There’s a debate between me and another guy. I would appreciate very much if you would watch the video and give me your support (I’m Pro, meaning Pro for the argument that rights pre-exist).
Now, I don’t actually believe that, which made the debate challenging. Rights don’t exist. They’re human-created fictions. That’s self-evident, because “rights” exist nowhere in nature. Yet it was the side I disagreed with least, and, because I have terrible luck, Qallout chose it for my debut. I think I did the best I could, but at the end of the day there aren’t many ways to argue for something that you know logically isn’t true.
I should have won the debate, for these reasons.
First, Con explicitly admitted twice that government does not create rights. He explicitly admitted twice that, at most, they violate one person’s rights and transfer them to someone else. This is literally not a creation of rights. None of the other discussion matters; Con made this statement twice. Twice he pointed out that government restricting a person’s right to free travel is a violation of their rights. I rightly pointed out that, in order for this to be true, then there must already have been something there for the government to violate.
Your votes would be greatly appreciated. There’s money on the line, and it would make moving to New Hampshire even easier.
It’s not my best debate. Check out the debate with Matt Kuehnel if you want to see me actually arguing rationally and logically. But when you rationally know your position is wrong (just less wrong than the other side’s, because it’s not “government” that creates rights but power–and you’ll see me in the debate trip up on this because I agree with it, and he said it offhandedly… For fuck’s sake, “Beyond Words & Labels” is about precisely that, you know?), you don’t have many good ways to make an argument. The tautology argument (because we did define “rights” to mean “innate”), the loose logical argument of the fact that there was no government to grant the founders the “right” to rebel… In fact, I’m kinda agitated now, because Con also explicitly admitted that no government gave the founders the right to rebel. So where did it come from?
Your votes would be greatly appreciated. And your shares. Not just to help me win, but to spread the word and help shatter the notion that government grants rights. Even Con admitted that they don’t.
As part of the “moving to Keene, New Hampshire” process, which you can speed up by buying my ebook for $2.99 or the paperback for $7.49, I’ve also been seeking a job there, since that will speed up the process far more than anything else. After receiving a series of promising emails, I found myself conducting a phone interview, at the end of which the person said, “Thank you, sir.”
Now, this is a bit more serious than “RAWR DID YOU JUST ASSUME MY GENDER?” I’ve of course applied to the job as myself; one of the primary reasons for moving, actually, is that I’m transsexual, although I know that, realistically, I need vocal surgery and minor cosmetic surgery. Despite my best efforts, and use of very expensive vocal training regimens, I’ve met with no success (though I have become a much better singer, so good that I’m considering picking music back up) in feminizing my voice. Hell, eating large amounts of Hostess mini donuts is doing nothing to help me gain weight, either, which is badly needed.
So I was faced with a problem. Realistically, I know that it can create problems in a service-driven industry. Whether the employer has an issue with it or not, clients might, and individual businesses can never be compelled to continue using one vendor or another. It’s why I continue to work as a male: the clients would unanimously fire me here. Will that problem exist in New Hampshire?
Because I can’t expect the employer to risk losing clients by having an employee who makes them uncomfortable. And my voice is clearly still so off that I was called a “sir,” though I’m not surprised by that. There’s a huge mental block there that I’ll get into some other time. Realistically, I know that I need to continue working as a male until I’ve made the money (which shouldn’t be much of an issue in NH) to afford the needed surgeries. Until then, it has the potential to create issues with clients.
But what about once I’ve had those surgeries? Being a male to them one day and female the next is likely to create even more issues.
“Thank you, sir.”
How to handle this delicate issue when the vast majority of potential employers will simply refuse to discuss it in any meaningful sense, for fear of saying the wrong thing and inviting myriad lawsuits?
Yet it had to be discussed: “Thank you, sir.”
I know the SJWs out there would contend, “At most, you should have corrected him and requested he refer to you as ‘ma’am,'” and, yeah, perhaps. But that doesn’t sit well with me, and never has. It’s disingenuous and dishonest. And it invites even more problems. Following that correction, they’d certainly have googled me (honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t already). And I don’t know, but I imagine reservations would be extremely high about hiring someone who felt they had the right to be treated as a female despite not conforming sufficiently to gender expectations.
I unambiguously take the stance that being considered a female is something that I have to earn, not something to which I am entitled. Other people have expectations of female and male, and their expectations are as valid as anyone else’s. Since I’m the one who wants to be considered female, the onus falls to me to conform to their expectations, not to make them conform to mine in full disregard of their own. And this served as proof that I haven’t achieved that. Hey, no biggie–it means I have more work to do, which I already knew anyway.
But how to handle the matter now?
It immediately became clear to me that I should have sent my resume as a male, but I didn’t. Again, that’s the primary reason for the move, so I didn’t think twice about it; when I applied for a job, I did it as Aria. It just seemed normal and natural to me, not worthy of second guessing. But even if I had, I’m transitioning, and the day is inevitable (and not as far away as it used to be) that the male persona is forever put to rest. There is an entirely different, and heightened, degree of difficulty transitioning in a single job–being a male (albeit unusual) to the employer and clients one day, and a female the next. It’s actually easier to be a non-passable (I’ll not apologize for that phrase) female one day, and a more passable one the next. People are already prepared for it at that point, are already getting used to it, and it’s much less jarring.
So, ultimately, I think I made the right choice: apply as a female and tough it out, unpassable in several critical regards, and, in time, get those issues handled (cosmetic surgery is likely limited to brow bone decreases, so it’s not major and shouldn’t be expensive). With many of the employers clients being government agencies, it’s actually not terribly likely to be a problem for clients. But there is still a problem at hand:
“Thank you, sir.”
Merely mentioning my gender identity could be enough to cost me the job, for exactly the same reason that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell existed in the military; it immediately creates the danger of legal action. By mentioning it, I’d put them instantly into a No Win situation. Either they don’t hire, and then there’s the threat of lawsuit on the basis that they didn’t hire me because of my gender identity, or they do hire me simply to avoid the risk of that lawsuit. Of course, I’m an anarchist. Government is a weapon, not a tool. I didn’t sue a realty company who let their dog bite me twice in a service call, and that was the most solid lawsuit most people have ever heard. But I don’t think that’s right. But while I know there’s no chance I’m trying to bait them, a la Dale Gribble in King of the Hill applying as a waiter to Hooters, there’s no possible way they could know that. A company I’ve worked with for seven years asked me to put in writing that I would not seek any legal action, after all–the threat is very real, too real, and cannot be discounted. I know it exists, and they know it exists. Though I’d never, ever use such a vile weapon to force others into certain actions, they have no way of knowing my principled stance against such things, nor any reason to believe such claims. Yet there it was.
“Thank you, sir.”
In their zeal for anti-discrimination protections, liberals have created Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Even mentioning this disparity between my birth sex and my gender, the mention of which became necessary (as I don’t think anyone would dispute), violates that policy and places everyone into a minefield that is impossible to navigate. Say the wrong thing, bam. Lawsuit. Don’t hire me, bam. Lawsuit. Don’t respond, bam. Lawsuit. Suggest clients may have an issue with it, bam. Lawsuit.
I need them to be open an honest about whether it could impair client relationships, but they can’t be. Even if it would cost them half their clients, they simply can’t tell me so. They have to lose those clients with a smile on their face, resenting me all the while, because I’m protected by the violence of government action. They can’t fire me, because then, however roundabout, they’d be firing me for being transsexual. Nor can they use fear of that for reason not to hire me, for the same reason.
Yet it’s completely true. No amount of denial will change that, and no amount of good feelings would change my I.T. company in Mississippi going under because I worked as a female. All the liberal protestations that “gender identity shouldn’t matter” won’t make it not matter. It will matter. It does matter. And we can work on that, sure, but we can’t outlaw it, not as we’ve done, because that closes off honest communication. That conservative woman to whom it matters is as right as the liberal man to whom it doesn’t. Now, though, that woman simply can’t discuss it, and we can’t talk to her. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell reigns. She must grit her teeth and act with secret motives to avoid lawsuits and government bludgeoning. If she doesn’t want to work with a transsexual person, she has to keep that to herself, and fire them over something else. The issue goes unaddressed, and she continues unreached and unpersuaded.
“Thank you, sir.”
The reality is simply that it matters to some people, whether it matters to the potential employers or not, and we all know that. A client needs to give no reason for firing a vendor. They simply stop calling, and start calling someone else.
“Thank you, sir.”
But I can’t mention it, can I? At most I can inform them that I prefer to be referred to as a female. No further explanation, no consideration of their wants and needs, and no recognition of the fact that, you know, I share this planet with seven billion other people, many of whom disagree with me about various things. We have to deny the existence of those people. We have to deny reality itself, and behave as though x is true when we know very well that x is false.
So what did I do?
I laid it out in an email that friends criticised as being overly long. But they don’t understand. This is a matter that I live. It’s tertiary to them; they’re spectators. I live and breathe it, and I know it’s a sensitive and delicate issue, not to mention that bringing it up at all places everyone involved into a minefield where the slightest misstep, as far as they knew, was a legal explosion.
And even despite my lengthy email (it wasn’t really that long–three paragraphs, which I consider damned good for an issue of this complexity and sensitivity), they asked for clarification on a few things.
Because I expressed a willingness to work as a male. Though I don’t like it, I recognize that it may be the path of least resistance for them, and that’s a fair compromise, I think. Maybe they could still employ me post-transition, and maybe they couldn’t; we could cross that bridge later. But I recognize that being a non-passable female could create problems for them, and could harm their business. It’s WRONG to demand them unilaterally take that risk.
But they can’t even admit that it could create problems. Whether it would or wouldn’t, they can’t admit it, nor can they openly factor it into the decision of whether to hire me. Would it be a factor? Who can say? Rest assured, it wouldn’t be their personal issue with transsexualism, but their recognition that clients may have an issue with it. Therefore, hiring me would not be good for their company, because it wouldn’t be good for their client relationships, because their clients may have problems with it.
Nothing can be done about that, because they aren’t allowed to say, “Okay, yes, we think it’s prudent that you work as a male for the time being.”
They aren’t allowed to say that.
I’d rather work as a female, but I’m aware that stepping stones are a thing, and we must sometimes be uncomfortable today to secure comfort tomorrow. It’s why I’m a capitalist. That notion of investing in the future–it’s exactly the same here. Working as a male for a strong, vibrant, well-paying, successful firm in New Hampshire is an investment in my future, and one that I don’t mind making, although I’d rather avoid it. Working as a male for six months there while I save up the money for vocal and cosmetic surgery is a small price to pay considering the rewards–a much better job, a much better area, freedom to be me…
But I can’t make the decision. Government and liberals have made the decision for me. I’ll work as a female, because they can’t tell me otherwise. The only way I could make a choice at all would be if I chose to work as a male. I can’t choose to work as a female now; working as a female now would be a product of government coercion, not my personal choices. And yet, without them being able to admit even the existence of potential problems, contacting them and telling them to consider me a male by another name would be construed as flaky, uncertain, and unstable; it would be far more damaging to my employment prospects than anything else.
“Thank you, sir.”
When they replied, it predictably contained mention of Equal Opportunity Employment, and the assurance that being transgender (I went with transgender because, generally, it’s more palatable) would not factor into their decision. Upon reading it, inwardly I sighed. I know enough to know that my email was very clear in those regards, but the gauntlet was tossed back to me: “Are you saying you wish to delay the interviewing process until you’re finished transitioning?”
Thank you, sir.
No, and they knew I wasn’t saying that. And I know they knew I wasn’t saying that, and they know I know that they knew I wasn’t saying that. They were more cleverly saying that they’d have nothing to do with it, that they would under no circumstances say “Don’t transition yet, then, if you feel it could create problems.” Instead they were saying, “We have no comment.”
Because they’re not allowed to comment, regardless of the reality in New Hampshire. Is it as big a deal there as it is here? I don’t know. If it is, they can’t admit it, and we can’t address that problem together. They airlifted themselves right out of that minefield, but the mines remain there. If it could be a potential issue for clients, that’s something that, at most, they’d have to discuss among themselves in secret, or keep to themselves entirely.
Instead of working through the problem together, if there is a problem, then they’ll simply not hire me, and will give any number of other reasons for that. Because they aren’t allowed to state the reason, if that’s the case, and so we can’t compromise to deal with it.
It’s not “Thank you, sir.”
It’s “Thank you, liberals,” said with a deep-seated, resentful anger for creating an environment where potential pitfalls and issues can’t be discussed openly and honestly.
I woke this morning to a series of panicked emails and text messages. A client has been hit with Crysis Ransomware. After orienting myself to the day, I got a handle on the situation and began restoring the client’s files, swept the infected server with malwarebytes, and am well on the way to having everything back up and running. Some people may remember that I was on Fox News a few years ago speaking about ransomware as an I.T. specialist, warning everyone then to back up their stuff, a sentiment mirrored by an FBI agent who participated in the same special. We are now something like four years later, and the link I provided a moment ago contains many people stating that their clients have been infected, and they want to know how they can go about finding decryption software.
If you’re an I.T. vendor, it’s your job to know about ransomware. It’s literally your job to know about it, and to protect against it. For at least five years now, the only foolproof prevention is to have current backups. That’s why I don’t sweat it. A client panics and tells me they’ve been encrypted? No problem. Connect to the infected machine, identify the ransomware, google it, scan to remove it, restore files, done. This one might be more complex since it also encrypted programs and possibly some Windows features that no sane I.T. vendor would back up, but there’s absolutely no chance that the client is going to a) lose their files, or b) pay the ransom (currently $5100).
And just in the past 30 days, we’ve seen several “professional” I.T. vendors amateurishly asking about decryption utilities. I can’t blame them for not having found my website, to read my discussions about ransomware and the value of backups, or to read about my general indictment of I.T. people and their tendency to view security as an afterthought at best, but no professional should be caught with their pants down these days. As for decryption, no. It’s not happening. You have two options: pay the ransom, or lose the files. New variants are constantly being released–it’s a multi-billion dollar industry–do you really think that there’s any chance they’re going to let their encryption software be reverse engineered?
I know the hopeful feeling, the denial, of a first-time ransom attack. I was sure that I was always just a step away from the magical solution that would undo everything. Of course, through this I was also using Western Union to send $547 to Tel Aviv, Israel to buy Bitcoin and pay the ransom. Since the typical ransom is still “one bitcoin” and Bitcoin is currently at $5100, I’m not sure that the same client would go for it today. If they did, we’d be fired. That would be appropriate, I think, given that any I.T. vendor, at this point, should be aware of ransomware.
This is your job. This is what you do for a living. You’re supposed to be the experts. Your clients pay you to keep them protected from stuff like this.
Do your jobs.
If you’re hit with ransomware and you don’t have current backups for your clients, then you can go ahead and fire yourself. I’d fire you, especially if I, the client, googled things and found that ransomware has been around for several years, and that the solution is simply to back stuff up, and you couldn’t be bothered to do that. Make peace with it–your only options are to pay the ransom and hope that the people on the other end are honorable (they were in the case of CryptoWall, but that was a long time ago), or to say goodbye to all the files. They’re not recoverable and chances are that they never will be.
Just check out the full list of decryption tools that Kaspersky has available. Six. They have decryption tools for six (out of probably six thousand) variants of ransomware. CryptoWall 2.0, which released in 2014, still isn’t on there. Holding your breath for a decryption utility is like hoping to win the lottery. It requires tons of people to pay the ransom and receive the decryption utility, and for those people to provide those tools to Kaspersky, Bleeping Computer, or someone else, and for those people to laboriously reverse engineer the encryption algorithm. It’s called encryption for a reason, dude. That’s not easy to do.
To give you an idea of the task, start with your public key of “100.” Now, figure out the algorithm (the calculation) that I used to turn “100” into the private key of “2,114.” As you can immediately say, there are infinite ways to turn 100 into 2114. The larger your sample size–if you know that 300 also becomes 900, 52 becomes 1,433, and 91 becomes 30–the better your chances of finding the algorithm that will produce all of these results, but even if you have all of these public and private keys, the task is monumental. And that’s what you’re asking of Bleeping Computers because you can’t be bothered to do your job.
So the Nobel Prize in economics was recently awarded to Thaler, who showed that economic actors (i.e., “people”) don’t always act rationally, or in their best interests. While I have not read his award-winning work, that isn’t even important, because there are two underlying assumptions that don’t hold up, and that must be true for the hypothesis to be true: first, that rational and irrational behavior are different things, and second that “best interests” can be definitively measured.
Without going further, everyone should by now be identifying the scientific woo in the assertion. As I’ve written about before, rationality and irrationality are two sides of the same coin–that which we value, we value for emotional reasons, yet it is only rational to care (emotion-based) about our values. That’s rather circuitous, so let me explain with an example. Let’s say that I love chocolate milk, and that I’d be willing to pay $5 for a bottle of Hershey’s Chocolate Syrup if only one remained at the store and I was competing with someone else for it. It is only rational that I put my desires first, and therefore only rational that I seek out and attempt to acquire the chocolate syrup. But why should I care about having chocolate syrup, and why should I care whether I am happy (with my desires fulfilled) or unhappy (with my desires unfulfilled)? Why should I care whether I am happy and acquired the chocolate syrup, or unhappy without the chocolate syrup?
We have a strong tendency to separate the two things, but they cannot be separated. There is no rational reason that I would care whether I am happy or sad–only emotional ones. Yet it is only rational that, if my emotional state matters to me, then I would attempt to keep my emotional state positive. If I care, then it is only rational that I do things that satisfy that concern, but there is no rational reason that I should care except that I care, and that, since I care, it only makes sense for me to do things to satisfy that concern. See? It’s all circular. Rationality and irrationality are woven together, inseparable; no one ever “acts rationally” and no one ever “acts irrationally.” They perpetually act both rationally and irrationally.
Suppose I run into a burning building to rescue a cat. Many people would say that I had behaved irrationally. Yet others would say that, because I care deeply about cats (no, really, I do, and I would rush into a burning building to save one), it is only rational that I would do everything in my power to save them. Yet there is no rational reason that I should care about cats–I care about them for emotional reasons, hence the use of the word “care.” Yet is it not irrational for an untrained person to rush into a burning building for any reason? Is it not irrationality–emotion–my love for cats–that inspired my behavior, even though it’s got an overwhelming likelihood of being against my best interests (survival)? And, if so, why should my survival be considered a rational goal?
On the surface, it would certainly appear that it is only rational for a person to want to keep themselves alive, but is it? No. Such a want–a desire–is motivated entirely by emotional concerns: a fear of death, a love of life, whatever. There is no rational reason to want to continue living, but look what we are doing–we are calling it irrational to rush into a burning building because it could lead to death. We are assuming that it is rational to want to continue living, but that assumption is flawed; there are only emotional reasons. So we are not using “rationality” in its accurate, true sense when we ascribe it as a value to certain actions; we are labeling a broad range of actions with “self-preservation” as the ideal goal–a goal that we put as the ideal only for emotional reasons.
For what rational reason does an individual, group, or species conclude that their survival and procreation are valuable? There isn’t one, and that’s the assumption upon which his idea is built–that there is. There is absolutely no rational reason that I should care whether I live or die, whether humanity lives or dies, or whether the entire freaking planet lives or dies. Why? Positive and negative statements are value statements, and they are made according to unknown, subjective, individual-specific criteria and weighed for emotional reasons, not rational ones.
Before anyone can say that actors occasionally act rationally or irrationally, they must define what these words mean. Apparently, “rationally” in this context means “in their best interests.” According to whom? And by what criteria? Plenty of people would say that habitual drug users are acting against their best interest by continuing to do methamphetamine, but are they? Who is to say that the short-term high of meth isn’t a sufficient reward for them to outweigh the longterm damage? Who is to say what is in their best interests and what is not? Who in the world has the omniscience to make such a statement, and then to present it as science? This guy won a Nobel Prize for “demonstrating” that Person A occasionally acts against Person A’s best interests.
What in the bloody hell are we considering to be in Person A’s best interests? Economic stability? Amassing untold wealth? Getting lots of pussy? And then why are we considering those things to be in their best interests? And even if we could somehow come to a universally agreed upon criteria of what is and isn’t in someone’s best interests, this doesn’t even begin to answer the question of whether they’re acting in their long-term best interests, but against their short-term best interests (as I do each time I buy cryptocurrency). How in the world can we ever attempt to say scientifically that Person A has acted against their short-term best interests and against their long-term interests, according to this gargantuan list of factors and concerns that we have by fiat determined to be “best”?
And this guy won a Nobel Prize for this.
In actuality, what Thaler has proven is that “By the criteria of what I consider to be ‘best,’ people occasionally do things that will not yield the results of what I consider ‘best.'” It doesn’t matter if his criteria is economic stability, productivity, long-term survival, or anything else–why in the world should his values, or even the majority’s values, dictate that another person has behaved irrationally? No, Thaler. You have demonstrated that people occasionally do things that you feel are not in those people’s best interests. That’s all you’ve demonstrated, and that, as science, is meaningless and useless.
If you define their “best interests” in the way that you prefer, then it’s no surprise that you’ll find people occasionally act against the “best interests” that you’ve defined, because not everyone is trying to achieve whatever goals you have outlined; not everyone cares about those same things. It’s not in my economic and financial best interests to take time out of my workday to write this article, but I care about whether science is actually, you know, scientific. Is it rational that I care about that? Well… It’s no more rational than your estimation of what is and isn’t in other people’s best interests.
It didn’t take much thought for me to realize what changed between my initial crypto purchases and the more recent ones that turned me into a Cryptocurrency evangelist: Porcfest. By sheer coincidence, I happened to have my laptop with me, which gave me access to my meager amounts of crypto, but the drive had also been damaged in the drive, so I wasn’t actually able to use them (and will never be able to recover them). But I saw there something I didn’t expect: cryptos in use as currencies.
Since, I’ve been paying more attention to that, and I’ve noticed that we are not far from the threshold of widespread crypto acceptance. In Keene (to where I’m soon moving), many brick-and-mortar businesses accept it, for example. This all caused me to really consider them as viable currencies–ones that will ultimately shatter state power over us.
So why should you begin moving money into Cryptocurrency? There are many reasons, but let’s start with the obvious.
Are profits guaranteed? Of course not. Nothing is ever certain. But the indestructible and immutable nature of cryptos means that the wealth can’t be destroyed by any government or any coalition of governments. The internet unleashed a power that we haven’t really begun to harness, but one thing has been repeatedly made clear: the governments of the world can’t stop anything on the internet. Scientific research papers leaked and given away for free, software, The Pirate Bay–which is centralized and has been repeatedly and directly attacked by governments–continues to stand, undefeated. It has become a hydra, they learned; cutting off the head caused thousands of copies to spring up (of varying legitimacy). Now there is LBRY (tell me before you join, and I’ll send you an invite, so we both receive 3 LBRY credits, valued at 22 cents per presently), which is like a decentralized world wide web. It’s like Tor, except it has a built-in currency that rewards contributions. In all their efforts, the state never took down the Tor version of The Pirate Bay, because they can’t. Not without shutting down the entire internet, which would cause instant revolt. Ditto for cryptocurrencies.
So your wealth is imminently safe, as long as you don’t make stupid decisions. The government can’t and won’t bail you out if you buy Scamcoin. And while there’s no guarantee of short or mid-term profits, one is virtually guaranteed long-term profits.
Contrary to much confusion, almost all cryptocurrencies are inherently inflationary–to a point. This is because they are Proof of Work based (It’s not really important to know what that means), which means miners that verify transactions are rewarded for their intensive calculations by spontaneously-created coins. Each transaction, therefore, increases by some small degree the total number of coins in circulation. This is verbatim inflation, as no new wealth is created–only new tokens spread across the same amount of wealth.
However, people are adding value to cryptos in the form of Demand. As long as this demand, represented by people purchasing cryptos, is higher than the rate of inflation, the value of the coins increases. Say one new coin is created each day. This would make everyone’s currency less valuable unless people out there wanted to buy more than one coin each day. If people want to buy ten coins each day, then values will increase despite the inflation. That’s a bit simplistic, but the reason it works is that prices and values are generated dynamically by all these factors, not by a central authority making educated guesses.
However, each new block (basically, a set of transactions) involves a lot of complicated calculations, and these calculations are steadily becoming more difficult in labor-intensive. Additionally, hard-written into many of these currencies is a soft limit and a hard limit. As more coins are created, the number of coins created spontaneously by miners decreases, which obviously slows the rate of inflation. This decrease in supply increase means the Demand and Supply ratios change, allowing Demand to further overtake Supply. What happens then? Value increases exponentially. Once the hard cap is reached, there is no more inflation, so Demand causes even further value increases. This, of course, is years away for most currencies. Technically, they may never hit the hard cap for the same reason humans are unlikely to ever drill 100% of the oil on the planet–eventually it stops being cost effective to drill (or “mine”).
No one can predict what will happen around that time, but I expect that Bitcoin, like Blackcoin is and Ethereum is doing, will move to Proof of Stake. But given that Bitcoin can’t go through with a plan that nearly everyone signed, maybe such a shift is beyond its capabilities. Anyway, crypto values increase because more people are acquiring them with other money (work) than there are people spending them. Growth appears to be exponential, as well; Bitcoin took years to get to $600, but just a few months to go from $600 to $3,000.
If you’re against war, then the best course of action is to begin defunding the war machine by diverting money from USD to cryptos. There is a strong libertarian and anarchist ideological dominance among cryptocurrencies, and it’s by design that they’re resistant to hacking, theft, corruption, spying, and centralization. Use of HD wallets such as Jaxx and Coinomi allow no one else to know how much you actually have, because “you” to outside observers are dozens or hundreds of random strings of characters, which are linked to one another only by the software itself and the local copies of your private keys. No one but your software can tie your many wallets together.
The Cusp of Change
It should be clear to anyone who has been paying attention to national and world events that we are on the cusp of change, and that changes have been happening for twenty years at a quickening pace. When personal computers first made their way into the home, it was revolutionary. Then there was the modem, which was revolutionary. Then the smartphone, which was revolutionary. Then torrenting (actually, BitTorrent came before smartphones, but it doesn’t matter), which allowed every single computer on the Internet to be a server. Then came the blockchain, a remarkable innovation the full scope of which I, a tech person, cannot fully grasp. It’s like the General Relativity of technology–yes, it’s that serious.
Imagine you have a spreadsheet that two or three people can work on. That’s a bit of a problem, isn’t it? Being a tech person, I know this problem well. Clients tend to throw the spreadsheet onto a shared drive and, oops, it turns out to be locked by another user who left it open. Different versions come into existence, one person overwrites another person’s data accidentally, someone’s computer crashes and there’s now an Auto-Saved version and no one is sure which is the correct and most recent… Take it from someone who has no less than thirty copies of Dancing in Hellfire on her harddrive–it’s a real problem.
The blockchain is like a spreadsheet that everyone shares, while it also solves the version difference problems. Imagine what this will ultimately mean. Take democratic elections, for example. The government should be at the forefront of this, because blockchain could be used to record votes. The data, the calculations are complete and stored in a block, is immutable and unhackable. It will remain in that block untouched until the end of human technology. It’s called a “chain” because each block points to the block in front of it and the one behind it–like if one spreadsheet ended 00003 and the next one began 00003, which ended in 00004 while the next one began 00004, only the “numbers” are much more complicated. So it’s a chain of these spreadsheets, really, and, once stored, they cannot be changed. This is what causes “hard forks” to happen. When a change is made to the protocol and technology, it creates a distinctly new thing–that “change” doesn’t apply to older blocks before the change, and it never will, because those blocks cannot be changed.
So if your vote is in 00003, it’s there forever–no changes to the vote process or anything else can ever change your vote. It’s permanent, immutable, fixed, and safe. And this is just one such application. There are countless others. One company is using blockchain technology to verify that all fish are safe or something like that. Another is using blockchain to monitor for ebola in realtime. The underlying technology that is the blockchain is the greatest breakthrough in technology since the invention of the Internet itself, and we’re still trying to fully incorporate the Internet, thirty years later.
Golem uses blockchain technology to share computing power for 3D rendering software Blender. I hate Blender. But it’s a proof of concept, especially for complex animations. Imagine being able to use five thousand processors all at once to compile your animation–Golem is making that happen, and Blender usage is its proof of concept. What further uses will we see this put toward? Password cracking? Probably–and hopefully, since that’s my only hope for getting into my encrypted backups that contain, I believe, a number of Litecoins (perhaps as many as ten, but I don’t recall, because I wasn’t really into it then, because I hadn’t seen… the proof of concept at Porcfest).
The world is changing. All throughout the world, people are deciding that they don’t want to be ruled by others, and, yes, this is even happening in the United States. The only thing holding us in our current system is our addiction to ruling over others. California won’t secede from the union because they are too eager to have the power once more, they are too eager to get a Democrat in the White House in 2020 and “make the Republicans pay” for four years of Trump. It is true that they don’t want to be ruled over by Trump and a Republican-controlled federal government, but they won’t secede, and they won’t demand decreases in state power, because they’d rather bide their time until they are, once more, the ones with the power, and can then make the GOP pay for the years of President Trump. Conservative states did the same with President Obama–that’s why we have Trump now, in fact.
We saw it with Brexit. We see it with Kurdistan, Catalonia. We are slowly reawakening to the reality that we don’t like being told what to do by governments who aren’t us and who don’t have our best interests at heart. Meanwhile, the American behemothian military machine is weakening, losing its grip, with its only hope of survival being continuous warfare–warfare that Americans (and the rest of the world) are losing their patience for. The USD will inevitably collapse (the national debt is already beyond twenty trillion dollars), and some politicians are floating the idea of making the raising of the debt ceiling an automatic process. That’s not much different from how it currently is, since the whole “Will they or won’t they?” question is a dog and pony show, but once that is erased, hyperinflation will quickly follow. And if the Democrats succeed in a national, socialized medicine scheme, that hyperinflation will be immediately necessary to pay those costs, because no American is going to submit to 80% taxes.
We live in interesting times. The state’s power is slipping away from it, and it can do nothing to stop it, because we aren’t fighting it with guns and tanks. We’re fighting it with ingenuity, creativity, and brilliance. We are, as the market always does, working around the state and its unlawful, immoral impositions. Anyone who has noticed the strange trends of the last several years should probably be investing in four things: themselves, gold, cryptos, and lead. The Age of the State is coming to an end.
Okay, I’m In. Now What?
The easiest way to transfer your wealth from United States Dollars into cryptocurrencies is via Coinbase. Some people have problems with them; I don’t. The people who dislike Coinbase are angry primarily because Coinbase, like all exchanges, keeps people’s private keys for themselves, so the user never actually owns the money in the wallet. It’s complicated, and we’re getting to that.
Think of a wallet (also called a “ledger”) as a bank account. It serves exactly the same purpose. It is a unique identifier that you, and only you, have, and comes in three parts: the public key, the private key, and the address. This is where the “crypto” part of “cryptocurrencies” comes in–encryption is heavy here. Every encryption has two pieces, the private and public key. Having the public key allows people to see the balance of the ledger and the transaction history, but they cannot send funds out of that wallet. It is the private key that is necessary for that. Coinbase and other Exchanges (places to buy cryptocurrencies) keep the private keys on servers, and you sign up to them with email addresses and stuff, and they match your email address and other information to the private key.
So you’ll need to create an account at an exchange like Coinbase. From there, you can use a checking account or debit card (some states prohibited, because fuck freedom, that’s why) to buy cryptos. Coinbase offers only Bitcoin, Litecoin, and Ethereum, but I’d still recommend using them primarily. It’s easy to get mixed up in a bunch of scamcoins otherwise. Coinbase locks in the value of your coins at the time you make the purchase, so if Ethereum is $300 each when you make a purchase of “1 ETH for $300,” it won’t matter if Ethereum has gone up to $900 when the purchase completes 5 to 7 days later–you’ll still get 1 Ethereum, not 0.33 ETH. This is a big deal. Be wary of exchanges that do not do this. Some of them will give you just 0.33 ETH, since that would be what $300 would get at the time the purchase completed. This also goes both ways–if ETH drops to $100 by the time the purchase completes, you’ll only get 1 Ethereum, not 3.
All of this is totally legal, and simple to do. Just go to Coinbase and sign up, link a checking account (the only option in many U.S. states), and start buying.
Once your coins arrive, though, you won’t want to keep them in your Coinbase wallet. Note that you can also use the Coinbase Android (iOS perhaps?) app. In fact, I don’t think I’ve ever actually been to Coinbase’s website. With Coinbase, you don’t truly own your money, just like you don’t truly own your money when it’s in a bank account. Especially in the EU, the bank owns it, and legislation gave banks in the UK the “right” to take up to 35% of the money out of anyone’s accounts at any time. So yes, exchange wallets are very much like bank accounts. However, most exchanges won’t allow you to buy crypto and automatically deposit it into another wallet; you’ll have to have it deposited into your exchange wallet.
I would recommend Jaxx or Coinomi. I use Jaxx primarily, and Coinomi only for more obscure coins like LBRY and Blackcoin. For Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, DASH, Golem, and Ethereum Classic, I use Jaxx. Install the Jaxx application on PC or Android, open it, and copy your wallet address. Jaxx puts a “copy” button right by your address to make this easier. Go back to Coinbase, choose the “Send” option, paste your Jaxx Wallet address into the “To” field, choose the amount you want to send (almost all of it, minus about 0.001 or so, to pay for the transaction fee), and confirm it. A minute or so later, your funds will show up in your Jaxx wallet, where you and only you control it.
It’s really that simple. It used to be a lot more complicated. My first Bitcoin purchase was for a client who had been hit with ransomware. I ended up sending $548 through Western Union to freaking Tel-Aviv. It was an ordeal. It took an entire day to get that one Bitcoin. It’s no longer anything like, but that’s part of why there’s the delay in Coinbase. It’s all about liquidity, after all–in the grand scheme of things, if you want to buy, then you have to find someone willing to sell, right? Coinbase cuts out that labor by acting as the middleman. People sell their coins to Coinbase (more or less), which has given Coinbase a nice cache of them. But yes, that’s really all there is to it. Exchanges have made the process so much easier than it used to be.
If you do want a riskier, more obscure coin (if you’re operating under the idea that any given crypto could shoot its way up to $50, so getting 100 of a currency for $0.15 is a great idea), you can instead use the Coinomi app instead of Jaxx. Jaxx and Coinomi both include a feature called Shapeshift (which is an unrelated, independent company) that, for a small fee (usually it’s a small fee, but nothing involving Bitcoin has a small fee anymore), will allow you to turn your Litecoin into Dogecoin or DASH or Ethereum Classic. Coinomi has more options, such as Belacoin, LBRY, and Blackcoin. So, to do this, here would be the basic steps:
Create account at Coinbase, link a checking account (probably, unless you’re in one of the few states that will let you use a debit or credit card, you lucky devil).
Purchase some amount of Bitcoin, Litecoin, or Ethereum. Litecoin has the lowest transaction fees right now.
Wait for the purchase to complete. 4 to 8 days later, your coins will be deposited into your Coinbase wallet.
Immediately send them to your Jaxx or Coinomi wallet. This will involve a small fee.
Hit the fox head-looking thing. It will show you the maximum number of coins you can shapeshift, and will allow you to choose which currency you want to shapeshift them too. This will involve a small fee.
The Shapeshift will automatically send your new coins to the corresponding wallet in whatever software you’re using. If you shapeshift Litecoin into Dogecoin using Jaxx (for some ungodly reason), it will automatically send the Dogecoin to your Jaxx Dogecoin wallet.
Hold onto the currency until you’re ready to spend it or sell it.
Selling it is basically these steps in reverse–convert it back into LTC, ETH, or BTC (be mindful of the relative values of these currencies! If Blackcoin goes up to $1 apiece but Bitcoin has gone up to $500,000, then Blackcoin relative to BTC will have gone down in value, even if it’s technically worth more in USD). Send the currency to the Coinbase wallet, and hit the Sell button.
So good luck out there. The state is going to come down. Bruh, do you crypto?
I made a joke post earlier making fun of scam ICOs, encouraging people to send Ethereum and Litecoin to me, in return for which they will receive an equivalent number of meaningless, worthless, no-shits-given Anarchist Shemale Coin, in a humanitarian effort to facilitate the divorce of money from those who lack common sense. But to be totally honest, I’ve been watching Bitcoin and Ethereum for a while (perpetually rooting for the underdog, I am), and I actually would like to launch a cryptocurrency. I quite obviously lack the technical expertise to do this–I fix computers and networks and do light programming. I don’t write communication protocols. I could have delved that deeply into the mechanics if I wanted to, but I didn’t.
The question is worth asking, though. Given that there are countless (at least five hundred) altcoins (seemingly a label that means “not Bitcoin cryptocurrency”), of what value would another be? Actually… I have a pretty good answer for that. Bitcoin is currently in the process of showing us why communism and raw equality generally fail, why flat hierarchies fail. There are too many cooks in the kitchen, many of whom refuse to compromise, all of whom have their own way of doing things. By December, Bitcoin will have hard forked and created at least three new currencies–Bitcoin Cash, Bitcoin Gold, and either Bitcoin Classic or B2X–or some other acronym, depending on how November plays out. Regardless, it is splitting quite a lot.
On the one hand, this is good. If you owned a Bitcoin in August, then you suddenly 1 Bitcoin and 1 Bitcoin Cash once it forked. In that sense, it mirrors stock splits in a lot of ways–it doubles the amount in existence and splits the value across that amount. Someone who owned 100 Exxon shares 70 years ago now owns probably twenty thousand. Companies do this to drive down investment costs, which brings in more investment money. Bitcoin faces similar problems, because so many people are reluctant to spend $40 on 0.01 BTC when they can spend $40 and get 0.76 LTC. Ostensibly the growths and values are the same, but, psychologically, they are not. 0.76 LTC feels psychologically like a more substantive purchase. I would bet that more than 75% of this year’s newcomers to the industry purchased LTC, ETH, DASH, or another alt-coin before they purchased any BTC. Anyway.
The hard-forking appears to be a permanent feature of Bitcoin, and there isn’t really any reason to suspect that it’s going to die down as time goes on. After S2x there will be something else, some other point of contention. Markets don’t like unpredictability and uncertainty, and this is going to hurt Bitcoin’s value, whereas the primary thing keeping it popular these days seems to be that it was the first and is simply the most well-known. I wouldn’t touch it, even with the possibility of having my coins duplicated into several alt-coins. In fact, I converted my BTC into freaking DOGE, which is forever going to be worthless.
“White papers” are well and good, but you know what is really missing from the ICOs and the altcoins?
That’s right. A constitution.
See, we anarchists are not anti-government. We’re anti-state. Many of us have pointed out numerous times that the state is merely one form that a government takes, just as a truck is one form an automobile takes. If I hate trucks, that doesn’t mean that I hate cars or vans. In fact, I do hate trucks, because 98% of the people driving them in Mississippi have absolutely no need for them, and are just driving them because of cultural reasons, wasting copious amounts of gasoline and doing unnecessary damage to the environment (yes, I said that).
The White Paper would serve basically as the Constitution itself. I’d love to enlist people like John McAfee and other brilliant minds for such a project. Security, anonymity, and individualism would be the core tenets of the currency. Most importantly, however, would be that it would have amendments similarly attached to it immediately upon being adopted. First among those would be the requirement that, at any time, 5% of currency holders could request a vote (the blockchain itself could be used to store these votes, too), whereupon each member on the Board would be recalled with a simple 51% majority.
It’s anarcho-capitalist in the sense that it wouldn’t be the individual’s vote that mattered, but how much of the currency they actually held–voting with their wallet, so to speak, which is a more accurate imitation of the market. Someone with 1,000 of this currency has a much higher vested interest than someone with 0.01 of the currency, and it simply stands to reason that the person with 100,000 times the stake should have a much more powerful voice. They have more to lose, which will cause them to be more conservative and considerate. People don’t risk millions of dollars regularly in a free market (and they only do so in the United States because of the socialized losses / privatized profits system that we have).
It is necessary, all evidence suggests, to have some authority that determines the direction that a ship should go. Having 3,000 passengers attempting to decide a heading is bedlam, and there is too much noise for the system to be efficient. It is necessary, for the sake of productivity and progress, for there to be a hierarchy, a group of informed, knowledgeable individuals who make the decisions on how the ship should be sailed. The problem with the state, of course, is that we have no choice but to get on the ship. This system I’m talking about would be voluntary–no one would have to take part in it (thereby consenting to “rulership” of the board and its Executive Committee). It would be entirely their choice to submit to the board’s decisions by purchasing the currency. The Second Amendment would be that measures shall always be taken to ensure that the system is voluntary. This means it must have competition, even if this means that the board must hard-fork the currency themselves. Not that it would come to that, of course. The odds of one cryptocurrency overtaking all others are so low that it can almost be discounted entirely–but not entirely, not really. The protection must be written in as one of the first few amendments.
Competition is what’s important. When people are forced to participate in a system, then that system has no competition. The result is inefficiency, fraud, corruption, and direct abuses of people’s rights. Decentralization is not the goal, nor is a flat hierarchy. These are merely ways of ensuring that no small group or single person has the power to abuse in the first place. Another, more effective, method is to ensure that people only submit to this group voluntarily, and that market forces like competition keep this small group behaving in a way that ordinary people approve. Having a centralized cryptocurrency, even one offered up by the United States Government, isn’t really a problem, because we have so many better alternatives. It would only become a problem in the event that the United States Government used its state power to eliminate its competition (which it probably would try, honestly). JP Morgan Coin isn’t necessarily a problem for the same reason. As long as their is competition, the market will sort it out, and market pressures will ensure that JP Morgan doesn’t do anything too screwed up.
The right of users to not have any personalized information stored would be a critical tenet. Nothing but a long string of hex characters could be stored. The coin would officially boycott (even though it couldn’t prevent) any exchanges that required identifying information in order to make purchases. Even the P2P exchange Airwave (which hasn’t launched yet) asked me for my freaking government ID, are you kidding? Considering that its white paper states that its goal is to make exchanges resistant to government interference, that is a bizarre move on their part, but, given that it was to be whitelisted rather than simply accepted, I’ve chosen to ignore it and pursue it anyway.
Besides, the purchasing of crypto-currencies is not nearly as important as the manner in which they are stored. HD Wallets are a necessity. By using rotating wallet addresses, a particular user can have their true wealth made completely invisible by anyone watching the network–a feature of Jaxx that caused 0.63 LTC to temporarily vanish from my wallet yesterday, in fact. Once the coins are purchased, it is easy to tell the IRS and government officials that one was hacked, and all the coins stolen, and it’s upon them to prove that this didn’t happen in the United States. Wish them the best of luck attempting to prove that you were not hacked. Golly gee, I certainly was. Yeah. Definitely. All of my crypto vanished, IRS. Some clever hacker just got my phone, and, yep… All of it went Poof. Just in case any government agencies are curious about why “constitution” and “crypto” are being discussed on an anarchists’ website, they should know that. That 0.63 LTC I mentioned? Hacked away, almost as soon as it reappeared in my wallet. Alas, alas, que sera, sera.
I’ve not given this the thought to actually put forward any serious white paper for any enterprising crypto-interested individual to consider, much less ten critically important amendments. That isn’t my point in this. I’m simply attempting to draw attention to a huge problem that crypto-currencies face, and the obvious solution to that problem. Bitcoin is proving that some sort of central leadership is necessary, and that having too many cooks in the kitchen just causes them to create too many freaking dishes, because Bob insists on using pepper, which would clash with the paprika that Janet is using, and Janet’s paprika would clash with the garlic in April’s dish.
Meanwhile, Ethereum continues on almost exactly as planned, with its hard-forks literally planned into the process for the beginning, and about to be implemented without devastating the network. But Ethereum, however well-intentioned and noble they may be, and however useful ether and the ethereum blockchain (separate from the currency) are, the fact remains that they are a standard company, and are far from incorruptible. This is the case with nearly every alt-coin. They are like people who seized government because they wanted government power, instead of seizing government because they wanted the people to be free. Obviously, because this last group requires such a high degree of principle that they are exceedingly rare, the Ron Pauls, John McAfees, and Daryl Perrys out there. They created crypto companies to make money, not to create a new currency and turn it over to the masses via democratic processes. No, the founders and creators want to keep themselves at the top.
We’ve seen the same thing with many of the new caucuses within the Libertarian Party, one of which I recently helped form before I became inactive in it because I observed exactly this phenomenon. The trick, it seemed, was that they wanted not to form a caucus that advocated and implemented a certain set of ideas independent of themselves while they were merely the ones who set it up, but wanted to form a caucus to be the heads of. It’s like the Libertarian Party county affiliates who wrote nothing into their bylaws about replacing the Chairperson. Imagine if Nolan and others had neglected to include any method of replacing them as the party leaders–it would have said quite a lot about their intentions, wouldn’t it? Props to the Audacious Caucus, however, for not doing this, and for having, from the start, bylaws that were about the principles, not the individuals who at that moment were advocating those principles.
And that’s fine that they created a crypto-currency and blockchain for the purposes of heading the company and being the ones with wealth and power. That’s fine, because Ethereum competes. But we badly need a structured crypto company to determine the direction of a currency that exists for the users, rather than for the company. What kind of person starts a new company and, before that company is even launched, writes into the very company’s constitution that the person who created it can be replaced and is not certain to lead it?
Such a currency would be successful, because it would be stable. It would remain successful because it would be competitive. It would offer people a place to store their wealth where they have a real voice to influence the direction, whether they were ignorant or wealthy, well-informed or poor, but where safeguards in the form of the “Bill of Rights” would ensure that, even if a vote did not go their way, there were constraints and limits on what could and could not be done with their wealth.
So someone do this. Be the next Satoshi. Do something not to be at the head of a powerful and wealthy company; do it to help the people of the world.
No one (least of all libertarians) wants mass shootings to happen. In fact, libertarians are among the loudest of the people who speak out and condemn violence, whether it’s orchestrated by random lunatics, police officers, or soldiers within the military. The libertarian position has decades of consistency and history that reveals itself to be loudly and explicitly pro-defense and anti-aggression. The means by which a person commits aggression, and the means by which a person exercises their right to self-defense, are not terribly important, as long as the Defender has weapons equal or greater to the weapons held by the attacker.
One day, that attacker will be the United States Government, and the more we allow them to disarm us, the sooner that day will come. When the Germans surrendered their weapons to the Nazi Regime, they did not expect that their government would ever turn so viciously against them, and this has been the case repeatedly throughout history: very shortly after a population has been disarmed, the illusion of government benevolence is wiped away, revealing a nightmarish, brutish totalitarian thug underneath.
In an era when Nazis are marching, when leftists ransack businesses, when the police murder more than a thousand people every year, it is lunacy to surrender our guns. Don’t the people who suggest this say that Trump is a fascist? Why in the name of all that is good would anyone surrender their means of defense to a fascist regime? It’s certainly true that a shotgun or 9mm pistol is not going to do a lot of good against the true might of the military, once it comes to that, but one stands a much better chance with even a 9mm than one does with a baseball bat. Just because you’re unlikely to defeat Mike Tyson if you step into a ring with him is no reason to have your hands cut off.
I wrote The Power Gap about exactly this reality–when push comes to shove, it’s true: we won’t have much chance against the military. They’ve already effectively gutted our defensive capabilities, and we let them do it in full violation of the Constitution. The Second Amendment protects your right to own claymore mines, drones, cluster bombs, and, yes, even nuclear weapons; it makes absolutely no distinction between one type of weapon and another type of weapon. Further, contrary to popular belief, there was a range of weapon power back then–if the founders had intended We the People to own guns of lesser power than those held by the government, that could have been achieved even in 1787. They didn’t ban cannons from the public, which had already existed for centuries, though, because they never intended the government to possess weapons that the people didn’t. To do so would defeat the entire purpose of the Second Amendment.
Imagine if, today, We the People were still under British rule and sought our independence. Would our shotguns, AR-15s, and revolvers do much good against the awesome power of the UK’s military? No. Our rebellion would be crushed, decimated within minutes as jets we couldn’t even see soared high overhead and dropped bombs on the location of our forces. Whisper, Signal, Wire, the Onion network, cryptocurrencies–even these are not yet enough to allow us to successfully circumvent their awesome technological might, not if push came to shove, because these technologies rely upon satellites that they could (and would) blast from the sky, or simply shut down. EMPs would wipe out our laptops and other communication equipment while we resorted to primitivism and what would be recognized as “terrorism” by most people, because those would be the only tactics left available against such a juggernaut. And we would ultimately be unable to do much damage to the behemoth, just as Al-Queda, ISIS, Boko Harram, and other terrorist groups have been unable to do much damage to American military power.
I’ll even cede, at this point, to let the American government regulate who can and can’t acquire things like fighter jets, nuclear weapons, cluster bombs, and the like–but to have them banned entirely makes us infants before Mike Tyson. But none of this is my point, not really. I’m just explaining my position, and the importance of having weapons capable of truly defending ourselves against the government. Our entire nation was founded by people who did exactly that. And now you want to throw away our ability to do so?
No One Wants Mass Shootings
The question isn’t, “What should we ban?” Anyone who thinks that is the question is being disingenuous. The question is “How can we stop mass shootings?” The answer is difficult to hear, but it’s one that people have to face:
Today, four people in China killed 29 people and injured 130. They didn’t use guns to do this. They used knives. Could it have been worse, if those four people have had guns? Certainly. But you know what else? This little incident wouldn’t have happened if the citizens of China had owned their own military-grade weapons:
It’s simply a part of the human condition. Sometimes, people do bad things. There’s never a way to know beforehand that an otherwise ordinary person is about to do something horrific and evil. Even though I’ve warned extensively about the dangers of data mining and putting every bit of information about ourselves out there into the open, because this can lead to terrifyingly accurate predictions, no predictive algorithm will ever be 100% accurate. We’re already at a point where algorithms can predict whether a person will turn out to be gay, or whether they are on drugs, and they do this with accuracy better than human intuition, but they’ll never be accurate enough. Chasing after the red herring of preventing some Ordinary Joe from losing his mind one day with 100% success will result in each and every single one of us being watched, monitored, probed, and explored by the government at all times. What you’re asking for is, and I hate to pull up the cliche, Orwellian.
Because that’s what it takes to identify which of the 60,000,000 Americans who own a gun is about to lose their mind and shoot someone–and to be sure that everyone who has a gun is registered with the government. Because…
Gun Control Requires Closed Borders
It’s not just people coming across our borders, and that’s a fact. Drugs and guns also come across our borders. If you want to control guns in the United States, the only way to do this is by ensuring that each and every gun in the nation is registered with the government, and this means preventing any new guns from coming across our borders. This is why the UK has been more successful with gun control than other nations–they’re reasonably isolated, with water on all sides. The only way to get in is through an airplane or a ship, and both of those will involve metal detectors at some point. This isn’t the case in the United States–we have lengthy borders to the north and south, and there are many ways into countries on the other side of those borders without passing through such screening processes. To control guns in the United States, you must both control the borders absolutely (again, a red herring) to ensure that no guns get across, and you must have a reasonably tough, watchful eyes on all countries in North and South America.
How effective is this? Not very. We can’t even keep guns and drugs out of our tightly controlled prisons, which are much smaller and much more contained than “the entire country.” But the prison system is the only one even theoretically capable of achieving this task, so we must turn the entire country into a prison to achieve gun control. Once this is done, you might be more successful at keeping guns out, but you won’t be successful enough to justify having imprisoned yourself and everyone in the country.
And even if you manage to do all of that, you have to carefully monitor anyone who is even capable of making a gun. My grandfather has made guns. Even if someone lacks that level of expertise, in modern times all they need is a 3D Printer, some aluminum, and the blueprints. This, while expensive, allows them to create their own totally untraceable gun. How do you aim to stop that? By banning 3D printers? In a world that has P2P networks and the Onion network, it’s not possible to round up and eliminate every copy of the plans to “print” a gun.
In purely logistic terms, the idea of gun control is ludicrous and impossible. It can’t be done. It’s not government regulations that are keeping nuclear weapons out of citizens’ hands–it’s how damned expensive they are. Even so, there are rumors that there are, in fact, nuclear weapons loose within the borders of the United States. We know that the U.S. government has lost some nuclear weapons. Yes, lost. As in, misplaced. Or, far more likely, sold to Pakistan or stolen.
Back to the Question
If gun control isn’t the answer, then what is? Well, as I said, there really isn’t one. People sometimes do bad things, and if they don’t have a gun, they’ll use a knife. The 9/11 hijackers, after all, did not have guns. They had airliners that they improvised into weapons by smashing them into buildings. Even Paddock had improvised explosives that he intended to use. Several people in recent years have used automobiles as the means of mass murder–are we going to ban automobiles because some lunatics notice that they can be used to murder people?
No. That’s insanity. That some lunatic used their vehicle to drive through a crowd and murder people doesn’t in any way suggest that vehicles are the problem. There’s a much larger problem, and one that we would be ignoring if we attempted to ban automobiles: humans sometimes do bad things.
There is a lot of confusion, misunderstanding, and downright stupidity going around these days regarding the tragedy in Las Vegas as well as the expectation that someone, specifically the bellpeople, should have noticed that Paddock was carrying far too many bags and that they likely contained weapons. Seeing as I used to work at Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall in Tunica, Mississippi, in the hotel as a custodian, and that I regularly worked as a bellperson because the bellpeople liked to leave early (and it was the only way for me to get regular tips) and I covered for them, I think it would be a good idea for someone to clarify a few things. So take this from someone who has literally been a bellperson in a casino’s hotel.
Rule one of any casino is that you don’t piss off a highroller. Once upon a time, a guest requested an ashtray. I don’t remember why, but I was in a tremendous hurry, grabbed the first ashtray that I saw, and took it. A few days later, I was called not to my supervisor’s office, nor to my manager’s office, but to the office of a casino host, whereupon I was handed a written referral, a formal reprimand, for taking a high roller a dirty ashtray. The significance of this should not be lost to other considerations, but I do have to defend myself and point out that this isn’t something that I regularly would have done. I have a much better work ethic than that, and the ashtray in question had a small, gray stain in the center from where someone had routinely put out cigarettes. Yes, I should have cleaned it first–there is no doubt of that. But given that it was a small stain and the guest was immediately going to stain the thing anyway, I weighed the choices and took the risk. That proved to be a bad decision, as the guest was a high roller who expected everything to be perfect.
So let me explain what a Casino Host is. These are personalized PR people for the most part. Each one is dedicated to perhaps a dozen or so high rollers, and it’s basically their job to be the high roller’s friend. They go golfing with them, will drink at the bar with them, and will do whatever else with them is necessary to keep them happy–and therefore coming to the casino. If you’ve ever seen the show Las Vegas or whatever it was called, then you know basically what these people are and what they do–if the high roller asks for a hooker, then you find them a hooker. You just don’t talk about it and tell people that you did it.
You don’t fuck with a highroller. This is why it was the casino host who lectured me and served me the write-up, to re-stress the importance of pleasing the high rollers. It’s not like they called and requested an ashtray, and said, “Oh, and I’m a high roller, so make sure I get good service.” No, in most cases, they expect us to already know that. The systems aren’t in place for that to happen (at least, they weren’t at Sam’s Town Tunica), and so unless the person was staying in one of the deluxe suites, there was really no way to know. Best to err on the side of caution, then, and assume that any and every guest was a possible high roller. Because if that high roller threatened to leave the casino and never come back, you were fired. No questions asked, no appeal. You were gone.
The Expectations of Bell People
Now, when a high roller arrives at the hotel, you generally know, usually because there will either be a casino host already with them, because a casino host will greet them, or simply because you’re familiar with the regular high rollers. Your job depends on you being familiar with the regular high rollers. If you arrive at an elevator at the same time as one of these high rollers, and you’re carrying something that would prevent them from getting on, then you wait, and you let them go. If you’re walking past them in the hallway, you step to the side. So it’s extremely important to learn who the main regulars are, and to respect that–failing to do so, after all, is a firing. You get ridden up over an ashtray–what do you think will happen if you accidentally bump into them? Or if you make them wait for the next elevator while they were heading up to their room or down to the casino floor? You’re gone.
It’s like people think bellpeople are treating guests’ bags like Christmas presents, shaking them around and trying to guess what is inside. This is absurd. It’s the job to protect and deliver the guest’s luggage, and you are responsible for it. You specifically undertake responsibility for it. We’re not tossing them around like a golf caddy in Happy Gilmore. We’re treating each and every single bag like it could contain a $4,000 bottle of wine, because any single one of those bags could, in fact, be containing a $4,000 bottle of wine. If you break it, you’re gone. You’re fired. And you might get your ass kicked on your way out to the parking lot while carrying your termination slip. It is, after all, the host’s job to deliver 100% satisfaction to the high roller. You don’t think shit like this happens? Then you’ve never worked at a casino.
I can tell you from first-hand, real experience being a bellperson that it never once occurred to me to even be curious what a guest was bringing up to their hotel room. If you shake that bag around trying to guess what is inside, and you break something, you’re done. Even if the guest isn’t a high roller, you’re likely to be fired for that. If the guest is a high roller, then you’re certainly fired. You load up the bags, push the bags on the cart, and unload the bags as gingerly as possible, because you don’t know what is inside them. If you hear anything inside clanking around, then you’re being too rough with the bags, and you’re going to be fired before the week is over. That “clanking” is far more likely to be a bottle of wine, perfume, or cologne than it is a gun, by a ratio of millions to one, and you’ll eventually break one by acting like a little kid a few weeks out from Christmas trying to guess what is inside.
And may the gods help you if you touch that zipper. Are you out of your mind? You unzip that bag and you might as well call the police to come arrest you. If you find something “suspicious” and get security involved, they absolutely will not under any circumstances search that bag without the guest present. So congratulations–here is your pink slip when that clanking turned out to be two bottles of cologne, and you caused a freaking high roller’s bags to be searched by freaking security. You will stand there looking like an idiot as the casino host, the security guards, and the high roller pull items out of the bag one by one–and if there is a vibrator or dildo in that bag, or anything sexual for that matter, then you caused the high roller so much embarrassment that nothing will save you from a firing. When they find nothing, as they will 99.999999% of times, and the 0.0000001% of times they find a weapon it will only be to endanger others 0.0001% of the time, you will stand there looking like a paranoid, nosy, suspicious liability to the casino and its ability to keep high rollers happy.
They don’t want an employee who poses a significant risk of disappointing or hassling their high rollers.
None of this crap being directed at the hotel employees is realistic. Neither the hotel clerks, the valet drivers, nor the bellpeople are interested in finding out what is in the guest’s bags, especially not a high roller’s, and especially not a regular high roller’s. If you’re sitting there saying, “Well, clearly they should be! Because this could have been averted!” then you will never, ever own a casino or hotel–or, hopefully, have any position of authority to set policies. Because for every one random lunatic out there, you’ll end up with tens of thousands of people who are just going about their lives. Seriously, just start looking tomorrow for “suspicious behavior.” Consider each and every suspicious person you see to be a possible mass murderer just minutes away from murdering 59 people and wounding several hundred more. Do you feel like a raving, paranoid lunatic yet? Because you should. If you don’t, then consider calling the police on each and every one of those people and ensuring that they are hassled, searched, and questioned because you found it suspicious that the guy was standing around the side of the gas station for a strangely long amount of time.
That kind of rampant paranoia quickly gets you dismissed as a lunatic–as it should. It’s hysteria. Sure, it’s easy now to look back and say, “OMG, why didn’t anyone notice?” But if you think for one solitary second that, had you been the bellhop who delivered those bags, you’d have given even a moment of consideration to the possibility that he was carrying up dozens of guns and untold ammunition, then you are, without a doubt, full of shit. Because you wouldn’t have. It is lunacy to suggest that one would have been that attentive, that suspicious, that rough with the guest’s bags, that paranoid of a high roller, and that hysterical about the behavior of someone you saw fairly often. It is abject, hysterical lunacy.
And Another Thing
If you think that it’s even possible to ban guns of any time, then you are badly out of touch with the capabilities of modern technology. Guns can be 3-D printed now, and this has been true for a few years. It is not possible to ban something that can be created spontaneously by unskilled laborers from raw materials that are far too useful to ban. To ban guns in 2017 CE, you’d have to also ban 3D printers and aluminum. I hope it’s not necessary to point out to anyone that banning 3D printers or aluminum is a fool’s errand, and something that would never, ever happen. You can buy a 3D printer and the plans for a gun, and you can do it all in basically untraceable cryptocurrencies. Come join us in the future; the technology here is jaw-dropping.
Oh, and LITERALLY Hitler Trump?
If you think Trump is LITERALLY Hitler, then why in the name of sanity would you want to disarm anyone? You do realize that guns are literally (in the literal sense of the word, not the figurative sense of people who say Trump is LITERALLY Hitler) the ways that we resist fascism, right? If a fascist dictator actually took over, you wouldn’t be able to vote them out of office. You would need guns. Not just any guns, either–good ones. Assault rifles, at a minimum. Realistically, you’d also need tanks, drones, cluster bombs, and, yes, nuclear weapons. I can promise you this: an American citizen who owned a nuclear weapon would be the very last citizen to be killed by the American government. Why do you think North Korea wants one so badly?
The liberal position on this whole thing makes absolutely no sense to me.
Trump is LITERALLY Hitler.
The police are brutal murderers who unfairly target minorities and are unaccountable.
We should let LITERALLY Hitler tell the unaccountable police to take all the defenses away from the minorities.
Am I missing something? Besides the emotional motivations that allow them to believe all these things because they want to really, really hard, and facts and logic be damned? Conservatives are no better, of course, and many are now stepping up to say that bump stocks should be criminalized (though half of them have no idea what a bump stock is, or only know because they read a hysterical lunatic article in USA Today about how they are responsible for 97.3% of all kitten murders). Hell, Ben Shapiro said that they should be outlawed while at the same time he admitted that this wouldn’t keep them from making their way into the hands of mass murderers. So… Um… What is the point, then?
If one puts the basic liberal position, as I’ve recounted above, into logical form, it creates an inescpable conclusion: liberals are racists who want minorities to be defenseless while they are murdered by police. In other words, liberals’ own positions suggest that they want a fascist dictator in power who uses the police to murder minorities:
Trump is LITERALLY Hitler.
The police unfairly murder minorities.
The only defense against someone with a gun is a gun (hence, why we send armed police officers to take down shooters, not people wielding knives).
Therefore, if we want minorities to be defenseless against LITERALLY Hitler and the police who unfairly target them, we must take their guns away.
But I’ve now let this derail the post away from the main point, which is that people are forming completely unrealistic expectations of what bellpeople do.
No. A bubble is when investors drive a stock’s value beyond its actual value, distorting the market through their cognitive biases, and the inexorable market forces inevitably reveal this to be a sham, which plummets the value of the stock back to its market value. There are a few considerations to be addressed here, because a bubble is the result of “believers” recruiting people to the investment in speculation, and an ultimate correction that causes most people to lose lots of money. The 2007 recession was caused by the bursting of a housing bubble that was brought about by low interest rates as decreed by the Federal Reserve, which gave the illusion of economic strength and created easily-received credit. This was illusory because most people did not have the economic strength to purchase a home on the credit they received, defaulted, and caused banks to lose large amounts of entirely made-up money. Not to get too out there with it, but banks didn’t actually lose any money during the Great Recession, because when people take out loans, banks just invent that money out of thin air (no, really, that’s what they do–they just add the money to their ledgers). Then, when you pay back the loan they gave themselves or another bank in your name, you’ve converted that imaginary money into real money. It’s stupid, counterintuitive, and an obvious ripoff for us. But anyway.
It’s true that crypto believers are attempting to recruit new people to cryptocurrencies, but there are a few things to this that are exceptional and worthy of taking notice. First, this is part of a global battle against globalized tyranny, which we are seeing take place with Brexit, threats of withdrawing from NATO, the Catalonia independence referendum, Kurdistan, and even the Californian possibility of secession. Throughout the world, people are rising up and stating unequivocally that they do not want to be controlled by others. Since the western world is dominated entirely by the USD and by state control of the economy, we in the west have decided to attack the power structure that allows for this tyranny, rather than trying to eliminate the tyranny itself. Bitcoin, Ethereum, Litecoin, and DASH have done more to challenge government authority than 40 years of the Libertarian party. This will only continue going forward.
Because that’s what cryptocurrencies are–they are currencies just like any other, except decentralized and created directly by We the People. Although Spain sent police forces dressed in all-black to beat the hell out of people who advocated independence for Catalonia, we in the United States have… different methods. And we know that we cannot survive a direct fight with our government. We’ve learned this lesson from the Afghans, from Al-Queda, from DAESH, from Iraq, and from countless others. The American military machine has simply become too powerful to fight directly. It’s true that the military machine would probably be unable to ultimately defeat us all, but the resistance would be decimated very early on, and there would be no realistic chance of ever defeating the American military machine, just as DAESH has no realistic chance of ever doing so. This being the case, we must all rely on subterfuge and strategy. It is in this vein that cryptocurrencies were invented (and other reasons).
Rather than throwing away our lives in violent revolution against the state (which would only produce a new state in its place), the anarchist and libertarian communities (because there is a strong overlap between libertarian/anarchist communities and the crypto communities) went one layer deeper: to the currency that funds the monstrous beast. Naturally, the leviathan that inflate our currency to avoid taxing us into oblivion, relying instead upon the hidden tax of inflation, which not even one in ten thousand people is capable of identifying as the reason they are poorer, is not going to take this lying down. This is why other features of cryptocurrencies are so important. They can be held anonymously. The state has made it virtually impossible to buy cryptocurrencies anonymously (though it is possible on the Onion network, but you have to be careful not to throw your money away), but, once you have them, there are several ways to store them securely, safely, privately, and anonymously. The state cannot tax what it cannot find.
In that sense, cryptocurrencies and anonymous wallets like Jaxx (which, if I recall correctly, screwed people over with the BTC/BCC split, and may do so again come the SegWit2x hard fork in November, but I actually do avoid Bitcoin, so I didn’t follow it closely) function as offshore bank accounts for the masses. There’s a digital trail, sure, but even the best hackers and NSA spies will find it nearly impossible to track cryptocurrencies as they move across the digital space. In New Hampshire, to where I am moving (hopefully around January! Yes, that soon! You can help the effort to help me move from bum-fucked Mississippi to the Free State by buying my book from Amazon, for only $2.99 for the eBook or $7.49 for the paperback), you can go an entire day, buying your cigarettes and dinner and whatever else, without ever using a USD. It’s not untraceable, but it’s damned close. Other cryptocurrencies are rising specifically to be completely untraceable.
Just as importantly, the ledger, which contains all BTC transactions, is kept in full on every BTC miner. Just as importantly, just about any noteworthy wallet will have non-American servers. Remember when the government tried to shut down The Pirate Bay? Well… Remember, the one time they actually succeeded for a few months? There were copies of TPB’s full server data all over the place. TPB themselves even have servers in multiple countries, many of which don’t give a shit about piracy or the U.S. government. Cryptocurrencies are like that, except even less centralized–there are miners and servers everywhere. If it became necessary, the entire history of BTC could be rebuilt from a single mining node.
Consider the German hyperinflation of the early 20th century that led directly to Hitler’s rise. Overnight, the German government wiped out everyone’s wealth. Imagine going to bed a millionaire and waking up unable to afford a loaf of bread. While it wasn’t quite that drastic, it was extremely severe, and it has happened with every paper currency that we have a record of. If the government attempted to wipe out everyone’s digital wealth, they would fail, because even a single copy could be used to restore all of it. Let there be no doubt on this note: every single day, we are relying on the goodwill of our government to not wipe out our wealth in USD, and they could do so in minutes. If they did, there would be no way to restore that.
The only real correlation between the rise of crypto values and “market bubbles” is that crypto believers are recruiting people to convert their money from USD into BTC, ETH, LTC, and others. This is very, very different from convincing people to invest their money in one specific stock or another. It is true that people who convert their money now into crypto currencies are likely to see remarkable gains to its value–BTC has gained 19,000% since Bitcoin China first opened–meaning a $1 conversion at the time BTCC first opened became $19,000 today. That’s true, but it won’t be true forever. People who get in early enough (probably a period of time within the next 2 years) stand to make a lot of money, but the gains will level out as more people convert their wealth into crypto currencies.
By the typical standards, crypto currencies are certainly in a bubble, but the real question is whether it’s an artificial or real bubble, and whether it will burst. The answer is “No.” Cryptos are here to stay. Like so many other things, they represent Pandora’s Box–once opened, they cannot be undone. The abortion issue is another one. AI is yet another. Mind reading technologies are still another. Blockchain and digital currencies are certainly one, as well. There’s no going back now, and it was designed to resist state authority.
The crypto bubble isn’t going to burst because Brexit happened, Kurdistan happened, California secession demands happened, Catalonia happened. All throughout the world, people are resisting centralized control of their lives, and the most powerful control any government wields is its direct control of our lives through the very means we use to secure our lives and sustenance. Cryptos will certainly continue to fluctuate, but their general trend is an indisputable up. This isn’t some new market; it’s a currency. It’s meant to be a store of value for your money. I understand that people don’t like risk and uncertainty, especially, when it comes to their wealth, so even though the USD has steadily stolen wealth from them since its inception, has defaulted at least three times, and has been inflated to the point that we have a twenty trillion dollar debt, it feels less risky to most people to simply continue using the USD.
I’ll be honest with you, though. Your money is a lot safer in ETH and LTC than it is in USD.
And congratulations to Catalonia on their vote, though I suspect its too soon to congratulate them on independence. They haven’t won independence yet. They’ve simply declared war on Spain (well, to be accurate, Spain declared war).
While recently perusing topics that may interest me on the closest free market solution to peer review and peer accreditation that we currently have, I came across a question that asked Europeans whether they preferred the European/UK health care systems, or the United States’ system. Of course, the answer from the Europeans were varying degrees of snide and condescending, which I only note because my non-condescending answer was accused of such, in full disregard of how one of the Europeans’ answers began: “HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA”.
The question about socialized medicine can easily be boiled down to one simple question: Would you rather have an expensive cancer cure now, or a free* cancer cure in eighty years? Despite fears that the United States is going to lose its technological and biotechnological edge, the numbers are in, and there’s actually been a 7% increase in the recent years. Beyond that, the United States alone is responsible for forty percent of all biomedical research papers. In fact, the United States produces more medical research papers than the next five countries combined.
One might be inclined to think that this is only possible if the United States is producing junk papers, yet this also is proven untrue by the numbers. American research papers are the most cited by an enormous margin, far outstripping even the 40% production line. While there isn’t a direct correlation between “medical research papers” and “medical advancement” there obviously will be some correlation, and it certainly serves as a valid metric for determining biotechnological research in the United States.
Take the Charile Gard case for example. This poor infant had a disease that was fatal. Doctors in the UK could do nothing but provide comfort for the child as he died. Doctors in the United States had a treatment–a long-shot treatment, but I will remind everyone that every new procedure initially begins as “a long-shot treatment.” Once upon a time, heart valve replacement surgeries were on the cutting edge of medicine and the last hope of the desperate. The first aortic valve replacement was done only 57 years ago, and I’ll give you one guess in what country this took place. If you said anything but “The United States,” then you might be out of touch with reality.
Even among the diehard European Socialists who jizz over their system, there is widespread admittance that medical care in the United States is top-notch. They simply add the caveat “if you can afford it.” Well, allow me to introduce you to a little device we call…. the television. Of course, the first television was demonstrated in San Francisco in the 1930s (yes, before Hitler attempted to show German might by making the first on-air broadcast). Adjusted for inflation, this television that cost $795 in 1948 with a 16 inch screen would cost $8,202.50 today.
That. For that. Can you imagine paying $8,202.50 for that? “Hell to the naw!” you might be saying. That’s what I said, so ridiculous is the idea. What sort of television will $8,000 get you today?
But you and I don’t have one of those, and neither do we want one. No, instead, we buy televisions in the $200 to $500 range. So what does a $200 television get you today? A standard 32 inch 1080p HDMI television. If we were to assign “Degrees of Awesomeness” to each machine, where the 1948 television was a 1 and the behemoth I just posted is a 100, then the ordinary television you have in your home is going to be around a 35 or 40.
Innovation & Competition Drive Down Prices
Why is it that, in 1984, you bought a tiny screen television for $650, yet today you can get a multitudes better television for merely a third of that price, and why is this almost exactly the opposite of what we see in the health care industry? Because the government didn’t really get involved in television manufacturing to grant monopolies to this coalition or that coalition. Many companies rose that wanted to sell you a television, and how could they entice you to buy theirs? By making one with better quality, by making it cheaper, and by selling it at a lower price.
Let’s rip on the Affordable Care Act for a moment. Even if you happen to live in a state that presents you with multiple options (Mississippi only has the one option), they’re all effectively the same. It doesn’t matter which you go with, because they are all required by law to offer the same things as the same prices to everyone. It’s obvious that this is bad for business. If this had been imposed on the television industry in 1948, we’d all be watching television on 16 inch black-and-white screens with monaural sound. There’s no competition in the health care industry today, so there’s no need to try to offer an enticing package to customers.
The Affordable Care Act: A Boon to Insurance Companies
Insurance is a relatively simple thing, although its formulae are complicated. The idea is this: you insure people against unexpected disasters. If those disasters happen, you pay for them. If they don’t, then you keep their money. It’s immediately obvious that, for this to be a viable business model, you need 100 customers who routinely go one month without any accidents if they pay you $1 per month and if the average cost of an accident is $99. We’re using simple numbers just to make the point. If the cost of whatever you’re insuring will be $100, and you have 100 customers each paying $1 a month, then if two accidents happen in a single month, you lose money.
This is the entire premise of insurance, and it’s why many rightly refer to it as gambling–it is identical to the casino industries. You might be that one person to actually go to the casino and win $1500, but if everyone went in and won that amount of money, they’d go out of business. It only works because most people lose money in system. Like gambling, insurance only works because most people don’t have vehicular accidents regularly. Some math people crunch the numbers and figure out how many customers they need at what monthly rates against x% of likely accidents in order to stay profitable.
Now imagine the absurdity of contacting your insurance company for the routine checkup on your vehicle. Imagine how broken the system would become if you invoked your insurance every time you had your tires rotated, or your spark plugs replaced. If the insurance company allowed these claims (they certainly wouldn’t), they would increase your monthly rates considerably. But imagine that the government has laws in place explicitly preventing them from increasing your monthly rates if you invoke your insurance too often, and other laws in place that will prevent insurance companies from denying your claims, no matter how mundane and predictable they are.
Within a few years, we’d have a completely broken auto insurance industry, with people clamoring for more government to fix it, when it was government that broke it in the first place. This is what has happened in the United States. People use their health insurance for every little thing: routine doctor visits, checkups, physicals, flu shots, penicillin prescriptions, you name it. And we do have laws on the books that prevent them from dropping people entirely for this, and from increasing their rates for such ludicrous behavior.
Moreover, you have people like me who exercise regularly and take pretty good care of themselves, are young and in good shape, and who simply have no need of health insurance. What can the health insurance company do to entice me to buy insurance from me? They could offer me lower rates and better benefits, right? Similar to how life insurance companies offer you things like “Pay us $12 per month for this $300,000 life insurance policy, and your monthly rate will never increase!” because they have calculated the odds, and they know that a person who does this every month, based on average life expectancy, will give them a profit. They’re not in this to lose money. Life insurance companies want you when you’re young, and so they offer you very low rates and offer to lock them in, no matter what.
Yet laws prevent them from offering me health insurance below certain thresholds. And even if they could do so, the system they have set up with doctors and hospitals ensures that, if I go in for a broken arm, I’ll be hit with 47 tests that I don’t need and be slapped with a $19,000 bill. Young and healthy though I am, they can’t profit from that. They created that bed, though. The horrific cycle began when insurance became common enough that doctors began running tests on everyone who had it, whether they needed it or not, producing huge markups for them and enormous profits. And the insurance companies didn’t really care, because they weren’t the ones paying for it–the healthy, young people who didn’t ever use their insurance were the ones paying for the $900 bag of saline. What did the doctors care? They could instead pocket the $870 profit. What did the insurance company care? The doctors were literally helping them by inspiring more people to get insurance in order to pay for these exorbitant costs. Hospital visits went from $200 a night to $4,000 a night, so many people sighed and said, “Well, I have no choice… I need to get health insurance, or I’m not going to be able to afford to go to the hospital.”
Bam! The insurance company got a new customer, thanks to the doctor, and the doctor got to run more tests, because now someone else had insurance. Everyone got to make more money.
What happened next was predictable. Tons of people like me–ordinary, healthy young people–saw this ridiculous state of affairs and decided that we had no reason to take part in it, because we were the ones being exploited to pay for this bullshit. If we refused to play, then they couldn’t be paid. And, again, what happened next was predictable:
The Affordable Care Act. A law forcing us to buy health insurance that the doctor/insurance company circle jerk could continue.
Europe & America
The American system has problems primarily because of government intervention. Contrary to what they believe, though, the European system has problems, too. If the two existed in bubbles, then by the year 2117, the United States would be, on average, eighty years ahead when it came to medicine. The only reason the European System has not stagnated entirely, as its research steadily slows, is that it is literally benefiting from research being done in the United States. We’re not selfish assholes, contrary to what the rest of the world thinks. When we finally cure AIDS, who is going to benefit? Everyone. We’re not going to refuse to teach the Europeans, Africans, and Asians how we did it. We don’t keep our ground-breaking research to ourselves. We share it with everyone, even those who demonize us and are too uninformed and too stupid to realize that the entire reason we have this ground-breaking research is that we allow our pharmaceutical companies to become very, very wealthy.
It’s true that if a cancer cure was developed tomorrow it would be extremely expensive, just as the television was in 1948. Almost no one would be able to afford it. But look around today! Most people have at least two televisions in their homes, and some people have a television in every single room except the bathroom. The microwave oven, the refrigerator, the cellular phone, the home computer… All technology follows that same arc where it begins very expensive, as a reward to the innovators who created it, and steadily gets cheaper as time goes on. Yet that reward, that possibility of hitting this tremendous breakthrough and the next Must Have item or medicine is precisely what motivates people to do these things in the first place! If you take that away, then… Well, you’ve taken that away, and the tech development stagnates. We’ve seen it time and time and time again.
Venezuela’s president recently put forward, no joke, the idea that the people of Venezuela should breed rabbits for food.
That’s the end result of eliminating competition and the profit motive. You get this Looney Tunes suggestion that even Trump would be embarrassed to admit he came up with as a legitimate and serious plan for addressing the starvation. This always happens. It has happened every single time the state has a monopoly over something. Monopolies are stagnation, and socialism is social stagnation, because it gives one group a monopoly on the whole of society. Medical stagnation is the predictable and obvious result of socialized medicine. Rationing is the first symptom, as too little supply is stretched over too much demand, like we see in the UK with its grave doctor shortage.
Even with our assistance, the European system will stagnate. It is already beginning to do so. The end result is inevitable: a drastic decline in the quality and quantity of health care. Who will they blame next? Ah, we know what they’ll say.
“It wasn’t real socialism.”
* Obviously, it isn’t free–it’s socialized. If everyone pays 10% of their wealth for the next 40 years for that cancer cure, then it was most certainly not free.