How Cryptoanarchy Saved the World

Cryptoanarchy

The things that actually change the world are very often kept out of view. The stronger the mainline culture, the more the things that will change it are portrayed as weird, stupid, naive, and even dangerous. And so it has certainly been with cryptoanarchy.

But however much ignored, cryptoanarchy has already changed the world and will continue to change it. It is, in fact, the future taking root.

For those who are not familiar, cryptoanarchy is the process of applying cryptography to create free space beyond the reach of those wishing to forcibly control others. (And of course, the belief that this is a good thing.) The first clear statement of cryptoanarchy was Timothy C. May’s “Crypto Anarchist Manifesto,” first written and distributed in 1988.

One of the most powerful impulses of cryptoanarchy was the same sentiment articulated by Thomas Paine during the American Revolution:

We have it in our power to begin the world over again.

That is precisely what cryptography has given to us. And my deep thanks go to those who have applied it in the world.

What Cryptoanarchy Has Done

If cryptoanarchy is really about creating the world anew using cryptography as a primary tool, then we’d expect to see improvements from it, 30 years on from its first mention… even if it did begin in an isolated and disregarded corner of the world. And it so happens that we do see such improvements. Cryptoanarchy, to be blunt about it, has kept the world out of a deep and dark abyss.

Cryptoanarchy brought encryption to the world in a time when the darkest dreams of both Orwell and Huxley were given an open door to their full expression. 24/7 fear delivery systems (aka news channels and Facebook), unimaginable surveillance technology, and a perfect storm of authority and obedience((See FMP #40 for an explanation.)) gave violence-and-control freaks a once-in-several-millennia opportunity.

And so, let’s consider a modern world without cryptoanarchy:

  • There would be no effective encryption. It was cryptoanarchists who broke the US embargo on encryption (at grave risk) and gave it to the world.

  • There would be no VPNs. Virtual private networks (VPNs) use encryption to create private space insulated from the view of others. That is cryptoanarchy. And I can tell you that the first commercial VPN was operated by one of Cryptohippie’s predecessor companies, and it was definitely a cryptoanarchy-directed operation.

  • There would have been no WikiLeaks, and we’d have remained entirely ignorant of all the abuses of power it’s exposed.

  • Edward Snowden couldn’t have revealed anything without strong encryption to protect his work. And he’d likely not have survived if he had tried.

  • A large number of journalists would have never run meaningful stories. At best, they would have been stopped or imprisoned before they did.

  • There would be no darknet: No Tor or I2P or Freenet. There would be no free internet markets or chat rooms.

  • There would be no safe communication for dissidents. At any time.

  • There would be no Bitcoin and no cryptocurrencies of any kind. There would be no distributed ledgers or blockchains and no base for decentralized organization.

In short, without cryptoanarchy, the controller class of the world would be running wild, doing things that no Caesar, no emperor, and no pharaoh ever dreamed. Imagine a sole superpower fully unchained, with all the power of the NSA, DHS, CIA, and FBI and all the cameras of London at their disposal. That’s the world without cryptoanarchy.

And Now?

We’re still swimming upstream, but cryptocurrencies seem to have carried us through some kind of barrier to where cryptoanarchy is visible. And that’s a very promising thing. In fact, those young people who are a bit healthier than their fellows have been steadily gravitating toward it. Already, there are perhaps a hundred thousand people who wake up every day wanting to do something magnificent with crypto.

And as before, we have three primary factors in our favor:

  1. The universe favors encryption. I’ll leave off the explanation today, but this will remain true for as long as math exists.

  2. Science is cumulative. Rulership cycles, but technology accretes. You may wish to set aside some time to think about that((See FMP #71.)).

  3. We hold the moral high ground. Cryptoanarchists believe in the Golden Rule… as in actually believe in it. We believe in “live and let live.” We are evangelists for “all that is peaceful and voluntary.” Contrast that with a mainline culture that survives only upon never-ending fear and mindless obedience.

What we need now is simply to continue. We need to follow each new innovation with two more, building piece upon piece, helping each other, encouraging each other, and loving each other. By doing this, we build a better world.

That is cryptoanarchy.

And, I hasten to add, it’s also the life of high adventure.

* * * * *

The novel that helped put the crypto revolution into high gear.

Comments from readers:

“Of the twenty five or so people I worked with last fall, all of them revered A Lodging of Wayfaring Men as a bible. They referred to the house and their community effort as a Lodge. We all felt it was modeled on the Free Souls.”

“Actually, I am somewhat at a loss as to how I might explain how I feel about this book other than to say what a great mind to write such an awesome story!”

“I’m an Old guy and find that Rosenberg has captured many Real-World truths in this novel. I wish the Millennial Generation would read this novel and consider the concepts and rationale presented here.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 17: The Rise of the Elderly

rosc17

Under the mindset of the factory era, old people were expected to move quietly to the side after they stopped working. From there they were to quietly dote on grandchildren, then get sick and die. That, however, has changed.

For one thing, people are living longer and retaining their health into advanced ages. Also, old people never really were fit to be pushed off the stage. Certainly old people tend to slow down, but “slower” is a long way from “no movement at all.” Old people are more than capable of many things, and they frequently have piles of massively valuable experience.

Anyway, what we learned as the sanitarium (and now Crypto House) opened back up last week, was that Esther and the sanitarium refugees have been busy. While they were away, they spread their new ideas to at least three different old folks’ homes. Contrary to the system’s assumptions, the people there – or at least a decent percentage of them – don’t want to disengage from the world, and they do want to continue making an impact in it. Three cars full of such people have visited the sanitarium/Crypto House this past week, and more are expected.

On top of that, the Swedes (wonderful people) are settling in, and the Bitcoin Bus family is slated to stay at the house for a month. As a bonus, the musicians (a few will remain in an extra room for a while) are going to put on weekly concerts in the factory parking lot next door once weather permits. The factory manager ended up being a pretty cool guy, and he thinks his workers will enjoy it after the last shift on Friday. The cops will probably find some permit violation to shut it down with (or rather, their bosses will… God forbid someone might have fun without paying them first), but the manager is game for it as long as the musicians are.

So, lots of good things are happening. But I’m straying from my main subject: the old folks.

Old and Smart Go Together Really Well

The status quo system we all grew up in made a major error by ignoring the abilities of old people. These are people who spent long decades developing important skills. To simply ignore that was ridiculous. Worse, the assumption that they should be moved to the side has been encoded in laws for Social Security, health care, professional regulation, business insurance policies, and more. The legacy system forcibly ejects old people from the pool of the productive.

In the crypto-world, however, they can do whatever they want, and no one need ever even know their age. There are many in the old-age homes who take comfort in filling the role assigned to them by the status quo, and we really have nothing to offer them. But we’re finding a pretty strong percentage of oldsters who don’t want to tread water for 10 or 20 years and then die. They may not want to work full days or weeks, but they do want to work… they don’t want to give up being productive until they need to.

I’ve talked with only five or 10 of these people so far, but here are the things I know they’re up to:

  • An elderly lawyer has taken up online arbitration work on the Open Bazaar system.

  • Three sets of old ladies are setting up to work as sales agents for anonymous buyers, working through Open Bazaar. They’ll wear cop-type body cameras and drive from one estate sale or garage sale to another, taking live bids from remote purchasers. They already have a dozen or more customers lined up.

  • Two retired engineers and a retired programmer have just acquired their first customer for anonymous drone delivery. Their drones (they have two at the moment) are being programmed with a set of maps, GPS, and a memory system using ephemeral key encryption. And so, a client enters his or her address, which goes directly to the drone, which verifies it to be within its flight radius. But it does not share those details with anyone else. The “Tech Elders” team (that’s what they’re calling themselves) then attaches whatever goods are to be delivered (within a specified weight limit) and sends the machine on its way. They are never told where it will go. Once the delivery is completed, the keys that encrypted the address are automatically dropped from the system. It is known that the drone delivered something somewhere, but only the purchaser knows where.

  • Two friends of friends who really are past their ability to do much have offered their postal addresses for deliveries. If something forbidden gets delivered, what are the enforcers going to do, put them on trial? They’d hardly be considered fit for trial, they’d have no information to give up, and by the time a trial could be arranged, they’d likely have checked out anyway.

All of this will be done behind walls of cryptography. A variety of cryptocurrencies will be used (Bitcoin will mainly be a settlement currency between the other currencies), all communications will be encrypted, and only pseudonyms will be used. But for customer comfort with pseudonyms, they’re using realistic names (Sean W. Thornton, for example) rather than the purposely quirky names we used in the old days of crypto-anarchy.

The Purpose of It All

The entry of the old folks really made me happy. The deep purpose here isn’t to make money or even to escape tyranny. Rather, it’s to help life function in the world. And these old folks still have life in them. They should be able to use it any way they wish to. Crypto gives that to them.

More next time.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 15: Building Ourselves a City

ROSC15

Theorizing is one thing; doing is quite another. No matter how good you think your theories are, applying them to the real world is always a revelation. More than that, actually doing is far more fun that theorizing. And right now hundreds of thousands of young people (and a lot of older ones too) are building the economy of the future. It’s a magnificent thing to be part of.

The sanitarium is well on its way to becoming a Bitcoin House. The renovations proceed apace and the musicians currently living there, and their friends, are thoroughly intrigued not only by Bitcoin, but by the concept of decentralization. They’re writing songs about it.

At the same time, the members of our little group have their own projects blooming: decentralized exchanges, drone delivery, biohacking, OTC Bitcoin exchanging (that is, buying and selling Bitcoin for cash, usually at a Starbucks), and of course lots of ridesharing and apartment sharing.

I think Johnny and his uncle are about to launch a crypto-based certification agency for home remodelers. Municipal regulation of construction has gone insane over the past two decades, adding thousands of dollars to even the smallest construction projects. And so, a workaround that still delivers quality is something people are willing to take a small risk on.

The New Plaque

You may recall that there was a rather depressing plaque that used to hang on the wall of the sanitarium. As several of our group reviewed the remodeling work last week, they decided that a new plaque would be nice. And as it happened, Nikos had stumbled upon something just days before.

At one point, as we sat at Jay’s bar discussing books and authors, I mentioned that I enjoyed the work of Eric Hoffer, the “Longshoreman Philosopher.” Later, Nikos remembered the conversation and started checking into Hoffer. One of the things he found was an interview Hoffer did in 1967 with Eric Sevareid. (Sevareid was a famous broadcaster of that era.) In the interview, he talks about a poem that he found written on a wall at Pier 35 on the San Francisco docks. He recited it in the interview:

Build yourself a city; found yourself a state.

Do not cry for pity; grab a master fate.

Grab a swamp and drain it;
cut a log and plane it.

Make the hills and valleys fields.

And on the manmade plain,
breathe your last complaint.

Slay your shame;
forget your name.

Do not strive for pity; build yourself a city.

That of course is what’s going onto their plaque – a large plaque – and that’s exactly what these young people are doing.

“It’ll go back down”

The day after Nikos sent me the link to the interview and told me about the plaque, I received an email from an old friend. This guy has seen dozens of hotshot investments come and go, and so I think he can be forgiven for thinking that Bitcoin is just another of them. In this email he said something about it going up, then coming back down. And that got me thinking: Could Bitcoin – and cryptocurrencies in general – really crash back to the ground?

But before we can address that question, we have to specify something: Bitcoin is not an investment. Rather, it’s a revolution in currency. That’s a fundamental difference, and it set my thoughts in the right direction. Here’s what I wrote back to my friend:

Honestly, I don’t think this one’s “coming back down.” There will be choppy times for sure, but the underlying technology is simply not going anywhere. This is not a company or a strategy; it’s just a protocol.

That’s a very different thing from past “hotshot investments.”

Bitcoin has withstood endless attacks from people who hate it (more or less none of whom have taken the time to understand it). And more than that, it has survived its friends acting stupidly.

I think it’s important to stop and think about this for a moment.

Bitcoin has survived under extremely hostile conditions, taking blows from both enemies and friends, and it has remained standing. And the core reason is its central feature: It’s decentralized. There is no center to grab and no controller to be corrupted. Cryptocurrencies are simply protocols… protocols that establish trust via applied mathematics.

A protocol doesn’t disappear when some ruler declares it a danger to nation and motherhood. It doesn’t even disappear if people ignore it. It just is. Using a protocol as money is a new and different thing and utterly unlike any investment of the past.

Here’s how I finished the email:

It’s hard to imagine how Bitcoin could actually “go to zero.” There is no center to kill, and it’s simply better at doing what currencies are supposed to do. A demand for it will remain, no matter what.

To actually kill Bitcoin would involve breaking the encryption (which is really unlikely) or for governments to kill every person caught using it. (And that’s pretty unlikely as well.)

And Now…

Cryptocurrencies are simply different. They are not investments. They have no center. They have operated for nine years under hostile conditions, starting from nothing at all. They were born into a world that rejected them from the outset and has attacked them nonstop.

In addition, they’ve survived the foolish behavior of some of their biggest advocates.

Cryptocurrencies, in the end, are decentralization protocols. They provide no privileged position from which controllers can control transactions or take money by force. They have no tools for setting interest rates. No one is forced to use them.

With apologies to Ecclesiastes, this really is a new thing under the sun.

My young friends are embracing this, and they’re spreading the concept to their friends, who are spreading the concept to others. And now Bitcoin Houses, Institutes of Cryptoanarchy, innumerable Bitcoin, cryptocurrency, and blockchain meetups, and God knows what else are spreading everywhere. We’re actually moving quickly through the “new concept” pattern attributed to Arthur Schopenhauer:

All truth passes through three stages.

First it is ridiculed.

Second it is violently opposed.

And third it is accepted as self-evident.

It’s awfully hard to know what the future holds of course, but the enforcers of the old way seem to be running out of time, being busy with troubles of their own and with all the usual wars, financial manipulations, and general mayhem.

And so a new world is taking shape. Slowly, erratically, even sloppily… but sinew is joining to sinew… and they are building themselves a city.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

ROSC 14: The Bitcoin House

It’s been a strange but recurring theme in my life that when a cluster of bad things hit, something good follows close behind. Often, I learn later that the good thing was initiating just as the bad things struck.
But whatever that is and however it works, it happened to me again. There is currently so much going on that I barely know where to begin.

BitcoinHouse

It’s been a strange but recurring theme in my life that when a cluster of bad things hit, something good follows close behind. Often, I learn later that the good thing was initiating just as the bad things struck.

But whatever that is and however it works, it happened to me again. There is currently so much going on that I barely know where to begin.

Creative Commerce

Chester Cruz, as it turns out, chose his friends very well. The sanitarium, we learned, was actually owned by a land trust, and the trustee, now quite elderly, is still a member of Chester’s old law firm. The group that opposed young Esther had contacted this man, wanting to kick Esther, Stanley, Sophie, and two others out of the sanitarium. The trustee and lawyer, a Mr. Medansky, explained to them that he would not do that, but if they were entirely serious about the matter, he could arrange to sell the property and distribute the proceeds to everyone living there.

And so the sale began. But after Esther and the others were notified of the upcoming sale by Mr. Medansky, they put together a new plan: to buy the trust themselves, and of course the sanitarium with it. The lawyer cleverly worked out all the details for them (which allowed them to keep all the sanitarium’s legal advantages), but it would require a cash payment.

This is where we all thanked God for the rise of Bitcoin. While none of our group (so far as I know) had a huge number of bitcoins, they had all accumulated some back when the price was low, and now (the price is hitting $8,000 as I write this) that translates to a lot of dollars… and so they’re buying the trust and property outright. The offended group will get their payout and go live wherever they wish, and the others will get to move back in. (They moved out once the sale was forced and are currently living in an Airbnb.)

The question then was what to do with the property. And that’s where things get really interesting.

First of all, the group will give the building a facelift. Being that no one is currently living there, this is a good time. But there’s more than that. The last month at the sanitarium was pretty ugly, and the group that forced the sale had been getting pretty dark anyway. More or less everyone agreed that the place needed a fresh start.

Now here’s the fun part:

As I discussed the remodeling with the group at Jay’s one day, I told the story of the very first agriculturalists of Europe and how they burned out their houses upon leaving them, even when giving them to new occupants((You can find more detail on this is FMP #73.)). We can’t use actual fire these days of course, but they liked the idea, and last week they came up with a cool version of it.

Adam’s youngest brother is in a band and knows a lot of other poor, young musicians. The group decided to let them have free run of the sanitarium during the remodeling, provided of course that they don’t damage the structure, don’t bother the neighbors (rather hard to do anyway, as their closest neighbors are a factory and a parking lot), and don’t interfere with the remodeling crews.

And so the sanitarium is now being “burned out” by members of four different bands, who are living there, rehearsing there, and entertaining there, and often all three at the same time. They’ll probably have only a month or two, but they’re already having a great time and have been respectful to all involved.

Enter the Swedes

“Synchronicity,” as we used to say way back when, “happens.” And it still happens. Just as our group had to make long-term plans on using the sanitarium, I got an email from a group we’re now calling “the Swedes.”

I ran into the Swedes at a cryptoanarchist conference in Europe a year ago, and they intrigued me. They’re actually two families from Stockholm who are traveling around the world, visiting “Bitcoin Houses.” How they can afford to do this, I didn’t ask (it’s really none of my business), but both families have young children and they’re educating them as they go. They had taken up residence in central Europe for a while, had been in Japan for some time prior, and were on their way to a Bitcoin place in India next. I was surprised that they had so many actual places to stay, each dedicated to cryptocurrency.

“It’s not just here in Europe,” they had assured me last year. “These places are springing up everywhere.” And lately I have seen others forming.

As I say, these people intrigued me, even though I didn’t have much time to spend with them. I couldn’t help feeling that a century ago they would have been Christian missionaries, traveling the world and “bringing light” in a somewhat different way.

Now, as it happens, they want to come to the Central US. Not to the glittering coastal cities, but to someplace where Americans still do productive work. And so, beginning in two months, they’ll take up residence on the second floor of the sanitarium, their purpose being to turn it into a functioning Bitcoin House. (Esther and company will use the top floor.) They’ll stay for six months at least, and they’ll have access to the sanitarium’s front room and rather large basement for any kinds of meetings and gatherings they wish to arrange. The backyard too, once spring hits.

This should be fascinating. More next time.

* * * * *

A book that generates comments like these, from actual readers, might be worth your time:

  • I just finished reading The Breaking Dawn and found it to be one of the most thought-provoking, amazing books I have ever read… It will be hard to read another book now that I’ve read this book… I want everyone to read it.
  • Such a tour de force, so many ideas. And I am amazed at the courage to write such a book, that challenges so many people’s conceptions.
  • There were so many points where it was hard to read, I was so choked up.
  • Holy moly! I was familiar with most of the themes presented in A Lodging of Wayfaring Men, but I am still trying to wrap my head around the concepts you presented at the end of this one.

Get it at Amazon ($18.95) or on Kindle: ($5.99)

TheBreakingDawn

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

A Short Note to the Bitcoin Community: This Is the Time

BitcoinCommunity

I’m not sure how much of the Bitcoin community I reach, but I think this is an important moment for us, and I want to get this out. Please pass it along if you see it as useful. Thanks.

Threat Over, Time to Get Busy

The Bitcoin XT effort seems to be over. I opposed it for two primary reasons:

  1. It was sold through fear. That always drives me away. Fear is our enemy.

  2. It smelled of Elite Capture. The people driving XT were hanging out with the elite crowd and saying things that made a lot of us twitch.

Be that as it may, those people seem to have pulled back; battle over for now.

Our problems, however, remain. Bitcoin does not possess God-given perfection; it’s a technology… and it needs to be upgraded. In fact, it may need to be upgraded several times. That’s just the way technology is, and it falls to us to handle it well or poorly. So, here’s my one, short message:

This is the time to improve Bitcoin without succumbing to Elite Capture.

I’m not going to tell you what upgrades are required. Those of you involved need to deduce those yourselves. What I will tell you is this: Bitcoin needs to scale, and it’s our turn to be the adults. (Here’s a lecture where I explain further.) We need to get ready for the future, and this is the right time for it.

To the Developers:

Now I’m going to give you some advice.

I am in no position to tell you anything, but I do have perspective. In other words, I’m older and have been involved with digital currencies and general internet radicalism longer. So, take this for what it’s worth, but please do consider it:

  1. Go back to your principles. Whatever it is that brought you here, go back to it. (Aristotle, Rothbard, the Gospels, the Torah, whatever.) Refocus yourself on the most fundamental factors.

  2. Reread the original cypherpunk documents. A Cypherpunk’s Manifesto, The Crypto Anarchist Manifesto, and The Cyphernomicon are what produced Bitcoin. Go back and re-familiarize yourself with them.

  3. Get into cooperation. Think about the stupidity and destructiveness of status and dominance. Think about the beauty of co-dominant relationships. Think about the beauty of synergy and brotherhood.

  4. Get going. Planning is how people end up going nowhere. Break your inertia and move. Nothing will ever change until you do.

  5. Keep your eyes on the prize. And that prize is a Bitcoin that remains true to its nature while becoming massively scalable. Ignore stupidities and slights; move to the goal. The world needs a robust Bitcoin, even though many people still don’t realize it. We’re the only people who can do it.

Thus ends my message, aside from this: Make your time on Earth matter; make your 90-year-old self proud.

Peace.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Man Is Not Always Blind

manblindThese words (which I picked up from Abraham Joshua Heschel) are true, even if it doesn’t seem like it. Humanity may be blind – willingly blind – for sickening lengths of time, but mankind is not always blind.

Our present government/corporate culture – the loud, flashing, vapid cloud of distraction and fear that surrounds us – not only promotes blindness toward anything outside of itself, but requires this blindness for its very continuance; this is true.

Still, man is not always blind.

Back Then

I will begin making my point with an old example:

Would you expect thousands of peasants, in deepest medieval France, to walk for scores or even hundreds of miles, through early 12th century mud and wilderness, and to sleep outdoors, just to hear a philosopher teach? A man who was rejected by Church and secular authorities, and who was mutilated beside?

Regardless of how implausible that may sound, it happened. The teacher’s name was Peter Abelard, this is how he described these events:

Forthwith I sought out a lonely spot known to me of old in the region of Troyes [in north-central France], and there, on a bit of land which had been given to me… I built with reeds and stalks my first oratory.

No sooner had students learned of my retreat than they began to flock there from all sides, leaving their towns and castles to dwell in the wilderness. In place of their spacious houses, they built themselves huts; instead of dainty fare, they lived on the herbs of the field and coarse bread; their soft beds they exchanged for heaps of straw and rushes, and their tables were piles of turf.

This happened. These people grew tired of being blind. Then they did something about it.

And Now

And even in our age, which beats out the 1950s as an age of abject conformity, thousands of good people are breaking away from it.

There are people who can see and feel and think independently – or, even more horrifying to the overlords of the age – people who can and do act on their heretical beliefs. These people don’t show up on TV, of course, and seldom on radio, but they exist all the same.

New branches of civilization are sprouting, and the people of these branches care about seeing. Voluntaryists, Bitcoiners, homeschoolers, cryptoanarchists, hackers, makers, religious non-conformists… Such people are sick of being blind; are sick of living a hypnotized, acquiescent life of chasing symbols and illusions, while being systematically reaped by a corrupt system.

The extent to which such people have broken out of the Western Autopilot Life is greater – far greater – than any I’ve seen over my lifetime. Furthermore, the very number of them is greater than any I’ve ever seen.

And not only that, but to a larger extent than most of us realize, this is flowing into the low spots of mainstream culture. During my youth, politicians were held to be important men; wise and virtuous men. And that is simply no longer true. I don’t think there is any place left in the West where the phrase, “Politicians are liars and thieves” would fail to garner general agreement at a bus stop. That is a big, serious change.

For all of our lifetimes, we’ve been living through a perfect storm of authority. Authority has benefited from a group of temporary conditions and has gone, in stock market terms, through the roof. But this will not last forever, and it is thinning as we speak.

Authority has become brittle and fragile. It remains in place, but the people who still believe in it are those who are least-informed, least-awake and least-alive. The more informed the individual, the more likely it is that they hold authority to be stupid and abusive.

I haven’t space to go through this in length here, but those so inclined can find it in issue #40 of my subscription newsletter.

What Fuller Knew

Among the people who I’m sorry to have missed in his lifetime was Buckminster Fuller. So, I’d like to conclude by quoting a few passages from Fuller’s last book, Cosmography, published nine years after his death:

The dark ages still reign over all humanity, and the depth and persistence of this domination are only now becoming clear.

I find it very interesting that Fuller says that the depth and persistence of life’s domination on Earth is “only now becoming clear.” And he is entirely correct – it is only now becoming clear to us. Why that should be is a question I will not touch today, but the statement is both true and important. Domination is abuse, and its vileness is only now becoming clear to us… but it IS becoming clear to us.

Man is not forever blind.

This Dark Ages prison has no steel bars, chains, or locks. Instead, it is locked by misorientation and built of misinformation… We are powerfully imprisoned in these Dark Ages simply by the terms in which we have been conditioned to think.

And that’s really what all our efforts are about: Changing our minds and seeing the vile conditioning that has been imposed upon us; cutting life free of its constraints and letting it flourish, unhindered. Once we do that – and ignore the medieval thugs who seek to keep us chained to their chariots – our dark ages will end.

Dear reader, traditional human power structures and their reign of darkness are about to be rendered obsolete.

It’s hard to add much to this passage, aside from a hearty “amen” and “we’re not nearly as far from it as we may think.”

Press forward and savor every bit of progress you see.

Darkness will not reign forever.

Man is not always blind.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Two Ways the Bitcoin “Crackdown” Could End

crypto currencies bitcoinI read a story recently about a group of dandies who want to “help regulate Bitcoin, for its own good.” The thing about these guys is that they don’t really care about Bitcoin as a beautiful, disruptive technology or even for the great benefit it brings to mankind. Instead, they see Bitcoin as their ticket into the halls of the elite.

These people are not the agents of a new age. Rather, they’re trying to get into the upper levels of the old, hierarchical system.

When Charlie Shrem of BitInstant was arrested, these people jumped in on the side of the ruling elite, saying things like:

We were only passive investors in BitInstant, and we’ll do everything we can to help law enforcement. We fully support any and all governmental efforts. We want to ensure that money laundering requirements are enforced, and look forward to clear regulation being implemented on the purchase and sale of bitcoins.

First of all, none of these people – Bitcoin investors or government regulators – care anything about money laundering. When HSBC and Wachovia were caught red-handed, laundering hundreds of billions of dollars for violent drug cartels, no one was arrested. No one even lost their job! This talk about money laundering is nothing but theater for suckers.

Yet now, after holding no one accountable for laundering half a trillion dollars for the cartels, they found themselves with a chance to hurt Bitcoin – over a few million dollars of drug sales to peaceful users. So, they sent their goons to arrest poor Charlie Shrem (very publicly), who was positioned a full two steps away from the drug transactions in question.

And then, these elite wannabes – supposedly pro-Bitcoin – sucked up to the hypocritical ‘enforcers’ with everything they had. And I quote:

There are certainly a handful of folks that are hardcore libertarians (some anarchists) that believe that bitcoin should be completely unregulated, but I believe they are in the minority and, as a percentage of bitcoin believers, is shrinking very quickly.

In other words, “Please don’t think of us as anything but your faithful companions, our overlords.” It’s disgusting.

New or Old?

The people who are grasping for prestige from the old system are making themselves enemies of the new. This is not about money, you understand – the people I’m talking about are already wealthy. This is about their desire to stand in the highest levels of the ruling hierarchy. Once their heart has gone there, anything that threatens the old system threatens them, and they will end up fighting it.

What these people are trying to do, as best I can tell, is to form a new “smart wing” of the hierarchical elite, then to enlighten the world from that position. It seems like they still imagine themselves to be libertarians. But to get their new “smart wing of the elite” way, they have to minimize, discourage, or fight the authentic new way.

In an email, one of these dandies said that the crypto-anarchists who dominated Bitcoin were “getting left behind.” In fact, however, I think the truth will be just the opposite.

Cryptocurrencies Will Survive; Fiat Currencies Will Not

It may seem very flamboyant of me to say that the dollar, the pound, the yen, the euro, and all the others are doomed, but it’s quite a very safe comment to make. Every fiat currency has crashed and burnt within a century or two, with no exceptions that I can point to. They’re all built upon a flawed model, and they all eventually go away.

Government money requires a large number of accountants, apologists, promoters, cooperative bankers, and supplemental players. It also requires violence – forcing people to use it. That is the essence of “legal tender” laws. If people don’t use the mandated currency, violence is applied.

Cryptocurrencies, on the other hand, are based upon mathematics, something that will never go away. Beyond that, all that’s necessary are computers (which don’t seem in any danger of going away) and people who wish to make money by running them. This desire to make money is also rather unlikely to vanish.

So, on the one hand we have government money – a complex, expensive system that requires violence in order to survive. On the other, we have cryptocurrency, a distributed system that operates just fine on a completely voluntary basis.

As a practical matter, cryptocurrencies are more durable and more profitable for more people.

The War on Cryptocurrencies

Make no mistake: “Team Violence Money” is making war on “Team Voluntary Money.” Those of the old way either want to turn Bitcoin into a tool of their system or simply to kill it outright. Here is how those scenarios will likely play out:

The old way captures Bitcoin:

If the wannabe elites get their way, they will turn Bitcoin into a decentralized version of PayPal – a currency that requires full customer information in order to use. A fully controlled currency.

But if that happens (and it looks like it will take some time), there will still be a Bitcoin underground. Black-market Bitcoin will find a variety of ways to thrive beneath official Bitcoin.

The old way kills Bitcoin:

If the old way decides to use a lot of actual and coordinated violence, they may disrupt the Bitcoin market badly. They will have to do this more or less worldwide, which will not be easy – but if they cage enough people, they can probably pull it off.

There are electronic-based ways of hurting Bitcoin badly, but these will succeed only if Bitcoin users choose not to adapt.

That said, if Team Violence Money goes full Stalin, the weak and the cowardly will flee Bitcoin. The brave and the desperate will continue, of course, but Bitcoin will remain a shadow of its former self.

But even if that does happen, the idea of cryptocurrency will remain, and new currencies will keep popping up.

Why? Because the genie is out of the bottle. At this point, anyone who has paid any attention knows that cryptocryptocurrencies work. That will never again be in doubt while history is recorded.

Furthermore, creating new cryptocurrencies is almost trivial. And since mining these currencies can be highly profitable, there will be no shortage of hungry boys and girls willing to take a little risk.

In order to keep their fiat money systems intact, the operators of the old way will have to keep people very confused while making sure they never get interested in questions of truth or morality. Because if they do – and if they ever examine violence-based money – they will rebel against it.

So, even if they seem to win, the old way will never truly get past cryptocurrencies.

Cryptocurrencies are here to stay.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com

Silk Road Died, Bitcoin Crashed. So why am I so happy?

silk roadYou may have heard that Silk Road – the truly free online market – was taken down today, by the FBI. In response, the price of Bitcoin crashed 24%.

Yet here I am – just a few hours later, feeling very optimistic. Why? Because the philosophy of freedom just showed itself to be massively stronger than statism and its “don’t think, just obey” philosophy.

Here’s What Happened

As I was finishing my lunch, I saw a story posted on the takedown/crash. I did a bit of checking and conversed with a friend, and then hustled over to a place I know where crypto-anarchists hang out online.

These guys were already talking about replacing Silk Road, and doing a better job of it.

Forget about the drugs aspect of this – I don’t care for drugs and neither do the people I listened in on – they just want to build free markets.

Contrast that to a financial site, where I found a couple of Bitcoin haters, a Fed trying to supercharge as much fear as he/she could, and several people trying to buy Bitcoin at its lows, or lamenting that they were out of extra cash to buy right away.

But here’s the interesting part: In the face of an orchestrated attack (and you can be sure that the Feds arranged the day’s events for maximum fear – that’s what they do), even these people, within minutes, were walking forward, not backward.

A Better Philosophy Wins Out

Arguably, the greatest triumph of a new philosophy has to be that of the early Christians (of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd centuries AD), they simply would not be stopped, no matter what was thrown at them.

And why wouldn’t they turn back? Because the Roman way was ridiculous and barbaric. Their gods were vile, vain, sometimes stupid and often cruel. Who wants to worship that? These Christians – whatever their faults or virtues – had found a God who loved them, who wished to help and enlighten them, who said they were meant to be free and prosperous.

Which way would you choose?

The Romans persecuted them and sometimes killed them, but they would not be turned around. These people chose the better philosophy, and in the end, they won.

Today, I saw the same thing, wrapped in modern circumstances.

Freedom-minded people are not stopping, are not abandoning their views. And why should they? Shall we go back to the idiocy and self-contradictory life of worshiping the state? Of pretending that robbery is somehow – magically – not robbery when the government does it?

Our minds have been removed from the state’s intimidation and conditioning. Shall we go back to believing lies and repeating vapid slogans for the rest of our lives?

There are real reasons why individuals move from bondage to liberty, but very seldom the reverse.

The Bottom Line Facts

At the end of all the discussions, all the fears, all the questions, all of the explaining to newbs and concerned friends, stand these facts:

Our philosophy is better than theirs. We offer men and women truth, understanding, compassion (the real kind), and strong, direct relationships. The state offers punishment, fear, an occasional promise of plunder, and intrusion into every relationship in your life.

Our people are better than theirs. Not because we were born better, but because finding and living according to truth produces better people than blind obedience and fear of the lash.

We are not quitting. We can’t. We won’t.

Yes, there may be bruises and even blood along the way, but like the first Christians, our people do not turn back – they continue regardless.

We’ve come out of the state’s cultivated darkness, and we are moving into more and more light. Why would we want to go back to where we were? Even if we tried to do it, could we really stick with it? Could our minds really fit back into their old restraints?

This is why freedom will win, my friends: The genie is out of the bottle, and the Internet has spread the message to the four corners of the Earth. It’s a better message. It produces better people.

And in the end, we will win.

Paul Rosenberg
FreemansPerspective.com