For the uninitiated, voluntaryism is a philosophy primarily based on consent. Within the easiest phrases it says: “If it’s not voluntary, it’s not ethical.” This primary assertion is usually countered with “Sure, however not everybody agrees on that, some individuals use violence to get what they need.” That is 100% true. And for this reason voluntaryists aren’t pacifists, however consider in and help self-defense. Self-defense as per voluntaryism is outlined as defending one’s property, which begins with the self. As such, the philosophy and its adherents have taken a outstanding curiosity in bitcoin, due to the non-violent nature of peer-to-peer, decentralized foreign money.

Additionally learn: Ignore Crypto Twitter – Life as a Nocoiner Isn’t That Bad

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Particular person Self-Possession

The central axiom of voluntaryism is particular person self-ownership. What this implies merely is that a person’s physique is their very own, and the our bodies of others aren’t theirs to coerce or management by way of violence or threats of violence. Whereas this feels like a given for any ethical society, widespread practices and concepts in present tradition and society comparable to taxation, democracy, and authoritarianism typically are incompatible. They’re incompatible as a result of they’re primarily based on violations of property, which is the definition of violence as per the philosophy.

What Is Property?

Voluntaryist conceptions of property are arrived at by way of the person. As the person’s physique and life is his or her personal (particular person self-ownership), by extension, these beforehand unowned assets which they purchase by way of their physique’s labor turn into their property. If there’s an unowned apple tree in a meadow, the person who picks an apple from the tree has now appropriated the fruit. Within the case the place there’s a dispute in regards to the tree itself, legal guidelines of property—and never arbitrary assertions of authority—resolve the rightful proprietor.

Let’s say two individuals within the above situation disagree, and each declare possession of the apple tree. They’ve a couple of selections. They’ll “duke it out” and assault each other bodily for dominance primarily based on arbitrary assertion. “It’s mine as a result of I say so!” They’ll alternately work out some system voluntarily by which to share the tree and its fruit. Realistically, nevertheless, this doesn’t all the time occur. The third choice is to find out who—if anybody—is the tree’s correct proprietor. “Correct” being itself associated to “property.”

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Willpower of Possession

Maybe particular person A on this situation makes a extra direct, goal hyperlink declare. “The tree was my father’s. He planted it and gave it to me when he died.” On this case the property legitimately acquired by way of the daddy’s physique has been gifted to the son by his will. Celebration B has no say over the disposal of the tree, as property is outlined as an unique use proper.

In one other situation, get together B would possibly make the declare that the tree is a part of his homestead. He fenced it in years in the past and there was nobody residing round there on the time, or no protests if there have been. He stumbled on the tree first, and claimed it. In one more context a celebration C is perhaps current to assist resolve the battle, as resorting to the initiation of bodily power all the time comes with societal and financial penalties.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

The Value of Violent Battle

Ought to particular person A and particular person B resort to fisticuffs for possession of the tree, a number of critical prices are incurred. First, if there aren’t any different events within the space, particular person A killing or maiming B for the tree is not going to be useful to him. Other than shedding some firm within the wilderness, A additionally loses any hope of market cooperation with B, and their aggregated energy to safe and handle assets is diminished. Maybe B is a wonderful marksman and a talented hunter. Bodily attacking B might lead to no extra deer jerky or meat provides from A. On this manner, cooperation is advantageous to each A and B as self-interested people, fully absent of any concepts about “selflessness” or altruism.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

The Present State of affairs (Euphemized Theft)

This straightforward illustration might be compounded, multiplied, or made infinitely extra complicated with out altering or disproving the foundational ethics or useful logic beneath. In at the moment’s world, small teams of people referred to as “presidents,” “governments,” “prime ministers,” and “kings and queens,” have claimed possession of huge swathes of property and assets—together with the our bodies of others—willy-nilly. There’s no connection to their our bodies. No connection to self-ownership. And although “particular person self-ownership” could also be semantically critiqued, the pure actuality is concrete, goal, and immutable. Solely I can transfer my arms or blink my eyes by way of direct organic connection to my mind. Nobody can obtain this extra immediately than I can. In a way, that is “nature’s design.”

The rulers of the world at the moment declare possession over the our bodies of others by way of taxation. They demand a share of the earnings earned via the labor of the our bodies of others beneath menace of violence. “Taxation” as such is merely a euphemism for extortion. On a one-to-one stage (attempt it with your mates and see in the event that they’re advantageous with it) that is referred to as slavery. On a governmental stage, it’s illogically euphemized as “the value we pay to dwell in a civilized society.” The literal gangs referred to as “governments” at the moment declare land and assets, killing or caging any who problem them, apropos of nothing greater than the antiquated concept of “divine proper to rule.”

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Universalization, Bitcoin, and Past

Whereas goal morality is hotly contested, it’s an pointless debate insofar as voluntaryism is worried. The query is straightforward: does one worth minimal violence? If one values the minimization of potential violence in a given society, it’s empirically demonstrable {that a} non-universalizable norm like “kings and queens” (everyone can’t be king or queen) will all the time potentiate violent battle over assets and affect. That is dependable as gravity. There have to be a grundnorm for figuring out variations, which each and every particular person (the smallest minority in any society) can train with equal potential clout.

Bitcoin and different peer-to-peer digital fee methods have opened new doorways for voluntaryists to transact peacefully. The place the fiat (“by decree”) cash methods of governments worldwide depend on violence—”Use this cash or we’ll bodily hurt or threaten you”—bitcoin depends on consent. Customers are free to not give up their worth to bullies or violent events, because the “bully” has no management over the arithmetic which govern the system. This math, like particular person self-ownership, is a naturally occurring, decentralized, objectively provable phenomenon. Voluntaryists desire decentralized order versus centralized, violent governance. This makes bitcoin and crypto a superb match.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Answering Widespread Objections

There are many objections to using bitcoin. Some suppose it’s a deep state co-opt created as a long-game takeover of the world financial system. A conspiracy to exit money. Some view not paying taxes and a scarcity of centralized oversight as legal and harmful. Objections to the concepts of voluntaryism are in no quick provide, both. “It’s utopian! Persons are typically violent and egocentric!”

No matter private opinion, the details stay: bitcoin and crypto (know-how) facilitate direct, consensual P2P transaction. Claiming a bitcoin consumer have to be “supervised” with violence or compelled to pay for one thing, is a violation of their self-ownership and pure human autonomy. Claiming that individuals are corrupt, so voluntaryism “can’t work” is a self-detonating place, logically. If certainly most individuals are evil, the worst concept ever could be to have a centralized energy construction composed of those exact same individuals.

Bitcoin and Voluntaryism – Where Libertarian Philosophy Meets Crypto

Large legal gangs have already taken over; one simply must learn the information day by day. They’re referred to as governments. Roads are already constructed by personal corporations all around the world. Breathtakingly complicated webs of voluntary authorized agreements maintain collectively the fashionable economies of countries worldwide. Legions of people work together and transact peacefully day by day, not due to a robust police presence, or regulation, however as a result of the place extremely self-interested people valuing peace are involved, property norms, free commerce, and powerful social connections are infinitely preferable to superstitions about kings and queens backed by unthinkable brutality and violence.

For an introduction to the fundamental tenets of voluntaryism, try this wonderful video. To be taught extra about bitcoin and cryptocurrencies, seek the advice of this resource.

Did you come to bitcoin by way of voluntaryism? Tell us within the feedback part beneath.

OP-ed disclaimer: That is an Op-ed article. The opinions expressed on this article are the writer’s personal. Bitcoin.com is just not liable for or responsible for any content material, accuracy or high quality throughout the Op-ed article. Readers ought to do their very own due diligence earlier than taking any actions associated to the content material. Bitcoin.com is just not accountable, immediately or not directly, for any harm or loss prompted or alleged to be attributable to or in reference to using or reliance on any info on this Op-ed article.


Photos courtesy of Shutterstock, Truthful Use


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Graham Smith

Graham Smith is an American expat residing in Japan, and the founding father of Voluntary Japan—an initiative devoted to spreading the philosophies of unschooling, particular person self-ownership, and financial freedom within the land of the rising solar.





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