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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 1/2/20

Real Democracy Requires a Separation of Money and State

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Cryptocurrency logos.
Cryptocurrency logos.
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As we enter a new year, the running battle between the world's governments and the world-changing technology known as "cryptocurrency" continues. As 2019 drew to an end, Swiss president Ueli Maurer asserted that Facebook's digital currency (not a real cryptocurrency), Libra, has failed "because central banks will not accept the basket of currencies underpinning it."

Politicians want to regulate -- or, if possible, kill -- cryptocurrency.

Large firms like Facebook want to capture cryptocurrency's potential without rocking those governments' boats.

Cryptocurrency advocates want democracy. Yes, democracy.

Of all the important words in the English language, "democracy" (from the Greek demokratia, "rule by the people") may be the most fuzzily defined. Some people define it in terms of raw majoritarianism, others as one of various forms of representative government.

I define "democracy" in words used by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence. "Democracy," to my mind, is government that enjoys the "consent of the governed."

Not just the consent of 50% plus one of the governed, and certainly not just the consent of a few big players who can afford lobbyists and bribes to get their way, but the consent of ALL the governed.

One major hinge on which the door of democracy as I define it swings is control of money -- who may create it, how it may be used, and what portion of it must be handed over to government for "public" uses those paying the bills may or may not approve of.

Involuntary taxation is the opposite of the consent of the governed. It's the opposite of democracy. We can have financial regulators and central banks, or we can have democracy. We can't have both.

Cryptocurrency threatens the reign of government over money. It bodes a future in which, as an old antiwar slogan puts it, the Air Force will have to hold a bake sale if it wants to buy a new bomber.

That's the future I want. It's also the future that politicians, regulators and central bankers fear.

They don't want to have to ASK you to fund their schemes. They're not interested in requesting your consent. They prefer to simply demand your compliance.

The ability to anonymously handle our finances without reporting them to government or involuntarily giving it a cut is a revolutionary development. And it's here, now. More and more of us are using cryptocurrency, and the politicians are panicking.

While cryptocurrency won't entirely kill involuntary taxation -- land can't be easily hidden, so we can expect property taxes to persist -- it will make the global economy harder for governments to manipulate and milk.

The inevitable future of cryptocurrency, absent a new Dark Age in which we all go back to plowing with mules and reading rotting old books by candlelight, is a future without income and sales taxes (to name two of the biggest and most pernicious).

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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.


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4 people are discussing this page, with 5 comments


Mohammad Ala

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Thanks Thomas Knapp. Thanks for your time. Thanks for your understanding the root cause(s) of the problems namely money.

Interest groups have used money to justify occupying native lands, placing illegal sanctions on weaker countries and people.

Money controls Hollywood which is used as a propaganda to brainwash many people, especially many American people.

Good job and Happy 2020.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 3, 2020 at 2:07:11 AM

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shad williams

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I am amazed at how little I know about money or currency. My understanding is that "money" must have a store of value. This means that it does not lose its value over time. Many point to gold and silver as having a store of value. Yet we know that JP Morgan floated naked options in silver and got bailed out from crash and burn by the SEC's braking system? In other words even gold and silver can be manipulated just as the value of fiat currency.

I am also under the impression that the government prints currency on behalf of the federal reserve banking cartel which in turns loans the fiat back to the peoples' government at rate.

Who is to say that crypto currencies will not behave in the same manner? Are you going to carry electric power with you everywhere you go in order to access your accounts balances?

In my opinion, it is the people exercising sovereignty who should be in charge of their debt, not private unelected bankers.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 3, 2020 at 5:21:45 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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"Money" has three uses -- store of value, medium of exchange, and unit of account. Any given type of instrument put out for use as "money" may be better or worse at any of those three things as some other instrument.


There is no such thing as "the people's government" or "the people exercising sovereignty." There are the rulers and the ruled. What I propose is that the ruled stop allowing themselves to be ruled -- in this case, with respect to "money." Eliminate the legal tender laws and let competing entities make their offerings.


As for carrying electricity everywhere to access you account balances, welcome to the 21st century -- that's what most people do now. Or, rather, they carry their debit cards TO the electronics.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 3, 2020 at 6:32:22 PM

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June Genis

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Actually more and more these days they carry their phone which hopefully has enough juice stored in it to be useful for that purpose.

Submitted on Friday, Jan 3, 2020 at 7:15:52 PM

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Thomas Knapp

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That too -- but it's been what, probably 20 years since most people carried around much cash? I seem to recall that debit cards started being a thing in the late '80s or early '90s. These days I hardly ever see anyone handing over bills or writing a check at a store. My wife keeps a book of checks because our landlord doesn't accept Internet payments for rent, but pretty much everything else is done online, or with a debit card or now with a phone payment system.


I'm interested in how cryptocurrency is rolling out. Most of it is still a sort of intermediary thing. For example, when I had to travel suddenly over the Christmas holiday (for my brother's funeral), I used some crypto via a third party service to buy electronic Uber gift cards on Amazon so that my rides would be covered at the far end, instead of paying "cash" via PayPal for those rides. Got a bit of a discount. But I'd rather be able to pay for things directly in crypto. That's becoming more common, but not the norm just yet.

Submitted on Saturday, Jan 4, 2020 at 12:00:18 AM

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