The Most Dangerous Man in the Mid-Southrnby Franklin SandersrnThis is the first of a series of first-person reports from Americanrncitizens who have run afoul of the bureaucracy. While we havernmade reasonable efforts to verify the accounts, the stories arernpersonal statements of the authors.rnAlmost 30 years ago, just a few weeks before I got married, Irnfound a strange book on a drugstore bookstand: Capitalism,rnthe Unknown Ideal. It was a collection of essays about arnphilosophy of freedom. Two dealt with the American monetaryrnsystem. The author explained that nothing—no gold orrnsilver—^backed our currency. He argued that, sooner or later,rnthis fiat money system would lead to disaster, and that only arnmoney backed by real value—gold—could last.rnThat author was Alan Greenspan. Since then our careers—rnAlan’s and mine—have taken very different paths. In 1967,rnAlan Greenspan was already a fairly well-known economist. Inrnthe 1970’s, President Ford appointed him to his Council ofrnEconomic Advisors. In 1987, he was appointed Ghairman ofrnthe Federal Reserve Board of Governors. Funny, he does notrntalk much about gold anymore.rnIn 1967,1 was a college senior. Susan and I were married onrnDecember 16, and when I graduated in 1968, the draft boardrngave me 30 days to frolic before conscription. I arrived at FortrnPolk, Louisiana, one hot October night, caught the Army busrnout to the post, and sat down behind the driver, facing acrossrnthe bus. I opened my copy of Aristotle’s Works and beganrnreading.rnI noticed I was the only man on board with hair. The fellowrnsitting across from me asked, “Whatcha reading?” Wordlessly,rnFranklin Sanders writes from Memphis, Tennessee.rnHe publishes a monthly Christian investment newsletter calledrnThe Moneychanger.rnI flipped up the book so he could read the title on the spine.rn”Bov,” he said without any reflection, “have you come to thernwrong place.”rnIn l969,1 retired from the Army to attend graduate school inrnGerman at Tulane University. The next year I received a fullrnscholarship to the Free University in West Berlin, where I sawrnfirsthand what unchallenged state power could do. The Westrnwas pulsing with life and light, the East dead and empty. In thernMuseum of the Wall at Checkpoint Charlie, I read the last radiornmessage from the Free Hungarians in 1956: “Tell Europernwe are dying for them.”rnAfter Susan and I came home late in 1973,1 worked in severalrnbusinesses, learning what it means to “make your way in thernwodd.” I kept studying economics and monetary systems onrnmy own and in graduate classes. In 1980, I opened my ownrnbusiness in West Memphis, Arkansas, across the Mississippirnfrom Memphis, selling physical gold and silver. The first thingrnI did was write to the Arkansas Attorney General to explain thatrnI thought exchanges of gold and silver money for paper moneyrnwere not subject to the sales tax, since they were exchanges ofrnmoney for monc). What was his official position?rnHe never bothered to answer my certified letter. Or the second.rnOr the third. When he finally responded, it was only tornsay he would not answer. I wrote to the Commissioner of Revenue,rnand told him what I was doing. Nobody ever bothered tornanswer that certified letter either, so I reported all my sales asrn”exempt.” Every month.rnA year later, in 1981, a Revenue officer showed up to auditrnmy books. I told her what I did was not taxable, and that everyrntrade contract included a confidentiality guarantee to my customer.rnShe could see them if she would indemnify me in casernsome customer sued for breach of contract. Alas, she did notrnwant to cooperate, so she just multiplied all my “exempt” salesrnFEBRUARY 1997/19rnrnrn