This is an opinion editorial by Michael Matulef, an independent student of Austrian economics and member of the Mises Institute.
The impending U.S. presidential election has ignited a spark of excitement within the Bitcoin community, as various prospects have begun to vocalize their support for Bitcoin. Rising political interest in Bitcoin has culminated in the emergence of a so-called “orange party,” a movement characterized by Bitcoin enthusiasts transformed into single-issue voters. While the fervor surrounding this development is comprehensible, it is crucial to evaluate the potential ramifications of single-issue voting meticulously.
As Bitcoin continues to gain traction and mainstream recognition, its advocates are eager to see their preferred political candidates ascend to the highest office in the land. However, this eagerness must be tempered by a sober appreciation of the multifaceted nature of governance. Though tempting in its simplicity, single-issue voting often glosses over the intricacies of policy making and the interconnectedness of diverse issues. Individual liberty and freedom may be inadvertently imperiled if individuals place too great of an emphasis on a solitary concern.
While it’s natural for people to be passionate about a particular cause or issue, especially when it comes to Bitcoin, elevating one concern above all others can be perilous for individual liberty. By prioritizing a single issue, individuals may unknowingly compromise their own freedoms or the rights of others. This approach can lead to the implementation of policies that restrict personal liberties and infringe on individual rights. Additionally, single-issue politics often breeds polarization and divisiveness, undermining efforts to find common ground and compromise in matters that protect individual freedom.
Lysander Spooner’s Philosophical Insights
The philosophy of Lysander Spooner, a notable 19th-century thinker, offers valuable insights into the concept of voting and its relationship with freedom. According to Spooner, the right to vote is an innate and natural right that cannot be granted or restricted by any institution or legal framework. However, he also recognized that participating in the political process can have unintended consequences, such as reinforcing oppressive systems through the State’s monopoly on force and coercion.
Spooner’s perspectives on voting as a form of self-defense continues to reverberate in contemporary political discourse. In an era where many individuals feel that their hard-earned resources are vulnerable to exploitation via taxation or other governmental measures, the act of casting a ballot can be viewed as a preemptive strike against fiscal assault. Nevertheless, this utilitarian approach to voting does not automatically translate into unequivocal support for the governing apparatus or its policies.
As Spooner astutely observed, the lines between genuine consent and mere self-preservation become blurred when voters engage in strategic voting motivated by fear rather than conviction. Thus, the tension between individual autonomy and collective governance remains a pressing concern, prompting further exploration into innovative models of decision making and community organization that prioritize authentic consent and collaborative problem solving.
To quote Spooner:
“In truth, in the case of individuals, their actual voting is not to be taken as proof of consent, even for the time being. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, without his consent having even been asked a man finds himself environed by a government that he cannot resist; a government that forces him to pay money, render service, and forego the exercise of many of his natural rights, under peril of weighty punishments. He sees, too, that other men practice this tyranny over him by the use of the ballot. He sees further, that, if he will but use the ballot himself, he has some chance of relieving himself from this tyranny of others, by subjecting them to his own. In short, he finds himself, without his consent, so situated that, if he use the ballot, he may become a master; if he does not use it, he must become a slave. And he has no other alternative than these two. In self-defence, he attempts the former. His case is analogous to that of a man who has been forced into battle, where he must either kill others, or be killed himself. Because, to save his own life in battle, a man takes the lives of his opponents, it is not to be inferred that the battle is one of his own choosing. Neither in contests with the ballot — which is a mere substitute for a bullet — because, as his only chance of self-preservation, a man uses a ballot, is it to be inferred that the contest is one into which he voluntarily entered; that he voluntarily set up all his own natural rights, as a stake against those of others, to be lost or won by the mere power of numbers. On the contrary, it is to be considered that, in an exigency into which he had been forced by others, and in which no other means of self-defence offered, he, as a matter of necessity, used the only one that was left to him.
“Doubtless the most miserable of men, under the most oppressive government in the world, if allowed the ballot, would use it, if they could see any chance of thereby meliorating their condition. But it would not, therefore, be a legitimate inference that the government itself, that crushes them, was one which they had voluntarily set up, or even consented to.”
Bitcoin Enthusiasts: Beyond Political Means
The intricate nuances of political systems and their inherent constraints pose significant challenges for Bitcoin enthusiasts who seek to promote widespread adoption. The State’s stranglehold on force and coercion renders political efforts to advance Bitcoin’s cause potentially impotent or even counterproductive. Therefore, Bitcoiners must adopt a more multifaceted and resilient approach.
Rather than relying solely on political maneuvers, Bitcoin advocates should concentrate more of their energies on constructing parallel systems and fostering autonomous communities that function independently of State control. Consent-based systems and pervasive civil disobedience can serve as a more potent bulwark against State authority.
By creating and participating in alternative frameworks, we can aspire to undermine and circumvent traditional political powers. Through the support and development of decentralized networks and communities, we endeavor to establish a domain where individuals can interact and exchange value without the encumbrance of government intermediaries. This approach not only promotes financial inclusion and individual sovereignty but also nurtures a culture of resistance against oppressive hierarchies.
The Path To Freedom: Advocating For A Brighter Bitcoin Future
In conclusion, the ever-evolving relationship between Bitcoin and politics presents a captivating intersection of individual liberty and collective governance. As the impending U.S. presidential election sparks excitement within the Bitcoin community, we must tread carefully and thoughtfully, navigating the path to freedom with discernment.
The rise of the “orange party” is a testament to the growing significance of Bitcoin, yet it is essential to recognize the potential ramifications of single-issue voting. To preserve individual liberty and foster a resilient financial future, we must transcend the allure of simplistic solutions and embrace a multifaceted approach.
The profound insights of Spooner guide us in our quest for genuine consent and autonomy. While voting may sometimes be viewed as an act of self defense, it is not an unequivocal expression of consent, especially in the face of coercive structures. To promote a brighter Bitcoin future, we must explore innovative models of decision making and community organization that prioritize authenticity and collaboration.
Politics promises change yet coerces through centralized power. We must go beyond this illusion and act outside the system. True change happens not at the ballot box, but through grassroots education, adoption and the development of decentralized networks.
Let us become impassioned advocates for financial sovereignty, relentlessly educating and empowering our communities about the emancipatory promise of our peer-to-peer electronic cash system. Through persistent grassroots outreach, let us illuminate the transformative potential of decentralized sound money that cannot be debased or censored. We must patiently explain how tools like Bitcoin can enable ordinary people to opt-out of fiat manipulation and take control of their economic destinies. Our localization efforts should focus not just on spreading adoption, but on fostering active understanding so community members can wield financial autonomy as a means of independence and self-determination. Equipped with knowledge and agency, local networks can unravel the social control schemes of centralized money and develop resilient economies on their own terms and in their own interests. Let us become zealous-but-thoughtful champions dedicated to unlocking the liberatory possibilities of financial sovereignty. The first step is education and empowerment at the ground level.
Most importantly, we must ardently support the often-overlooked heroes — the developers tirelessly building censorship resistance into the technological backbone of this movement. Our appreciation must go beyond lip service and manifest through concrete actions. We can empower developers by donating to prominent projects, thereby providing the resources needed to strengthen the antifragility of our infrastructure. We can also fund bounties to incentivize features that expressly promote liberty, privacy and autonomy for users. For those able to contribute code, we must heed the call and directly participate in development. Even assisting with documentation and bug reporting strengthens the network. Developers are the beating heart of this mission, working thanklessly so that millions may attain financial freedom. Let us vigorously empower them to harden decentralized networks against coercion. Our contributions enable them to neutralize vulnerabilities before they are exploited to jeopardize liberty. A robust infrastructure is the only way to resist the threats of centralized powers seeking control. We must thus provide developers with the communal support they need to build technology that is censorship-proof, unstoppable and resilient in the face of any adversary, thereby securing financial autonomy for generations to come.
Progress happens not through idle hope, but daily, grassroots effort. Let us take concrete steps to further adoption and empower developers. Each small action brings us closer to emancipation from coercive structures. Through diligent work, we can build decentralized networks that circumvent centralized control. Voluntary communities, founded on financial autonomy, have no need for governing authorities. Politics promises change but is mired in a hollow spectacle. We must go beyond — building parallel systems that obsolete systems of coercion.
This is how we make self-sovereignty inevitable. Not by rhetoric or voting, but by groundwork. The revolution starts within our hearts, heads and hands. Our unified labor will inspire a future where financial freedom is not a distant dream, but a lived reality. We inch ever closer each time we patiently explain Bitcoin, fund censorship-resistant development and nourish community autonomy. Together, let us persist in this work one day at a time. At ballot boxes, change is only promised. But our efforts can guarantee it through perseverance. The future will remember not politicians, but those who toiled to build decentralized networks for the sake of autonomy. Where politicians fail, we will succeed.
This is a guest post by Michael Matulef. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.