I recently had the pleasure of appearing on an episode of the Watchman Privacy Podcast with Gabriel Custodiet (“Leaving Humanity: The Technocratic Worldview with Joe Doran,” episode 65.)

Gabriel himself is a fascinating individual. He not only interviews a wide range of personalities and experts on various aspects of privacy and freedom, but endeavors to live and teach a holistic privacy lifestyle.

The following is an exclusive interview with Gabriel for The Trends Journal.

Joe Doran: Gabriel, you speak to a lot of people who are really in the know about different aspects of what’s going on with privacy related issues. What trends do you see impacting average people’s lives in the near or medium term, that people should be looking out for? 

Gabriel Custodiet: I’ll speak on two trends, each of which has their own tentacles that come from them. The first is, I think we are very reasonable to be concerned about CBDCs: Central Bank Digital Currencies. That’s something that the Trends Journal audience is very familiar with, and it’s something being cooked up right now as we speak, from governments all across the world. There have been some that have been tried to be initiated, and people have pushed back. They haven’t exactly worked, but those are certainly in the pipeline. 

And you can imagine how this will be laid out. It will be in the next two to four years when this recession, this depression, happens, which the Trends audience is also familiar with. They’re going to say that—they being the central bankers and the government—“Look, we need a better way to bail out people, and CBDCs are the best way to do it.”

They will click a few times and people will get their handouts, their bailout money. They’ll also say, “It’s a lot safer. It’s a lot cleaner. It’s a lot more direct than any of the systems we’ve used before.” You can imagine all the arguments that will unfold. And of course, anytime there is a fully digital money, they are going to be able to surveil, obviously, all of the transactions that we are having. And with surveillance comes control. 

That’s the fundamental reason why I do what I do, is because with privacy comes freedom. And with surveillance, comes control. That’s a pretty basic fact of the universe. You put up cameras in front of a business and crime slows. You start monitoring your class, and the students will start acting in a different way. There’s a great novel called Childhood’s End where aliens just park their ships over earth, they do nothing else, and humanity starts changing their culture over the course of years. 

So surveillance is power and Central Bank Digital Currencies will have the ability to surveil. And they will therefore have the ability to influence our buying decisions. So people are buying guns or whatever naughty thing they’re buying. When they’re being watched they’ll buy fewer of these. And of course, authorities can easily move to the next stage where they start restricting, start discouraging, start limiting bailout money or Universal Basic Income to certain categories of goods. And they can make it expire or only work at approved businesses.

Central Bank Digital Currencies are coming. They’re being developed, and there’s gonna be pushback from the West and from the United States. But I think you’ve seen in the last three years how much people are willing to put up with, especially when they’re given their little bribe? There will be a lot of people willing to sign up. 

There are some simple ways to counter CBDCs. Start buying the things that you don’t want on record now. Start to get into your parallel economies, and trading with people you know, and finding alternative alternatives to fiat transactions. We have crypto, we have Bitcoin and Monero. Those are my two favorites. We have different ways of trading with others and connecting with them, especially via the internet, that does not involve fiat currencies or central authorities. So that’s a quick solution. 

The other broad trend that I’m seeing, is what I phrased on my podcast as rental culture. I have an episode of my Watchman Privacy podcast called “Rental Culture as Slavery.” It’s just not something that we really think about…which is that so many of the things that we have in front of us are rentals. Think about just the software on your computer. Photoshop no longer lets you download a program. They only let you have their online suite. Now think about what renting means. It means that somebody else owns your stuff, and therefore they have access to that stuff. They can certainly see what you’re doing. 

Another example: you’re using a Windows computer. Microsoft has, in their Services Agreement, that if you use hate speech on any of their services, which could be your Xbox, Skype, or even Windows…they can shut down your account. Microsoft Office, of course, is online these days. So theoretically, if you type something that’s hate speech, they could shut down your account. So that is rental culture, and it’s creeping in all around us. Even the vehicles that we use, like a Tesla, right? That requires you to have an app in order for it to function. 

You do not have a key that you put into the car and it starts and you go, right? It depends. It’s a computer now. And so we have all these examples of rental culture. You’re not buying your video games anymore, you’re renting them, or you have them as digital versions, right? And we have all these euphemisms. “Digital Edition.” It’s so convenient. You don’t have to buy it, you don’t have to have the disk. You don’t have to have your Blu-Ray movies anymore. You just go to Netflix or Hulu or any of these other places. And so we are owning fewer things, and the people who do own them have increasing control over them. And this is why I tell people, start to own more things. 

And this is where the free and open source software movement is very impressive. Right now, I’m looking at my computer. I’m running Linux. This is a free and open source piece of software that anybody can download at any time, and modify and use. I’m using that. It doesn’t surveil me. And I own it. And I don’t have to have an account to use it. It has very few privacy problems compared to Windows and Mac os. 

I’m looking at a couple of notes here. This is free and open source software. It’s a Microsoft Office replacement called Libreoffice. And a lot of the software, a lot of the things on my computer are things that I own, that nobody else owns. I choose when to update them. That’s freedom and ownership in terms of the digital realm, and I just try to make sure when I can to buy physical things. Physical movies, physical video games, whatever you’re gonna do. Have a car that is not a rental, okay? Have your nice gas powered car with your actual keys, right? Ideally, not electric keys, but an actual key that will start when you insert it and turn. 

And do not let rental culture encroach. Because if you start to think about the world in terms of this rental culture perspective, you’re going to see that a lot of the things around you are slipping away from ownership, and only with ownership can you really have privacy. 

Joe Doran: Yeah. Speaking about the crypto technology aspect of maybe combating this or offering an alternative, do you think that’s a promising technology for getting ownership back into the hands of individuals? Tech corporations have this software-as-a-service model. I wrote about it in detail, because I felt that everything that you’ve mentioned, um, as far as them being able to exert control via that model was dangerous.

You know, you’re accessing through the cloud, and it can censor things. You’re trying to create content, and it’s enforcing rules, especially now with AI integration into these productivity platforms…where AI won’t let you talk about or create certain things. And if you trigger anything that any authority feels might be dangerous…if you mention the word insurrectionist, then perhaps you’ll be reported. That’s what these platforms open up: complete control by the corporations. And you sign on, but you can be terminated at any time. You can be reported at any time. You can be thought-controlled throughout the process. 

So with crypto technology, is there a potential there to vest some power back into the hands of people, in your estimation? Do you know of any specific projects or things that are happening right now in crypto technology that offer hope? 

Gabriel Custodiet: Yeah. So the, the good news is…and by the way, you, you mentioned the term insurrectionist, i.e the founding values of America, right? But in terms of alternatives, as I mentioned, we do have alternatives even before we get to the blockchain kind of stuff. We do have alternatives to a lot of the stuff we use, in the form of free and open source software, and that community. And so you just need to get involved. I just released an episode with a guy talking about Linux, which is an alternative operating system, and a lot of people get kind of overwhelmed. But there’s a lot of good resources, and I’ll put it this way, Joe. There are people I talk to on Telegram who refuse to use any software that isn’t free and open source. They replace their entire digital catalog with it. So it’s certainly viable.

So you can today, even before we get to blockchain alternatives, use software like Linux, Standard Notes, LibreOffice, Signal Private Messenger, Firefox, KeepassXC. And that will solve many of your problems.

The blockchain stuff of course is interesting for decentralized digital record-keeping. I’m writing a book right now on Bitcoin, and I intend it to be the ultimate introduction to Bitcoin. And I do see crypto as a great solution, specifically Bitcoin, to the problem of centrally-controlled fiat money. I’m also interested in Monero, which is a strong cryptocurrency that solves various privacy issues that Bitcoin has.

But Bitcoin has various advantages, being the first one. People don’t realize that Bitcoin is a hardcore kind of libertarian, even anarchist project that has lived up to that potential. The most pro-liberty people I’ve ever seen are on Twitter and Telegram right now talking about Bitcoin and Monero. They’re very impressive. Young people, and some old, who literally have a tool that can give them financial freedom. 

I find that the blockchain is simply a technology where we have these computers, these people running computers around the world. And they come together, and as long as there’s consensus, 51 percent, they’re adding a new layer to this blockchain, and they’re keeping a record of, in this case, money that is indisputable.

So it’s an excellent, fabulous way we have of keeping an accurate, trustworthy ledger that has proved to maintain integrity, especially when it’s as big as Bitcoin’s blockchain. It’s a fascinating thing. I was a skeptic of crypto even just a couple years ago. But I’ve done a complete 180 as I’ve delved into it. It is a fascinating digital organism that has been created and represents one of the strongest hopes for a free and flourishing humanity. One of the most ingenious things I’ve ever discovered.

I’m talking about Bitcoin specifically, not the other crypto crap, aside from Monero. As long as you can get over the fact that your Bitcoin is not a physical thing, that it’s just a marking on an extremely trustworthy ledger, then you can have a digital currency that is entirely out of the hands of the state and that literally cannot be shut down.

All you need to own Bitcoin is to remember a twelve-word “seed phrase” that only you can see. And with Bitcoin you can send bitcoin right now from a self-custodial wallet to somebody in China or Russia. 10 minutes. They get 2 million worth of Bitcoin, if you want. No intermediaries whatsoever. Try that with fiat currencies.

The blockchain is perfect for money. I don’t see it as particularly useful for other things. Bitcoin-advocate Andreas Antonopoulos had a great talk called “Blockchain vs. Bullshit” where he says exactly this. Sure, blockchain can solve certain problems with ownership and record-keeping, but beyond that it is not a cure-all. Ignore people who say “I like blockchain just not Bitcoin.” 

I’ll mention the one project that I know where blockchains might solve a censorship issue beyond money: NOSTR. It was created by some Bitcoin developers. They’re trying to create an alternative to social media where your login, your password and where all of your posts and even your images are part of a blockchain entity. I don’t know all the details at this point, but essentially it has the promise of being neutral and decentralized like Bitcoin. We’ll see.

[For more on NOSTR, see article “NOSTR: An introduction,”–JD] 

Joe Doran: Gotcha. Can you talk a little bit about how your Watchman Privacy podcast…which sounds great by the way…fantastic audio quality, and how you interview guests in a reflective way, which I think is refreshing…but can you talk about how your podcast came about? 

Gabriel Custodiet: My initial goal for the Watchman Privacy Podcast was simply to have a digital, and location independent business. That’s one key aspect to privacy and freedom is to have that independence, and have something that you can do anywhere. I remember I was visiting somebody in another country just a few months ago, and just took my laptop, did an interview while I was there, promoted some of the courses I offer, and, you know, got some revenue from doing that. So that was one of the original goals. 

Now philosophically, this was a couple of years ago. This was around 2020 where I developed a philosophical and a moral backbone that led me to prefer very strongly individualism to collectivism. To me, the superiority of individualism is undeniable. 

Morality cannot start from the collective. And so once I came to that realization, I determined that privacy was a key aspect of that, because we talk about freedom, which is the absence of force to oppose our actions. Surveillance is not force, but it does have power. We know this for a fact, and privacy is protection from that. 

I thought that was a topic that was not talked enough about. And those who were talking about it often did it at a surface level. They were talking about the latest iPhone update. They were focusing only on the digital stuff. I decided to focus on the physical stuff as well. I live a full privacy lifestyle, so only me and one trusted friend even know where I go to bed at night at this current moment: nobody else knows my address. 

And so the physical stuff is very important too. So I decided to talk about it holistically, and I also decided to talk about it politically, which for a lot of privacy people is a no-no. And it’s funny, because a lot of these privacy folks, they’re ethical wanderers. They have no philosophical core. They’re out there pointing their finger at Amazon one second, and then the NSA another second. They don’t know who they’re supposed to have privacy from. They blame the government one second and then demand a privacy law from that same government the next day.

I say that privacy only belongs to people who believe in individualism and limited government. Communists have no claim to privacy. Leftists have no claim to privacy. And so I took this approach into the podcast and I gave not just strategies for privacy but a philosophical message about what privacy is, why it is important, and why it is inherently political.

It’s a cultural thing, right? Your culture, your society must favor individualism for you to have privacy. And yes, there are these tools that can get you privacy anywhere. But in the long run, you need to be in a society that values privacy. 

We do talk about the brass tacks of digital privacy. We have experts in, and I have a book on this stuff as well, talking about all the digital tools that you should be using. And we get very radical too. I don’t have, like some other privacy content creators, a lawyer looking over my shoulder telling me, yeah, don’t talk about torrenting, Gabriel. We talk about the radical kind of freedom technologies. We also talk about other stuff, right? Physical stuff, internationalizing, that’s a big one that we talk about. 

One of my first episodes was on psychopaths. It’s called “Privacy and Psychopaths.” I think that’s one of the best things produced on psychopaths, if I do say so myself. And I was simply talking about how we don’t think about how two percent of the population literally does not have a conscience. They’re biologically incapable of respecting others. And these people disproportionately rule us. What effect does that have on our lives? And that it was just a simple episode about directing our attention at the bigger political problems that determine our ability to have privacy.

And so I have episodes like that all the time talking about politics. We even talk about religion, right? Big no-no. We mentioned people like Andrew Tate, right? And what he can teach us about privacy. So I treat this holistically, and I’ve had a good reception to it. I think that if we’re just going on the surface level, we’re not gonna help anybody. So I talk about anything and everything. 3D printed guns, whatever, that will assist our freedom and privacy, which I see as two sides of the same coin. 

Joe Doran: If there are a few moments that stick out in your mind, from the guests that you’ve had since the time that you’ve been doing this podcast, what might they be? 

Gabriel Custodiet: One of my first interviews was a team called Ocean Builders. They build these pods that you can set in the ocean, and live in them. They’re self-sustaining pods that float in the sea, and that are anchored very well. It’s a fascinating technology, and you can live in international waters. One of the founders tried to do this off the coast of Thailand, I believe. And, their navy chased him out. They tried to kill him and his girlfriend. And so they set this off the coast of Panama, which was more welcoming. Anyway, it’s one of these technologies where you’re like, wow, there’s people making very interesting stuff that is certainly freedom oriented and life-changing. So that’s one. Ocean Builders.

I have a lot of people on who talk about internationalization. I know that in The Trends Journal, you guys talk a lot about getting back to core American values. I think one of the core American values that our ancestors obviously had was being willing to uproot from a bad location and go somewhere else where there was more promise. That’s what Americans were founded on. Americans have lost that, and they behave now, as Doug Casey would say, like plants rather than animals: much less humans. 

And they don’t realize that right now, they can go live somewhere else and get better privacy and more freedom. They can go somewhere right now into a different country and drive at the speed they want to drive, and not wear their seatbelt if they don’t want to wear that. They can go to a place where they’re not going to get taxed 50 percent at the end of the day on all taxes combined, where you’re working for the government until July 1st, and then you’re working for yourself. You can go to these places right now where you can get tax advantages as an American, though you can never completely remove your tax obligation. 

That’s a unique aspect of being an American citizen, though you have ways to mitigate it if you live abroad. You can go places where the governments are not snooping and surveilling you. So internationalization is a big component of what I talk about. I’ve had a number of experts who talk about that sort of thing. How to get second passports and residencies in some of the desirable places to live in the world, especially if you’re afraid of a World War III or Western collapse or anything else.

For example, people like Uruguay. I’ve talked to a lot of people about Mexico. There’s some dangers in Mexico, but a lot of people like it as well. South America generally is a nice spot that a lot of people are talking about. And you don’t have to pick one place. You can pick multiple places, and kind of just travel as you wish. 

One more person I’ll mention is I interviewed a guy who chose to live homeless, and he wrote a fascinating book on it called Rough Living. And he was just talking about all the ways that he got around. He totally provided for himself. Dumpster diving. He learned all the stuff he learned, where to park, how to act so that the police don’t harass you. It was a very fascinating interview. And I think these will be skills that a lot of us will need in upcoming years.

Joe Doran: Gotcha. Okay. Is there anything that I haven’t asked you, um, that you’d like to mention? Anything that you haven’t said previously that you want TJ readers to know or be thinking about concerning your wheelhouse of privacy?

Gabriel Custodiet: Well, the kinds of things that I talk about are on my website  I have a guide that walks you step by step. And a key thing is developing the mindset of privacy—because a lot of privacy is not about downloading this or that—it’s about resisting. It’s about having fewer accounts. 

It’s about minimalism. It’s about saying no, and learning, for example, that you can go get dental care without giving any information, which is what I do all the time. Because that information is going to be put in their databases, and it’s going to get leaked. It’s going to be breached. No company that promises to protect your data will do it, and in some cases, it will be used against you in the future. 

So privacy is ultimately a mindset, and that’s what I focus on as well on the Watchman Privacy Podcast. And I have a couple of courses. I basically try to monetize, and share my brand, so I can keep doing this. But also just teaching people all the aspects of privacy: financial privacy, legal privacy, crypto and Bitcoin, and how to accumulate it privately. How to develop a freedom and privacy oriented mindset. I’m working on an episode right now talking about how to escape what Theodore Adorno called the culture industry, where we have this bombardment of advertising and these kind of pre-digested ideas that are being foisted on us from the internet, from TV, from our culture, and how to push out some of that white noise, and live a little bit more authentically. 

So as you see, I treat this stuff holistically, and my background is in philosophy and history as well as tech. And so I bring that together. I want Watchman Privacy to be the brand that anybody interested in privacy and freedom can go to for ideas and for solutions.

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The Watchman Privacy Podcast and Gabriel Custodiet’s work can be accessed via the following:

[Note: Gabriel is offering a 25 percent discount for either of his online courses: buying and using bitcoin privately, and securing your computers to become hack proof. This offer is only for Trends Journal readers. Use code “trends” at]

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