International Man: Statism has become a new religion. A growing number of people are interested in using the State’s power to tell others how to live. They are also voting themselves freebies at the expense of others. It’s clear that those who want to be left alone won’t be. Is it possible to find freedom in an unfree place?
Doug Casey: The fact is that you can run but you can’t hide. That’s because the world has been infected by a virus. I don’t mean the ridiculous COVID virus. I mean the virus of statism and collectivism. There’s really nowhere you can go to be safe from it—only some places that are better than others.
For instance, the so-called Five Eyes countries—the US, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They were once the major bastions of Western Civilization, the only civilization—ever—that held personal freedom as an ideal. But now they’re the very ones leading the route downhill.
It’s a real problem for freedom lovers. We’re a smaller and smaller minority. Most people, however, prefer a strong leader promising the illusion of safety and security. Nothing has changed since the days of Rome. It devolved from a yeoman republic to a multicultural empire with onerous taxes in order to pay for bread and circuses to keep the capite censi under control.
The best thing you can do to defend yourself—at least while it’s still possible—is to become rich enough to insulate yourself from the State. Rich enough so that even if they steal a lot from you—and they will— you still have enough. Enough to absorb the hit, keep moving, and live life as you’d like.
The fact is, most of us are middle class. Historically, the middle class is what America is all about; it made America unique. The work ethic, striving, and improving, doing. The middle class is being destroyed by inflation and taxes, which make it hard to save and build capital, and regulations, which make it hard to produce, to do.
Since the invention of mass democracy, since it was turned into a worldwide secular religion around the time of World War One, there’s arisen another class—the political class. Anyone can join it. They were always there but nowhere near as hugely important or virulent. I can’t think of a single verb to define them—all the possibilities are unflattering, though. They hate the middle class, though, because its members are, by definition, productive and independent.
To get back to the original question, what you should do is become rich so you can insulate yourself to the best degree that you can from the ongoing crisis. It will eventually pass, and you can reposition yourself—if you’ve maintained some capital.
Money is far from everything, of course. It’s just a tool. But tools are helpful …
The financial and economic problems in the world are serious and accelerating. But as we go deeper into the Greater Depression, your biggest risks aren’t financial or economic. They’re political.
The only way to solve that problem from a practical point of view is to diversify politically the way you would diversify financially.
That means you should have a crib in a second or third country—as well as businesses and financial assets in others besides your home country. That’s the only thing that you can do at this point. You can vote if it makes you feel good. But, as Stalin said, it’s not who votes that counts—it’s who counts the votes.
The political classes everywhere are using the current COVID hysteria to cement themselves in place, and very few of the sheeple are resisting. To the contrary, they welcome it, because they think drastic actions make them safe. A degenerating society values safety above all.
International Man: Almost every government and country in the world is going in the wrong direction from a personal freedom standpoint.
Are there any options for like-minded individuals to come together if there is no perfect country or place?
Doug Casey: Everybody should read Neal Stephenson’s book, The Diamond Age.
The ideas that he developed, essentially of nation-states falling apart and being replaced with phyles, was very prescient.
Humans are social animals; we like to hang out with other people.
This is especially true with people that are like us. In other words, people that believe in the same things, that have the same values, and have the same outlook on the world.
It’s actually crazy to try to put diverse, disparate people together into the same political entity. That’s because, inevitably, any and all of the groups in that artificial political entity are going to try to get control of the apparatus of the State to benefit themselves and punish the others. Politics always results in a war of all against all.
I think Stephenson’s novel was quite correct. People will increasingly find that their real countrymen are people with whom they share values and ideas—or whatever happens to be important to them. Not a national passport. That’s just government ID, like a driver’s license.
In other words, technology eventually turns the tables to the advantage of the average guy, even though it’s always used to suppress the average guy in the beginning.
It was technology that liberated the masses to overturn whatever the current political class might have been at the time. It has nothing to do with democracy, which is just a sop to make the peasants believe they’re in charge. If voting made any difference, they wouldn’t let you do it.
It’s a trend that’s going to continue. But it can be years, or even decades, before a new technology finally gets into the hands of the average guy. Then the political class wants to regulate it.
The powers-that-be treat all technologies as dangerous. Like guns, they want to keep these things out of the hands of the average guy, basically to keep the peasants from defending themselves.
But the cat always gets out of the bag in the long run. It’s a reason for long-term optimism. That said, there’s always a chance of a genuine Dark Age if the old order collapses seriously enough.
International Man: Most people are familiar with large, centralized tech companies like Google, Apple, Amazon, etc.
But we’ve also seen the development of decentralized technologies that empower the individual, such as encryption and the 3D printing of guns. One key example of this is bitcoin, which is a decentralized form of money.
What promise do you think decentralized technologies have for wresting power out of the hands of the State, and what are the implications?
Doug Casey: The mistake that people make with things like Facebook— a giant, amoral, and duplicitous corporation—is thinking that just because billions of people use it, it must be harmless. “Oh, it must be kind of decentralized and democratic because it lets everybody communicate with one another.”
Giant media corporations like Facebook and Google are dangerous because they can actually form people’s view of reality itself. Much more than newspapers or even TV could. The average person’s understanding of the world, what’s happening, and what other people think is no longer a product of talking to his neighbors or even looking out the window. Their opinions and emotions are now formed by looking at their little screens. That makes them very easy to manipulate.
The situation will get worse with Artificial Intelligence and Augmented Reality—somebody will program and control what goes into these things. Maybe subtly, or maybe very overtly. The situation is greatly aggravated by the COVID hysteria in many ways.
The solution to the danger, however, is not to regulate them. That would be totally counterproductive. Regulation just means giving even more power to the State—which is innately vastly more dangerous than any corporation. At least corporations have to provide a worthwhile service to stay in business…
What we really need is not just one Facebook where everybody goes, and can therefore be easily monitored. What we need is 10,000 Facebooks, so the power devolves to everybody and anybody.
The problem will resolve itself in the long run, though. Giant corporations become dysfunctional.
I hope, and actually expect, that places like Germany, Italy, and certainly India will once again devolve into smaller units. The way the Soviet Union broke up into fifteen, and Yugoslavia broke up into six, and Czechoslovakia split into two. The US, which has evolved into a multicultural domestic empire, should—and likely will—split up as well.