Meaningful change in the direction of human freedom will not come from violent revolutions or the political process but through the circumvention of state power.
by Robert Taylor
April 1, 2013
The odds against the liberty movement succeeding in America are admittedly daunting and almost overwhelming. Nearly every day there are war drums beating, new police-state bills rushed through Congress, calls for disarming private citizens, and QE infinity. It would be easy, even understandable, to give up and resign ourselves to the fate that awaits all empires.
While I staunchly supported former Congressman Ron Paul’s presidential runs, cheered Senator Rand Paul’s epic filibuster, and root for the occasional good guy like Congressman Justin Amash, politics and politicians offer little hope to those of us who frankly see no need for them. But whenever I think that the DC Leviathan will never be slain, the free market of technology and private innovation shows a path to a better and freer future.
3D printers come to mind. While I know shamefully little for someone from my generation about the marvels of modern technology, thanks to the division of labor I wasn’t too shocked to see someone like Cody Wilson make a semi-automatic rifle with a 3D printer.
Just think about what this concept alone means to the future of gun-grabbers. This technology could potentially allow millions of people to download and print their own weapons with incredibly low costs, further empower the right of self-defense, and most importantly, making it very hard for governments to regulate, ban, and confiscate them. The more guns that are in private hands, and the less the state knows what we’ve got, the better.
3D printing obviously has other societal benefits, like prosthetic limbs for veterans and exoskeletons for children with crippling diseases. They are even being used to build an entire house in Amsterdam.
3D printing, and indeed the entire information age that the Internet has unleashed, also pokes many holes in the “intellectual property” racket. The U.S. can try to pass laws like SOPA and CISPA all it wants, but the free market of information, knowledge, and ideas made possible by this type of technology makes it that much harder to enforce.
Bitcoins, too, go right along side 3-D printers as agorist, peaceful weapons to deploy against the infinite power of the corporate state. Perhaps the biggest reason that the U.S. is able to run an empire, massive deficits, and a debt too large to even fathom is its global dollar hegemony. The export and spread of Federal Reserve notes, which began a century ago but really took off after World War 2 and Bretton Woods, is the true black, beating heart of the U.S. empire. Legal tender laws, forcing us to use their paper, are an added backstop to this monopoly control over the money supply.
Gold and silver are great alternatives to the dollar (just ask China, Russia and Iran), but the beauty of Bitcoin is that it is an entirely anonymous, digital, stateless, corporation-free, bank-less, and borderless way to transfer private funds and build commerce. Entrepreneurs in the great state of New Hampshire have already created a Bitcoin ATM.
The capital controls and financial tyranny imposed in Cyprus are just the tip of the iceberg. Fractional-reserve banking is an unsustainable mess of pyramided debt and fraud, and I predict (and hope!) that alternatives like Bitcoin, gold, and silver continue to grow in popularity.
Not only does Bitcoin represent the Internet age’s first real experiment in a competing, free market currency, they are helping circumvent the U.S.’s criminal sanctions on Iran. Thanks to these sanctions, the importation of medicine and other necessities are being heavily restricted. But by using Bitcoin, Iranians abroad can send money to their families covertly, which they can then exchange them for paper currency and maintain an economic partnership.
The U.S. government may huff, puff, and rattle its sabers, but no amount of might can stop the power of liberty and the market from spreading trade and peace.
Naturally, this revolutionary power is being demonized by those who have the most to lose through the growth of Bitcoin and alternative currencies. The U.S. government is well aware of the potential of digital currencies and is planning accordingly, and the BBC more recently did a laughably transparent hit piece on Bitcoin.
As I’ve argued before, meaningful change in the direction of human freedom will not come from violent revolutions or the political process but through the circumvention of state power. Liberty and anarchy are not nouns, they’re verbs. They’re means, not ends; they’re how we relate to others, setting examples through our actions.
These ideas are not new. Brilliant scholars, economists, and philosophers all the way back to Lao Tzu and Aristotle recognized and understood the principles that create prosperity, peace, and civilization. Thankfully, it looks like the technology, despite a myriad of obstacles, is finally catching up.