The Case Against Regulation

The nature of the government

Tyrone Wednesday June 18, 2014

When people make the case "for" government regulation of bitcoin, they seem to make assumptions about the actual nature of government. It seems that there are people who feel that the government of the United States of America, the governments of other major countries, and the inter-governmental agreements that these nation-states have for joint purposes are something kind, honourable, decent, and meant for the benefit of everyone on the planet. That apparent view stands in very stark contrast to the evidence available.

Here is a quote from a New York Review essay by Mark Danner published 7 November 2013. He writes, in part, "The government is a national security regime of interlocking and overlapping intelligence and military agencies led and largely staffed by a besieged and increasingly ruthless minority." Of course, Danner is writing of the government of Bashar al Assad in Syria.

However, when I look around at the actual evidence of "what is the government of the United Kingdom," or "what is the government of the United States of America," or "what is the government" of various other identifiable places, and I take off the rose-tinted glasses that everyone in the "let's regulate things for the greater good" community seems to be determined to shove onto my face every single day, what I see is: "a national security regime of interlocking and overlapping intelligence and military agencies led and largely staffed by a ...ruthless minority." I do not see a kind, gentle, participatory government which welcomes dissent, which advocates for the best interests of everyone. I see a bunch of rabid dogs wearing the uniforms of lobbyists racing about demanding that government do this, that, and the other, for the benefit of those the lobbyists represent while a group of extremely privileged people sit at the centre of power and pass judgement on how much they are going to get away with taking home.

Maybe I'm missing something. I evidently missed something when over 7,700 protesters were arrested in two years of the Occupy movement in the United States, as documented here: http://stpeteforpeace.org/occupyarrests.sources.html

If people who are peacefully protesting the government bailouts of enormous corporations, who simply want to be heard, are being arrested in the thousands, it raises a large number of questions. People are supposed to be free to speak, to assemble, and to petition the government for redress of grievances. Those freedoms apparently no longer exist, or there would not have been 7,700 plus arrests in the first two years of the Occupy movement.

Maybe I'm missing something. General Keith Alexander seriously proposed "going after not terrorists or criminals but 'radicalizers,' including innocent Americans by searching the Internet for their vulnerabilities, such as visits to porn sites. Then by secretly leaking this information, the NSA could discredit them," according to a speech James Bamford gave on the occasion of Edward Snowden winning the Ridenhour prize. That speech was covered by The Nation magazine in a recent cover story. http://www.thenation.com/blog/179634/edward-snowden-and-laura-poitras-receive-ridenhour-prize-truth-telling

It seems odd, then, to encounter a few weeks later, reading over an old issue of The New York Review, to see an article by Perry Link titled, "How to Deal with the Chinese Police." In it, Link describes a system of police, informants, and government censors in the People's Republic of China who "...are especially attentive to any sign that an unauthorized group might form. The goal is to stop 'trouble' before it starts. Weiwen does blanket coverage.... Those who do choose to stand out from the crowd, risking the label of 'troublemaker,' immediately come into focus for weiwen. Police arrive for 'visits.' They warn. They cajole. Failing that, they threaten and harass. Beyond that, they detain and charge with crimes." (New York Review, 7 November 2013)

Now, although this guy was allowed to retire from the government in 2013, it seems clear that the policies espoused by General Alexander are the policies of the National Security Agency and of the Obama administration, because those policies were implemented and backed by Lt. Gen. James Clapper of the NSA, who very clearly likes the idea of monitoring all Americans, and everyone else in the world, whether they are engaged in criminal or terrorist behaviour, or not. Clapper repeatedly lied to Congress, and Congress has repeatedly asked for his resignation, asked for the Obama administration to investigate Clapper, and been rebuffed. The Obama administration really likes Clapper, stands behind him, and encourages him in doing everything in his power to attack everyone on Earth who has any opinion about anything.

So, where is this government in which people are able to participate, voice their opinions, be themselves, say what they really think? There is no such government, and agencies like the NSA and MI5 and MI6 make sure of it. You don't have any privacy in your communications unless you yourself make sure of it through encryption, through the use of a virtual privacy network, and in other ways.

Why pretend? Why pretend that the republic of limited powers we were told about in grade school still exists? It doesn't. And pretending that it does is harmful to you.