Tag Archive | Bill of Rights

A Crypto Constitution

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?

A Constitution

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.

 

But… Mad Max!

I absolutely LOVE IT when I make the argument for anarchy and anarchism, and someone mentions Mad Max in reply. Because without knowing it they just proved that anarchy is necessary. The Road Warrior is probably the most misunderstood movie in the history of cinema, because there’s nothing anarchic about it. Those gangs–they are states, governments, nations. Call one of those gangs “North Korea,” another “America,” and another “Russia,” and you have a setting that is identical to modern Earth. We can even set it up so that the American gang chooses its leader by voting instead of brute force (brute force, of course, is the way that the earliest governments were formed), but it doesn’t change anything–it’s still a gang. The Road Warrior is a beautifully subtle argument against the state. It just goes way over the average person’s head because they don’t understand what they’re seeing–they lack the information needed to put it in the proper context.

Before I proceed, I have to explain what I mean by “state.” To be clear, I mean by “state” what you probably mean by “government.” In fact, most people use them as synonyms, but they’re not. The state is a type of government; it is not the only type (and certainly not the best type). It’s a type that we’ve always considered necessary, but we make that argument out of ignorance, and I’m not going to dive into that today. I don’t think. I might end up doing that accidentally, but whatever. The point is: when I say “the state,” I mean “the form of government that has a monopoly on the use of force, violence, and coercion.” Regardless of whether people like that definition, it remains the correct definition.

If we go way back in time, we’ll find a few powerful people in each tribe, village, or whatever who decided that they should work together to take over other tribes, that they should use brute force to rally other villagers to their cause, and then expand their borders to include other villages. This is how the earliest states were formed: the Aztecs began as a single village somewhere, and they conquered another, and then another, and then another, and ultimately there was the Aztec nation. The Bible, unreliable though it is as a source of historical record, paints the history of the Jews in the same light: from one group, they conquered until there was the nation of Israel. That’s not a remark against Aztecs and Jews, though, because that’s ultimately how every nation came about. Even those like the United States are merely descendants of those early proto-nations.

So when we look at a gang of people in The Road Warrior who are doing exactly this, we can immediately see the correct parallel: the gangs represent the nations of the world. The gangs are smaller, and they are still in the early stages where their leaders are generally determined by brute force and barbarism, but it doesn’t matter. We can call one of those gangs “America” and allow that it elects its leader by popular vote, and it changes nothing–it’s still a gang fighting against other gangs.

I thought that this blog post would be considerably longer, but it’s actually pretty simple, isn’t it? People just miss the point, because there are two elements at play here. First, there is the existence of these gangs/nations in the absence of an “Absolute Power” that would crush these gangs and nations. But, as I’ve pointed out, what is this Absolute Power but a larger gang? If we envision each of the gangs in The Road Warrior to be a nation, going as far as to name one “America,” one “Russia,” and one “United Kingdom,” then the parallel becomes inescapable; other than size and scope, there is not mechanism by which we can distinguish gangs from nations.

As I’ve pointed out, the internal workings of the gang and how they determine their motives has very little impact on their behavior. The American gang, though it elects its leaders democratically, is still at war with other gangs. After considerable amounts of devastating war leave innocent people decimated, the gangs might come together and set up some rules for their battles, and they might call them the Geneva Conventions, agreeing that, though they will continue to fight, the innocent people who the gangs are supposed to be protecting (represented in The Road Warrior by children and women, though not all members of the innocent are women and children–it’s simply metaphorical) need to actually… be protected.

It’s all the same. Everywhere we look in The Road Warrior, we find undeniable similarities to Earth and to our own states and nations. So what, the American Gang passes a law that allows transgender people to use the restroom of their choice? Does that really make them better than the Syria gang that openly beheads transgender people? Keep in mind that the American Gang’s leadership still enforces its rulings at the barrel of a gun. High-minded though their ideals may be, the imposition of those ideals is achieved via brute force, violence, and barbarism. It is still, at the end of the day, the behavior of a gang.

I’ve thought about writing my own novel that attempts to use gangs in such a setting as metaphors for nations, but I’ll probably never do it, because there’s no point. I couldn’t possibly do a better job with the parallels and metaphors than whoever wrote The Road Warrior, and no one caught the message of The Road Warrior. It went way over everyone’s heads, so perhaps it was too subtle? People now point to it as an argument against anarchy, when it’s not and never has been. It is a clear and concise indictment of states.

To return to a previous point, “on the world stage,” yes, there is no central, Absolute Power. That becomes an argument for a one world government that is authoritarian in nature, something by which even the masses are repulsed, as well they should be. This goes back to what I’ve said about economics and the world stage; on the world stage, the unbridled free market clearly is lord of all. Whatever their internal economic structures may be, on the world stage China is a corporation competing with the United States who is competing with Russia who is competing with the United Kingdom, and, at the end of the day, free market principles oversee the entire process. Similarly, on the world stage the absence of an Absolute Power with ultimate authority over the various gangs means that anarchic ideas oversee the entire process. In the long term, that’s certainly true, but the gangs do interfere with the anarchic processes, and they do this with brute force, just as the gangs interfere with the free market principles that govern international competition: the United States might invade Iraq and force that gang to accept its currency, despite the fact that free market principles are attempting to crush the USD.

When people cite The Road Warrior as a symbol of anarchy because there is no Absolute Power or Ultimate Authority, they are making the argument that the United Nations should have Ultimate Authority on Earth, and that’s a position that nearly everyone rejects–and rightfully so, since we must not allow ourselves to be ruled by the people of Venezuela or Russia or anywhere; the people of America must rule the people of America. It’s the principle of self-governance, and an Ultimate Authority directly crushes self-governance, since “we” will obviously not comprise 100% of the Ultimate Authority.

Unfortunately, I accept that there will come a time when the United Nations is the Ultimate Authority over the planet, and I don’t think we’ll be able to escape from that future. We need only look to the history of the United States. In its beginning, and for the first century and a half of its existence, the United States was far more like the European Union than it is the homogenized, centralized nation we see today. Just look at the key part of the name: United states. Each “state” was its own nation, and the states banded together through agreement to form a more powerful collective, but the Tenth Amendment was written into the Bill of Rights (which almost no one was willing to sign until it was expressly agreed that the Bill of Rights would immediately be ratified–the Constitution itself was not ratified until it was agreed that the Bill of Rights would also be ratified immediately) specifically to ensure the right of individual states to govern themselves and not be dictated to by the Federal Government.

But look at the United States today. We’ve gotten so confused about what “state” means that we invented the term “nation-state” just so that we could let ourselves forget that these 50 states in North America are nation-states. All of our states are individual republics with their own laws and own ideals. Mississippi, California, Ohio, New York, and all the others stand as sovereign nations alongside nations like China and Germany. We’ve forgotten that, however, and have granted the Federal Government Ultimate Authority. Instead of the people of Mississippi having Ultimate Authority over the people of Mississippi, the people of the other 49 states, through the mechanism of the Federal Government and its many machinations to usurp power, have Ultimate Authority over the people of Mississippi.

While this is Constitutionally allowable (note: I’m not a Constitutionalist, and, if given the opportunity, I would rewrite the Constitution and attempt to get the new one ratified by the people), it must be necessitated as a way of protecting people’s rights. The forced allowance of gay marriage in all 50 states is a perfect example of how the Federal Government will use the will of the 49 states to overrule the will of the 1 state; in this example, Mississippi is not allowed to govern itself, and the states who are for gay marriage instead have governed the state of Mississippi, doing so under the guise of protecting rights. As I have pointed out repeatedly, however, this only violated people’s rights; it did not protect the rights of anyone.

Those who look at the setting of The Road Warrior and see something that is fundamentally different to modern Earth lack the information to put the film into the proper context, because its setting is virtually identical to modern Earth. The gangs are clear parallels to nations, and calling that “anarchy” is woefully misguided and ignorant–it is not anarchy. It is the chaos caused by numerous gangs fighting against one another.

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Hello! Wanted to take a moment to share my most recent podcasts with you, because you might find them interesting:

Rantings & Ravings Episode 07 – Transgender Bathrooms

Rantings & Ravings Episode 06 – Google, I’m Sorry My Existence Offends You

Rantings & Ravings Episode 05 – Help! I’m Transgender and I Have To Pee!

Music: “Teddy Bears and Such” (a tribute to JFK)

Music: “The Honeymoon” (Creepy ProgRock song)