We don't need no thought control
No dark sarcasm in the classroom
Teacher, leave them kids alone
All in all, you're just another brick in the wall
— Pink Floyd
I had the day off on Friday and decided to start some shit.
There I was, doomscrolling on the couch when I spotted the perfect post on Reddit in r/AskEconomics and had to respond.
Sometimes, the punchlines write themselves. Why hasn't the science improved? I dunno, have you tried this? Off with your head!
I definitely deserve my ban. My comment in r/AskEconomics was not an academic critique. My claims about bitcoin can be verified by running a node or looking at the code. You can learn how to do that here. Noderunning has worked for a decade and a half, but it isn't good enough on paper for the paper lords.
Instead, I come from journalism, a field where otherwise high-minded and privileged people seek poverty. Nothing I say will ever have scientific merit, and I accept this. Intuition is my guide. I'm a writer which means I'm basically a generative AI — I guess at what other people know. To meme is my one power. I'm not turtley enough for the turtle club. I'm not approved and never will be.
Triggering the arbiters of truth
Due to the splintering of social media, Reddit is the only place today where interesting discourse is happening on a ginormous scale. Its communities called subreddits are guarded by moderators.
These moderators have latitude to crush content, freeze threads, and ban people. I'll post one sentence replies on posts to see them deleted for being too short. Never mind that brevity is the soul of wit.
Gatekeeping is a problem on Reddit, and moderators operate as de facto censors. Moderating is an unpaid customer service job — the only way I know of to reconcile that timesuck is to have an agenda. Sometimes, that agenda clashes with Reddit's own business interests, which culminated with Reddit's CEO calling moderators landed gentry recently.
r/AskEconomics is an echo chamber for peasants to pose curated questions for academics to weigh in with top-level approved opinions. You have to apply to answer many questions, as if Reddit is an academic forum.
As is their prerogative, I guess. Play stupid games, win stupid prizes. But don't ask me why there's a problem. I believe in free speech and I'll give you an answer. There are instances where you can slip an unapproved opinion before the curtain comes down. If that bothers you, get a grip. We're talking about imaginary internet drama. Consider this the most civil disobedience.
Some subreddits are friendlier than others. Everyone gets an echo chamber. I dropped the above screenshots on r/bitcoin yesterday and it became the top post on there.
The comments touched on some interesting themes, such as the nature of knowledge, whether economics is a science, and whether I'm the asshole. I most certainly am, but someone's gotta be the bad cop. I'm not here to tell you what is or not science. I'm here to tell you what is right.
The academics sold us down the river
I trust the experts on most things. I got the vax and I argue against most conspiracy theories. Appeal to authority can be a helpful heuristic, but it is far from perfect.
Once you step out of math and lab sciences, academia is a mechanism for enforcing intellectual consensus. You write a paper and the anointed one bestows a grade upon you. Rubrics are more or less optional, especially in the lesser sciences and liberal arts.
A journalism buddy of mine once got marked down 10 points for writing that something "fueled the fire." The professor crossed it out and wrote "kindling." Trivial bullshit no doubt, but the professor had a Pulitzer — who could touch him? Put up with these people long enough, and eventually, they reward you for being a good, little mouth-breather and let you graduate for time served.
An unspoken function of academia is to enforce an Overton window of acceptable opinions for public policy. Like K-12 education, it is designed to produce acceptable graduates, responsible Americans, and disciplined employees. For eons, academic institutions have been rewarded with research grants, student loans that are ineligible for default, and a blind eye to tuition hikes that far outpace inflation.
And when called upon, academics will do the government's bidding. Take Ben Bernanke for example. Before joining the Federal Reserve, he was an academic and taught at Stanford and Harvard. Upon joining the Fed, did he put his vast wealth of knowledge to help the common man?
No, he and his fellow economic wizards engineered a massive bailout for too-big-to-fail banks in the Great Financial Crisis and forced every American man, woman, and child to pony up for the banks' losses. They increased the money supply through the stratosphere while technology kept wages stagnant. The gang ran the same strategy back in 2020. Keynesian economists have never found a problem they couldn't solve by debasing the currency.
Fifteen years later, the powers that be want to feign ignorance and say "Whoa, where did that inflation come from?" The rest of us see wealth inequality and a world with fentanyl overdoses, hillbilly elegies, and a Viking horde storming the Capitol. That's right, dipshits. Some of us live in reality and not the theoretical realm where there are no consequences for our actions.
The economic experts will tell you this connection between Keynesian policies and recent inflation is wrong. Correlation does not equal causation. But but supply chains, generational forces, the climate emergency. Please step into our arena where we collect the data, curate sources, and apply our own formulas.
This is a fallacy and it does not take a Ph.D to explain why. If you don't cause the problem, why should we the people look to you to solve it? If lowering rates and printing money doesn't cause inflation, why does raising them quell it? As humans, we omit our failures and amplify our successes. Three cheers for gaslighting.
Economists and central bankers have deluded us into thinking they can manage the economic cycle, but aw shucks, it just hasn't happened yet. Bailouts are our only choice. One more try ought to do it. One more try until we die. We keep doing the same shit over and over and expecting different results.
Academics cannot be the only people allowed to speak on economics. The Keynesian sect cannot be trusted to operate outside their conflict of interest, and the opportunity cost is too great. They need to be held accountable. Same goes for anyone running interference for them.
There's no such thing as a fair fight
If you want to talk bitcoin, there is no arguing in good faith with these people. To prove your worth and engage them on their terms is to take on $100,000 of student debt and thoroughly fuck your future in every non-theoretical sense of the word.
You can't make people see something they don't want to see. America's academic institutions rely on Keynesian economics to survive. It will never give the time of day to anything that questions it. If you engage them on these subjects with any scientific rigor, these are the heuristics they will use to discredit you:
- Your credentials
- The supporting evidence for your thesis
- The sources of that evidence
- Their credentials
- Their supporting evidence
Ad nauseam. You will never emerge from that hole. It's their arena and they have all the time and resources in the world at their disposal.
Brandolini's law applies here. It takes a lot more breath to refute my bullshit than it does to spread it. Similarly, there is no way one warm body can take on the entire academic corpus with receipts. But not even intellectuals can stop a meme. Sooner or later, we will win the hearts and minds.
When it comes to economics, I practice the people's science. I speak qualitatively, not quantitatively. Out here, we fuck around and find out. To survive is to use the scientific method.
Ultimately, the distinction between bitcoin its the opposing academics and gatekeepers is their consensus mechanism: mathematical consensus vs. social consensus.
If you break the rules of bitcoin, the nodes reject your traffic as they are programmed to do. This is the beauty of math. The rules are open and universally enforced. Nodes can be run anywhere there's an internet connection. Stopping the network is like shooting at mushrooms in the rain.
If you break the rules of society, you're ostracized, bankrupted, imprisoned, or killed in meatspace. The rules of society are not open or universally enforced. They are changed in back rooms. Enforcement fluctuates according to criteria such as who your daddy is, whose palms you can grease, and your loyalty to the power brokers.
Bitcoin, however, is a revolution and revolutions do not go gently into that good night. Moreover, this is the time of the internet. Ignore this at your peril. We no longer need Professor Dumbledore or gatekeepers to access information. Stop ascribing value to them. The scrolls are in the streets.
As I write this, I'm looking down at a Samuel Adams Octoberfest beer. The label has a warm, friendly image of Adams cheersing you. The words "Brewer" and "Patriot" stand beside him. When does a shitstarter become a hero? The Declaration of Independence was a shitpost. So was the 95 Theses. If the authors played by the rules with approved opinions, we would all still be carrying water for kings and popes.
Centuries later, we have professors opining about the significance of these events, writing bestselling biographies, and dancing along to musicals like Hamilton. Academics in the humanities will always be a lagging indicator of what happens in the real world. Gatekeeping lackeys even more so. They're not in the arena. Code is an idea and the marketplace of ideas knows no bounds. I reserve the right to shitpost. Bitcoin is America.
I bullshitted my way through college. You can't bullshit your way through bitcoin. If you want to learn about economics in the real world, study bitcoin. Otherwise, fuck your diploma. I will punt it into the sun. The rest of us live on planet Earth and we are free.
The content of this article is published for entertainment purposes only and does not constitute financial, legal, or tax advice. Please consult a qualified professional before proceeding with any investment decision.
Tip a fellow, trigger your professor