On Veteran’s Day, I had the opportunity to interview Angela Keaton, the Director of Operations at Antiwar.com. About one year ago they began accepting donations in bitcoin, and it has helped greatly in their fundraising, especially after people became worried when it was revealed that Antiwar.com had been targeted by the FBI. Antiwar.com is an invaluable resource to the pro-peace community, and Angela covers a lot of ground in this interview. I’m very thankful for the time she spent with me.
*The video interview I originally did will be up soon, but for now here’s the transcript.
MK Lords: How are you doing today?
Angela Keaton: [laughter] Well, I guess bitcoin’s doing well. You know it’s Veteran’s Day, so it’s one of those not the happiest days of the year.
MK: Oh yeah, I understand. I appreciate you joining me on Veteran’s Day, by the way. I do think it’s kind of awesome that I’m getting to interview you on Veteran’s Day despite the sadness that goes with it. Well, I guess we’ll get this started.
What has been your philosophical evolution through the years that led you to antiwar activism?
AK: There is no real evolution. I grew up in the libertarian movement, and it’s through a series of bad personal choices that I became a professional libertarian. So yeah, there’s no evolution in this story, there’s no peak moment; there’s no epiphany. So when I was a kid, my punk rock buddies and I were raising money for some weird congressman named Ron Paul in places far across the country and you know there was a role for him and some of us were part of it unfortunately or fortunately and that’s where I am now. [If] you do understand the whole basis of the history of Murray Rothbard’s ideas and the non-aggression principle; war is the worst thing the state does. It’s where I think one can focus one’s efforts; for me the war issue is where I’ve decided to put all my effort.
MK: Right. Excellent. So, how did you get involved with Antiwar.com and what does your role as Director of Operations entail?
AK: I’ve been reading Antiwar.com since 1999 or so and then I read an article about them in 2000 and I thought to myself (knowing where they were coming from and the kind of people involved), ‘Damn, I should work there. That’d be a great place for me to work.’ Then in 2006, a buddy of mine named Scott Horton had started doing some link editing and started working on a radio show. It was originally called DissentRadio and AntiwarRadio came out of that. I started working with him on production and then in mid-year 2008, I came on full time as development and producer of the Scott Horton Show. And then little and little my role sort of evolved to doing all sorts of things. Unfortunately, Antiwar.com has gotten busier over the years, we’ve had much more added, there’s many more hot wars. Obama’s expansion of wars certainly has made things much more interesting and much more difficult since there’s less and less money and less and less staff to cover it and more and more war.
MK: I first heard of Antiwar.com during the Bush years and I was in the antiwar left at the time and it kind of brought me around to the ideas of libertarianism and now I’m a hardcore libertarian and I tell everyone about it (Antiwar.com). So, we’ve seen the wars amped up under Obama and we’re also seeing more spying on whistleblowers and Antiwar.com was the subject of some FBI spying recently. What’s the latest on that?
AK: So, last Thursday the Guardian came out with a piece by Spencer Ackerman formerly of Wired magazine talking much more about the details of the case. Basically, it’s somewhat complicated. The ACLU has broken the case into several parts, those who are suing on behalf of antiwar.com and are suing the FBI for release of the records as well as stop them from any further spying. One of the threats that the ACLU found was when my boss Eric Garris got an email threat. At the time, we were trying to take all threats seriously, and certainly a threat to hack and take down the site. The FBI claims that they interpreted it as Eric making a threat to the FBI and that’s what triggered one of the investigations or at least a six year investigation into Antiwar.com. For the points of this case, there’s actually been evidence that they’re been spying on Eric Garris since probably 1971 and ask Justin Raimondo, our editorial director, the spying has been going on a long time on their activism, so it’s a complicated case but specifically the FBI is admitting to at least one six year investigation in addition to other investigations.
The discovery of the investigation that triggered the initial interest in the case was something that happened back in 2002; a series of articles Justin Raimondo had written on some issue ancillary to 9/11 in addition to some other myths that were published in articles on other sites that weren’t exclusive to antiwar.com that seemed to trigger foreign intelligence investigations where they wanted to know who was funding it, where the money was coming from, what countries, what governments we might be accepting money from, who’s on the staff—anyway most of those questions could have been answered from regular web searches (the ones they were interested in). It’s not as if there’s anything really shocking or relevant to Antiwar; it’s just funny how not only is the FBI vicious but also the people involved don’t seem terribly bright or at least there’s no promise that these are the best and brightest in terms of people investigating and keeping America safe. Sorry, I’m trying to keep a straight face today. Veteran’s Day really brings that out of me.
MK: Oh, I understand. And I think you’re seeing it more and more the incompetency involved in government. I mean, there is a concern that the have this massive power, but they’re so incompetent about wielding it. So, with the nature of the spying; was it kind of expected that you would be spied on—it didn’t catch you by surprise?
AK: Well, there’s something to it—when you do certain kinds of work for a long time—I think most of the staff members and certainly my experience [is this]: you have to live in a certain amount of denial or you wouldn’t be able to function like a normal human being.
It’s one thing to have this general sense of ‘yeah, okay they’re probably watching you’ ; it’s another to see the blacked or whited out files and see the reams of paper generated on these investigations where it’s clear now to everyone—where it’s indisputable–that there’s been spying on the organization you work for specifically. That’s a very different feeling and it’s something that I haven’t entirely come to terms with yet.
It’s something that people need to understand; that the antiwar movement has been spied upon since World War I so this is not new. Left wing antiwar groups are much less naïve about this; they’re like ‘okay we’re being spied on.’ There’s often evidence, there’s even a hashtag #Stop FBI because through different organizations particularly over the past few years in the Midwest for example, antiwar groups especially those with specific interests in justice for Palestinians are being over-investigated; not just being looked into but there seems to be extra attention being paid to them. So, this is kind of a common occurrence, it’s just that libertarians, while we seem to be very aware of this in a general sense, we don’t grasp the actual facts of the matter very well. It already prompts this intra-libertarian nonsense about ‘why us?’ in particular or a lack of sympathy by those who see extra attention being paid to Antiwar.com and jealousy perhaps. [laughter] That’s fine; the libertarian world is a very strange place and a strange world to grow up into, and not a very easy one to be in especially as an adult in mid-life.
MK: So, there’s been all this targeting by this administration and I think a lot of people [supporters] weren’t really expecting the Obama administration to be so gung-ho about spying and punishing whistleblowers. But do you think having a strong presence on the web is a form of protection from detainment or are you kind of fearful that it makes government spying easier?
AK: It’s hard to course it out because what we’re doing isn’t really normal so it’s hard for me to compare it to anything. Barack Obama, on his order, had Yemeni journalists detained in Yemen for reporting things like drone strikes, which of course should be reported on as a journalist, too. In terms of detention, Barack Obama’s war on whistleblowers and journalism is the ongoing project of the security state and empire. This is what having endless war does, your civil liberties keep being reduced and you thank people today for their service and what you’re thanking them for is fewer and fewer rights and less and less dignity. So that’s why today is sort of a bitter and obnoxious day, people are being self-congratulatory for racist and genocidal wars, occupation and colonialism [in countries] for which they have no right to be in. This is sticking people who were drafted or conscripted into slavery in the US military. We have Vietnam vets who discuss this pretty frankly. What do I think? Do I think we’re in any danger; that the staff is necessarily in any danger of detainment? I don’t think so currently, but I’ve been surprised. What will be curious is if Greenwald’s ever allowed back in the US. I’d like to see how that plays out. People have already learned the hard way from the Chelsea Manning case; people know of course that is does not pay to be a whistleblower; you need to take that material and run. Whistleblowing just opens the door for you to be tortured and certainly imprisoned for the rest of your life.
MK: I know Antiwar.com was very instrumental in me coming around to libertarianism, but have you seen its effectiveness on people who have served? There are such great resources on [Antiwar.com], have you seen a lot of people come across it and change their minds?
AK: Well, there’s really a lot of veterans involved, to be clear there’s a lot of veterans involved in the antiwar movement generally and not just young veterans like Iraq Veterans Against the War; Veterans for Peace is a long time established group and many smaller groups too that contain vets, and of course our staff contains vets. Out letters editor Tom Knapp is a veteran of the Gulf War. The veterans’ voices are really important because they tend to rip the nonsense off and tell you, “This is exactly what happened to me over there” or “This is what I did over there”—these are unpleasant stories, and remember I’m not taking away any of the individual responsibility for each soldier who did what he or she did, but you come back with PTSD, you come back possibly with divorce, you come back maybe to being beaten by your spouse or your spouse beats on you…that rates of suicide are higher, it’s just that the violence continues when you come back.
And in our strange economy, it’s based in part because we spend so much on wars with money we don’t have, when you come back to no job after being in the military it just seems to exacerbate the problems. It creates a larger social problem; what do we do with displaced vets? What do we do with people who have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; what happens to families?
There’s a new book out by the journalist Ann Jones called They Were Soldiers about soldiers coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan and what they think. So, for the ones that do kill themselves, there’s an entire family now that has to deal with not only an emotionally injured possibly physically injured vet but someone who’s dead. What does occasionally happen is one of his parents kills themselves or that marriage (his parent’s marriage) will collapse. It means there’s a chain reaction of damages that goes on and on because of what we send people to do which is not a normal thing; this doesn’t take away the individual responsibility of people who sign onto it because they came from one of the social classes that don’t have power in this country and few choices would lead someone to sign up for such a task or be aggressively recruited for such a task. There’s a lot of evidence that military recruiters aim their recruitment [towards high schoolers]. For example, in Southern California there’s a lot of Mexican immigrants who are tired of the aggressive recruitment in high schools. They [recruiters] target racial minorities and poor men in the South and this is something that doesn’t remove personal responsibility, but they are being specifically targeted and aggressively sought for this, and when choices are few it might seem like a reasonable choice. So, trying to understand why people get involved [is important].
There’s a new report out that a million soldiers have been injured between Iraq and Afghanistan, and something we occasionally hear from the Wounded Warriors Project ads that run on Fox is soldiers coming back without limbs. Thanking someone for his or her sacrifice—civilians don’t understand—I mean you’re missing an arm! There’s nothing that can replace that in any way, maybe money reparations is the only way we know how to do it, but there’s no evidence that the VA is exactly generous about these matters. It’s just a horrible, horrible, horrible deal for all of us and I certainly think we’re much less safe because they continue to do these things. This is life under empire; this is how it all works. It’s not acceptable and we can do things differently and there’s got to be another way of doing it because this isn’t right. The things that create empire are conditions like racism and sexism and homophobia and they are important things to mention because if you don’t think of Muslims or Arabs or Central Asians or Persians as people–it makes it a lot easier to go kill them. Masculinity is really tied up in “rah rah USA!” getting suited up in a uniform, aggressiveness, and doing the chants and calls in the military; it’s always filthy and disgusting. This is the kind of behavior that’s glorified, and it’s disgusting behavior; this is animal behavior, this is not the way people should be behaving in 2013. We should have evolved past this by now, but we haven’t and it’s going to continue. The end results are going to be continued blowback, and it’s the reason why 9/11 happened; people really get tired when you kill their kids. There’s a reason why these things happen, it’s because our foreign policy everywhere has been horrible and aggressive. And there isn’t any place the empire doesn’t touch; if you go to Latin America and you can see the results of the drug war and what CIA intervention in elections has done over the years. At least you can see what happens with our support and insulation of tyrants that oppress the people in addition to various occupations of countries and see what happens in our support of colonial enterprises; there’s nothing ever good for the people that comes out of this and you’ll continue to have more violence because that’s all it [imperialism] will ever do until it’s stopped.
MK: Absolutely, it’s interesting and I remember being in high school during the post 9/11 and I saw a lot of really young people my age going off to war and it was just heart breaking. But I do see hope for future generations because there’s so much more access to information. How do you think that’s going to play out for future generations in regard to war and imperialism and all these other problems?
AK: I hate making predictions because there are too many factors to consider, I do know this though: because of Ron Paul we have an actual critical youth movement similar to what we had in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s asking “Why war? Why this war? Why any war? Why is it my obligation to go into some foreign country and go fight someone I’ve never heard of, have no quarrel with, and don’t know anything about in this completely remote distance from my own life?” That is going to be a really good thing. You can ask the libertarian economists on this, how long will the Fed keep pumping money into it [warfare economy] and how long Americans will keep tolerating it?
MK: Kind of shifting the conversation to bitcoin. What are your thoughts on bitcoin? What are your concerns?
AK: Well, I have the same concerns as anyone else who understands the particular ways we look at economics. For example, bitcoin isn’t backed by anything except faith, right? [laughter] Whether I like bitcoin or not, cryptocurrency is here to stay, it’s not going anywhere; we’re going to have cryptocurrency for a long time. We’ve already had lost of experiences with alternative currencies, and every time one of them shut down, like a game of whack-a-mole, another one is going to come up. The world cops can do what they want about bitcoin, but something else will come up in its place. I went to BitCon in San Jose, California earlier this year and not only was I struck about how intelligent the people there were—I mean you can’t stop that human potential—the people who were there are forward thinking and they are smarter. Like the kid who ran Silk Road, these young people can see a good sense of what the future looks like. Same thing with Edward Snowden and Chelsea [Manning]; they see the future and they know what is looks like and they’re actively challenging the status quo. Cryptocurrency is a good thing, it allows you to be anonymous and that’s just one aspect of it (part of the privacy), but it allows you to spend money outside of the empire. As one Ron Paul kid I met in Chile said,
“You’re not using blood money anymore.”
MK: I love that phrase “blood money,” I’ve been using it in articles for Bitcoin Not Bombs lately and that’s exactly what it is.
AK: If I could point out, I just want to show you because I think Drew Phillips would be remiss in my duties, I have a shirt here that says Stop Wars [holds up shirt], it’s kind of awkward and weird to get the right angle on these sorts of things. Anyway, it’s part of Don’t Tread on Meme and Bitcoin Not Bombs of which Antiwar.com is a strong member of that coalition.
MK: Yes! And how has bitcoin affected your donations to Antiwar.com? Because I’ve talked to other nonprofits who have started accepting bitcoin and it’s helped them so much since the price has been rising. How has it helped Antiwar.com?
AK: It’s helped in some ways; there’s a certain kind of donor that wants to give bitcoin. You know, with a lot of libertarian projects, there’s a lot of pressure from people saying “take this/do this” or “accept bitcoin” and they’re not really gonna donate. They just like being part of something groovy and inside and hip at the moment. What is does change, though, is it’s allowed a little more privacy for people who have totally left the system. In fact, we’ve gotten a huge donation from someone who just decided to stop dealing with conventional banks; it was a huge boost. And also, Bitcoin 100, a nonprofit, and founders and sponsors who did well during the early speculation days are wanting to show that you can give to nonprofits this way. It’s certainly private, so you’re not drawing the ire of the FBI. Not everyone wants people to know they’re giving to Antiwar.com. Of all the things the state does, [war] is the most violent and the most controversial.
MK: Do you see a trend in nonprofits or alternative media sources moving more towards bitcoin donations and away from more traditional forms of donations?
AK: [Bitcoin’s] not going to replace that anytime soon. We don’t certainly have the wherewithal to replace everything. I love the staff members, we do enough for the movement; we don’t need to live so immersed in the counterculture our lives just become ridiculous. My patience for that nonsense as I’ve gotten older has decreased. The focus needs to be on violence and death and not so mush trying to follow the latest libertarian trend whether it’s a crazy diet or lifestyle preferences that people try to pass off as part of the libertarian agenda. I think age has made me a little cynical about some of our approaches. What is great [about Bitcoin] is that it’s gonna force people to rethink about the relationship between themselves and the state and federal reserve notes; what does that mean? How does this piece of paper allow the war spending to go on indefinitely? That is a really, really good thing, and I’m very excited about those possibilities; that people are thinking about what his or her participation in the empire is (with taxation stolen from you to fund these wars), and people will do different things. I really do applaud people in our movement who are tax protestors; the real heroes, the people who do expatriate to avoid living under empire. That’s heroic and I really do appreciate and respect people who are challenging the empire every day in various ways. The empire has to end in order for there to be any hope for libertarian ideals on US or domestic soil. Whatever the “US” really means, I’m no longer committed to that as a way of looking at the world. Preserving the constitution of the United States isn’t really my job or foremost concern.
MK: Alright. And there is that kind of danger I’ve seen living in a bubble with certain ideas on libertarianism. Whenever I feel that I’m kind of in an echo chamber, I try to step out of it. I don’t want to be in an echo chamber too much. How does bitcoin align with the values of Antiwar.com and your personal values too? Is there some alignment there?
AK: Absolutely. As someone who spends most of my time being a critic of the US way of life, bitcoin and all the cryptocurrencies, barter, and alternative ways of looking at how we arrange our actions is really important. I don’t use this term, but since the Ron Paul Lovelution, the term “voluntaryist” has become much wider used (it’s not the first time people have used it), but in the most recent context people are using it [to mean] all relationships should be voluntary and consensual; that is what I like about bitcoin and what it represents: voluntary, consensual relationships as well as a reminder that trade between people and countries in ways that entirely exclude the US. I am supportive of that because that’s what’s going to create peace anyway when all of a sudden the world’s population accepts the dignity of each person by having these voluntary relationships; that’s what will revolutionize everything. Bitcoin fits in very well with peace values and certainly my own values.
MK: Excellent. So, massive corporate funding of the media is such a huge issue, do you see bitcoin as a currency really benefitting start up media sources?
AK: Certainly! It certainly can, and the media has changed so much since we’ve pushed ourselves out there. Antiwar.com was one of the first groups to really use hyperlinks the way we did and then when Twitter really took off we started using it for links only. We didn’t tweet out what we had for lunch (I don’t care what anyone has for lunch) or cat pictures or whatnot. We’ve been able to utilize new media really well as early adopters and same with bitcoin. We weren’t the earliest adopters, but we were up there, and almost every libertarian group mainstream or alternative (whether the Koch brothers more mainstream ones or the Ron Paul supporter run ones) is taking bitcoin now. We rarely run into libertarian groups that don’t take bitcoin, so for us it’s changed. The way to measure it would be to see how ordinary businesses do it or when we see people on the left or people on the hard right [using it], people who have critiques of central power who may be very different from us. The people on the hard right like the Birchers, are they taking bitcoin? That’s when we’re gonna see a change, when more people start taking bitcoin that’s when we’re gonna see alternative media thrive. But I’m not sure what alternative media means anymore in 2013.
This used to be alternative media, but this interview and the interviews you do are a very common way people in the Free State Project get news and certainly people in the alternative anarchist groups get his or her news. I don’t pretend it’s a panacea and I don’t pretend any of the ways we are doing things are cure-alls, but we try to attack it at every level whether it’s the root causes, whether it’s encouraging people to drop out of the system in some way (I do respect that), or calling your representative in congress. What ended the most recent attempt at war in Syria was ordinary people calling their congressmen; that’s what happened, and that’s the most benign and boring form of political action. Some people say it’s kind of useless, like I live now in California and my representative is Adam Schuster, you mean I have to call this guy up I have to beg, “Please, please, please ask Barack Obama not to kill anybody in Syria on my behalf, thank you.” The whole process is humiliating, but that’s what changed that course. The people who take on those kinds of jobs like the members of congress respond (having their position though unearned wealth and power) is if you threaten to take those things away from them, will they actually do something like not send bombs off to faraway places to create more conflict, or to insert themselves in some conflicts caused by something we instigated and are going to make worse? I still have never seen, as a pragmatic solution, violence solve anything.
MK: Right. I think [bitcoin] adds another layer of variety to activism because you do have different forms and I think there’s room for all of them. I definitely am one of those types (while I’m an agorist myself and believe in a more outside the system approach) who’s fine with and has a lot of anarchist friends very involved in politics. I don’t see why we all can’t get along and be friends; if you’re doing anything to scale back the size of the empire that’s great.
AK: The empire has to be attacked in every way and every form at every level from bottom to top. There’s no one thing that’s going to end war; we’re all doing this, we’re constantly attacking. As an anarchist, I don’t feel responsible for the beliefs of the US government; I don’t feel tied to it emotionally. I don’t like the civic religion, I don’t like its symbols; I’m an atheist in that church (the state). Today is Veteran’s Day for example and I’m thinking of the people who were kidnapped into service; the people whose options are so limited who are trying to escape a bad home life or something and now they have to go suit up. You are part of the welfare state when you’re part of the warfare state.
Military machines don’t make any money. Raytheon might make money and Lockheed martin might, but there are very few people who are war profiteering. It’s a very small group; the politician class, the one percenters. They’re the ones profiting from the war.
It goes back to what plain ole liberal congressman Alan Grayson said, “The war is making you poor.” I know people disagree about what percentages of entitlements are being used, but of all the money that’s being spent, this is the longest term consequences for a lack of wealth. Empire is draining America; that’s what’s going to kill the US. It’s not going to be because we gave some crappy food stamps to people we managed to keep as an underclass because we have a country based on racial hierarchies and other weird [consequences] that come from not treating people as individuals. We…we [laughter] I’m going to say government certainly doesn’t recognize individuals; it doesn’t distinguish the unshaved masses from each other which is why people so easily use collective nouns as “we.” I certainly didn’t declare war on anyone.
MK: Yes, and it seems the war machine is still so strong because it is coercively funded through taxes. Do you see Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies providing an out for people who are saying, “I know a portion of my taxes are going to fund this war, but maybe I can use bitcoin to scale back how much of that is used.”?
AK: Absolutely, that’s why it’s certainly encouraged. I try to be cautious and avoid certain choices that cause people injury. I don’t know if cops with guns are going to come and take more of your money away if they discover you’re using bitcoin or not. My assumption is always that the pigs will take things from people; that’s inevitable. But people are conscious of the fact that there are other people doing it and there are ways to get involved that don’t engage the empire. That’s really, really important, we want to give people as many opportunities as possible to get out of that system. War touches everything we do and there’s very little that empire doesn’t affect. It affects everything, and you go [for example] to the Coffee Bean and Tea and get a mint latte and you see “Buy a bag of beans for the troops” and I’m not trying to sound awful, but troops do get special privileges. Members of the military class are given special privileges and they’re part of a priesthood, and we need to stop giving those sorts of privileges to people who do those sorts of things. But, there’s no escape from that, like getting up on an airline and saying, “Yay! There’s a soldier on board” all the way to the fact that all the liberation movements end up becoming subject to the empire. Feminism couldn’t be feminism; it had to be sucked up into part of the Feminist Majority Foundation like Ms. Magazine who managed to convince itself it is part of the feminist agenda. Anti-imperialism used to be clearly part of the feminist movement, now suddenly we’re bombing people in Afghanistan to free women and that’s sick; that’s not how liberation movements work. Or we’ll constantly pat ourselves on the back and say, “Yay, America is desegregated because of WW2” because we integrated the mercenaries to kill people overseas. Well, they’re not hired mercenaries, but people were conscripted and drafted into slavery, so I shouldn’t be so glib about that. Obviously many people had no choice in WW2 service. Everything is subservient to empire politics and basically everything can be reduced to that. Even all the internal libertarian conflicts among the mainstream groups are entirely based upon where people stood about war and US foreign policy, so everything is destroyed by empire; there’s nothing it doesn’t stop and there’s nothing that doesn’t corrupt.
MK: The war makers seem to be very unhappy about the rise of cryptocurrency. What do you think is the biggest threat posed by it?
AK: That people don’t need the US government to regulate their lives anywhere in the world, and I say the US government because that’s the leader of the empire. Everyone on planet earth is subject to the empire; there’s no escape from the US military machine or CIA involvement or foreign aid or presence of some sort left over from some occupation. There’s no place of escape, but with bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies, it become a problem. It means people can exchange goods and services with each other without the state and if they can do it without the state then why is it necessary in the first place? Why not base all our relationships on mutual respect and consensuality then why would we need a government?
MK: Exactly. It makes government irrelevant and considering we live a lot of our lives in a state of anarchy already, cryptocurrencies make that transition even easier.
AK: And after the state collapses, people still have means of exchange, it’s not like when government withers up and dies people aren’t going to be able to get water or cook food. I live in LA where people grow food huge Russian gardens on top of apartment complexes and anyone can do this right in the middle of the city just like your grandparents did or in the middle of the Bronx. Vegetables can be grown anywhere; you can make food anywhere. People don’t need a government to do that for them; they never did. Certainly don’t need anyone to drown me in crappy subsidized corn syrup so that my food tastes like garbage. Sorry to go on a health rant, I’m just really picky about what I eat.
MK: I think we saw during the government shutdown how useless a lot of these government agencies are. You don’t need the USDA to tell you how to cook your chicken so you don’t get salmonella. As far as threats to, it seems certain elements of the government are incompetent, but there are certain private interests who stand to lose a lot from the emergence of cryptocurrency. Who do you think is a bigger threat at this point? Personally, I think the central banking interests are more organized to take on bitcoin and other currencies. What are your views?
AK: The reason those even exist is because the private banking structure gets it power from centralized government. I mean, why would fractional reserve banking even exist without government? I guess you could do that, but I don’t think anyone would choose to do that in a freed market and certainly in under markets you would have lots of different currencies and lots of different ways of doing things. If I want to get some tea or more bottled water, there’s going to be people who want to trade with me. People will create it, I have goods or services and I can make an offer and people will still give me things. I don’t think that’s going to be a problem. We did things before centralized banks and we’ll do things afterwards, too. There’s a great series by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea called the Illuminatus! Trilogy and it’s a parody of the different conspiracy theories that were around during their day. It uses metaphors and thought experiments to get you to see things very differently and at one point it says, “What do you do if they take away all the chairs?” Well, you sit on your ass, that’s what you do. The world existed without the US government and its great structures and its welfare state and it will exist afterwards. We might do things better without the drug war, which is an extension of Jim Crow and is an extension of the slavery system, we might have something approaching racial equality. Certainly without the symbols of the patriarchy like the Washington Monument—a giant penis in my face—when men no longer think it’s good to suit up and kill people to prove themselves, then we’ll have a much better place. The world will be a better place without it [war], it’s not like the world would break down into chaos and anarchy without government. People will figure out a way to do things without instruction from people with guns.
Original content by Meghan, copyleft, tips welcome