Bitcoin fervour turns evangelical

Despite heavy losses by investors who see their money evaporate overnight in what has been called a Ponzi scheme, the faithful never give up hope that cryptocurrencies will save us from the evil clutches of central banks.

image: NewsBTC

Devotion to cryptocurrencies has taken on the form of a new religion. One of the apostles is Conservative leadership candidate Pierre Poilievre.

He said that a government led by him would do more to normalize cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin to “decentralize” the economy and reduce the influence of central bankers.

Poilievre wants to “restore sound money.”

“Sound money” is one of the tenets of the new religion of the Great Reset; when freedom is grasped from the hands of the tyrants who control the world.

The prophets of “sound money” have been around a long time. Sound money or hard currencies are ones that presumably don’t change in value over time, an example being currencies tied to value of gold.

Like all disciples of the Great Reset, Poilievre gets inspiration from the gospel of YouTube. He appeared on a cryptocurrency podcast hosted by a Bitcoin trader who has promoted COVID-19 conspiracies and has compared central banking policies to slavery and Nazi Germany.

Poilievre told the show’s host that he and his wife occasionally watch his cryptocurrency YouTube channel “late into the night.”

“I find it extremely informative and my wife and I have been known to watch YouTube and your channel late into the night once we’ve got the kids to bed,” Poilievre said. “And, I’ve always enjoyed it and I’ve learned a lot about Bitcoin and other monetary issues from listening to you.”

Bitcoin is a lousy investment. Billionaire Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, says investment in Bitcoin has the potential to collapse, wiping out tens of billions of dollars in wealth for casual buyers.

“Bitcoin is ingenious but it has no unique value at all. It doesn’t produce anything. You can stare at it all day and no little Bitcoins come out. It’s a delusion, basically,” Buffett said in a 2019 interview with CNBC, adding it’s like “rat poison” for investors.

Even some of Bitcoin’s biggest advocates often characterize it, without any apparent shame: “Bitcoin is kind of a Ponzi scheme that starts with smart people,” says crypto investor Naval Ravikant.

The Great Reset faithful have contempt for Elon Musk, the erratic, interstellar oligarch who has betrayed Bitcoin by first championing it and then backtracking, tweeting, “We are concerned about rapidly increasing use of fossil fuels for Bitcoin mining and transactions,” and saying that Tesla would no longer accept it as a valid form of payment.

Bitcoins are a dirty currency, not just because they are used to traffic children into the sex trade and to launder cartel money but because Bitcoin transactions, called “mining,” require huge amounts of fossil fuel energy.

According to the Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index the carbon footprint of Bitcoin is equivalent to that of New Zealand, with both emitting nearly 37 megatons of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere every year.

But facts matter little to the faithful. As long as they can warm themselves in the glow of the omnipotent echo chamber of YouTube, they can be sure of the Truths that issue forth.

Books are vehicles of insight

If it seems odd that I would defend print media by using this digital media that you read on a screen, let me explain.

Conceptual Books

We might be reading less print media but we are not reading fewer words says Dr. Maryanne Wolf, director of the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University. “We are reading more than 100,000 words a day,” she told CBC’s Spark, “but it is fragmented; not the immersive, sustained, deep reading of our past”

According to Marshall McLuhan, “the medium is the message” and internet media are designed to be distracting through the interjection of various animations, popups and social media that create a “cognitive storm,” says Dr. Wolf. Kindle and other book readers are a bit better but not as good as the immersive media of a book.

Media on the internet involve an evolutionary mechanism of “what’s next.” It’s a state of mind that’s useful in scanning our environment for potential dangers and opportunities. In evolutionary terms, it’s useful to know when food becomes available or when a poisonous snake is on the path. But multitasking is not a good mental state for quiet contemplation.

Reading is not something we have evolved to do. We are not born to read, Dr. Wolf told TVO on YouTube. A child will naturally develop other skills like vision and speech but reading is an acquired skill in which mental circuits have to be reassigned from vision and language in order to read. It’s a window that opens to take us beyond what we were originally programmed to do.

Because reading is not innate, it requires effort to develop. Even then, there are complications. As the mother of a dyslexic child, Dr. Wolf is acutely aware that reading development of cannot be taken for granted. Parents have to expose children to books at an early age. By ages five to seven, mental circuits have been sufficiently integrated to develop an automatic system that accesses the deep reading process.

Slow, deep reading requires focus.

“The book is an amazing vehicle for the elicitation of our critical intellectual processes and our own, if you will, vehicle of insight,” Dr. Wolf says. “It’s an amazing invention because the book as we know it is something that we can turn to, and be completely by ourselves, and with nothing else be transported literally, emotionally, socially, intellectually, into the perspective of another.”

Writing is the opposite. In preparing this column I listened to a radio program, watched a video, and read online references. That these words on your screen have any meaning at all is a testimony to the power of the written word. If all goes well, the ideas will unfold as you read.

While these ideas may be thought-provoking, I have no illusions that this column requires deep concentration. The value of short articles such as this is to introduce ideas that can be explored at depth in books (which I don’t read enough of). From my own experience of reading online, I suspect that you are already looking for “what’s next.”