Bitcoin and the Beatles

Beatles I’ve been involved with cryptography since the mid-1990s. That’s when I had my “aha” moment and realized that cryptography creates a terra nova the lords of force can’t penetrate. Progress, however, was disturbingly slow. We had great ideas, brilliant people, and even some impressive projects. But nothing really stuck. Disheartened, most of us gave up on our world-changing dreams. Then, to our great surprise, Bitcoin stuck. And now, finally, I’m …

9/11: The Greatest Gift the Status Quo Ever Got

911 I’m not saying that 9/11 was anything but a sick, evil disaster. Nor am I placing blame for it on any person or group; I’m not interested in wasting time in that quagmire. What I am saying is that the status quo in America – compliance without question, shutting our eyes to abuse, and forever finding reasons to believe – was aided by the 9/11 event more than anything else …

Bitcoin and the Power Grid

BPowerGrid “Bitcoin is evil” articles exist in profusion, and these days I pretty much ignore them. But one of the recent types – raising awareness of Bitcoin’s environmental unsustainability – has engaged me. As it turns out, I have an unusual background to bring to this topic, and I think I should contribute. So, here we go: Another Apocalypse? Let’s be honest and admit that most of the “environmental movement” sells …

More Revolutionaries Are Coming

Revolutionaries The more you tighten your grip, Tarkin, the more star systems will slip through your fingers. – Princess Leia, Star Wars

Assange, Ulbricht, Manning, Snowden… we’ve seen a slow stream of revolutionaries over the past decade or so, a few of whom became well-known. More will be coming.

How Science Became an Idol

ScienceIdol I do not oppose science. In fact I advocate for it. But it’s also clear to me that science has been turned into a social weapon. More than that, it has been turned into an idol, and today I’m going to explain (briefly) how that happened. But before I do, I want you to understand what idolatry really is. Whenever you hold something above critique – above reality – you …

Google’s Mendacity: The Selfish Ledger Decyphered

google Few things repulse me more than someone born with a genius brain who then uses it to befuddle others and turn them into tools. A leaked video from Google showed up on my screen this morning. At first I was thrilled that we’d have evidence from the inside, showing what’s really happening at the home of “Don’t Be Evil.” But as I watched the video, my emotions changed dramatically. This …

So, You Wanna Get Involved with Crypto… Here’s What You Need to Know

InvolvedCrypto After several quiet months, I’m hearing of more and more people who want to get involved with cryptocurrencies, and not just buying and selling. I’m hearing about people who want to start crypto-related businesses, even things like crypto-themed bars. These people need some orientation and most long-time crypto advocates are simply too overwhelmed to help much. So, if you’re thinking of getting involved with cryptocurrencies, I’d like to give you …

Justice Condemned: The Ross Ulbricht Case

RUJustice I’ve been in and around the US justice system for most of my life. I’ve always had relatives and friends who were lawyers, and I worked as an expert witness for more than 30 years. And however much I may disregard the state as an institution, I hold great regard for the common law, upon which the US justice system was based. So, when I tell you that Ross Ulbricht’s …

The Status Quo Is Deathly Boring

QuoBoring Most young people know nothing but the world as it is. Their teachers assure them that this is the best form of human organization, all authority agrees, and their parents toe the party line. The system is geared to keep them shuffling forward quietly unto death. What a waste. What a crime. What a bore. “Live dangerously and you live right.” This line comes from the great author Johann Wolfgang …

4 Truths About the 1%

4Truths I don’t particularly like the phrase, “the one percent.” It reeks of envy and thus of socialism. But at the same time, the wealthiest people in the West really have become much wealthier in the past decade or two, while working people have, perhaps, stayed even. That’s a legitimate issue, regardless of the unfortunate terminology. The roots of this go back to the changes of the 1980s, when the financialization …

Who to Blame for Your Debt

blame

I hope that none of my regular readers are burdened with much debt, but I know that many people are. Sometimes shockingly so. And so I’d like to explain who’s really to blame for these situations, because they are more complex than they may at first appear.

The Blessings of Panarchy

Panarchy Whatever complaints we may have about the US Constitution, it’s hard not to appreciate this phrase in its preamble: [to] secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity… The problem of course is that the word “liberty” has been so abused that it no longer has a clear meaning. It’s used as a “hooray for us” term and not a great deal more.

As the War Machine Threatens

WarMachine War drums are beating again, and fairly seriously, it seems. And so I’d like to make a few points before things get out of hand. Because once the bodies start piling up, instincts will be overloaded, and reason will be difficult. So, here are a few things to think about ahead of time: #1: War is failure. And if we get a war now based upon an uncertain attack leaving …

The Dissipation of Moral Energies

MoralEnergies Roughly 98% of us have a deep-rooted connection to morality. Even confirmed criminals routinely say things like, “That ain’t right,” which is purely a moral judgment. However well or poorly we use it, nearly all of us hold morality as a central reference. And this is true across nearly the whole sweep of life. Take a hard look into any workplace and you’ll find that nearly every interaction is tied …

Free-market Parasites

Free-market The crypto economy can’t get here fast enough. In addition to writing, I manage businesses. And as I review the financial records of these businesses every year, I see corporate parasitism biting them worse and worse. But if pushed, the bosses of these outfits would claim free market justification. After all, they didn’t hold a gun to anyone’s head! But they do hold the proverbial gun. More precisely, they arrange …

Seeking Refuge

Refuge A good deal of my life has been spent in a half-conscious search for places where a healthy person could function as a healthy person: places where health was accepted rather than resented, where it didn’t have to be hidden. Such places have proven to be scarce. The healthy man or woman is all too often taken as a threat, rather than a friend to perhaps learn from. This stems …

Farber’s Second Essay

SecondEssay This is the second essay of James Farber, from the first edition of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, written in defense of the “free digital economy” he and his friends were building. – PR History books tell the stories of Rulers. Some are Kings; some, Emperors; some, Presidents or Prime Ministers; and some, potentates of more exotic name. A few of them were more or less benevolent, and others were …

Farber’s First Essay

Farber In the first editions of A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, I included several essays that I cared a great deal about. In the second edition (now available), I took them back out. I feel that a novel is best standing on its own. But I don’t want the essays to simply vanish, and so I will continue posting them here from time to time. This is one of the major …

Facebook Is a Parasite… Even The New York Times Is Admitting It

fbparasite The Times is only on the story to hurt Donald Trump of course, but they have nonetheless brought it up. And most of the commenters at The Times’ website saw through the ridiculous Blue/Red sideshow. They ignored it and got to the real issues. Here’s one snip: Can we just say it? Facebook is evil. Its entire raison d’etre is the balkanization of communities and nations in pursuit of financial …

Western Civilization, Seen from 2150 AD, Part 2

WesternCivilization2 As I noted last week, a small roll of pages recently showed up at my door. They appeared to have been ripped from a history book entitled 2000–2150 AD: The Emergence of Modernity. I am completing my transcription of them today, verbatim. Make of it what you will. The Death of Scarcity Wants can be infinitely imagined by clever creatures such as ourselves, but nowadays a basic dividing line between …