Archive for the 'Libertarianism' Category

Precursors to Bitcoin legislation emerge

Friday, September 2nd, 2011

It is clear that the State is not going to quietly disappear into the night, and leave everyone to live as free men. Given that they still feel the need to preserve the illusion that they have the consent of the governed, we can expect any technology that threatens the State to come under legislative attack, after a carefully orchestrated series of media smears, hysterical news articles, straw man attacks and ‘real world’ examples of harm where Bitcoin is presented as an enabling factor.

Bitcoin has the potential to severely disrupt the ability of the State to steal money from people. Bitcoin is being built by developers who want to preserve the privacy and security of its users. If Bitcoin and systems like it become wildly popular, as popular as the internet itself, then this will mean that financial transactions will ‘go dark’ and the state will not be able to intercept, detect or steal money from citizens.

Email communications are routinely monitored by the state, both covertly and overtly. This eavesdropping could be stopped completely if the users of email encrypted their communications. The tools to do this are free and simple to use, and yet, mass adoption of encryption for email has not take off after over a decade of availability. Had encryption been built into email from its inception, privacy would have been the default for email.

The development of Bitcoin is being done with privacy in mind from the beginning. In order to make a Bitcoin transaction, a user must accept that her transactions have privacy features built in by default.

The mistakes and built in disadvantages and myriad security problems of email are not going to be repeated with Bitcoin, and if Bitcoin becomes as ubiquitous as email it will represent a significant step towards liberty for all people world-wide.

When the State is perturbed by new technological developments and sees them as a direct threat, they build a case for legislation either through a crisis, real or fabricated, or through an academic attack from its intellectual class.

The recently published paper, ‘Shadowy Figures: Tracking Illicit Financial Transactions in the Murky World of Digital Currencies, PeertoPeer Networks, and Mobile Device Payments’ by John Villasenor Cody Monk and Christopher Bronk is an example of an academic attack of this type:

http://www.bakerinstitute.org/publications/ITP-pub-FinancialTransactions-082911.pdf

The paper works from the premiss that the State has rights, that it has a right to control and steal from individuals, it has the sole right to define what money is and is not through its legal tender laws and that it also has the right to forbid people from transacting in anything other than the currency it issues.

In short, it works from a position that takes the State and its power as a given. It is an excrescence of members of the class of “opinion moulders” in society as described by Murray Rothbard; men who’s alliance with the State is based on a quid pro quo, where in return for spreading and reinforcing the idea among the masses that the State and its rulers are wise, good, sometimes divine, and at the very least inevitable, with no conceivable alternatives, the State incorporates the intellectuals as part of the ruling elite, granting them power, status, prestige, and material security.

Lets begin with the executive summary:

Almost no one would argue that governments do not have a right to track and trace digital financial transactions associated with activities such as terrorism and human trafficking. It is less clear, however, how governments can surmount the formidable technical and organizational challenges associated with detecting and monitoring these transactions. The solution will require a combination of self-regulation, government-industry collaboration, and change in both technology and culture within government agencies.

Actually, there are many people who argue that not only does the state have no right to track and trace digital financial transactions, but that the state does not have any rights at all. Only man has rights. The State (under the American system of government) has powers that are delegated to it by the people through a carefully crafted Constitution, enumerating and limiting those powers.

Using the standard fear-mongering terms of terrorism and human trafficking in relation to this gives you a foretaste of what is to come in this shabby publication. The State uses terrorism as a pretext to surveil everyone’s transactions, en masse, not just those of terrorists, who are now defined as essentially anyone who breathes air. This is the only explanation for the millions of Americans who are listed on the State’s despicable ‘No Fly List’, whose explicit purpose is to prevent acts of terrorism.

This is also the pretext they are using as they are pulling off the pants of wheelchair bound 97 year olds at airports, looking for bombs in the diapers of infants and requiring banks to report on all transactions over arbitrary limits. No one who is in full possession of the facts of State surveillance under the guise of prevention of terrorism believes this line any more. These measures are solely and demonstrably designed for the control of the ordinary citizen.

Human trafficking is another straw man argument; anyone who is trafficking in human beings will quite sensibly be using cash to receive or make payments. This is the same bogus argument put forward when attempts were made to regulate cryptography in the 1990s; it was claimed that terrorists were using Steganograpy to hide messages in images. It was a completely false Hollywood movie plot of course, and the idea that human traffickers would take an electronic payment rather than large Euro notes or One Hundred Dollar bills is patently absurd. Once again, anyone who thinks even casually about this comes to the conclusion that these arguments for the legislation and control of digital money are weak at best.

This paper is littered with fallacious arguments:

While there is a wide spectrum of views regarding the right to digital privacy, almost no one disputes the notion that the right to digital financial privacy does not extend to providing an impenetrable legal shield for the online financial activities of terrorist groups, human traffickers, or drug cartels.

Once again, there are many people who argue that prohibition is immoral, and that the entire ‘War on Drugs’ is a fiasco and a disaster on every level.

To say, “almost no one disputes the notion that the right to digital financial privacy”, is a pure example of the appeal to belief fallacy. Just because many people believe something, you cannot infer that their beliefs are correct or that an act based upon them is justified.

The State is most certainly not justified in surveilling everyone’s transactions to intercept money and goods that do not involve crimes where there is a victim. The matter of prohibition is a perfect example of this.

Hawala and other informal value transfer systems long predate the advent of computers and the Internet, and, in more recent years, have been of concern to authorities because of their potential to be used for money laundering and terror financing

I will not address every instance of the straw man of terrorism or human trafficking in this publication.

Money laundering is a euphemism for transactions out of view of State surveillance. Any transaction that takes place outside of State control is essentially ‘Money Laundering’ according to the State. This means that, for example, people living in Greece, who are forbidden from making any transaction over 1500 in cash, even though the money is legitimately theirs and they are not engaging in any act that is defined as criminal activity by the State, is guilty of ‘Money Laundering’ by the mere fact that they are making a transaction above an arbitrary size.

What the authors of this paper are suggesting is that digital money systems, by virtue of their built in privacy mechanisms are de-facto money laundering systems because they deny the State the ability to surveil them. This is classic State reasoning, Kafkaesque and irrational, of the kind that is used to justify every predation and immoral piece of legislation that the State cares to write, from the laws prohibiting you from growing certain species of plant, to eminent domain, the innumerable different licenses, regulations and compulsions of all kinds and beyond.

tracing a specific suspect transaction that is intentionally buried in the noise can be like trying to find a pickpocket who just stole a wallet in a crowded market. The knowledge that the pickpocket is certainly among the hundreds of people within view is of little comfort if there is no practical ability to search every person in the market.

Its interesting that the authors use the analogy of a pickpocket when describing the act of a citizen making a transaction of their own money to another person over an anonymous network. It is the State of course, that is the pickpocket and thief, not the citizen minding her own business and transacting voluntarily and in private.

In l996, physician Douglas Johnson started spending his evenings writing software to create e-gold, a new digital currency that, though not issued by any government, would be fully backed by gold stored at various locations around the world. By 2001, there were nearly 300,000 e-gold customer accounts with an aggregate value of about $16 million.4

Anyone who does not believe that the State is building a case to come after Bitcoin is deceiving themselves. They are already using the one size fits all pretext of terrorism to shut down minters of physical coins like the Liberty Dollar and this case along with the case of e-gold should be of interest to people who use Bitcoin. E-gold had assets worth 16 million dollars, and:

“Liberty Dollar coins and precious metals, currently valued at nearly $7 million.”

Bitcoin is worth 10 times the amount NotHaus’s gold was worth, so I’m sure it is receiving 10 times the destructive attention from our glorious overlords.

[…]

Libertarian News

Bitcoin is bigger in dollar value than both e-gold and Liberty Dollar combined, and it is decentralised with no single company controlling it, unlike the e-gold and Liberty Dollar services. This academic paper is, I am quite sure, a direct result of this fact, and the fear that Bitcoin is sure to continue to grow in strength in every respect. This paper will be distributed widely among the State actors who will seek to understand Bitcoin within a framework of their own thinking and ideology.

You can expect that every trick in the book is going to be used to retard the growth of Bitcoin. You will see smears thrown at it that will include terrorism, human trafficking, and drug dealing (as we have already seen in this paper) but also expect child porn and paedophillia to be used to taint these systems. For those who are not persuaded by hysteria, the financial news networks are busy telling their viewers that Bitcoin is to be avoided at all costs. None of these attacks are logical or rational of course.

While e-gold was backed by actual gold, Bitcoin is fully virtual, backed only by the confidence of the people who use it for transactions. A governmental entity attempting to shut down Bitcoin servers in its territory would almost certainly find that even more servers would spring up, Hydra-like, in other parts of the world. As of July 23, 2011, there were approximately 6.9 million Bitcoins trading at a value of more than $13 per Bitcoin, corresponding to a total supply of over $90 million.11

And here we have another problem which this paper does not address; Bitcoin is not money. This will be the first counter argument tilted against any attack by the State against a high profile company that trades in Bitcoins. E-Gold and Liberty Dollars had one thing in common; they both traded in objects that are demonstrably money, and which are in fact, better money than the Federal Reserve Notes that are legal tender in the United States.

Bitcoin is different in that it is not money, but is a protocol, like TCP/IP. I predict that this will be a successful argument, because if it falls, then the financial regulators will be given the power to regulate the resale of any good or service for which a token or recipt is issued simply because money is exchanged for goods and services.

If the State was staffed by actors who were rational, they would not be attacking these services; they would immediately accept them all as payment for taxes. In this way, they would ensure that whatever happens and whatever systems come to pass, they will have a stake in them and a stream of revenue. By trying to stamp out digital currencies, refusing to accept them and trying to force people to use their worthless and inflating fiat currencies, they will end up being starved of cash as people switch from bad currencies issued by central banks to digital money transfer systems.

The potential Achilles heel of Bitcointhat each server in the network contains a complete record of all transactionswill almost certainly be addressed in future systems that distribute transaction information so that no single server or small collection of servers contains a complete transaction record. It is also possible to envision systems in which the transaction records are not only distributed, but evanescent, so that even the collective information stored on all the servers in the system at any given time would not enable a complete reconstruction of transaction history.

This is essentially what we have been saying; Bitcoin as a brand may or may not not succeed, but for certain if it does not, an improved successor in a following iteration is bound to be created. Solid Coin is one of the first challengers in this respect. They claim that their client software and network, which are a fork of the open source Bitcoin source code, is superior to Bitcoin and are not afraid to trumpet this claim.

For individuals using any digital system properly, the loss of a small working balance is not a deal breaker. When a digital money transfer network collapses and a new replacement network emerges, whatever fiat or non fiat currency you have to hand and wish to transmit can be sent through the new system. The companies that facilitate exchanges could be wiped out, but they will quickly be replaced by successors since some of the software suites used to run exchanges are open source software. This means that the digital money economy can survive multiple crashes no matter what the causes of those crashes are. The need for people to transact at a distance with very low fees is so great that it will never be possible to get rid of this idea, no matter what the inconvenience of a crash means in terms of short term losses.

It is statistically inevitable that some fraction of the more than 300 million transactions performed using M-PESA in 2010, and of the much larger number of transactions that will be performed in 2011 and future years, will not be legitimate. And some fraction of those, in turn, may involve payments that bear on American national security or law enforcement concerns.

The paper goes on to describe M-PESA and its spectacular growth, and then claim that a small fraction of the 300 million transactions performed in that system will be ‘of concern’ to American national security or law enforcement.

This is not the problem of anyone in the world other than the U.S. Government, and if Ron Paul becomes president, it will no longer be the concern of the U.S. Government.

We must remember when we read these words that the phrase ‘law enforcement concerns’ means prohibition and the bogus ‘war on terror’ both of which are entirely illegitimate. In absentia of these two rationale, there is no concern of any kind when we talk about what the un-banked are doing in the middle of what most Americans would consider to be “nowhere”. These are artificially created problems looking for solutions, and they should be rejected by all right thinking people on principle.

And, the 2008 financial crisis illustrated that the economic picture constructed by the organs of the U.S. government tasked with financial and commercial measurement, oversight, and regulation can have significant blind spots. These examples illustrate that the barriers to observing financial activity can be organizational as well as technological. Accordingly, successfully addressing the complexities of illicit financial transactions in cyberspace will require structural and technological steps taken by regulatory, intelligence, and law enforcement agencies, as well as the private sector.

This is of course, completely ridiculous. The causes of the 2008 financial crisis were and are well understood by students of the Austrian School of Economics, and were predicted, repeatedly on television. There were no ‘blind spots’ save in the eyes of the Keynesians and the slavish apologists for the Federal Reserve. Note also, how apologists for the State use the prefix ‘cyber’ when they are talking about things on the Internet they do not like and ‘digital’ when they are describing things they perceive as beneficial.

The economic pictures constructed by organs of the U.S. Government are nothing more than fairy tales. Take for instance the way that unemployment is measured. It is a fact that the way the counting is done has been deliberately manipulated to massage the numbers downwards. The website Shadow Stats specialises in presenting honest data rather than the skewed numbers generated by political needs of the State.

To claim that digital currencies make calculation difficult for government is absurd. If calculation is so critical for the State, they should force the Federal Reserve to publish ‘M3’, the number that describes the money supply, and they would not use statistics to lie about the true state of the economy. All of this is, of course, separate from the fact that the State has no legitimate purpose in generating these numbers and using them to engineer society in the first place.

The private sector has no interest in crippling their products so that the state can gain back door access to them and their customer’s data. Burdening them with these proposals is anti-business, anti-progress and anti-liberty and is illegitimate.

In addition to fostering self-regulation within the various industry sectors involved in the movement of money, the U.S. government should establish an interagency government/industry working group or expand the charter of an existing group to focus specifically on emerging financial threats.

These measures will not work to ameliorate the artificial problem of ‘financial threats’. Since all of the software, both in terms of clients, servers and exchanges are open source, any attempt to poison a digital currency will immediately cause a fork. Solid Coin is a perfect example of this; they have forked Bitcoin in advance of any threat from the State, based solely on the casually spoken words of Gavin Andressen at the first Bitcoin conference.

Should any involvement by law enforcement actually be confirmed, or the Bitcoin source go closed, Solid Coin will gain tremendous momentum. Digital currency sees the State as damage and routes around it, to re-purpose a venerable phrase. Like a physicist trying to know the location and energy of a quantum particle at the same time, any attempt to touch these systems will be self defeating.

Another set of relatively low-tech but still useful solutions pertains to systems that can monitor the premises where MMT agents conduct business. Digital image and video recording is now routinely used in venues as diverse as banks, stores, and taxis. A properly designed system could aim to ensure that cash could only be accepted or disbursed when both the agent and the person providing or accepting the cash were on video.

And here we have an example of the mindset of the State, and in this case, the rancid anti-Americanism that is at the heart of many thinkers in the U.S.A. All people are presumed guilty. You have no right to privacy. Surveillance should be universal and pervasive. All financial transactions should be treated as suspicious by default.

Look at the list in this section; they even approve of surveillance in taxis as a method of eliminating financial privacy. This is as far away from the American dram as it is possible to get, and people do not want the sort of world that the authors of this paper envision as necessary. This is why Bitcoin, E-gold, the Liberty Dollar and systems like it are popping up all over the place. If the State was legitimate and a force for good, there would be no need for people to spend their time developing currencies whose central feature is to get your money out of the clutches of the State. In fact, this might go some way to explaining why email was developed without encryption built in (apart from the fact that it pre-dates modern fast processor and the Public Key Cryptography systems that were developed after the advent of email). In the 1960s people’s faith in government had not been shaken to its core. Nowadays of course, there is little faith in the State; it is widely and correctly understood to be a malevolent and destructive force for evil.

For the United States to ensure its national and financial security, the ability to understand the massive flow of digital information that is the global financial system today, from micro to macro, and from baht to Bitcoins, is of fundamental importance. Where once the numbered Swiss bank account, the wire transfer to a shell corporation, or, as in All the Presidents Men, a paper bag containing $25,000 in cash were primary means for covert financial activity, the Internet and mobile phone networks are the potential setting for a vastly expanded set of new, digital avenues for conducting hidden transactions.

Given the rate of change of the digital landscape, any set of solutions constructed based on a single snapshot in time will quickly become obsolete. However, by creating the collaborations, regulatory frameworks, and technologies that reflect todays more fluid and diverse financial transaction environment, government and industry will be better positioned to address illicit transactions today and to adapt to address those of the future.

The conclusion of this paper amounts to wishful thinking. The jig is up for the State in its present form. They are going to have to adapt radically and philosophically if they are going to remain as the arbiters of anything at all.

Part of this radical change will be to address what exactly is meant by, “the United States to ensure its national and financial security”. What exactly is the United States financial security? The U.S. is a nation of people; if their money is secure, i.e. not being inflated away by the Federal Reserve, and they can transact locally and at a distance for next to nothing, what is the problem?

The problem is that the authors are not talking about the people of United States and their financial security; they are talking about the State, the Federal Government, and its financial security. In plain English, they are referring only to the Federal Government’s ability to levy taxes and collect them.

Digital currencies and peer to peer transactions are a direct threat to the Federal Government and its ability to tax. This is the only threat that they are truly concerned with; all of the other threats they list here are statistically insignificant compared to the trillions of dollars that could potentially be lost to them in a peer to peer digital currency world.

The statistical probability of being affected by terrorism is less than many daily fatal occurrences, like death from bee stings or anaphylactic shock from adverse food reactions. I do not even need to quote car accident statistics or even lightning strikes, or alcohol, or pharmaceutical related deaths, all of which happen at greater frequencies than terrorism by orders of magnitude.

Terrorism is not a pretext for trying to stop the future from being summoned. As for human trafficking and crimes against children, as ghastly and reprehensible as these crimes are, they are, mercifully, exceedingly rare and should not be used to destroy the tools, systems and free society that entrepreneurs and the creative are building.

It is completely inhuman, illegitimate, immoral and unethical to attempt to suppress and destroy people’s rights. In the 21st century, we have the tools, the understanding and the will to build the systems that will forever repudiate the claims of the State that it was ever needed to make everything run smoothly. Digital currencies like Bitcoin are only one tool in this movement, the writings of Murray Rothbard, Lew Rockwell, Ron Paul and the distribution systems that spread these ideas are the main ways that this revolution is taking place. No doubt, in private, the authors of this piece would call for the internet itself to be permanently and entirely shut down for the sake of ensuring the ‘security of the United States’. It is this irrational, un-American thinking that is behind the recent discovery that Justin Raimondo has been under F.B.I surveillance, simply because he writes articles.

It is a great tragedy that so many Americans have lost touch with the idea of what America was meant to be. Apart from that tragic loss, its interesting to note that this paper is concerned not with the plight of the poor in the ‘third world’ and the unbanked millions who have no access to capital. They are not concerned with the human suffering that could be lessened by the new technologies that are being developed. They are only concerned with themselves, and their own narrow parochial interests, that are borne out of a fundamental misunderstanding of the proper role of government and what people’s rights are.

Its up to every person who can think and write and run software to refute these fallacious arguments, to use the new systems at whatever level they can and to spread the ideas of liberty. We simply must not let these wrong headed statist arguments go unchallenged.

I have refrained from explicitly detailing the thinking behind the assertions I have made in this piece that claim or infer that we do not need the State, that the State is illegitimate on its face, and that it has no rights in and of itself. I will leave it to the reader to visit the Ludwig Von Mises Institute website for the background, evidence and proof that these are all facts. There are posts on this Blog that go into this in detail also. You cannot go far wrong by reading Lew Rockwell’s blog for a complete rundown of these ideas and links to many scholars and philosophers. If you want to understand the basics of all of this, you should buy and read Murray Rothbard’s For a New Liberty which is also available for free. To understand money and how the State has interfered in it to its near total destruction, you need to read What has government done to our money, also by Murray Rothbard.

With these tools in your hands you will be able to understand and prove to yourself that everything I have said in this piece is true, and why the paper that I have debunked is as wrong as something can be wrong.

It is incumbent upon you to demonstrate that you are not a part of the coercion and violence that the paper critiqued here espouses, and that you are willing to live with other human beings without them. If you are willing to co exist peacefully with your fellow man, then you should reject the basic premiss of this scandalous paper and its fallacious reasoning. If you do not, then you must concede that you are a violent person, that you approve of the coercion and violence of the State, and that the ends justifies the means.

Libertarians are willing and able to co exist with you. They are non violent; the very heart of their philosophy is that they can never initiate force against anyone. The measure and test of the ethical basis and morality of your philosophy should be wether or not you can co exist with others as the Libertarians can.

Many of you reading this will believe in democracy. You will use that word interchangeably with ‘fair’, ‘just’, ‘ethical’ and ‘good’. It is none of those things. I put it to you that your society cannot survive as it is without coercion and violence, and that it is doomed to failure because it is based on coercion and violence.

Hungarian translation of this article.

Thinking correctly about Bitcoin

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

An essential feature of the standard attack against Bitcoin is to point to the price charts generated by a single Bitcoin exchange and then use that as definitive proof of Bitcoin’s unsuitability for any purpose.

The attack uses these single source charts to ‘prove’ that Bitcoin is a mania, like the Dutch Tulip mania or Bollengekte of 1637, or that Bitcoin is ‘insecure’ or any other fundamental flaw, technical, financial, philosophical or psychological you care to mention.

Let us be perfectly clear; these Bitcoin detractors are ignorant of what Bitcoin is. They are near horizon thinkers, dullards, luddites, and the sweetest irony of it all is they are peddling their flawed ideas on a medium that directly disproves their theories.

I have already debunked and quashed many of the fallacies that are routinely trotted out whenever Bitcoin is discussed by the ignorant on our blog; now I want to clear up a different fundamental mistake that all the current detractors of Bitcoin are routinely making, which is perfectly exemplified by the recent MarketWatch video item, which unintelligently parrots all the anti-Bitcoin nonsense as if it were being read from a centrally provided script or press release.

The fundamental mistake these ignorant people are making is this; Bitcoin is not an investment, it is a container and payment method.

When you think about Bitcoin in these terms, it becomes instantly clear that Bitcoin itself should not be treated like stocks or commodities. If you think of Bitcoin as only a container you use to shuttle payments to people for things on and off-line, you immediately understand that looking at stock market style charts of its value from a single exchange as a way of gauging its future potential is completely ridiculous.

Bitcoin’s potential lies in its power to facilitate peer to peer purchases; it is not a commodity or a stock or a company, it is a method, a container, a protocol that people use to make purchases between themselves.

Think about it this way; if, in 1997 you were told about a thing called ‘the Internet’, that would replace sending letters, utility bills and postcards through the mail to people all over the world at no cost, via a system that would not be run by any central authority and which was sure to utterly change the world and make people millions of dollars, you would be interested in it as an investment.

Someone could (having fundamentally misunderstood what the Internet actually is) buy many domain names and then issue certificates against them, put these certificates into an exchange, and then start to sell them to investors. Charts would have been generated, and as a land rush began as the potential of the Internet became apparent to everybody, you would have seen a massive spike in the quoted prices of domain name certificates.

Unique names like ‘sex.com’ could have been bought into by syndicates, who issued shares in it so that the cost of investing in ‘rare’ domain names could be spread out. You could buy shares in that domain name syndicate, and see their value rocket up.

Are you beginning to get the picture? Domain names are nothing more than a method to instruct client programmes on computers to connect to a numeric address that refers to a server computer on the internet. They have no value in and of themselves; the value in a domain name rests solely in the work that programmers put into expressing the ideas of entrepreneurs who run the websites the domain points to.

A three letter domain name like ‘sex.com’ is no guarantee of success on the web in and of itself; the same is true of Bitcoin. No one would have paid a billion dollars for the domain name ‘google.com’ before Google put millions of man hours and genius into their software, for example.

If you want to ‘invest in the Internet’, you need to invest in a company that uses the internet to provide value to people. You cannot invest directly in the Internet, which is nothing more than a series of protocols defining containers for information that have been agreed upon by individuals. When you think about Bitcoin in these terms, you start to understand why all these foolish pundits sound so ridiculous. They literally have no idea what they are talking about.

Bitcoin is a way to convey value from one person to another without a third party. Email is to postal services as Bitcoin is to money. It has no monetary value in and of itself; it has a very high utility, not intrinsic value. This is why looking at a single chart from MTGox and inferring anything about Bitcoin in general, or its future, or its utility and true nature is completely absurd. This is why attempting to apply Austrian monetary theory to Bitcoin is a fool’s errand. Bitcoin is not money, any more than a leather wallet is money or an email is a letter written on your personal stationary; you would not define a wallet as money, or a domain name as money or a piece of paper with ink on it simply because someone buys and sells them as goods.

The real issue is not whether Bitcoin will ever be so widely adopted that it, “acts like a real, stable currency”. The only issue is wether or not it is widely adopted, and when the disruptive effects it will have on the current crop of online payment systems that are in thrall to the State, begin to emerge.

And Bitcoin is a very very disruptive technology.

Think about Bitcoin in comparison to PayPal. PayPal is essentially a centralized brick-less bank, that keeps a ledger of user’s accounts and transfers, and which charges per transaction fees. It strictly controls how much of your own money you can withdraw from them to your own bank account, how much of your own money you can spend at any one time, and PayPal are notorious for their freezing of user’s accounts, service problems and lust for compliance with the regulations of the State. For example, users of PayPal unfortunate enough to live under the yoke of the government of India have recently been informed that they will not be allowed to receive payments that exceed $500 per transaction and that they will not be able to keep any of their money in their PayPal accounts longer than one week; all money received into PayPal must be transferred to their Indian bank account within 7 days.

I will take for granted your outrage at these anti-human and arbitrary restrictions.

Now consider Bitcoin. Bitcoin turns every user into an operator of their own fully functional, trans continental, free of State control PayPal service. They can accept money and then transfer Bitcoins from their computer to anywhere in the world instantly, without interference from anyone. They can accept Bitcoins on their computer in exchange for goods or services in a similar manner. The key insight that mainstream thinking people are missing is that Bitcoin can be exchanged for anything, not just money. Its accounts are essentially disposable and not tied to you permanently. You do not have to identify yourself to any third party in order to use it. If you adopt Bitcoin you are at liberty to use it in any way you like, with as much of your money as you like.

When you think about Bitcoin correctly, you can begin to see that its potential is as big as the advent of the internet itself, since money is half of all transactions. In the same way that email disrupted the postal service, Bitcoin will disrupt the making and receiving of payments. If you want to send a post card, you do not have to use a postman or government mail. You simply send an email. From your mobile phone. This is taken for granted, now, but it represents a tectonic shift in the way people communicate.

Think about how the internet and Fraunhofer-Gesellshaft’s Perceptual Audio Coding software (that powers the MP3 file format) has changed the way music is distributed and consumed. No more buying Cassettes, Vinyl records and CDs in stores; no more middle men between the musicians and the music lovers. This is what Bitcoin is going to do in the realm of money transfer. And of course, the circle will be completed when music lovers pay tributes to their favourite musicians with Bitcoins.

Very small payments will now become possible and plentiful…anyone can develop their own money transfer and content monetizing service on top of Bitcoin without having to interface with one of the main payment processing companies. This represents a massive shift and unprecedented opportunity on a global scale. There are so many possible uses of Bitcoin you could spend all day imagining its potential uses, and you might still completely miss its killer application.

None of the people trying to pour cold water on Bitcoin ever mention Namecoin, which is a DNS alternative based on Bitcoin. This is probably because they are ignorant of what Bitcoin actually is, and are simply regurgitating what others have written and said about Bitcoin, rather than doing their own thinking about it. DNS, as I say above, is the system of marrying words with the numeric addresses of computers on the internet. It is how people connect to sites on the net with their browsers, allowing them to type in a name instead of a number. The DNS system is being attacked by the State as a way of taking publishers off-line. Google “ICE domain seizures” to find out what I am talking about. Namecoin has the potential to decentralise the DNS system, making it impossible for the State to seize domain names and attack publishers.

This is only one possible future use of Bitcoin, and as we have seen with the appalling totalitarian police state scandals surrounding government sabotage and poisoning of the centralised DNS system, Namecoin could remove the power of the State to control this critical part of the Internet infrastructure.

The potential of Bitcoin is obvious to those that are intelligent, that understand computers and software, who have some knowledge of the present state of and recent history of the internet and the problems of money transfer online. Anyone who knows what this really means is awestruck, gobsmacked at how everything is about to fundamentally change.

To conclude, whenever you hear anyone attack Bitcoin, your first response should be to be skeptical of the intelligence and depth of understanding of the attacker. They will cite any or all of the following to try and dissuade you from adopting Bitcoin:

  • Bitcoin has no backing
  • The exchange rate is volatile (with obligatory MTGox chart)
  • Bitcoin is a Speculative Bubble
  • Bitcoin is used for buying drugs
  • Bitcoin is run by amateurs ‘The MyBitcoin Fiasco’
  • Bitcoin is only for techies, not for the average person

All of these reasons for avoiding Bitcoin are straw men, trotted out by the unintelligent who cannot think for themselves, have weak powers of insight, are very probably computer illiterate, or who are philosophically predisposed to disliking Bitcoin because they have mistaken it for money due to other people having claimed that it is money.

The first and last straw men are particularly galling. The dollar is backed by nothing, and these same people insist that it is money simply because other people accept it as money, but by magic, this logic cannot simultaneously apply to Bitcoin. The Internet was once ‘only for techies’ and now everyone uses it, and the people who do not are the exception, the ‘disadvantaged’ who must be helped to get onto it. If it were not so tragic, you would think these pretexts for rejecting Bitcoin were funny.

I predict that the same will be true of the mass adoption of Bitcoin as it was for the mass adoption of the Internet. In the very near future, the people who do not use Bitcoin for sending and receiving payments will be the exceptions, and the disadvantaged.

I will leave it to you to extrapolate from that, what the true value of Bitcoin is.

The Internet is starving the streets

Wednesday, August 24th, 2011

Whilst roving around a major city in the UK, I was overwhelmed by the filth, the poverty, the distorted faces, the ground-in misery, the decay and the hopelessness in evidence whichever way you cared to look.

Contrast this with the shining, enthusiastic, clean, efficient, free, beautiful, soaked with hope and promise Internet, where everything is possible, if you can write software or operate a mouse.

Buying things in the streets is a disgusting experience. Not only are people ugly and rude, but the streets themselves are incredibly filthy, with layers of ground in grime from the feet and garbage of millions of people who leave every type of food and waste behind them like upright slugs trailing dirty slime behind them.

You may be lucky enough to need something from a shop that is clean and neat, and it may even have staff that can speak in a polite manner. When you enter, if you are really lucky, it could even have air conditioning. Even if that is the case, after you have done your business, for which you are robbed of an extra 20% on top of the price you pay for no good reason, you have to return to the pig-filthy streets to get anywhere, and you had to arrive by those same foul streets to get there in the first place, and when you leave, you are burdened with packages.

Contrast this with shopping on the Internet. You click through some beautifully laid out pages, compare and contrast prices from different ‘stores’, read the voluntarily donated opinions of other decent, literate people who are honest and who have your best interests at heart, and then, when you make your decision, you click a button to find that the next day your shoes arrive.

Even then, if you do not like your new shoes, you can return them and get your money back, no questions asked.

The online world is much better than the ‘real world’. It is travelling without moving. It is connecting without effort. It presents a face to you that goes out of its way not to offend you. It is intelligent, cultured, educated, funny, humble, gentle, easy to get on with, inoffensive, useful and entirely beneficial.

What happens when you try and connect these two worlds, to try and bring the benefits of the online world to the ‘real world’? Read the rest of this entry »

Nobody Asked For A Violent State

Monday, August 22nd, 2011

I live in Stockholm, Sweden. A hundred years ago, one of the largest employers in the city was the State. Their business was as straightforward as it was necessary: help keep keep people safe, provide schools, a social safety net, maintain an army, provide universal healthcare, and prevent parents from educating their children at home.

They would cut up large blocks of the land of Sweden, parcel them out into districts, and then number every person in those districts through a universal State issued ID Card. People would rely on the State for almost everything, even to make sure their food was safe.

When households in Sweden were freed from the State early in the first half of the twenty first century, the State was made obsolete. After all, what the state did was keep people safe and provide services, and everybody could suddenly do that themselves.

This was a fairly rapid process in the cities. With the availability of guns and private security from circa 2020, most households subscribed to their own private security firm by the end of the 2030s. One of the citys largest employers the State had been made totally obsolete by ideological and moral development.

There were many personal tragedies in this era as the Statesmen lost their breadwinning capacity and needed to retrain to get new, non violent jobs in a completely new field; the free market. The profession of Statesman had been leisurely and privileged, and seeing your industry disintegrate in real-time wasn’t easy.

But here are a few things that didnt happen as the State industry became obsolete:

No private security firm owner was sued for making their own security and ignoring the existing State security services.

No laws were proposed that would make private schools liable in court if the education they provided was superior to that destroyed public teachers jobs.

Nobody demanded a monthly property tax from the house owners that would go to the State employees Union.

No lavishly expensive expert panels were held in total consensus about how necessary the State and its ‘public sector’ was for the entire economy.

Rather, the State monopoly became obsolete, was ignored, and the economy as a whole benefited by the resulting decentralisation.

Were about to see a repeat of this scenario, and right now the State the violent industry has the audacity to stand up and demand special laws and say that the economy will collapse without their unnecessary services. But we learn from history, every time, that it is good when an practice becomes obsolete. That means we have learned something important to do things in a more efficient, moral way. New skills and trades always appear in its wake.

The State tells us, again and again and again, that if they cant have their monopoly enshrined into stone with ever-increasing penalties for ignoring it, that no security will be produced at all. As we have seen, equally time and again, this is hogwash.

What is absolutely true is that the State cant produce anything efficiently. But you cant instigate monopoly legislation based on your selfish needs, when others are doing the same thing for much less and without coercion. There has never been as much opportunity available as now, thanks in part to the Internet, just because all of us love to help each other. Its not something we do because of money, its because of who we are. We have always volunteered.

What about schools, then? There are examples of home educated people (and many have beat State educated pupils into the best universities and high paying jobs). But it may be true that the argument for home education is somewhat stronger with the nuclear family structure.

Im going go out on a limb here and say, that even if it is true that home education cant be done the same way with the Internet and our civil liberties both in existence, then maybe its just the natural progression of education.

I spend quite a bit of time with teenagers through my work with the Pirate Party. One thing that strikes me is that they dont much obey the State’s laws, at least nowhere near the way I did when I was a teenager. Just like I threw out my mental shackles 15 years ago, maybe this is just the natural progression of culture. Nobody would be surprised if we moved from violent State provided services to a voluntary natural society and true free market culture at this point in history.

After all, we have previously had all the services the State now provides as the high points of culture in the past, without the State. Even radio theaters (and famous ones). Nobody is particularly concerned that those expressions have had their origins in a near State free society and that society has moved on to a new culture of true Liberty. There is no inherent value in a culture of coercion and violence and preventing the changes weve always needed.

Everywhere I look, I see that the State needs to be cut down to allow society to move on from todays violent stranglehold on culture, peace and knowledge. Teenagers today typically dont even see the problem of a natural society they take voluntarism and Liberty in the connected world so totally for granted, that they discard any signals to the contrary as Statist nonsense.

And they certainly dont ask for ‘free’ handouts from the State.

http://torrentfreak.com/nobody-asked-for-a-refrigerator-fee-110821/

Market volatility and Bitcoin

Monday, August 8th, 2011

One third of all the Bitcoins that will ever be created have now been mined. This is as a good a time as any to re-state the facts about Bitcoin.

It needs to be pointed out to the easily frightened out there on teh ineternetz, that Bitcoin has not ‘failed’ simply because the first company to provide a service that uses it (MTGOX) has attracted users who exhibit a class of behaviour and needs.

MTGOX is nothing more than a single company that is providing a service. It does not set the true value of Bitcoins, it publishes what its users are willing to pay for it. This has nothing to do with the actual value of Bitcoin now or in the future.

We can infer this by using a thought experiment.

Imagine a world where Bitcoin is in use by one hundred million people. Every day, people use it for every conceivable type of purchase. It is easy to obtain Bitcoins and people have no problem understanding them or spending them.

Now imagine this world with or without MTGOX.

The value of Bitcoins does not change in this world very much, one way or another with or without MTGOX. The aggregate demand of one hundred million people, all trading Bitcoins between themselves, measuring its true value on a minute to minute basis will tell each user what the real value of Bitcoins are.

And that value is orders of magnitude greater than twenty Federal Reserve Notes.

For example, lets suppose that you buy a Chinese take away meal for eight people for one Bitcoin. And that includes four bottles of Champagne. You get an instant feel for what a single Bitcoin is worth in the real world.

This is how real people determine the value of their money. This is how they know that ten dollars is too much for a can of coke.

What is happening now with Bitcoin right now is that it is circulating in a closed feedback loop populated by highly skilled programmers with financial software backgrounds, Libertarian monetary policy enthusiasts and over-clocking geeks. Once the Bitcoin economy breaks out of this closed feedback loop and is in wide use, it will not be possible for a single exchange to alter its value.

This is the inevitable scenario that the Bitcoin detractors cannot see. Bitcoin now is exactly analogous to the birth of email, and all the arguments against email taking off and replacing the post, all the arguments against shopping on the internet all apply equally to Bitcoin.

As I said before, the rate of adoption that Bitcoin will experience will be very much faster than the rates of adoption of email and web browsing. What needs to happen to push adoption along is this:

  • The building of simple to deploy tools so that anyone can accept Bitcoin.

And that means plugins for Word Press, Magento, OS Commerce and every other platform that is out there. Imagine a ‘+01’ button for every page you publish on the internet. Imagine Stack Exchange implementing this ‘+01’ button. Do I even need to go on?

It doesn’t take a genius to imagine what would happen if someone developed a Bitcoin app for Facebook. If it spread virally, you would exceed one hundred million users of Bitcoin in a very short amount of time.

Already, people have been donating to posts on BLOGDIAL through the address that is published on every post made by ‘irdial’. Other bloggers are explicitly asking for Bitcoin tips in their sidebars. Once the word gets out that you can make money simply by posting a string on every post, adoption of Bitcoin will explode in the Blogosphere. I imagine the quality of posts will also improve dramatically, as people craft their words to solicit tips, rather than to simply get something off of their chests.

Bitcoin is not MTGOX. MTGOX is a service that is built around Bitcoin. At any time, some piece of software or some service could emerge that will cause adoption of Bitcoin to go viral. Even something as simple as a simple Tweet from a highly influential blogger could cause literally millions of people to download the client and start using Bitcoins.

Anyone who says Bitcoin is finished because a small group of people are agreeing on artificial prices on its first ever large scale service doesn’t understand what Bitcoin is, or what its potential is.

And a final note. The Federal Reserve stopped publishing ‘M3’ the metric that told you the number of dollars in circulation. Bitcoin is different. We know how many Bitcoins are in circulation at every instant because it is public knowledge and will always be public knowledge. In this respect, Bitcoin is more transparent than the dollar, and of course, there is an upper limit to how many Bitcoins there will be, unlike with the dollar that can be printed willy nilly.

The low exchange rates that Bitcoin services are quoting are a great opportunity, maybe (or maybe not) your last opportunity to get Bitcoins at a low price through the current exchanges. As it is with Gold, you will kick yourself if Bitcoins go to $5000 per Bitcoin, just as gold is predicted to go at least ten times higher than it now stands, at record prices of $1671. Both gold and Bitcoins are cheap at today’s prices.

You have been warned.

Bitcoins are Baseball Cards

Wednesday, August 3rd, 2011

The responses to Bitcoin from different camps that encounter it have been fascinating to read. Bitcoin, like the Internet, is a mirror reflecting the philosophy of the person who is talking about it.

Libertarians see it as a way out.
Statists see it as a way of receiving the blessings of the state.

and so on…

One of the many interesting sets of thoughts swirling around Bitcoin is the idea that somehow, the State must be involved in Bitcoin, and there are people out there who are keen to try and shoehorn any legislation or rule that is out there to fit the Bitcoin case.

Take a look at this:

FinCEN Brings KYC Requirements To Bitcoin?

The U.S. Department of the Treasury (FinCEN) issued a Final Rule making non-bank providers of pre-paid financial instruments subject to comprehensive Bank Secrecy Act (BSA) regulations similar to depository institutions.

Why this particular rule, and not the first amendment of the constitution? Cryptography, it has been argued, correctly, is a form of speech that falls under the first amendment protections guaranteeing your right to write whatever you want.

Bitcoin is made up of cryptographic signatures that can be printed out as text. This means that they are clearly protected speech and not financial instruments.

Why should FinCEN have anything to do with Bitcoin at all? If FinCEN applies to Bitcoin, should it also not apply to Baseball cards?

Baseball cards or comics or YuGiOh cards could be used as money because someone somewhere values them.

They could be stored in a vault and then certificates issues against them that could be traded automatically at online exchanges.

Does that mean that these certificates are money? Does that mean that FinCEN rules should apply to them?

Of course it doesn’t. Applying FinCEN rules to Bitcoin, quite apart from the immorality of these regulations, is improper and ridiculous.

The regulations affecting stored value now use the term prepaid access which is more broad and technology-neutral. Though FinCEN has not formally asserted that Bitcoin would fall under prepaid access regulations, earlier contact with the agency referred to bitcoins as a form of stored-value. If correct, then Bitcoin sales to U.S. customers would likely be a regulated activity per this Final Rule.

The new regulations become effective on September 27, 2011, 60 days after its July 29, 2011 date of publication in the Federal Register.

This is absurd. Who made contact with FinCEN, and where is the written record of this contact? Who did the contactor represent, and whoever she was, she did not represent ‘Bitcoin’ or any of its users, but was acting on her own. The details of that contact are something that would be interesting to read.

To comply with the Final Rule, providers of prepaid access must register with FinCEN. Because bitcoins are decentralized, it is uncertain who a provider would be. Might every exchanger be considered a provider, for instance?

This is all springing from a false assumption, that Bitcoin is a store of value that FinCEN has jurisdiction over. It is not.

Also under the Final Rule, sellers of prepaid access must collect personal information from customers, maintain transaction records, file suspicious activity reports and comply with other requirements of money service businesses (MSB). Last month FinCEN issued a ruling that was intended to clarify the definition of an MSB and includes the possibility that even businesses outside the U.S. conducting money transfer over the Internet could still be classified as U.S. MSBs. Additionally, the definition no longer requires that an MSB be a business any individual who receives funds in exchange for a stored value might be considered an MSB.

This is of course, absolutely absurd. Even if you concede that FinCEN has jurisdiction over U.S. companies and persons that deal in Bitcoin, to assert that people and companies outside the USA would need to register with FinCEN betrays a complete lack of understanding of the concept of jurisdiction.

Its like those very sad webmasters in the UK who put up DMCA takedown notification pages on their sites. The DMCA does not apply anywhere in the world other than in the United States of America, and no webmaster, publisher, company or person is required to obey its strictures who is not based in or who does not have servers in the USA.

If FinCEN actually tries to attack Bitcoin, and then tried to demand that entities outside the USA register with it, they should be met with this type of response.

Though the ruling has exemptions to not impact the typical prepaid debit card found at grocery stores, for example, the exemptions would likely not apply to Bitcoin. These exemptions give a pass to providers and sellers when the following conditions are met:

  • The funds cannot be transmitted internationally.
  • Funds cannot be transferred from one user to another.
  • No additional funds can be loaded except from a depository source (e.g., from a bank).

There is no way to limit where bitcoins can be spent and the value is easily transferred from one person to another so Bitcoin will not likely be considered exempt from the AML regulations.

Bitcoin, being a form of speech, should not be regulated by anyone. In the same way that you have protections against fraud (someone misrepresenting some reproduction Baseball cards to you as genuine, or someone stealing your YuGiOh cards) you have those same protections with Bitcoin. If someone defrauds you or breaches a contract they have with you, take them to court or arbitration.

The state is not needed to control Bitcoin, police it, regulate it or have anything whatsoever to do with it. It has, like the internet, grown in popularity all by itself, will grow in utility just like the internet has by virtue of people adopting it and using it, and any interference in it is illegitimate on its face.

Following these regulations will be a serious burden to sellers. For instance, compliance requirements as specified in an article by Perkins Coie LLP include:

Identifying information includes the customers name, date of birth, address and identification number. Sellers must retain this information for five years from the date of sale.

The records must be easily accessible and retrievable upon request from FinCEN, law enforcement or judicial order.

The bigger impact of following AML may not necessarily be the cost of compliance but instead will be the likely result to effectively de-anonymize Bitcoin.

Following these regulations is unthinkable. Even if you accepted that these regulations were in some mysterious way beneficial, it would not and could not stop people from trading Bitcoins client to client, without identifying themselves to a parasitic third party.

When Bitcoin usage reaches critical mass, there will be trillions of transactions happening on a daily basis. The people who serve as enter and exit points for it would be recording meaningless details that would serve no use whatsoever after the first purchase of Bitcoins.

Bitcoin is not anonymous, despite what people think. There are services out there however, that can make it completely anonymous, and these will be improved and will multiply in number as the precise nature and level of anonymity in bitcoin becomes well understood by everyone. In the same way that The Anonymizer, Hide My Ass and the many proxy services that have come into being to cater for those who want anonymity, its a safe bet that the same entrepreneurs will apply their knowledge to the problem of making Bitcoin completely untraceable.

As for the cost of compliance, only US companies will be forced to pass the expense of these ridiculous regulations on to their customers. It will mean that customers, who see high prices due to regulation as damage and route around it, will choose exchanges outside the USA, simply because it is cheaper. This will create another tier of middle man in America; businesses that will take your money and then interface with foreign exchanges for you, rather like the Dorian Grey services we have written about.

Ironically, these new regulations may drive even faster Bitcoin adoption. These restrictions may cause many retailers to discontinue offering the prepaid cards that can be used at ATMs internationally. Since global redemption of stored value is a service that is legal to offer, is in huge demand and is something that Bitcoin does well using digital currency might become the more popular alternative.

Unintended consequences!

And of course, as Bitcoin passes critical mass, it will become absolutely impossible to clamp down on the international flow of ‘money’, since Bitcoin is a peer to peer system.

When the global economy becomes dependent on Bitcoin, as it does now on SSL, no politician will dare raise a finger to control (damage) it, just as it is now completely unthinkable to regulate the cryptography behind SSL, as the French tried to do and which Dominic Strauss-Khan put pay to.

A more immediate consequence will likely be the employment of lawyers to specifically consider how this Final Rule affects Bitcoin.

http://www.bitcoinmoney.com/post/8412471372/fincen-prepaid-access-final-rule

Maybe so. Certainly there are people out there who are desperate to interface with the State when it comes to Bitcoin.

One way or another, the State is not going to control Bitcoin. Either because it is not in their financial interest to do so because it is a world-wide phenomenon, or because they cannot possibly stop the hundreds of millions of people who are going to be using it.

There are 2,095,006,005 people on the internet. That is 30.2% of all the people on earth and an increase of 480.4% in ten years.

If only ten percent of all people use Bitcoin. No. Lets say five percent. That is 104,750,300 future users of Bitcoin. There is no reason why this number cannot not be achieved, and of course we are working only with today’s assumptions; there is no knowing what new innovations related to the block chain that are around the corner. Or innovations in the shape of client that people will be using. Imagine new versions of Google Chrome or Firefox that are not only browsers, but Bitcoin clients.

Every browser, doubles as a Bitcoin client.

Think about that for a moment. An HTML5 Bitcoin client, with an interface designed by Google or Mozilla. Easy to use and absolutely everywhere; on every computer in the world, by default.

One thing is for sure, there is no going back.

People have complained that ‘the next Google’ could not come out of Britain, because Britain is toxic to business.

If Bitcoin is going to be the biggest revolution since the internet itself, and the British establishment are desperate to entice companies to set up here and take root, then any regulation on Bitcoin (or for that matter, Internet Business which is serious business) is, to put it lightly, not a good idea. In fact, the smart thing to do would be to draw an arbitrary area on the map in London, and declare that area an Internet Free Trade Zone, where there are no restrictions, taxes or regulations, for a period of 150 years.

This would instantly attract every Internet business on the planet to the UK. There would be an unprecedented inflow of brains and money into London, making it the ‘Internet Capital of the World’.

Or, you could regulate Bitcoin, and be an also-ran gaggle of losers, while Hong Kong, Dubai and other jurisdictions suck up all the brains, money, skills and entrepreneurs.

To sum up, Bitcoin is to money as PDFs are to hardback books. Bitcoins are speech, not financial instruments. The State has no business interfering in Bitcoin in any way, and US regulations and laws do not apply to people and companies outside of the continental USA.

You can smell their fear now

Monday, August 1st, 2011

The Grauniad has an astonishing report of a newsletter published by Belgravia police station, where people are advised to report anarchists to the police.

I’m not making this up:

Anarchists should be reported, advises Westminster anti-terror police
Islamist terrorists also mentioned in briefing, as anarchists complain of being criminalised for their beliefs

What should you do if you discover an anarchist living next door?

[…]

the answer, according to an official counter-terrorism notice circulated in London last week, is that you must report them to police immediately.

This was the surprising injunction from the Metropolitan Police issued to businesses and members of the public in Westminster last week. There was no warning about other political groups, but next to an image of the anarchist emblem, the City of Westminster police’s “counter terrorist focus desk” called for anti-anarchist whistleblowers stating: “Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local police.”

What the HELL?!

The note was issued from Belgravia Police Station as part of Project Griffin which aims to “advise and familiarise managers, security officers and employees of large public and private sector organisations across the capital on security, counter-terrorism and crime prevention issues”.

Grauniad

Here is a page that has the actual report linked from it. The Grauniad didn’t think you should actually read the report for yourself:

http://liberalconspiracy.org/2011/07/31/met-counter-terrorism-office-report-anarchists-to-the-police/

The first thing that is interesting about that document is (apart from its appalling graphic design) that there is no named author.

What public servant was responsible for this gaffe, who told her to write this and why is she not accountable? You KNOW why.

Now lets think about this carefully.

Why has some uneducated person put this nonsense into that document?

From their point of view, the only exposure to ‘Anarchism’ they have had is the agent provocateurs who routinely smash up McDonalds and bank windows. They equate this criminal behaviour with Anarchism because the people who do that violence say that they are Anarchists.

In fact, the truth is those people are not Anarchists, but are in many instances members of the police, sent out to cause trouble. This is a well established fact.

Now, not all the police are aware that their own force is being used as a tool in this way, and I imagine that they would be shocked, SHOCKED to find out that this was so; nevertheless, these compartmentalised, unnamed people are playing right along in their roles, obeying orders without any care or concern for their duties or the truth.

And they wonder why the ideas of Libertarianism are spreading like wildfire. All anyone has to do is read this Grauniad article to be completely outraged, as all of the comments on that article demonstrate.

Grauniad readers are staunch anti-Libertarians to a man, but they are not not stupid, and can tell right from wrong where their own rights overlap with the rights of others when it comes to free speech. They know that this statement is only one step away from applying directly to them and their ideas.

Thinking once again, from the point of view of an uneducated, low IQ man, how can you spot an anarchist? More importantly, how can you spot who is not an anarchist?

There is one easy way to tell who is or who is not an anarchist; anarchists are:

1/ Non violent: Anarchists do not use violence to achieve their goal of a stateless society.

Thats pretty much it. Anyone who smashes a McDonalds window, or who engages in any violence of any kind is not an anarchist by definition. The people who do that are CRIMINALS, not anarchists.

And for the record, the goal of a stateless society is a completely logical, moral, realistic and just goal, and that police report is correct in this single aspect;

Anarchism is a political philosophy which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful, and instead promotes a stateless society, or anarchy. Any information relating to anarchists should be reported to your local Police.

Lets do this.

Anarchism is a political philosophy.

CORRECT.

which considers the state undesirable, unnecessary, and harmful,

WRONG.

Anarchists can PROVE, through logic, ethics and history that the state is harmful, unnecessary and undesirable. This is not something that anarchists consider or is something that is mere opinion, any more than people ‘consider’ that the sky is blue; the state IS evil, is not needed and is toxic to humanity and that is a fact, not conjecture, a belief, an article of faith or any of those things.

Now, taking all of this into consideration, that the ‘anarchists’ who attend demonstrations and smash things to pieces are not anarchists at all either because they are not philosophically anarchists or because they are agent provocateurs and given the fact that anarchists are non violent, and have the right to publish and espouse anything they like in writing or by any other means, if someone was to report an anarchist to the police at Belgravia station…

What are they going to do?

Arrest someone for reading a book? Or publishing a pamphlet? Or writing a blog?

Whoever they did that to, would be in line for MILLIONS OF POUNDS in compensation, after a sensational, high profile trial, which would be taken on a contingency basis by a line of Britain’s top law firms, who would queue around the block for a chance of easy money. Academics from all over the world would submit amicus briefs on behalf of the defense.

They would have a snowballs chance in hell of getting away with it.

I simply cannot believe that the police in Belgravia have so much time on their hands that they can even be doing this sort of infantile nonsense. No one wants these ridiculous, meaningless scaremongering reports. They do not prevent crime, cannot prevent crime, waste time and money and bring the profession of policing further into disrepute.

Of course, Libertarians have an answer to this.

Libertarians understand that the State should not have a monopoly on security. Security is a service that should be produced by the market:

The market and private enterprise do exist, and so most people can readily envision a free market in most goods and services. Probably the most difficult single area to grasp, however, is the abolition of government operations in the service of protection: police, the courts, etc. the area encompassing defense of person and property against attack or invasion. How could private enterprise and the free market possibly provide such service? How could police, legal systems, judicial services, law enforcement, prisons how could these be provided in a free market? We have already seen how a great deal of police protection, at the least, could be supplied by the various owners of streets and land areas. But we now need to examine this entire area systematically.

In the first place, there is a common fallacy, held even by most advocates of laissez-faire, that the government must supply “police protection,” as if police protection were a single, absolute entity, a fixed quantity of something which the government supplies to all. But in actual fact there is no absolute commodity called “police protection” any more than there is an absolute single commodity called “food” or “shelter.” It is true that everyone pays taxes for a seemingly fixed quantity of protection, but this is a myth. In actual fact, there are almost infinite degrees of all sorts of protection. For any given person or business, the police can provide everything from a policeman on the beat who patrols once a night, to two policemen patrolling constantly on each block, to cruising patrol cars, to one or even several round-the-clock personal bodyguards. Furthermore, there are many other decisions the police must make, the complexity of which becomes evident as soon as we look beneath the veil of the myth of absolute “protection.” How shall the police allocate their funds which are, of course, always limited as are the funds of all other individuals, organizations, and agencies? How much shall the police invest in electronic equipment? fingerprinting equipment? detectives as against uniformed police? patrol cars as against foot police, etc.?

The point is that the government has no rational way to make these allocations. The government only knows that it has a limited budget. Its allocations of funds are then subject to the full play of politics, boondoggling, and bureaucratic inefficiency, with no indication at all as to whether the police department is serving the consumers in a way responsive to their desires or whether it is doing so efficiently. The situation would be different if police services were supplied on a free, competitive market. In that case, consumers would pay for whatever degree of protection they wish to purchase. The consumers who just want to see a policeman once in a while would pay less than those who want continuous patrolling, and far less than those who demand twenty-four-hour bodyguard service. On the free market, protection would be supplied in proportion and in whatever way that the consumers wish to pay for it. A drive for efficiency would be insured, as it always is on the market, by the compulsion to make profits and avoid losses, and thereby to keep costs low and to serve the highest demands of the consumers. Any police firm that suffers from gross inefficiency would soon go bankrupt and disappear.

One big problem a government police force must always face is: what laws really to enforce? Police departments are theoretically faced with the absolute injunction, “enforce all laws,” but in practice a limited budget forces them to allocate their personnel and equipment to the most urgent crimes. But the absolute dictum pursues them and works against a rational allocation of resources. On the free market, what would be enforced is whatever the customers are willing to pay for. Suppose, for example, that Mr. Jones has a precious gem he believes might soon be stolen. He can ask, and pay for, round-the-clock police protection at whatever strength he may wish to work out with the police company. He might, on the other hand, also have a private road on his estate he doesn’t want many people to travel on but he might not care very much about trespassers on that road. In that case, he won’t devote any police resources to protecting the road. As on the market in general, it is up to the consumer and since all of us are consumers this means each person individually decides how much and what kind of protection he wants and is willing to buy.

[…]

http://mises.org/rothbard/newlibertywhole.asp#p215

I don’t know anyone who does not think that there are not enough police on the streets. If the police had any sense, they would understand that in a Libertarian system, there would be more of them, doing real police work for better money and conditions, and they would not be wasting their time writing silly pamphlets and enforcing laws that outlaw victimless crimes like the statues covering the current round of insane prohibition. Even the police are starting to wake up about that particular corner of the insane asylum.

While we are at it look at this:

Police to carry out on-the-spot fingerprinting in the street even for minor traffic offences

Police are now armed with a device that can scan fingerprints so they can correctly identify suspects who lie about their details.

In what sounds like something out of George Orwell’s dystopia 1984, suspects can now be finger printed in the street thanks to the new hand-held police gadget.

The mobile identification service scans a print, then checks it by trawling through a national database for the details.

[…]

Daily Mail

Sound familiar? It should; we told you about this many years ago.

There appear to be some people who are awake. Look at this top comment on the Daily Mail article:

If you have never been finger printed by the police, and the vast majority of the population have not, then how can this device tell a roadside copper if you are lying or not?

Which is exactly the point that we make in this article, and what we repeated over and over in different variations for a decade.

These devices exist not to protect you from criminals, but are there to make money for the vendors that manufacture them. Each one is connected to a Blackberry, and then there is the cost of the bespoke scanner attachment and the management of the database. This is nothing more than fleecing the population.

But I digress.

What these people are saying is that if you read a book and then agree with what is in it, you are a criminal, a ‘terrorist’. Its completely absurd of course, but it is an indication of a fundamental shift that is taking place.

These people are scared. They are scared of ideas. If these people are so terrified by ideas the whole edifice must be crumbling invisibly before our very eyes, and in fact, this is a very clear sign of that happening.

A society that is secure in its beliefs and values, in this case, the right of free speech and the right to believe whatever you want to believe, has no cause to turn against its own fundamental principles in order to ‘protect itself’. The fact that they are now (and have been for over ten years) turning against the core values of their ‘society’ is a clear sign that the system is slowly moving into panic mode. The problem for them is that they will not be able to stem the tide.

No power on earth can stop an idea whose time has come. The reality is that all the violence is coming from them and the majority will do nothing while the edifice collapses. Then, one day, as it happened in East Germany, the State will simply cease to exist, only this time, there will be no ‘West Germany’ to take the place of the dead State. The world will not end, violence will not break out, there will not be chaos or a breakdown of order. There will only be a end to coercion by the State.

Depending on who you are and what you have come to know is the truth, this is either a very good thing or a very bad thing. You cannot un-know a truth; Libertarianism cannot now be un-seen or un-read or un-published. The ideas are out there, anyone who encounters them, because they are crystal clear in their truths, observations, analysis and logic, is converted to them. The economic collapse, predicted by the Austrians and the anarcho-capitalists is coming true like clockwork. They have the only correct explanation for it, and when you expose people to the fundamental principles of it, that are undeniably true, lo and behold, they understand and change their broken thinking.

This is inevitable, and will no doubt accelerate as a pound of butter goes to 5 in the supermarket.

Real anarchists do nothing except tell the truth day in and day out. As the State destroys itself with its Keynesian heroin, the State itself is going to abolish the State without any help. Real anarchists only document what is happening, and shake their heads in disbelief at the logical fallacies, the economic illiteracy and penchant for self immolation that Statists exhibit. Look at this for an example of how, even now, they want more insanity and not less.

The story of this newsletter is spreading virally across the internets as we speak. If the people who wrote this have any sense or decency left they will firstly identify who the author was and then apologise and revise their statements.

Or not.

It will not change the final outcome one iota.

Anonymous, the Matrix and Justice

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

It appears that Anonymous is not releasing its mothelode containing 4GB of News of the World emails, because it may ‘prejudice the case’.

This is an error.

Seeking justice from a court that is run by the State is not rational in this case, and here is why.

Lets say that News International is found guilty of a crime and then is fined 500,000 pounds, or 5,000,000 or 50,000,000… so what?

What if both the Murdocks are sacked; once again so what?

News International continues to promote and lie on behalf of the bogus war on terror, the bogus war on drugs, democracy, lies in general, the erosion of liberty and it continues its unequivocal unquestioning support for the regime(s). A small fine is the most you can expect from any judgement a court might hand down, and of course, this is reasonable. Just because they have done some bad things, that doesn’t give a court the right to completely annihilate their business.

Justice in this case would be a total and completely effective boycott of News International by properly informed public. It would destroy them comprehensively and utterly, based on nothing more than their own words, as contained in the email motherlode.

No court in any country that wants to preserve its patina of ‘fairness’ can ever deliver this deathblow result, which would be real justice. Consider what happened to the jewellers Ratner’s who were almost put out of business overnight thanks to the honest words of its head in a single speech. That was all it took.

Anonymous has in its hands, a weapon that could be millions of times more powerful than the single utterance of the boss of Ratner’s. The News of the World has been listening in to the voicemails of thousands of people, now their communications are going to be probed. This is true, like for like justice. See Retributive Justice.

Libertarians understand that the State should not be the sole dispenser of justice, and that justice is a service, just like any other. The same people that murder men in other countries protect themselves with the courts that they effectively own. This is why Tony Bliar will never be brought before a British court to answer for mass murder, even though he is guilty of that crime as an accomplice and instigator.

Seeking justice from inside the matrix on its terms and inside its controls cannot, by definition, be real justice; it can only be a simulation of justice.

Anonymous can do whatever they like with the docs they have obtained. They took the risk to get them, and its up to them how they want to dispose of them, wether that is doling them out piecemeal, deleting them or releasing them in their entirety.

What they must understand is that they have the power to dispense justice themselves, by releasing the docs. The question that immediately comes to mind is are they being influenced by the media outlets they are working with:

We’re currently working with certain media outlets who have been granted exclusive access to some of the News of the World emails we have.less than a minute ago via web Favorite Retweet Reply

who knows?

One thing is for sure; working with newspapers is retarding their movement, which is the job of the Mainstream Media gatekeepers like the Guardian.

For the record, justice does not mean violence. The State and its fear soaked control addicts conflate justice dispensed outside of its courts with violence to frighten people away from the idea that justice is a service. Justice does not mean hanging or imprisonment or other violence, it means (in general) an equitable settlement of partie’s claims, based on the facts of a grievance, that is mutually satisfactory.

If the Anons wants justice, they should let everyone make up their own minds wether or not News International is a fit company to receive their money. The only way to do that is to release the documents in full.

Consider this. There must be information in that 4GB motherlode that might be useful to a victim of the State, that has no meaning to you as you gate-keep the gigabytes of information.

Imagine that some poor person without the connections or resources to fight the oligarchy / State has been suffering under their heel; lets say someone powerful wants his land or his house, and has framed him up to steal it from him. The evidence of this might be in a motherlode of files that you are poring over, that you might miss because it doesn’t seem important; but it is important to that man who is being victimised.

An even more germane example would be evidence that the News of the World has run a smear campaign against a person or company; the evidence is in there waiting to be released to vindicate the vilified person. Even more interesting would be an expose of all the PR companies that have been feeding stories to the News of the World. We all know that Facebook has been caught running a PR campaign against Google, can you even begin to imagine the number of emails from PR companies that must be in that motherlode, and how they will completely expose the way newspapers simply churn out stories that are fed to them? That would be a real public service, and no one would ever read a newspaper with the same eyes ever again. The spell of churnalism would be broken forever, and everyone reading a newspaper story would immediately, instinctively put up a barrier between them and the print that keeps the story from entering their consciousness uncritically. From then on, the first thing everyone reading a story would ask before and after reading it would be, “Now, I wonder who is paying for this story”. It would constitute an unprecedented healthy scepticism that would spread throughout the world.

All this from the release of a single tarball.

That is justice.
That is moving forward and never going back.
That is progress.
That is solving problems.

Everyone needs to have access to everything for the dam holding back justice to be broken.

Finally, some who agree with the stance that Anonymous takes on things still believe that democracy is a good thing. They claim that the Norwegian president saying that the answer to violence is more democracy is correct. This is patently false. Democracy itself is violence:

The answer to violence is to say “NO” to violence.

That means “NO” to all violence and coercion, no matter where it comes from.

Democracy is violence and coercion. You cannot be against violence and for the violence of the State at the same time. If you are for the State, and for democracy, then you are for all the bad things that come out it, its violence and all the bad stuff that you quite rightly want to see and end of. You cannot, or at least, should not, hold two opposing ideas in your mind at the same time. Unless you are a quantum physicist.

This is a difficult concept to understand at first, but once you grasp it, it becomes clear that the answer to violence can never be more violence, especially the unprecedented mechanised industrial scale violence of democracy and the State, which is more violent than any mafia gang or any organised entity in the history of the worl.

It will be interesting to see what happens to that 4GB file, especially when Topiary, who has apparently just been arrested, is made the next victim of the standard and insidious mainstream media character assassination that is done to everyone like that. You need only look at what happened to Julian Assange for a good example of how mainstream media deliberately sets out to poison the perception of people, and of course, evidence of a coordinated PR effort to smear Assange could very well be in that motherlode.

Think about it!

19,785,621 seconds

Wednesday, July 27th, 2011

THe title of this blog post is the number of seconds it took for the hive mind of Anonymous to reach the next iteration that we wrote about in December 2010. Here is the tweet posted around the time of the light bulb moment:

If @LulzSec called for a #Paypal boycott it would make way more damage than any LOIC attack could ever do. Is that a felony? #AntiSecless than a minute ago via TweetDeck Favorite Retweet Reply

What is so exiting about this is that 229 days (or 329,760 minutes or 5496 hours) is not very long for an iteration, and if the time between iterations is getting shorter and shorter, it will not be long (since Anons are highly intelligent) before they come to the Final Boss of of this game: The idea of the State itself.

When they come to the conclusion that the State is not needed, is the source of all the evils they are railing against, that it is a new cancer and not at all inevitable, Murray Rothbard will spell everything out for them in a tome that is not TL;DR, and which will simply blow their minds.

PayPal’s ridiculous regulations are a product of the State. If if were not for the State, they would not be doing what they are doing, i.e. blocking access to accounts, closing accounts at the behest of the state, restricting the flow of your money etc etc.

If you look behind the curtain at everything that is going wrong, from the insane wars, to the restrictions on free speech, DRM, the ban on vitamins, the RIAA/MPAA, Domain seizures, your money becoming worthless, widespread poverty, the ‘War on Drugs’, the patent trolling, the endemic corruption, the bank bailouts… EVERYTHING – the State is the direct cause of it.

People who are clear thinking are not wedded to any particular idea out of habit. They hold their ideas because they are arrived at by reason, and if by reason they must abandon wrong ideas, they do so immediately.

The idea of the State is a habit, a bad one, like heroin, and anyone who refuses to accept the State as the Final Boss is a brainwashed, drug addled addict.

It looks like the tipping point has been reached. Anonymous and its legion are moving inexorably towards the locus of Libertarianism. They are quickly shedding all operations that are ineffective or that involve disrupting other people’s property (like LOIC). Closing your PayPal account and switching to another service is an incredibly powerful act. By moving to another service, you can ensure that the flow of information (money) is not interrupted. The question then becomes, which service to switch to?

If you switch to any service that is regulated by our enemy, the State, you will be moving from one frying pan into another. What is needed is a way to move information (money) that does not involve a third party. A middlemanless system that is controlled by the masses for the masses.

That means Bitcoin.

The next obvious iteration is to get millions of people to move to Bitcoin as the main way they transact with money on the internet. That means dumping credit cards, PayPal and any other payment system that is regulated by the State.

Even if the number of places where you can buy things with Bitcoin is small now, if millions of new challengers appear holding it and eager to spend it, I guarantee you that Bitcoin will be integrated into every e-commerce package out there in less than a month. This will dramatically bootstrap the Bitcoin economy, decimate PayPal and the credit cards and bring forward the date of the inevitable demise of the State.

Remember; the taint of the State is the root problem. Apply this simple test to anything that you can think of that chafes at your sense of decency and liberty.

“Is there a law or regulation that makes this bad thing happen?”

If the answer is yes, then the State is behind it.

Try it. You will be amazed at how everything bad you can think of can be traced back to and is a direct result of the existence of the State.

The inevitable next question is “what are we to do without a State to tell us what to do?”. Murray Rothbard and the Libertarians have the answer, and this answer is not based on theory alone; it is based only on provable facts.

A critical mass of non violent change is coming where the State will simply cease to exist, just like it did in East Germany. This time it will be different however. There will be no West Germany to fill the void. There will be nothing; nothing but the good will and power of collective non violent voluntarism and the unprecedented prosperity that will follow as day follows night.

One last thing.

Some people say, “this is how you do it, keep it legal and legit”. This is wrong, ‘in the matrix’ thinking.

If you restrict yourself only to what is legal, then you will most certainly fail.

If they outlaw Bitcoin, or any of the other 17 alternatives to PayPal, and remove your ability to change services and stay ‘legal and legit’ how will your boycott end? It will end in total failure.

Your strategy should not be based on doing what is or is not legal, because the State, the enemy, decides unilaterally what is or is not legal. Constraining yourself in this way is thinking inside the box created for you by the State. It will not work.

Your strategy must be based only on what is moral and what is effective. That means refraining from doing anything that is immoral and only doing things that are effective.

If they make payment systems other than PayPal illegal, that is an attack on your liberty that you can respond to without committing an immoral act; in the same way that smoking marijuana, despite it being illegal, is responding to an outrageous infringement of your liberty without committing an immoral act. You simply refuse to obey, en masse.

What has changed is that everyone is connected to everyone else, and withering, debilitating, concentrated, tsunami death blow boycotts can strike with incredible ferocity if the conditions are correct.

Just wait for the critical mass condition to arrive, when the penny drops and the State dies… I imagine that it will be like the change of weather on a day where it has been raining and all of a sudden, the rain stops and beautiful sunshine burst into the day.

The green rain of the State will be stopped!

The correct response to murder

Saturday, July 23rd, 2011

Its a terrible thing when people are murdered. It does not matter who is doing it or why, it is a crime, a savage and terrible crime. It is however important to put this shooting in Utya into the correct context straight away and then to think about it clearly and carefully.

Some people are saying that the ’emotionlessness’ with which this gunman murdered his victims is “midnboggling”.

Why?

Why is it that when an individual commits murder everyone becomes breathless, shocked and ‘cant sleep at night’, but when its done with drones or soldiers there is a greatly reduced amount of outrage?

What is the difference between this man committing murder and people sitting in an office somewhere commanding a drone to kill men women and children in a wedding party, just as dispassionately, calculatingly and emotionlessly? We have all seen the leaked footage of operations in Iraq where the controllers of the drones calmly murder people and speak in measured, relaxed, dispassionate voices as they do so. The fact that people can do this should not be surprising to anybody, especially when they believe they have a just cause.

The just cause the desk bound drone murderers are using is that they are ‘taking out’ the leaders of a group that could in the future, pose a threat to ‘their nation’. As you will see below, this is exactly what people are speculating this Utya murder was about; the prevention of dangerous future political action.

The stock rationale given for lack of equivalent response to the murder of different people inevitably circles around the idea that brown people are not thought of as full human beings, whilst Norwegians, being ‘white’ are, or that war is ‘justifiable killing’ whilst individuals killing is not. None of this off the shelf thinking really matters; the only thing that matters is your reaction to murder, and your ability or inability to empathise with other human beings, especially if you want to see an end to politically generated murder.

When people are cut down, as in the case of “Collateral Murder” your feelings for those that are murdered should be identical to the feelings you have when you see people in Oslo blown to bits, or students attending a political camp on an island slaughtered.

There is absolutely no difference between these events; they are all unjustifiable, immoral and repugnant murder and if you have stronger feelings because you personally have been to the places where the attacks happened or have some other ‘real connection’ to the event, then there is an urgent adjustment that needs to be made to your ability to empathise with the plight of other human beings. The only exception to this, where stronger feelings are a correct, natural and explicable response, is when you witness a murder in person, or a member of your own family is killed. No one can be expected to be rational when something like that takes place, but for all other murders, wherever they happen, when you are watching film of it or reading a report of it, your reaction should be exactly the same. Your ‘real connection’ to other people is no less real because you have not met them or been to their houses or cities. That is how real human beings feel about other human beings.

Once again, there is nothing surprising or staggering about the methodical and emotionless killing of human beings. It is done every day, sometimes on an industrial scale, by people just like you and me. When man gets it into his head that the only way to have order is the use of violence, there is nothing that he will not do, no lie he will refrain from telling himself and no level he will not sink to.

People are speculating that this killer wanted to wipe out the next generation of socialist leaders. Violent people have no problem in doing this; the end justifies the means, and the State does exactly the same thing. This is the motivating thought behind the drone attacks and it is also (for example) the true origin of inheritance tax.

Inheritance taxes are explicitly designed to prevent wealth from accumulating in the hands of families. In order to achieve this end, the State uses violence to make sure that this wealth accumulation does not happen. The State does not kill to achieve this end, but they use violence as a means to it. If you are for inheritance taxes, then you are of the same mindset as the people who think that it is a fit and proper solution to a political problem to murder individuals or a whole generation of nascent leaders who will inevitably turn out to be socialists. You are for violence.

This is the hard truth that people do not want to swallow; immoral violence at different levels is behind the edifice of the State, and all Statist thinking, its fallacious justifications and immoral actions. If you are for any of it, no matter what the justification, you are violent.

People are asking, “What kind of psychopath has that kind of forward-thinking planning?” The answer is, the same sort of psychopath that orders regime change, and like Madeline Albright, is prepared to order the deaths of children to achieve U.S. policy objectives because, “we think the price is worth it”. The same sort of psychopath that kills millions of people for dollar and oil supremacy. The same sort of people who devise plans to kill ‘their own citizens’ so that they may have a pretext to go to war. In other words, the people who run the State.

Once again, why do people rail against individual psychopathy but not the small army of psychopaths that man the controls of the State, who have a proven track record of mass murder, extrajudicial killing, rendition, torture and rape and every other unspeakable crime that can be committed? Why the sleepless nights, the speechlessness, the loss for words, the histrionics over people in one country, but not for people in another country, being killed on a much greater scale and at a greater frequency?

All of these people are human beings with the same rights, they eat the same way, think the same thoughts, have families… they are indistinguishable from each other on a human level, so why does everyone who goes berserk over a small number of students, not literally go insane over the daily murders carried out by the State?

Madeline Albright said straight out that she is willing to kill children, just as was done in this case, to achieve an end, and yet, when this is said right to your face, as murderers from the State have openly said again and again, the reaction is nowhere near as shrill and tear filled as when something terrible that is personal (that isn’t really personal at all, just more local, ‘close to home’) happens. This is wrong, especially when in the belief system of the people who are having this disproportionate response, it is held that the State is a creature acting under the direction the voting public; where murder is done on their behalf, in the name of ‘the people’.

It doesn’t make any sense whatsoever.

What also doesn’t make any sense is the prominence these stories get. The number of people who die from these events is statistically insignificant when compared to all the other forms of unnatural death. Why is everyone putting these deaths up on a pedestal? Surely the murders of the State should be put on the same level, and that level should be off of the front page? More people die from bee stings, peanut allergy, alcoholism, road accidents and many other unnatural causes, so why not put these deaths on the same level? Why report them at all? The threat to you is not grater than the threat of other unnatural causes, so to place these deaths higher than other deaths is simply base emotionalism, sensationalism and irrationality.

These murders are terrible, revolting and unjustifiable. They are just as terrible, revolting and unjustifiable as the murders of the State. These murders however, should not be used a a pretext for anything other than a thorough investigation into the murderer and his motivations. There should be no new legislation, no increased surveillance, no Police State strictures. NOTHING in response to this other than a criminal investigation.

Your chances of being killed in this way are infinitesimally small. The magnification of this event into something bigger than what it actually is, is trillions of times more harmful to you, your descendants and your life than the event itself.

Do not magnify this event; it is not any more or less important than any other murder. It is not more significant, statistically or morally. It is just as repugnant as other murders and just as statistically probable.

Any emphasis upon it that is greater than the emphasis that is given to the murders of the State is itself immoral and repugnant.

Finally, people are beginning to realise that all is not quite right with these events. The photos of the perpetrator are “picture perfect”, his background and messages “intended to be found”. The whole thing stinks to high heaven. But then again, so does the State, and its mass murder. You must take three steps back and also cast the same skeptical, critical, logical eye on the existence of the State itself, its murders, excuses, pretexts, fictitious enemies and bogus justifications for what is plainly immoral.

If you do not do this, then you are not thinking logically, but are being emotionally manipulated into believing that somehow, a man murdering 80 plus people is different to the State murdering 80 plus people, and that because of this, you must accept changes imposed upon your life.

It just isn’t true.

Bitcoins backed by gold launched

Thursday, June 23rd, 2011

There is another interesting article over at Lew Rockwell about Bitcoin, which is a transcript of a conversation with Doug Casey, who we have blogged about before. This man is a truly great speaker and thinker, and as proof of this, I direct you to watch Mr. Casey in action.

In the interview, Doug Casey says something truly astonishing, because if it is true, it means that the next iteration of Bitcoin is already here and is sure to fulfil the promise of a decentralised, unregulated, freedom and pure value centred money. Here is the line that I am talking about:

So, way before the dollar value of Bitcoins stepped off a cliff last weekend, I was telling people who asked me that I didnt use them and didnt plan to use them.

Frankly, I cant see why anyone would, when theres already an electronic digital currency like Bitcoin but backed with gold: GoldMoney. I should disclose that Im a small investor in the company.

http://lewrockwell.com/casey/casey89.1.html

My emphasis… What?!

An electronic digital currency like Bitcoin, backed with gold?!

I had to find out more about this!

GoldMoney has a good looking website:

http://www.goldmoney.com/

It says its ‘simple and secure’ and that you have ‘Complete ownership of the metal you buy’.

Better and better!

But where is the ‘download’ link? I want to start using it right now!

When you click on ‘Find out more about how to get started with GoldMoney’

Ooookkkkkk.

OnMouseDown we are not presented with a link to some software but instead we are displayed the following:

At GoldMoney we make it very easy for you to conveniently buy, own and store precious metals. The first step is to sign up for free to open a Holding, which is a personal record of your activity in GoldMoney and the metal you own. After a short verification process, you can transfer money to fund your Holding and start buying metals to preserve your purchasing power.

You have to sign up for a ‘holding’, complete ‘identity verification’ and then transfer funds.

Personal Record?
Verification process?

This doesn’t sound like Bitcoin at all!

It gets worse.

They then ask you for your country of residence. What on earth has that to do with MY MONEY?

And then it gets even WORSE:

Country of Residence

Depending on the country you live in, you can sign up for different types of Holdings. GoldMoney accepts customers from 93 countries. If your country of residence is not one of the countries listed above, unfortunately we are currently unable to accommodate your application. If you are temporarily living in a country not listed above but your primary country of residence is on the list, please contact us to discuss your situation. For example, if you are an international aid worker temporarily assigned to a non-listed country but your primary residence is in the UK, we will most likely be able to accept you as a customer.

If you move to another country after you open a Holding, please take into consideration that this could affect the type of Holding you are able to have.

Netherlands & Netherlands Antilles

Due to a review on the rules applicable to the sale and storage of precious metals, we are currently unable to accept applications from Dutch residents.

Sucks to be Dutch then. I guess that the Dutch don’t have any property rights. I guess that if I am Dutch, I can’t spend money on the internet, with this ‘Bitcoin like’ money. What?

And then it gets unimaginably worse:

We claim that we are from Italy, and then say submit. You then get this:

Enter your name and contact details during the sign-up process

Upload a scanned image of a bank statement or bank cheque before the initial funds are sent from your bank account

Upload a scanned image of your photo ID (passport, national ID card or driver’s license)
Send a certified copy of your photo ID and an original bank statement or utility bill along with a completed CAP Form (letter or A4-size) to us by post

Additional verification of your identity and the source of your funds may be required depending on your circumstances and the Holding value

Unbelievable.

And this, given the interview, is the most surprising thing of all:

Security and integrity

As a company regulated by the Jersey Financial Services Commission, GoldMoney complies with anti-money laundering legislation, which requires GoldMoney to know the identity and residential address of each of its customers. We make use of a Customer Acceptance Policy (CAP), to ensure the security and integrity of the GoldMoney system. More information about the CAP and how to sign up for your GoldMoney Holding can be found in our CAP FAQ.

But in the interview, Casey says:

Thats why the U.S. government and its media lapdogs have been so antagonistic to Bitcoin, claiming its primarily of interest to drug lords who want to use it as soap for their money laundering. They always mention it in conjunction with Silk Road, which claims to allow purchase of any drug through mail order, using Bitcoin as its payment system. I have no problem with that, but its a totally impractical idea in todays world. Its just an idea intended to scare witless Americans. Frankly, Im disgusted at the fact money laundering is even accepted as a crime; thoughtless people believe whatever theyre told. Its not a crime, by any rational definition. But thats another subject for another day.

Well, I certainly agree with that sentiment; there is no such thing as ‘money laundering’… but I digress.

This service is as far from Bitcoin as you could possibly be. There is no software to download, you cannot buy and sell it from anywhere without restriction, you have to integrate with the state at a very intimate level, indeed, they cannot even offer this service to everyone, even Europeans like the Dutch, thanks to the State.

What if the State says that all gold in private hands is to be confiscated, as they did in 1933, and as they appear to be heading for right now. Is this company, for ‘Security and Integrity’ going to simply go along with the State and steal your money?

Who knows. Who cares.

I would never put my money into a service like this where the State is alerted of all your details and ‘holdings’. They offer no utility whatsoever in comparison with Bitcoin. You cannot spend your GoldMoney at retailers directly, you can only redeem your stored gold for cash, which you then have to either take in person or spend through another intermediary if you want to buy something from Bangalore. And of course, there are the myriad fees and taxes you have to pay each time you move YOUR MONEY around between these entities.

This is the reason why Bitcoins are valuable. There is no service like it anywhere.

You can get started with them instantly.
You do not have to identify yourself.
You can use them from any location.
You can send them to any location.
You can fund them with any currency.
You can spend them immediately.
Your transactions are private.
There are no taxes on transactions.
Transaction fees are so small as to be irrelevant, and if you are a miner, you get the fees back from other users.

All of these features and more make Bitcoin a tool with a very high level of utility. Bitcoins are scarce, and you need them if you want to make purchases without the onerous and illegitimate predations of the State.

If the ideas of Liberty are spreading, and they are, Bitcoin will have a very large and primed population of users who recoil at something like GoldMoney.

The utility of Bitcoin, which is a function of the number of users who want it, will entrench it, or at the very least, the idea of it.

We will never go back to government run money, just as we are not going back to music pressed on vinyl. The quality of sound has been sacrificed for Digital Convenience, and more music than ever before is in everyone’s hands, accompanied by a new economy where the middle man is being killed off. Digital music is here to stay, and so is Bitcoin. The middle men are going out of business, and everyone is going to benefit.

The frictionless utility of Bitcoin, like the experience of finding music, books, films and software and then downloading them immediately is something that once you taste it, changes your perception forever.

No one who uses Bitcoin is going to accept GoldMoney as ‘digital currency like Bitcoin’. Its like saying buying DRM’d iTunes files for 99 is like sharing FLACs on IRC / Dropbox with your friends (sorry, I slipped into ‘tecchie speak’ as the illiterates call it. What I mean is the experience of downloading and sharing unencumbered music files that you can play anywhere, freely, between friends and colleagues for nothing, is not at all like paying money for files from Apple, where what you get are files that you cannot share or use on all of your music devices. Apple is a cumbersome, restrictive and invasive intermediary vendor that spoils your music experience. Is that better? I can only dumb it down so much… sorry!).

The genie is out of the bottle, just as it is with file sharing. Eventually no one will pay for entertainment files. It will be culturally unacceptable and commercially impossible. Similarly in the near future, no one will accept that you cannot spend your own money whenever you want, however you want, without anyone other than you and the recipient having a say in it.

Bitcoin, or its immediate decedents will provide the secure infrastructure for this, and most certainly not GoldMoney or services like it.

This does not, obviously, invalidate the immutable, irrefutable idea that the best money is gold. All it means is that on the internet, if you want to spend money, the best way to do it is Bitcoin. It is the easiest, the most Libertarian styled, the most secure (yes, the most secure, all the recent problems with Bitcoin users have not been due to a problem with Bitcoin, but with the people who are running it and the incorrectly managed computers that they control) and transparent way of spending money.

Finally, it seems like the Ghandi rule is sweeping through the Libertarians who at first, instinctively and irrationally railed against the idea of Bitcoin.

The people on the wrong side of history appear to be very quickly moving from the laughing stage, and are already past the fighting stage it seems.

Bitcoin has already won.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

UPDATE!

Jon Matonis hit the nail on the head about this company back in 2009. His article is just the sort of thing that journalists cannot produce, and that the best Bloggers are good at; concise, rational even handed, insightful and purely fact based writing that spells it out just as it is. Read it!

And check out this informative, in depth interview with Mr. Matonis:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

The clear divisions on Bitcoin

Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011

It is now clear where the lines dividing freedom minded people on the issue of Bitcoin are drawn.

On the one side, you have mostly older computer illiterates who are out of their comfort zone, and on the other, you have younger computer literate people who are comfortable with both free market ideas, sound economics and computers.

The former camp, the computer illiterates, all use the same form of argumentation and fallacious reasoning to attack Bitcoin, including straw men. Here is a good example:

Approximately 2,000 years ago, Aristotle said good money must be:

  • Durable
  • Portable
  • Divisible and consistent
  • Have intrinsic value

The astute reader will immediately realize that Bitcoin does not possess any of those characteristics and was subject to trouble from the getgo not to mention the security issues that immediately arise with anything computer and Internet related. A computer generated currency is not durable, as the recent hack demonstrates. And its certainly not portable. Can you imagine bringing your computer to the door to pay for your next Chinese food delivery? You get the idea for the remaining characteristics.

[…]

http://howestreet.com/2011/06/grim-decade-employment/

The straw man here is the line about Chinese food delivery. There is no reason of course, why you could not pay for your Chinese food in advance by Bitcoin. Its like saying, “imagine ordering books by computer from a company, lets call it ‘Amazon’. Imagine the delivery man having to keep change for all the sales! Its a security nightmare. IT WILL NEVER CATCH ON!”

The astute reader recognises faulty reasoning when he sees it, and is not persuaded by straw men.

As for the Aristotelian qualities that money must have, lets go through them for Bitcoin.

Bitcoin is durable. In fact, because it is not a physical good but is instead, an idea fixed in media, it can last for an indefinite time as long as it is copied to another medium. You can keep backups of it, which of course, you cannot do with physical money. Once again, the fact that you can have two copies of your money and cannot spend it twice is the breakthrough of Bitcoin.

Anyone who says Bitcoin is not portable, is not thinking clearly. Bitcoin is the most portable ‘money’ ever created. It can be sent anywhere in the world in an instant. There is no other money like it in the world in this respect.

Bitcoin is divisible. Each coin can be divided into one million equal parts. Bitcoin is consistent in value, if we accept that the value of a commodity is related to its supply.

The only test Bitcoin fails, some would argue, is that it has no intrinsic value. Lets go to the dictionaries to be absolutely sure:

What Does Intrinsic Value Mean?
1. The actual value of a company or an asset based on an underlying perception of its true value including all aspects of the business, in terms of both tangible and intangible factors. This value may or may not be the same as the current market value. Value investors use a variety of analytical techniques in order to estimate the intrinsic value of securities in hopes of finding investments where the true value of the investment exceeds its current market value.

[…]

http://www.investopedia.com/terms/i/intrinsicvalue.asp#ixzz1PzdrOzEy

In finance, intrinsic value refers to the value of a security which is intrinsic to or contained in the security itself. It is also frequently called fundamental value. It is ordinarily calculated by summing the future income generated by the asset, and discounting it to the present value. Simply put, it is the actual value of a security as opposed to the market or book value.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic_value_(finance)

An intrinsic property is an essential or inherent property of a system or of a material itself or within. It is independent of how much of the material is present and is independent of the form the material, e.g., one large piece or a collection of smaller pieces.

[…]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intrinsic

I think the last one puts the nail in the coffin of the argument that Bitcoin has no intrinsic value.

Bitcoin has intrinsic value, by definition, because the system has value to the people who use it. It also has intrinsic value, by definition, because the amount of material in a thing is not relevant to wether or not a thing has intrinsic value; Bitcoins are immaterial, and they are part of a system that has value.

The fact that a single exchange, MTGox was hacked does not demonstrate that ‘A computer generated currency is not durable’; this is another instance of fallacious thinking. For fun, can you pick the correct one?

Once again all of these fallacious arguments are being made on the internet, and the irony of this appears to be lost on the people making them.

Even if Bitcoin is only used by one one hundredth of the entire internet population regularly, the number of people using it will be enough. More than enough. “For what?” I hear you ask… anything we need.

The people who build the systems that change the world do not need luddites, computer illiterates and sticklers to urge them to do what they do. The internet was built by a small number of people, and it has spread everywhere. Bitcoin was devised by one person, and it has already changed everything.

While we are at it, there is another prediction that has gone out of the window, the lone wolf inventor was declared extinct a few years ago, the claim being that the research and development costs involved in creating new things meant that unshaven men in their garages would not be able to produce world changing technologies.

How wrong they were. Bitcoin and Bittorrent are only two examples.

This is true for Bitcoin and the systems that are going to come after it. You need only look at at a widely adopted system like Skype, which is a decedent of ideas behind Gnutella, which itself was a decedent of Napster.

This is another problem that afflicts the discussion of Bitcoin; not only do very few people have a knowledge of how software works in general, but even fewer know about the recent history of some of the amazing tools we now take for granted.

Take a look at Nautilus, the file browser. Did you know that a company raised 11 million dollars to develop it? The company was called Eazel, and now we all benefit from that massive investment whenever we use the file browser in our Linux desktops, since Nautilus is now free and open source. Before this company, file browsers on Linux were not so user friendly. The people who invested in Eazel might not have made a profit, but that is not the point. The point here is that a world class piece of software was released that made something that was hard much more easy. The same dynamic can happen with the Bitcoin client, and when it does, we are going to experience massive, permanent disruptive change.

When thinkers like Mark Shuttleworth or Justin Frankel or a consortium of developers with many millions of dollars in the bank decides to fork and polish Bitcoin, you are going to see the emergence of a new version of the Bitcoin client, which will be as usable as the Skype client, that will sit on top of the existing Bitcoin network. Adoption will then go exponential, and all the short sighted people who claimed that it will never catch on will be forced to eat their words.

This new Bitcoin client will not only address all of the problems of the present client, but it will introduce new features that will make the adoption of Bitcoin accelerate; like being able to print out your Bitcoins so you can spend them like paper money.

Thinking is hard. Reading and understanding technical specifications is not easy; you have to spend many hours cross referencing different documents, each of which is liable to cause you to have to read other difficult to digest documents.

If you are not willing to do this, its not a problem; the world will go on without you. Thats why all these people are able to send out email newsletters, publish websites and make Skype calls without knowing how it all works or the history of the tools they are using.

What you cannot do however, is claim that something, in this case Bitcoin, cannot work when you are not capable of understanding it or even worse, are unwilling to make the effort to research it properly, and then expect people to take you seriously.

Something as important, significant and world-changing deserves proper attention and analysis, not flippant twaddle masquerading as insight.

The true nature of the anti-Bitcoin animus

Monday, June 20th, 2011

MTGox, we discover, was the victim of an internal leak of their database. They were not hacked, and they are the victims of a criminal act of theft.

The facts in this matter do not concern the people who are gloating over this event. There are a group of people who are violent in nature, and who despise Bitcoin because they understand exactly what it represents; a direct threat to their sick and violent society which is based on coercion, the absence of freedom and the application of force.

Imagine a world where everyone had access to personal force fields via an artificially created gland that was made to grow into their abdomen by a nano machine / virus. These force fields could be activated either by the fear response or by the direction of your will, in the same way that you use your will to direct your arm to throw a ball.

Everyone would be able to protect themselves from any sort of physical attack, and all would be able to use similar technology to protect their houses.

It would then immediately become impossible for the State to send their agents to your house to rob you with bailiffs. They would no longer be able to force you to pay anything that you did not want to pay, and you would be able to protect yourself and your property from the other criminals and predators that are not sent out by the State.

In such a world, all flows of money would be voluntary by default. There could be no coercion of any kind, since violence against the person and her property would have been abolished by the advent of force fields.

The entire world would switch from one based on violence to one based on voluntary exchange.

This is exactly what Bitcoin is doing.

It is going to make it impossible for the state to stop people transacting at a distance, in any amount that they choose. It is going to remove the State from the equation as the unwanted third party in all transactions.

This is the true source of the animus against Bitcoin, and it explains why people like Tim Worstall and the other writers are dismissing Bitcoin so flippantly. Here is what I am talking about. These are quotes from an article by Tim Worstall that has just appeared:

The Bitcoin community faced another crisis on Sunday afternoon as the price of the currency on the most popular exchange, Mt.Gox, fell from $17 to pennies in a matter of minutes. Trading was quickly suspended and visitors to the home page were redirected to a statement blaming the crash on a compromised user account. Mt.Goxs Mark Karpeles said that the exchange would be taken offline to give administrators time to roll back the suspect transactions.

Tim Worstall asserts that Bitcoin is finished because a single exchange has technical problems if this is the level of expertise operating at Forbes, you might be forgiven for taking everything that they publish with a big pinch of salt. There is no relation between the fictitious ‘Bitcoin community’ and MTGox, in fact, its a stretch to assert that there is a Bitcoin community at all. Is there an ‘internet community’ simply because people who peer on the network can send email to each other?

Not a good start!

For the record, Tim Worstall works as a consultant and dealer in scandium and other exotic metals. We can assume that he knows a little about how exchanges work, that there is normally more than one exchange for every commodity, and that you can get a feel for the price of a commodity not by looking only at one exchange, but by looking at them all at the same time.

He must also know that Bitcoin is in its infancy, and as other exchanges open, the problem of a single exchange running into difficulty will greatly suppress the triggers that initiate widespread panic. He should also know that a single technical fault in an exchange cannot be translated into a true loss of value in whatever it is the exchange deals in.

These fundamental facts and logic must be known to him, so why has he written this piece? What is the purpose of it?

The initial problem leading to the price collapse was that one user tried to sell more than the market could absorb. For of course the value of anything is determined by the balance of supply and demand for it. Thus the price crashed (and you can see a chart of how quickly it did here). However, it appears that this isnt the only problem:

This demonstrates Mr. Worstall has at least a basic grasp of economics and how markets work. What he does not tell you, is that the sales were made not by one user, but by over 400 users simultaneously, who were all being controlled by a single attacker. Facts are stubborn things. Had this breach not taken place, the quoted price for Bitcoins on MTGox would not have dropped as it did. Worstall cannot distinguish between a wrongly quoted price and the true price of a commodity in a market.

Since I began writing this, it has emerged that details of more than 60,000 users have been stolen from the Mt Gox exchange. The compromised information includes hashed passwords.

No, the doesnt necessarily mean the end of the Bitcoin experiment, but its a pretty good indication of it.

This is a baseless assertion, which other violent Statists will use in a faulty appeal to authority attack (“it came from Forbes, a trusted source”) against Bitcoin.

This event is not an indication of anything, other than that some of the user accounts at MTGox were exposed. If we apply this faulty logic to the other recent mass disclosures of usernames and passwords, we should expect Worstall to come up with similar nonsense lines:

The recent hack of SONY, where the credit card numbers, dates of birth and real names of TWENTY FIVE MILLION users were copied…
The recent hack of SEGA…
The loss from HM Revenue and Customs…

  • So, Thats the End of Credit Cards Then
  • So, Thats the End of SONY Then
  • So, That’s the end of SEGA Then
  • So, That’s the end of Her Majesty’s Government Then

Do you see what I did there?

Take a look at this if you want to gain some perspective on the matter of large scale data breaches, something that the Tim Worstall’s of this world seem to lack:

http://www.bitcoinmoney.com/post/6712283280/major-data-breaches.

The MTGox event doesn’t even appear on the radar.

While we are at it, in the case of Parliament, the breach of the government data really should have instantly spelled the end of ContactPoint and the ill conceived, ill fated ID Card, but of course, it did not. Also, the breach of 25 million credit cards should put pay to the Coalition’s absurd plan to use credit cards as ID Cards to access government gateways. We have written about this recently:

Credit card fraud is rampant, and using credit cards to interface with the state will allow everyone with a fraudulent or duplicated credit card to masquerade as someone else when identifying themselves to a government portal.

Look no further than the recent SONY breach where the credit card details, dates of birth, names and addresses of SEVENTY MILLION people were copied.

The population of Britain is 61,838,154 2009 That means that a number of people, larger than the population of Britain had their credit card details copied.

It means that if such a thing happened in the UK, every single person who identifies themselves to the state with their VISA could be impersonated with ease. This means more benefit fraud, GUARANTEED.

[…]

http://irdial.com/blogdial/?p=3031

but that is another story.

The fact of the matter is that writing irrational pieces like this cannot be an accident. This is not an opinion piece, though the hatred of Liberty oozes out of every vowel. I want to know who is directing these drones to write hit pieces against Bitcoin. I am not the only one (not that that means anything in and of itself) to suspect that the organised chorus of anti Bitcoin propaganda, and it is propaganda, is just too perfectly in tune to be the random warbling of computer illiterates. Or maybe they are all perfectly brainwashed to the same tune piped out by the Government schools and State mandated curricula? Who knows?

Here is another piece in the key of Fail; Fortune ran this piece recently which everyone can see is a, “…thrown together and completely fact-optional piece. Seriously, this reads like somebody who spent 2 hours reading other news coverage headlines and decided to fill in the rest with make-believe.”

Oh dear.

The mainstream media and its gatekeepers have a terrible problem on their hands. They cannot tell a story without directing people to the facts that will disprove their propaganda. They are only a click away from every hit piece they write.

Anyone with curiosity can Google Bitcoin for themselves, download it and then run it. They can start accepting Bitcoins. They can integrate it into their websites and start getting paid for anything that they do.

Once they get a first hand feel for it, the lies that are being propagated about Bitcoin are instantly washed away. As more people use it, and the client improves, it will become harder and harder to lie about Bitcoin, and then the MSM drones will have to capitulate and start accepting it themselves. Once this happens, it will be forbidden by the editors of these rags to write an anti-bitcoin piece, because they would be being paid in Bitcoins themselvs.

That will be the tipping point; just as the newspapers all decided they needed to have online editions of their lie machines on the internet, and when they adopt anything, like social networking and Twitter feeds, eventually they will all have to accept Bitcoin or its successor. This is absolutely inevitable. For those that are interested, all of the websites of the newspapers are running some sort of Open Source Software. They might not like the economics or the philosophy of ‘free’ but they are all using it to spread their lies.

Forbes.com is running Apache on Linux and so is fortune.cnn.com. Both of these organizations would have railed against Open Source software from every possible angle, with FUD, “its not as secure as proprietary software”, “the business model cannot work”, “its not ready for the desktop” etc etc, and yet, they have all capitulated, and no one even discusses it any more, save to note how far and wide the software is spreading.

This is how these people operate.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.

We are at the ‘ha ha’ stage now. It is only a matter of time before Tim Worstall or some other hack calls for Bitcoin to be banned or regulated. And for the record, you can replace Tim Worstall’s name with the name of any journalist that has written a piece like this. Even people who claim to be scientific in their thinking manage to write garbage about Bitcoin. They all share the same attributes (lies) and one is replaceable with any other, and the newspaper name or slant doesn’t matter either. I could cite dozens of shabby articles, but why bother, they are all pretty much identical in theme, deception, sneer and ignorance.

For there are certain things that we want from a currency. A medium of exchange, a store of value, wed also like to it be liquid and security is important as well.

Once again, we have the ever present WE of the collectivists. What Worstall means by ‘security’ of course is the unfettered ability of the State to be able to interpose itself in all transactions so it can tax. Without it, his beloved collective dies, and Bitcoin is the first actual financial tool that could pull it off. This is why everyone who loves and lives by the State, its predations, its illegitimate regulations, its stolen loot, its bureaucracy and all the other vile stuff in its ecosystem where violence is the lubricant, hates Bitcoin with a passion.

With Bitcoin, people have the choice to opt out of their sick society. Bitcoin is the force field that protects the individual’s money from the State. Its mass adoption would collapse the income of the State, forcing it to completely re-assess its relationship with people everywhere. On a side note, we can expect the State to ramp up the violence to eleven on the dial, before they throw in the towel.

No currency can have all of these features (and humans have used some pretty odd things as currency over the centuries, from copper sheets to cowrie shells via butter, salt, gold, silver and even pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them, surely the final lunacy?) to perfection but a currency which doesnt have any of them in appreciable quantities isnt going to last very long.

This is simply not true. There can be a currency that has all of these features; just because you cannot imagine it that does not make it so. Three years ago, anyone you asked would have told you that the double spending problem could not be solved, because digital files are infinitely copyable. Lo and behold, a single man with a vision has solved the problem and his solution has applications beyond currency. Computer illiterate collectivists cannot even begin to see the sort of world that would emerge out of the idea behind Bitcoin. No matter. The world will change wether they like it or not.

As for odd currencies lasting a long time, did you know that the longest running currency was the tally stick? A strip of wood with notches cut in it that was then split in half; one half being spent out and the other reserved by the issuer.

The tally stick system lasted seven hundred years as a form of money.

Bitcoin can be used to send stored value across the world, in the same way that tally sticks were used. It can last a long time, and bring many benefits to the people who use it. Bitcoin, and the ideas that drive it are in no way ‘over’.

Bitcoins arent secure, as both the recent theft and this password problem show.

This is simply false, and betrays a complete ignorance of what Bitcoin is and how it works. All of the problems that have been falsely attributed to Bitcoin have not been a problem with Bitcoin itself, but have instead, been directly related to the platforms in which it is being used.

MTGox had a problem with their physical security; nothing to do with Bitcoin itself. The man who lost 50,000 Bitcoins had them stolen from a laptop running Microsoft Windows, either by physical access or remotely by a Trojan; nothing to do with Bitcoin itself.

Even if someone finds a flaw in the Bitcoin client, the idea of it is sound and has changed everything forever.

More people today are thinking about what money is, and understand what Fiat Currency is and how it is evil and institutionalised theft. That is thanks to Bitcoin. More people today have a real grasp of how simple money transfer over the Internet could and should be, if only the State would get out of the way. That is thanks to Bitcoin.

PayPal and the Credit Card companies and their processors are shaking in their boots; you will never have your Bitcoin account frozen. You do not have to make any declaration of any kind, swear an oath, divulge personal information or suffer any State mandated humiliation to start receiving and spending Bitcoins worth millions of dollars. There are no artificial limits on how much Bitcoin you can receive and spend, and where you can spend it and what on. The only loser in all of this is the State and its army of cronies, clients, parasites and thugs.

The next Rebecca Black on YouTube will put her Bitcoin address in the description, and she will reap millions from her fans… even the ones who hate her.

Actually, thats an argument against Bitcoin, sorry.

Theyre not liquid, nor a store of value, as the price collapse shows and if theyre none of those things then theyll not be a great medium of exchange either as who would want to accept them?

This is, of course, nonsense. Lets take it one by one:

“They are not liquid”

What Does Liquid Asset Mean?
An asset that can be converted into cash quickly and with minimal impact to the price received. Liquid assets are generally regarded in the same light as cash because their prices are relatively stable when they are sold on the open market.
http://www.investopedia.com/terms/l/liquidasset.asp

Bitcoins, are becoming more and more liquid every day. You can trade them in the street, and there are services popping up that help you find people who want to sell or buy Bitcoins close to you, using geolocation.

“nor a store of value”
This is demonstrably false. If you can spend Bitcoins, they are a store of value by definition, just as the tally stick was, just as gold is and paper money is. This is nonsense on stilts, and we have addressed this before when we took apart Grant Babcock’ assertions.

“as the price collapse shows”
There was no price collapse, this is a falsehood. MTGox, a single exchange, suffered a technical problem not related to Bitcoin itself, and the price recovered immediately. The trades are going to be reversed where possible, and as you can see in this video:

the price at that broken exchange recovered. This is not reporting, or real journalism. It is utter rubbish.

“theyll not be a great medium of exchange either as who would want to accept them?”
You can file this under the same nonsense like, “guitar bands are finished” (Beatles) or “no one wants internet access, because no one is on it yet”, or “the internet will amount to nothingClifford Stoll.

Note, attentive readers, that Clifford Stoll’s famous, “it will never catch on” piece appeared in Newsweek, a world class mainstream media lie machine, with a vested interest in killing anything that stops people from being free, reading the truth or from them selling dead trees. They have been dragged kicking and screaming into the future…. but you know this!

True, Bitcoin does still offer anonymity:

Not really, but why should we expect you to get this right?

but then so do copper sheets to cowrie shells via butter, salt, gold, silver and even pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them.

There are moves afoot and plenty of evidence to prove you wrong Mr. Worstall. Just ask this gentleman who was stopped at an airport simply because he was carrying his own money. So much for the anonymity of cowrie shells and fraudulent pieces of paper with Dead Presidents on them.

Its difficult to see what the currency has going for it.

http://blogs.forbes.com/timworstall/2011/06/20/so-thats-the-end-of-bitcoin-then/

Its only difficult to see what Bitcoin has going for it if you are an ignoramus in the literal sense of that word.

If you understand how cash works, then you should understand what Bitcoin offers its users and what it has ‘going for it’. But I think this article’s author knows full well what the potential of Bitcoin is, which is exactly why he has written this piece as he has.

No one born in 1963, who writes for ‘newspapers” and trades metals as a profession doesn’t know what the internet has done for man. People like that have experienced the internet revolution first hand, as it has transformed the way everyone works, plays, communicates, learns, spends money and thinks.

Bitcoin, its future iterations and its inevitable successors, are going to change the world again, in ways that are very difficult to predict, though we can have a crack at it for fun. It is a fact that Bitcoin already has changed the world.

One thing you simply cannot do in the face of something like this is intone, “it will never work” or “I can’t see the point in it”. These sorts of predictions, especially when they are related to technology are almost always wrong or short sighted, and in today’s day and age, with all of the experience of the last two decades under our belts, such an attitude is inexcusable stupidity.

Refuting the attacks on Bitcoin’s design

Friday, June 10th, 2011

Some people believe that the design of Bitcoin is flawed, and that it cannot work. David Kramer is one of them and has made an interesting post over at Lew Rockwell, about Bitcoin. Lets take a look.

I’m sure by now many of you have heard about Bitcoin. The fact that it’s called “virtual currency” gives you an idea about its actual value as a real medium of exchange.

This isn’t true; the only thing that gives you an idea about its value as a medium of exchange is what you can exchange it for. Right now you can trade a bitcoin for 26.141 Federal Reserve Notes. This is the truth about what the value of a Bitcoin is right now.

While many people who are touting it on Facebook are enamored with the fact that it was voluntarily created by the marketplace (i.e., is not forced down our throats by a private central bank), I’m afraid that those people are losing sight of how a real medium of exchange arises in a free market.

Bitcoin was developed as a way to exchange between people in a cash like fashion at a distance, without a central clearing authority. It was created because there is a need for this service, which has been recognised since the days of Dr. David Chaum’s E-Cash.

The people who work on this project were not directed to by anyone, and no one told the man who made the breakthrough that this is what he should be doing. This is yet another example of free people solving problems for themselves, and that is a good thing.

We should point out that Satoshi Nakamoto could have patented this idea but choose not to; instead, he released his idea and the software he wrote to implement it as Open Source, so that everyone everywhere can benefit from his concept. This is a noble act, and it is proper that we recognise this.

A medium of exchange arises from something that had a material use/value in the market prior to becoming a medium of exchange, i.e., it was also a good being bartered for other goods and services. Over the centuries, gold and silver won out as the two most preferred mediums of exchangewith gold holding the number one position due to it being more scarce than silver.

You could argue that the electricity and the CPU cycles that are used to generate bitcoins had a use in the market prior to their use to create a Bitcoin, but we will leave that for today.

Over the centuries, gold and silver have been settled upon as the best medium of exchange by the market, and this is still true today.

Now fast forward to the twentieth century, which is happening right now. How can I transmit gold (or any thing that I and another person want to trade) without double spending, anonymously, to a person that is half way around the world, without a central clearing authority? Before Bitcoin, this was not possible, and now it is.

Bitcoin, whilst not conforming strictly to the definition of what money is, is a very useful tool to exchange value. It takes some understanding and knowledge of mathematics to grasp exactly how it works and why it is so brilliant, but even without that knowledge, it can still be used by everyone eventually.

Mr. Kramer can use email to send and receive messages without understanding SMTP or POP syntax. He can write blog posts without understanding HTTP requests or MYSQL, and most certainly he will be able to use credit cards and buy books from Amazon whilst his transaction is protected by SSL. None of these things, these very complicated things, need to be understood fully before you can grasp their importance. SSL, upon which the entire commerce infrastructure is built, is nothing like putting a paper document in an envelope to be mailed by the government monopoly postal system and yet, it is used every day to secure documents in transit. PGP and Public Key Cryptography is used every day to sign documents in a way that means they cannot be forged; signing a document with Public Key Cryptography is not the same as putting your ‘John Hancock’ on a piece of paper, but it is a quantum leap in a different direction that has uses way beyond what signing a piece of paper can do for you.

This is what Bitcoin is all about; it is a breakthrough in sending and receiving acknowledgement of ownership.

Anyone who scoffs at this is simply not seeing the big picture.

What was Bitcoin’s prior material use/value? Zero. It is just bits in a computer.

This is a straw man argument. David Kramer’s post, and the two links in his update to Murray Rothbard’s books (one of which I have read; ‘What has Government done to our money?‘) are just ‘bits in a computer’ and yet, these bits can be used to transform the thinking of men. Bitcoins when they are stored on a device, are represented by bits, but it is what those bits represent and their relationship to other bits on other people’s computers that is important. This line of Kramer’s shows that he really does not understand what computers are, how they work and why Bitcoin is a breakthrough.

And what’s with the “fixed” amount of Bitcoins? Who determined the “proper” amount? A computer programmer?

And why not a computer programmer? This is exactly the same asLacy Clay saying Thomas DiLorenzo cannot talk about economics ‘because he is an historian’. For what reason are computer programmers excluded from inventing something that has a potential use in economics? Or should this be left only to the high priests? This is not a serious argument against the design of Bitcoin. Clearly there needed to be an upper limit to the number of Bitcoins in circulation, otherwise it would not be useful as a way of transmitting ‘money’. The person who designed Bitcoin, a computer programmer, set the upper limit. If the market will not accept this limit, then the system will not be used. But I digress.

Data is infinitely copyable. There is no limit to the number of times data can be copied. This means that any token in a system of exchange can be copied at will by anyone with access to the system at any level. This is where the problem of double spending comes from, and part of the breakthrough in Bitcoin is the solution to this problem, which computer programmers have been searching for for decades.

When you have even a slight grasp of how data and computers work, and you understand that the double spending problem has been solved, your first reaction would be to gasp, as the enormity of what Bitcoin is dawns on you.

Only the free market can voluntarily determine how much of a real medium of exchange is needed in the marketplace over time.

This is true, but once again, this has nothing to do with Bitcoin. By releasing Bitcoins slowly over time, by the efforts of the people who use it, there can never be a flood of Bitcoins. Satoshi Nakamoto must have grasped on some level, if not entirely, that money is a commodity, which is why he designed Bitcoin to be mined in this way, instead of starting off with 21,000,000 coins in circulation all at once. All we know about his thinking is what we see in his software and in his original proposal. We have between now and 2142 to see what the market voluntarily determines how much of a real medium of exchange Bitcoin is, and if the number of bitcoins is too small or too big. Whatever the outcome, there is nothing stopping someone else with another system from supplanting or improving on Bitcoin, by whatever means they can come up with.

While the idea of attempting to get rid of the Bankster monopoly on creating money out of thin air is commendable, Bitcoin is also money created out of thin air. Bitcoin is just substituting one bogus medium of exchange for another.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/blog/lewrw/archives/89471.html

Declaring Bitcoin to be ‘Just Another Bogus Medium of Exchange’ is not an argument and is clearly false. It is also not true that Bitcoins are created ‘out of thin air’. Bitcoin is new and unique, and that is a fact; even if you believe it to be bogus, you have to demonstrate why it is bogus.

If you want to refute Bitcoin (or anything for that matter) you have to address the facts about it. Here is an example of someone who has done precisely that.

Tav addresses how Bitcoin works, acknowledges its breakthrough, demonstrates an understanding of economics, identifies what he believes the specific flaws in Bitcoin are, and explains why he concludes it cannot work, clearly and with precision. Here is another critique and another by the same author.

If you want to contribute something meaningful and useful that is the way to do it. There are arguments swirling around the ‘hoarding problem’; it would be nice to read a good analysis of hoarding and how it applies to real money like gold and silver, and how those dynamics apply to Bitcoin. In any case, I don’t care much for people who refuse to think hard about subjects like Bitcoin; something that is voluntary, harmless, an exiting breakthrough and which has massive potential even if in this iteration, it fails.

We have seen the failure of other systems, like Chaumian E-Cash before. Each of these iterations causes analysis, innovation and new products to emerge. This is something to celebrate, to think hard about, to address with logic and facts and indeed, to even try out on your own computer so that you actually have a grasp of what is involved in it.

Finally, whatever happens with Bitcoin, the individual wins.

If Bitcoin becomes the de-facto way of spending money on the internet, displacing all other systems like Credit Cards and PayPal, the public wins, and the State loses. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails because the State outlaws it, hatred for the State increases. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails for economic reasons, it will not be tried again in this form and the lessons learned will be folded into the next iteration. That is win.

If Bitcoin fails for technical reasons, same again, the lessons learned will be used in the next iteration, which is win.

Whatever way you choose to look at it, Bitcoin is a good thing.

+++++++ UPDATE! +++++++

In a well considered article, which I linked to above, “BitCoins: All Buzz, No Substance” by Grant Babcock, the problems with Bitcoin as perceived by the author are addressed. In listing his objections to Bitcoin, he actually argues for it. Lets take a look.

A given goods exchange value has a tendency to snowball.

This is happening with Bitcoin right now.

If I believe that a larger number of people are willing to trade for a good, I am more willing to trade for that good myself.

This is happening right now with Bitcoin.

Eventually, we expect a single good or a handful of goods to emerge as the predominant media of exchange; they are then called monies.

This may happen with Bitcoin on the internet. If enough people download the client and accept it, and websites use the simple tools needed to accept it, we can expect it to emerge as a form of money. Bitcoins, by Grant’s own reasoning, are no different to coconuts, feathers, tally sticks or cowrie shells.

Historically, goods such as cigarettes, precious metals, shells, and many others have emerged as monies.

And so why not digital certificates that cannot be forged or ‘printed’ (mined or generated) beyond a certain number (21,000,000)?

Peoples willingness to treat an item as money is based on experience. They forecast that a good will be accepted in trade tomorrow because it was accepted in trade the day before and the day before that.

And so, if enough people accept Bitcoins, they will treat it as money de-facto by this definition.

If we follow this chain back in time, eventually we arrive at a point where the commodity is has not yet been used as a medium of exchange and is only wanted for its use value.

This is true of Bitcoins; digital certificates and signatures have been around for many years; they were never before thought of as money in and of themselves (though you can buy certificates for money; ask Mark Shuttleworth about how he became a billionaire by selling ‘just bits on a computer’).

The principle that the value of a currency can be traced back to a time when it was not yet a currency but just a commodity like any other is called the regression theorem, and interested parties can read more about it in Human Action Ch 17 4.

If you do not like tracing Bitcoins back to digital certificates, you could trace them back to the electricity used to make them. Or is electricity not a commodity because it is not physical? It is intangible, but is transmissible… hmmmm!

Typically once a commodity becomes a money, a variety of certification agencies will emerge.

Bitcoin has this, of course, in the form of its decentralized P2P clients. That is the breakthrough; no centralised certification agency.

Suppose for example that our money is gold examples of certification might be an imprint on a gold coin stating its weight and where it was minted, or a piece of paper entitling the bearer to a certain amount of gold at a trusted repository.

A stamp on a bar of gold is meaningless, as we have seen with the tungsten centered fake gold bars. Bitcoin, in this respect, is superior to gold because each Bitcoin is absolutely certified.

This certification makes the commodity an even better money than it would have been without the certification. The certification is bundled with the commodity and traded, but is in principle distinct; the coin and the stamp in the coin are different things.

Indeed. As you can see, all the arguments presented here for gold as money, apply to Bitcoins as money.

Just as the computers and the internet changed the way letters and books are made and distributed and read, money is being changed in the same way.

This means that if you want to read a physical book, you still have to go out an buy one, or have it posted to you. If you want money in the real world, you should use gold and silver coins only.

If you want to read a book on your iPad, you get a PDF copy from somewhere on the internet, and then read it on your device. This does not mean that ‘PDFs are not books’ and no one with any sense says this. PDFs are for e-readers. That is their nature, its what they are for and the medium where they make sense is the computer.

If you want to send money to your cousin in Jodhpur, you take your gold coins to a shop in Manchester, turn them into Bitcoins and then send them. Your cousin can then turn them back into gold, or he can buy goods and services with them on the internet. Bitcoins are to money as PDFs are to books. Its not hard to understand, and the wow factor comes in when you understand that whilst PDFs can be copied ‘double spent’ ad infinitum, Bitcoins cannot, even though they are both digital.

That is simply incredible and its why everyone is so exited about them. Add to the mix the anonymity, the lack of central authority, the transparency in both the client software and the network, and you begin to see just what a revolution this is any why the word ‘revolution’ is appropriate.

Finally read this excellent analysis of gold vs Bitcoin by Anthony Freeman.

Chinese translation of this article.

Violent artists declare war on the 21st Century

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Thanks to a lurder (yes, ‘lurder’) who knows just what buttons to push to cause a BLOGDIAL post to emerge, we have this amazing piece of violent assertion from http://www.theartistscharter.org/

Lets pull it to bits.

We the undersigned, writers, artists and musicians, along with our fans and those millions of people worldwide who work in or are otherwise supported by the creative industries say as follows:-

We have the right to earn a living from our work.

True.

We reiterate that basic human right to work enshrined in Article 23 (1) of the UN Declaration on Human Rights, and by virtue of Article 23(3) of that declaration to just and favourable remuneration for our artistic endeavours.

False. Rights do not come from the UN. You have no ‘right’ to remuneration; you own your own body, and no one has the right to control you or force you to work under terms that are not agreeable to you. Those are the only rights you have with respect to your labor. There is no such thing as just and favourable remuneration; there is only what you will agree to work for and what you will not agree to work for. What that amount is for any particular task is up to you and the person who is hiring you to decide through negotiation.

We seek to make technology a friend and not an enemy of our creativity.

I doubt it.

We ask to be allowed to make a living, whether through performing, writing or recording music, derived from the power of our ideas and the commercial use of our talents.

You have a right to do what you want, on any stage or any medium. You already have this right, and should not ask to be ‘allowed’ to ply your trade.

We say it is a fact that the protection of our creative output depends substantially on copyright law, and we urgently call on all governments to assist us in the legal protection of our collective artistic output from piracy and other unauthorised infringement.

This is a lie.

It is absolutely not a fact that the protection of creative output depends substantially on copyright law. This is a myth, one that has been dispelled by by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine in Against Intellectual Monopoly and others.

When these people ask for all governments to ‘assist’ them, they are actually saying that they want the state to violently put grandmothers in gaol (for example) for copying from objects that they own.

They are asking for the State to do violence for them. This is wrong in every way that something can be wrong.

There is no such thing as ‘collective artistic output’. You own the physical objects that you produce. Once you release them, and someone else buys them or obtains them legitimately, you have no right to tell them what they may or may not do with their property. That means that you have no right to tell someone that they cannot make a copy of a record for someone else, or that they may not re-sell a book they have bought, or that they may notmake copies of their own wedding photos or do anything of any kind with something that they legitimately own.

In sum, you have no right to suppress the rights of others by violence because you want to make money.

It is self-evident that any commercial enterprise requires revenue flows to not only survive, but thrive, innovate and take calculated risks.

True.

We say that the internet service provider industry must accept its share of responsibility for the rampant abuse of copyright online. Easy unauthorised access to our material goes unchecked every day across the world and infringers do not seek our consent when sharing our works.

False. Internet Service Providers provide access to the internet. It is not their responsibility to police their users, any more than it is the business of the operators of telephone services to spy on their users on behalf of a malignant and violent group.

ISPs are not part of some imaginary Socialist collective, with responsibility to everyone everywhere. They are private businesses with responsibility to their shareholders only.

Our creative industries are facing unsustainable revenue losses due to weak or unenforced copyright laws. This means one thing and one thing only: millions of jobs lost and young talent ignored.

There are no ‘our creative industries’. The record companies are dying because the world has changed thanks to computers and networks. This is a good thing that will benefit everyone, including the people who make music, write books and do other creative things that can be digitized.

You sound just like the fear-mongers who said that the VCR would, “kill the film industry“, or the clowns who said that, “home taping was killing music“, or or that phonograph records would kill off sheet music sales or that sheet music would kill live performance. All of those were lies, and what you are saying now is also not true. There is a long history of artists and ‘music industry’ people getting it totally wrong when it comes to technology, and this rather ill informed declaration is just another example.

Creative people (the ones who are really creative, and not just lazy, ignorant, unintelligent, computer illiterate luddites) will find a way to adapt to the new reality and thrive off of it, just as previous generations did with the advent of recorded music, VCRs, home copying and every other innovation that helped people spread ideas and wealth.

You people just don’t get it.

While our industry has collapsed to annual revenues of less than US$20 billion, the ISP industry has more than doubled its revenues in the last five years to US$250 billion due in large part to infringement of our artistic works.

This is a lie. The ISP industry has grown because more people need access to the internet, no matter what is on it. As for the collapse in revenues, even if it is true (which it often is not) the opportunity the internet presents to creative people is without precedent; all that is needed is for you to go out and harness it. You do not need anyone’s permission, all you need is some software and… creativity.

We demand our indisputable right to copyright protection be no longer ignored. Free should not come at such a terrible cost.

Copyright is not indisputable, and it is not a right. Copyright it is very disputable, and is in fact, entirely illegitimate. No matter how loud you shout, your buggy whip business model is dead and dying. New people are supplanting you, and while you waste your time trying to prop up the zombie corpse of the old business model they are getting on with the task of inventing the new ways of making money from music, that you will inevitably have to accept.

Stand with us to ensure the creative industries survive.

http://www.ipetitions.com/petition/artistscharter/

Standing with you means standing up for and supporting violence and immorality. No thanks!

Here it is, again, the book that you must read to understand the true nature of the State, its laws and the violent truth behind them. If you cannot read, there is always a nice video for you to digest.

At long last, it has dawned on them

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Thanks to Old Holborn, we just read this breathtakingly wonderful piece. It says many of the things we have been going on about for years:

  • Demonstrations do not work
  • The State has no right to control you
  • The State has no power to control you unless you consent
  • StopWar and the like just don’t get it
  • Doing nothing is better than marching
  • If everyone simply stops cooperating, the State dies
  • Only a small percentage of the population needs to quit the system for massive beneficial change to take place

You read BLOGDIAL, so you know what I am talking about.

This piece comes from TPUC. We really are heading for a significant tipping point, where a confluence of factors is going to unleash everyone. This will be a good thing, because Britain is full of locked up potential that if released, would transform the entire world.

Here it is, in full:

A direct challenge to the authority of the State

by bogbeagle Mon May 30, 2011 8:54 am

Hi chaps. Haven’t posted here for some time, but I’d like to introduce to you a new “strategy” which has potential … well, I think so.

It’s a pretty long post, but I’d ask you to persevere and tell me whether you think the logic of my argument is sound. And, is my proposal sound?

Let me precis … I propose that we can demand, of government, the answer to an “impossible” question. That, if asked publicly, this question is sufficient to undermine the “assumed authority” of government.

A refutal of Government’ authority

I’ve always been told that I am “governed and taxed by consent”.

And, when you think about it, this must be true.

It stems, of course, from the Christian’ idea that we are each born free and of equal worth. Now, if two people are equals, it follows that one may not direct the other, nor impose his will upon that other, except with the consent of both parties. When no such consent is present, it must be the case that one ‘man’ is imposing his will by force, or the threat of force. In effect, that would mean that one ‘man’ has enslaved the other to his bidding.

So, to avoid that accusation, Western governments have invented the idea of “consensual governance” … wherein each of the governed agrees to abide by the rules, sanctions and taxes which are laid down by “Government”.

There is little doubt that this relationship serves many people adequately. It’s also true that few people ever question its validity; that’s why we are known as “sheeple”, I guess.

Logically, if I am “governed and taxed by my consent”, there absolutely must be a mechanism by which that consent may be withdrawn. If no such mechanism exists, then the concept of “consensual governance” is clearly untrue; I would be governed without my consent and thus be a slave to the will of other men. There are parallels with the slave-owning society of the C18th, if you’ll just ponder awhile.

A strategy

My strategy has two prongs:

1 … A concerted and public demand that the “Government” inform me of the mechanism by which I may withdraw my consent to its governance. If no such mechanism exists, then said “Government” should state that I am, in fact, its slave. I would, in effect, be challeinging the Government’s “lawful authority” to govern.

2 … An attempt to unify the disparate campaigning and lobbying groups, each of which is hindered by the same, fundamental, deficit. That is, each group is suffering a deficit in Liberty. If the members of the “stop-the-war” group can be shown that their cause is the SAME as that of the “I-want-to-smoke-weed” group, then the number of those who would live as Free people, will swell; and at some point, their mass will become critical.

OK, the first prong involves a direct challenge to government itself. Traditionally, those who would be Freemen, have sent off their affidavits and been thoroughly ignored … am I right? Well, that’s the treatment that I received, anyway.

This time, we must act in concert and very publicly. But, this will not involve travel or mass demonstrations, or confrontation. No, I suggest that we use the Royal Mail and the Internet (our best friend).

I propose that, en masse, we flood the PM and our MPs with demands (recorded delivery) that they tell us how we withdraw our consent to governance. Of course, they cannot truthfully reply, since their reply must either tell us that we are enslaved OR furnish us with the freedom to opt out of the State. I’ve thought about this for quite some time now, and I’m confident that any and all answers, which they might construct, ultimately lead to the same truths … we are enslaved. The thing is, we have to force them to admit it or else retire embarrassed and blustering. The facts of this strategy should motivate thousands more people to question their status within the community. Now, I do expect that 90% of the public could not give a toss, but if just one percent sit up and take notice … well, that’s 650,000 people.

Running in tandem with this mass “interrogation”, would be our internet campaign to promote the concept. This will be largely via the alternative media (we all know the value of the MSM, by now). I’m thinking of numerous campaigning websites, Zerohedge, Max Keiser, Adam vs the Man, Freedomain Radio, Alex Jones … you get the idea. We have to put the PM and our MPs in a position such that a refusal to comply with our demands is simply untenable … they will then be forced to bullshit. They’ve no other option, because they DARE NOT speak the truth of the matter. We, of course, anticipating the bullshit answers, will have raised and dismissed them, publicly, before the politicians have even uttered them.

As to the unification of campaigning groups. Let me give you an exemplar. I’m sure that it’s obvious to you that a Free man of good conscience would not support an unjust war. But, that’s exactly what we are forced to do, via taxation. And, “forced” is the right word to use.

It serves the ends of the peace campaigner to withdraw his consent to taxation, when the money is being used for evil ends.

So, too, with the campaigner who wants to smoke his weed (or whatever). As a Free man, it is clear that the State has no business in defining what substances he may ingest. And yet, the State assumes de facto ownership over his body by compelling him to ingest only that which the State deems acceptable.

Each of these two campaigners is suffering from a common deficit .. a Liberty deficit.

I don’t know whether it’s possible to make that case to them. I don’t know whether their other concerns will over-ride my arguments. It could be that the peace campaigner also wants to have the State extort money from other people and give it to him in the form of benefits. If that’s the case, then it’s a clear example of “having your cake and eating it”, since it is impossible to have your own Liberty whilst denying it to others … except by the use of force. Well, that’s a moral dilemma for them to ponder. I’d suggest that you’ve no business in labelling yourself “peace campaigner” whilst encouraging the State to extort money from others, on your behalf. But that’s just me!

In passing, I feel that it’s important to avoid confrontation with the executive arm of the State. Our campaign should be one of ideas. The State is well prepared to fight a campaign of riots and bottles, but woefully unable to challenge logic. How can it challenge the Truth?

Now, I don’t know where this might lead. It could be another dead-end. But, I think that the logic is unassailable. What is your opinion?

——-

My opinion is that you rock, you are 10000% correct, and if this takes off, you will have pushed the button.

Ethics-Ra vs Moralzilla in the Sausage Factory

Wednesday, June 1st, 2011

We return to the subject of health and rights.

There exist many groups with well-intentioned wishes to provide assistanceon a global basisto people they classify as ‘less fortunate’ or ‘undeveloped’. These groups actively lobby for certain global health policies which fit with their own, morally-defined and often colonialist world-view.. The list of these groups is endless (start with WHO, UNICEF, UN-Women, DFID, WHA, UNDP, World Bank…. and go from there).

These groups are lobbying, with much success, for policies such as the global fortification of flour and iodination of salt. They promote lifestyle interventions in developed and developing nations (often without any strategic input from representatives of these nations; hence the new colonialism), are demanding global regulation of the food industry (reducing salt, sugar, restricting advertising, banning trans fats and so on), banning alcohol adverts and demanding punitive taxes, and are pushing very hard to achieve a reduction to <5% of global population as smokers in the next 5-10 years through similarly aggressive measures against the tobacco industry.

These policies are listed here, albeit briefly, so that you may think of how one may go about trying to implement one of these policies globally. First the policy process is developed in various agencies (over several years minimum), lobbied for through more agencies, pushed at sub-UN (e.g. WHO, WHA) and then at UN level meetings and finally adopted as a global UN Treaty and implemented on the ground by those countries who choose to ratify the UN declaration. Implementation occurs even if this means changing local law, as has been done with tobacco use in public places (see the FCTC). This entire process costs unimaginable sums of money… and the point here is to remember from where exactly that money comes.

There is now an enormous political push for global public health governance (you can see here that this idea reached UN level many years ago, with sponsored publications from 2002. Nota bene the direct links with trade/economics). The prospect has spawned a whole research field, with institutes and conferences to boot!

This push will of course necessitate the setup of yet another organisation to coordinate research, implementation and monitoring of policy. However, these global bodies are always skint, and member nations are failing to keep up their UN subscriptions. But this little fact does not put off those interested (and self-interested) parties, oh no! And why not? Because they all know that there is a vast source of money out there which can be accessed if only they can persuade the other politicians (since at this level the interested parties are all represented by politicians, no matter their previous or current professional background) to squeeze it just a little harder. That source is the taxpayer. And in global policy, that means every taxpayer, everywhere.

It can be concluded, from directly witnessing these types of discussions, that the main reason why the implementation of global policy (and of global public healthcare policy in particular) is taken so incredibly seriously, is that the population is considered to exist for, and is amenable to, behavioural modification and exploitation as these global bodies see fit: ALWAYS in regard to ECONOMIC GROWTH. The only way a policy, medical or otherwise, will be approved at UN level is if it is sold to politicians as a driver of economic growth or in terms of improving human productivity and life-years at productive age.

The terms used at this level to describe people are dehumanising, indicative of the single value of a plebian life only in terms of contribution to economic growth. Its contribution to the economy is far more important in driving policy than any consideration of humanitarian or ethical concerns. There are, of course, interest groups which deal in ethics, such as the Nuffield Council on BioEthics in the United Kingdom. They advise political groups and others, with the aim of acting as an honest broker of information. As such they have, for example, developed a ladder of intervention. One may describe the ladder as running from Libertarian at the bottom to Dictatorial (or UN Treaty) at the top. These people, some of whom I know, deal in ethics, yet it is hard to be clear whether they act pragmatically rather than ethically, exhibiting an apparent requirement to demonstrate their own relevance to politics and policy-shaping.

Whatever, a mere digression. Returning to a coordinated global health policy, implemented from on high, the major problem is that these things cost money.

Most existing and future local (national) tax has been promised to The Bankers to compensate them for all the losses they incurred in their private businesses while exploiting the public purse. The children and grandchildren of two continents are already beholden to as-yet unborn Bankers, indentured slaves who will grow up knowing no other life, unless they find a red pill.

So the only way a new global public health policy will be implemented and it will be implemented, and it will not be the only policy implemented in this way – is through new, global taxes. Global Government developing and implementing Global Policy funded by Global Taxes extorted by the same Global Government. Are you paying attention yet?

There will soon be a global Tobin Tax on financial transactions, although this is likely to be inconsequential and serves as window-dressing to convince the workforce that The Rich Suffer Too.

Other revenue streams under serious consideration are a global tax on aeroplane tickets, and one on internet service providers (suggested by Sarkozy, who now also wants more internet regulation). Of couse, a new global body will be needed to manage and monitor these taxes… you can see where this leads. At least, youd better see!

Finally, if we manage to hold down our rising bile, suspend our disbelief and assume that there is indeed a humanitarian drive behind many global policies, we may return briefly to Ethics and Morals. Is it ethical to extort money, however morally correct the purpose to which that money is put? Is it ethical to eliminate choice or otherwise intervene and thereby punish by restricting the liberty of even one person in order to benefit your own moral judgement of what is good for the majority? Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgement on others? In the reality of global politics, the answer to all these questions is a resounding YES.

The reason is because these questions are all filtered through the screen of greed-based economics. Thus we see the question as Is it ethical to impose, by force, your own moral judgements on others, if that judgement leads to economic growth (and, by default, increased upward flow of wealth)? In the sausage factory there are no ethics, there are no morals, there is only money.