EP88: Drugs, Love and Anarchy w/ Sterlin Lujan
Inside the Psychology of an Anarcho-Capitalist
0:00:00 Ashe Oro: You are listening to the Liberty Entrepreneurs podcast, episode 88, Drugs, Love and Anarchy. Let's go.
0:19:00 Ashe Oro: Hey, what's up and welcome back all my fellow liberty entrepreneurs around the world. I'm Ashe Oro and I'm here with one of the best people in the world, and I say that, he didn't pay me to say that, but this is one of my good friends, and someone that I respect so much, and it's such a pleasure to have him on the show. Sterlin Lujan. Hey, brother.
0:37:00 Sterlin Lujan: Hey, Ashe, thanks for having me, man, and the feeling's 100% mutual.
0:42:00 Ashe Oro: I appreciate that.
0:42:00 Sterlin Lujan: Lots of love.
0:44:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, so Sterlin is currently the communications ambassador for bitcoin.com, and many of you may know him as the psychologic anarchist, and we'll get into what that means soon. You can find him at sterlinlujan.com. So definitely go check him out.
1:04:00 Ashe Oro: Sterlin, if you don't mind, give us just a quick background of who you are and what you stand for.
1:08:00 Sterlin Lujan: Sure. Are you sure you want it to be quick, Ashe?
1:16:00 Sterlin Lujan: Well, most people know that I'm an anarchist. If they've ever checked out my material, or looked up my name on Google, you'll find me pretty quickly.
1:26:00 Sterlin Lujan: But I became an anarchist through a certain set of experiences rather than reading a bunch of books or just focusing on the logic of what it means to be an anarchist. That's the traditional route that most people take.
1:42:00 Sterlin Lujan: Back in 2009, roughly 2009, I was ... actually, let's go back just a little bit further, there's something I want to touch on.
1:51:00 Sterlin Lujan: So, around 2006, 2007, I was an unthinking, slobbering zombie who was drooling his way through life. All I did was play video games all the time. I was a college dropout. I was working on a degree at a technical college for graphic design and graphic arts. But I didn't finish that degree. I quit because I was more interested in playing video games and just living an unproductive life, not doing anything. I didn't have any drive or ambition or passion about anything whatsoever.
2:28:00 Sterlin Lujan: Then in roughly, yeah it was about 2007, I think, maybe it was 2006, I was about 26 or 27 years old. And a good friend of mine invited me over to his house and told me that I needed to try something. So I went over to my buddy's house, and he said, "Here, take this pill. It's going to make you really happy." Well, that was an understatement. The pill that he gave me was MDMA, or methylenedioxy-methamphetamine, which is the street name, or that's the pharmaceutical name for ecstasy, which now a lot of the kids are calling molly.
3:07:00 Ashe Oro: Right, MDMA.
3:08:00 Sterlin Lujan: But sometimes molly can be adulterated and be other things, but that's another story. So I took MDMA and this was actual MDMA, and I had an epiphany where I had finally realized that I could do so much more with my life. I realized that I was a lot more intelligent than I had previously thought. And I also had the insight that I was going by what I was told as I was growing up, I was in remedial mathematics classes. I wasn't really very intelligent according to the public education system.
3:43:00 Sterlin Lujan: I felt like I was this Debbie Downer of a child who wasn't going to do anything with his life, and-
3:49:00 Ashe Oro: And that's real, right? Whenever you don't fit into the public education system, that's a real thing on a kid.
3:55:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yes, it absolutely is. Well, they want to ... the public education system is a ... they want it to be a one-size-fits-all solution for every child, in terms of the way that they go through that process. But also, it's a one-size-fits-all process of indoctrination and brainwashing camp.
4:14:00 Sterlin Lujan: So as long as everybody fits the mold of what they want to do, then they're extremely happy. Well, I wasn't really wanting to give into their curriculum. I wanted to read my own books, I wanted to study my own material. I wanted to be my individual self, and they weren't really having it.
4:29:00 Sterlin Lujan: So I had this insight, this epiphany, on MDMA. And I realized that, man, I really love life. I love the people who are in my life, and I haven't really done much to further it. So at that point I decided I wanted to go back to college, and now I knew I was really interested in the mind, I was interested in people, I was interested in how people relate to one another.
4:53:00 Sterlin Lujan: So this epiphany caused, it also, there's another point of it, it also caused me to question the nature of the laws in society. I took MDMA and this made me want to go back to school. It made me want to do something with myself. I thought why the hell is this drug, this beautiful, amazing, magnificent compound illegal? It shouldn't be illegal, it just woke me up. It woke me the fuck up.
5:17:00 Ashe Oro: Right. Right.
5:18:00 Sterlin Lujan: And so I went back to college, I got a bachelor's degree in psychology. And then ... that was later down the road, of course. Around 2009, I thought this compound was so amazing that I started handing it out to people. I started giving it to my friends, specifically, selling it to my friends, and then I thought that I was going to be a shaman, or a spiritual technologist, and just help wake everybody up. That was my modus operandi for the longest time with MDMA.
5:48:00 Sterlin Lujan: And then in 2009 things didn't go exactly my way, and a friend of mine, he sold some of my MDMA to an undercover narcotics agent. Actually, at that time, it was cocaine. We had cocaine and MDMA, he sold some cocaine to an undercover narcotics agent, and then they came back and kicked open my door to my house. Like a full, effectively a full SWAT team with full body armor, vests, machine guns, the whole nine yards. They acted like they were maintenance men for the apartment, and effectively tricked me. Threw me to the ground and then of course the whole raid team came up and searched the apartment fully.
6:35:00 Sterlin Lujan: Luckily I wasn't armed, because I likely would've shot that cop who tried to open the door, because I had no idea who it was. I thought it was just a robber. I mean, it was a robber.
6:44:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, yeah, I was going to say.
6:46:00 Sterlin Lujan: They were State thugs. I thought it was a normal-
6:50:00 Ashe Oro: A private robber.
6:50:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. A non-authoritarian robber.
6:53:00 Ashe Oro: Right.
6:54:00 Sterlin Lujan: The State functionary. So I was charged with possession of MDMA and cocaine with intent to deliver, and also they accused me of manufacturing a controlled substance. And I had to bond out. The bond was $10,000, I believe, at that time. And then later on down the road, it took a year for me to go to court, because the war on drugs has caused the "criminal justice system" to become so full, just loaded, that nobody gets in until the very last minute. So that was a very tough year of my life.
7:30:00 Sterlin Lujan: I was effectively waiting to go to, I was being threatened with 40 years in prison, I was absolutely terrified that my life was going to be over. But at the same time, this year was a very strong or pivotal moment in my life, because I started having thoughts about the nature of the State and the experience, what had happened to me.
7:51:00 Ashe Oro: I bet.
7:51:00 Sterlin Lujan: And a lot of people ... yeah, man, it was rough. And a lot of people in my life were trying to make me feel guilty. They were trying to say that I made a huge mistake. And I started thinking, how was this a mistake? I was only helping out in a market environment.
8:04:00 Ashe Oro: And helping them find their pursuit of happiness. Roger Ver makes a good argument is just a freedom of expression, and it is people trying to identify and pursue their own happiness. And if we say that the pursuit of happiness is a freedom that, specifically I'll be speaking to Americans here, but if the pursuit of happiness is something that we have, then drugs shouldn't be illegal at all.
8:29:00 Sterlin Lujan: 100%, man. And that's exactly how I felt what I was trying to do, is to provide spiritual enlightenment for people, and to help them find their own way [crosstalk 00:08:39]-
8:40:00 Ashe Oro: So I assume you didn't go to prison for 40 years.
8:43:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, so when I finally went to trial, but actually before trial even happened, the attorney that I had, I had to get the smarmiest, greasiest attorney in town, who happened to know the District Attorney-
8:58:00 Ashe Oro: That's how it works.
8:59:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. They all get lunch and dinner together, they're all corrupt, they probably are swingers and they're hammering each other's wives and these kind of things.
9:10:00 Sterlin Lujan: But it's sort of typical of a small town justice system. It was part of the luck of it. Where I got arrested, the town that was a bit smaller, so they all really, really knew each other and were well acquainted.
9:22:00 Sterlin Lujan: Anyway, so behind closed doors my attorney called up the District Attorney and said, "Hey, these kids aren't a problem. This is-
9:30:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah. This isn't big time stuff, these aren't your guys.
9:32:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right, and I mentioned kids, because at the very last part of the year, right before my trial date, I was arrested, I was kidnapped again by these thugs that came ... I had moved out of that town to another town, to show the judge that I was moving away from that environment. It was a show of that I was trying to change, effectively.
9:56:00 Sterlin Lujan: And they said that the drugs that I had, the cocaine and MDMA, had traveled through another town, miles away, I think it was 30 miles away, and because they knew that those drugs had traveled through that town, they justified charging me with ... it was effectively a conspiracy charge, they said that I was engaging in organized criminal activity.
10:20:00 Ashe Oro: Right, so it was really you're the mastermind.
10:22:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. That's right. The thing that is so silly about it, and this speaks to the travesty of the criminal justice system, is that it was really just the same, it was another charge for the same drugs, so it was like double jeopardy as to why they could get away with it legally.
10:41:00 Ashe Oro: Because they've gotta get you in as many that they can pile up, it means that they have a better chance of securing one on you.
10:47:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. And they'll get more money from it as well, of course, the other counties that were involved, and other cities that were involved in it will be able to steal more of my money, either through incarcerating me or putting me on probation.
11:04:00 Sterlin Lujan: Anyway, what happened is, my attorney was able to get all the charges to run concurrently, together, the criminal organization charge plus the possession with intent to deliver charge, and the manufacturing charge got dropped because I wasn't really manufacturing anything. Anyway, it all got put together, and I got 10 years deferred adjudication probation, is what my attorney was able to get doled out to me.
11:29:00 Ashe Oro: And so you came out with this, unfortunately a pursuit of happiness charge, let's call it.
11:35:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's it.
11:36:00 Ashe Oro: But you had this revelation. Like most people, I assume you went through government schools, and you were probably taught that you need to get a job and just life doesn't feel that fulfilling, but you start to open your mind in various ways, and for you it was MDMA and your experience with the government and the judicial system.
11:56:00 Ashe Oro: Where has that helped you land now? Who is Sterlin Lujan?
12:00:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. Well, during that year that I was waiting to go, to get on probation, I told you that everybody was really trying to make me feel guilty, and they were questioning the nature of who I was, and it was a really tumultuous period.
12:14:00 Sterlin Lujan: But during that time I also, because of a result of everybody hounding me, and all this fear that had welled up, I started doing, and I had already been doing a lot of reading, of course, after the first MDMA experience. As soon as I was done taking MDMA I literally popped on Wikipedia and started reading about I could, everything from philosophy to physics to gardening. If it was a topic I was delving deeply into it.
12:40:00 Sterlin Lujan: But after the arrest, the kidnapping, I started reading the anarchist philosophers, specifically the anarcho-capitalist philosophers. So I read Murray Rothbard's book, For A New Liberty. And-
12:53:00 Ashe Oro: And were you aware that anarcho-communism was a thing? Or was this your first toe into anarchy?
13:00:00 Sterlin Lujan: This was my first toe into it. That's a great question to parse what I was doing, Ashe, because I can't really remember how I ... oh, I ... okay, I think I remember how I came into contact with specifically the anarcho-capitalist side of it.
13:15:00 Sterlin Lujan: 2009 was when this went down, and it was during Ron Paul's LOVEalution campaign. And I read Ron Paul's book first, actually, the, what was it? The Manifesto, The Revolution: A Manifesto.
13:30:00 Ashe Oro: Oh yeah, The Revolution: A Manifesto.
13:31:00 Sterlin Lujan: And he referenced Rothbard and his book, For A New Liberty, and therefore I went back and got Rothbard's book, read it. And chapter three of Rothbard's book has stuck with me ever since, and it's just called The State. And he breaks down the nature of a state being just a parasitical entity that's simply a group of men who have a monopoly and the initiation of force over a large territory.
13:54:00 Ashe Oro: And which Rothbard book was that?
13:56:00 Sterlin Lujan: For A New Liberty.
13:57:00 Ashe Oro: For A New Liberty, okay.
13:58:00 Sterlin Lujan: It's a bit dated now, it was written in the '70s. So if somebody were to go back and read it, the examples are dated, but the ideas are still perfectly relevant today, of course.
14:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: So that book helped me realize that I'm an anarchist. I got online, on the Internet, of course-
14:13:00 Ashe Oro: Let's define anarchist real quick, before we get too far.
14:16:00 Sterlin Lujan: This is a good, good point, to do that.
14:19:00 Ashe Oro: Because this word, just like capitalism, is one that's thrown around by people in various positions as we cannot possibly devolve into anarchy. And I think it might just be a difference in definition here. What's your definition of anarchy?
14:39:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's a great thought. Anarchy, or anarchism literally means, just means, without rulers. An comes from the Greek, without. And archos is from the Greek, chieftain or ruler. So anarchy literally means without rulers. It does not mean, which is what someone people interpret it to mean, without rules. So society can have rules, however those come about, so long as the individuals aren't trying to force compliance from other people. Or, in other words, rule over them.
15:18:00 Sterlin Lujan: So anarchism is very specific in that way. Now there's a lot of people, and you mentioned the anarcho-communists, there's a lot of people who like to debate on what constitutes rulership, or ruling over another person. And in my view, you're only being ruled over if your consent is being broken.
15:41:00 Sterlin Lujan: If somebody does something to you in a non-consensual manner, then they're ruling over you at that point.
15:48:00 Ashe Oro: Hence why a lot of anarcho-capitalists believe and live and have accepted the non-aggression principle. Because if you are aggressing against someone, then that is breaking, forcing against someone's consent.
16:02:00 Ashe Oro: If you're not aggressing against them, and you're still doing business with someone or just hanging out with someone, then it's mutually full of consent, and both people find it valuable to spend their time in doing whatever it is, be it just hanging out and playing video games, or going and buying a movie ticket, and both people are finding value in that. You don't have to be forced to do things that you want.
16:27:00 Ashe Oro: Do you think that it helps our cause to use the word anarchy? This is something that I've struggled with, and rather than using anarchist, I like to use the term liberty entrepreneur, hence where this entire podcast came from. But what's your feeling about just the word anarchy? Is it something that we're fighting for?
16:52:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, this is an interesting subject. I've always held the position that it's perfectly fine to use the term anarchy or anarchist. Now that does cause a myriad of headaches to crop up as you move through life using the term, because a lot of people are indoctrinated or propagandized to believe that anarchy means, A, without rules, B, disorder, and C, chaos. So it's a constant struggle of having to educate people into the actual definition of the term.
17:27:00 Sterlin Lujan: And I don't see a problem with that. I think there's some power to getting the term back under the light that it was meant to be shown in. It's not a nasty or an ugly term, it's something that is empowered. But there's also another flip side to this. There are people who call themselves anarchists, who we really wouldn't describe as an anarchist, or in the least we would have some refutations toward those people and their claims.
18:01:00 Sterlin Lujan: But then we get into some jiggly, soft ground, because there's this fallacy called a no true Scotsman. If you say, you're not a real anarchist, you're not a true anarchist, then of course you get into some fallacious area of what's that supposed to mean? Who are you to judge what a real anarchist is, or how you move in that direction.
18:24:00 Sterlin Lujan: But I think the term overall deserves to be salvaged and deserves to be used at every step of the way, because I think it's a very empowering term, hence why I called myself the psychologic anarchist. Because I think it, in the least, it generates important discussion. It the term that you use is liberty entrepreneur, and some people use the term voluntaryist, or freedom advocate. And some people even go even more vague and say free thinker.
18:53:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, liberty minded, right.
18:55:00 Sterlin Lujan: Something of that nature. And all those, I think are fine, but I think we get really to the crux of the point when we say the term anarchy, and use the term anarchism with conviction and passion.
19:07:00 Ashe Oro: Because it could, using the term anarchy, we're not the anarchists that the media will portray on TV. Those are the guys and girls flipping over cop cars and busting in Starbucks windows. We, anarcho-capitalists, we are never portrayed, ever, in the news.
19:28:00 Ashe Oro: Anytime anybody ever hears in school about what an anarchist is, or sees on the news or reads in the newspaper what an anarchist is, it's always these people who are just against social hierarchy, not necessarily rulers with regard to the application of force. But they don't like any type of social hierarchy, and that's why they tend to go towards communism where everybody is the same, and everybody's poor and hungry.
19:57:00 Ashe Oro: But for us, how do we get more exposure to the value creation and market based side of anarchy, because it has two ... whenever we call ourselves anarchists, it could evoke curiosity in someone. But I find that a lot of the times, it's like, "Oh, you're one of those." It creates the opposite of a curious effect.
20:23:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's right. I think there's a couple of things going on here. Of course talking to people is always a great way to get them involved thinking about anarchism, but that doesn't necessarily get them involved in thinking about the other side of anarcho-capitalists, which is that we have an interest in using and utilizing market forces to effect change. Right?
20:49:00 Sterlin Lujan: Now, we could just use the term anarcho-capitalist, to get them thinking about the capitalistic side of this, but also, and as you referenced or alluded to earlier, even the term capitalist is hugely loaded for some people. Use the term capitalist, and people lose their freaking minds. They're like, "Oh, you're an evil capitalist pig. You just want to have a shit ton of money and lord over everybody else and make them kiss the ring, of course." Capitalism, I can define that too real quick, just means private ownership over the means to production. Generally speaking.
21:29:00 Sterlin Lujan: But it also has a lot of implications, meaning the ability to accumulate capital, to generate wealth, to be an entrepreneur, to start businesses, hire skilled [crosstalk 00:21:39]-
21:39:00 Ashe Oro: And just be able to put capital, both human capital and just physical capital and, I guess, intellectual capital, into a pattern that creates wealth.
21:51:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. That's right. And so, and this is something I really enjoy doing as well, because I think, besides just talking, I think what gets people involved in the capitalistic element of what we're doing is just by building and creating things. Because a lot of the things that anarcho-capitalists are building in the modern day, are actually helping generate more freedom by virtue of their effect.
22:19:00 Sterlin Lujan: This is the age of decentralized technologies, the age of cryptocurrencies. And these technologies were actually created anarchists, anarcho-capitalists, and we can get in this too, cypherpunks and cryptoanarchists, helped build these technologies for the sole purpose of building a freer society, without even necessarily having to talk to people.
22:40:00 Ashe Oro: Or having to change the current establishment.
22:42:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right.
22:43:00 Ashe Oro: Just building an alternative to compete against the establishmentarians. I appreciate you saying that, because it reminds me of a little joke that I said on stage one time. Actually, at Anarchapulco. If you're not going to Anarchapulco, it's February 13th through the 18th, 19th, 20th, whenever. Both Sterlin and I will be there, speaking this year. So book your tickets, and we'll see you down there.
23:11:00 Ashe Oro: But you're right, you don't have to talk about it. And just think about this. Ludwig von Mises, his treatise, is not called Human Talking, it's called Human Action. And so if we're out there, and that's the whole point of being a liberty entrepreneur. If you're out there building ... I thought the other night, if a picture is worth a thousand words, what's an action worth?
23:36:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, 100%. And even if you can't end it out, not everybody's going to be one of the builders themselves, but the beautiful thing about this technology is even if you're not actually out there building it and developing it, or being on the capitalist side of it and gathering up the resources and pulling the people together and having the vision for it, then you can actually simply just be using the technology to help get out of the system already.
24:00:00 Sterlin Lujan: And there's a lot of power in that, in just a little example, and you'll be highly familiar with this example, as well, Ashe, but when the Steemit platform came into existence, all of us were easily swayed to get on and use this platform because it allowed us to generate revenue without having to work in the context of the system.
24:21:00 Sterlin Lujan: And that is an extremely powerful thing, because if we're generating cryptocurrency as a result of doing just writing articles, creating art or whatever it is that we're doing, we're already helping escape the system, because that's untaxed revenue that is going to whatever ends that we desire, and it's an absolutely beautiful and amazing thing.
24:44:00 Sterlin Lujan: And also, doing this is an element of micro-entrepreneurship, that is really popping up in society, and that's literally everywhere. Everybody's an entrepreneur to some degree if they're working online.
24:55:00 Ashe Oro: Everybody's got a side hustle of some sort. Everybody's been able to side hustle. As my listeners know, I run a virtual assistant business out of the Philippines. And I thought the other day, blockchain video games are about to explode, where you have ownership over your sword or your spell or whatever, your character, and you actually have blockchain ownership of this stuff, and it's yours.
25:20:00 Ashe Oro: And the value that you create in the game, maybe you're mining gold in the game, or you're slaying a dragon and you get rewarded, or you get that really special drop, that really special shield of some sort. You can sell this stuff. And I had the idea, I want to hire a virtual assistant that plays video games all day, but they're creating value in this video game where it pays for their salary and there's a small margin on top for me to just operate this thing, organize this thing.
25:52:00 Ashe Oro: How cool was that? That everybody can be an entrepreneur now. It's easier than ever to be an entrepreneur. There's so much connectivity and so many tools and so much opportunity, and so much money competition that you just gotta find your spot. And so it's really awesome.
26:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, it is, it's absolutely amazing, because there's all kind of digital niches where people can work. And just a little bit about my backstory, and this helps do a little continuation of what we were talking about, after I became an anarchist, and after I ... and this is sort of the end of the story, I was only on probation for five years, because I was able write a letter to the judge, tell the judge that I had been a good boy and I followed all their rules and all of it, all of their malarkey, and then he let me off of probation.
26:38:00 Sterlin Lujan: And also during that time, as I was hanging out online, of course, I came into contact, like I said, with the cryptoanarchists, and I learned about bitcoin pretty early on, around 2013. Started writing about bitcoin, and making Facebook posts about cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. And then in 2015 I went to The Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire, and that was the first time I actually got to use bitcoin in a real, live transaction.
27:08:00 Sterlin Lujan: Anybody who doesn't know, The Porcupine Freedom Festival in New Hampshire is part of the Free State Project, and it is really a hub for liberty-minded people to congregate. And that's a once a year festival that they have. Now there's a lot that's changed since when I went a couple of years ago, as I've heard, but that was really a crowning moment in my foray into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, because I realized that the power of technology, I actually went back to my wife, Cecilia, after I went that conference. They were going full, all in on bitcoin. And the price I think at the time was $300 or $400.
27:47:00 Sterlin Lujan: So we bought a bunch of bitcoin. I started an account on Steemit, I was an early adopter, I made posts, did really well. I got, actually, Jeff Berwick saw a video that I made about Steemit, and he came onto the Steemit, and then the whole anarchist cavalcade came on Steemit. So I take full blame for that, ultimately.
28:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: And then, same year, 2015, this was a very important year, Roger started bitcoin.com, he had acquired the domain name I think the previous year, in 2014. And I was working on a Facebook page called The Art of Not Being Governed. And I was making memes, I was fully enmeshed in meme warfare. And a close ally and buddy of mine, Jamie Redman, who's a cryptojournalist and has been really great when he basically headhunted me for Roger to come onto the bitcoin.com team. So I started as a cryptojournalist on bitcoin.com.
28:41:00 Ashe Oro: And it just came out of passion. It all just came out of stuff you were doing in your free time. A hobby turned into your business.
28:46:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. It was all a snowball effect from my early experiences. And my very first experience as someone who was not only an anarchist but an entrepreneur, was in selling mass quantities of drugs.
28:59:00 Sterlin Lujan: So it was a very [crosstalk 00:29:01]-
29:01:00 Ashe Oro: Hey, that's just their rules that say you can't do that.
29:05:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's absolutely right. Selling drugs is good business, man. You know that the pharmaceutical industrial complex makes billions of dollars in revenue a year from [inaudible 00:29:14]-
29:13:00 Ashe Oro: And that's why all these other drugs like marijuana and MDMA and stuff like that are illegal. Hemp, for crying out loud. CBD, gimme a break. I'm currently here in Denver, Colorado, and we're lucky enough to not have goons come kick in our door and kidnap us and throw us in a cage if we're smoking a plant.
29:31:00 Ashe Oro: But I want to just congratulate drugs for winning the war on drugs [inaudible 00:29:37]. Congratulations to drugs.
29:39:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's ... yes, absolutely. And having drugs banned for governments and certain companies, specifically the pharmaceutical industrial complex, that's a business plan, because it allows them to monopolize certain industries. That's it.
29:59:00 Sterlin Lujan: I think that, without getting into the weeds, we will move forward and we'll continue to do everything we can to make drugs as "legal" as possible. What should happen in the end is just governments should be absolutely abolished, and all drugs should be available for anybody who wants them or needs them, [crosstalk 00:30:15]-
30:15:00 Ashe Oro: And then we will deal with people compassionately who get addictions, instead of locking these people up in a cage and ruining countless people's lives, we would treat addiction as a health concern, rather than a State or legality concern. It's always one thing that has really bugged me.
30:37:00 Ashe Oro: So let's keep going on the path here with bitcoin.com, and I want to really start getting into the psychologic anarchist, and what that means.
30:46:00 Sterlin Lujan: Sure, sure. So, at the same time that I started working for bitcoin.com, yeah, this is a good point to talk about this. When I started for bitcoin.com in 2015, I started working, getting into the cryptocurrency ecosystem, something happen simultaneously, and it makes my story really multifaceted.
31:06:00 Sterlin Lujan: But I mentioned I had finished my degree in psychology. I also started working on a Master's degree in counseling. I really wanted to be a counselor, because I've always had a passion for helping people, be it on and individual basis or a very large scale.
31:23:00 Sterlin Lujan: And I was working on being a counselor. I was also thinking about anarchism, of course, at the same time, and I thought, "You know what? There hasn't been very many people who have tried to combine or synthesize the anarcho-capitalist or anarchist ideas with therapeutic ideas.
31:42:00 Sterlin Lujan: So this also occurred in 2015, I created the Facebook page, Psychologic Anarchist, which is now, for anybody who doesn't know, it's gone, because Facebook censored it. They, during their massive cull last year, they removed my page completely, and I wrote an appeal, and I never got it back.
32:03:00 Sterlin Lujan: So anyway, Psychologic Anarchist was culled out of existence, but when I started writing about these ideas, combining and synthesizing anarchism and psychology, I came up with this idea called relational anarchism.
32:18:00 Sterlin Lujan: And this is simply the idea that if we're working with people to be as compassionate and as decent as possible, if we're actually trying to connect with people on a very deep level as we move through this life, we are creating the necessary and sufficient conditions to build anarchist or anarcho-capitalist societies.
32:40:00 Sterlin Lujan: Because if you're being empathetic with people, that is the antithesis of coercing another person or harming another person. Because if you feel a true connection with another person, you're unlikely to use violence to harm that person.
32:54:00 Sterlin Lujan: So this is the key idea that I came to an understanding of through studying psychology and combining those ideas with psychology. So I made some of the, probably some of the first posts regarding the importance of the connection of empathy, nonviolent communication, and all those ideas in-between, with anarchism.
33:16:00 Ashe Oro: I think this is some of your best work is. I know that you write very well for bitcoin.com, but a lot of people write very well for cryptocurrencies. I think your real strength is relating the interpersonal type of skill sets and helping use that to establish how small anarchy can be.
33:42:00 Ashe Oro: In the most individual sense, anarchy is within yourself. Are you using force against your own feelings and your own thoughts? Are you trying to suppress that stuff, or are you in a place where you can be curious and have compassion for your younger self?
33:58:00 Ashe Oro: For me that is true anarchy. And then, once you have that peace and that harmony of respecting who you are, and who you have been, who you have been, the stuff that builds up in you. If you have the curiosity and compassion to basically allow that to release, and connect with yourself, then you have the fundamentals to connect with other people in that same peaceful way.
34:24:00 Ashe Oro: And that is the beautiful anarchy.
34:27:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's amazingly said, Ashe. That's exactly how I feel. Because if we're coming to terms with who we are as human beings, if we've been able to try to deal with our trauma ... And here's one of the big things, I think, one of the key insights that comes out of all of this. If we really think about it, the nature of the State as a cold, detached, bureaucratic entity that's emotionless and lifeless, is a consequence of the way that we were raised, of the traumas that we were dealt with, of the suffering that people endured.
35:01:00 Sterlin Lujan: Because as children, a lot of us have our emotional life squashed underfoot by people that think that children should just be obedient and follow, and they shouldn't be able to have an emotional response.
35:16:00 Ashe Oro: Yes, seen and not heard. I can't count the number of times my own mother said children should be seen and not heard. Where's the curiosity there? Children are smashed, and that's why I had David Rodriguez on my show not so long ago.
35:29:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, I saw that.
35:29:00 Ashe Oro: I call them the four evil Ps. The Ps that crush children and turn them into these propagandized drones that just accept government force. The evil Ps are parents, politicians, pastors and professors.
35:46:00 Ashe Oro: These are people that really aren't pretty much ever curious about a child. And they take out all the beauty in children that would allow them to be a peaceful anarchist. It puts in them this disacceptance, unacceptance of themselves, this unimportance, this you have to fall in line. We have this cultural, established hierarchy and you have to pay attention and listen and obey.
36:21:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. And there was a really, really great book that covers this subject. The author wasn't an anarchist, but ultimately what she was getting at was strongly anarchist ideas. There was this psychotherapist, psychologist by the name of I think it's Anne Miller ... Alice Miller. Excuse me, Alice Miller. And Alice Miller wrote a book called For Your Own Good in the ... I want to say it was in the '80s or the '90s.
36:49:00 Sterlin Lujan: But she worked with children through the majority of her career, and what she said that happened to children, is what she came to call the toxic pedagogy, where effectively children were raised up in environments where they were not, and we discussed this just a bit just now, but they were not allowed to have emotional content, and that was suppressed.
37:12:00 Sterlin Lujan: But then, at the very end of it, they would come out prepared to obey commands and authorities. And what's interesting about her book is she delves specifically into the disciplinary lifestyle of Nazi Germany, and how German children were treated. And she even delved into Hitler's own life of how his father beat him and kept his emotions squashed. And this was typical of the individual who lived in Nazi Germany.
37:39:00 Sterlin Lujan: And it's this kind of totalitarian lifestyle, and this disciplinarian parenting ideology that causes children to lose a sense of connection with other human beings, because they don't have that emotional drive to make those connections. So when the time comes for them to obey and follow an order, even if that order means harming or killing another human being, they're going to do it without question, which is an absolute tragedy.
38:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: But her book really gave me some insight, and provides anyone insight who reads it into the nature of how people behave based on their early childhood experiences and early trauma. Now this almost a foregone conclusion. Everybody I think deep down knows this, even if they disagree with it. They know they've heard these particular arguments and ideas before, but I really recommend for anybody who wants to delve deeper into the subject, Alice Miller's book is still relevant.
38:36:00 Ashe Oro: We'll put it in the show notes, thank you.
38:39:00 Ashe Oro: Do you think this authoritarian, disciplinarian way of raising children is one of the key factors of why, when those children grow up, they don't trust the marketplace, but they trust government regulations, for instance.
38:56:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, I think that's the case, because if you grow up, if anybody grows up in an authoritarian environment-
39:03:00 Ashe Oro: Or even grows up in general, but yes.
39:06:00 Sterlin Lujan: ... in that ... right, right. We're all ... are they going to grow up at all? No, no. In this authoritarian environment, you just get used to obeying commands and dictates. So people are, from a very early age, they are shunned from experiencing freedom, or what it means to interact with other human beings in a totally free way. And so that is echoed later on in life when people have any association with the free market, which is just a synonym for direct freedom of exchange of value with other people.
39:41:00 Sterlin Lujan: And if people aren't able to exchange value, any kind of value, early on, without that authority or that ruler intervening on their behalf, well then they're going to be naturally predisposed to not wanting to work with other people in a free market environment. And now they have a-
39:58:00 Ashe Oro: And be skeptical. And just be skeptical of these other people.
40:00:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right.
40:02:00 Ashe Oro: Because this person's probably going to screw me because there's no government in-between us. There's no authority in-between us.
40:06:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right, there's no-one there to protect us, right. Because that's the key indoctrinating story or narrative that governments tell us, is that government has to be there to protect us. And this is also why, and this is talked about in Alice Miller's book as well as other books, why the State always manifests as a parental figure. The fatherland, the motherland-
40:29:00 Ashe Oro: Uncle Sam.
40:30:00 Sterlin Lujan: ... Uncle Sam. If people see government as this metaphorical mommy and daddy figure, they're going to have a natural instinct to have it protect every single person. But the reality of the situation is tragic, because that's not what happens. Governments aren't ... in the least, they're not the good parents who are going to protect you. Instead, they're going to harm you every step of the way.
40:55:00 Sterlin Lujan: They're going to abuse you. They're going to subjugate and subdue you, rather than help you, because they're the authoritarian, abusive asshole of a parent.
41:04:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, not a far cry from what most parents are.
41:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's right.
41:10:00 Ashe Oro: Parenting is ... we have a crisis in parenting, and we've always had a crisis in parenting. And it leads us to the acceptance of government. I've long thought now that trying to get rid of government is not the path. I went the path of building freedom, but I also hope one day to go the path of parenting, peaceful parenting.
41:33:00 Ashe Oro: And building, helping provide the environment for a child to find that strength, and find that connection rather than me feeling like, oh, you have to do it my way, I know best. I'm the parent. And then they grow up thinking, oh, the government's the same thing, it's just another parent.
41:49:00 Sterlin Lujan: 100%. And I think this path toward free ... we can talk about solutions, but you're right, it's not just about outright abolishing the State. I think that's the ultimate goal, is we want the State abolished. But in order to do that, it's a multifaceted, multi-pronged approach.
42:06:00 Sterlin Lujan: So we need the peaceful parenting. We need adults to be empathetic. We need the connection and the communication piece. But we also need things like agorism, we need entrepreneurship, we need all of these, this swirl, this beautiful swirl of different ideas to come together in a magnificent way to generate more freedom in every aspect of the reality that we find ourselves in.
42:30:00 Sterlin Lujan: If we can do that, then I think we're moving in the direction that we need to move. And I-
42:35:00 Ashe Oro: The State should start to dissipate at that point.
42:37:00 Sterlin Lujan: Absolutely. That's ... and I think that's happening right now. We can see the growth where, like you mentioned, we're both going to Anarchapulco. Anarchapulco to me is a beautiful symbol of how fast and furious the anarchist community is growing.
42:53:00 Sterlin Lujan: And there's been anarchist communities all throughout history, especially in the 1800s when all kinds of anarchists were really everywhere. But as a result of the growth of communication technologies, entrepreneurship, development of communication, Internet based tech, now we're seeing more and more people come into the fold because they're being exposed to the ideas.
43:17:00 Sterlin Lujan: But not only are they being exposed to the ideas, they're also being exposed to the empathetic and kind and compassionate people who call themselves anarchists. That's not to say that all anarchists are. All of us, at our core, are hurt or harmed in some way. I don't think any of us in the current environment grew up in a way that was completely beneficial. Maybe a handful, but I think we're all trying to overcome our different traumas.
43:40:00 Sterlin Lujan: But I think in the process of that, we're understanding that in order to abolish the State, we need to treat our children with dignity and respect. We need to treat other people with dignity and respect. In the least, we need to use as much compassion and empathy as possible, and understand where the other person's coming from.
43:55:00 Sterlin Lujan: And I want to say this. I'm not an expert on this topic in the sense that I'm perfect at it. I have my own shortcomings, it's very difficult to be constantly compassionate, because we live in a toxic environment where people are constantly projecting their traumas onto you. And I see this online all the time. Because people can be faceless, essentially, and not have to worry about have to worry about having any-
44:17:00 Ashe Oro: Repercussions.
44:18:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. No repercussions, no consequences. They're not standing there face-to-face with the person, so they can really be nasty to you and they can vent all of their emotional content. And so it's very easy to become defensive, especially if you're a public persona and you're more well known in the community-
44:35:00 Ashe Oro: You get attacked.
44:36:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right, that's right. And it's-
44:38:00 Ashe Oro: I'll have just random people attack me on Twitter. The longer I'm on Twitter, the more successful I believe government schools have been.
44:47:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's a great observation. It's true. And this is ... definitely the output of public schooling is that there's no ... public schools, the last thing they're going to teach people is how to communicate, empathize and think. None of that is one the priority. It's all about rote memorization of unimportant historical facts that the victors wrote about, right?
45:10:00 Ashe Oro: That they wrote, yeah, exactly. It has very little to do with actually the process of learning. I just watched a short clip from Isaac Morehouse, who has been on the show. He's the co-founder of Praxis. It's an alternative to college for students who are looking to get actual experience in building with entrepreneurs rather than going to college and just memorizing a whole bunch of shit again.
45:36:00 Ashe Oro: They were going through the skills that what people said they wished they had learned in high school, and then what they actually learned, that they never used. And it's really amazing that, yeah, we're just stuck in there, and we memorize some random shit for 12 years, and then there you go.
45:55:00 Sterlin Lujan: You're exactly right. I want to point this out for your listeners. This isn't just guesswork that you and I are going through about the education system. It's not just us observing it and saying this is what they're doing. That's partly it, but this is actually the modus operandi of the public education system. David might have talked about this on your podcast, but this is what's been referred to as the Prussian model of education.
46:21:00 Ashe Oro: German engineered.
46:22:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. This model of education is just to create obedient worker drones and people who will follow commands without any questions. The United States and the majority of Western schools, and probably Eastern schools, will have adopted to some degree this authoritarian methodology for raising the young. And it goes back to Alice Miller's idea of the poisonous pedagogy, or the toxic pedagogy. You raise up children, squash their emotions, teach them unimportant facts, and they're ready to follow without questioning anything.
46:58:00 Sterlin Lujan: So the environment that we live in is the fallout of bad parenting, of statism and of all this nastiness combined, and it's created sort of a toxic deluge of pain and suffering.
47:11:00 Ashe Oro: And the good news, I think we're starting to come to the other side. Even with people like yourself and Brené Brown. As much as people want to hate on the millennials, and me being one, apparently, since I was born in 1982, I'm kind of the OG millennial. So I can both relate and look from the outside.
47:34:00 Ashe Oro: But stuff like compassion, and stuff like curiosity, and this is a generation that is paying more attention to their emotions. Granted, their emotions run wild a lot of the times, and they see things in society that they feel are forced or aren't fair, and unfortunately they are still looking to the government to correct these things.
47:57:00 Ashe Oro: But finally, I think for about the first time ever, men are now allowed to even think that they have emotions, and question their emotions, and they're starting to become a society where men are able to express their emotions.
48:13:00 Ashe Oro: People always talk about the patriarchy, and the feminist movement, but I think, under the currents, we're starting to see men, a men's movement of emotional acceptance. Are you seeing that?
48:27:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, I think you're right. Now there is something I need to talk about in this that will help us clarify the situation that we find ourselves in. So, yes, we have more ... the idea of emotional expressiveness, for men, is definitely coming into the fray, I can see that for sure. Especially as more men talk about the importance of emotions in a public forum, just like we're doing right now via the Internet.
48:51:00 Sterlin Lujan: But at the same time, we also have this rampant or toxic leftist type of movement, where people are also believed to be entitled to certain things. And then there's also a movement for just blind acceptance of any kind of person, no matter what their identity is, even if those people are assholes or if those people are trying to harm others.
49:19:00 Sterlin Lujan: So this blind acceptance isn't just an acceptance for our dignity and decency for an individual, it's acceptance for an individual even if they're wanting to hurt you. And I think that comes along with some of these ideas from the leftist camps.
49:33:00 Sterlin Lujan: In a way, to some degree, it's also been ... it's almost impacted in the form of overkill, in the form of leftism. So all I'm saying is we have to be careful to make sure that we also have a healthy understanding of boundaries. And I think that's what the "political left" is lacking.
49:54:00 Ashe Oro: Yes.
49:56:00 Sterlin Lujan: They're pushing their-
49:57:00 Ashe Oro: [crosstalk 00:49:57]-
49:58:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right. They're pushing their movement in such a strong degree that they just want to have blind acceptance for anything. It almost seems like they want to revel in squalor and bring everybody onboard.
50:07:00 Sterlin Lujan: And don't get me wrong, I'm not for any kind of right or alt-right movement, or left or left-specific movement. I'm just observe ... this is what I see, and I'm just saying we need to be careful to make sure we develop healthy boundaries because that's an important psychological component of [inaudible 00:50:24].
50:24:00 Sterlin Lujan: That doesn't mean don't be compassionate, don't accept people for their particular proclivities, which is an anarchist principle. It just means don't let them run over you.
50:33:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, for sure. And that's what's happening in this whole toxic masculinity movement right now.
50:38:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yes.
50:38:00 Ashe Oro: Men are being shamed and blamed and if these people really cared about finding a solution to what they consider toxic masculinity, which they don't, they don't care at all. They just want to blame and shame and put men in a box.
50:54:00 Ashe Oro: But if they did, the cure, if you will, or the solution to toxic masculinity, and this is their term, not mine. I would never call any male toxic.
51:04:00 Sterlin Lujan: Right.
51:04:00 Ashe Oro: I wouldn't call any female toxic. This is just not language I use. But if they want to find a solution to toxic masculinity, I hope that they start using curiosity around those men, and starting to learn what these emotions are within them, that causes them to act out.
51:22:00 Ashe Oro: A lot of young boys are raised by single mothers these days as well, and you don't just ... yeah, me too, fuck yeah. And then countless random stepfathers. But the cure to people acting out their emotions is curiosity, not blame and shame.
51:40:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right.
51:41:00 Ashe Oro: I don't have any thought that what the left currently is doing is going to progress humanity in the compassionate way, the anarchist way, that we're looking for.
51:52:00 Sterlin Lujan: That's right.
51:53:00 Ashe Oro: It's going to cause more divide, it's going to cause more hurt and more anger. And it's going to cause more men to not just want to be around these types of people, because they're the scapegoat, they're the blamers.
52:05:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's right. And then of course, this goes without saying, but the left also has a penchant for wanting to use governments to enforce people to comply to whatever their viewpoint of identity politics is the flavor of the day, so to speak.
52:21:00 Sterlin Lujan: And that's also just that amplifies the trauma and the nastiness that's surrounding government, et cetera. So I think the anarchists have it right in the fact that we want to build things, we actually do want to connect with people, and we want to provide viable, nongovernment solutions for the most vexing problems of the day, with the ultimate goal of abolishing governments, and then allowing people to associate freely with the people that they think most fit their lifestyle.
52:50:00 Sterlin Lujan: And that means within the context of any given territory.
52:54:00 Ashe Oro: It's so beautifully said. I think that you're one of the best poets, not that you write poems, but just writers of the ideas of freedom and liberty and anarchism.
53:07:00 Ashe Oro: You are unabashed, you speak your mind. You speak a lot of truth. And I have so much respect for you. I hope there's more people that start to express themselves confidently with the moral argument of what anarcho-capitalism brings to the table. And don't be afraid to speak this stuff if you understand it and if you believe it and if you're passionate, if you live by it. And if you truly think that peace is the way that we're going to solve the world's problems, not from more top-down regulations and force.
53:43:00 Ashe Oro: But Sterlin, it has been such an amazing conversation with you today. It kind of went all over the place, but that may be because I haven't spoken with you in a year. But I can't wait to see you at Anarchapulco.
53:56:00 Sterlin Lujan: Oh, absolutely, and thanks for saying that earlier, I feel the same about you, Ashe, I'm so glad you're doing what you're doing to help get more people involved with not only anarchism, but entrepreneurship, free market thinking, and all the beautiful things that go along with that.
54:09:00 Sterlin Lujan: So, thank you for what you do, and I can't wait to see you in Anarchapulco as well. This was an amazing talk. And I think it's okay that we delved into a bunch of different areas. There's a lot to talk about, so ...
54:19:00 Ashe Oro: There is a lot to talk about. And if you could, just drop some of your links and how people can stay up-to-date with you.
54:25:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, sure. So, you mentioned that, at the very beginning, anyone can find me at sterlinlujan.com. Also you can search, I do a lot of writing for bitcoin.com, of course. I constantly stay abreast of everything happening in the technological, cryptocurrency sphere.
54:43:00 Sterlin Lujan: So I write a lot of op-eds, news.bitcoin.com, and also, this is really important, I've started using a new platform that's cropped that I recommend everybody start to merge over to, called Minds. Minds.com.
54:58:00 Ashe Oro: I've heard of them, yes, a blockchain based social media platform, right?
55:02:00 Sterlin Lujan: Yeah, that's right. And it's actually built out and they're working on front end solutions. My biggest, and I won't get into this right now, but biggest criticism about Steemit, there hasn't been a lot of changes on the front end. Minds has been, really, completely developing out. It's a really great platform and they're strict anti-censorship. So that's extremely important.
55:19:00 Sterlin Lujan: Find me on Minds, and I'm going to be posting my newest video content. I just started my vlog for minds.com, and I intend on publishing my first video, today, actually. It should be [inaudible 00:55:31]-
55:31:00 Ashe Oro: Oh, congratulations. Well, you're a self-made man, you're a liberty entrepreneur if I've ever met one. Sterlin Lujan, it's been such a pleasure. Thank you for coming onto Liberty Entrepreneurs podcast.
55:42:00 Sterlin Lujan: Thanks, Ash, keep doing what you're doing, brother.
55:43:00 Ashe Oro: Yeah, thanks, man.
Alice Miller Book: For Your Own Good: Hidden Cruelty in Child-Rearing and the Roots of Violence
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