The assault on individual rights is accelerating, and investors would be wise to think about the assets they hold in a world where the rule of law is failing.
Last week, New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham banned citizens from carrying firearms in Albuquerque. She was neither bothered nor slowed by recent U.S. Supreme Court affirmations of the 2nd Amendment.
Now, unless sheriffs in the state develop the backbone to stand up for citizens, gun owners in New Mexico have a tough choice to make. Those who decide they will not comply with Grisham's illegal order could be arrested and prosecuted.
Being arrested is possible and, these days, partisan attorneys in general show no qualms about targeting political opponents for prosecution.
Raúl Torrez, the Democrat elected as New Mexico's Attorney General in 2022, certainly does not appear like one to stand in the way. Like most people who won't acknowledge an individual's right to carry, he thinks people should depend on the government for their defense.
"Police officers, district attorneys, leaders in law enforcement here and across the country have to make it unambiguously clear to anyone that it is not their job – it is the role of law enforcement – to defend property," Torrez said following ANTIFA riots in 2020.
To make matters worse, the judiciary has at times joined the assault on rights. The U.S. Supreme Court may have upheld 2nd Amendment rights, but that does not mean activist lower-court judges will set aside their animosity toward individual rights.
The rot in the judiciary has shown itself in recent years. Judges, many with lifetime appointments, are totally unaccountable when they render terrible, ideologically driven decisions, even if some are later overturned.
New Mexicans who are willing to stand for their 2nd Amendment rights might find vindication at the U.S. Supreme Court, or even in some lower court. However, nothing is certain.
Government Could Seize Financial Assets in a Crisis
The rule of law is failing in America – that is clear. It has largely been abandoned by politicians, sheriffs, prosecutors, and judges in wide swathes of the country.
There is a critical lesson here for investors. Politicians with tyrannical instincts aren't going to respect property rights any more than they respect a citizen's right to carry a firearm.
If those in power deem it necessary, they will take what they want. The federal government believes several federal laws on the books empower it to seize any private asset it wants in what it deems is an emergency.
Americans got a glimpse of this behavior when Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered Americans to turn in their gold in 1933. Some potential bullion investors worry about that history repeating and wonder whether an investment in gold makes sense.
That is too bad because investors who are worried about what happened in 1933 in America should be far more concerned about what happened in Cypress just 10 years ago.
During a solvency crisis, the Cypriot government confiscated a portion of the cash balances held in the nation's banks. Officials closed the banks and took what they wanted, without warning. It was quick, and it was easy.
Gold and silver have an almost unique advantage versus other common asset classes. Confiscation of private, portable physical metal will be extraordinarily hard, if not impossible.
This is especially true without the goodwill and public cooperation enjoyed by FDR.
Conventional assets – including cash in banks, as well as stocks and bonds held in brokerage accounts, can be seized electronically with little notice.
Physical bullion, on the other hand, is off the grid and immune from electronic seizure. That is an increasingly valuable feature in a world where governments are prone to ignore property rights.