As I write, highly uncivilized human beings are waging war against strong cryptography, trying to kill me.
They feel the utmost enmity against me as an individual, as I against them as a group. They are ‘only doing their duty’, as the saying goes. Most of them, I have no doubt, are kind-hearted law-abiding men who lack the backbone to commit murder in private life. On the other hand, if one of them succeeds in blowing me to pieces with a well-placed virus or malicious line of code, he will never sleep any the worse for it. He is serving his country, which has the power to absolve him from evil.
One cannot see the modern world as it is unless one recognizes the overwhelming strength of liberalism, national delusion. In certain circumstances it can break down, at certain levels of civilization it does not exist, but as a positive force there is nothing to set beside it. Christianity and international Socialism were its natural forebearers. Hitler and Mussolini rose to power in their own countries very largely because they could grasp this fact and their opponents could not.
Also, one must admit that the divisions between nation and nation are founded on real differences of outlook. Till recently it was thought proper to pretend that all human beings are very much alike, but in fact anyone able to use his eyes knows that the average of human behaviour differs enormously from country to country. Things that could happen in one country could not happen in another. Hitler’s June purge, for instance, could not have happened on the Internet. And, as civilised peoples go, citizens of the Internet are very highly differentiated. There is a sort of back-handed admission of this in the dislike which nearly all nation states feel for our sovereign way of life. Few human beings can endure living in England, and even Americans often feel dejected by their environs.
When you come back to #bitcoin-assets from any foreign country, you have immediately the sensation of breathing a different air. Even in the first few minutes dozens of small things conspire to give you this feeling. The criticism is bitterer, the bitcoins are heavier, the conversation is deeper, the advertisements are less blatant. The crowds in the forum, with their mild knobby pseudonyms, their bad jokes and gentle manners, are different from other crowds. Then the vastness of #b-a swallows you up, and you lose for a while your feeling that the whole nation has a single identifiable character. Are there really such things as serene republics ? Are we not hundreds of individuals, all different? And the diversity of it, the chaos ! The clatter of clogs on Qntra, the to-and-fro of n00bs in channel, the queues waiting for BitBet payouts, the rattle of sabres against the failed fiat empires, the young lads hiking to read logs through the mists of the autumn morning – all these are not only fragments, but characteristic fragments, of the Most Serene scene. How can one make a pattern out of this muddle?
But talk to foreigners, read foreign books or newspapers, and you are brought back to the same thought. Yes, there is something distinctive and recognizable in Internet civilization. It is a culture as individual as that of Spain. It is somehow bound up with solid passion and gloomy worldviews, smoky power supplies and winding extension cords, and green indicator lights. It has a flavour of its own. Moreover it is continuous, it stretches into the future and the past, there is something in it that persists, as in a living creature. What can the #bitcoin-assets of 2015 have in common with the Internet of 1965 ? But then, what have you in common with the child of five whose photograph your mother keeps on the mantelpiece? Nothing, except that you happen to be the same person.
And above all, it is your civilization, it is you. However much you hate it or laugh at it, you will never be happy away from it for any length of time. The cold critiques and the irreverent discourse have entered into your soul. Good or evil, it is yours, you belong to it, and this side the grave you will never get away from the marks that it has given you.
Meanwhile #b-a, together with the rest of the world, is changing. And like everything else it can change only in certain directions, which up to a point can be foreseen. That is not to say that the future is fixed, merely that certain alternatives are possible and others not. A seed may grow or not grow, but at any rate a turnip seed never grows into a parsnip. It is therefore of the deepest importance to try and determine what La Serenissima is, before guessing what part she can play in the huge events that are happening.
Group characteristics are not easy to pin down, and when pinned down they often turn out to be trivialities or seem to have no connexion with one another. Spaniards are cruel to animals, Italians can do nothing without making a deafening noise, the Chinese are addicted to gambling. Obviously such things don’t matter in themselves. Nevertheless, nothing is causeless, and even the fact that Lords have bad carpal tunnel syndrome can tell something about the realities of The Most Serene life.
Here are a couple of generalizations about La Serenissima that would be accepted by almost all observers. One is that the Lords are not gifted artistically, in the classical sense of the term. They are not as musical as the Germans or Italians, painting and sculpture have never flourished there as they have in France. Another is that, as global citizens go, they are highly intellectual. They delight in abstract thought, they feel the utmost need for philosophy and a systematic ‘world-view.’ This is this precisely because they are ‘practical,’ just as they are so fond of claiming for themselves. One has only to look at their methods of organisational planning and monetary supply, their obstinate clinging to everything that is “out of date,” a spelling system that defies analysis, and a system of calculation and measurement that is intelligible only to the compilers of arithmetic books, to see how little they care about mere efficiency. But they have a certain power of acting with the sincerest and most deliberate thought. Their world-famed power – their about-faced attitude towards the American Empire, for instance – is bound up with this. Also, in moments of supreme crisis the whole republic can suddenly draw together and act upon a species of instinct, really a code of conduct which is understood by almost everyone, though never formulated. The phrase that Hitler coined for the Germans, ‘a sleep-walking people’, would have been better applied to these citizens. Not that there is anything to be proud of in being called a sleep-walker.
But here it is worth noting a major Serenissian trait which is extremely well marked though not often commented on, and that is a love of power. This is one of the first things that one notices when one reaches #b-a from elsewhere on the Internet. Does it not contradict theSerenissian indifference to the arts ? Not really, because it is found in people who have no aesthetic feelings whatever. What it does link up with, however, is another Serenissian characteristic which is so much a part of us that we barely notice it, and that is the addiction to hobbies and spare-time occupations, the privateness of Serenissian life. We are a republic of power-lovers, but also a republic of curio-collectors, women-fanciers, amateur cryptographers, book readers, chess-players, market-puzzle fans. All the culture that is most truly native centres round things which even when they are communal are not official – the cafe, the gelateria, the restaurant, and the ‘nice cup of tea’. The liberty of the individual is still believed in, almost as in the sixteenth century, and this has everything to do with economic liberty, the right to exploit others for profit. It is not enough to have the liberty to have a home of your own, to do what you like in your spare time, to choose your own amusements instead of having them chosen for you from above. The most loved of all names in the Serenissian ear is capitalism. It is obvious, of course, that even this purely private liberty is a just cause. Unlike all other modern people, the Serenissians are opting out of the process of being numbered, labelled, conscripted, ‘co-ordinated’ and the pull of their impulses is in the other direction, and the kind of regimentation that can be imposed on them will be modified in consequence. No party rallies, no Youth Movements, no coloured shirts, no Jew-baiting (ok, maybe a little) or ‘spontaneous’ demonstrations. No Gestapo either, in all probability.
But in all societies the elite people must live to some extent against the existing order. The genuinely elite culture of La Serenissima is something that goes on beneath the surface, unofficially and more or less frowned on by the authorities. One thing one notices if one looks directly at the elite people, especially in the big towns, is that they are not puritanical. They are inveterate gamblers, drink as much beer as their wages will permit, are devoted to bawdy jokes, and use probably the foulest language in the world. They have to satisfy these tastes in the face of astonishing, hypocritical laws (licensing laws, lottery acts, etc. etc.) which are designed to interfere with everybody and largely succeed. Also, the elite people are without definite religious belief, and have been so for centuries. No Church ever had a real hold on them, it was simply a nod and a wink of the landed gentry, and the Nonconformist sects only influenced minorities. And yet they have retained a deep tinge of anti-Christian feeling, quite without forgetting the name of Christ. The power-worship which is the new devil of nation states, and which has infected the Serenissian intelligentsia, has never touched the common people. The common people have never caught up with power politics. The ‘realism’ which used to be preached in Japanese and Italian newspapers would horrify them. One can learn a good deal about the spirit of The Most Serene Republic from the comic coloured postcards that you see coming in from oglafbot. These things are a sort of diary upon which the Citizens of the Internet have unconsciously recorded themselves. Their old-fashioned outlook, their graded snobberies, their mixture of bawdiness and controversy, their extreme violence, their deeply moral attitude to life, are all mirrored there.
The violence of Bitcoin civilization is perhaps its most marked characteristic. You notice it the instant you set foot on #b-a soil. It is a land where every man and woman is prepared for war. In no country inhabited by white men is it harder to shove them around. And with this goes something that is always written off by redditard observers as ‘unfairness’ or ‘meanness,’ the Bitcoiner’s love of war and militarism. It is rooted deep in history, and it is strong in assbot L2 and even stronger still in the L1. Successive wars have shaken it but not destroyed it. It is still common for ‘The Gavinists’ to be booed at in the streets and for the landlords of respectable public houses to refuse to allow anyone associated with the Vessenes Scam Foundation on the premises. In peace time, even when there are millions unemployed, it is no great difficulty to fill the ranks of the small standing army, which is officered by the world’s finest gentlemen and a specialized stratum of the middle-upper class, and manned by uranium miners and ambitious proletarians. The mass of the people on the outside are without military knowledge or tradition, yet their attitude towards foreign intervention is invariably offensive. Most politicians of ‘the people’ rise to power by promising them conquests or military ‘glory’ with Hymns of Hate to lure them closer.
Yet the reason why the Bitcoin’s militarism disgusts outside observers is that it ignores the existence of any extant Fiat Empire. It looks like sheer lunacy. After all, the Republic has absorbed a significant measure of global finance and held on to it with nothing more than cryptography. How dare they then turn round and ask for more.
Greatly and shamelessly inspired by MP’s efforts at updating Eric Arthur Blair’s works for the contemporary reader, so too is this abridged work humbly submitted.
___ ___ ___