The sad tale of Ross Ulbricht and his on-line drug bazaar called Silk Road is a good study of the outer limits of how far rationalization can carry a person.
It is also a frightening illustration of Jeremiah 17:9. From the New International Version, ponder:
The heart is deceitful above all thing and beyond cure. Who can understand it?
Considering the tale of Silk Road is useful for accountants wanting to learn about the outer fringe of the internet and he investigative power of the federal government, believers who would like an illustration of the frightening level of deceit that lives in the human heart, and anyone else wanting to learn more about the dark worlds that normal people will never see.
If you have previously been following the Silk Road story, you will enjoy the book. It reads like a good detective novel, except it is all true.
The book describes the mutual low opinion held of other federal agencies by the staff of most of the federal agencies that had a part in the investigation. This is not the first time I’ve read of those attitudes or heard of poor cooperation across agencies.
Lack of technical discussion
A couple of the reviews at Amazon indicate there is minimal technical detail in the book. That is absolutely the case.
So as a result of running the drug bazaar called Silk Road, where did Ross Ulbricht wind up with his efforts to forcibly legalize drugs and simultaneously remove God from His throne and take over the throne for himself?
What did he get for his efforts? The feds claim he had tens of millions of dollars in his personal accounts.
You might want to read part four before diving into this wrap-up of the rationalization discussion.
How can body organs be okay?
Shall we extend this discussion into body organs?
I suppose there might be some way for informed consent to be given in a situation where a body organ is extracted and sold on the Dark Web. I can’t get my brain around it, but I suppose there might be some possible way to do so that would be consistent with libertarian concepts.
I have a real problem with thinking that organ providers in China gave informed consent.
Maybe I’m missing the boat or maybe just can’t stretch my brain far enough, but I don’t see how libertarian concepts can be used to justify the sale of either hand grenades, rocket launchers, or livers & kidneys. That seems to be a rationalization to do what you otherwise feel like doing.
How did Dread Pirate Roberts get to the point where he allowed the sale of every imaginable drug, various explosives, and a range of body parts on the site he created and ran? How did he get to the place of hiring and paying for five assassinations?
The book provides insight to the shifting rationalizations. Journey with me as we explore in-depth how rationalization played out in this situation.
An undercover fed pretending to be a big time drug dealer was in contact with DPR. So during their conversations, DPR happened to complain that someone had ripped him off. This undercover cop offered to send some of his goons over to rough up the guy. DPR agreed to have his correspondent get some of his guys over there to work over the double-crosser.
So Carl Force of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency and Shaun Bridges of the United States Secret Service pretended to torture this guy for DPR’s benefit by actually torturing the guy, taking pictures as they repeatedly dunked his involuntarily cooperating head in a bathtub full of water.
His girlfriend came to a saving faith in Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior later in the book, well after they broke up. (Based on a few ways that the description of her conversion and faith are described, I will make a wild guess the author of the book is not a believer).
At one point when they got back together for a while, his girlfriend persuaded him to attend worship at what appears to be a charismatic congregation that operated without a formal pastoral leadership structure.
After the worship she asked him what he thought about the morals that were discussed during the worship service.
What is the relative moral ranking of people selling the following illegal products:
Harvested body parts
Early in the growth of the Silk Road, which was a hidden place on the internet where you could buy anything you wanted, and I mean aaaaanything imaginable, a debate emerged about the outer limit of products that would be allowed on the site.
The website was set up and run by Ross Ulbricht. Ultimately the feds busted him, his senior staff, and another couple hundred people who worked for Silk Road or sold stuff there.
The short version of the scandal: one department at UNC-Chapel Hill offered paper classes to around 3,100 students over 18 years. A new book points out the courses lifted many students GPAs above the NCAA minimum requirement. One student even made Dean’s list in a semester when he says he did no academic work.
The department running the scheme used codes from three different areas to prevent students from appearing to accumulate too many hours in one department, which would have run afoul of academic rules. To lift students GPAs would need multiple classes for each student. I’ve not seen guesses on how many courses were faked. Do you suppose it was 5 per student? 8? In other words, perhaps 15,000 or 24,000 fake grades.