FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The State is at War — With the Future

It’s turning into a long hot summer for the emerging global counter-economy.

In June and July, an international group of law enforcement agencies took down two of the largest “Dark Web” marketplaces, Hansa and Alphabay.

Then on July 25, the US Securities and Exchange Commission issued a weird, barely coherent, press release seemingly kinda sorta but not exactly declaring its own plenary authority over all things cryptocurrency.

On the heels of the SEC’s fit of apparent glossolalia, the US Department of Justice announced its indictment of cryptocurrency exchange BTC-e for “money laundering” even as one of the site’s admins, Alexander Vinnik, was arrested in Greece.

What we’re seeing is the latest bit of backlash from a political establishment scared witless by technologies which threaten to make it superfluous.

A friend of mine who writes under the pseudonym dL notes that “[t]he trajectory of technology follows a repeated path. When first introduced, it gives an asymmetric advantage to the individual. Over time, the state catches up and the asymmetric advantage shifts to the state.” Maybe he’s right. Maybe the political class will be able to nip a bright future in the bud and maintain its grip on power.

On the other hand, Victor Hugo seemed quite sure that “one withstands the invasion of armies; one does not withstand the invasion of ideas.”

We stand at the doorway of a future featuring money without borders, work and trade without permission. That future represents existential crisis for the political class: The end of the state as we know it. Absent the ability to tax and regulate its host, the parasite known as government starves and dies.

The situation is equally dire for the rest of us.

High-profile takedowns like the Silk Road, Alphabay, Hansa and BTC-e, large as they loom in the moment, are mere speed bumps. The road to the future remains open, and the only way to plausibly close that road off entirely is to essentially pull the plug on every technological development since the introduction of the personal computer. What would that look like? Think the Dark Ages, the Great Depression, and North Korea all rolled into one.

There’s no doubt that the American and global political classes are willing to go there. Any number of regimes have done so on a temporary and semi-effectual basis in times of unrest, and American politicians have seriously proposed ideas like an “Internet Kill Switch.” The excuse for such proposals is to protect us from terrorists and drug dealers, but make no mistake: Their real purpose is to protect our rulers from us.

That’s what’s at stake, folks. We can free ourselves or we can return to the caves. There is no third alternative.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

January 21, 2019
W. T. Whitney
New US Economic Attack Against Cuba, Long Threatened, May Hit Soon
Jérôme Duval
Macronist Repression Against the People in Yellow Vests
Dean Baker
The Next Recession: What It Could Look Like
Eric Mann
All Hail the Revolutionary King: Martin Luther King and the Black Revolutionary Tradition
Binoy Kampmark
Spy Theories and the White House: Donald Trump as Russian Agent
Edward Curtin
We Need a Martin Luther King Day of Truth
Bill Fried
Jeff Sessions and the Federalists
Ed Corcoran
Central America Needs a Marshall Plan
Colin Todhunter
Complaint Lodged with European Ombudsman: Regulatory Authorities Colluding with Agrochemicals Industry
Manuel E. Yepe
The US War Against the Weak
Weekend Edition
January 18, 2019
Friday - Sunday
Melvin Goodman
Star Wars Revisited: One More Nightmare From Trump
John Davis
“Weather Terrorism:” a National Emergency
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Sometimes an Establishment Hack is Just What You Need
Joshua Frank
Montana Public Schools Block Pro-LGBTQ Websites
Louisa Willcox
Sky Bears, Earth Bears: Finding and Losing True North
Robert Fisk
Bernie Sanders, Israel and the Middle East
Robert Fantina
Pompeo, the U.S. and Iran
David Rosen
The Biden Band-Aid: Will Democrats Contain the Insurgency?
Nick Pemberton
Human Trafficking Should Be Illegal
Steve Early - Suzanne Gordon
Did Donald Get The Memo? Trump’s VA Secretary Denounces ‘Veteran as Victim’ Stereotyping
Andrew Levine
The Tulsi Gabbard Factor
John W. Whitehead
The Danger Within: Border Patrol is Turning America into a Constitution-Free Zone
Dana E. Abizaid
Kafka’s Grave: a Pilgrimage in Prague
Rebecca Lee
Punishment Through Humiliation: Justice For Sexual Assault Survivors
Dahr Jamail
A Planet in Crisis: The Heat’s On Us
John Feffer
Trump Punts on Syria: The Forever War is Far From Over
Dave Lindorff
Shut Down the War Machine!
Glenn Sacks
LA Teachers’ Strike: Student Voices of the Los Angeles Education Revolt  
Mark Ashwill
The Metamorphosis of International Students Into Honorary US Nationalists: a View from Viet Nam
Ramzy Baroud
The Moral Travesty of Israel Seeking Arab, Iranian Money for its Alleged Nakba
Ron Jacobs
Allen Ginsberg Takes a Trip
Jake Johnston
Haiti by the Numbers
Binoy Kampmark
No-Confidence Survivor: Theresa May and Brexit
Victor Grossman
Red Flowers for Rosa and Karl
Cesar Chelala
President Donald Trump’s “Magical Realism”
Christopher Brauchli
An Education in Fraud
Paul Bentley
The Death Penalty for Canada’s Foreign Policy?
David Swanson
Top 10 Reasons Not to Love NATO
Louis Proyect
Breaking the Left’s Gay Taboo
Kani Xulam
A Saudi Teen and Freedom’s Shining Moment
Ralph Nader
Bar Barr or Regret this Dictatorial Attorney General
Jessicah Pierre
A Dream Deferred: MLK’s Dream of Economic Justice is Far From Reality
Edward J. Martin
Glossip v. Gross, the Eighth Amendment and the Torture Court of the United States
Chuck Collins
Shutdown Expands the Ranks of the “Underwater Nation”
Paul Edwards
War Whores
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail