As a militant atheist, I am often struck by my fellow rational travelers’ foray into state worship. Library shelves are filled with sublimation, psychologically replacing the need for a sky god, father figure, with big daddy government. The simony of indulgences by robed dudes is now the distinct ethical and moral jurisdiction of politicians. If an elected representative, or enough of them, is convinced X far off land poses a threat, normally sane folk appear all too eager and willing executioners. The cross, at least in the West, is simply replaced with the flag.
Here in the United States, Veterans’ Day has recently passed. For the vast majority of my countrypersons war is synonymous with honor and duty, and so there’s very little association made between mass murder and how it’s always a government policy in need of funding.
Less still is any connection whatsoever to troops soldiering around Southwest Asia and filthy fiat lucre sloshing about the average person’s pocket. When various progressive news outlets make a claim to military spending or tally, they’ll do so in comparison to other government programs such as health care. Why, “we” could be spending expropriated tax revenue on schools, roads, environmental protection! Those zillions could be put to better use!
Stupid Brandon Theory
And if economic theory enters the discussion at all, it’s usually to trot out Keynesian tropes turned articles of faith about the fiscal benefits of, say, World War II and how it brought the U.S. from the Great Depression (caused of course by too much economic freedom). All ordinance flung around Europe and the Pacific, the uniforms, arms, planes, battleships, and millions killed jump started a dormant American economy.
I refer to it as Stupid Brandon Theory (SBT). My grade school friend and I attended hair metal concerts, and on one such walk to the arena to see the band Ratt, my stupid buddy Brandon began tossing food wrappers with abandon. What the fuck, I admonished after about the third or so hot dog napkin floated to the ground in clear violation of a basic societal norm. The littering asshole smiled and chewed as if this was his usual practice.
He explained to me, in all earnestness, he was “creating jobs.” The way SBT figured, those wrappers would eventually need to be picked up, dealt with at some level, and, well, the most efficient way to get any task done on a large level is to hire someone. Numbnuts Brandon, job producer. Hahaha. Little did he know if he’d only refined his vocabulary a tad, used terms like elasticity, he’d probably earn a Nobel Prize.
Those who dared say no to war
Modern economists have all but embraced SBT, and without irony fill undergraduates’ soft heads with charming notions of conscription (slavery), assembling full scale human slaughter, as consisting of a net economic benefit. It’s so absurd as to hardly merit intellectual takedown, though some wag once proposed skipping mowing down millions of souls, and just building a shit ton of ships, planes, munitions, and bombing them into oblivion somewhere far out in the ocean: all the economic benefit with none of the icky blood.
Those who dared say no to war are not celebrated in my neck of the warring woods. We much prefer chugga-chugga guitar riffs and tattooed dudes in desert fatigues looking fierce in recruitment videos to that of conscientious objectors and peacemakers. The economics of the matter, again, are never really addressed.
One American statesman did, however, attempt at making the economic case. Ron Paul, a longtime congressman from Texas, once asked an audience how much per day the country was spending on its sacking of Iraq and Afghanistan (last month marked 17 years of U.S. occupation). The answer he gave was per-person, and the number was staggering. The total bill, just for reference might be, say, $40,000 per U.S. citizen (I made up that number, but it’s not out of the question). What if, Paul asked pointedly, you were told to pay up front before your government went off to adventure in foreign lands?
The crypto mitigation
Perhaps my notoriously blood thirsty countrymen might not be so quick to urge intervention and “kill ‘em all” if presented an invoice. $40,000 immediately, right now, would involve grave opportunity costs and tradeoffs for a great many people. Few could afford it, and fewer still would seriously entertain handing it over, and that’s before any kind of moral or ethical argument.
The tragic failure to divorce state from money, to separate as the U.S. has rightly church and government, is what is really at issue. Politicians have access to the printing press, admittedly in digital form, and can grant themselves the world’s best (or worst) credit card. First they go to war, using whatever urgent pretext, and then politicians collect through inflation by way of central bankers at its Federal Reserve (Fed).
The Fed can issue IOUs for the world’s reserve currency, and then push and pull on the money supply to seigniorage-infused riches the average person can hardly imagine. It’s SBT on steroids. The only answer to slowing war, which is a government program and nothing else, is slowing, starving government. The only way to accomplish that in our lifetimes is through cryptocurrency. Iterations such as Bitcoin Cash have the potential to be that so badly needed separation between our new religion, government, and sound wealth based upon production rather than destruction. The more we use crypto, the more we sideline our reliance on fiat, the more steps are made toward peace … even if only by accident.
Edward Kelso is a financial technology journalist based in Southern California. Follow him on Twitter.
Note: Tokens on the Bitcoin Core (segwit) Chain are Referred to as BTC coins. Bitcoin Cash (BCH) is today the only Bitcoin implementation that follows Satoshi Nakamoto’s original whitepaper for Peer to Peer Electronic Cash. Bitcoin BCH is the only major public blockchain that maintains the original vision for Bitcoin as fast, frictionless, electronic cash.
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