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Author Topic: Cryptocurrency Philosophy and Politics: Right Wing and Left Wing Influences  (Read 16 times)
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December 15, 2017, 12:19:16 PM

I'm posting this article here in full, but if you like it, or at least some aspects of it - please Upvote, Resteem on Steemit

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Bitcoin and blockchain as technology is neutral. However political and metapolitical ideas circulate and spread fast in the digital age so the penetration of ideologies into cyber-world, establishment of new and rebirth of old ideas is happening and will happen even if general audience do not notice this.

Was Bitcoin’s founder, Satoshi Nakamoto a Libertarian?

The mysterious creator of Bitcoin Satoshi Nakamoto wrote the following about Bitcoin: “It’s very attractive to the libertarian viewpoint if we can explain it properly. I’m better with code than with words though.”

Such line can also describe many other cryptographers, blockchain developers and other influential people from the cyber world. For people from tech industry it’s normal to be focused on technical aspects, and when famous tech leaders are advanced in humanitarian disciplines, be it literature, philosophy or politics, it’s more exceptional cases.
This line is also point of debates whether Satoshi Nakamoto was libertarian himself or pointed that Bitcoin concept can be promoted to libertarians as target audience. Taking to account that this phrase he wrote when Bitcoin was not so popular it might be the case. In December 2010, Bitcoin was featured in popular edition - PC World in the article titled “Could the Wikileaks Scandal Lead to New Virtual Currency?”. Commenting this Satoshi wrote: “It would have been nice to get this attention in any other context. WikiLeaks has kicked the hornet's nest, and the swarm is headed towards us.”

It’s worth to mention that there are many version regarding who is Satoshi Nakamoto, one of the versions was that he is Julian Assange, creator of Wikileaks. Assange is considered an advocate of information transparency and market libertarianism. As and advance programmer and popular person in the cyber world for sure he was aware of Bitcoin and its power much before than the general audience and he used it to collect money for Wikileaks (he is still using Bitcoins as well as other cryptocurrency). We can see that during those times Satoshi was not happy to be associated with Wikileaks, may be because he was afraid of the possible attacks on Bitcoin, but maybe also because he was not interested in Wikileaks, as many tech people are not interested in political events and do not watch TV. Julian Assange might be considered right-wing by economical definition, but he is definitely left in cultural and political sense. In his book he is writing with hatred about BNP (British National Party) and is proud that Wikileaks released members’ list of BNP with the goal of making problems to people whose data was published online. Those years BNP was one the rise and got 2 MEPs elected, as for now party almost fell apart and in 2014 their leader acted as Putin’s puppet repeating the most stupid messages of Russian propaganda regarding Russian aggression in Ukraine. But definitely Wikileaks’ publication of membership data was privacy violation and the characteristics which Assange gave to this party were not libertarian, moreover the left parties were not targets of Wikileaks.

Satoshi Nakamoto even though his identity is unknown, became great internet leader, if he would push some philosophical ideas – for sure some people would follow them. But he only mentioned libertarianism. May be somebody perceived it as hint, but the whole concept of Bitcoin, peer-to-peer money exchange network goes in line with many libertarian ideas, such as skepticism of state power, decentralization, economical freedom.
Bitcoin in fact could replace the states’ financial system and having thousands of miners all around the world the whole system is decentralized and indestructible, and at the same time protected and transparent.

Software as a Right-wing Extremism

There is one book with funny name “Politics of Bitcoin. Software as a right-wing Extremism”, where the author states:
“Certainly, many leaders in the digital technology industries, and quite a few leaders who do not work for corporations, openly declare their adherence to libertarian or other right-wing ideologies. Just a brief list of these includes figures like Elon Musk, Peter Thiel, Eric Raymond, Jimmy Wales, Eric Schmidt, and Travis Kalanick.”

And later:

“Cyberlibertarian doctrine did not develop in a vacuum. It fits into, and at best does nothing to resist, the profound rightward drift evident in so much of contemporary politics. This becomes clear when we examine the explicit political and economic doctrine and practice that is usually called libertarianism in the United States (here meaning the political movement that is explicitly advocated by right-wing partisan institutions such as the Cato Institute, the Heartland Foundation, the Mises Institute, and others, as well as astroturf movements like the Tea Party and political figures like Ron Paul and Rand Paul) and its connections with the less explicit doctrine analysts call neoliberalism. Both of these doctrines or dogmas stem from the writings of core right-wing thinkers such as Friedrich August von Hayek, Ludwig von Mises, Milton Friedman, Rothbard, and others, as well as their more recent followers.”

While it might be funny to classify Elon Musk and Nobel prize laureate Milton Friedman as right-wing extremists, the author really think that from these people further from the right are only fascists, who also for political, economical or philosophical reasons admire Bitcoin.
Well, it’s not bad to be in such respectful company! I provide this quotation because, although it’s not correct to call all these people extremists, such names as Friedrich von Hayek and Ludwig von Mises represent Austrian School of economic thought, which is known and favored in the conservative movement.

Also according to the author the whole essence of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies is making favor for right-wing movement, while the left doesn’t need Bitcoin.
Anarchists, anarcho-capitalists from cyber world often claim that they want less government, less regulation, or no government at all, but they do not form a strong movement and usually don’t classify themselves as some movement (i.e. new left). Moreover anarcho-capitalist intellectuals are usually influenced by the same mentioned namez from Austrian School and by libertarian authors. Mentioned above Murray Rothbard was first person to use the term anarcho-capitalism. He synthesized elements from the Austrian School of economics, classical liberalism, and 19th-century American individualist anarchists.

New Names, New Movements

Anarcho-capitalism is popular in cryptocurrency world. Very often anarcho-capitalists may support such left-wing topics as illegal immigration, same sex marriages, mixture of races and cultures, but economically or even politically be on the right-wing side. In example one of the Anarchopulco’s (anarcho-capitalist conference founded by journalist and crypto-enthusiast Jeff Berwick) speakers Marc Victor said that he would support libertarian candidates, but also he would support republican and conservative. So anarcho-capitalism is popular among crypto-community intellectuals, but it’s not the only ideological movement, and for sure not the most interesting among them.

Neoreactionary movement (neoreaction, the Dark Enlightenment) is considered to be founded by Curtis Yarvin also known as Mencius Moldbug, who is also software engineer and has his blockchain project Urbit (the term Dark Enlightenment is invented by Nick Land, British philosopher and writer).
This movement is characterized by Radical traditionalism, political authoritarianism, ethnic nationalism, hostility to feminism, multiculturalism, and progressivism in all its forms, especially democracy and equality, and… favor towards Austrian school of economics.

As for me, Dark Englightment is almost identical to the Archeofuturism, the concept of keeping values of ancestors but with the latest advances in science and technology, which also might include nowadays popular world “transhumanism” and technological utopism.

Well-known entrepreneur Peter Thiel, who is friend of Curtis Yarvin, and openly supported Trump (in contast to many other famous tech people who backed Clinton and were afraid of Trump) wrote in his book “Zero to One” that “Innovative technological companies are rather look like feudal monarchies than as ordinary “modern” organizations. Stephen Bannon who was White House Chief Strategist in Trump administration communicated with Curtis Yarvin, at least through the intermediary, and as intellectual Stephen Bannon is known for being aware not only about many economists from the circles of Austrian school, but less known to general audience figures such as Julius Evola.

The variety of new people and names in crypto-currency, digital philosophical and political movement will increase. Cryptofeudalism can be good name. Because there can be a good question: What if a model of feudal society will work better for the tech post-industrial informational age? The archetype of feudal leader is reborn in the Leader-Entrepreneur type who has not only a goal do run business and earn money (like most of ordinary people, and honestly, many people became interested in bitcoin as mostly investment option and earning money possibility), but has a vision. Vision and the higher goal might be different, it can be colonization of other planets or inventing new technologies to making life better, or funding serious scientific programs.
Anyway, internet world already became part of reality, and new metapolitics, new political philosophy is already shaping thoughts and deeds of people from cyber world and beyond.

Andriy Voloshyn's speech in Zagreb (Croatia) - 10 December 2017

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