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WTF Crypto-Anarchy??

Crypto-anarchism is a political ideology that advocates the use of cryptography and other technologies to protect individual privacy, freedom, and autonomy from state interference. Crypto-anarchists believe that by encrypting their communications and transactions, we can create a decentralized and voluntary society that is immune to censorship, surveillance, and taxation. The term crypto-anarchism was coined by Timothy C. May in his 1988 "Crypto Anarchist Manifesto", where he declared: "Crypto Anarchy is the cyberspatial realization of anarchism, transcending national boundaries and freeing individuals to make the economic arrangements they wish, consensually." May was one of the founders of the cypherpunk movement, a group of activists and hackers who promoted the use of cryptography and digital currencies to challenge the authority of governments and corporations. The cypherpunks were influenced by libertarian and anarchist thinkers such as Murray Rothbard, David

Weathering With You: An Agorist Perspective

If someone asked you what your favorite emotion was, how do you think you’d answer?

For many people, I suspect they would answer “Happiness”, “Joy'', or some variant of exclusively positive emotion. Someone may think more meticulously and answer with “Contentment”, which while a positive emotion has a lot of nuance attached to it. However my answer to that question is what I feel others would consider more orthodox: Bittersweet. Pleasure accompanied by suffering, not exactly most people’s first pick but from my perspective pain is necessary in order to enjoy the pleasure that life gives you. Perhaps I'm over-romanticizing but there’s something to desire from looking back fondly at times where you were hurting and seeing yourself in a better place in the present. Perhaps you finally have moved on from “The one who got away” and can look back on those times with fondness. Perhaps you are sharing stories of a friend or family member at their funeral and though they may never walk this earth again, they still exist in your heart.

Artists of various media are capable of emulating this emotion, but I feel one of the greatest at exemplifying this emotion is the anime director Makoto Shinkai. For those unfamiliar with Shinkai’s work, His storytelling focuses on what is usually a sci-fi or mundane bent and a focus on the emotions of bittersweet and melancholy. This can be exemplified with his first film Voices From A Distant Star, where a girl joins the military in her school days to fight an alien threat, all the while the boy she loves grows older as she remains the same age due to warp travel and how long text messages take to travel across the vast expanses of space, forcing one to move on while the other remains in the past.

Shinkai’s two most recent works however, deal with events of more supernatural or mystical nature. Your Name became an international hit and became one of the highest grossing anime films of all time, the story being about the feeling of familiarity we get when meeting someone for the first time but it seems as if you’ve known them for some time already from the perspective of the two main characters Taki and Mitsuha, as they switch bodies and form a connection.

So what does this have to do with Agorism? I believe Liberty needs a culturally relevant medium to both express but also educate the viewer on Agorist and Austro-Economic concepts, to me, anime is that cultural medium. To demonstrate this I’ll be using Shinkai’s most recent film to exemplify that very idea through this writing.

I have a fear of rain.

Getting Hypothermia in the spring of 2017 from a rainstorm left me with a crippling fear of what most people consider a minor nuisance. Though as time went on and my fear waned, it always loomed there in the back of my mind. Heavy rain on a roof especially brought me back to that day and haunted me. That was until I watched what is now considered my favorite movie of all time, that my fear was able to be mitigated: Weathering With You.

Being Shinkai’s most recent work at the time of this writing, the story of a runaway boy named Hodaka who meets Hina, a girl with the ability to part the clouds in a Tokyo that is being plagued with constant rain, a story of all-conquering love, edge of your seat suspense, and to the core theme of the film, how the actions of individuals can affect the world around them.

After my first watch of this film I came to appreciate the rain, and more so the blue sky that comes when the rain takes its leave. After my second watch of this film I realized the messages of this film and the situations that occur within it are not only libertarian in nature, but can also be especially Agorist. I hope to present those concepts within this article, if you haven’t watched Weathering With You I highly recommend you do before we continue though it isn't required. Forewarning that the writing beyond this point contains spoilers.

Counter-Economics & Entrepreneurship

Early in the movie, Hodaka, having just arrived in Tokyo, is found without employment. Due to being a runaway and without a student ID, he is incapable of finding work through traditional means. Due to this, Hodaka attempts to get a job illegally (Including a few Yakuza groups) though everyone he propositions denies him. With no other options, Hodaka makes contact with one Keisuke Suga, a man who had previously saved Hodaka’s life and had offered to help him if he needed it. Suga is a writer and has his own company, after going on a trial interview and reading Hodaka’s material, he decides to hire him. The nature of this employment is under the table, the payment is unorthodox ($30 a month but everything else is covered from food to cell phone bills), and most importantly for our analysis: It is against the will of The State. With Counter-Economics being all Human Action that is against the will of The State, Suga’s hiring and taking care of Hodaka falls within this category.

Later on after Hodaka and Hina become acquainted, the two decide to become business partners using Hina’s ability to clear the sky to provide a service to the people of Tokyo. They find tremendous success and fulfill the needs of their various clients from a gambler whose favorite horse doesn’t win in the rain, to elementary school children who want a sunny day for their sports festival. All the clients pay in their own ways under the table from hundreds of dollars to a few cents, these exchanges are all done voluntarily, and outside the will of The State.


Firearms and Protection

When Hodaka has an unpleasant encounter with a hostess club manager, he inadvertently comes into possession of a pistol, a Makarov to go into further specifics, he holds onto it for good luck thinking it’s a replica. After some time has passed and Hodaka has become accustomed to living his busy life working for Suga, he one day sees Hina (whom he isn’t formally acquainted with yet) being what appears to be coerced to going with the hostess club manager that Hodaka had a run-in with. In a spur of the moment action, Hodaka takes Hina’s hand and attempts to flee the manager and an accomplice of his, though this results in Hodaka on the ground being beaten by said manager. Hodaka proceeds to pull out his pistol and let loose a shot, missing the manager but stunning him enough that Hina is able to grab Hodaka and bring him to the abandoned building where she got her powers and berates him for almost killing a man, he proceeds to discard the firearm in disgust. Though the response from Hina portrays the act of self defense with a firearm as wrong, the actions of Hodaka are vindicated when he is nearly thwarted by police when attempting to rescue Hina and holds them back with the pistol left behind.

The Malevolence and Incompetence of the Police

Throughout the movie, Hodaka has interactions with police that range from less than positive to downright cruel and malicious. Early in the movie he’s hassled by a couple officers for being a student out during curfew but he manages to escape, however this is minor compared to the representation provided by two later characters. Around the midway point of the movie the Hostess Club manager mentioned in the previous section is on the run from two police officers, Officer Takai and Officer Yasui. As he’s pulled aside he’s being questioned for attempting to hire a minor for the club, and in a better world, that would be a matter of concern for these officers, but that isn’t the case. These officers are looking for Hodaka on account of having discharged a firearm and also being a runaway, for the unaware discharging a pistol in Japan can land you life in prison. The police have a keen interest in finding Hodaka and more importantly the pistol he found on account that it was an officer that dropped it off in the trash can Hodaka cleaned up. Hina is also not enthused when police become involved when protective services want to take her and her brother into custody, this prompts the trio to run away, police attempt to arrest Hodaka with physical force and are only thwarted when Hina causes lighting to ignite a nearby car. The final act of the film Hodaka is on the run from the police and is beaten by Takai at the climax of the film, The police almost shoot him and if it weren't for multiple actors, Hodaka would have died before given the chance to save Hina from a terrible fate. Whether Shinkai has a bone to pick with the police or not he exemplifies how the police can create their own problems to solve, involve themselves in the lives of people who’d rather be left alone, and when faced with opposition use the monopoly on violence to coerce individuals.

Individual Action and Anime

The final moments of the movie involve Hodaka on his way to visit Hina after not having seen her for three years, he ponders to himself if the actions he and Hina took were real and whether or not it was coincidence that Tokyo was now flooded from the constant rain. Hina comes into view of Hodaka, her prayer clearing the skies above her, he then resolves “No, we did that.” the two call out to each other and hold hands. This last part of the movie isn’t specifically Agorist, but it portrays what should be a universal message “The actions of individuals do affect the world around us.” We as Agorists understand a way to defeat the beast is for individuals to starve it. If it weren’t for individuals,there would be no black or gray markets to provide products to people outside the view of The State. We are individuals, and we need to know our actions are why we will win.

Anime can be used to educate the people on Liberty. Weathering With You while no Alongside Night, shows concepts that are congruent with Agorism in a way that doesn’t bash the viewer over the head with it. There are more anime that can explain these concepts as well, and I hope the reader can use them to reach out to more people who may need things explained in an unorthodox way.

If you have someone in your life who's a fan of anime, suggest Weathering With You.

-Kumo McMahon


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