“Citizens, lend me your ears”, or more modernly, “Citizens, lend me your eyes”.
Whether it’s the tube or the Twitter, our society values us insomuch as we consume. Today, we measure much of this consumption with “views” and “clicks”. The branded clothing, the exclusive neighbourhood, and the shiny car are all sold to us through our visual sense, and it’s through our optical nerves that we’re taught to identify and judge one another. “Why yes, this is a Submariner with a NATO band,” etc.
This is the fiat world: the world of corporate-consumer hegemony.
In such a world, consumer protection laws are not written to protect us from nefarious entities who would do us ill, they exist to protect us for a very specifici set of nefarious entities who actively do us ill. Citizens of Fiat are consumers from whom great wealth is systematically extracted. And they’re rightly treated like cattle.
The emerging Citizens of Bitcoin, however, the ones capable of doing their due fucking diligence, don’t need, much less want, such sheep shearing masquerading as protection. The ones who demand such protections are suffering deeply from Stockholm Syndrome. Such submissive, endlessly deferential beings are anything but free citizens, which just so happens to make them ideal consumersii.
Those who don’t want to, or can’t be, free citizens are paradoxically the most demanding of rights, rights, and more rights. Gay marriage rights, legal weed rights, free dental care rights, basic income rights, and on and on and on. The only rights they truly have, however, are the ones they’re willing to die for. As Black Friday stampedes demonstrate, these are their consumer rights: their right to buy as much shit as possible for the least amount of money. In short, the only rights Citizens of Fiat have are their Walmart Rights.
Citizens of Fiat still get to vote, unfortunately, and oh boy do they exercise it. They vote for anyone they can easily stereotype and later publicly chide. Female politicians who get in “cat fights”iii, meme-generating Mayorsiv, etc. Anything to light the gunpowder of journalists and their devoted, Timmy’s chugging followers, eager to bitch and moan about expense reportsv, as if personal spending had any bearing on policies that affect the rest of us.
Fairness is the ruling objective of the Citizens of Fiat, and it’s suffocating.
So what’s fair for Citizens of Fiat? Paying the same prices as other countries for shit, being treated “equally”, getting more handouts, being able to buy social mobilityvi at Holt’s or Harrod’s, and other such brain damage. Consumers demand it! Ginesthoi!vii And if one gubmint won’t promise you all the rainbows and lollipops, surely another will.
It seems evident enough that we’ve trained a society of unquestioning, if highly demanding, consumers. Quick with moral outrage whenever privilege or political incorrectness are displayed, and equally quick to demand ever-more rights. The result of this former condition is a censorship of freedom of speech and an inability to strive for betterviii, which results in an easily manipulated discourse and an uninnovative economy. The result of the latter condition is the Sovietesque welfare state model seen throughout the First World, the model that endlessly provides more services withoutix increasing taxes.
Still, the government is a business and new revenues to pay for more promises have to come from somewhere. Monetary debasement, hardly an innovative course of action, is at least the easiestx course of action. This, of course, leads to inflation, then hyperinflation, then *boom*, no more currency.
The Sovietesque welfare state, in its efforts to deliver more ad inifinitum, is therefore dependent on its ability to cause death and give birth to new currencies, as the need arises. Bitcoin fundamentally breaks this model. No political entity can decide to create more coins. The math doesn’t give a shit if you’re coming up for re-election. With no state control of the monetary supply, there’ll be no inflation to pay for more “rights”, and therefore no more system of endless entitlements.
Not only does Bitcoin make non-voluntary wealth transfers impossiblexi, it demands that instead of buying shit today, we buy shit tomorrow. Tomorrow, that shit will be cheaper. It’s not glamorous to delay gratification, but it works like a damn. In the Bitcoin world, we’ll have a lot more people pointing to the sky and saying “Hasa Diga Eebowai”xii, at least until they’re used to it. Then, as ever, life will go on.
So if Citizens of Bitcoin are holding off on buying more shit, what are we buying with all of our wealth?
Knowledgexiii. With its high barriers to entry and significant required inputs, knowledge is the most expensive thing you can buy. Knowledge is the only thing that no one can take from youxiv and it’s something your children will actually benefit from.
So, are you ready to become a true Citizen?
Trick question: you don’t have a choice.
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- Banks, energy companies, telecoms, construction companies, Wall Street, etc.↩
- Just as livestock consume poison unknowingly, so do human cattle↩
- See Alberta Premier Alison Redford and BC Premier Christie Clark get it on↩
- Don Iveson is the young man charged with the position of Mayor of the City of Edmonton. Edmonton loves its Twitter, so it’s no wonder that they elected the most Twitter-happy politician on record by a record margin, just so they could meme him.↩
- See (now former) Premier Alison Redford. Who cares about the billions of dollars of debt she’s piling on once-prosperous Alberta when she’s spending $45,000 to do what politicians do!↩
- Social mobility is a 19th century North American innovation, one that hasn’t spread as far as we think, and one predicated entirely on purchasing power. India’s economy isn’t growing at the 7.5% clip of China’s because their caste system isn’t deluded into thinking that anyone is buying themselves out of anything. Maybe their next life will be better, but an LV purse or a Tata Nano won’t do shit to improve this one. Only North Americans, with their entire understanding of history beginning with the US involvement in The Great War and ending with 9/11, think otherwise.↩
- “Make it so!”, in Greek, as Cleopatra is purported to have said, around 33 BC↩
- Rather than just more↩
- Explicitly, due to the political untenability of such. Implicit taxation is easier to blame on someone or something outside of political control.↩
- And the most predictable, as David Graeber reminds us↩
- Save hacking or physically stealing private keys↩
- See Book of Mormon soundtrack, Track 4↩
- Knowledge should under no circumstances be confused with college degrees, which are merely documents demonstrating a previous wealth transference, not unlike that demonstrated by nice clothes, and similarly consumer-driven.↩
- Even private keys can be forked over at the end of a barrel. And although specific knowledge, such as “secrets”, can be tortured out, this is only a sharing of knowledge, not an extraction of it. One’s knowledge of the world and its workings can never be forcibly taken, only eroded by the sands of time.↩