As part of his invocation of the Emergencies Act to quell the Freedom Convoy protests in Ottawa and elsewhere last week, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau suspended Canadians’ rights. The restrictions announced include a more stringent control over online crowdfunding sites that help fund protesters and an attempt to control the flow of cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.
“Canada’s anti-money laundering agency will require credit card processors and fund-raising services to report any blockade-related campaigns.” Canadian banks soon followed suit, with Toronto-Dominion Bank freezing two accounts containing C$1.4 million ($1.1 million) they said were intended to support truckers.
Those efforts mirror the recent efforts made by the Biden administration to track what goes into and out of Americans’ bank accounts The trigger amount is $600, which should catch dodgy billionaires by the score.
Likewise, President Trudeau’s expected announcement this week of an executive order to explore greater regulation of cryptocurrency will be an attempt to stick the state’s nose even deeper into the lives of average Canadians.
Money is a monopoly of the Gum’Ment, which we have grown used to. Most people never consider that the state can mint money, like it can build roads or control national borders. In fact, it has put far more energy into the printing presses than it has towards any sort of infrastructure improvements. Money with dead presidents on it is clearly government-issued.
Before electronic money transfers became popular – bill-paying, direct deposits, and credit and debit card purchases – it made little difference whether the bank issued the dollar bill in your wallet (as it did in the early republic) or whether the Federal Reserve issued it (as it does now). It belonged to you, and unless you chose to tell others what you spent it on, no one knew what you bought.
As a result, you had more privacy, both from your neighbors as well as your government. There were, however, risks involved. It was possible to lose, steal, or destroy cash, (or have it eaten out of your wallet by a hairy Rottweiler-just trust me on this) and there was no way to recover it. (Actually, if you have I believe 65% of the bill the banks will usually replace it!)
As a result, it was cumbersome, especially because inflation was eating away at the value of the dollar. Would you be able to put down cash if you were buying a house? Certainly. It does happen. However, carrying a suitcase full of cash invites the scrutiny of thieves and the state, even if it is completely legal.
In fact, just carrying cash can cause any number of law-enforcement agencies to say “Yum, YUM! WHAT do we have here?” under the civil asset forfeiture laws (and you think that TAXES are theft…)
While the convenience of electronic money has been clear for decades, the dark side is emerging in a big way this year. While it is convenient to move money around effortlessly, it comes with a loss of control.
Banks route the data, and there are fewer and fewer of them every year. In spite of their clout and power, the remaining, often-merged financial giants can be pressured by the government.
Banks were forced to refuse to deal with people involved in marijuana or the sex trade, even where these businesses were legal at the local level, by the Obama administration. No federal law gave them this power: the threat was enough. Marijuana businesses in Colorado could not bank with their funds; I have personally spoken to growers with hundreds of thousands of dollars on the premises-and they were scared.
It is not uncommon for the government to take cash without even bothering to charge the owner with a crime where people keep money in cash.
The emergency measures put forward by Trudeau take advantage of these pressure points and leverage banks to stifle the flow of money to and from those he regards as enemies of the state. It wasn’t charged, it wasn’t tried, it was just shut down. Trudeau’s government now wants these “temporary” measures to be permanent.
Historically, governments have used the word “emergency” (or “National Security” or “Child Welfare”) whenever they want to trample on the liberties of the dissenting minority. With our money in there hands, they can now do this with ease. We all engage in trade, even the self-sufficient, and money is a part of that, unless you prefer to live like a hermit.
The government realizes that alternative monetary systems, such as cryptocurrencies, pose a threat to its benevolent malevolence. The recent efforts of both Trudeau and Biden to control Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies demonstrate that. The beauty of these new systems is that they are made intentionally to be beyond the control of individuals or governments.
In the early days of Bitcoin, many did not understand what it was or how it worked. At best, it was fake money. At worst, it was a scam. Despite this, we find ourselves in 2022, when government-issued money is eroded by inflation and controlled by state decrees. Opponents can choose between the old (gold) or the new (crypto). And crypto is so much more convenient than gold.
Chief Justice John Marshall , in 1819 while deciding a banking law question in McCulloch v. Maryland, said that “the power to tax involves the power to destroy.” Two centuries later, we could apply another twist: the power to regulate involves the power to control.
Until government overreach made cryptocurrency a necessity, cryptocurrency was just a passing fad. Over the years, decades of deficit spending and creeping state-ism have given the government vast authority over how money is spent. Cryptocurrencies are at least part of the solution to the failure of the government’s monopoly on money.
But with sufficient incentive, any new program can be shoved down the populace’s throat.
Even loosely affiliated with the protest would have their bank accounts frozen, vehicles seized and sold, and Ontario’s premier threatened to revoke drivers’ licenses. Protesters’ pets weren’t even off-limits.
As part of the Act, Chrystia Freeland stated that the government would also expand its definition of “Terrorist Financing” to include cryptocurrencies and crowdfunding platforms.
Despite the fact that the blockade has ended, the Canadian Parliament voted on Monday night to extend its emergency powers for another 30 days.
My goodness. Who could’ve seen that coming? A Gum’Ment that seizes absolute power and then doesn’t want to hand it back? Tsk, tsk.
It appears that a majority of likely Democratic voters in the United States support Justin Trudeau’s descent into dictatorship to put down the Freedom Convoy protest. Wonder if they’d be willing to do the same here?