This is one of the most difficult posts I’ve ever had to write. Not because it’s emotional, but because I hate to think about the fact that I am no longer on vacation. I know that sounds like such a first-world problem, but to be fair, my vacation was PorcFest 2012.
Despite the name, PorcFest 2012 was not about bacon (although there were hundreds of pounds of bacon consumed at the event). The Porcupine Freedom Festival is a weeklong event organized by the Free State Project. PorcFest 2012 was packed with liberty lessons, speakers, and consenting capitalist acts.
I see no reason to go into detail about the schedule of PorcFest; you may read about the events here. I will be focusing on one of my favorite aspects of the week, the alternative currencies!
I just happened to be camping right next to the activists of Freedom’s Phoenix and Don’t Tread on Meme, which means I was next to the Moneylith! The Moneylith is a vending machine filled with alternative currencies. You give the machine your Federal Reserve Notes (FRN) and decide whether you want silver, gold, or Bitcoins. Naturally, one of my first stops at PorcFest 2012 was to purchase my favorite Silver Dime Card as a souvenir (yes, that’s right, I wanted to hoard at least one). Armed with my “Enemy of the State” card, I was ready to enjoy the PorcFest economy.
I have stated in the past that I am like a child when it comes to making purchases with alternative currencies. I don’t care what I’m buying; it makes me happy to use gold, silver, copper, and even Bitcoins to do so. I feel like there is an inherent lack of coercion in the transaction and it’s a feeling one does not often get to enjoy in the “United States”.
I exchanged coffee for silver, copper, and Bitcoins. The coffee that I exchanged was not from the “United States” and had not been examined by the FDA. No government representatives had declared my coffee maker and teapots “sanitary”. Amazingly, no one died from consuming a beverage that had not been deemed “safe for consumption” and “sanitary” by the government. This may have been a fluke.
During my time at PorcFest 2012, I exchanged silver for chicken fingers (which I highly doubt were the actual fingers of chickens), burgers, hot dogs (which I don’t think contained actual dog), gyro, French fries and French toast (which may not have originated in France), and even orange juice. Oh, and of course, there was bacon. Not once did I get sick, although I did get one heck of a hangover… Again, this may have been a fluke. It is doubtful one person could consume that much food over a prolonged period of time that had not been checked by the government and remain healthy.
I had two favorite exchanges at PorcFest 2012. The first was a Bitcoin exchange. It was truly a first for me. I had already had one Bitcoin transfer to my website, but now it was raining and laptops were difficult to move. I was ready to do something I never expected. I gave a stranger my phone number. About a minute later, I had a text message. I was sent Bitcoins through a text message!
The text message, to be more exact, was a link. I clicked the link and was sent to a temporary Bitcoin wallet, through Coinapult.com, which I could use to send the funds to my own wallet. Apparently, Coinapult also lets you send coins with just an email address as well. Bitcoins through a text message, my mind is still wrapping around the possibilities! I also now have in my possession a physical Bitcoin (but that’s a tale for another day)!
Another exchange was with a friend of mine who also listens to my show. He asked for a coffee and stated that he wanted to make an exchange entirely with alternative currencies. He gave us a Silver Circle Movie round and was given a coffee and some copper rounds. The look on his face reminded me of how great it is to engage in voluntary interactions.
Exchanges made with Federal Reserve Notes are inherently coercive. The Federal Reserve prints it out and deflates the value of the currency currently held by others. This very act should be considered theft.
To engage in voluntary interactions that are consenting, well, that’s a big part of why this piece was so difficult to write. I have to accept that I am no longer at PorcFest. It’s back to the state, the FRN’s, and the life I knew before. I have come to realize though, that while I am deep in government interference, in my mind I can head back to PorcFest. PorcFest is a Free State of mind…