Activist Larken Rose Weighs In on Bitcoin, Anarchy, and the Importance of Permissionless Cash

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Though his latest project with partner and fellow activist Amanda Rose, Candles in the Dark, is a program helping people escape authoritarian programming through non-confrontational dialogue, there’s nothing meek and mild about Larken Rose’s stance when it comes to government. recently connected with the outspoken anarchist via Skype to talk about Bitcoin, the IRS, and the importance of permissionless money. Sponsored Links
Also Read: Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto Contents Bumping Into Crypto (BC) : How did you get into the crypto space?
Larken Rose (LR) : I only accidentally crashed sideways into crypto stuff just because so many people who are into freedom and self-ownership got into it when it came along, realizing it could be a really useful tool to resist centralized control. I’m by no means any sort of expert on it. I was just sort of dragged along for the ride, because at this point it’s kind of hard to not be hearing about it and involved with it if you’re into freedom, because it’s such a useful tool for that.
BC : Do you remember when that was?
LR : It was a number of years ago, and I remember I heard the term a bunch of times before I had the foggiest idea what it meant, and what it referred to. It may have been at Porcfest in New Hampshire, where some of the guys promoting it early on actually gave me some of the physical Bitcoins, back when they were worth like a dollar each, and I think they gave me 20 of them.
And, I sold them at a sadly low rate, well before it went up. I accidentally held onto one of them, without knowing I still had it, but I eventually gave that one to my daughter and she ended up getting a car out of it, so I’m happy about that. But it was a number of years later before I really understood the beauty and the power of the concept of blockchain and decentralized, uncontrollable mediums of exchange. Bitcoin and Voluntaryism
BC: You’re a voluntaryist. More people are learning what that word means lately, but most still don’t know. What’s it all about?
LR: In short, to be a voluntaryist means you advocate that all human interaction be voluntary, rather than by way of violence and coercion. And when you describe it that way, almost everybody initially reacts by saying, ‘Oh yeah, that’s me; I totally agree; that’s what I want too.’
But they don’t recognize that, even if they live that way in their daily lives — when it comes to politics, almost everybody has been taught that there’s an exception for the people who call themselves ‘government,’ and that it’s okay if they threaten violence and rob you by threats of force and boss you around and control you. A voluntaryist is basically somebody who realizes that the whole ‘live and let live’ and ‘do unto others as you would have done unto you,’ there’s not an exception for government.
BC: You’ve touched on this a little already, but where do you see crypto and voluntaryism intersecting?
LR: To me there are two very important pieces that have to go together to actually get a large number of people being able to be free, and eventually society being free. One is the mentality, and that’s what my main focus is on: having people stop believing that they’re obligated to obey a ruling class. But after that, then you need the tools necessary to be ungovernable. And some of those tools are, for example, guns. If you’re gonna resist oppression, if they have guns, it’s convenient if you do too.
But when it comes to currency and all the frauds and the tricks that governments have done by way of fiat currency and central banks and all that garbage, crypto is just a very powerful tool for those who are mentally ready to escape the controls of a ruling class, to be able to trade and basically have a complex international economy that doesn’t have the tentacles of the ruling class in it anywhere. And that’s huge.
BC: What would your response be to those people who say, ‘Yeah, these rules suck, the government’s terrible, but without it, it would be chaos’?
LR: People have been trained by the ruling class to imagine that, without the ruling class, we’d be these stupid, violent animals. And it’s already the case that the average person, all the things in his life that work, aren’t because he personally figured them out. The average person who buys a car doesn’t know how to build a car. The average person who goes grocery shopping doesn’t know how to grow all that food, and they don’t need to.
The order and the complexity and the cooperation and the productivity already comes from voluntary interaction. But it’s easy for politicians to scare most people into thinking, ‘Well if nobody’s in charge, if there isn’t a government bossing everyone around, then it will be this chaotic free-for-all.’ There’s no reason to actually believe that.
If you go to a supermarket—it’s one of my favorite examples of anarchy in action—yeah, it has government tentacles in there getting in the way an...