Earlier this month the Facebook page of “Occupy Democrats” shared a political video featuring admitted socialist presidential candidate Bernie Sanders fuming about the rich and their lack of patriotism. Specifically, it described how the 1% richest citizens are leaving the USA at an increasing rate, renouncing their citizenships and tax burdens.
Also Read: The 2016 Bitcoin Voting Guide
A Challenge to Bernie Sanders
“These great lovers of America, who make their money in this country, when you ask them to start paying their fair share of taxes, they are running abroad,” Sanders said. The video has received over 2 million views, 132,000 shares, and 3,500 comments on Facebook alone so far, all of whom likely saw Roger Ver’s face as one of the fleeing 1 percenters. A large Bitcoin logo was beside his picture, clearly visible at the 16-second mark.
Not one to let the compliment be perceived as an insult, Ver issued another of his famous bounties. This time, the stakes are $100,000 USD in bitcoin, split between Bernie Sanders and an opponent for a three-hour, public debate, anywhere the ex-Senator chooses in the USA. This debate is to be held before the end of 2016, must give equal time to each debater, and the award is paid to the charities of the two debaters choice, equally.
Announcing his bounty, Ver released a video Monday responding to Sanders, explaining how patriotism is akin to racism and formally challenging him to the debate:
There has been no response from Sanders at press time.
Voluntaryism vs. Patriotism
After careful consideration, Ver chose Adam Kokesh, a US Marine Iraq War combat veteran turned anti-war activist and author, to be Sander’s debate opponent. Ver and Kokesh have a common belief in voluntaryism, which is the philosophy promoting a society based on voluntary interactions. Kokesh commented to Bitcoin.com:
I’m excited by the chance to get the attention of Bernie Sanders supporters and introduce them to voluntaryism. Many voluntaryists share the same objectives as them, but want to achieve them without any violence or coercion.
To voluntaryists, patriotism is a detestable concept, giving special preference to people based on little but the geographical proximity of their birth in relation to imaginary lines on a map.
Taxes are an even more offensive concept, because by their very nature they are involuntary, and the penalty for not paying them is to be abducted and trapped in a prison for years.
Any debate between a voluntaryist and a socialist would have very little common ground to stand on, however, the question of whether or not Ver is unpatriotic is likely to be one of the extremely few things that he and the ex-senator have ever agreed upon.
“You [Sanders] represent a growing number of Americans who are fed up with unnecessary economic suffering. However, many of us who share your concerns about war and poverty have come to embrace not socialism, but voluntaryism.”
The major difference between the two philosophies seems to evade Sanders. “His denial of the coercion behind what he advocates is troubling,” Kokesh said. “Once you’ve found a way to hide the violent nature of government, there’s nothing it can’t be used to achieve, except that the opposite of the desired effects of violence are usually the result.”
It was Kokesh’s idea to give Sanders until the end of the year to accept the debate challenge. “Giving him until the end of the year shows that it’s not really about the campaign as much as the opportunity to have a serious intellectual engagement,” he said.
The Iraqi war vet then spoke about where he’d like to see his half of the bounty go if Sanders were to accept the debate. “I would choose a charity that is helping Iraqi victims of war,” Kokesh replied. “Especially birth defect victims of white phosphorous in Fallujah.”
Although few believe that the presidential candidate will accept the challenge, it is still possible he could partake since refusing would appear hypocritical, especially when he has the option to choose a date after the election. Kokesh:
I think there’s a decent chance he’ll do it after the election. Probably not before that. Just in the day since we announced, we’ve had several offers from people to sweeten the bounty, so maybe we could crowd fund this up.
Both Kokesh and Ver plan to keep reminding him of the opportunity, so it will be interesting to see if Sanders eventually reacts to the call for a short, three-hour exchange of his time to generate $100,000 or more for those in need.
“At this point, we’ve already won because we’ve already created an opportunity to reach new people,” Kokesh added. “Once people understand that [voluntaryism] is founded on the idea of universal nonviolence, the contrast with anything else is obvious enough.”
Do you think Bernie Sanders will accept the challenge? Let us know in the comments sections below!
Images courtesy of dailypnut.com