Google’s Mendacity: The Selfish Ledger Decyphered

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

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

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

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%

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 …

Western Civilization, Seen from 2150 AD, Part 1

A small roll of pages showed up in my mailbox last week, printed on an odd size and type of paper. They appeared to have been ripped from a history book entitled 2000–2150 AD: The Emergence of Modernity. I’m repeating the text here verbatim, sans the header, which mentions only the title of the book. (Or perhaps it’s the title of a chapter.) Make of this what you will. In …

ROSC 21: Roll It Up and Move Along

Once you know a storm is coming, the only sensible actions are to either protect yourself or to get out of the way. And so it has become time to roll up the Jay’s Bar show and move along. If we simply vanish from view now, there won’t be much in the way of targets to destroy. None of us, however, are about to deny ourselves: what we are, what …

The Mass Conspiracy of Blame Avoidance

If you can ever get far enough from the status quo, one of the most shocking sights you’ll see is the mass conspiracy of blame avoidance. This phenomenon is so pervasive  that most people go their entire lives without taking serious notice of it. It simply is, and the possibility of another way has never occurred to them. People do see this from time to time of course, but only …

ROSC 20: A Storm Warning

I walked into Jay’s expecting to find Johnny to be his usual gregarious self. And he was, so long as he was greeting people at the bar. Once we sat by ourselves in the restaurant, however, he changed. I had never seen Johnny scared before. I’d seen him angry, disgusted, and irritated, but not scared. We were barely through the usual “How’s your family?” stuff before he jumped into crypto. …

The Discovery of Terra Nova by the Cypherpunks

Ten years ago the cypherpunks were almost entirely forgotten. But now – and quite shockingly to those of us who were involved – cypherpunks are cool again. More than that, the discoveries of the cypherpunks are starting to change the world in a serious way. That being so, I’d like to briefly recap what the cypherpunks discovered, because what these people found was a new world… a “terra nova.” Land …