasure. I simply need your help. If you appreciate what I am doing here and would like to contribute to my ability to keep doing it, you can do so by clicking this button:
Thank you very much!