by Michael Krieger, Liberty Blitzkrieg:
Or take the right to vote. In principle, it is a great privilege. In practice, as recent history has repeatedly shown, the right to vote, by itself, is no guarantee of liberty. Therefore, if you wish to avoid dictatorship by referendum, break up modern society’s merely functional collectives into self-governing, voluntarily co-operating groups, capable of functioning outside the bureaucratic systems of Big Business and Big Government.
-Aldous Huxley, in Brave New World Revisited (1958)
The single event that changed my life more than any other was TARP, aka the banker bailout. The unfairness, extreme greed and selfishness with which the status quo bailed out financial criminals while leaving the public high and dry changed me forever. When it comes to shaping American history, it is equal in importance to the attacks of 9/11.
As someone who grew up privileged, I never really questioned the criminality of the status quo system. Like so many others who are beneficiaries of the way things are, there’s not much incentive to look behind the curtain. Nevertheless, the banker bailouts shook me to my core and opened my mind in ways that no other event could. At the time, I was happily earning a very large income at a young age while doing absolutely nothing to benefit society. As such, I couldn’t contemplate why government officials were putting so much money and energy into bailing out people like me, while ignoring everyone else. It felt irrational, unethical and dirty. I wrote about all this for over a year while still working in the financial sector, before concluding that it was time to part ways in early 2010. Even back then, I was incessantly warning that tremendous anger from the banker bailouts would ultimately bubble to the surface and create the sort of backdrop in which authoritarians, demagogues and fascists thrive.
The following years have felt like a tremendous rollercoaster ride. My emotions have vacillated significantly from pessimism to optimism, and now reside in a bizarre state in which the two inhabit an uncomfortable coexistence. I’ve previously defined the monumental struggle of our time as: Liberty and Decentralization vs. Authoritarianism and Centralization. For example, I noted in the post, The Comcast/Time Warner Merger and the War Between Centralization and Decentralization:
Until recent years, the struggle between the forces of “centralization” and “decentralization” was more of a full on slaughter-fest than an actually battle or war. As Americans sat there blissfully asleep for decades, every facet of our lives has been carefully consolidated into the hands of a smaller and smaller group of corporations, and hence individual executives. This trend is undeniable in everything from food, banking, media and everything in between.
Myself and many others saw the financial crisis of 2008 as a gigantic wakeup call. The disasters caused by powerful financial institutions and the greedy people that ran them should have been used as a rallying cry to break these institutions up. To recognize the dangers of too much power in one particular place. This is especially important in something as crucial as banking. However, as we are all painfully aware, this is not what happened. Rather, the institutions were bailed out, the industry consolidated even more than it was before, and the perpetrators of the crisis emerged from it even more wealthy and powerful.
My personal focus on this website has been to expose the unique dangers presented by centralization in the financial industry and the monetary system. However, many others are dedicated to the equally important and disturbing trends in other industries.
In the years since the financial crisis, there have been many positive signs which have inspired in me a long-term optimistic view. One of the most encouraging events of this time period has been the creation and success of the crypto-currency network Bitcoin. Some of the smartest minds on the planet are now dedicated full time to pursuing Bitcoin-related projects, and its mere existence has inspired millions across the globe and opened minds to the unbridled explosion of human creativity that emerges from decentralized systems.
Please follow SGT Report on Twitter & help share the message.