Bitcoin Venture Capitalist Roger Ver’s Journey to Anarchism

November 12th, 2012   Submitted by Roger Ver

My road to becoming a voluntarist began in junior high when I found a copy of the book Socialism by Ludwig von Mises. At the time I hadn’t given politics much thought and was a typical statist who assumed that there wasn’t any reason to limit the State’s power if it was being used to help people, but I also had a vague idea that Americans were opposed to solicalism.

When I initially started reading Socialism I thought it would be a pro-socialist book, but that it would be a good idea for me to hear the other side of the argument. By the time I finished it, I had learned that it is an impossibility for the government to centrally plan an economy as efficiently as the free market. After this book, I was inspired to read other books on economics by Ludwig von Mises, Adam Smith, Fredric Bastiat, Leonard Reed, Henry Hazlitt, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and just about anything else I could order from Laissez-Faire Books, since this was before the internet was wide spread. I learned that prices transmit the information required to most effectively allocate resources and that government intervention in the economy is preventing the world from being as wealthy as it should. The more I read the more appalled I became at the economic ignorance displayed by politicians and governments around the world. I became frustrated that anyone who spends the time to study economics can learn that nearly everything the government does makes the world a poorer place and that people, especially the poor, would be much better off if everyone were simply allowed to do anything that is peaceful.

At this point I had a firm grasp of the economic benefits brought to all by the free market, but it wasn’t until I found Murray Rothbard’s works that I started to think about the moral case for freedom. I devoured all of Rothbard’s books and was persuaded by the logic of his arguments. I remember being almost afraid to read such powerful truths. In all my years of schooling, no one before Rothbard had ever pointed out that taxation is the moral equivalent of theft, and the military draft is the moral equivalent of kidnapping and slavery. It shattered my remaining hopes that the State could be morally justified. For the first time I saw them for the criminal band of thieves, slave masters, and murderers that they are. My life has never been the same since.

Up to this point everything I had learned seemed idealogical and somewhat abstract, but I felt the need to point out these truths to others. To help spread the ideas of liberty at the age of twenty, in the year 2000, I became a Libertarian candidate for California State Assembly. I vowed that if I were elected I would not accept any salary considering the money would necessarily have been taken from others by force in the form of taxation. I also promised to cut as many taxes and repeal as many laws as I could.

As part of the election process I was invited to participate in a debate at San Jose State University against the Republican and Democrat candidates. In the debate, I argued that taxation is theft, the war on drugs is immoral, and that the ATF are “a bunch of jack booted thugs and murderers” in memoriam to the people they slaughtered in Waco, Texas. Unbeknownst to me at the time there were several plain clothed ATF agents in the audience who became very upset with the things I was saying. They began looking into my background in the attempt to find dirt on me. I had already started a successful online business selling various computer components. In addition to computer parts, I, along with dozens of other resellers across the country, including Cabelas, were selling a product called a “Pest Control Report 2000.” It was basically a firecracker used by farmers to scare deer and birds away from their corn fields. While everyone else, including the manufacturer, were simply asked to stop selling them I became the only person in the nation to be prosecuted.

The reasoning for the prosecution became crystal clear after a meeting with the US prosecuting attorney and the under cover ATF agents from the debate. In the meeting, my attorney told the prosecutor that selling store bought firecrackers on Ebay isn’t a big deal and that we can pay a fine and do some community service to be done with everything. When the prosecutor agreed that that sounded reasonable one of the ATF agents pounded his hand on the table and shouted “…but you didn’t hear the things that he said!” This summed up very clearly that they were angry about the things that I had said, not the things that I had done.

After being told by the US attorney that I would be sent to jail for seven or eight years if I took my case to trial I signed a plea agreement. At the sentencing the judge asked me if anyone threatened or coerced me in any way to sign the plea agreement. When I said “yes, absolutely,” the judge’s eyes became very wide and he asked “what do you mean?” I explained that the US attorney told me that he would send me to jail for seven or eight years if I didn’t sign the plea agreement. The judge responded that that was not what he was asking about, so I replied that I must not understand what it means to be threatened or coerced. The judge then proceeded to lecture me extensively on politics. He carried on about why government is so important and how “taxes are the price we pay for a civilized society” and that government is wonderful in general. He summed up his lecture by telling me that “I don’t want you to think that your political views have anything to do with why you are here today” and then sentenced me to serve ten months in federal prison.

After my release from Lompoc Federal Penitentiary I had to deal with three years of lies, insults, threats, and general harassment by the US Federal probation department. I moved to Japan on the very day my probation finished.

Currently, I am working full time to make the world a better, less violent place by promoting the use of Bitcoin. Bitcoin totally strips away the State’s control over money. It takes away the vast majority of its power to tax, regulate, or control the economy in any way. If you care about liberty, the nonaggression principle, or economic freedom in general you should do everything you can to use Bitcoin as often as possible in your daily life.

Roger Ver was born and raised in Silicon Valley and now resides in Tokyo. He is the CEO of MemoryDealers.com and directly employs thirty people in several countries around the world. Roger is also an investor in numerous Bitcoin startups. He spends his free time studying economics, moral philosophy, Bitcoin, and Brazilian Jujitsu.

17 Responses to “Bitcoin Venture Capitalist Roger Ver’s Journey to Anarchism”

  1. Erik VoorheesNo Gravatar says:

    I was aware of Roger’s story before this, but it’s great to read his tale in print. There are many inspiring lessons to be learned from Roger’s ordeal, and I think they’re all apparent. Primarily, the State enforces laws subjectively, and often in an illegitimate manner meant to punish behaviors that are not illegal but merely disliked by those in power. The other important lesson is this: don’t let the State crush you. There are ways to fight, and Roger’s discovery of Bitcoin is emblematic of this.

  2. Matt WNo Gravatar says:

    If the state presented me with an “offer I couldn’t refuse,” I too would say, “yes, absolutely,” if asked whether I agreed under duress or coercion. Everything the government does is coercive or violent or both, and I won’t pretend I don’t see it that way.

  3. Justus RanvierNo Gravatar says:

    Nobody likes having the gun in the room pointed out, especially a judge.

  4. So true: “nearly everything the government does, makes the world a poorer place…” Think of the billions spent unwisely by many of the governments of today; the EU being just one example of coercive, unwanted, wasteful government apparatchiks.
    Roger is a spirited pioneer and thinker, but is not alone in his quest for peaceful and honourable alternatives that serve everyone better and fairly; including his and many others proselytizing of Bitcoin as a welcome and economically justifiable alternative to government issued and controlled ‘fiat’ currencies.

  5. MAMNo Gravatar says:

    What a bunch of bitches. If they don’t like what they’re hearing refute him, if you can’t get a different job. I guess one can never escape High School…

  6. osearthNo Gravatar says:

    Courageous. Muthafuck the Poolice.
    I did a wave dance instead of begging the judge forgiveness and apologizing for having a joint beside me asleep in the back seat of a car and he raised my probation from 12 to 18 months. Every single other case that day was alcohol fueled violence. If i didn’t take this charge then 2 of my fellow travellers would have been also guilty. The next month my crime was reduced to a simple fine but I had to follow court ordered recognisance for my remaining 17 month probation. Luckily I am no criminal or that could have been life altering, i mean side from it being my only charges.
    Fook the poolices ya.

  7. HighlanderJuanNo Gravatar says:

    The point has to be made that all government is the use of force and violence to assert one man’s will over another. Everything about government is destructive, and I often find myself asking why we need government at all. Our early colonists and pioneers operated without any formal government, and did very well, thank you very much. As the government increased in territory and in power, people suffered to a point where today we are the single country with the highest percentage of its population in prison. How’s that suit ya America? Like them stats?

  8. RJNo Gravatar says:

    Government is just another name for Mafia. Good for you for standing up to the thugs and calling them out. More people need to do this and get in their face!

  9. yeah sureNo Gravatar says:

    If you didn’t vote for and support Ron Paul then you have no basis on which to complain. Those who voted for any mainstream candidate voted for government fraud and fascism, period. Ron Paul was and is the only one telling the truth.

    • Justus RanvierNo Gravatar says:

      Ron Paul tells the truth? Funny, I’ve never once heard him categorically state that taxation is theft. Mostly I’ve heard him spreading the myth that it’s possible to reform an immoral institution.by putting the right people in charge of it.

  10. Good grief! The murderers row: Rothbard, Mises and Hayek, you should do ten years in the penitentiary for stupidity.

  11. Some GirlNo Gravatar says:

    Roger, thank you for sharing your story. For your own health and safety you may want to reconsider your choice of Japan as home, given that the Japanese government and media gloss over aka lie about what’s really happening at Fukushima and how it’s affecting the entire Japanse food supply/environment. Read and scroll back a few pages… You’ll get the picture: http://www.enenews.com

  12. AlanNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Roger, I’m amazed you were able to move to Japan with a felony conviction?

    I left the UK for Malaysia and here they’re very fussy about such things.

    If any if your online ventures need a copywriter willing to accept at least part payment in bitcoins, hit me up :)

    Alan

  13. Adam PerlowNo Gravatar says:

    When I was 8 years old my father and I were separated for 5 years due to ridiculous legislation that allowed under qualified people to make irrational decisions regarding my life without the need to answer to anyone. This experience destroyed my childhood but it made me the person I am today, and it gave me a very important understanding, that there is always some unqualified self-appointed person making decisions for others answering to his own profitability. I made a decision to dedicate my life to opening peoples eyes and saving them from the atrocities that happened to me. Unfortunatley most of these people have been convinced that the system/governments are in place for there benefit, and my ideas have been meet with hostility and social ostracism. Their docile attitude of acceptance towards a government that bullies them rather than helps them is insanity in my eyes. The second I heard of bitcoin I invested my money and time to promote it and the financial freedoms it will bring us. I am currently developing an application to promote the usage among “common” people, that will provide both incentive and ease of use for adoption. I would be glad to work together and share knowledge with any fellow bitcoin advocate, as I am investing in this project for idealogical reasons rather than profit, and believe that the few of us that are true believers must stick together to make this work.

    Sincerely yours,

    Adam Perlow

  14. Roger, we obviously have more in common than I thought. Will fill you in in yet another round of emails, ha.
    R

  15. EconomyNo Gravatar says:

    Economy isn’t an exact science, so you should read other economic perspectives. I also hate power and agree that central planing is inviable, but I also think most of what you wrote is wrong.
    Try to explain the major economic miracle ever, China, on your premises on non state intervention.
    Those laissez faire policies would be a return to monopolies because of lack of regulations, to slavery labor conditions, including child labor, to unsafe consumer goods, to environment degradation, etc. If you accept the need for these regulations, you will need the State to create and implement them. Any kind of private power to act in its place with no control from the people would be a dictatorship.
    If bitcoin ever assume the role you are expecting, that would have disastrous economic consequences. Because of deflation and because of the unavailability of economic intervention from the state (this crises proves that it’s good and not bad as you assume; QE save us all from another 1929).

    • AlanNo Gravatar says:

      “Try to explain the major economic miracle ever, China, on your premises on non state intervention.”

      Miracle? This reminds me of the “post war boom” in the West. When you cripple an economy for a long time, and then set it free, yes, you get “miracles”.

      That someone gasps for breath when you stop standing on their throat doesn’t say anything good about jackboots.

      “a return to monopolies because of lack of regulations”

      Oh please! There ARE no monopolies WITHOUT regulations and favoritism by government. Giant companies lobby for regulations which act as barriers to entry, preventing competition. Without such regulations no monopoly can survive.

      “..including child labor” OK, now I know for sure you are simply unaware of how capitalism has changed the world, including allowing people to afford to NOT send their kids to work.

      Please note that governments tend to pass such laws after, and because, most people have stopped doing such things.

      Sniff around liberty/free market sites and search for work related to the Industrial Revolution and “robber barons”. You will hopefully soon learn how your government ‘education’ sent you barking up the entirely wrong set of trees.

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