Kyle Kemper believes a “global corporatocracy” has taken advantage of the COVID crisis to diminish democracy and tighten control over people’s lives.
He is not alone in holding such views. But he is alone in wanting to overturn a power structure in which his brother sits at the apex. Kemper is Justin Trudeau’s half-brother, born to Margaret Trudeau and her second husband, Fried Kemper, in 1984, when the future prime minister was 12.
Kemper agrees with Carolina Panthers offensive tackle and fellow Bitcoin believer, Russell Okung: “The real battle is not simply left or right. It is authoritarianism versus libertarianism.”
The author of the book The Unified Wallet and founder of Swiss Key, a company that aims to make cryptocurrency accessible, makes no secret of his belief that there is a totalitarian push by corporations to undermine nation-states.
In a long online video summary of his world view – Kemper sees humanity at a tipping point where people will take control of their physical and digital lives or succumb to a “top-down dystopic system of total control, in a society where our every move is tracked; where our ability to travel is a privilege not a right; and, where our data is used and sold without our knowledge and then weaponized against us to influence our behaviour, our beliefs and our purchasing decisions.”
Kemper has been a devotee of cryptocurrency since 2013. Digital money’s time may soon arrive – the Chinese are running a pilot project on a digital version of the yuan and even the staid Bank of Canada is considering its options.
But the people who were initially attracted to Bitcoin were typically hostile to central banks and political systems. In the online Declaration of Bitcoin’s Independence, tech entrepreneur Andreas Antonopoulos said Bitcoin is “inherently anti-establishment, anti-system, anti-state. Bitcoin undermines governments and disrupts institutions because Bitcoin is fundamentally humanitarian.”
In an online lecture, Antonopoulos said the Nixon-era Bank Secrecy Act turned money into a system of control, a political tool that allowed the state “complete surveillance of all financial transactions.” Bitcoin was seen as a solution to this state control.
As Kemper explained it, “it’s about self-sovereign control of your money, ID and digital assets. It means you are in control and no state, bad actor or centralized authority can confiscate, censor or imitate you.”
Cryptocurrency has its believers and its skeptics. Donald Trump’s former political strategist Steve Bannon said it was “disruptive populism” in action, taking control back from central authorities. Economist Paul Krugman deems it a “cult” based on “paranoid fantasies about government power.”
What is clear is that to its adherents like Kemper, it is less a payments system than a philosophy.
While not overtly partisan, Kemper has not shied away from views that Trudeau would disown.
He has re-tweeted conspiracy theories about election fraud in the U.S. and promoted ideas that Trudeau’s Liberals found so reprehensible they called for a Conservative MP holding them to be kicked out of the Opposition caucus.
On social media, Kemper urged people to sign petition e2961, which was sponsored in the House of Commons by Conservative Derek Sloan. It calls COVID vaccination “human experimentation” and suggests there could be serious adverse effects to taking it. On his Facebook page, Kemper blasted “the great reset” and people “who think 100 percent of the planet needs to be vaccinated with an experimental concoction to prevent a disease with a 99 percent recovery rate. This is sheer madness. I dissent.”
In his online platform, Kemper said he is opposed to human rights being stripped in the name of protection. “I’m seeing sensible, intelligent people – my friends, my family, our elected representatives – willing to sacrifice their basic human rights in response to this COVID crisis. Now is not the time to sit on the sidelines as our way of life gets steamrolled,” he said.
In an interview, he said that after 9/11, people said they were sacrificing their rights for freedom. “But that’s pure Orwellian doublethink. It doesn’t make any sense that in order to be free we need to sacrifice our rights”.
Kemper said there remains a “gigantic divide” in the scientific community over the COVID response. “Vaccine manufacturers are exempt from liability. That scares me. There are so many ways we can improve our immune systems to counter coronavirus. The sun gives us vitamin D and it’s great for the immune system. But Justin and the public health officials don’t tell people to get outside and get vitamin D,” he said.
Kemper said, “the global health dictatorship” has imposed a response that has ultimately made people less healthy, with rising levels of suicide and depression, as well as “obliterating” small businesses such as the seven restaurants his family runs in Ottawa.
“It does not warrant all this hype and mania and doesn’t necessitate an experimental vaccine being rushed to market,” he said.
Some of Kemper’s views hove close to QAnon, the discredited conspiracy theory that alleges Satan-worshipping pedophiles are running a child-trafficking ring and plotted against Donald Trump.
He denies he is involved with the organization. “QAnon is a banner under which people believe there is a conspiracy of corruption and multiple people working together to commit criminal activity. Am I active in the QAnon community? Absolutely not. Am I against sex-trafficking and pedophilia? Of course. Who isn’t?”
Kemper acknowledged his views are at odds with those held by his brother. “Do I talk to him about these things? No. I would love to speak to him and his people but it’s very clear there’s a firewall”.
He said he sees party politics as a “glory path, a power path, an ego path.”
“I love my brother – he has taught me so much. He taught me a lot about human connection and I have adopted some of his very skilled methods of communicating in a gentle manner. I think he thinks he’s doing the best he can. He is the leader and chief spokesman of his party and doing a great job about it. But at the end of the day, Theresa Tam, for example, is on the World Health Organization’s payroll, so who’s really calling the shots on health policy?”
For all their differences, the brothers may have more in common than either would care to admit. As someone who knows Trudeau and Kemper put it: “They both like attention.”
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