Weekly Hard Asset Insights
By David McAlvany
4th of July – Freedom Perspective
On 4th of July weekend in the United States, we all have the opportunity to take a moment to fully appreciate freedom. Like most of us, I deeply appreciate the convenience and niceties offered by freedom. The freedom to be with loved ones. The freedom to choose between hamburgers and cheeseburgers, ketchup and mustard while watching fireworks. We all similarly can appreciate the freedom to choose to watch the Cony Island hot dog eating contest or leave that viewing to other, more committed members of that “sports” fan base.
It is also, however, inspiring to think more deeply about the role and importance of freedom. The 4th of July offers the chance to appreciate the ability to think freely, speak freely, and take actions freely (provided that those actions don’t impinge upon the same abilities of others). Our free society allows me to live, learn, and grow hopefully towards an ever better version of myself.
Similarly, the foundational value of freedom allows our entire society to constantly live, learn, and grow towards the “more perfect union” described in the Preamble of the U.S. Constitution. That Preamble is a statement of the Constitution’s fundamental purposes and guiding principles. In it, the Founding Fathers highlighted, as a justification for the government’s very existence, the purpose of securing the “blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.”
In fundamental human terms, the establishment of this foundational principle at the heart of the new government represented then and remains today a truly monumental development for human kind. It actually makes the moon landing appear to be a relatively “small step” indeed. It’s fun to consider the magnitude of this living history. It is history in that it occurred many years past, but is living because we all enjoy freedom’s blessings today and are responsible for upholding and renewing the principal of freedom in the present and future.
On the subject of upholding and affirming our commitment to the principle of freedom, the world in 2021 could arguably use a refresher course. In some circles, free speech has been repackaged from an essential good to a dangerous societal plague to be suppressed and controlled. The free speech of the financial markets via the free price system has increasingly been muted, manipulated, and controlled as an ever more emboldened activist Federal Reserve has taken the mandate of price stability to a rather breathtaking level.
In 2021, it appears the trend has been towards an “end justifies the means” attitude. Personally, this isn’t my preferred philosophy, but it’s particularly concerning if neither “ends” nor “means” are enthusiastically and energetically subjected to free and open dialogue and respectful debate. It’s worth considering that genuine constructive dialogue and respectful debate are crucial to ensure that both individual and societal ends and means are informed by the highest quality ideas. It is a quality control discipline essential to the optimal functioning of a free society.
As economist Ludwig Von Mises observed, the freedom-based societal constructs of the West have always allowed for the exercise of the “individual’s innate disposition to think and to apply to all problems the yardstick of reason…. In the orbit of ideas, the West has by and large always enjoyed the blessings of freedom.” I hope, as the Preamble to the Constitution states, that is a blessing we continue to secure for ourselves and our posterity. At the time of our founding, George Washington understood an important and profound truth when he stated that “If the freedom of speech is taken away, then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep, to the slaughter.”
I hope this 4th of July is a wonderful celebration of freedom for all Americans, but also hope it serves as a reminder of the essential importance that the principal of freedom holds for not just our past, but our present and future as well. Freedom is that indispensable element that facilitates the opportunity for growth on the part of the individual and society as a whole, and it is the process that promises the hope of “a more perfect union.”
As for weekly performance: The S&P 500 closed the week up 1.67%. Gold was up modestly by 0.31%. Silver was up 1.57% on the week. Platinum lost 1.44%, while palladium was up nicely by 5.90%. The HUI gold miners index was up 0.50%. The IFRA iShares U.S. Infrastructure ETF was down 0.48%. Energy commodities were up again on the week. Oil was up 1.50%, while natural gas prices jumped 3.95%. The CRB Commodity Index gained 2.15%, while Copper lost 0.23%. The Dow Jones U.S. Real Estate Index ended the week down 0.65%, while the Dow Jones Utility Average Index lost 0.37%. The dollar gained 0.62% to close the week at 92.41. The yield on the 10-year Treasury lost 10 bps to 1.44%.
Have a great holiday weekend!
Chief Executive Officer