The Silk Road marketplace was closed by the Feds on October 2nd. Its operator sits in a jail cell in New York. The users were scattered and victory was declared.
But a funny thing happened while all the politicians, FBI agents, and assorted naysayers were congratulating themselves…
The movement didn’t lay down and die.
The people who comprise it did not run away like scared little sheep… like Fed victims had a hundred times before. Instead, they re-formed and got back to business.
Today, there are at least six new, Silk Road-type marketplaces, including a Silk Road 2.0, with a new Dread Pirate Roberts.
Six is probably a very conservative number, by the way.
These new markets are improvements to the original Silk Road:
- One includes two-factor PGP encryption.
- Another uses both Bitcoin and Litecoin and caters to customers in Eastern Europe and the Soviet bloc.
- One new market claims to invite only top vendors and has promised a p2p-based escrow to prevent the possibility of administrators stealing user funds. They handle Litecoin and Bitcoin and provide good customer service.
- Another operates on the I2P network rather than Tor and supports p2p escrow rather than centralized escrow.
- One innovative market lets the users build it with modules, like WordPress, and with open source code.
(If you’re not the most technically minded, all that jargon might not mean much. In essence, these are just examples of how the market is fighting back and getting more sophisticated and more secure with each new generation.)
One more thing: If you think these markets are just about drugs, you’re missing the primary point. The discussion board at Silk Road was full of Rothbardian economics and the philosophies of freedom.
What This Means
What this means is that the Silk Road people – the Internet freedom people – refused to lay down and die. Rather than cringing in terror, they got back up and started rebuilding. So, instead of one Silk Road, there are now at least six. And there will probably be many more, soon.
These people are pressing on. They are not running away. They believe that their way is the better way, and they are holding to it, regardless of slanders and threats and scams and attacks.
And this means that the control freaks have lost a big battle. They attacked, they spread their terror, and they cranked the propaganda machine that for decades made the masses confess the enforcers as almighty.
But this time the targets didn’t flee in terror, didn’t cower in fear, and no longer believed that the enforcers were gods.
Instead, they acted according to their own judgment, and in their own interests.
Circle autumn 2013 on your calendar, because the terror of the enforcers just failed, for the first time in a long time.
Are There Lessons Here?
Yes, and the big one is this: In the end, a better philosophy (if it is understood) wins.
The free Internet and its free commerce philosophy offers men and women truth, understanding, and strong, direct relationships. The statist alternative offers fear, theft, punishment, an occasional promise of plunder, and intrusion into every relationship in your life.
And even though statism had a massive initial advantage, the freedom philosophy is now asserting itself. Our ways are better and our people are better. And our free Internet, free commerce philosophy is producing people who aren’t quitting, even when they are bruised and bloodied.
When you stop to think about it, a life of automatic obedience to the enforcer is based upon the wildest of claims:
- That cops are more noble and trustworthy than we are, that their bosses are definitely nobler than we are, and that power does not, in fact, corrupt.
- That government workers are somehow a better class of beings, but perhaps only while they are working for the state.
- That intimidation, lies, threats, and violence are transformed into goodness when inflicted by men wearing blue shirts with brass pins.
- That politicians, whom we all know to be liars and money-whores, somehow produce pristinely moral results in their offices.
Stated this way – and I think this is a fair way to state them – these ideas are ridiculous.
Almost everyone knows that enforcers are more predatory and more threatening than average working guys. People certainly know it when they drive down a highway and pass one of them with a radar gun; they’ve just been conditioned to not connect certain dots.
The great change of this moment is that the Internet people have started to act on what they know.
A corner has been turned. It may be some time until the reality of it sinks in and spreads, but this is an important moment: This time, the victims refused to lay down and die.
And the enforcers just watered the seeds of their own destruction.