This is an opinion editorial by Mickey Koss, a West Point graduate with a degree in economics. He spent four years in the infantry before transitioning to the Finance Corps.
“That was before my time… Of course it’s true, everybody knows it’s true.”
The quote above is from the movie “The Sea Beast.” And although the film never mentions Bitcoin specifically, it might just be one of the best Bitcoin movies I’ve ever seen.
It is set in a fictional world gripped by perpetual war between a sea-faring economic power and a population of monsters who appear to attack ships out of nowhere. The hunters, the heroes of the story, patrol the seas in a near-constant state of combat, fighting to keep trade routes open and safe. In exchange, they are paid after presenting proof of their monster kills to the monarchy.
It was a fairly overt critique of the military industrial complex, though the deeper theme that I saw was the toxic effects that the media propaganda complex has on a society, reducing peoples’ ability to exercise discernment, and obscuring objective truth.
Learn History Or Repeat It
I think the reason why “The Sea Beast” had such an impact on me is because at its core, it is a story of what can happen to society when truth becomes obscured by revisionist history and propaganda. In the end, it was up to individuals to exercise discernment, and break the societal trance that had been propagating violence for generations. In the end, the rulers only ever had power because the people had allowed them to.
American culture and history is rich with individualism and critical thought, such as the idea that taxation without representation is immoral. This ideal ultimately led to the Revolutionary War which founded this country. But now, people are afraid to have real and engaging conversations, especially in public, because it might be considered “wrong think” or offensive, ultimately leading to the cancellation of their public lives and digital exile.
Bitcoin reinvigorates many things, but the most important I think is the discernment of truth.
Bitcoin is fundamentally an exercise in regaining your power of discernment. One must sift through a slew of propaganda and fear, uncertainty and doubt (FUD) in order to learn the truth and see true value. The journey that one must take in order to truly understand Bitcoin necessitates discernment and critical thought. And once we reach a critical mass, the intransigent minority becomes entrenched in the culture.
Furthermore, once you are able to store your hard-earned wealth in a self-sovereign way, the courage to speak freely becomes self evident. No more are the worries of cancellation and debanking. The changes in time preference as well will likely increase your savings rate, making people more financially stable and less fearful of leaving or losing a job that may be holding them back.
‘You Can Be A Hero But Still Be Wrong.’
I know that many Bitcoiners criticize the military and governments especially. They detest war in all its forms and hope to bring about the end of it with the dawn of a new, hard-money standard. This is, of course, a worthy goal. But I must urge Bitcoiners to separate the service members from the policy decisions they are charged with executing.
According to analysis from Jordan Peterson that I have seen, one of the main reasons individuals join the military is the desire to find meaning and purpose in life. Peterson argues that young men often lack a clear sense of direction and purpose, and the structure and discipline of military life can provide them with a sense of belonging and fulfillment. Additionally, the military can offer opportunities for personal growth, challenge and adventure, as well as providing a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Many have died in the pursuit, hence the day of remembrance that we celebrate on Memorial Day. And yet, some much-needed criticism has been quashed in the name of the troops.
The line, “You can be a hero and still be wrong” from “The Sea Beast” was especially striking in this context. Without the ability to see objective facts, it is difficult to ascertain objective truth. Discernment is a skill, a skill that has atrophied drastically throughout society in the passing years. It is perhaps one of the reasons why cries for the government to protect us have grown so loud.
There is no truth without debate and disagreement, characterizations of which have been elevated from being uncomfortable to becoming outright unsafe. And yet, creeping protectionism has its costs as well; the slow erosion of freedoms that we may never get back. The very freedoms that many service members have died to protect, the very service members who we are charged with remembering on Memorial Day.
If we are to remember and honor those sacrifices, perhaps the best way to do so in the current age is to exercise our discernment. Critical thinking is a skill that can be learned, or relearned in certain cases. Bitcoin helps those seeking to regain responsibility in their lives, and yes, exercise some critical thinking in order to discern fact from fiction, propaganda from news.
Bitcoin reinvigorates critical thought, critical thought leads to truth. Some have the humility to accept it. Others have to be slapped across the face with it, ultimately experiencing the pain of ego death. Truth is the only way to honor the fallen. Have the courage to choose truth, and live not by lies.
This is a guest post by Mickey Koss. Opinions expressed are entirely their own and do not necessarily reflect those of BTC Inc or Bitcoin Magazine.