Subscribe Now
Trending News
Meet Libby in Nashville!

Blog Post

Featured

Freedom is Bitcoin 

A common opening writers use to begin some piece of written work is to establish a definition of some key term or concept that will feature prominently in the work. Socrates certainly would see the wisdom in this approach. The Socratic Method helps adherents avoid arguing semantics by ensuring that all terms used are mutually agreed upon as being well defined. In this article, the key term that will feature prominently is ‘freedom’, but I will not offer you a definition of freedom to start this piece. The best I can do is dance around the definition of freedom. It is not my place to define freedom for anyone other than myself. You, reader, are the only one who can define freedom for yourself.

Freedom and independence are terms often used together. They are connected but they mean vastly different things. Thinking about each term as a circle in a Venn diagram, it’s hard to isolate any edge cases where a person is independent but not free or free but not independent. Independence is total self sufficiency, i.e. zero dependence on anyone else to fill the demands of one’s biological vulnerabilities.

248 years ago, a group of colonists on the North American continent were trying to live independent of their motherland’s vampiric taxation from thousands of miles away.  These colonists took exception to infringements upon their freedom and they did something about it. On July 4th, 1776, the Declaration of Independence was finalized. On August 2nd, 1776, the document was signed. The ensuing war and outcome would have world changing implications.

The world, up until that time, was largely stuck on monarchical styles of government. Divine Mandate was hereditary. Rebels were typically unsuccessful at anything except getting imprisoned or executed by the powers that be. Pournelle’s Ironclad Law of Bureaucracy is not an easy foe to overcome. Jerry Pournelle’s Ironclad Law of Bureaucracy states that there are two factions that arise within any organization from homeowner’s associations and book clubs to national governments and world religions. There is a missionary faction consisting of people who are dedicated to the mission of the organization and there is a bureaucrat faction consisting of people who are dedicated to the organization itself. Pournelle’s Law states that, inevitably, the bureaucrats take and keep control of the organization which will inevitably be redirected from its initial mission. For that reason, the outcome of the American Revolution represented a quantum leap for the self organizing principles of mankind at a societal level. No line of royalty would willingly give up their power for a system comparable to the American experiment in self governance. This was something that would have to be taken, and perhaps that is why Thomas Jefferson noted the periodic need to refresh the tree of liberty.

The Preamble to the United States Constitution makes the purpose of the document very clear. “We, the people, of the United States of America, in order to form a more perfect union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” If one were to compare the founding of the United States to the founding of Bitcoin, the Bitcoin whitepaper is the clear parallel to the Constitution, with the very first sentence of the Whitepaper’s Abstract offering readers a sense of the purpose of this new experiment. “A purely peer-to-peer version of electronic cash would allow online payments to be sent directly from one party to another without going through a financial institution.”

If the Whitepaper is like the Constitution of Bitcoin, the Bitcoin equivalent to the Declaration of Independence has to be the Declaration of Monetary Independence.  This document was initially signed on 10/31/2021 in an homage to the 13th anniversary of Satoshi’s distribution of the Whitepaper to the cypher punk email list back in 2008. In April 2022 at the Bitcoin Conference in Miami, Florida, a massive version of the Declaration of Monetary Independence was available for conference goers to sign. With roughly 25,000 Bitcoiners in attendance, supply and demand for signature space became such an issue that plebs were riding atop one another’s shoulders in order to get high enough to find space to sign.

You can join the tens of thousands of Bitcoiners who have signed by digitally signing at https://declarationofmonetaryindependence.org/

As you can see, many plebs signed their names very largely in an attempt to mimic the legendary American Patriot John Hancock. Hancock signed his name extra large so that the King would know that Hancock was one of the rebels without even having to put on his reading glasses. Likewise, wanting my own signature to stand out, I brought an orange sharpie and broke the typical signature color barrier. I immediately was asked by several plebs if they could borrow it to sign, so there are a few orange ‘John Hancocks’ on there courtesy of yours truly.

What would compel someone to advertise their contempt for an oppressor so blatantly? Definitionally oppressors must have the ability to oppress or they would not be oppressing. The ability to oppress is typically countered by individuals with little to no ability to fend off that oppression to the point where their lives are disrupted in frustrating, costly, and sometimes irreparable ways. Oppression is the theft of freedom. Without freedom our ability to choose is reduced and the ongoing process of creation itself is deprived of potential. The nullification of creative potential is a loss for us all.

Humans exist to choose. That is what we are here to do. In order to get credit for something, a conscious entity must be aware that it is a “self”. Think about NPCs (non-player characters) in video games. Do NPCs ever get any credit for anything? What about robots? To whom does the glory belong for a humanoid robot doing a backflip? Does the robot get the credit or does the team of engineers and coders who brought that robot into existence get the credit? Without freedom to choose, the robot and the NPC are no different from a computer program, also known as an application, which is just another word for tool.  NPCs are tools. Robots are tools. They get used.

In order for an entity to get credit for its choices, that entity must be self-aware.  To whom is the credit (or blame) to be directed if there is no self? When we are deprived of freedom, our ability to choose is diminished, and like the tiger born and raised in captivity in a metropolitan zoo, our sense of self may also be diminished.

Comedian Katt Williams performing his tiger comedy bit.

Comedian Katt Williams did a fantastic bit on captive tigers during one of his comedy routines. “The tiger feel like he supposed to be eatin’ elephants and giraffes and shit and everyday they come feed him meat out of a bucket…and after a while he get depressed and down and start actin’ like us…I bet the tigers had gotten as low as they could possibly get like ‘Are you sure I’m a tiger? I don’t feel very much like a tiger. Maybe I’m just a vicious ass koala bear. Did you ever investigate that?’”

Likewise, a person’s concept of who and what they are may be reduced by the restrictions oppression places upon their ability to choose. Freedom fighters would be hypocrites if they had no respect for the uniqueness of the individual. It stands to reason that freedom fighters would recognize the potential that is lost for the full expression of individuality whenever oppression occurs.

If I am an incredibly talented baker, but my oppressors outlaw bread, my ability to share my talents with the world is destroyed and my ability to achieve my greatest potential is squashed. My life would be relatively joyless compared to the life I would have had as a baker. My wealth, health, and familial prospects would all be impacted by this. Oppression kills potential. Freedom fighters know this, and they’d rather fight on their feet than die by a thousand papercuts of regret as kept men. That is the calculus that compels a person to blatantly advertise contempt for an oppressor despite the dangers inherent in doing so. Freedom is sacrosanct.

Freedom fighters know the violent repercussions of blatantly advertising rebellion against their oppressors but they do it anyways. They have weighed oppression against the pain of death and are acting based upon their subjective interpretation of that outcome. Fear is the mind killer. The only thing we have to fear is fear itself. The most common direction found in the Bible is to not be afraid, with that sentiment appearing a massive 365 times. That’s enough to serve well as a daily reminder.

Except for masochists, pain is something we all avoid or fear. Pain is a tool that can be used by malicious actors to acquire something valuable. For ethically bankrupt Guantanamo personnel, information is the target. For most common criminals, money is the target. Bitcoin, being money, ought to therefore be a target for common criminals, and it is, except most of them don’t know how to even receive a typical Bitcoin transaction anyways, let alone take a non-physical money from you in some alleyway on your way home from dinner. Likewise, burglars raiding your unattended home as you sun your bitties on some beach somewhere will not be taking your Bitcoin, so long as you have a reasonably secure custody setup. There is a certain peace of mind knowing that common, violent criminals with a $5 wrench cannot take your Bitcoin wealth.

Nowadays, anyone would be hard pressed to find a wrench that would be an effective bludgeon for only $5.

Bitcoin, as a chosen form of money, represents greater economic freedom. It is not subject to the whims of a gatekeeper class. It is subject to code and well aligned incentives. It is subject to thermodynamics and game theory. It is subject to praxeology and mathematics. If custodied well, one’s Bitcoin cannot be confiscated by customs agents, muggers, or even federal alphabet soup agencies. One guy got out of Ukraine as a refugee with half of his life savings stored in the form of Bitcoin. Try doing that with anything physical. Immoral predator bandits take advantage of war refugees but, paraphrasing the G.O.A.T., Muhammad Ali, hands can’t take what the eyes can’t see. That kind of ability to securely transport life restart money is a form of freedom many people throughout history would have loved to have had.

Bitcoin wealth also represents greater economic freedom. The more purchasing power a person has the more purchases they are able to make. Ask any hodler if they could have afforded to go on that nice vacation to that luxury resort on that European coastline 2 or 3 cycles ago. Many will say no. Ask them about all of their purchasing decisions now versus 10 years ago. The pattern will be clear. More purchasing power equals more choices and therefore more freedom.

Are there any purchases that a Bitcoin hodler could make that would give them more freedom than hodling Bitcoin? That depends on a number of factors, but the answer is a definite yes. You cannot eat or drink Bitcoin. You cannot keep yourself warm or dry with Bitcoin. You cannot defend your physical body using Bitcoin. You’re not free when you’re dead, so any purchases that enable us to satisfy the demands of our biological vulnerabilities are purchases that allow us to survive one day or one week longer than we would have. What do we do with that extra one day or one week? We exercise our freedom via choice.

The choices we make with our freedom impact the amount of future freedom we will have. Choosing to rely upon the food supply chain, grocery stores, and restaurants is a form of dependency. Choosing to rely upon water and energy grids is a form of dependency. Choosing not to invest in any form of self defense is a form of dependency.

English translation of “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem”

Thomas Jefferson once said “Malo periculosam, libertatem quam quietam servitutem” which points out that dangerous liberty is preferable to peaceful enslavement. Slavemasters would often ensure that their slaves were heavily dependent upon the slavemaster and the plantation. This dependency would create a self-governing fear of independence and reduce the likelihood of any slaves attempting to make a break for freedom. Dependence upon the food supply chain or on police/security personnel or on utility grids requires permission and some kind of value exchange. Independent, free people, do not ask permission and have no need for value exchange.

That said, no person is an island. Even the pioneering fur trappers from centuries ago, the mountain men, relied upon supply lines. While it is a laudable goal for anyone to pursue 100% self sufficiency, such a pursuit is quite ambitious and honestly daunting. In all reality, the benefits of specialization that arise from a free market, post barter society are too great to pass up, and that’s the point. The ideal is to maintain a baseline of self-sufficiency while also enjoying the benefits of specialization via the economy. The ideal is to preserve and practice the old ways while benefitting from the new. The key is to avoid becoming reliant upon the new ways. That’s how you get rug pulled.

Everything is hard in life. Being married is hard. Being divorced is hard. Being obese is hard. Getting and staying in shape is hard. Being in debt is hard. Being financially disciplined is hard. Raising kids is hard. Growing old without kids to take care of you is hard. Living off the land is hard. Living off the sea is hard. Living off the markets is hard. Choose your hard, and choose wisely.

Choose wisely, anon.

The Seventh Fire prophecy of the Anishina’abe people tells us that the fate of the Eighth Fire hangs in the balance of the choices of mankind. “In the time of the Seventh Fire New People will emerge. They will retrace their steps to find what was left by the trail. Their steps will take them to the Elders who they will ask to guide them on their journey. But many of the Elders will have fallen asleep. They will awaken to this new time with nothing to offer. Some of the Elders will be silent because no one will ask anything of them. The New People will have to be careful in how they approach the Elders. The task of the New People will not be easy…One road will be green and lush, and very inviting. The other road will be black and charred, and walking it will cut their feet.

We’re at a precarious point in time. The choice described in the Seventh Fire prophecy maps quite well onto the state of money on Earth. The bankster class wants to bring about an Orwellian, technocratic, command and control grid using Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs).  As we have seen, some people proudly put toxins into their bodies to get free donuts, so it’s not all that much of a stretch to envision the bankster class using their mainstream media propagandists to do a little “razzle dazzle” marketing to make a CBDC attractive to the masses. The CBDC path will be made to appear lush and inviting, but will cut the soles of the feet of those who walk it.

When fiat fails, the gold bugs will make their pitch to resume the gold standard. That path requires some investment in order to participate, and unlike a touchscreen, internet connected, mobile device capable of doing thousands of things, people are not likely to invest in equipment like scales or calibration weights or time and attention to learn the process of authenticating gold bullion via specific gravity laboratory style tests. That path appears, to the non-gold bug normie, to be difficult to walk as well, and they’re right, especially when taking into account the internet economy doesn’t fare so well with gold or the fact that shipping just isn’t that secure.

A sampling of Rai stone money on the Isle of Yap.

An interesting way to secure money is to make it so big and heavy that the typical person cannot move it. This is a feature of an antiquated form of money used by the people of the Isle of Yap. The Isle of Yap is devoid of naturally occurring limestone, yet there are all of these large limestone disks all over the island. Men would travel by sea to a neighboring island, engage in backbreaking labor to quarry these disks, and then risk their lives transporting these giant, heavy stone objects via their indigenous sea vessels crafted hundreds of years ago back to the island, where they were used as irregular units of money.

The Rai stone money of the Yapese is essentially an analog precursor to Bitcoin. Both systems involve publicly visible caches of value and all transactions are publicly broadcast. Whenever a Rai stone transaction took place, the transactors would simply announce the transaction details to the community. Everyone’s mental ledgers were updated, just like when Bitcoin’s UTXO set gets updated on every node after a new block has been found/mined. 

Bitcoin offers a number of additional benefits over the Rai stone system, however, these fundamental similarities are more than enough to make a case that it is the adoption of Bitcoin that is the choice that is made by the people in the Seventh Fire prophecy. “In the prophecy, the people decide to take neither road, but instead to turn back, to remember and reclaim the wisdom of those who came before them. If they choose the right road, then the Seventh Fire will light the Eighth and final Fire, an eternal fire of peace, love, brotherhood and sisterhood.” Bitcoiners have turned back, to remember and reclaim the wisdom of the Yapese who came before us. If we choose the Bitcoin path, perhaps the visions of an end to war, the establishment of energy abundance, and general human flourishing can eventually come to fruition.

In the meantime, we live in two worlds. One world is exciting. It offers hope. It promises innovation. It creates opportunity and promotes inclusion. It is filled with great minds, entrepreneurs, innovators, and builders. The other world we often call the rat race. Perhaps that’s because the other world feels like our freedom is restricted by very high walls where we are only “free” to do what we are allowed.

Every time I visit a bank these days, I have some kind of experience that serves as a reminder of why I signed that Declaration of Monetary Independence in bright Bitcoin orange. Every time I’m at a bank, someone there gets frustrated by banking regulations whether that someone is me or another person. One shouldn’t have to answer half a dozen security questions to call in a payment on a car loan.  Alice should be able to sign over a check to Bob and Bob should be able to deposit that check into Bob’s account. A few years ago, diamond handed GameStoppers couldn’t buy any more shares of GameStop on RobinHood. A few years ago, a global nuclear superpower had their assets frozen on the SWIFT network by the international banking and political powers that control that network.

The vast majority of Bitcoiners survive only via the economy. Some might have a small garden. Some might hunt and fish. Very few, if any, are entirely self sufficient. The right to transact is inextricably linked to the unalienable human rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

The plebs have escaped the fiat plantation and no CBDC will bring us back.

We have gained a new level of freedom.

That freedom is Bitcoin.

Related posts

Leave a Reply