No Political Freedom Without Monetary Freedom

by | Mar 12, 2024 | Banks, Biden Administration, Blog Articles, CBDCs, Crypto, Economy, Finance, Monetary System, Politics, USA

There have been many legitimate concerns raised about the potential tyranny and abuses that would result from the U.S. government’s issuance of central bank digital currencies (CBDCs).  CBDCs have been rightly criticized as providing governments with a nearly perfect means of total surveillance power, and thus control, over its citizens. Any transaction made using a CBDC would be fully visible to the government. CBDCs would enable a tyrannical system of behavioral control by providing social or financial rewards and punishments for actions, attitudes or affiliations deemed supportive or hostile to the regime. And of course, CBDCs would make the process of shutting off access to the financial and economic system—and thus life itself—as easy as a few keystrokes by the issuing authorities.

As bad a CBDCs may sound for the freedoms of the individual, the current monetary regime and centralized financial system already provides governments with all the power they need to surveil and control their citizens. The vast majority of financial transactions are already digital. Any credit card or bank account transaction provides governments with the same type of information that would be available to them with a CBDC, save for the fact that the government must ask the credit card company or bank to provide the information to them, close the account, or seize customer funds.

This requirement has not been a meaningful impediment to the U.S. government, which has abused its power by conducting unlawful “searches and seizures” of information and assets without warrant or legal due process. Leading U.S. financial institutions are voluntarily enabling this overreach by providing U.S. law enforcement and other government agencies with customer data that should be private and confidential in the absence of a specific and targeted legal investigation approved by a court or other lawful means. A notable recent example was Bank of America—one of the nation’s largest banks—enabling the Federal Bureau of Investigation to run a dragnet operation on U.S. citizens by voluntarily providing BofA’s customer data (without warrant or subpoena) on anyone who had been in Washington D.C. on or around January 6, 2021. In a related investigation, the U.S. House Judiciary Committee recently revealed that the Treasury Department’s Office of Stakeholder Integration and Engagement in the Strategic Operations of the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), asked, without warrant, subpoena or other legal process, that U.S. banks query their transaction databases and provide information on customer purchases by using search terms such as “MAGA,” “Trump,” the names of popular sporting goods stores, firearms, ammunition, and religious materials. This is part of a targeted and coordinated attack on conservatives as individuals and the founding principles of America as a nation.

To be sure, CBDCs would make matters worse, but the U.S. government can already seize your assets through the unjust process of civil forfeiture, notwithstanding the absence of a conviction—or even a charge—for a crime. Banks can convert certain customer deposits into their own capital in an emergency. The IRS can seize your bank accounts if the agency contends you’ve underpaid, even if they’ve made an error. Your money is not your money when someone else controls it.

In Canada, the government ordered—and banks complied with—the seizure of banks accounts of peaceful demonstrators (the truckers who were protesting vaccine mandates) and their financial supporters. In both the U.S. and the United Kingdom, banks have shuttered accounts of conservative leaders and advocates who have challenged the false narratives of the leading political party or government regime. In the U.S., 19 state attorney generals have recently accused JPMorgan of systematically discriminating against certain customers due to their religious or (conservative) political affiliation.

Generally, both the government and the banks are incentivized to eliminate cash as a form of payment. The banks want the fees—and the government the information—provided by digital transactions. Banks and payment networks such as PayPal and Venmo are required to provide the government with information on customer transactions above a certain amount. Other than certain types of cryptocurrency transactions, which the U.S. government is also vigorously trying to outlaw—cash provides the only truly anonymous and private way to transact without fear of political repercussion. Both cash and crypto represent bastions of freedom that are intolerable to those in power who want to control every aspect of their citizens lives and behavior.

Digital financial transactions are more than just convenient, they have become the lifeblood of the economy. And they provide a level of protection and security that wasn’t available with cash. But this security has come at an enormous price. Without the liberty to conduct one’s personal financial transactions both privately and anonymously, or the ability to retain one’s money and other rightfully earned and owned assets, we are not truly free to exercise our constitutional rights, including those of political dissent, peaceful protest, and lawfully expressing grievances against an oppressive and tyrannical government and its agents.

Thomas Jefferson wrote, “When you abandon freedom to achieve security, you lose both and deserve neither.” Without monetary freedom, there can be no political freedom.

Read this article on The Epoch Times

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