It is likely that, in the year 3,000, when homo sapiens engage in the study of human history, they will have to divide it between the times before and after COVID-19, and this is not an exaggeration.
We are still immersed in the COVID bubble, full of restrictions and authoritarian mandates by rulers in most nations of the world. In general, the “emergency powers” given to politicians in times of calamity are never returned. They become a constant. We are still immersed in the COVID bubble; we do not know what the world will be like in five, ten, or twenty years after the pandemic has come to an end.
We have seen how, all over the world, it is governments who seek to hold on to COVID and citizens who seek to get on with their lives. These are power dynamics in which the hypocritical political elite smile unmasked at taxpayer-funded events, while waiters and other employees wear masks while they serve champagne. Of all the scenes the pandemic has left us, this has been the most recurrent in the United States, but also in less developed nations.
Today it has been the citizens of Canada, perhaps the ones we would have least expected to stand up to government authoritarianism, who have given hope to humanity by standing up to Justin Trudeau’s progressive government to protest against abusive vaccination mandates that restrict citizens’ individual freedoms.
Truckers have mobilized across the country because the Canadian government intended to prevent them from working, from bringing bread to their tables, if they did not get vaccinated. This despite the fact that more than 80 percent of the population is fully immunized, so there should be no problem if the remaining 20 percent decide not to get vaccinated, right? After all, the vaccine has already created antibodies in 8 out of 10 Canadians, so why persecute those who, motivated by individual decisions, decide to skip the antidote?
Unfortunately, what is currently happening has little or nothing to do with science or health. It is politics, abuse of power and the ambitions of those who do not want to let go of the emerging dictatorial powers granted to them by the pandemic. That is why they seek to sustain them at all costs, and it is for this reason that Trudeau has not only threatened the truckers fighting for freedom with million-dollar fines or jail time, but they have also used the power of the state to steal funds (donations) they had made to the movement, so that those who participate in it could eat and buy fuel in the face of the government’s blockade.
First it was the company GoFundMe, identified with leftist causes, which blocked donations to the truckers, generating a political and commercial tsunami. After this, the Christian company GiveSendGo offered to process the donations, assuring that it would defend its users, but the authorities of Ontario, Canada, decided to intervene to try to seize the funds on the platform, generating a new political and commercial conflict.
How Bitcoin Counters Authoritarianism
The main problem we have as societies to achieve full freedom and avoid the escalation of authoritarianism, is that governments manage at will the currencies through which we practice trade. This gives them the full power to crush and economically asphyxiate the will of anyone who thinks differently, or who considers protesting against power—whether they are right or wrong.
Governments use this economic control to shape people’s lives, and generally make use of monetary policies to appropriate the wealth of citizens. The moment governments decide to print more money to put more money supply into circulation, creating inflation, they are devaluing the assets, savings, and the very labor of all citizens, in order to finance their public spending or political programs. This in particular, in the face of the pandemic, has become one of the major problems of Western civilization.
It does not stop there, because in addition to devaluing citizens’ resources with monetary tactics, they can also apply more authoritarian tactics, such as directly confiscating their resources, if they consider them to be subversive elements for their governments, as, for example, has just happened with truck drivers in Canada who, exercising their legitimate rights to protest, have been criminalized by the progressive administration of Trudeau.
In this case, the benefits of blockchain allow citizens to escape the rigid monetary control of governments. Take, for example, the case of bitcoin, which is a freely exchangeable digital currency, deflationary, as there is an issuance cap of 21 million units, and more importantly, no government, corporation, or entity can manipulate bitcoin at will, and citizens can transfer value easily without going through state bureaucracy.
While Canadian authorities were busy confiscating the legitimate resources of truckers, bitcoin transfers were being made for the movement, which are uncensorable and cannot be confiscated by the state when used properly.
Bitcoin Avoids More Than State Censorship
The case of the truckers in Canada is just one example of what a decentralized currency can do for humanity. Transferring value for legitimate causes without government intervention is critical, but so is preventing rulers from having the power to devalue national currencies at will and gamble with citizens’ savings.
The moment we manage to separate the executive and legislative powers from the economy, we will have much richer and freer societies, since politicians will no longer be able to implement authoritarian tactics to manipulate the value of local currencies at will. This, in turn, will prevent them from squandering funds, as they will have to be much more responsible with public spending, otherwise their own political aspirations could disappear.
For better or worse, human beings function on incentives. The main incentive of those in power is to stay in power, and the main incentive of those not in power is to stay free. If we citizens wrest from the control of the state the power over the currencies in which we carry out our daily transactions, we will take a giant step in the creation of freer and less corrupt societies.
To continue “governing” politicians need to be popular, but without infinite resources, and without being able to manipulate at will the local currency, or arbitrarily subtract the funds of private citizens, the only resources that the state will have at its disposal are those that are legitimately, without coercion and by common agreement, granted to them by the citizenry. A new pattern of relations will then be established in which power will finally have to fulfill its true mission: “to serve” and not “to be served.”
This article, How Bitcoin Can Help People Stay Free Amid the Rise of Financial Authoritarianism, was originally published by the Foundation for Economic Education and appears here with permission. Please support their mission.