Ignorance, as a result of having little or no access to sources of knowledge, is in terminal decline. This marks an incredible turning point for humanity. For so long the masses have been blind and ignorant to the true nature of their existences under the rule of those in power, and could do little else but blindly believe in the virtue of their rulers. But over the last decade or so the number of people with no easy way of escaping a state of ignorance has been declining rapidly. In 2005 the total number of people in the world with Internet access was 16%. In 2013 that figure was 39%. If this trend continues, then in a couple of decades or less practically the entire human population will be on the web – and will be able to learn almost anything. That’s a spine-tingling thought.
With the birth and rapid spontaneous growth of the Internet our generation suddenly and remarkably finds itself as (by some incredible distance) the most informed generation in human history. We can absorb and examine practically every intelligent argument, thought and theory ever put to parchment or tablet by countless thinkers over thousands of years, which have been transferred from physical form into digital form. And this greatest source of knowledge ever known to man is growing all the time thanks to companies like Google.
Imagine how many great thinkers of the past dreamed of having their works read by people of the distant future. Well, their wish has come true. With instant access to the sum of all human knowledge at our fingertips the only type of ignorance left in societies in the developed world and soon the entire world is and will be wilful ignorance – the refusal to know, as Ayn Rand put it. The only type of blindness left will be a refusal to see.
Being the most knowledgable generation makes us the most responsible (so far) for human betterment. We have an incredible opportunity to be the ones to guide humanity onto a path never before trodden that can lead to the world Man has dreamed of, but doubted could ever be achieved. And it’s our responsibility not to waste this opportunity. We must spread the message of liberty as far and as wide as we can muster, and of course live it.
The world we have a good shot at manifesting is a world without war. A world where the only people in poverty are those that choose to be. In this regard such a world would fulfill the timeless dream of Man. But this new world will be brimming with technology beyond ancient and industrial man’s wildest dreams, but not quite beyond ours; because we’re on the cusp – we can glimpse what’s on the horizon and by golly are we excited about it. Crypto-currencies, 3-D printing, nano-technology and more besides promise to completely transform the lives of people in the not too distant future even more so than the Internet has already transformed ours. (Case in point. Just as I was finishing this sentence the pizza arrived that I ordered online in a few clicks. Only 17 minutes elapsed between my paying with paypal and a steaming hot pizza being handed over to me by a man wearing a big smile. If that’s not amazing and wonderful, then I don’t know what the hell is. Beat that socialism!).
We’re now heavily armed with knowledge, and knowledge is indeed power, but cryptocurrencies like bitcoin will enable us to trade with each other and build societies free of the violence of governments. And that’s power with a capital P. With careful nurturing from us, bitcoin and/or other cryptocurrencies has a good chance of being the fatal blow to statism – however long it takes to die.
As the Internet continues to enable people to stroll out of their caves of ignorance and into the liberating glow of humanity’s collective knowledge, and to connect to the emerging peer-to-peer economy, a beautiful anarchy for all of humanity to flourish in inches closer. We have the power.