Bitcoin is a freedom currency in a manner that isn’t obvious and which is virtually undiscussed. Bitcoin is commonly linked to victimless crime, but the dynamic reaches far deeper than merely freeing individuals to buy goods and services, unsavory or not. Victimless crime is the lifeblood of the surveillance state without which big government could not function. Victimless crime creates the surveillance state.
The arch enemy of total scrutiny is the privacy and economic anonymity of cash or digital currencies. This means something as tiny as the pseudonymous transfer of one bitcoin is a threat to the state’s very existence.
Daniel Krawisz of the Satoshi Nakamoto Institute was nothing more than deadpan accurate in a 2014 presentation in which he stated, “Someone who promotes bitcoin who is not an anarchist is a crypto-anarchist because bitcoin is inherently anarchistic.”
The True Dynamic of Bitcoin and Victimless Crime
A victimless crime is an illegal act that violates no rights and harms only the people who voluntarily commit it. And, then, the harm is only in some cases like drug use. And, then, only in the opinion of some people who are not necessarily involved. Politically speaking, victimless crimes are also the engine that drives the total surveillance state.
Why is this true? When a crime has flesh-and-blood victims, they almost always contact law enforcement because they want restitution, justice or protection. A mugged man files a police report on the chance of getting his wallet back; a raped woman views a police lineup in the hope of finding justice; a shop owner turns in the video of a theft so that a neighborhood thug won’t steal from him again. Law enforcement doesn’t need to ferret out such crimes. The police can sit in one place, have victims come to them and only then investigate. If the victims prefer to remain silent, then the police have little incentive to investigate a crime with no report.
Victimless ‘crimes’ are the antithesis. The criminal acts are either consensual, like prostitution, or they are committed in isolation, like drug use. In either case, the police are neither contacted nor welcomed. No one turns himself in for buying a blow job; no one files a complaint on himself for snorting cocaine. These crimes do not come and knock on the police station door.
To enforce victimless laws, therefore, the authorities must hunt down the hidden scofflaws by monitoring the general population for suspicious behavior. They track the movement of money, create massive databases, eavesdrop on all communications, employ snitches and use a multitude of other intrusive tools of surveillance.
The incredible violation of privacy and personal rights is justified by the politically useful issues of illegal drugs, prostitution, and other moral hot buttons. Actual acts of violence such as child pornography and the funding of terrorism are thrown into the mix. The argument is this: because of a small number of hidden bad actors, everyone everywhere must relinquish their freedom and wealth to the state.
In more basic terms: the further law enforcement moves away from real victims and toward victimless crimes, the more it becomes a police state that relies on total surveillance. The state knows this. And, so, anything that blocks surveillance runs the risk of also becoming “a victimless crime.” For example, the refusal to fill out a census form is criminalized. Many people are puzzled by why the state penalizes such an innocuous act. They shouldn’t be.
In his book Seeing Like a State, James C. Scott commented, “If we imagine a state that has no reliable means of enumerating and locating its population, gauging its wealth, and mapping its land, resources, and settlements, we are imagining a state whose interventions in that society are necessarily crude.” Imagine a state that could not find your children to draft or your bank account to freeze. That state could not regulate your business or arrest you for peaceful but deviant practices. Acquiring data allowed the modern state to grow. The more data, the more powerful and effective its authority.
It is no coincidence that prison populations within America have risen by close to five times the level of 1980 when the war on drugs heated up. At this point, nearly 86% of federal prisoners are victimless criminals. The surveillance state has grown in pace. Appeals to compassion or common sense regarding prisoners have fallen on deaf ears because victimless crime laws serve their purpose: power and social control, which verge on being synonyms.
The term is no longer fashionable, perhaps because it highlights that people who commit no harm are being punished. The preferred term is now “crimes against society.” The shift in language casts society in the role of an individual who can be robbed, raped or assaulted and so must be protected by the state. This is why criminal proceedings list the state as the ‘plaintiff’ even when the real victim is known. The victimization of society occurs whenever an individual peacefully transfers his own money in an unapproved manner because 1) “who knows where that money came from or goes,” and 2) it is not taxed or otherwise skimmed by the state and banks.
In reality, of course, victimless crimes are not committed against society but against the state. They are a modern version of “crimes against the crown” – that is, a form of treason. The faux crimes are used to justify an ever-expanding surveillance system which forms the core of totalitarianism. They are so essential to state power that actual crimes, such as assault or theft, are often punished lightly compared to the ‘crimes’ of disloyalty to the state.
Then, into the scene, bitcoin blunders like the proverbial bull in a china shop. Or so it must seem to central planners. To paraphrase John Lennon, “bitcoin is what happens when the state is making other plans.” The state’s response is a campaign of slander; bitcoin is child porn, money laundering, human trafficking…fill a despicable word into the blank. What is the best response?
Solving Bitcoin’s Victimless Problem
Stop apologizing. There are people who use bitcoin to buy ‘immoral goods’ (whatever that means) just as there are people who use cash to do so. As long as the participants are consenting adults, that’s their business. Not yours, not mine. The state is the one who interjects violence and harm when it points a gun at peaceful adults. Stop apologizing.
The attack on bitcoin will be framed in moral terms. It will be cast as a way to protect vulnerable and misguided individuals who use their own bodies in ‘unacceptable’ ways. Or it will unfold as a campaign of resentment against those individuals who do not pay their so-called “fair share” toward maintaining the surveillance state.
A moral attack must be met with moral indignation, not an apology. For one thing, an apology is an admission of guilt. The banner of bitcoin should read: “No victim. No crime. No apology.” If an individual is victimized by fraud or violence connected to bitcoin, then law enforcement should do their job and solve an actual crime.
Images courtesy of Shutterstock, Bitcoin.com, and Pixabay.