As 20-something nerd, II was the only one that really grated on me, and even so I think it would be redeemable by cutting around 1 or 2 of budding-romance scenes. I've heard the Phantom Edit is quite good, and III was enjoyable even without any chopping.
It's a continuum and it depends on the parties involved. I've collaborated on undergraduate research with my father (paper ended up being accepted to ISVD a couple years ago), and the work I did with him at 18/19 was definitely not beyond my abilities at 15, and was probably more creative and challenging than the work I did this summer on a DOE fellowship.
Sure, but the theory is based on natural rights philosophy (independent of government meddling) and is a prescriptive theory of how legal systems should operate, rather than descriptive theory of how they do operate.
Don't have to make it a gold standard. Just abolish legal tender laws and let the market sort it.
Or wait for Google ("Planetary Resources") to dump one of those shiny new asteroids full of platinum and gold a few years down the line.