If You Love Bitcoin, Promote Good Altcoins

Altcoins

Bitcoin spawns strong emotions in people, once they wrap their minds around it. And for good reason, of course: Bitcoin is the future, being born in our midst.

One of the ways this goes off the rails, however, is when people think about Bitcoin in the old way. In particular, they think of the crypto-economy as if it were a zero-sum game. They fear the altcoins (Litecoin, Ethereum and the rest) as competitors… that if the altcoins do well, they’ll steal Bitcoin’s thunder.

If you’re ever tempted to think that way, please reject it and leave it behind. That’s the past struggling against the future, right inside your head.

What we are building is not a monument to Bitcoin and Satoshi, but a new economy… a better, freer, less criminal economy. And please understand, Bitcoin alone cannot do the job. Bitcoin isn’t magic; it’s a tool.

Consider this:

The value of all BTC in existence is $66 billion or so. That’s tiny compared to any major currency. Also consider that the Visa system handles tens of thousands of transactions per second. Bitcoin itself is never going to do that – it’s not that kind of system. Other cryptocurrencies will have to be built for that purpose… or, more likely, they’ll solve that problem in new ways.

What is required is to build a new crypto-economy around Bitcoin. That is where we should be headed, and it will be very good for Bitcoin, which will end up as the central settlement currency between all the new, more specialized cryptocurrencies.

And so, if we want Bitcoin to thrive… and, more importantly, if we want the crypto-economy to thrive… we should be promoting quality altcoins.

Yes, some of the altcoins are plainly scams. Some people will be burned by them. But the good ones are not only good, but necessary.

Check out the currencies you’ll help; make sure they are honest and properly managed. Find the best one or two you can and get involved if possible. (That’s how you’ll really know if they’re good or not.) After that, get busy putting them into the world.

Yes, make money on them if you can, but don’t ever let yourself get dragged into a money-primary mindset. That’s the old world re-asserting itself, with its scarcity-centric mentality. That’s what cryptocurrencies are leading us away from.

So…

Start thinking the new way and start ditching the old way. Scarcity is dying, and one currency need not dominate all others.

If you love Bitcoin, start building a righteous, futuristic economy around it.

* * * * *

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 4: The Sanitarium

TheSanitarium
When I walked into our latest TCM lunch, I saw a few new members, two of whom were young women. That made me feel good, because there had been a flaw in most 20th century liberty movements, in that they never drew many women. Liberation movements of the past featured lots of women, many of whom showed more courage than the men.
So, I took it as a healthy sign that women were showing up at our lunch, as indeed they do at Bitcoin meetups.
The group discussed a new ridesharing service that seemed to be an improvement (Libre Taxi) and decided that they were worth checking out. Nikos volunteered for the job, and the rest of us gave him a list of things to look into. After that, we moved into a discussion of recent events in the cryptocurrency world.
But through all of this one of the young women, Esther, jumped in with questions, mostly directed to me, on side subjects. That was odd. And they were odd questions like, “Why do people care about beauty?” and, “Have you ever spent time with mentally challenged people?” She was polite and tried to avoid derailing the main conversation, but she clearly had some alternative purpose. So, I answered her as best I could and waited to see where she was headed.
I soon found that she was going nowhere I had imagined.
As the meeting broke up, she asked me to stay and talk, and so I did. We sat at the empty end of the bar.
“I had reasons to ask you those questions,” she said.
“I was pretty sure of that,” I responded, offering a small smile, which she returned ever so briefly. Then she handed me a card that read: Mueller Sanitarium for the Chronically Ill.
“That’s where I live,” she added. “Myself, my mother, and about dozen others. We want you to come help us.”
I was lost and could only reply, “I’d be glad to help, but I’m not a doctor.”
“That’s okay,” she said. “We’re not really sick.”
And if that wasn’t enough to send my mind reeling, she added that the people at the sanitarium already liked me.
“How’s that?” I squeezed out.
She explained that they had seen an article I wrote on children being tortured in schools a few years back. And for that, they trusted me.
“That’s very nice,” I said, “but I’m entirely lost here, Esther. What is this sanitarium and what would you like me to do? And I should add that I have very limited time these days. It’s stretching it for me to make these lunches.”
“I know,” she said, “but once I explain, I think you’ll make at least a bit of time.”
I nodded and waited for her to continue. And what a story she told.
The residents of the sanitarium, Esther explained, had once called themselves “The Rejects.” I immediately stiffened, displaying my objection. No one should accept such a verdict; it’s an offense to human dignity itself.
“They no longer use that,” she added, “but I want you to understand this. These are people who are very homely or physically deformed… the kinds of people who were tortured in schools, pointed at, and insulted all their lives. Either that or tucked away in an asylum, where they’d simply be housed till they died.”
“And they really have their own place, where they live together?”
“They do,” she assured me. “The sanitarium sign, even if it’s false, provides protection for them. Behind it they’re not bothered, and they can live without torment.”
She was right; I very definitely wanted to help these people. I immediately made an appointment to see them, but I needed more information. This was a wild story, and I needed to understand it.
Esther began by explaining herself. “My mom,” she said, “is a very homely woman. She never once had a man who was interested in her.”
“I’m sorry,” I injected.
“We all are,” she said, “but there was nothing to be done about it, and so, after decades of crying, blaming God, hating the world, and hating herself, she found that she was still a human being with choices, thoughts, and dreams. She decided that she could either wallow for the rest of her life in the same old pool of pain or she could start living out of her inner self, which wasn’t ugly if she didn’t want it to be.
“And that,” she said with her first real smile, “is how I came into the world.”
Esther’s mother, as it turns out, had been one of the early customers for in vitro fertilization. She had always wanted a child and wasn’t yet past the age limit for pregnancy, and so she decided to do what she wanted. She found the appropriate doctor, picked the best looking sperm donor she could find, and had her baby. (Here I should add that Esther turned out to be an attractive young lady.)
Esther was raised at the Sanitarium and mainly homeschooled there. She went off to college for a few years and then returned. Now she’s setting up businesses for the residents… which became necessary because their bank account, after nearly 30 years, was finally running out. But even more than that, Esther told me, “They’ve learned, slowly, that they can do most of the things pretty people do… and now they want to do them.”

More to Come

I’m already running long for a weekly post, so I’ll stop here. But there is definitely more to come.

* * * * *

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 Rise of the Superfluous Class, Part 2

Superfluous2Class
You’ve gotta love serious people.
“Dan,” my new friend from the superfluous class, showed up to Jay’s precisely on time. And he didn’t waste my time with a confirmation call; he just did what he said.
We walked in together. I greeted Michele (again, that’s mi-KEL-ay, the Italian version of Michael), who pointed to his largest table. By the time we sat, he was on his way over with a menu.
“Their kitchen is open,” he said, referring to the Italian restaurant next door. “Only the lunch menu.”
“That’s fine,” I said. “Thanks.”
“I’ll call it over; you send the kid to get it?”
I agreed, then turned to Dan, who was already nodding his understanding.
“Two of my friends will be here in a few minutes,” he said. “They’re delivering passengers and coming right after.”
He looked over the menu.
“I can order for them.”
As I waited for him to look over the menu (I already knew what I wanted), Dan looked at me and said, “My name isn’t really Dan… I use that until I’m certain about someone; my real name is Nikos.”
“Then Nikos it is,” I said.
He smiled.
We put our order together and handed it to Michele just as Nikos’s two friends walked in. I was introduced to Johnny and Adam. I don’t think any of the three are past 30, meaning that they’ll have some different cultural assumptions than I do, and I find that kind of interesting.
I intended to start the conversation slowly, but these three had a need to jump into it fast. Within seconds I was answering questions about Bitcoin: where it came from, how it worked, why the status quo hates it, and so on. I enjoyed it quite a lot.
From there we went to questions about the larger world: politics, war, and government in general. Then, as we were finishing our food, we had one of those silent moments that pop up unexpectedly. Nikos ended it with a serious question:
“Look, I think you understand a lot about this, so I’d like you to give it to me straight. Are we going to succeed in these things we’re doing, or will we be snuffed out?”
“That depends on how you look at it,” I said. They probably thought I was weaseling out of a real answer, but they gave me the benefit of the doubt and waited for me to continue.
“First of all, you’re winning already. You guys are living life your own way, and please believe me, that’s a very big deal. I suppose this makes me sound like the proverbial old guy, but I’ve watched such things for 40 or 50 years now – living by your own wits is something that will make you far better men. Whether or not your financial fortunes skyrocket, the progress of your soul will, and that’s a very big deal.
“Now as for giving you a better lifestyle, that’s going to be less certain. In general it will, but you’ll face obstacles, and maybe a lot of them. And some small percentage of your friends may get hurt along the way. Honestly, that’s why I want to help – I want to keep that percentage down.
“And in the long run you’ll succeed too, but that will take decades at least.” They didn’t look very happy at that prospect.
“What this really is,” I continued, “is evolution. Humanity is slowly improving, and the great blockage in front of us is a system of rulership that’s basically unchanged since the Bronze Age. It’s a long-outdated, barbaric system of control and extortion, and it needs to go… and sooner or later it will go.
“Look at yourselves: What are you doing that’s truly harmful? You’re providing services that people willingly pay for. And for this you should be harassed, threatened, and possibly punished? That’s nuts. It’s primitive and it’s barbaric.”
And there I stopped dead, wanting to let the thought sink in if at all possible. And they did leave it sit for a minute or so.
Finally Nikos spoke up. “Johnny, tell Paul and Adam what you told me earlier about driving for Uber.”
Johnny nodded and collected his thoughts. “Okay… my brother – he works at a bank – was giving me grief because I wouldn’t drive for Uber… that I could pick up extra rides and that I was being stupid to turn them down.”
“So what did you tell him?” Adam and I asked at the same time.
“I said that, yeah, I could make money with Uber, but their bosses are pigs. They try to hurt Lyft and anyone who drives for them, and they think they’re super-geniuses rather than mostly lucky. But he didn’t understand at all.”
We all nodded and waited for Johnny, who looked like he had something more to say.
“If all I wanted was easy cash,” he went on, “I’d go on disability and get my girlfriend on that babysitting program. It pays two or three hundred a week for nothing. But I’m not gonna chase just any scrap and I’m not gonna live as a parasite.”
I decided right there that I liked this guy.
“I’ll tell you what else,” Nikos added. “As soon as they can, Uber will play the same dirty tricks on everyone else that the cabbies played on them. Oh, and they treat women like crap too. Screw ’em.”
Screw ’em,” we all agreed.
The conversation continued a bit further, but soon enough it was time to get back to work. We pitched in to cover the food and drinks, and we made a standing date for the first and third Thursday of every month at 2:00 pm. I promised that I’d be at the next one and for as many others as I could.
I walked to the train station feeling hopeful in a way I hadn’t in a long time. And by the time I made it to the corner, I realized that I was feeling the hopefulness of youth. And even knowing that youth was often misguided in their hopefulness, I decided to savor it for as long as I could… it had been a long 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

An Important Update On The Bitcoin Block Size Wars

There is a huge argument going in the Bitcoin world right now, including some (apparently) very devious dealings. If you’re interested at all, please listen to this magnificent podcast. Afterward, you can see this important article on the seemingly devious dealings… combined with invoking the violent arm of the state.

BitcoinBlock

23 April, 2017

There is a huge argument going in the Bitcoin world right now, including some (apparently) very devious dealings.

If you’re interested at all, please listen to this magnificent podcast.

Afterward, you can see this important article on the seemingly devious dealings… combined with invoking the violent arm of the state.

For What It’s Worth…

For whatever they’re worth, my thoughts on this subject are:

  1. The more angrily people fight about this, the less we should listen to them. Bitcoin needs to grow up, and not degenerate into politics… because politics is pollution.

  2. The only purpose worth pursuing is a scaling, thriving Bitcoin. Those of us who lose some relative advantage will simply have to suck it up and adapt. What’s the point of all this, anyway? Is this about status and dominance? About winning? Getting the most money? Anyone looking for those things should go into government or central banking, and leave Bitcoin alone.

  3. SegWit seems a good step to me. Imperfect, of course, but manageable. We can do better in the future.

  4. Disabling ASICBOOST is the right thing to do until the patent is withdrawn. Inserting state force into the Bitcoin universe was perverse, and massively contrary to Satoshi’s model of conduct.

  5. If the 95% approval number is too high, then we’ll have to bring it down to perhaps 70 or 75 percent. If some people want to scream and pout about it, let them.

  6. I’d like blocks sizes to get smaller rather than larger (centralization is Bitcoin’s Kryptonite), but I’m not aware of any practical way to do that. So, disabling ASICBOOST and putting in SegWit is a way to move forward with minimal damage. Again, we can do better next time.

I’ve said this before and no doubt will again: The true value of Bitcoin is that it opens space for the future to take shape. (Guv-space is utterly hostile to any serious innovation.) We can either grow up and enter the future, or we can fight like greedy children and deserve to fail.

And if the Bitcoin crowd can’t act like adults, the alt coins will adapt to prevent Bitcoin’s failures. And then we can move along to something better.

* * * * *

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

Financial Repression Is Here, and Bitcoin Is the Only Escape

financialrepression

When I warned about bankers planning “financial repression” back in 2014, I wasn’t sure how long it would be before it arrived, or where. And when I wrote about the banning of cash last February, I was worried that the money monopolists were accelerating toward open repression.

Unfortunately, it turns out that they were in a hurry and have now withdrawn all currency worth more than a few dollars (US$1.50) in India. New currency has been promised, but the old notes were withdrawn without the new ones being ready. So, we’ll call that an “effective” and possibly a “temporary” ban on cash.

Bear in mind please, that India is a very populous country (more so than the US and Europe combined), and not one where nearly everyone already has debit cards. So, this makes a powerful test case.

On top of that, the banning of cash is being threatened all across the Western world. Cash purchases over €1,000 (US$1,050) are already banned in France. At this point, we have to accept that the elite are serious, that they mean to take away our cash and rather sooner than later.

Moreover, I want to repeat something from the 2014 article, where you can find a link to the source. This is what the IMF has been discussing in their own words:

The claim… that advanced countries do not need to resort to… debt restructurings… capital controls and other forms of financial repression… is at odds with the historical track record…

So, let’s get over the denial phase. Take a hard look at what they’ve done in India and France, and bear in mind that these people don’t simply stop short of their goal, nor are they burdened by empathy.

Where Do We Go Now?

Your decision will be your own of course; I don’t claim to be a financial advisor. But I can tell you what’s going on and what it signifies.

Escaping financial repression has typically been done via these means:

Precious metals. Gold and silver have inherent value. No act of politics can change that. However, political systems – especially when empowered by mass surveillance – are great at stealing everyone’s gold. Just look at what Franklin Roosevelt did, long before any kind of serious surveillance. His thieving worked very well. Moreover, moving precious metals across borders is far harder now than it was then.

Bear in mind that I’m a fan of silver and gold; they are honest money. But gargantuan government armed with mass surveillance will greatly reduce their usefulness. Already, moves are afoot to ban gold in the EU.

Cash. I’m also a fan of cash. It has no value of its own of course, but it can be used privately, more or less everywhere. The problem is that it looks like it will be banned. A few end runs are possible, such as using postal money orders instead of cash, but I wouldn’t plan on them lasting.

Barter. Barter is useful and honest, but there’s a reason we use currency: It’s far more convenient.

Offshore commerce. Again, a fine way to conduct affairs, but mass surveillance plus EU and US bullying of nearly all the world’s banks has made this only a partial solution. It’s best used as part of a well-rounded Plan B.

These are the traditional ways to escape financial repression, but they’re not looking very good at this point.

And that leaves Bitcoin.

Anti-Elite Money

If you’re not familiar, please understand that Bitcoin is not based on existing currency models. Bitcoin is different to the point of being alien… it’s from outside. It came to us from the realm of the cypherpunks.

Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are built on the opposite principle of the status quo. They allow no place for a central controller. That makes them anathema to the current monetary regime.

Because Bitcoin and its children are thoroughly foreign to the existing financial monopolies, they are the one remaining way to escape them. 15 years of mass, unquestioning compliance have locked the status quo tight.

It seems, however, that repressed Indians are starting to figure this out. (And probably some of the Chinese as well.) As a result, the exchange rate of Bitcoin has risen significantly.

Do It Right or Stay Home

Please remember that Bitcoin has to be used properly to be secure. (We have a full report.) If not, it’s the most transparent currency in the world and does not escape repression.

And yes, good security will require you to use adult-level encryption, not just a smart phone app. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, don’t even try.

So, you’ll have to make your own choices, but it seems clear to me that cryptocurrencies and a few other types of digital currencies are the last path around repression. To use them, however, you’ll have to exert your own will, choose something besides the easiest path, and act in ways that haven’t been approved by authority.

I wish you control of the money you earned.

* * * * *

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

The Right Time Will Never Come

righttime

Lots of good people are frustrated with the world, and I understand that only too well. They are, furthermore, eager for the world to improve, and I respect that a great deal.

Their problem arises, however, right on the heels of these desires, when they ask the question, “What should I do?” And that’s where the wheels fall off.

All the Popular Answers Are Wrong

The world is full of people who are glad to tell you what to do. They have carefully thought out arguments as to why their plan is the right one and why everyone else’s is wrong. They’ll encourage you to commit to them, and they’ll try to surround you with people who have already chosen their plan. If you join, you’ll get lots of pats on the back and assurances that you’re a good person.

But all those ways are wrong. They offer you fast, cheap self-esteem. They offer you a fast track to feeling useful, important, and wanted. And all you have to do is join their very pleasant crowd.

Let me make this very clear: There is no blueprint for freedom. There will be no great plan to follow. People who say they have such a thing, while they may be well-meaning, bright, and even respectable, are moving in the wrong direction. (And I truly don’t mean to criticize here; we’ve all made our mistakes.) Here’s the core of the issue:

If we want a world that is safe for individuals, we’ll have to create it as individuals, not as groups.

Groups beget after their own kind, and individuals beget after their own kind.

I’m not the first person to decide this, by the way; here’s what Albert Schweitzer had to say on the subject many years ago:

The unnatural way of spreading ideas must be opposed by the natural one, which goes from man to man and relies solely on the truth of the thoughts and the hearer’s receptiveness for new truth.

The Easiest Thing to Do

Following someone else’s plan is the easy way. It saves us from responsibility. It allows us to deflect the blame, at least a little, if later we’re found to be wrong. This easy way, however, is a wrong way.

There’s a great line from Steven Stills’s song, “The Southern Cross,” that goes like this:

And we never failed to fail;
it was the easiest thing to do.

It will always be the easiest thing to go downward into servitude. That is the current condition of the world, with its dominance-obsessed and status-worshiping inertia. You can go downward quickly by handing your will to the status quo, or you can go slowly by standing still. But until you act, solely upon your own judgment, you’re not going to go upward.

Are You Saying…?

Yes, I’m saying that you have to make your own decision, all alone, and that you have to raise the courage to start acting upon it by yourself, with no leader telling you the best choice, with no famous author guiding you, and with no authority sanctifying the path for you.

You’ll have to choose, all by yourself. And you’ll have to face all the fears that hold you back from stepping out… you’ll have to push past them… you’ll have to make your own legs start walking.

That, my friends, is the price of progress… and we each have to pay it, or not pay it, alone.

We Should Act Without a Plan?

Emphatically yes. The central issue here is not following a plan, but dragging ourselves out of stasis and taking some kind of initiative.

Unless you’re making some kind of wild, violent choice, almost any choice you make is a good one. Your central necessity is to unfreeze yourself and start moving. Once you’re in motion, it’s easy to correct your course. But if you never move, you’ll just keep sliding down the majority’s path, regardless of how much you complain.

In our time, most of the good people in the world remain motionless. We complain about our local fiefdom’s abuses, of course, but that’s about all. That’s the seduction of “democracy,” you see: It magically turns complaints into progress.

Except that the magic of democracy never really shows up. Still, it’s the easiest thing to do. And so we complain and we wait, but we do not act.

But again: There’s never going to be a perfect plan and there’s never going to be a right time. If you wait for them, you’ll wait forever.

So, pick a spot and start. You probably already have choices in mind: Bitcoin, home school, 3D printing, intentional communities, temporary autonomous zones, agorism, becoming a perpetual traveler, or something else. Get moving. Your central necessity is to face the fear and to act anyway.

And if you’d like to know my favorite choice, here it is: Sit at a bus stop and talk to people. You can do that at almost any time and any place.

Who Happens to Whom?

In other words, “Who acts, and who is acted upon?”

As an old coworker of mine used to say, “He who hesitates is lost.” If you wait, you’ll be acted upon. And then you’ll have to re-form your plan, and you’ll hesitate again. And then you’ll be acted upon again… over and over, until you’re too old to do much of anything.

The ‘right time’ never comes. Either we let the world happen to us, or we transcend our fears and we happen to the world.

So, I propose a simple motto for people who actually give a damn:

The world doesn’t happen to us. We happen to the world.

Paul Rosenberg
www.freemansperspective.com

Slayer of Empires: How Bitcoin Could Become Far Bigger Than You Think

SlayerofEmpires

Paul Rosenberg was recently invited to the Bitcoin Investor’s conference in Las Vegas as a keynote speaker. This is the recording of his speech, given October 30th, 2015, at the D Hotel & Casino. We think you’ll enjoy it. You can find other videos from the conference here.

Bitcoin: Let It Fork!

bitcoinfork

There has been a lot of commotion in the Bitcoin world lately. A few of the core developers (an informal group that maintain the program) made a big splash by saying that the “block size” (a technical issue) had to be increased or else horrible problems would ensue. They’re calling their plan “Bitcoin XT.”

What I Learned

At first, I simply didn’t want to be bothered with this. Just about everything that passes across a plasma screen these days is sold as a major, life-threatening crisis. I ignore as much of it as I can.

But after hearing a bit more about this issue from several friends, I decided to look into it a bit further.

The first thing that caught my attention was that this idea was being sold with fear. That, to me, is a huge red flag. If you want to sucker humans – if you want make intelligent people act stupidly – fear is your tool; every serious manipulator of humans knows this. So, this fact turned me off from the Bitcoin XT idea right away.

Next, I learned that one of the two guys driving this has been speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations about Bitcoin going mainstream. Seriously? Bitcoin is cypherpunk technology; it is inherently outside the mainstream. (Does Sid Vicious take tea with the queen?) Bitcoin was created by radicals and bears their nature. To make Bitcoin acceptable to the powers that be is to kill it. Period.

So, the fact that this idea comes from people who want to turn Bitcoin into a guv-friendly payment system – to neuter it and kill it – drove me even farther away. If I had wanted status-quo tech, I’d never have looked at Bitcoin in the first place.

Thirdly, someone told me that the guys driving this wanted to make themselves “benevolent dictators.” Hearing that, I immediately started laughing. Then I checked and found out that it was true and that they were saying so overtly. You can find the comment, “[W]e will be benevolent dictators,” here. That cemented it for me. In addition to everything else, these guys want to run a technocratic dictatorship. And not only that, but they had the arrogance to say so in public. Wow.

Be afraid, surrender your values, and accept dictatorship… that always ends well, doesn’t it?

So…

So, to all of this, I reply: Fork off.

Yes, I know that sounds like I’m playing cute word games, but I really mean it. I want them to pull their hard fork. I want them to break off and go away.

Take your fear, your compromise, and your dictatorship with you, and be gone. Fork off and take as many with you as will follow. It will be a great lesson, and more importantly, it will be a great cleansing. I welcome it… I seek it.

And if these people do split the Bitcoin blockchain into two parts (this is called a “hard fork”), here are some things that I expect to happen:

  • The fair weather venture capitalists will have panic attacks, as their dreams of Zuckerberg Heaven start to evaporate.

  • Mainstream media will breathlessly report – for the 20th time – that Bitcoin is dead… but this time for sure!

  • Regulators will have no clue what to do and will then pile into Bitcoin XT, turning it into just another PayPal.

  • The exchange rate… might… drop! Ye gods! It could be the end of the world!

  • The heart of the Bitcoin world will keep right on doing what they’re doing.

So, yes, I want the fork. It’s about time to shake out the people who are clogging up the works. Let the price fall for a while. Let the agents of the status quo go over to Bitcoin XT and leave the rest of us alone.

Now, please bear in mind that I’m under no illusion that Bitcoin is perfect. Changes may indeed be required. But anyone who seriously utters the phrase “benevolent dictator” or who pounds us with fear, or who wants to “go mainstream,” excludes himself or herself from being taken seriously in the world of Bitcoin.

The agents of the status quo should fork off. And the sooner the better.

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