Bitcoin entrepreneur Roger Ver has challenged 2016 presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to a debate with libertarian celebrity Adam Kokesh following a video by Occupy Democrats that gained several million views while criticizing Ver for being “unpatriotic.”. Ver has pledged $100,000 USD worth of bitcoin to be split between the charities of Sanders and Kokesh’s choice in an effort to encourage an intellectual discussion on the differences between socialism and voluntaryism, a debate of which can be found on forum.bitcoin.com.
After seeing himself appear in the Occupy Democrats’ video, Ver contacted Kokesh, who agreed to participate in a debate with Sanders. The two decided that the offer should stand until the end of 2016, so Sanders would be able to participate without taking attention away from his presidential campaign.
The proposed debate would be three hours long in a city of Sanders’ choice. Both Sanders and Kokesh would have equal speaking time, during which they could advance their arguments for why socialism or voluntaryism is the best way to conduct society.
Ver says that his lack of patriotism is a source of pride, declaring that he believes such notions are “just as disgusting as racism.” Addressing the speech about young soldiers used in the Occupy Democrats video, Ver commented: “You are rightly upset by the nineteen year old kids dying in Iraq and Afghanistan. I share your anger. However, the best thing that could possibly happen to those kids would be for the 1%, along with everyone else, to refuse to pay taxes, since those taxes are the very funds that were used to pay for them to go to these far off lands and die for absolutely nothing . . . all of these wars around the world are funded by taxes. More often than not, by U.S. taxes. We should care about the half a million Iraqi children who died as a direct result of U.S. led sanctions, paid for with tax dollars. We should be enraged by the deaths at Pearl Harbor, the firebombs dropped on innocent civilians in Europe, and nuclear bombs dropped on civilians in Japan, all paid for with taxes. In fact, I would argue that war is simply mass murder, funded by theft. Putting on a costume and killing strangers because another stranger in a costume ordered you to do so, is no excuse.”
Ver believes that Sanders’ proposed policies “are clearly intended to help” disadvantaged people in America, but that voluntaryism may be a better solution than socialism. Believing that voluntaryism can help the disadvantaged without the force of socialism, Ver remarked, “voluntaryism is the idea that all human interactions should be free of coercion, based on individual self-ownership. This is in contrast to socialism, which is based on coercion justified by collective ownership.”