Over the last decade individuals and institutions have shifted from covertly selling out their trust to overtly abusing that trust. Trust is essential to have in a civilization. So much of our society is built on assumed trust, or worse trust only maintained by illusion. By abusing the trust of their clients, partners, and the general public they are supplanting their own existence and in turn tainting those who rely on them.
What makes trust most valuable is that there are limitless masses of those who will lie, cheat, and steal to get ahead. There is no competitive advantage to joining them. Can you trust a person who is beholden to a corporation that is working against your interests? Can you trust a company that relies on the exploitation of the most vulnerable? The faster we seek better alternatives the better we can make the world.
This fractal of opportunity means that if we can be trustworthy, we can work to create better alternatives. But how? The first step is disintermediation.
Information control is one of the most powerful weapons used against the public. Ideally you would have a curated subset of sources of information that you trust but also a wide net of opinions and disciplines to avoid blind-spots. This year, ensure that you have explored the new media that is being birthed in this time and find ways to avoid being too influenced by a single person or organization.
Social media is the main tool for information control. By dominating the terms of interaction between human beings social media can work to undermine culture itself. To foster a liberty-minded culture I recommend you look into federated social media such as Mastodon and Pleroma. We have a presence on a Canadian instance.
E-mail was once a very reliable way of ensuring people got your message but even now they are updating spam filters to censor information. Big tech e-mail providers will proactively scan your e-mail contents. If you or your loved ones are still stuck with Google/Outlook for e-mail I would highly recommend they switch providers.
Facebook Messenger / WhatsApp / Google Hangouts / Duo / ..ect shouldn’t be the means in which you’re willing to communicate with others. There are many alternatives but one of the more interesting options is Delta Chat. Signal is also great because it seamlessly works with SMS. Personally I host my own matrix instance to run element.
PayPal and Visa/Mastercard are already abusing their contracts to enact censorship by restricting access or levying fees. It is paramount that we all work to reduce our dependency on credit card systems as much as possible. Cryptocurrency is an option, but for local uses it would be far better to use physical money or cash. If you’re in the US you may find GabPay useful.
Windows, ChromeOS & MacOS all have too much control over your digital life. It would help a great deal if more and more people switched to Linux where there is much less data collection on users. There is a fair learning curve, and not all software is equally available so it is important to recognize where you are and how easy it is for you to switch.
For someone who hasn’t tried linux at all I would personally recommend taking a look at PureOS though Ubuntu is also a very popular choice. For smartphones I would recommend using GrapheneOS or LineageOS instead of Android.
I am a big fan of the Pine64 project. I look forward to when the Pinephone is ready for mass adoption. Open hardware is going to be an important space in the future so keep an eye open for it!
There are so many ways we can work to fix the future and it can be difficult to keep them all in mind. As a guide I like to occasionally revisit Coming Clean from Solari. That advice is a lighthouse in turbulent and uncertain times.
Work to find other trustworthy individuals and organizations to collaborate. Show others that you can be relied upon. We can make the world a much better place, with consistent focus and effort there is no limit to what we can achieve together.