Hill tribes are cultures that frequent the periphery of empires and large nation states. They are named hill tribes because hills and mountains have for centuries provided a natural refuge from the reach of armies, but hill tribes can be found in other geographies as well. Peoples living on boats, such as the Tanka people of south-east Asia, or nomadic people, such as Sinti and Roma or the Tuareg.
As empires have encroached the lifestyles of these peoples in an attempt to count, name and tax them, cultures have formed around evading this control, including their own languages, customs, diets, measuring units, and even religious practices.


These customs, often branded as “barbarian,” protected these groups from assimilation, control and taxation. Examples include not recording a child’s parents or birth date, not keeping a permanent home, lack of schooling or writing systems or requiring absurd religious practices to protect the local industries.
With the advancement of technologies, states have been able to successfully assimilate many of the world’s hill tribes and capture their production. Tunnel digging machines, rail roads, helicopters, schooling, television, measurements, road names and signs, building codes, birth certificates or maps are just a few of the many ways technology sped up this process.
Today, geography no longer protects those at the fringes of civilization from being harmonized into it. With an increased ability to govern through technology however also comes dependency. The modern state has difficulties dealing with individuals and tribes that go the extra mile to evade it.

The modern barbarian

Today, evading the state no longer means packing your things and moving into the mountains. The modern state will find you there, demolish your hut, confiscate the roots you carefully collected and fine you for making a fire.
Instead, being ungovernable means carefully choosing and rejecting technologies based on their potential to control and surveil you. The modern barbarians often do not own a home, in fact do not have a permanent address at all, and if they do, then to farm their own produce. There are no bank accounts or “fintech” apps registered in their names, no phone number and frequently changing email addresses.
The modern barbarians still appear backwards to those enjoying the convenience of the surveillance state. They walk or bike instead of getting a ride share or electric scooter, and when they order take out, they call ahead and pick it up themselves. The most popular example of modern barbarians, the Amish, are easily recognizable, but other such tribes may opt to blend in optically.
Technology, when carefully chosen, can be a tool of liberation, rather than solely an exchange between convenience and control. While street markets have almost entirely disappeared, informal markets continue to flourish online, even inside gated social media communities.
The biggest challenge of the modern barbarians is the development and cultivation of a unique culture that helps protect and enhance their way of life, become welcoming to newcomers while suspicious of outsiders.
How can we form our own customs that protect us from assimilation, while also allowing for a meaningful identity, liquid enough to pass for stubbornness or ignorance where active resistance is the goal?
‘[A] wise ruler must think of a method by which his citizens will need the state and himself at all times and in every circumstance. Then they will always be loyal to him.’
-- Machiavelli
From this article read other day
I get this desire to head for the hills and hide out, but in the modern world YOU are the one who suffers, not the state.
They are "winning" in a real sense by limiting your freedom to operate in the world as you desire.
In my opinion a better way is to simply hide in plain sight. Do all of the things that everybody else does, but only minimally. Do nothing to bring attention to yourself.
Then have another economic life in bitcoin beyond their ability or attention span to track.
That could be said too about previous barbarians, who had to make great sacrifices up in their hills. The Amish forfeit a lot of everyday conveniences to preserve their community and prevent assimilation into the greater Anglican-protestant America, too. I don't know if it's worth it. States can be very efficient, and often you're better off being part of the raiders than being raided. But for what?
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Bitcoin and anonymity protecting systems are the "hills" of the internet. The SuperHighway TM is out there but you can build other protocols that break their surveillance traps, running on the very same hardware.
I quite like this concept of "techno-barbarian".
How can we form our own customs that protect us from assimilation
I see 4 basic approaches:
  1. memeing - this is what most people are doing because this game is natural for our times. See punk6529's twitter treads - he's a self-described meme maximalist and seems to seriously believe that NFTs help in this quest. 3D games / VR are an important vector here. There was a Bitcoin-focused Minecraft server advertised here recently; I think it failed "choosing and rejecting technologies based on their potential to control and surveil you" miserably so I didn't comment on it but others seem to like it.
  2. Balajism - read "The Network State". Your dive into Zomia is what Balaji describes as "history mining" and it is indeed the first step. I offer Communist Czechoslovakia as a better example: look up Ketman, Havel's parallel society, paralelnipolis.cz etc.
  3. Starting from economic opportunities. This approach sees the main problem in the lack of income opportunities for people without bank accounts. Resolve this and the culture will build itself.
  4. technology - this: "carefully choosing and rejecting technologies based on their potential to control and surveil you" should be the start. Nostr is a great start. Building a replacement for Github is even better. But we need to go much further. Getting rid of DNS with something like DID would be a major achievement. The problem is that very few people are willing and able to go there.
If you have land with shelter and can grow, hunt or gather your own food you have come far when it comes to being ungovernable imo.
And land dont have to be expensive, you can start out by getting a small patch for about $2,000 if you are able/willing to look 30-40 miles outside a smaller city. And in my opinion i dont understand why they are cheap. Thats the area where you stand the best chance of surviving should a meltdown happen? Everyone should have something like that
Great piece. To blend-in with the crowd however requires using some of those solutions to an extent.
And part of that mindset is just maintaining optionality in all aspects, be it to financial, natural resources, internet, produce etc.
I personally wonder if the most important asset to own this decade (other than what is obvious to us all) will be friendships, connections and community. I think this is under appreciated by many bitcoiners. And I’m talking in meat space here.
Being surrounded by likeminded, stable and resourceful people is the holy grail. Hope we see more communities being built from the ground-up around the concepts mentioned in this discussion.
Would be great to see some prominent bitcoiners buy vast land and divvy-up to those philosophically aligned and those demonstrating proof of work. We have the digital side covered, now we should see someone get the ball rolling on sovereign states & villages. This is more than about money or sats at this point.
Here’s an abstract of the text:
The article explores the concept of hill tribes, cultures that live on the periphery of large nations and empires, often on hills and mountains, in order to evade control and assimilation.
These groups form their own customs and languages to protect themselves from being counted, named, and taxed by the state.
With the advent of technology, the state has been able to assimilate many of these groups and capture their production.
However, some individuals and tribes still choose to be ungovernable by carefully choosing and rejecting technologies based on their potential to control and surveil.
The article suggests that the biggest challenge for modern barbarians is to develop and cultivate a unique culture that protects and enhances their way of life while also allowing for a meaningful identity that resists assimilation.
он играет по твоим правилам пока не поймёт их предназначение.
stackers have outlawed this. turn on wild west mode in your /settings to see outlawed content.