Why We’ll Win


A free, post-scarcity world will not be prevented by archaic systems scratching and clawing to retain their domination. We will evolve freely, unburdened by an unfortunate past. This will happen, and today I’m going to tell you why.

But more than that, I want you to understand that we deserve to win, and that the future – the world of our children, grandchildren, and so on – very much needs us to win. Our culture stands for – and supports in action – the things that make life thrive on Earth.

Let me make this point very clear:

We believe in the Golden Rule… as in actually believe in it, all the time. Our culture takes it seriously and acts like it’s the only healthy way to live.

The easiest and most gutless life is to follow the crowd. What makes the world better, on the other hand, is to live by what’s right. Making unpopular choices – developing and trading crypto, homeschooling your children, ignoring brain-locked regulators, pursuing unapproved cures, changing religions where it’s forbidden, pursuing what is disliked by the powers that be – these things require strength of character and dedication to real principles.

Regardless of our occasional stupidities and errors, our way of life clearly deserves to win.

How We’ll Win

“To change something,” said Buckminster Fuller, “build a new model and make the old obsolete.” And we’ve been building a new model considerably more than we may realize.

A new model is precisely how the personal computer came to be and how the Internet came to be. Regardless that computers and the Internet have been recaptured by the status quo, the model remains and has also spawned encryption and Bitcoin, technologies that are ephemeral and a lot harder to conquer.

Moreover, the cryptosphere is growing tremendously. When I started pursuing such things back in the 1990s, there were very few of us, and far between. Now I run into crypto advocates in grocery stores, not to mention in general business circles.

Likewise there are dozens of VPN providers these days. When we started Cryptohippie, few people outside of technical circles had any idea of what we were selling.

Furthermore, there are tens of thousands of people working to develop, improve, and spread cryptocurrencies every day, often at their own expense and with considerable uncertainty. Because they believe in them. Because they believe they’re building a better world.

Homeschooling makes another fine example. When I started my involvement, parents had recently been arrested for homeschooling in the US. We had to get busy supporting a legal defense fund. Now there are a few million homeschooled kids in the US alone, and everyone knows that homeschooling produces excellent results.

We’ll win by doing these things, followed by others like them. Little by little, step by step, planting seed after seed, we’re moving toward our goal faster than we’ve appreciated.

Once human action of these types account for enough of our activities, it’ll be almost unstoppable, and the legacy system will begin shrinking. We can expect screaming, threats, and even bloodshed from the obsolete system, but over time it will give up its operations piece by piece.

This isn’t to say that our new systems will be immaculate, but they’ll be far better than the Bronze Age relics that currently dominate mankind.

And if Not…

If, for whatever reason, we fail to continue what we’ve begun, our new civilization still wins in the end. For one thing, human evolution continues. We are notably better than we were a few thousand years ago – qualitatively better – and we’ll be still better in the future.

More immediately than that, however, the next cycling of rulership will finish the job for us. As we covered back in FMP #18, civilizations always cycle. They always have and almost certainly always will, until violence-backed hierarchy ends. When the next cycle comes along, it will do so in a rich technological environment. Because technology does not cycle. Rather, it accretes… it builds up.

So, once the present hierarchies break up and vanish for a few hundred years, tech will be free to come out and play. We’ll be free to reorganize in innovative new ways. Things simply will not be rebuilt according to the same old model. That’s how history works.

But while it’s nice to know that the insanity will pass one way or another, I think all of us would like it to be sooner rather than later. For our own sakes and certainly for those of our offspring, time is important. And so we need to believe in what we’re doing and to do it with vigor.

“The fashion of the present world,” says the Bible, “is passing away.” Let’s help it along.

* * * * *

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

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Paul Rosenberg

Why You Can Do Anything You Want… And Why You Can’t


People frequently tell children “You can do anything you want.” And this causes a lot of confusion, because in the real world, they can’t. And after their first clash with the aforesaid real world, the child is left wondering all sorts of unpleasant things:

Did mom and dad lie to me?

Are they just ignorant?

Am I defective?

Should I find someone to blame?

The worst thing about this, however, is that the child is likely to have their opinion of themselves reduced. And that’s tragic. As I’ve noted many times, we are magical creatures. Humans, alone in the known universe, are able to create willfully… are able to reverse entropy willfully.

The child should think of his and her self as magical… because they really are!

So, let’s make some sense of this problem.

Why You Can

Humans are radically amazing. Sure, we’ve been long trained to consider each other to be sacks of crap – a belief that’s essential to rulership – but it simply isn’t true. We are stunningly capable beings, and we generally behave pretty well, even under the reign of self-debasement.

Take a look around you. Wherever you live, you’re surrounded by buildings, roads, and cars. All of them exist only because of human virtues. Without human creativity, they could not exist. Without human cooperation, they could not exist. And they are everywhere.

We’ve filled the Earth with hospitals and airplanes and food and computers and medicine. And the list could go on almost indefinitely.

More than that, we’ve learned how to cooperate very well. Forget wars; they’re run by competing states and will exist as long as states do. Instead, look at your local soccer league, little league, church choir, and family gathering.

And remember that we’ve been trained to see one flaw in a cooperative group and condemn the whole from it. (And to hypnotically accept any and every flaw of the state.) A few flaws are meaningless compared to modes of cooperation that thrive over decades, centuries, and millennia.

Does being less than perfect make us monsters? Does anything less than 100% equal zero?

So, we are wonderful creatures. And how much better might we be if we dared consider that possibility?

Here’s a quote from G.K. Chesterton that I’d like you to read:

There runs a strange law through the length of human history – that men are continually tending to undervalue their environment, to undervalue their happiness, to undervalue themselves. The great sin of mankind, the sin typified by the fall of Adam, is the tendency, not towards pride, but towards this weird and horrible humility.

Can we dare imagine that Chesterton was right? And if not, why not?

That kind of imagination is what the child needs, and it is that kind of imagination that results in human thriving, as noted by Leon Battista Alberti, the epitome of the Renaissance Man:

A man can do all things if he will.

Yes, that’s a bit overstated, but we have the essential ability to do amazing things, and if we thought and acted like it – thought and acted like Leon Battista Alberti – we’d do a lot more amazing things.

Why You Can’t

There are two reasons you can’t do anything at all. The first is simple: Nature stands in your way. No matter how much we imagine we can do something, if nature doesn’t agree, we can’t do it. We can work with nature to do “impossible” things (building flying machines for example), but we can’t simply violate it.

The second reason is also simple: Other human wills oppose us and stand ready to use violence against us.

This second reason is habitually cloaked in confusing and deceptive terminology of course, but the truth is that adversarial wills and their violence oppose us all.

What we lack is what we can call “a life affording scope.”

Limitations of our scope – weaponized wills set against us – have been colorfully covered by Reason magazine’s “Brickbats” section for decades, but the problem goes much farther than that. I’ll give you a few thoughts on that, then bring this column to a close:

Regulation forbids adaptation.

Obligation supplants compassion.

Only violent and corrupt human wills deserve restriction.

And one more, the “14 words” we used in a previous article:

We are a beautiful species, living in a beautiful world, ruled by abusive systems.

This is why I’ve been drawn to the cryptosphere. Our scope of life within that realm is not obstructed by weaponized wills.

It’s a special place.

* * * * *

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* * * * *

Paul Rosenberg

The Great Ephemera Machine


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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Paul Rosenberg