Recently, Charles Hoskinson, co-founder of blockchain engineering Input Output Global, Inc. and the blockchain platform Cardano, published two videos on its YouTube channel in which it assesses the effects of centralized power in the US federal government and the possible results of investigations into former President Donald Trump.
The reactions to Hoskinson’s views attested to exactly what he pointed out in the videos: the level of polarization and intolerance which plunged American society (as well as many others around the globe).
Charles Hoskinson also brought to the debate the almost infinite power attributed to the figure of a president and, even more, to the bureaucratic machine of the State, that comes to be autonomous in relation to the head of the Executive power.
In this article, we will summarize Hoskinson’s ideas and reflections on what we can do to bring back to the population the power of decision on the paths of society, slow down polarization, and moralize the action of the State.
After all, does punishing an ex-president for crimes committed bring more benefits or harm to society?
Charles Hoskinson does not see the indictment against Trump with good eyes.
According to him, in the past, when you think of kings and popes, these figures of power basically had full, lifelong immunity. Even after they’ve given up power, there was a general understanding that they remained worthy citizens, which inhibited the impulses to pursue or punish them. But that has changed.
According to Hoskinson, many of the failed and totalitarian states he passed through in his wanderings show a recurring pattern: new leaders chasing old leaders.
For him, it is very difficult to legitimize, for any reason, the arrest or prosecution of a former head of state. The reason: it is impossible in a free society for a former president to have a fair trial, because every person in that country has an opinion, positive or negative, about that figure. Therefore, it is impossible to be impartial.
Hoskinson says the USA elected in the previous election a person who doesn’t seem to respect or care about norms and behaviors. On the other hand, no U.S. president has been so thoroughly searched, with multiple investigations linking Trump to the Capitol Hill attack, the 2020 election rigging attempt, his handling of confidential documents, and fraud in his family businesses, according to CNN.
Charles believes that this “persecution” could have catastrophic results for American society in the years to come:
It is very likely that the Republican Party will retake the House - perhaps even the Senate - in 2022, which means that, with a new president, the Republican Party will have to launch an inquisition, targeting all institutions currently involved in the search and seizure of documents of Trump.
The end result will be delegitimization and damage to these institutions, even if they are doing their jobs.
“Let’s say you collect evidence of wrongdoing. Does that mean you’re going to arrest the former president? Trying to put that person on trial? And if that happens, how do you ensure a fair trial, with an impartial jury? Does anyone have a neutral opinion and can be objective about someone as polarizing as Donald Trump?”, asks Hoskinson. “No one can be impartial in the affairs of a former president.”
For Hoskinson, there is literally no outcome of the Trump investigation that ends well for anyone in the US:
If convicted, the former president will be a political prisoner and will become more powerful than he is today.
And if the Republicans retake the presidency, he will be pardoned for all those crimes he would have been convicted of, and he will return not only to public life, but he will have extraordinarily high political power, and perhaps even reascend the presidency.
If not convicted, anger at the “injustice” of him being above the law will create civil revolt among the population that rejects him.
“So why create a scenario where all the people involved, from the judge who signed the warrant to the FBI agents who searched the place, the people who gathered the evidence, the informants who provided the case to the attorney general… these people will be under so much scrutiny that if the political winds change, their careers will effectively be wiped out for the rest of their lives,” says Charles Hoskinson.
In his opinion, if this precedent is allowed, it means that going forward, all US presidents could be investigated and arrested on some technicality. This goes for Joe Biden as well. In 40 years of public life, certainly, some technical or conduct error could have been made, and this could be exploited by Republicans at any time.
However, Hoskinson clarifies his opinion on the figure of Trump:
“I am not a Trump supporter. I completely despise him and have always hated him. I feel like he’s a pathological liar; I think he’s been prosecuted over 600 times. He deals and cheats with malice and has never exhibited leadership skills that would qualify him to be president. He inherited a dynasty from a great father and was able to leverage it as a circus entertainer in power. There’s no way he could go down in the annals of history favorably."
Hoskinson believes that you should only carry out this type of investigation in extremely specific circumstances, which are beyond reproach - for example, if the politician shoots someone in the face on live television, is caught in a criminal conspiracy, trying to start a war, or something so serious.
“I have every reason to dislike Joe Biden and Donald Trump, both are antiques of an era of America that I don’t respect or like, and in both cases are smoldering with evidence of deep corruption and misconduct. This is beyond debate, and if you don’t believe it, you are being manipulated”, says Hoskinson.
The polarization game has been played for some time. He is super efficient at splitting people into two teams who have been taught to hate each other, as they are unable to think of scenarios on a case-by-case basis without escaping the looping of prevailing narratives.
According to Hoskinson, there is a straightforward test to see if you have been manipulated or if you are committed to a philosophy:
- If you have a visceral and immediate negative reaction to something you hear or see, or to a person with opposing ideas, and you want to eliminate that person, you have been manipulated. That simple.
Paradoxically, when you really think about it, you realize that you don’t know much about this person’s ideas or their place of speech. That is, his aversion was constructed by others.
The Trump case is a prime example of the consequences of hypercentralization, entrusting an individual or an institution with the power to arbitrarily violate US law.
Why should we endow an individual with so much power that he can no longer be a private citizen when he leaves office?
According to Hoskinson, the dark truth of the presidency is that the president of the United States does illegal things every day as a result of holding this office. Presidents suspend habeas corpus, murder people, authorize clandestine torture operations that are not authorized by Congress, and negotiate deals that they potentially have no right to make.
And there is still the ability to sweep these actions under the rug through bureaucratic maneuvers, since they are responsible for the same people who should investigate them - all this with the security of having the political parties to keep them in power, even when their conduct is reprehensible.
Even when leaving the mandatory, the residual power and knowledge gained in the position are so great that you cannot treat them like normal citizens.
"What will you do? Put someone who knows all of our nuclear secrets and military capabilities, how our intelligence agencies work, just about everything we’re planning on, foreign policy, in a prison cell? And create perpetual disruption to the point where it becomes a national security responsibility?” asks Hoskinson.
According to him, until recently, the American nation was moving forward, recovering from the Trump administration, and now he is becoming a viable candidate for 2024. Hoskinson believes that, if re-elected, Trump’s purpose will be to punish people. People who didn’t support him in 2020.
So, what to do to move forward? It became pretty clear that the voices of American citizens carry no weight. It doesn’t matter who you vote for. The system is rigged.
Hence Hoskinson suggests some possibilities:
What if the presidency was a committee of seven instead of an individual?
How would you perceive this institution? How would you criticize this institution? What would materially change?
Suppose you hate Trump. What if he’s just one of seven in that institution? Is the entire institution wrong and corrupt? Does the fact that you dislike one of the members justify invalidating the entire board?
So we started talking about decentralization.
Why do we need a man, a person or an office to be so powerful?
This should be a national conversation: how to decentralize decision-making and power at the top.
“I am firmly convinced that the only way for the US to undergo political change is to amend the Constitution through a constitutional convention. We need to change the way we vote, the way the voting system works, and the way the federal government works,” explains Hoskinson.
For this, it will be necessary to recognize and address for the first time the US constitution as the fourth power of government, which is the bureaucracy. The US constitution did not foresee this monster creating itself, nor does it have the ability to effectively regulate this branch, which is now more powerful than the three remaining powers combined.
There are over 10 million people working for the leviathan that is the federal bureaucracy. These agencies and agents are generally immune to the consequences of their actions, often making decisions that are more significant than the president himself - and may even simply ignore the president if they wish.
Therefore, Hoskinson argues that the Constitution needs to be revised, in order to decentralize power and bureaucracy and create layers of accountability for elected people.
Hoskinson believes there will come a breaking point where civil war will ensue if we don’t change. There is no natural de-escalation to polarization, while there is a lucrative business in making people angry and divided.
Every day, social media and traditional media have invested to increase radicalization, destroying the debate, and making people hate each other without ever having met or knowing almost nothing about them. And this will continue because it is profitable. It will continue because it allows a few people to gain and preserve political power. So there is no incentive to stop.
The desire to change things is real among the population, and it can be channeled into both productive and harmful things. It only takes one or two more economic calamities - or pandemics - to reach a boiling point from which there will be no return.
But Hoskinson recalls that it was a small group of people who started the American Revolution. Power can be lost as quickly as it was gained. If institutions are so committed to maintaining polarization and radicalization, it is citizens who will have to figure out how to resolve this on their own.
“A convention of the Constitution seems to be the only way we can do that. We need to fundamentally change our relationship with the federal government to the point of finally controlling it,” reaffirms Hoskinson.
“That’s why I believe in decentralization. Each of us has good and bad sides. At some point, we will lie or make mistakes. We might try to have the humility to admit it, but sometimes it’s the systems that have to keep us accountable and honest. If these systems have malicious incentives, they will end up doing the opposite: they will make honest people dishonest and remove their integrity so that they can survive amid a corrupt system.”
Charles believes that the purpose of the decentralization industry is to protect ourselves from misjudgments and attitudes. But admit that we pay a price for it.
Decentralization, in addition to being expensive, is not the most efficient governance setup and can sometimes be quite slow in decision-making. On the other hand, it preserves the principles and values around which a system was built - without anyone being able to change the rules of the game for their own benefit. After all, what is recorded in the blockchain does not disappear, nor can it be deformed.
Finally, summarizing Charles Hoskinson’s exposition of ideas, we separate a sentence that looks like a recipe for the survival of society:
“That’s why I’m in the cryptocurrency space. This is why I am a blockchain entrepreneur: because I refuse to believe that I have no ability to influence the outcome. I would like to believe that with your help we can do something about this and end this madness. We can build better governance systems. We can disintermediate centralized authorities and power brokers and replace them with more sensible and refined things.”
Charles, your message is on the spot.
Team CORA - Cardano Onboard Route Alliance
This is a translated article from the original post in Portuguese.