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How Cryptography Has Revolutionized Revolution

I am no fan of violent revolution, yet I have to admit that John Kennedy had a point when he said, “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” The forces that drive revolutions push themselves to the surface one way or another. If they can find a peaceful path, they transform the world slowly and beneficially. If they are repressed, violence occurs sooner or later.

The old regime, however, never gives up power willingly. It makes no difference whether the regime is a monarchy, democracy, theocracy, republic or whatever. Once entrenched, power-holders fight to the last gasp. This is not a function of the system; it is a function of power itself, and the humans who become addicted to it. And so we’ve seen a long succession of violent revolutions.

The good news of our time – the transformative news of our time – is this: Cryptography displaces violence. However much cryptography we use, real change will require that much less violence. And there is a very good reason for this: Cryptography is impervious to weapons.

Cryptography, after all, is simply math, and you can’t put a bullet through a math problem. Well-applied cryptography, then, is immune to the usual applications of power. And so, whatever we cloak in cryptography can push through barriers erected by old, grasping regimes. And the barriers crypto blows through are precisely those involving violence.

And please consider the awesome power of cryptography. In a very common application, it is roughly 2 to the 100th power times harder to decrypt a message than it is to encrypt it, unless you have the key.

In other words, to blow through cryptography, you have to guess the correct answer among 1,267,650,600,228,229,401,496,703,205,376 choices. That’s 31 digits of power. This isn’t just theoretical; it’s the kind of encryption we’ve been using in everyday life for many years.

The universe, as Julian Assange noted, favors encryption.

Where Cryptography Is Already Displacing Violence

Please understand that without strong cryptography (for which you can thank the early cypherpunks), the world of 1984 would already be here. I’ll save the details for another time, but I can’t bypass the point itself. Surveillance is the crack cocaine of the powerful, and political systems have done little to restrain it. But encryption has.

Right now we can cloak all our communications in cryptography. Further, we can (using a variety of related techniques) make them anonymous. That blinds the regime to a great many things, leaving them unable to target and justify their violence.

The great fear related to this is reactionary: “Bad people will use it to destroy us!” But that dear reader… and please excuse my language… is unadulterated bullshit. It is fear porn. It is imaginary. Here’s why:

We’ve had powerful encryption since about 1992, and since that time, violent crime has declined. More than that, the dreaded “terrorism” has not risen. (Details here.) And the one blinding terror event of our time – 9/11 – was accomplished, not with strong encryption, but with text messages.

And so the downside of cryptography is minuscule while the upside is nothing less than the progress of the human species. Easy choice.

Crypto involves far more than communication, of course, it also involves money. Bitcoin began as a nothing out of a dark corner in 2009, but has refused to die, no matter how much propaganda (and worse) has been thrown at it. And it survives for good reason: You can’t put a bullet through a math problem. (The Bitcoin saga is far more complex, of course, but this will suffice for now.)

Even if Bitcoin were undermined in some way, the concept of cryptographic money would remain, and other models of digital cash are waiting to fill any gap. This genie is out of the bottle; even if somehow slowed, it won’t fit back inside: Far too many people know that it works.

As one small example, consider: Without Bitcoin, where would Wikileaks have been? Undoubtedly they would have resorted to a variety of funding methods, all less than pristine, which would have involved violence somewhere along the line. But by using Bitcoin – a cryptocurrency – purely peaceful people were able to fund the peaceful Wikileaks by purely peaceful means.

The regime ultimately caged Assange, but Wikleaks and the Wikileaks concept stand. And please understand that their model is the only one still holding power to account.

Planet Crypto

Consider a world in which no one can force you to do anything thing you don’t want to do. Not shouldn’t force you, but can’t force you. Consider a world that is geared for the golden rule. A world that has no gearing for violence… that has no handles for power to grab.

That’s the world cryptography gives us. And however well and broadly we implement cryptography, that’s how much of that golden-rule, forceless realm is open to us.

Call that a dream world if you like, but it’s a world built out of math. And you still can’t put a bullet through a math problem.


Paul Rosenberg



Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 12

(Continued from part eleven)

There was something irresistible about his presence. When I saw him during my last insertion he was a boy, not quite seven years old. The person I saw through the Corwins’ window was a young man, and he was staring at me with a profoundly adult intensity.

By all rights I should have turned away and avoided him. This was a parallel and temporary world and I couldn’t reasonably explain that to him. More than that, I had a small number of days in this world and I didn’t know what I was going to be doing. I wasn’t remotely ready to take on the development of a 19 year-old boy, even if he was a younger version of myself.

But all of that became irrelevant upon seeing him. My focus was drawn – nay, pulled – from a wide view to a narrow focus on his face. I was absolutely certain that if our eyes locked the two of us would be locked together, and for the duration of this world. Pulling away from him after that would carry the same instinctive aversion as would, I suppose, trying to cut off my own arm.

But just before the moment of inevitability, a large man, one of the Corwin’s grandchildren, passed directly between the two of us. He blocked our view for only a second or so, but in that moment my mind raced to an understanding of what was happening.

Not that I could do anything about it, a second wasn’t enough, but it allowed me to clarify what was happening.

And then I was staring at him again, trying to keep myself from narrowing my focus, which was still being pulled to his eyes.

Again I was reprieved by the large man, and this time he was talking to Walter and remaining in place, between myself and myself.

* * * * *

Excuse me,” I said, grabbing Walter in a wrestler’s clench, then turning him so my back was to the young man and Walter was facing him.

Do you see the young man across the street, Walter? Wearing a rust colored jacket?”

Walter was fairly calm, considering. “Yes, I do,” he answered.

Okay, I said, loosening my grip and stepping slightly to the side. “Hold up your hands and gesture to him to wait a minute, please.”

I was keeping my head lowered and my eyes closed as a triple safety measure, but I could feel Walter moving.

All right,” Walter said, “he nodded his understanding. He’ll wait.”

Then I grabbed him again, pulled him to the nearby hallway and released him.

I’m sorry about this, Walter, but this is hyper-intense for me. Please go outside, greet the young man warmly, and tell him that the man he was looking at will send him a note in a few minutes, and would he please wait for it.”

I will do that, Paul, but are you well?”

I half-smiled and half-laughed. “I will be a little later, Walter. And thank you for this. Please go now. Be warm, but be brief. I won’t move from this spot till you get back.”

Walter agreed, turned and went out. I felt frozen as I stood there. I spoke to no one and looked at no one, even though people passed by.

A few minutes later Walter was back, trying to get my attention rather than to help me return to normal, as I would have expected.

Paul, that young man…”

Is he waiting?”

Yes, he says he’ll wait.”

Good, then help me back to some paper and a pen, please.”

He guided me to the guest room (no one was in it and the door was open), but once there he waited for me to raise my head and look up at him.

I looked up to find that he was frightened.

Paul, that young man… he looks a little like you and he speaks with your voice!”

Walter,” I said very seriously, “help me through this and then we’ll talk about it, okay?”

He nodded, then I sat him on the bed. At this point he looked like he needed calming more than I did.

I remembered that a pad of paper and pen were in the second drawer. I pulled them out and wrote a note. It read like this:

“Paul, I’m sorry I can’t talk with you now, but I will at some point in the future. You were very perceptive to find me, but this isn’t the right time for us to be together. So, please go home and let this encounter fade from your mind. I will find you – I know where you’re going to be – and we will spend time together. I will explain things to you. But not yet. This isn’t the right time.”

I was happy to be able to write cogently, and I couldn’t help promising to see him again, the connection between us was too intense for me to turn away from that. I had absolutely no plan, but even if it came on my last day or two, I would see him.

* * * * *

Now I had to get Walter ready and send him back outside. I sat next to him and held his arm.

Walter, I need you to take five minutes out of your regular life… your regular consciousness… and to play James Bond.”

His head twisted quickly toward me, telling me that I had hit the right strategy.


I need you to be James Bond for five minutes. I need you for a mission. Take the note to the young man, smile, then say, ‘Please go home and read this.’ That done, just turn around and come back in. After that your mission is over.”

He was as ready as he was going to be. I walked him down the hall and as far as I could without the front windows coming into my field of view.

Go now Walter. Smile, hand him the note, tell him to go home and read it, then come back. I’ll wait right here.”

I physically turned him and gave him a bit of a push. I watched him go out the apartment door standing straight and walking strongly. Then I froze again and waited.

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4 Good Things Coming Out of This Mess

I thought 2019 was about as low as the culture of the West could go. Between drag queens in kindergartens, an angry autistic girl hailed as a saint and screaming at the UN, and semi-sane Wokesters openly promoting racial hatred (this time against whites), I figured there wasn’t much lower to go.

But there was, of course; there’s always violence at the end of the line. It took three months of universal house arrest, tens of millions unemployed, a semi-scary virus and a vicious murder to do it, but we finally reached that depth.

Now our cities burn while TV cameras focus on vapid, narcissistic and sociopathic talking heads. There are no adults on the stage.

But, there are good things coming out of this.

#1: The Parent & Child Reunion

Since roughly 1900, the children of the West have been forcibly separated from their parents: physically, intellectually and even emotionally. This was done, as we all know, in the name of education (a fine goal by itself), but it quickly overpowered family life altogether.

Consider, please, that the center of family life, around which all activities are organized, has been the school. No other organizational format was even considered by most people.

And then, in an instant, it was gone. A century’s worth of inertia simply evaporated. This left parents to re-organize in a hurry, but several lessons (with the usual exceptions) are already coming out of it:

  1. Parents are learning that they like being a bigger part of their children’s lives.

  2. Parents are discovering that the kids learn more at home and are happier doing it.

  3. Children have become part of the world again, rather then being foreign creatures who had to be sequestered.

These are healthy things. On top of that, children who are taught as home (or via any form of tutoring) are better critical thinkers than kids locked into government schools. That’s going to have big effects over time… and positive ones. (There’s a reason Ivory Tower sycophants are freaking out over this.)

#2: Faith In Public Institutions Has Broken

Yes, this is a good thing. We’ve been, to paraphrase The Declaration of Independence, suffering a long chain of abuses, because humans are more disposed to suffer than to change.

Just about everyone complains about politicians, just about all of the time. But we’ve preferred to complain and the reds or the blues, rather than face the scarier fact that the system itself was broken. Now it can barely be avoided.

The cops have disgraced themselves by killing a black man, by nearly killing a white grandpa, by arresting people for going to church, and so on. “Fellow-officers” showed themselves to be complicit with the “bad eggs,” police unions have proven to be utterly contemptuous, and both state and local prosecutors have joined them.

Politicians of every flavor have shown themselves to be feckless, stupid, false, angry, brutal and power-mad. And crazily narcissistic, of course.

The arrogant new tech giants displayed their willingness… nay, their eagerness to censor… seeing all who fail to worship their narrow and brittle philosophy as ignorant, dangerous buffoons.

I could go on (you undoubtedly have your own favorites), but I’ll move along. Suffice it to say that the only public institution that hasn’t overtly disgraced itself is the military, but this isn’t over yet and their status is already past its expiration date.

#3: “The Markets” Have Been Unmasked As Rigged

The middle class, lower middle class and the poor all know that the Treasury (and central banks world-wide) have saved their friends (banks, corps and “the rich”) while tossing them crumbs and expecting them to be thankful.

The interest rates on credit cards, at the same time (and at some point it really does pass into usury) keep rising. Tens of millions of jobs have been lost, but real estate taxes remain and rise, as do other taxes.

On the other hand, the upper middle class – the 401(k) class – has been wildly protected, in the form of a stock market that has levitated in spite of world-wide disaster. (This is not to demonize the upper middle class; most of them are decent people who are stuck in this crazy situation the same as everyone else.)

At this point everyone knows that it’s all a big charade: that “fundamentals,” “market forces,” and so on are meaningless: What the Treasury buys, goes up.

God help us.

#4: Mindless Consumerism Has, Perhaps, Broken

Americans, and Westerners in general, have been addicted to status symbols all through my lifetime. When I was a boy people joked about “keeping up with the Joneses,” but it was only funny because it was true.

Bear in mind that this was a cultured addiction. Empowered by a perfect storm of big business intent, mass media and the “science” of propaganda, it worked insanely well, to the point where most people bought carts full of stuff, not because it made their lives better, but because they were induced to buy it by publicity campaigns.

To put it succinctly, America, since about 1920, shifted from a needs culture to a wants culture. And, since the US was the world’s primary generator of images, the rest of the world tended to follow.

Now, with need returning, that particular flavor of crazy may end. This is still uncertain, mind you, but the longer the pain continues, the more likely it becomes.


So, there really are good things in the midst of this insanity. Please do whatever you can to move them along.


Paul Rosenberg



Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 11

(Continued from part ten)

The next morning, February 11th, I woke to the percolator again. I took a quick shower and sat down at the kitchen table, where Dorthea and Micah were waiting. They seemed some mix of satisfied and worried. Sensing that, I told them the story of my entrance to 1963, culminating in my friend letting herself die.

After describing her death, I added what I had told Michael Burroughs just before his death: That the calmness with which she approached her imminent passing… as if it were no more to her than taking a nap… that it affected me then and was affecting me still.

They sat silently for a minute or so, holding hands.

Would you like a suggestion?” I asked.

They indicated that they would.

You said that you have children and grandchildren. Call them and tell them the facts as best they can handle them… definitely including that you’ll be expiring tomorrow night… and ask them to spend tomorrow with you. Today, the three of us can head downtown for a pleasant day. That will help me set myself up for this mission”

To that they quickly agreed. Then, as they prepared to call their children, I excused myself to run to the news stand and a fruit market, giving them some private time. Their children were both in their sixties, but they were still their kids, and this was the big goodbye.

* * * * *

Our cab arrived at the Palmer House just before noon. I took a small suite; the first three days paid in advance. Then we walked down Wabash to Marshall Field’s. Micah and Dorthea went to the basement and picked out their favorite candies (it was something they used to do when they were young) and I bought a three full sets of clothes, plus extra underwear and socks.

I left my bags at the Men’s department and took the Corwins to the Walnut Room, a fancy restaurant on Field’s top floor. We ate a multi-course meal with dessert. It was something Dorthea had long wanted to do, but never had a good opportunity.

Is there anything else you’d like to do, but haven’t?” I asked them.

I’d like to see the great paintings at the Art Institute again,” Dorthea said.

And so we walked back on Wabash, dropped my clothes at the hotel, and continued around the corner to the Art Institute. We spent two hours examining the truly wonderful art, ending at the sculpture garden in the basement. Then, with Micah and Dorthea growing weary, I grabbed a cab and we went home via Lake Shore Drive, one of the world’s more pleasant drives.

Quietly, so as not to be heard by the driver, I gave them a travelogue featuring events from my life as we drove west on Lawrence Avenue to their apartment.

Back inside, I more or less tucked them into bed and sat in their front room, sipping tea and watching a light snow fall on Lawndale Avenue… in 1978… which was still an amazement to me.

* * * * *

Both the Corwins’ children, with some reservations, spent their last day with their parents. Several grand- and great-grandchildren stopped in through the day.

I got up early and stayed until the first group showed up, then excused myself and took a cab down to the Palmer House. I checked, and learned that Mr. Reynolds was still checked in. And so I left his clothes in front of his door and slid a think you note, along with a hundred-dollar bill, beneath his door. Then I took a long nap.

In the evening I headed back by train and found the small crowd dispersing. The son and daughter were both there. They weren’t sure their parents would really die – there had been predictions and failures all their lives – but their passing would be soon in any event, and the daughter said she’d stay in the guest room if I didn’t mind. And so I gathered up my remaining items and prepared to head back downtown.

I asked for a few minutes with Micah and Dorthea before leaving, which everyone graciously granted. We retreated to their bedroom and talked.

I’m very sorry I won’t see you again,” I said with tears starting down my face.

They both hugged me for a long time, thanking me “for everything you’ve done,” which was restoring meaning to their lives. I said I was pleased to have helped, but I couldn’t help thinking of the real Micah and Dorthea, who died in the real 1978 with their hopes never realized.

I stopped myself from thinking of all the millions like them, who have been propelled by the spiritual instinct and were soon pulled into a life-long series of disappointments. That was simply too much to bite off.

As I was saying my good byes amongst the others, Walter from Hosanna Tabernacle asked if there was anything he could do to help. I told him I couldn’t think of anything right off, but that I’d most definitely contact him if there was. He also asked me back to Hosanna Tabernacle. I said I would plan on it, but I wasn’t sure when.

You know when we meet,” he said. “Just drop in.”

I said I would.

I left Walter with my mind already heading to the door, but as I walked I noticed a young man through the large front windows. It was me… the 19 year-old me. And he was looking straight at me.

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Why Is No One Mentioning Unions?

I try to avoid all things political, but the recent mayhem required me to give it some attention. And I couldn’t help noticing that almost no one is addressing a fundamental factor in most of it: The unions.

Whether we like or dislike unions (I have mixed experiences, as I suppose most people do), they are a major factor in our recent events, and bear some attention. And so I’ll get the ball rolling.

The Police Unions

A few people have mentioned police unions following the sadistic murder of George Floyd, but let’s be clear on this: All the cops who kill people then get their jobs back are so privileged because of their unions. (And this, by the way, is actual privilege.)

Police unions have tremendous power over the municipalities in which they operate, and get their way nearly all the time. County commissioners and the like dare not cross them, because the union bosses will get other unions to join in opposing them, will have them portrayed in the press as hating their “heroes in blue,” and will likely ruin them.

The unions are enriched by dues, of course, and justify that by protecting their dues-paying members… the further the better.

Notice, please, that I haven’t mentioned the safety of people thus far. That’s because it’s a secondary concern. In the calculations of power, the citizenry matters only when they affect larger things, like when they riot, or when they as so stirred-up by media reports that will cost political offices. That’s when bad cops are fired, and very seldom before.

Without police unions intimidating politicians, it’s likely that George Floyd, Eric Garner, Duncan Lemp and many others would still be alive.

Teachers Unions

Not every municipality has teachers unions, but all the major urban centers do. Teachers unions, like police unions, protect their dues-paying members fiercely. There’s a reason why American schools spend $15,424. per student per year (according to Corey DeAngelis at Cato), while producing poor and declining results.

Here’s a great illustration of the problem, and in it you’ll see a parallel to police unions:

Back in the 1990s, the Secretary of Education visited the head of the Chicago Teachers Union, and they had a conversation that went about like this:

Secretary: So, how do you handle bad teachers?

Union leader: We don’t have any bad teachers.

Secretary: I understand, you train them well, but you have thousands of teachers in your union; some small percentage of them have to be bad. How do you deal with those?

Union leader: We don’t have any bad teachers.

And again, the unions have so much practical power that politicians are hopeless as a mitigating force.

Government Employee Unions

It would be hard to over-state the power of government employee unions. There will be no true “draining of the swamp” so long as these outfits retain their power. Take everything we’ve said above and multiply it, if you want to understand government employee unions.

Pension Fund Insolvency

A large number of states and municipalities are hopelessly insolvent, with the worst cases where unions hold the most power. And the real fiscal pain comes in the form of pension obligations. Unions demand rich pensions, get them locked into law, and never back down. Politicians have catered to them in hope of more votes. Union members, clinging to over-sized wages, do as the union advises. And so, state and municipal budgets are permanently broken.

The Big Picture

Having been empowered by legislation and policy over the 20th century, and riding on a series of effective narratives (Robber Barons, the Triangle Shirtwaiste fire, Caesar Chavez and so on), unions have amassed power on top of power. And like all narrow-minded and amoral power, they’ve over-fed to the point of destroying their food sources.

Bear in mind that I have no prescription for this and that I don’t want any further involvement. But if my neighbors want to deal with the present situation, seeing the structure of the problem is essential. Otherwise we’re blown from one opinion to another by each new narrative.


Paul Rosenberg



The Big Entrepreneurial Fix

This post began as an advertisement and morphed into something more. Call it both.

Millions of eager and productive people have been kept out of businesses that were natural to them, because of government regulations and second-order effects like unattainable insurance policies.

Most of us will recall a couple of African-American ladies having their hair braiding business closed by police officers who obeyed their servile bosses. But those were the few… the especially visible victims; there have been many, many more, and of all flavors.

We Live In A System That Will Not Allow Us To Thrive”

I’ve heard words like these for years, and often considered them leftist-inspired slogans… which they often were. But as time has rolled forward they’ve become more and more true.

I also chafed at such slogans because they assumed us to be powerless creatures. I still reject that, and vehemently.

Nonetheless, the fact is that government decrees (of innumerable types) have prevented us from thriving. That goes for blacks, whites, Latins and everyone else. Millions of us have been excluded from careers we could have pursued quite well.

I was kept out of an excellent career, not because I couldn’t do the work, but because I didn’t have government-mandated approvals. I ended up doing a lot of the same things, but through a back door that was only wide enough for one or two people to squeeze through. What of the hundreds like me who couldn’t make it?

I’ve also had to close businesses because of government edicts. And there have to be multitudes who join me in that.

My point is that the saying, no matter how it began, has become true. The system will not allow us to thrive. Whether by design or evolution, it squeezes most people out. The poor person complaining that the system holds them down may not be wrong.

I won’t go through the details, but I’ve been near the guts of this all my life, and I know quite well how it works.

The Solution

My point today (and I’m trying to keep this brief) is that this is a gigantic problem; a mass suppression of human ability and human happiness. There is almost no escape in the regulated economy (a few cracks can be exploited here and there), but there is one big, new escape: The crypto economy.

The new, cryptocurrency-based economy has formed outside of the rigged system. It isn’t fully-formed yet, but it’s as functional as we need it to be, and new tools are appearing on almost a daily basis.

And so, to all the business owners who were crushed by coronavirus lock-downs and finished-off by looters, to everyone who couldn’t bid on work because their skin wasn’t the right color or they were the wrong sex, and to everyone who couldn’t afford to spend a hundred thousand dollars on an approval certificate… please listen:

You now have a way around the system.

The crypto economy is here. If you’ve like a fast entry, see the course my daughter and I just released, it really is terrific. But if that doesn’t suit you, go to a Bitcoin meetup, start talking to people and start learning on your own. But don’t ignore the crypto economy; almost everything else is rigged against you.

Here’s the Crypto for Business course at Udemy.


Paul Rosenberg



The Crypto Apostles

Almost no one in the broader world knows about the crypto apostles. (My term, not one they apply to themselves.) Even rather few in the larger crypto community know much about them. So I’m not talking about famous names, but quiet people. I’ve decided to tell you about them with some hesitation.

I know some of these people, have heard of others, and I’m sure that I’ve missed many more. These are both individuals and families who have taken it upon themselves to travel to distant places to spread the knowledge of cryptocurrencies. They’ve done this mostly at their own expense, and definitely at their own risk. Many of their family members have to think it’s a foolish idea. And these people are spread widely, over more or less this entire planet.

In keeping with Christian metaphors I suppose I could call them “missionaries” – I’m sure they’d dislike that term less – but my respect for them is great, and so I’ll stay with the stronger expression today.

Why Do They Go?

These people – and they come in a wide variety of types – go because they’ve seen into the depths of Bitcoin and its children, into the decentralization philosophy… into the the better world model that rises, inevitably, out of it.

That is, these people have glimpsed that the crypto model liberates mankind, and they want to spread that vision as far and wide as they can.

Understand, please, that Bitcoin is a gateway drug. Once you’ve really tasted it… have understood how it creates trust in a decentralized way… have understood that decentralization (in many forms) is not only functional, but superior…

Then, sometimes slowly and sometimes in a flash, you come to understand that the way the world is presently organized is all wrong. There’s a reason we have endless wars, why the worst rise to the top of power hierarchies, why we’re abused on the streets by the agents of power. And it isn’t because of a few bad actors; the problem is the structure. It’s a crazy model developed by ancient conquerors and somehow passed down into what should be a space age.

That is what flows out of Bitcoin, and that is what these people have grasped. They have, as we would have said years ago, grokked Bitcoin. And as we might expect from self-referential, compassionate beings, they’ve gone out to spread the vision.

These people are planting the seeds of a better future, day by day.

These are not perfect people, of course; they struggle with the same sorts of internal conflicts and occasional bouts of foolishness that afflict us all… but they do their jobs all the same. Nor are they all full-time apostles; they face complications, limitations and difficulties like everyone else. And yet they go, they teach, they encourage and they demonstrate.

Without question, these people are pulling themselves past their conflicts and foolishness faster than obedient citizens, perpetually steeped in the way of the power-lusters and their associates.

What This Means

I’m sure I am embarrassing the crypto apostles – full-timers, part-timers and all the many variants – by publishing this, but again, I want you to know. And I’d also like you to appreciate what this means.

There is a scene in the second Godfather film where Michael Corleone sees a Cuban rebel give his own life for his cause. Upon seeing this, Michael decides to walk away from the deal that brought him. He understood that the rebels believed deeply in their cause, while the dictator’s supporters were only there for the goodies. “The rebels,” he said, “can win.”

So it is with those who have grokked Bitcoin. It is more to us than money. It is a new and better model of human life. And we do care about that.

The existing system has printing presses, glad-handing sycophants of many flavors and an endless stream of people paying for access to the money stream… but they’re all just there for the goodies.

The lesson of the crypto apostles, then… of all who have grokked Bitcoin… is that we can win.

And that, to be honest about it, is why I haven’t written about these people until now. I didn’t want the powers that be to notice them. Those powers, however, have now found more immediate problems, and are far less likely to spend their efforts on a few isolated enthusiasts. Hence this article.

You’ll make your own choices about what to do with this information, of course. In my opinion, the first move is to spend time examining decentralization (which I’m using as a catch-phrase, not a technical term)… to internalize how decentralization empowers and improves individuals and dis-empowers hierarchies of authority and violence.

Once you really see that Bitcoin’s model spawns a better humanity and better human life, you won’t need direction from me or from anyone else. You’ll still have to sort through your internal issues, but you’ll find yourself with a why and with a vision… and that will carry you forward, faster and farther.

God speed to us all.


Paul Rosenberg



Return Engagements (Book Two) PART 10

(Continued from part nine)

After my speed-thinking experience, my friends took over the conversation, asking me about space travel. That helped me, because while I could still feel things roiling around in the back of my mind, no more were added. More than that, their raw enthusiasm for the subject began cleansing me in some way. The got excited almost the way that three year-olds do. There was a naked thrill to it.

As we ate our meals I explained in some depth about the Gemini and Apollo programs I grew up with. I recounted all the stories of spacewalks, disasters and near disasters, docking maneuvers, orbital trajectories and so on. They were mesmerized.

And then, as an aside, I mentioned something about airplanes, after which they wanted a description of that whole industry. And when I explained to them that my 19 year-old self was, at about this time, working at O’Hare, the world’s busiest airport… and that it was a fairly short drive away… well, they had to go.

And so we left the Chandelier. But before we headed out, they wanted to walk around the block to soak in the atmosphere. I waited in the car and tried to let my mind be as blank as possible.

Soon enough, however, we were on our way to O’Hare. We parked and walked long circuits through a couple of terminals (there were no armed checkpoints in those days), me answering questions nearly all the way.

Finally, the airport being all but empty by this time, we headed out again. But as we arrived at the car, I could feel that Jens had something to say.

What is it?” I asked him as we got back into the car, with him in the front seat this time.

Is there someplace we can stop on the way back? Somewhere where we can be left alone to speak for a while?”

Immediately I knew where to go, and I took them to the old Howard Johnson’s oasis, bridging the Tri-State Tollway1. It was slightly seedy but easy to get to, open all night and certain to be mostly empty.

We’d like to tell you what we did with the Corwins,” Lara said as we found a table and sat.

I nodded.

Micah was about to die… as in tonight or tomorrow morning. We can tell such things.”

I nodded again.

Dorthea had another four days. So… since it would make so little difference to the larger world, and since we were sure you’d agree… we thought we should make their exits more pleasant for them.”

To that I certainly agree,” I injected, and this time they nodded.

So, we very gently informed them of this fact and offered to equalize them. They will now die at roughly the same moment. Two nights from now, they’ll both become very, very tired, then fall asleep in both senses of the term.”

And they’d very much like your help and comfort until then,” Lara added.

I pondered for a moment. Of course I’d do what I could for them, but there was more implied in her little statement.

And what did you tell them?”

We said that your mission was highly important, but that they had become part of it, and taking two days out for them would please you. Then they asked how they might help you and your mission, to justify the time spent on them.”

These really are thoughtful people,” I mumbled.

They are,” she said. “They belong in a better world.

And so,” Lara continued, “please see if there’s something they can do to help your mission.”

I shall,” I assured them.

From there, the conversation turned back to what they’d be doing on this temporary Earth, and for how long. And again they began by asking if it seemed a good idea to me.

Their plan was to drive to NASA in Florida and spend a day or two examining the spacecrafts, meeting the designers, and so on. I advised them that it was a highly protected set of facilities with access severely restricted, but they just smiled. “We’re good at ins and outs,” they assured me.

I had earlier explained that this was a slow moment at NASA, but that didn’t concern them. They mainly wanted to see the equipment and know the engineers who had built it.

We went back to the car and headed back to the apartment, where they’d drop me off. We were all quiet on the way back, but I had one question that kept nagging me, and I decided to take the opportunity while I could.

Earlier, you said that you were hesitant to deal with the people of this time because you were too far removed from them. But I’m more or less from this time. You’re dealing with me.”

Lara, in the front seat this time, took the question.

But you’re also an outsider to this world; that attitude makes a tremendous difference. You are already informed of many things they are not… and have acclimated yourself to those things.”

I waited for her to continue.

In addition, you’re an important four decades removed from them, as well as working at the forefront on a daily basis.”

Am important four decades? ran through my mind… Most of those years were boring.

Why do you say those four decades were important? I saw a lot of it as dull.”

Ah,” Jens added from the back seat, “but you were looking at the outer world more than the inner worlds.”

What did you see,” I responded, “when you looked at those decades?”

What I saw,” he went on while pulling himself between the two front seats again, “was people progressively clarifying their experience of themselves. Your increasing knowledge of psychology, for example… regardless of the tangents it sometimes took, made people aware of entire classes of errors.”

You mean things like denial and cognitive dissonance?”

Yes, precisely. And being aware of them, they began to clean them out. Slowly and erratically, of course, but steadily.

Haven’t you been saying that what your people needed to move forward was not so much mental strength but emotional strength?”

Yes, I’ve been saying that in a couple of ways, and I think maybe I should say it more.”

Perhaps so,” he said. “From my perspective, such things provided solid ground upon which people could stand to do other things… more overt things, like your Internet and cryptography movements.”

Maybe you’re right,” I said. “Slowly and quietly, that continued through the whole time. And with the Internet, it spread all the faster.”

I could see him in the rear-view mirror smiling.

Thank you,” I said to them both. “I very much appreciate your perspectives on things.”

I could feel a joy oozing out of them. We arrived at the apartment and parted while still engulfed in it.


1 If you’re curious, you can see this place in an older movie called Thief, starring James Caan.

All of Book Two on Kindle

Book One on Kindle


Between about 2007 and 2014, I was a regular participant in what we used to call “the offshore circuit.” It consisted of a fairly small group of providers and consultants, teaching people who were sick of being reamed by taxes, how they could structure their lives differently and gain some serious financial liberation. My part was teaching people why and how to protect their data.

We had a lot of fun and we helped a lot of good people… and, we got to travel to fun places like St. Kitts, the coast of Belize, the Bahamas, Grand Cayman, Antigua, Panama and others. Plus, it was good for Cryptohippie, the anonymous VPN I was managing then and still manage.

Alas, for a variety of reasons the offshore circuit wound down. Some of the sponsors changed their focus, one of the guys became an ambassador, Snowden came along and I didn’t need to convince people about surveillance anymore, and so on. But it was a gas while it lasted. Good people doing good things for good people. Life should always be that way.

Now, however, Mikkel Thorup at The Escape Artist has pulled most of the old gang back together for a virtual conference. I even updated my old presentation and recorded a session on Why You Must Protect Your Data Offshore… And How To Do It

To those of you who are interested in protecting your assets, I highly recommend this group of presentations.

Now, before I finish, I should be clear that Free-Man’s Perspective gets a spiff for each of our readers who signs-up. Nonetheless, you’re going to find a lot of great material in this course.

So, here’s the link and I hope you enjoy it.


Paul Rosenberg



Geniuses on Education

The educational monolith of the past century, whose absence from modern life was all but unthinkable, has all but vanished, and for months now. This has thrust millions of families into a reassessment of their children’s education. And so I want to contribute something that may be of some use to them.

Here you will find a set of passages from my files: The thoughts of notable geniuses on the subject of education. I hope that parents, especially, will find them informative.


Albert Einstein

It is a miracle that curiosity survives formal education.

School failed me, and I failed the school. It bored me. The teachers behaved like sergeants. I wanted to learn what I wanted to know, but they wanted me to learn for the exam… I felt that my thirst for knowledge was being strangled by my teachers; grades were their only measurement.

I learned mostly at home, first from my uncle and then from a student who came to eat with us once a week. He would give me books on physics and astronomy.

Education is what remains after one has forgotten what one has learned in school.

Baruch Spinoza

Academies that are founded at public expense are instituted not so much to cultivate men’s natural abilities as to restrain them.

Ivan Illich

School is the advertising agency which makes you believe you need the society as it is.

Bertrand Russell

Men are born ignorant, not stupid; they are made stupid by education.

Mary Wollstonecraft

There is not, perhaps, in the kingdom, a more dogmatical, or luxurious set of men, than the pedantic tyrants who reside in colleges and preside at public schools.

Agatha Christie

I suppose it is because nearly all children go to school nowadays, and have things arranged for them, that they seem so forlornly unable to produce their own ideas.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Truth has to be repeated constantly, because Error also is being preached all the time, and not just by a few, but by the multitude. In the Press and Encyclopedias, in Schools and Universities, everywhere Error holds sway, feeling happy and comfortable in the knowledge of having Majority on its side.

A teacher who can arouse a feeling for one single good action, for one single good poem, accomplishes more than he who fills our memory with rows on rows of natural objects, classified with name and form.

Celia Green

Education by the State is a contradiction in terms. Intellectual development is only possible to those who have seen through society.

It is easier to make people appear equally stupid than to make them equally clever, so teaching methods are adopted which make it practically impossible for anyone to learn anything.

John Stuart Mill

A general State education is a mere contrivance for molding people to be exactly like one another: and the mould in which it casts them is that which pleases the predominant power in the government or the majority of the existing generation; in proportion as it is efficient and successful, it establishes a despotism over the mind, leading by natural tendency to one over the body.

Ludwig von Mises

Education rears disciples, imitators, and routinists, not pioneers of new ideas and creative geniuses. The schools are not nurseries of progress and improvement, but conservatories of tradition and unvarying modes of thought. The mark of the creative mind is that it defies a part of what it has learned or, at least, adds something new to it.

H.L. Mencken

The plain fact is that education is itself a form of propaganda – a deliberate scheme to outfit the pupil, not with the capacity to weigh ideas, but with a simple appetite for gulping ideas ready-made. The aim is to make ‘good’ citizens, which is to say, docile and uninquisitive citizens.

Sigrid Undset

I hated school so intensely. It interfered with my freedom. I avoided the discipline by an elaborate technique of being absent-minded during classes.

Abraham Mazlow

We know that children are capable of peak experiences and that they happen frequently during childhood. We also know that the present school system is an extremely effective instrument for crushing peak experiences and forbidding their possibility. The natural child-respecting teacher who is not frightened by the sight of children enjoying themselves is a rare sight in classrooms.

Isaac Asimov

Self-education is, I firmly believe, the only kind of education there is.

Aldous Huxley

Children are nowhere taught, in any systematic way, to distinguish true from false, or meaningful from meaningless, statements. Why is this so? Because their elders, even in the democratic countries, do not want them to be given this kind of education.

Buckminster Fuller

Education by choice, with its marvelous motivating psychology of desire for truth and the exercise of this desire for truth, will make life ever cleaner and happier, more rhythmical and artistic.

Our greatest vulnerability lies in the amount of misinformation and misconditioning of humanity. I’ve found the educations [sic] systems are full of it.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a bellyful of words and do not know a thing.


Do not believe in anything merely on the authority of your teachers and elders. Do not believe in traditions because they have been handed down for many generations. But after observation and analysis, when you find that anything agrees with reason and is conducive to the good and benefit of one and all, then accept it and live up to it.

Simone Weil

Conscience is deceived by the social.


Paul Rosenberg