Powerful elites love it when freedom advocates duke it out with them on the political battlefield. Why? Because the efforts of freedom lovers have gone up in smoke without any appreciable results. As a case in point, consider the impact of the Libertarian party since its founding in the early 1970’s. Libertarians sought, as a primary goal, to reduce the size and power of government. The opposite occurred.
Why is it that modern democracies tend towards endless growth in spending, debt, currency creation, regulation and public employment? I propose the “Minimum Principle” as a possible answer (see Free Private Cities by Titus Gebel, pg. 35). The Minimum Principle states that people seek to control as many resources as possible (profit) with the least amount of effort. This idea makes evolutionary and business sense. If a farmer, for example, can create a new tool that allows him/her to grow the same crop as last year with half the effort, utilizing the tool would offer a powerful advantage and render society better off. In a modern democracy, the killer “tool” is Politics.
Politicians offer benefits at no direct cost to the recipients, which is the perfect manifestation of the Minimum Principle –i.e., profit with no work! As a result, democracies turn towards spending and debt like a magnet moves towards steel. Any effort to insert reason, responsibility and/or long term thinking into a political process results in advocates of moderation being tarred and feathered, politically. No wonder the Libertarians can’t win. They are continually branded as kill-joys desirous of ending the easy money party.
Rather than attacking the growth of government power (and debt) through the political process, a more effective strategy would be to challenge the institutions and systems that fuel the growth of centralized power.
I am working on a series of mini articles suggesting that if the money system changes, everything changes. That is: “Change Money, Change Everything.” This idea posits that the current money systems acts as the center of gravity — in the social, political and economic universes. Everything from the media, elections, public policy and education orbits around the currency creators. The concentration of power resulting from the end of hard money (1913 departure from the gold standard) has been astounding. Without the ability to create currency, the politicians’ ability to dominate society via the Minimum Principle would be severely hampered and their power partially vaporized.
Recently, in an effort to explain this thesis to my teenage son, I suggested that he think about who holds power at his high-school. I then suggested that he imagine being anointed with the ability to create currency, which he could invest into his high school economy however he chose. Think about it, I suggested. You could buy a new luxury van to transport your basketball team to away games along with a new sound system to play music before games. You could make contributions to student election campaigns, which would essentially amount to you deciding who’s elected. You could set up the teacher’s lounge with new furniture and a barista for beverages. There would be all manner of things you could do, and a lot of people would end up “owing” you or seeking your favor. Power in your school would shift radically to reflect your role as a currency creator. A very similar shift in power occurred in Western countries, when they abandoned sound money in favor of currency creation.
Bitcoin renders the monetary system ripe for disruption. Relative to the nearly impervious political system, freedom advocates have a real opportunity to challenge currency creation as the principal source of power via the creation of an alternative and competing monetary system. A sound money system, with a currency like gold or Bitcoin, would drive a massive reshuffling of power away from government and towards individuals. Changing the money system would literally change everything.
Make no mistake about it, the currency creators will fight to maintain the source of their power. The distributed nature of the Bitcoin network, however, makes it extremely difficult for governments to effectively aim their regulatory weapons at Bitcoin. There is no company to fine or CEO to haul in front of Congress or put in prison. Bitcoin represents the first (and still best) example of “unstoppable code.” For this reason, Bitcoin provides great hope to freedom advocates seeking the restoration of individual rights. Forget about politics, it’s just a distraction to lure freedom advocates into a battle they can’t win. By withdrawing from the inflationary monetary system, however, freedom activists can change the money system and eventually change everything.
Change Money, Change Everything.