Today, I donated to a ‘cult hero’
With the year ending soon, I decided to donate today. I am not a big fan of the huge charities, as their huge bureaucracies do anything but help with their case. I support small teams with ideas at the margin of public attention, i.e. undervalued teams and ideas. I currently cannot do as much volunteer work as I’d like, so this is the least I can do.
Why do I feel the need to point all that out? Because I endorse those organizations anyway, for what they stand for and for what they try to accomplish. I couldn’t care less about what others may think about donating to those institutions. I think they deserve more attention and I hope to help them get to that – with all of the ten readers a month I have..
So whom did I give to (in ascending order)?
They may not care about journalists in jail. They may not help journalists who are under observation by secret police forces. But they ‘produce’ scoops. They have freed more documents who were kept secret and are often – supposedly – relevant to national security than any other publication. And they have been a game-changer for freeing (mostly governmental) information from confidentiality in general; though their fundraising methods have been controversial.
There is a ridiculous notion inherent in classifying documents produced by the government (and paid for by the people) from view by the public, which Wikileaks helps expose. After the Obama administration decided not to declassify millions of documents previously scheduled for that and after censorship laws gaining governmental (and sometimes even public) support in ever more countries, here is to hoping that Wikileaks grows stronger by the day.
TrueCrypt is – to my limited knowledge – the best encryption program available to a regular user which works like a charm. With an ever-growing support of censorship approaches and laws worldwide, I believe it to be of utmost importance that anyone is able to secure his own privacy from prying eyes. I am an ardent believer that the debate about security in our current times is framed wrongly. There is a false premise in the prevailing mass belief that there is either ‘security or privacy’. The issue at hand is simple: It’s (a false sense of) security vs liberty. But no state whatsoever, not even a totalitarian one, can guarantee absolute safety for its citizens from all enemies. The more you let the debate be defined by fear, the more liberties you give away. This is why I stand for liberty any day and am ready to accept the trade-off: a more ‘dangerous’ world, but one with great liberties.
Every time someone gets called a “full-blown cult hero” and a conspiracy theorist, they are either completely nuts or spot on. In the case of the anonymous finance group blog Zero Hedge, my bet is on the latter. Sure, their posts are often controversial and there seems to be some kind of ardent followership. But that’s just perception. Are they controversial because they are perceived as being anti-mainstream or are their arguments controversial on their merits? Who truly looks at them without preconceived notions?
I think contrarian voices deserve to be supported in most cases, especially in an industry exhibiting as much conformity as the finance industry does. Zero Hedge not only exposed malpractice in the finance industry but balances out the financial information one can get by providing a contrarian viewpoint. The finance world would be a worse place without Zero Hedge.
In the words of Peter Thiel, “in our time, the great task for libertarians is to find an escape from politics in all its forms – from the totalitarian and fundamentalist catastrophes to the unthinking demos that guides so-called ‘social democracy’.” One form of escape from obviously corrupted politics lies in the possibility of settling the oceans. The underlying concept of encouraging competition between governments in order to achieve better forms of government by providing people the means to chose between them, deserves as much support as it can get. Charter Cities are another important means to achieve this.
I wholeheartedly believe humanity will be better of if people can choose between governments at free will. It will provide much-needed encouragement to start experimenting. Democracy in its recent form is quite new in an historical context. There has to be something better than that. But the only way to find out is to start providing people the possibility to choose.