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Author Topic: Has Bitcoin changed your political position  (Read 4602 times)
MaxwellsDemon
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November 12, 2013, 04:50:34 PM
Merited by Foxpup (5)
 #41

I've been an anarcho-capitalist before Bitcoin, so my political ideology hasn't changed.

What has changed quite substantially is my belief in the practicality of this ideology and my approach towards its realization.

Anarchism, in its various forms, has existed as an idea for quite a while. Many words have been said about anarchism, and a few great intellectuals have contributed their thoughts.
But throughout history there has been very little meaningful, successful, anarchist politics. The political discourse has been rare, and (I apologize in advance to all the people I'm about to offend now) mostly quite shallow. Much of the intellectual core of political theory has disregarded anarchism (just gloss over the literature and compare how much has been written about anarchism, and particularly anarcho-capitalism, to how much has been written about Marxism, for example). Whenever it is regraded, it is treated as a distant utopian vision with little connection to the real world. Unfortunately, many of us anarchists have regarded it the same way.

Examples of successful anarchist political systems in the real world are practically nonexistent. Some have mentioned small sub-cultures existing on the fringes of society in mainstream nation-states. Some have written interesting analyses of places like Somalia. My own favorite example is the Paris Commune of 1871, which many have regarded as an example of early socialism or proto-Marxism, but to me has always looked more like a botched attempt at anarcho-capitalism. Either way, none of these examples can be regarded as pragmatically successful in the long run.

Furthermore, successful political tools which may enable the decentralization of power have also been lacking. Anarchism will remain an esoteric concept unless real-world mechanisms can be devised to begin the process of deconstruction of the state, or at least demonstrate that such a process is possible in principle.
For millennia we've all been habituated to life under centralized power structures, and most people are incapable of even imagining alternative structures. Most people still view anarchism the same way Hobbes did - as a chaotic dystopia in which people kill each other for scraps of food (we've seen examples on this very thread). In such an environment, introduction of anarchist concepts to the cognitive zeitgeist is possible only through the presentation of a working model, in which a large-scale, well-structured, organised political power system actually works in a completely decentralized fashion.

By robbing governments of their power over the monetary base, and presenting a fully functional (and highly scalable) decentralized mechanism for the management of money in general, Bitcoin will do much more than revolutionize the financial world.  It will finally allow people to imagine a world in which all forms of political power are decentralized, and yet complex political structures do exist, and are in fact more stable than before.

Hence, I view Bitcoin as the first truly successful anarchist venture.
The very fact that Bitcoin works so well is proof that systems like Bitcoin can work, which is a success in its own right.

Bitcoin has transformed me from someone who thinks anarcho-capitalism should happen, to someone who thinks anarcho-capitalism can happen. Now we just have to make it happen  Smiley

We're hunting for Leviathan, and Bitcoin is our harpoon.
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November 12, 2013, 04:53:00 PM
 #42

It's certainly made me skeptical of Anti-Money-Laundering laws.  It makes me feel better about the "Citizens United" decision.
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November 12, 2013, 05:37:05 PM
 #43

No I don't think it's changed for me, but in general I'm happy to see the change it seems to be making for others.
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November 12, 2013, 08:31:28 PM
 #44

Bitcoin made me more convinced of the inevitability of anarchy. Thank you Bitcoin!  Kiss

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November 12, 2013, 08:45:20 PM
 #45

Anarchism is for children and naive people... I don't believe in anarchism but I believe in communities. I believe in people working together towards a common goal.
The Amish society is a good example.

Yes, anarchists believe in communities and working together towards a common goal; what do you not like about it?

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November 12, 2013, 08:51:40 PM
 #46

I went straight from a democrat to an anarchist in a matter of a few months; honestly, I blame myrkul Cheesy

Me too! Although for me "months" were "years" and although myrkul helped, by that point he was mostly reaffirming my beliefs and helping explain some more finite details for me. Back in 2007 I was proud to pay taxes to support our fine upstanding government, with it's social programs, mininum wages, roads and regulations, and a well managed USD policy. Although I was also really upset at the things Bush was doing with wars and especially Hoomeland Security act, and it may have been a combination of Bush and Bitcoin that finally changed my political view.

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November 12, 2013, 09:04:02 PM
 #47

I went straight from a democrat to an anarchist in a matter of a few months; honestly, I blame myrkul Cheesy

Me too! Although for me "months" were "years" and although myrkul helped, by that point he was mostly reaffirming my beliefs and helping explain some more finite details for me. Back in 2007 I was proud to pay taxes to support our fine upstanding government, with it's social programs, mininum wages, roads and regulations, and a well managed USD policy. Although I was also really upset at the things Bush was doing with wars and especially Hoomeland Security act, and it may have been a combination of Bush and Bitcoin that finally changed my political view.

this really warms my heart Smiley
Mike Christ
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November 12, 2013, 09:10:02 PM
 #48

I went straight from a democrat to an anarchist in a matter of a few months; honestly, I blame myrkul Cheesy

Me too! Although for me "months" were "years" and although myrkul helped, by that point he was mostly reaffirming my beliefs and helping explain some more finite details for me. Back in 2007 I was proud to pay taxes to support our fine upstanding government, with it's social programs, mininum wages, roads and regulations, and a well managed USD policy. Although I was also really upset at the things Bush was doing with wars and especially Hoomeland Security act, and it may have been a combination of Bush and Bitcoin that finally changed my political view.

I think I had it lucky here; although as a kid I would say things like, "Only criminals want privacy because they're the only ones who have something to hide" (pretty sure I was just repeating what my mom was telling me), I never had a real interest in politics until I was around 19 years old, when I first started college and began taking courses in government and sociology.  I was only a democrat for a short while, so there wasn't a terribly large amount of de-education I had to do before picking up on libertarianism and anarchism, though it did take a bit of arguing to realize that gun bans really wouldn't help anyone.

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November 12, 2013, 09:12:20 PM
Last edit: November 13, 2013, 06:20:47 AM by Rassah
 #49

I went straight from a democrat to an anarchist in a matter of a few months; honestly, I blame myrkul Cheesy

Me too! Although for me "months" were "years" and although myrkul helped, by that point he was mostly reaffirming my beliefs and helping explain some more finite details for me. Back in 2007 I was proud to pay taxes to support our fine upstanding government, with it's social programs, mininum wages, roads and regulations, and a well managed USD policy. Although I was also really upset at the things Bush was doing with wars and especially Hoomeland Security act, and it may have been a combination of Bush and Bitcoin that finally changed my political view.

this really warms my heart Smiley

Yeah, it has been a rather drastic change. Though, on the other hand, I was always a loner, outsider, and anti-ahtoritarian. Even back then I believed lawss should be treated more like guidelines, especially when actions aren't hurting anyone (mostly applied to traffic laws though  Grin). Point is, though, arguing on the internet DOES change people's mined. Not everyone's but at least anyone's who is willing to consider opposing views and learn from them.

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November 12, 2013, 10:19:13 PM
 #50

It didn't change my political position.

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November 13, 2013, 12:11:05 AM
 #51

More right leaning? left leaning?  For me its reaffirmed my libertarian stance.

What about you guys?

Same.

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November 13, 2013, 02:02:45 AM
 #52

No.  I've been full on anarchist for a couple of years now, after being a small government minarchist for about 3 years before that.  Before that, I was mostly politically agnostic after a brief period in my early adult life when I was leftist (mostly a result of leftist parents), though I soon realised that voting was pointless and that I didn't like some of the leftist policies any more than I like some of the right's policies and I didn't like being put in a box with all the other political zombies.  It was very much an evolutionary process for me.  I've been asking questions all along and only when I arrived at anarchy did I feel like I had real consistency.

I didn't really glom onto bitcoin and it's implications until late last year.  Just enough to get in before the big rise in price.  Smiley
Zangelbert Bingledack
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November 13, 2013, 03:36:21 AM
 #53

Bitcoin is making political positions irrelevant by dismantling and/or circumventing the power structure that allows for politics (central planning and control).
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November 13, 2013, 06:22:30 AM
 #54

Bitcoin is making political positions irrelevant by dismantling and/or circumventing the power structure that allows for politics (central planning and control).

Isn't AnarchoCapitalism a political position? It's even different from AnarchoCommunism.

Mike Christ
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November 13, 2013, 07:34:02 AM
 #55

Bitcoin is making political positions irrelevant by dismantling and/or circumventing the power structure that allows for politics (central planning and control).

Isn't AnarchoCapitalism a political position? It's even different from AnarchoCommunism.

Depends on our definition of politics:

Quote
Politics (from Greek: politikos, meaning "of, for, or relating to citizens") is the practice and theory of influencing other people on a civic or individual level.

The word originates from Aristotle's work:

Quote
politics
1520s, "science of government," from politic (adj.), modeled on Aristotle's ta politika "affairs of state," the name of his book on governing and governments, which was in English mid-15c. as "Polettiques." Also see -ics.

However, anarchism is defined both as a political philosophy and as anti-statism, so it can be viewed as outside of the purview, at least in the traditional sense, of politics, whilst pertaining to politics.  Anarchism is about governing the self, as opposed to governing others, which makes it an unlikely candidate for our definition, unless we can influence other people indirectly, which I do believe is entirely possible.

I suppose this can be more easily summed up with the question, "Is atheism a religion?  Does atheism pertain to religion?"  Atheism, I think, is a position on religion, but not a position within religion.

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November 13, 2013, 07:51:28 AM
 #56

Anarchism is for children and naive people... I don't believe in anarchism but I believe in communities. I believe in people working together towards a common goal.
The Amish society is a good example.

Yes, anarchists believe in communities and working together towards a common goal; what do you not like about it?

in an anarchy, there'd be communities of people working together for the common good. but then there'd be nothing to prevent communities of people working together for personal gain and power. i know someone will say "but what's the difference between that and the society we live in." imo, it's similar but if we are living in an anarchy, there will be nonstop wars and power struggles all over the world.
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November 13, 2013, 08:29:27 AM
Merited by Foxpup (2)
 #57

Anarchism is for children and naive people... I don't believe in anarchism but I believe in communities. I believe in people working together towards a common goal.
The Amish society is a good example.

Yes, anarchists believe in communities and working together towards a common goal; what do you not like about it?

in an anarchy, there'd be communities of people working together for the common good. but then there'd be nothing to prevent communities of people working together for personal gain and power. i know someone will say "but what's the difference between that and the society we live in." imo, it's similar but if we are living in an anarchy, there will be nonstop wars and power struggles all over the world.

You're right; anarchism never lasts in societies which don't believe in peace and solving problems with diplomacy and reason, they always revert to the state system as it is far more efficient for those who win these power struggles to combat entire nations.  The only way anarchism can work, which is why you see so many people here agreeing that anarchism is a good thing, is when you have a society of peaceful, rational people who believe freedom can only exist as a right when one accepts it, and grants this right to others; without this consistent agreement to shut-out the violent sociopaths, they always succeed in ruling over others, as they have no qualms using violence to get their way.  What we're looking at here, in the world right now, is the end-result of a power struggle that's evolving into global government, of people who do not believe in secular anarchy, only anarchy for themselves, which is slowly evolving into totalitarianism.  The nonstop wars and power struggles is literally the end result of limiting freedom to the few, since those with the power to govern are given a lot of power over those who aren't; any time a person has a lot of power over others, they have a powerful incentive to abuse it for personal gain; it just happens over and over again in history.

To simplify things, we can refer to anarchism, the political philosophy, as a society full of dictators of the self; we can refer to anarchism's opposite, totalitarianism, as a society with one dictator of everyone; everything else is in-between these two concepts, with varying levels of dictators and those dictated; the closer you get to totalitarianism, there is a decrease of dictators and an increase of those dictated; the closer you get to anarchy, there is an increase of dictators and a decrease of those dictated.  The goal, depending on who you are, is either to equip every person with the tools they need to govern, or to relieve every person of the tools they need to govern; you will generally move closer or away from these concepts depending on your political beliefs.  Moving toward anarchism is referred to as libertarianism, whereas moving toward totalitarianism is referred to as authoritarianism.

Anyhow, anarchism is literally just a non-hierarchical society; I realize it is a popular belief that anarchism is a synonym of chaos, as it is also a popular belief that without the state, people go full-retard out of the blue, but I assure you that anarchism is not about there being no rules, it is only a matter of ensuring nobody has the opportunity to rule over other people, thereby ensuring there is nobody above the law; if anything, it's about there being stronger rules, since nobody can just decide to go to war with another nation and waste billions and billions of dollars they don't even own.  It's not about there being no government, it's about spreading government out, or in other words decentralizing it, as opposed to our current centralized system of the state.  Wars would be quite rare due to being so expensive; you can't wage endless war without an empire, as you cannot build an empire without watering down the currency, as you can't force a currency if you have no more power than anyone else, and so you're much more likely to see peace than not.

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November 13, 2013, 08:36:10 AM
 #58

Anarchism is for children and naive people... I don't believe in anarchism but I believe in communities. I believe in people working together towards a common goal.
The Amish society is a good example.

Yes, anarchists believe in communities and working together towards a common goal; what do you not like about it?

in an anarchy, there'd be communities of people working together for the common good. but then there'd be nothing to prevent communities of people working together for personal gain and power. i know someone will say "but what's the difference between that and the society we live in." imo, it's similar but if we are living in an anarchy, there will be nonstop wars and power struggles all over the world.

You're right; anarchism never lasts in societies which don't believe in peace and solving problems with diplomacy and reason, they always revert to the state system as it is far more efficient for those who win these power struggles to combat entire nations.  The only way anarchism can work, which is why you see so many people here agreeing that anarchism is a good thing, is when you have a society of peaceful, rational people who believe freedom can only exist as a right when one accepts it, and grants this right to others; without this consistent agreement to shut-out the violent sociopaths, they always succeed in ruling over others, as they have no qualms using violence to get their way.  What we're looking at here, in the world right now, is the end-result of a power struggle that's evolving into global government, of people who do not believe in secular anarchy, only anarchy for themselves, which is slowly evolving into totalitarianism.  The nonstop wars and power struggles is literally the end result of limiting freedom to the few, since those with the power to govern are given a lot of power over those who aren't; any time a person has a lot of power over others, they have a powerful incentive to abuse it for personal gain; it just happens over and over again in history.

To simplify things, we can refer to anarchism, the political philosophy, as a society full of dictators of the self; we can refer to anarchism's opposite, totalitarianism, as a society with one dictator of everyone; everything else is in-between these two concepts, with varying levels of dictators and those dictated; the closer you get to totalitarianism, there is a decrease of dictators and an increase of those dictated; the closer you get to anarchy, there is an increase of dictators and a decrease of those dictated.  The goal, depending on who you are, is either to equip every person with the tools they need to govern, or to relieve every person of the tools they need to govern; you will generally move closer or away from these concepts depending on your political beliefs.  Moving toward anarchism is referred to as libertarianism, whereas moving toward totalitarianism is referred to as authoritarianism.

Anyhow, anarchism is literally just a non-hierarchical society; I realize it is a popular belief that anarchism is a synonym of chaos, as it is also a popular belief that without the state, people go full-retard out of the blue, but I assure you that anarchism is not about there being no rules, it is only a matter of ensuring nobody has the opportunity to rule over other people, thereby ensuring there is nobody above the law; if anything, it's about there being stronger rules, since nobody can just decide to go to war with another nation and waste billions and billions of dollars they don't even own.  It's not about there being no government, it's about spreading government out, or in other words decentralizing it, as opposed to our current centralized system of the state.  Wars would be quite rare due to being so expensive; you can't wage endless war without an empire, as you cannot build an empire without watering down the currency, as you can't force a currency if you have no more power than anyone else, and so you're much more likely to see peace than not.

i really do think the anarchists around here are actually people who want to live in utopian societies, but they use "anarchy" instead because that sounds more achievable.

in terms of decentralizing government, i think that is a utopian idealogy. maybe i'm a little bit cynical, but there's just no fucking way it's happening. there are 7 billion people in the world, of which many are smart and "hungry" for wealth and power. there is no way we are going to get them to play fair. and the thing is, the way to climb to the top, is to manipulate the blind and ignorant... which is what present day republicans are doing with their white conservative base, and what democrats are doing with their "i'm poor, give me free stuff" base.
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November 13, 2013, 08:43:14 AM
 #59

i really do think the anarchists around here are actually people who want to live in utopian societies, but they use "anarchy" instead because that sounds more achievable.

I disagree; consider the goal of anarchism:

Quote
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

It's a clearly defined method of governance based around as much freedom as can be possible; as said, it can only work with secular rationalism, but it's a realistic goal.  Utopian implies a society which is unobtainable, which is also perfect; this cannot be, since people are not perfect and so we can never expect for there to be a utopia; in my opinion, utopia is synonymous with dystopia, and the only way to achieve either is through very extreme methods, none of which I want to try, i.e. Marxism.  I really do encourage you to read about it and make an informed conclusion on it.  There will still be crime and war with anarchism, just a lot less; I don't believe this to be utopian, but it's certainly an improvement, I think.

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November 13, 2013, 08:45:28 AM
 #60

i really do think the anarchists around here are actually people who want to live in utopian societies, but they use "anarchy" instead because that sounds more achievable.

I disagree; consider the goal of anarchism:

Quote
Anarchism is a political philosophy that advocates stateless societies based on non-hierarchical free associations.

It's a clearly defined method of governance based around as much freedom as can be possible; as said, it can only work with secular rationalism, but it's a realistic goal.  Utopian implies a society which is unobtainable, which is also perfect; this cannot be, since people are not perfect and so we can never expect for there to be a utopia; in my opinion, utopia is synonymous with dystopia, and the only way to achieve either is through very extreme methods, none of which I want to try, i.e. Marxism.  I really do encourage you to read about it and make an informed conclusion on it.  There will still be crime and war with anarchism, just a lot less; I don't believe this to be utopian, but it's certainly an improvement, I think.

how is that goal NOT idealism? what most of us want is a free society that is not dominated by the powerful and rich.. but realistically, i don't think i can remember a point in history when this has been true. i would like the ideals of anarchism, but it's just not going to happen, especially with 7 billion people on the planet.
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