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And Yet It Moves

Published on February 5th, 2014 by Hayden Gill

Disarming the Opponents of Bitcoins and Other Extreme Critics

by Hayden Gill

The intellectual legitimacy of Bitcoins is a matter of mathematical truth, substantiated by global communications and international commerce. But, like any phenomenon involving principles of science and observable fact, there will be attacks – irrational by some, personal by many and vicious by others – from so-called defenders of the faith; the custodians of tradition and power, the politicians and economists (mostly the latter), who do not register their criticism with scholarly sobriety or respectful disagreement, preferring, instead, to wage a rhetorical war – casting their calumnies in their weekly columns – in which we, the supporters of Bitcoins, are either fools, political cranks, anarchists, utopian propagandists or ignoramuses.

We must respond to these assaults before innuendo vanquishes virtue and malice defeats morals and basic standards of decency. Our tactics must, however, be clear and resolute – without a trace of ideological certitude or arrogant dismissal of our opponents. To the public, we must quietly say: Eppur si muove ("And yet it moves.")

Those words are a metaphor for effective communications on behalf of the popularization and increased acceptance of Bitcoins, because the phrase is a reminder of the power of belief versus the entrenched forces of faith. Those simple words, said to have been issued as a sotto voce reply by Galileo during his Inquisition by the Catholic Church – that firm conviction on behalf of science, confirmed by his own calculations and aligned by his own vision of the heavens, is a study in the power of a message and the triumph of observable fact (the heliocentric model of Earth's orbit) against the fiercest of enemies.

The point: If one man, nourished only by the accuracy of astronomy and the integrity of mathematics, could, in the face of all the armaments and tools of coercion possessed by Rome, preserve his beliefs and publicize the truth; if Galileo could neutralize the mightiest of critics, if he could remain steadfast in the shadow of the sword, then our goals are far easier and absolutely doable. Our arguments can win the day, provided we choose to answer – as we must, as we shall – the erroneous criticisms directed against us.

Put a different way, silence is not an option and self-confidence is not a shield from an onslaught of vitriol. As our opponents raise their voices, and shamelessly try to associate us with fringe political movements and figures of ill repute, our response should be lucid, persuasive, intelligible and firm. In short, we must learn the art of communications.

Responding with Facts and Acting with Integrity: Neutralizing Vicious Attacks

My advice to users of Bitcoins is simple: Never allow a major critic to own this debate, never cede (by inaction or silence) intellectual territory to commentators or partisan writers, since any such individual – and I include Paul Krugman in this category – wants to politicize this discussion, to our everlasting detriment.

The opposition, to their credit, has a potent weapon at their disposal: The verbal device of repetition, to unceasingly broadcast a message that portrays the proponents of Bitcoins as disruptive, radical invaders with secret plans to dissolve national borders, demolish the Federal Reserve, end the printing of fiat money, and amass every dollar, euro, peso, yen, yuan, drachma and shekel into a financial funeral pyre; its flames shooting skyward, as we encircle the neighboring grounds in celebration of the arrival of the New World Disorder, while reading aloud choice passages from the works of Ayn Rand.

Yes, our most extreme opponents believe this nonsense. Or, more cynically, they hope you believe this fiction; they understand the power of fear, its ability to induce anxiety and a sort of political psychosis, which is impenetrable to reason and immune from logic. The only way, therefore, to prevent these events from happening is to be as repetitious as our enemies – albeit with dignity, patience and an absolute refusal to react with anger or personal attacks.

If we reply with even the slightest trace of rage, no matter how justifiable, critics will say: “I told you so.” Rather than fall victim to such prodding, we should say – to the public – some variation of the following statement:

“Our opponents seek to personally malign us, distort our ideas and slander the intellectual credibility of our findings.

“We support the use of Bitcoins as an alternative currency because of the strength of the scientific method and the verifiable nature of mathematics.

“We are a community, freely assembled and diverse in our interests, without a political agenda or the missionary zeal of our most aggressive critics.

“We welcome the chance to have a dialogue about these issues, since we believe, in the words of the late U.S. Supreme Court Justice Louis D. Brandeis, ‘Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman.’

“In this era of remarkable technology and the instantaneous delivery of information, we choose to have this conversation with transparency and decorum. We invite others to do likewise.”

That proclamation is greater than any shouting match or online confrontation. Repeat the facts, calmly and professionally, so our message resonates louder than anything the opposition can say or scream.

Let us begin to communicate.

Hayden Gill is the Founder of Buzzdron Media, an innovative digital marketing and design agency. An expert concerning the use of Bitcoins for online transactions and e-commerce, Hayden can be reached at hg@buzzdron.com.  To send a tip directly to Hayden, his Bitcoin Address is 1JTmgE84GUoepRW5Qyo5ZTBvnwjgahfRer

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