Feb 7 • 10M

Following In The Footsteps Of History

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Good Morning Everyone,

The wild and rampant censorship train seems to have well and truly left the station and is gaining momentum. There is an incredible level of pressure being applied to Joe Rogan and his podcast, with Spotify caving to political pressure removing 113 episodes of the podcast so far (jremissing.com).

Alongside this, is the extraordinary situation in the city of Ottawa. Following Gofundme’s wild financial censorship of over $10m in donations to the #truckersforfreedomconvoy2022, the mayor has now declared a state of emergency labelling it a national insurrection. At the same time, bitcoiners have raised over 6.4btc for the Canadian Truckers Freedom Convoy.

You can view the bitcoin raised here, view each transaction and message attached and also contribute on-chain and via lightning.

I believe much of what we are seeing in the two scenarios above, and much of what we have seen all over the world over the last 18 months is explained In a recent article by Ray Dalio titled:

The Rising Risk of Civil War: Following in the Footsteps of History

In the article Ray outlines:

“the US appears to be on a classic path toward some form of civil war. In this post I’d like to show you both what that path looks like and where the US appears to be on it.”

Through his analysis, Ray has identified an archetypal pattern that exists and repeats throughout history and uses this framework to help him interpret what is happening in the present, and may be upcoming in the future.

He outlines the cycle as follows:

"Stage 1, when the new order begins and the new leadership consolidates power, which leads to . . .

. . . Stage 2, when the resource-allocation systems and government bureaucracies are built and refined, which if done well leads to . . .

. . . Stage 3, when there is peace and prosperity, which leads to . . .

. . . Stage 4, when there are great excesses in spending and debt and the widening of wealth and political gaps, which leads to . . .

. . . Stage 5, when there are very bad financial conditions and intense conflict, which leads to . . .

. . . Stage 6, when there are civil wars/revolutions, which leads to . . .

. . . Stage 1, which leads to Stage 2, etc., with the whole cycle happening over again.”

He estimates that the US is in stage 5 of this archetypical cycle, and against the markers and characteristics he outlines, seems disturbingly likely.

Some of the forces that bring about big internal conflicts include:

  • the country and the people in the country being in bad financial shape

  • large income, wealth and values gaps within that entity

  • severe negative economic shock

As the US has now surpassed $30T in government debt or more than 130% debt-to-GDP and there is a clear move away from the dollar by countries like China and Russia, the fed is increasingly becoming the (only) buyer of last resort.

“A classic marker of being in Stage 5 and a leading indicator of the loss of borrowing and spending power, which is one of the triggers for going into Stage 6, is that the government has large deficits that are creating more debt to be sold than buyers other than the government’s own central bank are willing to buy. That leading indicator is turned on when governments that can’t print money have to raise taxes and cut spending, or when those that can print money print a lot of it and buy a lot of government debt.”

Sounds familiar, right?

Other indicators identified include:

  • Decadence

  • Bureaucracy

  • Populism and Extremism

  • Class Warfare

  • The Loss of Truth in the Public Domain

  • Rule-Following Fades and Raw Fighting Begins

This next section really stands out in relation to what we are seeing right now in relation to censorship, polarization, populism and the ability to reach social consensus and agree on a shared reality. That is an ability to agree what is fundamentally true. This is at the very core of the societal fabric.

“Out of disorder and discontent come leaders who have strong personalities, are anti-elitist, and claim to fight for the common man. They are called populists. Populism is a political and social phenomenon that appeals to ordinary people who feel that their concerns are not being addressed by the elites. It typically develops when there are wealth and opportunity gaps, perceived cultural threats from those with different values both inside and outside the country, and “establishment elites” in positions of power who are not working effectively for most people.   

Watch populism and polarization as markers. The more that populism and polarization exist, the further along a nation is in Stage 5, and the closer it is to civil war and revolution. In Stage 5, moderates become the minority. In Stage 6, they cease to exist.”

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While in the article Ray is speaking specifically within the US, I think these symptoms are being seen in many nations around the world with an observably high level of populist leadership in recent years, and wild polarization of opinions and an inability to reach societal consensus. I’ve certainly never lived in a time where a persons private medical status has been such a wildly divisive and polarizing point of contention.

The sections explaining class warfare and the loss of truth, are striking in how observable and relevant they are, highlighting the tendency for simplistic and binary thinking in times of hardship, the use of the media as a tool to manipulate the populous, and also the demonization of those in a separate class, producing a scapegoat class which many believe to be the root of all evil.

The outcome of which should concern any rational human being.

“In Stage 5, class warfare intensifies. That is because, as a rule, during times of increased hardship and conflict there is an increased inclination to look at people in stereotypical ways as members of one or more classes, and to look at these classes as either being enemies or allies. In Stage 5, these things become much more apparent. In Stage 6, they manifest themselves in open fighting. A classic marker in Stage 5 is the demonization of those in other classes, which typically produces one or more scapegoat classes which are commonly believed to be the source of the problems. This leads to a drive to exclude, imprison, or destroy them, which happens in Stage 6. 

Not knowing what is true because of distortions in the media and propaganda increases as people become more polarized, emotional, and politically motivated. In Stage 5, those who are fighting typically work with those in the media to manipulate people’s emotions to gain support and to destroy the opposition. It is well-recognized this is now happening. The perceived truth in media, both traditional and social, is lower than at any other time in our lifetimes.”

At minimum, i believe there is value in leveraging the work Ray has done here, and being open to utilizing this framework, if for nothing else, than to help you potentially understand some of what may be happening around you, and give you the best chance of successfully navigating this period.

For me personally, his assessment resonates in a profound, and also somewhat unsettling way. It seems clear to me that much of what has typically played out in history is playing out in real time right now, and in multiple countries around the world.

We have protests all over the world. Division is so extreme to the extent that families and close friends are being manipulated by these tactics and tricked into turning against one another, and our ability to agree on a shared reality has never been more difficult.

The unvaxed so far have clearly been a scapegoat class, and whether that continues or not remains uncertain, but seems likely. It’s very easy for me to imagine Bitcoin, and bitcoiners being labelled as one of these classes also, and being blamed for a crashing economy, despite the fact it’s actually the best solution we have from a monetary perspective.

What i’m confident in, is that the truth is anti-fragile, and lying, deception and those that engage in these practices knowingly or unknowingly are inherently fragile, and in the fullness of time, the truth wins. Understanding the dynamics of the game-board gives you an edge and offers you a chance to not be a puppet of someone else’s game. I intentionally removed all print, radio and free-to-air TV from my content diet over 6years ago, and I don’t believe it’s a coincidence that the propaganda seems so obvious to me, while most of my family have a different opinion, and they consume that content every day.

I’m sure many of you can relate.

Cultivating a clear mind through meditation has never been a greater superpower than it is in today’s disturbed and distorted world, and maintaining a strong community is the ultimate hedge against a world gone mad.

I understand for many people it’s likely not obvious what much of this has to do with bitcoin, for those of you where this is the case, i urge you to continue to do the work in understanding bitcoin with a low time preference, and I can assure you that over time, it will become more clear.

The monetary system is at the base layer of society as we know it. It effects every facet of our lives, far beyond what most are aware of. The current system is broken, and is increasingly being used for political means against many of us, to impose rules upon us, and to silence voices that a powerful few oppose - and this trend is very likely only to accelerate. This is well beyond the scope of what money as a technology is actually intended, and actually leads the current form of money to fail over time as it corrupts absolutely.

We now have a truly decentralized protocol that is immune to the attacks of the past, and accounts for the absolute worst of human nature, which offers us a potential way forward, and out of the historical archetypal loops by preventing us from imposing our worst values on less powerful members within the network, and guiding us (incentives) toward our highest values and making this the path of least resistance.

I hope this is of value to you. It certainly has been to me.

If you have the time i recommend reading the article in full, as well as the book.

Hope you all have a powerful start to your week.

I look forward to talking to you tomorrow.

AK