Social Attacks On Bitcoin

It’s no secret that Bitcoin has enemies. There are those who’d like to kill it outright and there are those who’d like to subvert it. And, of course, Bitcoin has its fair share of the usual human problems.

The more overt attacks have pretty well failed thus far. Bitcoin, after all, is just a computer program, meaning that there’s no head that can be cut off, killing it with a single blow. On top of that, Bitcoin is protected with encryption end to end, and it’s more or less impossible to swing a sword, or a court order, against math. (Encryption being applied math.)

The usual types of subversion have likewise also failed to do a great deal of damage to Bitcoin and the younger cryptos. Fear of the regulator and especially the seduction of the regulator (“acceptance”) have been tried at length, and while they’ve left a few dents here and there, nothing fundamental has been destroyed.

As for human frailties, we’ve had those too, mostly notably young people finding themselves suddenly rich. That comes with more difficulties than those who haven’t been through it might expect. It’s what we used to call “a crazy-maker.”

Social Attacks

Put yourself in the position of needing to kill cryptocurrencies (for whatever reason), and not having a great deal of success. You can’t cut off its head and regulating it to death isn’t working very well. What choices do you have left?

Well, the next choice is to subvert via social manipulation. If you can’t get at the tech directly, and if there aren’t one or two humans who can sway the whole thing, you’re left to run social attacks. After all, with no one to run miners, develop new applications and so on, the computer programs would sit idle. And so, the intelligent attacker must go after a large number of people at the same time. It’s far from an ideal solution, but they really have no choice.

And so have come, as it seems to me, social attacks on Bitcoin and its younger siblings. I see (or think I see) two particular types that have arisen. These could have come from the negative psychology that floods the world these days – that is, without any particular intent – but I’ve seen this kind of thing before and underestimated it((I saw the beginnings of political correctness back in the 1980s and passed it off as so ridiculous that it would never last. I wasn’t in a position to do much about it then, but mea culpa all the same.)). I don’t want to do that again. 

Social Attack #1

Social attack #1 is something I’ve heard rumors about but can’t verify. The story goes that three or four years ago someone tried to get some bad code into BTC by either manipulating or attacking Bitcoin Core, the primary developers. The attacks weren’t physical, but they were serious.

In such a case, you survive the attack by saying, “I don’t care, call me an asshole.” That’s a necessary stand to take from time to time, and if the rumors are true, it was a good thing for the developers to do.

Social Attack #2

So, if you can’t kill it or subvert it very well… and if your first social attack fails as well, what are you to do?

Sadly, the answer is to take whatever opposite inertia was generated by Social Attack #1, and push it to its extreme.

And that’s what appears to have happened. I think we’ve all seen “I’m a Bitcoin hard-ass” posts on Twitter. It’s turning into a divide and conquer situation, pitting one part of the community against the other. And if it grows, it may slowly poison the whole.

This is a generational problem as well. The younger generation have been shoved into polarities by political types: Either they go Social Justice Warrior on the feeling side, self-righteously attacking anyone who doesn’t carry their feelings, or they go caveman on the other, thinking that kindness is weakness and that insults are the path to strength and truth.

This also plays into divide and conquer.

Is some person or group fanning these flames purposely? I don’t know, but it’s what an intelligent villain would do.

In The End…

In the end, it doesn’t much matter whether these attacks come from agents provocateurs or from human frailty. What does matter is that they are recognized and stopped.

The crypto community needs to become the adults of the financial world, not the squabbling teenagers. And we’re quite capable of doing that, even if prodded toward lesser paths.

Both sides of the polarity are bad choices. We need to be hard when it’s required and cooperative at all other times.

We’re not going to get to the goal by being squishy or by playing hard-ass. It behooves us to find balance and to keep our focus on the goal.

* * * * *

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

Fighting Evil Is a Failed Strategy

Sure, there are rare situations where fighting evil humans is thrust upon us, but such situations are just that, rare. So, feel free to do what you must in that unlikely event, and let’s set the subject aside, as seductively theatric as it may be.

This setting aside is important, because “fighting evil” in any kind of societal application is a demonstrably failed strategy.

Failures Left and Right

Today we’ll pick on the left to begin with, then switch to the right.

The “fighting evil” strategy of the political left is socialism. It has gained a foothold among the young for three primary reasons:

  1. They are too young to remember socialism in practice.

  2. They are so poorly schooled that they don’t see any problem with it.

  3. The people promoting socialism complain very well.

I’m not trying to be trite or insulting with these three points; they’re the actual reasons.

Complaints about the way things are have a great deal of legitimacy, of course. Student loans are one of the more abusive schemes ever thrust upon a generation… deeply manipulative and deeply abusive. (I explain in some depth here.)

On top of that abuse, the truth is that the rich are becoming richer and the poor, poorer((This is not the fault of capitalism (actual capitalism, that is) and it’s not the fault of money per se. It’s the fault of national economic systems that call themselves capitalist and which run the economies of the world.)).

Bear in mind that these problem exist on the heels of a century of “fighting the rich.” Very clearly, the left’s “fighting evil” strategy didn’t work.

And it’s worth adding that while the complaints above are legitimate, invoking socialism to fight them has to be one of the most boneheaded strategies in human history. Not only has it not worked despite a century of massive efforts, but socialism has proven itself to be death incarnate((For what it’s worth, socialism was supposed to be a transition phase from capitalism to communism. A proper communist society would have no state per se. But please bear in mind that avowed communists can argue about these things for days on end.)). The Soviet socialists killed tens of millions. The Chinese socialists killed many tens of millions. Cambodian socialists killed roughly a third of their populace in only a few years.

Socialism is a way for a few to live like kings, while the masses praising them die in huge numbers. Period.

Now, let’s pick on the right.

I got an email recently, in which a friend shared a passage he’d read. It said, roughly, this:

Through the late ’50s and early ’60s the US was essentially a live-and-let-live place, with Christian proclivities. This began to change when the Marxists began infiltrating our universities, reaching critical mass in the ’70s and ’80s. No reformation movement can succeed until we treat cultural Marxism like we treated the war on smallpox.

I responded that while there is some truth in the passage (I’ve addressed it previously), the prescription of treating it as “a war on…” is useless. While most people no longer remember, groups like the John Birch Society have been doing precisely this since the 1950s and even earlier. And despite all their “fighting evil” efforts… and even with its incredible crash and burn of the late 1980s… socialism still seduces.

And so, again, “fighting evil” got us more or less nowhere.

The Answer

If you want progress in the world – if you want people to live happier, freer, more satisfying lives – there is a very simple and effective answer: Start building it yourself.

Not only does this work, but it’s more or less the only thing that works. A lot of people don’t like the idea, because it requires effort and because they’ve been seduced by the big lie of democratic politics, which is this:

If you can complain well enough, the machinery of the state will create what you want.

And so, people who believe that complaining makes it so (a near-relative of wishing makes it so) are hesitant to build. After all, building is harder than complaining, and they might get into trouble.

And so the politician who best pretends to care gets elected, and there’s no reason for anything to change. The politicians promise and the people believe, as the generations come and go. Ho hum.

So, if you want things to improve, roll up your sleeves and get busy. Cryptocurrencies, biohacking, 3D-printed housing, flying cars (scaled-up drones), automated agriculture, and many other improvements stand waiting for your efforts. In fact, we publish a monthly newsletter that teaches you how to get involved.

So, make a choice… and make it a good one.

* * * * *

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

How to Defend Yourself from Ugly Stereotypes

This bit of advice applies to absolutely anyone who is being judged for variables outside their control. It was inspired by the kerfuffle surrounding the Gillette commercial. Whatever your take on that video, it’s clear that the debate around it is far more encompassing than the video itself.

In the States at least, there has developed a culture where it is socially acceptable to bash men and white people, and particularly, white men. This is especially frustrating when it comes from those who claim to fight against discrimination. They are paying lip service to the principals of racial equality and yet prescribing precisely the opposite… sometimes to shocking levels.

And so, we’ve put together some tools to help you with the uncomfortable situations that are arising.

These suggestions are not designed to help you “win” an argument. No one is going to stop in the middle of a heated debate and say, “You know what… you’re right!” That’s just not how humans work… 99% of them anyhow.

The goal here is to help you defend yourself, which is important for your psychological wellbeing and the psychological health of those around you. It also helps to set good standards in your community and to promote principals such as individuality, kindness, understanding, and fairness.

And so, here is a process for defending yourself honorably.

Step One: Acknowledgment

To have a clear view of the situation and to maintain any kind of moral standing, you need to look reality in the face. You need to acknowledge the situation as it actually exists and acknowledge the battles and scars of others. This in no way degrades the principals you are trying to uphold; in fact this requires the principals of kindness and fairness.

The social narrative that exists, no matter how distorted, didn’t come out of the blue. The world is often a good place, and quite clearly it is getting better. But the history and even the present still have far too much ugly in them. Jim Crow laws existed for a long time, police brutality still exists in spades, and lots of women are still revolted by the shockingly degrading images of them that have appeared in media.

You can also look up the breakdown of traffic stops based on race or the statistics on domestic violence or the prevalence of sexual assault. However much statistics are used badly, the raw data is worth a look, and the story it tells is not pretty. More than that, lots of us have friends who’ve been harassed for “driving while black,” “driving while Mexican,” and so on.

This stuff doesn’t meet your principals. So, say so, quickly and clearly.

The second part of this is acknowledging the scars of others, and that’s exceptionally hard to do when someone is calling you names.

Sometimes people will insult you because they’re vindictive, trying to gain social clout, or enjoying a power trip. Or maybe they’re just sociopaths. But it’s also possible that this person has lived through a lot of ugliness and bears the scars, and their anger is coming from deep fears. Unless you know the person and situation well, it is best to default to the assumption that this anger is caused by damage. Hurt people hurt people.

When you see something such as #MenAreTrash, you may be in the habit of seeing unprincipled and wildly vindictive people. But don’t miss the possibility that the other person has experienced an unacknowledged and unpunished sexual assault and has yet to heal. There are more people like that than you may suspect.

This doesn’t give them a pass, but it makes you honor bound to deal with them without further anger.

Step Two: Reject collectivism

You are not guilty for the actions of people who look like you, who have the same amount of money as you, who are educated like you, who dress like you, who talk like you, or anything else. You’re guilty of rotten things you’ve done and for nothing else. Statistics can’t change that.

There’s a reason we have trials to decide on someone’s guilt. Crimes must be proven with evidence, not with statistics. Unequal results are not evidence that you did something wrong.

So, don’t accept “social justice” or anything like it. But at the same time, stay positive and say something like, “You’re not guilty for the crimes of people who look like you, Jenny, and neither am I. If we start applying punishments to people on the basis of skin color or statistics, we’re headed straight into a bloodbath.”

Step Three: Seek the positive

If the conversation is still at a reasonable volume, turn it toward the positive. Find things the other person is likely to agree with, then build from there. Is that easy? No, it’s often not. But the less upset you are, the easier it is. And the alternative is to run straight into a full-bore fight, where no one learns anything and everyone ends up hating everyone else.

Step Four: Support and live up to your own standards

You lose all moral authority when you commit the crimes you are rallying against. Yes, other people often do precisely that, but sticking with your principals will help you, will help anyone who hears the conversation, and may even help the person arguing against you… after a cooling-off period.

It is easy to see the issues affecting you quite clearly and yet be blind to the issues affecting others. Don’t forget that. This person on the other side – unless they’re a full-blown power-monger – has reasons for believing what they believe. So, try first to understand them. Something like this often works:

“James, when you say ______, I find that I’m missing some connection. What was it in your life that makes this sensible and important to you?”

If the conversation is worth having at all, put in the patience and empathy to get something out of it. Plain old arguments aren’t worth your time.

A Few More

Even if you’ve got the principals down, it can be quite a challenge to come up with the right words to say. And so, here is a list of phrases that you may find helpful:

“Hey now, talking crap about an entire race/sex of people is not cool.”

“Yes, the world is really messed up sometimes. I’ve been lucky to escape the worst of it. But I am not an abuser, and I don’t appreciate the implication that I am.”

“Yes, I have been relatively lucky. How does that make me evil?”

“I will not accept guilt for things I haven’t done. Now, if there’s something else I can do to help the situation, tell me.”

“I find it important to communicate respectfully. I intend to communicate with you that way, and I would appreciate the same in return.”

And if things start going wild in a conversation, don’t neglect the power of simply walking away. If you need to, you can add something like, “This isn’t a conversation, it’s a fight, and I don’t want to play.” Then keep walking.

This article was written with the gracious help of Hannah Rosenberg.

* * * * *

As it turns out, history was never too hard to understand; they just told you the wrong story.

Comments from readers:

“This is the most amazing little book I have read on history in 36 years of reading history.”

“It will change the way you look at nearly everything.”

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“This is the best and clearest description of the history of Western civilization I have ever read.”

“Packed with insights on every page concerning how the world came to be the way it is and what we might expect in the future.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Adolph and the Free Sh*t Model

weaknesses

I really don’t like invoking Adolph, and I don’t like “swear words,” especially in headlines. But today I’m hard pressed to avoid either, and so I’ll just go with it.

I can’t avoid Adolph because he said something more clearly than anyone else I’m able to quote. Here’s the passage:

I have not come into this world to make men better, but to make use of their weaknesses.

And that’s precisely what he did. It’s also what Google, Facebook, and other “free sh*t” providers are doing. They are amassing power by using human weaknesses… and the bosses know it quite well.

The Foundation of the Problem

A friend recently sent me an article by Nathan McDonald of “Sprott Money News.” In it, Mr. McDonald complains that people “are blissfully ignoring the ensnaring net that is slowly being drawn around them.” And he’s right of course. He goes on to say,

The digital dark age is here, and the elite few tech giants that are ushering it in are beginning their attack on anyone, anything that does not agree with their echo chamber of thought.

A small handful of companies, you know their names well, virtually control a massive part of our society now. They have near complete control over many aspects of your lives, and don’t for a second think that they don’t.

And again, Mr. McDonald is not wrong, although it goes even farther than he notes; all of this is tied into the Western spy agencies. Consider: If you were a spymaster, is there any chance you’d ignore the ability to deeply surveil a couple of billion people at once? Especially if it was all automated and maintained at the expense of others? You’d be the worst spymaster in history if you didn’t.

And so Facebook, and especially Google, have been brought into the security complex. (You can see some damning emails in our report.)

The thing is, people could opt out of it all (well, nearly all of it) in a single day, if they weren’t trapped by their own weaknesses. The company I manage (Cryptohippie) has been doing just that for more than a decade, and there are now others providing similar services. Plus, there are functional dark nets. Throwing sand in Sauron’s eye isn’t beyond people’s technical or monetary abilities… it’s just beyond their emotional abilities.

Which Weaknesses?

Okay, let’s get specific.

First are the social instincts: getting your esteem from others, feeling like part of a group and feeling unable (or afraid) to leave it. Becoming dependent upon their approval, building your life around them, and feeling a deep void at the thought of losing them. Humans are susceptible to these things, and Facebook plays them to the hilt. They even design programs to keep people addicted.

The second weakness is the one that brings people into the trap. It’s the one that Google especially uses. And it is this: Humans have a deep fear of scarcity.

Here’s what I replied to the friend who sent me Mr. McDonald’s article:

Most people live in perpetual fear of scarcity (even though they experience no actual privation) and are abject suckers for free stuff. The entire system rests upon that weakness.

I think we’ve all felt the overly strong impulse to grab at anything free. We may understand very well that we’re accepting the proverbial “candy from the man in the car.” We adults understand on some level that we’re being lied to – no one provides long-term services that are actually free – but we jump at the offer just the same.

On top of that, nearly none of us in the West are suffering from lack of material resources. We’d have no problem paying a couple of dollars per month for email and search services. And yet we feel compelled to grasp at free stuff… even though we know that the offer comes from liars with hidden motives.

Yeah, something’s wrong in us. And it links back to a fear of scarcity. Not only is it an old fear (it had some factual basis in the old days), but it is stoked in us day by day.

Try, if you dare, to count the number of ads you are confronted with every day, and see if you can locate the obscure “you’re insufficient without this” message in them.

They say that some of the American Indians used to fear having their photos taken, as the photo might capture their souls. But this is precisely what Google, Facebook, et al., are doing: They’re taking your digital soul, handing it to the world’s most intrusive spy agencies, manipulating you based upon it, and now are playing truth police at the behest of behind-the-scene elites. And it all rests upon our weaknesses.

It’s time to straighten up and walk away.

* * * * *

New-Age-Intelligence

The 20th century, for better or worse, is over. This book was written from the trenches of the new data wars. It offers a raw, apolitical view of what is happening and where the practice of intelligence is headed.

Comments from readers:

“Be warned; this book is not rainbows and butterflies. This book is a hard look at a future that can be avoided only through vigilance and dedication. At only 55 pages, I read it in one sitting and agree with every word. If I had the resources I would buy hundreds of these books and distribute them to people freely.”

“Right on the money. What’s described so aptly in this book is happening now and it’s only going to get worse.”

“A must read for everyone. As terrifying as The Black Swan by Nassim Nicholas Taleb

If you have a glimpse of the whole picture of history and where we can head (or are heading) as a civilization, you should come away from this read with new insights.”

Get it at Amazon or on Kindle.

* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

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 of the US economy took hold((We can trace it even farther back to the closing of the gold window and the rise of the petro-dollar in the 1970s.)). It’s crucial to understand that the Wall Street complex thrives on the skim: moving money from place to place to place and taking a percentage each time. This is not productive. Rather, it absorbs the fruits of production. As of 2016, that skim was a significant percentage of the US gross domestic product. (It was 7.3% for finance and insurance combined, so a guess of 5% for Wall Street may be close.)

In the end, that means that some trillion dollars per year is skimmed from the US economy by Wall Street and related businesses. These outfits provide some services, to be sure, but have you noticed that nearly 100% of all retirement money in the US is now channeled through Wall Street? That didn’t happen by accident; it happened because legislation and regulations made it happen.

I’m simplifying here but not unfairly. And I’m not willing to turn away from the truth just because it’s hidden behind complexity.

Here’s a graph((Taken from NY Times data and annotated, I think, by Charles Hugh Smith.)) showing the difference between 1980 and 2014:

inequalityimage-NYT

Since 2008 this process has become much worse, because of central bank actions (including massive asset buys and their zero interest rate policy) and corporate stock buybacks. So much so that projections show that the richest 1% will control nearly two-thirds of the world’s money by 2030. That’s not a healthy situation.

Four Truths

Given these facts, I’d like to express some important facts about this situation:

#1: This is because the system is rigged.

The status quo system is clearly rigged, and it had to be for the system to continue without a painful reset of some kind. Especially since 2008, the system needed more tax income and lower interest on its debt burden and to keep the populace acquiescent with a general prosperity. A reset would have been bad for the banks, bad for the corporations, and bad for the politicians.

And the rigging delivered. With income going to the richest, the state gathered more money from the higher tax brackets. With stock and bond prices soaring, those high-end taxpayers were quite content to pay. The banks got free money, taking loans from the Fed at 0.25% or less, then put the money into Treasuries at 3%. Politicians were better funded than ever before too.

It was an era of easy money for the high end of the economy. But more important than that, it was a time of mass compliance and thus an era of mega-government.

#2: Any other “class” would have done likewise… and has done likewise.

Dividing people into classes is misleading at best, but since we’ve started with “the one percent,” we’re more or less locked into that model. And so, with apologies, we will continue with it.

The upper class has clearly cashed in on the rigging of the US economy, and the middle and lower classes have clearly lagged behind. Behind all the self-congratulatory unemployment figures, for example, there are 90-some million Americans who aren’t even considered “in the workforce,” not to mention millions on welfare and disability programs.

But it’s also very clear that if the lower or middle classes had been given an opportunity to leap ahead at the expense of the others, they would have done so too. In fact, the middle class did exactly that in the 1950s.

Because of labor laws and a variety of regulations and court rulings, labor unions were able to wield massive power in the post-World War II years. There were huge numbers of ignorant and not particularly hardworking guys riding around in luxury cars, with big boats or RVs parked next to their houses.

So, calling the one percent evil, or even culpable, is a stretch. Certainly some small number of them are, but most have simply been getting ahead because they could.

#3: Envy and retribution is the path to barbarism and death.

A lot of the people who talk about “the one percent” seek to stir up envy, anger, and hate. They want a mass of angry people who will bring them into power. Please understand: This is the path to death and degradation.

“Getting them back” is something we should have gotten over in childhood; in adulthood it leads to “charismatic” leaders and piles of corpses.

Sure, we all get angry sometimes. But we are not children anymore, and simply lashing out is both childish and barbaric. These are precisely the kinds of emotions that bypass reason and empower monsters.

And as in the Soviet Union, those who empower the monster will also be its victims. Whatever you empower the big man to build will be turned against you.

#4: The solution is to walk away from the rigged system.

You never have any power in a negotiation unless you’re prepared to walk away from it. Likewise, if you’re not ready to walk away from the status quo – to be called weird and to be disliked – you have no power to change anything. The best you can do is hope that a politician will somehow respond to your whining.

What works is to turn your back on the status quo and start building better systems. And it’s just about the only thing that has ever worked.

So, pick a spot and start building a better world. But don’t talk… act. Unless and until you act, you remain inert, no matter how much you talk.

Break out of your inertia. Get up and start doing.

* * * * *

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

The Great Ephemera Machine

Ephemera

Ephemera: (plural of ephemeron)

  1. transitory things

  2. publications that are designed to be short lived

We in the modern West are living inside a giant ephemera machine. Every day we receive more than a thousand messages telling us what to fear, what to identify with, what to compare ourselves to, and of course, what we should buy.

Nearly all of this is ephemera – things that will matter nothing next year, much less in the long run.

I’m especially aware of this because I lived about as free from this ephemera as was possible in the modern West. (At least while still living and working in the larger world.) Beginning in 1977 and lasting into 1990, I chose not to own a television. I listened to just a little bit of radio and read newspapers only occasionally. I still don’t know who shot J.R., though I know it was a big deal to the people I worked with.

Those were the days before the internet and cell phones, of course. The ephemera storm was small, compared to what it is now. Escaping it was easier, though it was still thought to be very weird.

And I’ll tell you the truth about it: I missed almost nothing.

Consider the thousands of hours I didn’t waste on trivialities: which liar got elected to which office, which “leader” was caught doing what to some young person, which local potentate was insulted by which foreign potentate and wanted people to clamor for war.

Instead, I tended to my family and read books. Ignoring the ephemera was a great advantage to me. (And I avoid it pretty well to this day.)

The Great Misdirection

Avoiding the ephemera, however, is about more than wasted time, as massive as that may be. Rather, it’s about learning to appreciate ourselves and to use what’s inside of us.

Ephemera, as you no doubt understand, can consume nearly your entire life nowadays, and for many millions of people, it does consume their lives. TV to wake up with, Facebook during breakfast, Talk Radio on the way to work, Twitter at lunch time, more radio on the way home, Facebook again during dinner, and then TV to fall asleep to. These people seldom have a self-generated thought the whole day. All their thoughts are put there by someone else.

This massive waste has become epidemic in recent years, but even this isn’t the core problem. The deeper issue is this:

People consumed with ephemera never learn to use the magic that’s inside them.

And there is magic inside of us – all of us. Jesus was on to something when he taught that “the kingdom of God is within you.” Finding it and using it, however, takes time and work. Those whose lives are consumed with ephemera will never get there.

If you read about creative people, you’ll find that they all learned to draw beauty and innovation out of themselves. You simply cannot do that while consuming ephemera 24/7. As the great educator, John Taylor Gatto, said:

Growth and mastery come only to those who vigorously self-direct.

Self-direction is essential, and ephemera is its natural enemy.

Now, please consider this passage from Carl Jung’s Psychology and Alchemy:

People will do anything, no matter how absurd, in order to avoid facing their own souls. They will practice Indian yoga and all its exercises, observe a strict regimen of diet… all because they cannot get on with themselves and have not the slightest faith that anything useful could ever come out of their souls.

Sadly, Jung was right. Millions of people have no confidence that a path forward could possibly lie inside themselves… and nearly all those who are plugged into the ephemera machine are that way.

We really are capable of drawing good and great things out of ourselves. And these are the truly satisfying things of life. Once you’ve done this a few times, you come to accept that you are an agent of progress upon Earth – that you are a net positive in the world.

Please believe me that this runs far deeper and is far more solid than any amount of money or fame. This is what we really want out of life, and the ephemera machine is stealing it from millions of us.

So, yes, we should all unplug from the ephemera machine. We need to walk away from the status quo and get busy building a better way of life.

* * * * *

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  • 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.

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

The “Social Contract” Is a Fraud; Anyone Trying to Enforce It Is Acting Criminally

SocialContract

When you hear the word “social,” it’s even money that you’re being snookered.

“Social justice,” for example, is primarily a ruse for penalizing individuals without any finding of fact as to their individual guilt. Whether you actually did anything deserving of penalty is irrelevant… it’s “social.” And if you question the deal, you’re a bad person.

The granddaddy of all the “social” scams, however, is the “social contract.” That’s what replaced the “divine right of kings” in the 17th and 18th centuries, when it was falling apart. This is, in Wikipedia’s (slightly edited) words,

a theory or model that addresses the questions of the origin of society and the legitimacy of the authority of the state over the individual.

In other words, this was the new explanation of why it’s right for one group of men to rule over other men. Wikipedia continues:

Arguments typically posit that individuals have consented, either explicitly or tacitly, to surrender some of their freedoms and submit to the authority of the ruler in exchange for protection of their remaining rights.

So, a group of rulers gets to ignore our rights, take away our money (continually), punish us when it wishes, and even send us off to war. And that’s all okay because we somehow agreed to the deal. It’s a “contract,” after all.

Except It’s Not

If an adult wants to sign away his rights and make himself a serf to politicians, that’s his choice, and I won’t take it from him. But for the deal to be legit, a clear agreement and authorizations on both sides are required.

A contract is (again per Wikipedia, with my emphasis):

An agreement having a lawful object entered into voluntarily by two or more parties, each of whom intends to create one or more legal obligations between them. The elements of a contract are “offer” and “acceptance” by “competent persons” having legal capacity who exchange “consideration” to create “mutuality of obligation.”

The social contract fails this standard in multiple ways. In fact, it is not a contract in any rational sense of the term. And if it’s not a contract, then the use of that word is fraudulent.

Fraud is a “false representation with the intent of persuading the victim to part with property,” and that is precisely what is being done with the social contract, and on a gigantic scale.

We have a supposed contract, and we have trillions of dollars changing hands, based upon its legitimacy. If, in fact, it is not a contract, then the entirety of the arrangement is a massive criminal fraud.

So, is this the “social contract” legitimate? Let’s examine some crucial aspects of contracts:

Competence

In order to agree to a contract, one must be competent. You cannot, for example, make a contract with a hungry five-year-old, trading a few candy bars for a third of the child’s lifetime earnings. The child is not competent and any such agreement is rightly considered invalid.

The social contract, however, is held to be binding upon us from birth. How is that possible? Can an infant do what a five-year-old or even a twelve-year-old cannot?

Verdict: The social contract fails.

Voluntary agreement

A contract must be agreed to. I was never given a choice to sign or reject such an agreement, and I doubt that you were either. There can be no contract at all without a voluntary agreement. (See the next point below for the standard objection.)

Verdict: The social contract fails.

Without duress

A contract must be agreed to “without duress.” That is, without a threat of harm.

The standard objection to my “agreement” point above is that people agree to the social contract by their actions: If you use anything provided by a government, you automatically agree to the entire social contract. That line of argument fails in several ways (entrapment for starters, followed by being informed), but the largest issue in my mind is that of duress.

To get out of the social contract, we are told, we must leave the ruler’s territory. That places the ruler’s rights above our own as a starting point, which voids any semblance of “equal justice.” But I’ll pass up that discussion for today.

Leaving the ruler’s territory means spending large amounts of money, a tremendous amount of time to make arrangements, leaving our jobs behind, leaving all our friends behind, and leaving our entire families behind.

In other words, we can only escape the social contract by undertaking difficult, expensive, and heartbreaking actions.

Imagine a Fuller Brush salesman coming to your door and offering you an assortment of brushes for thirty dollars. Then, when you politely decline, he pulls out a gun and says “No! If you don’t want the deal, you have to abandon your house. Either pay me or leave.”

Is this salesman’s demand criminal? If so, the social contract is criminal as well. Both seek to secure agreements by using duress.

Verdict: The social contract fails, both legally and on grounds of cruelty.

Undue influence

Undue influence involves “one person taking advantage of a position of power over another person.”

Clearly, this applies to the social contract. First, we are compelled to attend schools run by the “other party” to the contract. These institutions teach us that the social contract is the way of the world and that any competing ideas would be crazy. And we are held in their classrooms five or more hours per day, beginning at five-years-old and running until adulthood. (If nothing else, consider the daily “Pledge of Allegiance” and try to count the number of times you were made to recite it.)

On top of that, the “other party” employs legions of armed men and authorizes them to violently subdue those who oppose them and their rules.

If these things are not undue influence, then nothing is. You can’t indoctrinate the other party, hold a sword to his throat, force him to sign, and still call it a contract.

Verdict: The social contract fails.

Mutuality of obligation

With no “mutuality of obligation,” there can be no contract. If the other side of the contract is not meeting their obligations, there must be recourse.

After the US government failed to protect New Yorkers on 9/11, all eight million of them should have been entitled to a refund. Clearly the other side of the deal failed to meet their obligations. (That, of course, didn’t happen: the loss of their rights only got worse.)

And then we have the doctrine of sovereign immunity, which removes all the most serious consequences from the other side of the deal.

There is no mutuality of obligation in the social contract. Therefore, it’s not a contract.

Verdict: The social contract fails.

I could go on, but I think my point is made. I have cited five clear violations of contract law and alluded to several others. If even one of these is valid, the “social contract” is invalid.

If the terms of a contract are uncertain or incomplete, it’s no contract at all. And for one party to continue to seize the goods of the other, claiming a contractual right to do so, is criminal fraud.

The Real Purpose of the “Contract”

As with the divine right of kings that preceded it, the hidden and essential aspect of the social contract is to give subjects a reason to submit.

The obvious reason for the subject to submit is that rulers employ thousands of armed men, who are authorized and prepared to punish disobedience. This, however, isn’t really enough for effective rulership. Policemen and jails are expensive, and many, many more than our current number would be required, if fear was the sole reason for obedience.

For governance to work, the subjects must believe that obeying is the right thing to do, and that’s where the social contract comes in: It gives people a reason to obey, beyond a mere threat. It saves them from having to face fear or even to consciously submit.

Strange as it may sound, an effective ruler must equip his or her subjects to obey. It’s a fundamental factor in rulership. And that’s the true purpose of the “social contract.”

So…

By any legal standard, the “social contract” fails. That won’t cause any rulers to change, of course, but truth still matters to some of us.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

This article was originally published by Casey Research.