The long twisting, bizarre story of Texan paranoia and conspiracy theory has taken a new turn for the absurd. Governor Greg Abbot has signed a bill to create a gold bullion depository, to store gold and precious metals in preparation for “financial Armageddon”. Abbott has announced plans to withdraw over $1 billion in gold bars from the Federal Reserve in New York and store them in a fortified, Fort Knox-style depository in Texas.
It really calls into question the competence and sanity of the people Texas has chosen to govern their state, because Texas has no gold bars in the Federal Reserve in New York. But the severe disconnect with reality doesn’t end there: “the law Abbott signed calls for the creation of an electronic payments system that will allow gold, silver, platinum, palladium, and rhodium depositors to write checks against their accounts, making the depository into a bank – one that will create a metal-backed money supply intended to challenge the paper currency issued by the Federal Reserve – or “Yankee dollars” as one of the law’s top supporters calls them.”
The trauma of the Great Recession obviously still weighs very heavily on our nation, and has encouraged to no end libertarian mistrust of modern banking systems and hypercapitalism. Unfortunately, in Texas, this mistrust has manifested itself in conjunction with seccessionist delusions and a paranoid conviction that the federal government is actively conspiring against Texas. We saw it earlier this year with all the ridiculous nonsense over the US military’s Jade Helm 15 training exercise. The bill specifically states that the Federal government would not be allowed to seize assets held in the depository- because the state of Texas needs an alternative to federally-controlled monetary systems. One Tea Party supporter of the bill was jubilant because “it [the depository] will make Texas a center of world finance to rival New York and London better than Switzerland, because it contains 27,695,284 Texans and all but two of ‘em are armed & serious.”
It is only the latest absurdity to come out of the state of Texas. While it is very amusing to the rest of us, it is alarming that so many people in positions of power are actively supporting these paranoid delusions. It represents a distinct, obstinate refusal to acknowledge the reality, the way the world actually works, and to see a picture bigger than their own narcissistic fantasies of self-importance. When Senators and Governors display such profound ignorance, it should be cause for great concern, because their decisions affect millions of lives every day, and we can’t trust them to have the people’s best interests at heart if they’re busy worried about martial law and the federal government seizing all their gold.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.