Down With Power Audiobook!

L. Neil Smith's

Number 858, February 7, 2016

A violent revolution is certainly a difficult thing
to control, a limited strategy for change, and is
unlikely to bring about overall good results.

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Being Played
by Jim Davidson

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Special to L. Neil Smith's The Libertarian Enterprise

"It is only prudent never to place complete confidence in that by which we have even once been deceived."
—Rene Descartes

Suppose you are one of the billionaire puppet masters. You've known since 2008 that the system is unsustainable. You know that the central bank manipulations and "quantitative easing" have all been stop-gap measures meant to extend the huge transfer of wealth to the top 0.1% of people. You know that negative interest rates and zero interest rate policies cannot help and almost certainly hurt the economies of the countries where they are being used. You know that tens of millions of American, tens of millions of Europeans, and billions of people worldwide are out of work, and angry. You know that your wars have been very profitable for you and very harmful to many others. People everywhere are very angry and justifiably want blood. The blood they really want is yours.

So, what would you do? You've made lots of money, certainly billions, from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Syria, Mali, and elsewhere. Your wars have killed hundreds of thousands of people, made millions homeless, and desolated vast areas of the globe. Tens of millions of the people in the affected areas are refugees, having seen everyone and everything they care about killed or mutilated or destroyed. And you know that you need a set of targets to slake the blood lust of the people you've harmed, both in your own country and in other countries.

Would you, in that situation, devious and vile as you must be in order to be one of those people, order the politicians to open the borders? Order the governments to "stand down" the border control systems in order to ensure that a flood of already-angry refugees enter into wealthy countries in order to escape poverty and desolation? Order Facebook to prevent people from even talking about the situation in order to ensure that even the outlet of discussion is clamped down.

You know that of these millions of refugees, a very large percentage are going to bring with them their own culture, their own religion, their own language. To no one's surprise, many are not going to seek to assimilate very soon, nor adopt the culture they find themselves in. So you have created targets, millions of targets, for mindless anger and violence.

To further this project, you find ways to send money and other forms of support to nationalist and populist politicians who will blame the immigrants. You, being evil and disgusting, being one of those primarily over-60, white, ethnically European, racist, sexist, homophobic, xenophobic, authoritarian, pro-war, billionaires who think they rule the world are now thinking you have a good plan to get out of the way of the angry mobs. The anger of the mobs can be focused on refugees and immigrants rather than on ou, your arrogant children, your self-centred wife, spendthrift mistress, and gold-digging girlfriends.

What if you aren't one of those puppet masters? Perhaps you should understand that they are trying to play you. They are trying to play on your baser instincts, your desire for revenge, your willingness to blame someone for your problems, heap the scapegoat with the blame and then tear that person apart. And, since you are not yet so completely impoverished and overwhelmed with grief, perhaps you should consider whether these foreigners who certainly answer to the concept of "other" that so often motivates people to attack and kill, maybe you should think about whether any of those people are to blame for your actual situation.

A violent revolution is certainly a difficult thing to control, a limited strategy for change, and is unlikely to bring about overall good results. If you are certain that violence is the only way for you to go forward, then by all means, think hard about the targets for your violence, and direct your energies appropriately. Don't be deceived. The people who run the system, who buy and sell politicians whenever they want, who snap their fingers and find lackeys and stooges come running, those are the people you should hold responsible for your situation. Not the guy who left the bombed out remnants of his home with a few things and is trying to start life anew in some completely alien place.

My own view is that agorism presents many myriads (myriad being an old word for ten thousand) of paths that don't involve violent revolution. The best way to make rich people suffer is to turn them into poor people, and the way to do that is to withdraw from the system, stop doing the things that help them get wealth off you, and find ways of doing things differently. Be more self-sufficient. Get solar panels and use them instead of paying a centralised utility for power. Dig a water well (especially if it is illegal) and stop using the city utility water. Find new ways to do things. Embrace disruptive technologies like Uber, Bitcoin, and many others.

You have choices. Use them. Choose for yourself. Stop obeying the rulers, please, and don't get played.

Jim Davidson is a sovereign individual, entrepreneur, and author. He spent 2012 to 2014 withdrawn from world affairs. He joined the Digital Cash Alliance where he serves in an unpaid, voluntary capacity in 2015 and is re-starting classes in privacy technology at Individual Sovereign University.

As a sovereign individual, Jim knows that it is resolution and determination which separate sovereign from servant. In the words of Étienne de la Boétie, "Resolve to serve no more, and you are at once freed. I do not ask that you place hands upon the tyrant to topple him over, but simply that you support him no longer; then you will behold him, like a great Colossus whose pedestal has been pulled away, fall of his own weight and break into pieces."

As an entrepreneur, Jim has been involved in dozens of start-up ventures in industries ranging from banking, aerospace, real estate, software, and e-commerce to space travel, data havens, and longevity research. He has worked in companies founded by others and in companies of his own creation. Entrepreneurs know that many companies end in failure. It is the fear of failure which prevents a great many people from ever being entrepreneurs or sovereign.

As an author, Jim has written essays, articles, poetry, fiction, and is developing a book on the new country trend. Words about him have appeared in Time magazine, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and other major publications. Words by him have appeared in The Libertarian Enterprise, Final Frontier magazine, Space News, The Houston Post, The Houston Chronicle, and other publications. An earlier book, The Atlantis Papers was published in 1994 and is available from After Dark Publications. His collection of essays Being Sovereign is available from" target="new"> and his collection Being Libertarian is available from

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