The blockchain space appeals to freethinkers, entrepreneurs, and visionaries. Many of these iconoclasts practice voluntaryism, although a philosophy which new entrants may have not heard about. This is because they entered into the ecosystem from the financial realm, and their sole focus has been on accumulating more wealth. This is a shame. The impetus for cypherpunks to build encrypted technologies arose from a spirit of sovereignty – not just moneymaking schemes.
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What Is Voluntaryism?
Sovereignty denotes a yearning for absolute individual independence. It means many people involved in crypto prefer to live freely, without having to genuflect before someone who claims to rule them; before some king, politician, or governing apparatus. This is the crux of voluntaryism.
Voluntaryists believe all human relationships and interactions should be as consensual as far as possible. They place the notion of “consent” as the North Star of reasoning within the conduit of ethical thinking.
Consent means no human has the moral right to coerce or force another human being into acting against their volition. If someone uses force to sate their whims, that action would be considered immoral and unjust.
In some ways, this philosophy marches in perfect lockstep with the golden rule to treat others the way you wish to be treated. No one wants to be forced into behaving a certain way. No one wants to be harmed or mistreated. Everyone wants to act on their own will, without having to capitulate to others while under duress.
The Barbarian’s Paradigm
By virtue of their philosophy, voluntaryists do not believe government is a moral institution. The organization is at odds with voluntaryist philosophy. Government is non-consensual by nature. Every law, edict, and regulation is effectively a threat of violence against peaceful people. No one automatically consents to government laws. A law is an enforced mandate.
For instance, if someone disobeys a law, a costumed officer will attempt to issue them a ticket or arrest them. If that person moves to defend themselves from that act of aggression, the officer will murder them if necessary.
All government officials disregard consent. They issue or enforce laws regardless if everyone agrees. Therefore, coercive government is the barbarian’s paradigm for social order; it is uncivilized, violent, hysterical, and revels in cultism. It’s sadistic to the extent people are indoctrinated from birth to believe this paradigm of violence is synonymous with “civilization.” In reality, it is uncivilized barbarism writ large on the soul of men.
Logical Conclusion: Anarchism
Without doubt, this means the voluntaryist is an anarchist. Since governments operate without consent, they can never be an acceptable organization within the context of voluntaryist philosophy. Anarchism is thus the logical conclusion of voluntaryism.
However, most people hear the word “anarchy” and they lose their cool. Images of picturesque horror scenes rife with explosions, corpses and gore galore erupt in colorful crescendo via their mind’s eye.
They panic and reject the term ‘anarchy’ as a synonym of disorder. They view anarchy as a form of Lovecraftian madness palatable only to fringe academics, disillusioned teenagers, and bohemian punk rockers with cockney accents.
In reality, anarchy just means “without rulers.” It means no person or group has the right to rule over the rest of humanity. It does not imply bloodshed, bazookas, and bombs.
Edward Abbey said, “Anarchism is not a romantic fable but the hardheaded realization, based on five thousand years of experience, that we cannot entrust the management of our lives to kings, priests, politicians, generals, and county commissioners.”
Bedfellows: Voluntaryism and Blockchain
It is no surprise the first technologists to think about using ciphers to ensure privacy and anonymity were voluntaryists. They were anarchists: crypto-anarchists. They built the architecture of technological anarchism, and they were heavily influenced by voluntaryist philosophy. From day one, they sought to use computational tools to generate more freedom.
Timothy May, the godfather of decentralized-encrypted technology, wrote his Crypto-Anarchist Manifesto while under the influence of Rothbardian thinking. May genuinely believed the ethics of voluntaryism. He set the tone for all future developments, including the creation of Bitcoin and all its anarchic features.
Rekindling the Flame of Freedom
To this day, charlatans with dollar signs in their eyes have eroded the voluntaryist vision of the crypto-anarchists. Instead of seeking to erase the barbarian’s paradigm, they focus on the sexual magnetism of “moon” and “Lambo.”
This is why internalizing the voluntaryist-anarchist roots of the crypto ecosystem
is essential. Understanding this history will pave a path to a beautiful new world, and encourage people to embrace the purpose of the technology. It will help abolish government and put an end to the insanity of this uncivilized world. The voluntaryist mindset will act as a compass toward mass adoption and inspire true love of blockchain. In the process, it will rekindle the flame of freedom.
Are you familiar with voluntaryism? Do you still believe voluntaryism is important for the creation of novel technologies?