Tag: Collapse

Waiting for the Collapse: A Liberty Revolution

Atilla Sulker | United States

The world of libertarian thought is far from being insufficient in regards to ideas. Interdisciplinary scholars have emerged all over the world with a vast interest in this doctrine, and have built upon the works of such great scholars as Rothbard and Mises. Rothbard himself was, in fact, an exponent of Mises, and to this day, thousands of great minds continue to carry the torch and bring a plethora of new and fascinating ideas to the conversation.

One could say such ideas are far more dense than those of mainstream thought. They provide a fresh basis for solving various problems in the world, rooted in the old classical liberal tradition of private property. It is from this foundation that so many new ideas have been derived. Whether it is libertarian applications of chaos theory or Walter Block’s privatization of oceans and space, a clear causal link can be seen between such ideas and property rights.

But the main problem in contemporary libertarianism is not the lack of good ideas. There are indeed plenty. It is not even the disunity between so-called “thin” and “thick” libertarians, or any factions for that matter. It is rather the means to the realization of the desired ends. Libertarians today have great ideas for the ideal free society but seem to be lacking when it comes to finding a means to implement such ideas.

How Should Liberty Be Spread?

I have always viewed this area as the hardest to deal with. It is not the development of ideas that is troublesome- it is outreach. Just how do libertarians spread their ideas? How do they do so without tainting their ideas with a populist gloss? To what extent must libertarians work with people from other political leanings? What is the proper outreach model? These are the fundamental questions one will end up asking themselves when trying to solve this dilemma.

There is no doubt that up to this point, libertarianism has grown significantly. What was once seen as a movement for those on the fringes of society now receives significant attention, especially following the presidential campaigns of Ron Paul. A change of heart and mind has occurred in many people already, but beyond this, the leviathan state continues to tighten its grip on our property, and consequently, our liberties.

Trying to get “freedom candidates” elected has been the traditional method that libertarians have been pursuing for so long, whether under the banner of the Libertarian Party, or in the form of electing populist, or libertarian-leaning Republicans. This phenomenon is the heart of why libertarians are struggling to bring forth political change. It is very much evident that the flaw is not necessarily in the efforts espoused by libertarians, but rather in the methodology, i.e., the idea that we can “vote our way to freedom”.

This is a deeply flawed view. While this does not necessarily invalidate the concept of a night watchman state or a decentralized constitutional republic, if it is actually carried out properly, it trumps the idea that the current state of affairs can magically be reversed. Robert Higgs’s ratchet effect theory clearly underscores this phenomenon. The Higgsian doctrine asserts that once a major crisis is over, government will shrink, but never back to the level it was at before the outbreak of the crisis. Hence we are all like the frog waiting in the boiling pot.

Data put out by the IMF shows that before the U.S. committed to being involved in WWI, less than 2 percent of GDP was public spending. After the war, the lowest public spending sunk down to was around 3.6 percent. Following the Great Depression and WWII, public spending came down to a level of about 14 percent, but never got any lower than this. A classic representation of the ratchet effect.

Is Voting Really a Solution?

The question becomes- can we really vote our way to freedom? Have we traveled too far into the void to repeal the leviathan state? The U.S. national debt is already 21 trillion and continues to grow. We have become more than a leviathan state at home, but also an empire abroad. It would be foolish to think that this could be reversed gradually with the stroke of a pen. And electing so-called “freedom candidates” does no good unless elected en masse. Cherry picking certain races to work to elect such candidates has little to no effect on the legislative process.

I had the opportunity to ask Lew Rockwell about this at the Mises Supporters Summit earlier in September. My question was along the lines of this: “Can we vote ourselves to a smaller government via electing “freedom candidates”, or do we need to scrap our government completely and rebuild political society from scratch?”. Upon answering, Rockwell described voting as a “sacrament of the state”, proclaiming that it is not the answer to our freedom. Rockwell then cited Hans Hoppe, stating “the wider the franchise, the more people voting, the less freedom there is.”. He closed off his remarks saying “ as a country, we were far better off when people had their own property… now everybody can vote, we have a leviathan state, and these are not unconnected things.”.

DeVoe Moore Professor of Economics at Florida State University Randall G. Holcombe did an excellent study on the gradual democratization of America, and its drifting away from its roots of constitutional republicanism. Holcombe cited the changes in the electoral college and the growth of populism in the Jacksonian era as the chief causes of the gradual shift to majoritarian rule and consequently, the decline of freedom. It is democracy that relies on voting, and democracy is far from liberty. Democracy has lead to the rise of mass scale, “national pork barrel politics”.

This is not to say that is it fallacious to vote for or support a candidate who may have good qualities. To see voting as a solution to the current state of affairs is an expression of great naïveté, but it can still be used as a tool to numb the pain, so to speak. The role of running for office or getting elected can be used as a bully pulpit position.

Regardless of this, the collapse is imminent. This is not to be an open invitation to further the growth of the empire, however. Where the leviathan state can be curtailed, it ought to be, if the opportunity becomes apparent. But it would be foolish to think the empire could be curtailed to such an extent as to enact a clean repeal.

Collapse as an Opportunity

It is with this mindset that one can begin to deduce a better solution to the problem of realizing libertarian ends. Though it may seem counterintuitive, perhaps the solution is not to vote our way to freedom, but to wait for the eventual collapse. Only then will there be a vacuum for libertarian ideas to be injected into. This vacuum is indeed the best solution, but for libertarians to prevail, they must make sure to fill it when they have the chance.

Spreading the ideas to fill the vacuum is by no means a spontaneous process. It must be done before the vacuum is created. It is the prevailing mindset of the population before the collapse occurs that shall determine how the vacuum will be compensated for. If the mindset preceding the collapse is one of socialism and dicta, then the vacuum will be filled with such. If the mindset preceding the collapse is that of neocolonialism and empire, then the vacuum will become compensated in such a way. In this same way, if the mindset is that of liberty and voluntarism, the restructuring of the political society will occur in favor of such principles.

Crane Brinton’s great work, The Anatomy of Revolution, underscores the causal connection between political change and prevailing ideas. In his book, Brinton compares the development of a revolution to that of a fever. He lays down four stages: 1. Incubation; 2. Symptomatic; 3. Crisis; 4. Convalescence. The incubation stage is that of underlying causes coming into contact with the political apparatus. The symptomatic stage is that of political struggle becoming observable and evident. The crisis stage is the breaking point, i.e., the collapse of the empire. And the convalescence stage is the recovery from the crisis.

The model does not necessarily have to be violent. It can be assessed and applied in such a way that it may be able to guide a peaceful revolution of ideas. We are well past the first stage and are in stage two. The problems associated with the leviathan state are very much evident now. The breaking point will be the collapse, but for libertarian ends to be properly realized, libertarian ideas must become more widespread first. The prevailing attitude of the public will ultimately determine what will happen following the crisis stage.

The 1917 Russian Revolution and the 1910 Mexican Revolution well exemplify the prevailing passions of the public determining the course of political society. It was the prevailing attitudes of the Russian public which lead to the crisis of the February and October Revolutions. As Lew Rockwell explains: “The Russian war itself was funded through money creation… the inflation affected every last person and inspired massive unrest that led to the triumph of Communism.”.

Ron Paul delivered some excellent remarks in regards to this issue at the September Mises Supporters Summit. “I just don’t think that the answer is in Congress and voting”, asserted Paul. “I don’t believe we’re gonna have, all of a sudden, an influx of libertarian-minded people”. “I think there’s gonna be a collapse. I don’t think we’re gonna transition out of this”. “It all depends on the education and changing people’s minds”.

Preparing for the Collapse

To wait for the collapse and expect change all of a sudden would be naively foolish. The second part, the education aspect, is integral. For if the prevailing attitude of the public is not changed, no political change can be expected. This is why organizations like the Mises Institute which focus on education rather than public policy are very important to the success of the libertarian movement. The prevailing attitude must become one of free markets and voluntarism before the collapse occurs. And as of now, it is beginning to lean towards socialism and economic interventionism. This is why libertarians must walk away from the political box for good and focus on education. They must shed light on the injustices of the leviathan state and the destruction the Federal Reserve is inflicting. They must underscore the lack of economic calculation under socialism as exposed by Mises. They must underscore the causal link between empire and socialism at home.

At the September Mises Summit, I had the honor to meet Louis Carabini, founder of Monex Precious Metals. Carabini released his new book Liberty, Dicta, and Force very recently. It is indeed a masterpiece. A truly “red pilling book”, so to speak, it connects the libertarian conscience to our daily acts of volition and voluntarism, and to the workings of the human mind. What the book fundamentally asserts is that it is foolish to have faith in the political process. All politics does is turn us against each other when in our everyday lives, we get along mighty fine. When government is factored into the equation, using force against each other is justified. In our personal lives, we would never justify using force against our neighbors, even if it were for benevolent causes.

It is perhaps the abandonment of the political process that will end, or at least significantly relieve the “thick-thin” libertarian debate. Personal views will simply be personal views, not horizons for political change. Libertarians will be able to unite under the banner of voluntaryism and leave personal beliefs to themselves.

Only when the prevailing attitude of the public yearns for liberty and when libertarians abandon the political box will there be hope for the liberty movement. Only then will the human will be set free.


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BIT CON: Bitcoin Tre & The Collapse of Bitconnect

By Spencer Kellogg | USA

When I first got started with Bitcoin in September of 2016 one of the first faces that I became familiar with was not Roger Ver or Charlie Lee but instead an Instagram famous, quirky black kid with dreads named Bitcoin Tre. In a world teeming with short white tech-obsessed geeks, Tre stood out like a stray asteroid that had barreled into an obtuse outer region of another galaxy. Sometimes Bitcoin Tre, (AKA The Black Logan Paul) would post pictures of his little kid or the girl that he was with but most of the time he just streamed updates about cryptocurrency to his Instagram. He seemed like he had made it and he made you think you could too. A year later, he is now persona non grata in the crypto community and investors far and wide have spent the better portion of the past week penning their own sob stories about the houses, wives and savings lost on the ugliest scam of 2018, his scam, the collapse of Bitconnect.

In 2016, we were all still on Poloniex and Tre would point his camera at the slate-colored charts to explain his strategies or show newcomers what it looked like to participate in the exploding world of online crypto trading. For beginners like me, Tre came off as a benevolent guy who was ready to help make you rich. By the beginning of 2017, Tre could be seen daily promoting high-interest returns on BTC loans through a project called Bitconnect. Whether out of an innate skepticism or because I was overwhelmed by the hundreds of other cryptocurrencies to research, I never did look up Bitconnect. When it launched into the Top 20 of CoinMarketCap this Fall (Bitconnect CoinMarketCap) I felt sick to my stomach. Bitconnect? That thing that Tre was always shilling, the project that had scam written all over it, had hit pay dirt and I didn’t own one of them! Only two months later, after the closure of Bitconnect (Bitconnect Ponzi Scheme), Tre’s close ties as chief promoter of the maligned project has made him the center of critique and anger throughout the community.

At its heart, Bitconnect was a lending platform that allowed passive income by providing Bitcoin loans through the Bitconnect platform. A user could send their Bitcoin to the Bitconnect platform, make a trade for Bitconnect tokens (BCC) and then lend out those tokens to other users at an interest rate of more than 40% a day over the first two years of operation. Tre gloated regularly about his returns but for most of us, something never quite added up. By the time Carlos Matos snorted a mountain of cocaine and dropped his worst Steve Ballmer impression on the cryptocommunity (BITCONNNECCTTT), the writing was clearly on the wall for any reasoned investor. At its height, Bitconnect garnered a $2.5 Billion market cap and an ever-increasing amount of scrutiny with many users in the cryptocommunity warning newcomers of the platform and roundly calling for its delisting from CoinMarketCap.com. After American securities regulators sent cease and desist letters to Bitconnect in early January, the market was sent spiraling and within a week the valuation of the service had dropped dramatically to less than $150 Million sending investors and speculators into a feeding frenzy of blame and anger that sat Bitcoin Tre front and center.

A cursory glance at Tre’s output (Bitcoin Tre Youtube) will tell you most of what you need to know about Tre: he doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about. His stylized youtube channel mixed with his singular personality in the Bitcoin world is reminiscent of other hype men like Michael Suppo “Suppoman” (Suppoman Youtube). As a result, for as long as I’ve followed Tre, he has been dogged by claims that he is a scammer by some while others simply poke fun at his hyperbolic and constant uploads of crypto hype thinly disguised as analysis. When the bottom fell out, many in the community pointed their vitriol directly at the man who could be seen every day pumping up speculators on the Bitconnect project. In his rambling, crazed, “final rant” on Bitconnect (TRE BITCONNECT RANT), Tre stumbles his way, awkwardly looking out the window, through a half-assed non-apology to the people who followed his advice and invested tens of thousands of dollars into his pet hype project only to see their money burnt to a crisp in a span of less than 72 hours. Some have given Tre the benefit of the doubt but I find it hard to believe this is one simple little mistake. For example, in the video information from the above link, you can see Tre promoting another alleged scam with a link to the lending platform Davor which has been routinely called out on Twitter in recent weeks for its shady dealings.

I still remember the first days I spent using Circle App to try and exchange USD for BTC. In those days, Bitcoin Tre was one of the first on-ramps, socially, that I knew of in the mysterious world of crypto. Even then, before he became a 24/7 Bitconnect shill, there were detractors and ‘haters’ who would flood the comment section of Tre’s videos with accusations of cons and scams. As a noob, it was difficult to tell the truth from fiction and Tre himself had suggested that he was being blacklisted and attacked because of racial and social differences in the majority whitewashed cryptocommunity. While the community is defiantly white ivy league types, I knew his appeal was a falsity. As the infamous Ben Shapiro quote reads “Capitalism only care about one color – green” and Bitcoin Tre’s appeal to SJW tendencies did little to quiet the skeptics. In the world of high-risk anyone can become a millionaire. While dreams are made every day, more suckers are born every minute. Crypto con men lure new investors and speculators into the dim alleys of crypto while receiving kickbacks and dark bounties for promoting projects that stalwart crypto investors wouldn’t touch if it was given away.  In a space that is littered with false promises and moon projections, new investors should be wary of those who seek to take advantage of their hard earned money with promises of glory. Before you buy your next asset, recognize that people like Bitcoin Tre are piranhas that swim in the muddy waters of the crypto boom and you’re their next target.