, Irdial of London asked me to post his unedited reply to the video so I post it below:
This is an appalling presentation on many levels. It betrays what I can only describe as a very restricted world view, taking into consideration a narrow and blinkered perspective. It’s useful as a sounding board for people with a better understanding of the topic, and so I welcome it as a springboard.
Ethics is not “about helping good people make good decisions when the best decision isn’t always clear.” Here is a good definition of what it actually is: “Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that involves systematizing, defending, and recommending concepts of right and wrong behavior.”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ethics
Ethics is therefore, not about ‘helping good people’.
What is good and bad in subjects like money is interpreted differently from person to person and country to country. People like Catherine Flicks display demonstrably unethical and immoral thinking in the case of Bitcoin and money and exchange, since she advocates the use of force to control human beings who are interacting with each other voluntarily.
The observation that it is unethical to use force to control people’s private financial transactions is not an opinion. People who advocate the control of others by force and by default can be demonstrated to be immoral and unethical from first principles and logic.
These people are the Statists, who rely on hand waving, generalizations, rules of thumb, received wisdom, poor logic, fear-mongering and whatever irrational motivation is to hand to make their case for the immoral and violent control of other people.
The approach Ms Flick has taken to examine Bitcoin is completely wrong. There is no such thing as ‘the Dual Use Dilemma’ in relation to Bitcoin. This is language carried over from the debate about nuclear technology, where nuclear reactors, which can be used to produce goods for medical examinations and killing cancerous tumors have a ‘dual use’ of also being able to supply fissile material for explosives. Using this term in the context of Bitcoin is an attempt to impart a feeling of imminent danger to Bitcoin, in the same way that FUKUS is trying to do with Iran and its peaceful and perfectly legal nuclear programme; ‘Its not a threat now, but it may be in the near future’.
Bitcoin, like any technology, is neutral. It is a discreet piece of software that can be fully examined without a questionnaire of its users. It is literally like a hammer or any other inert object. If she was undertaking a simple survey of bitcoin users, then this approach would be the correct method, but she is attempting to discuss ‘the Dual Use Dilemma’ of Bitcoin, and this is her error. What people use it for does not in any way change what Bitcoin is. Bitcoin is neither ethical nor unethical.
Think about it this way. If Flics was examining hammers, and surveyed a set of people on them, she might get carpenters and burglars in her survey sample. Burglars use hammers to steal. Carpenters use hammers to build. She could create pie charts and type out their responses and give a talk on her academic results, without actually touching upon hammers at all. This is exactly what she has done with Bitcoin.
She would say that burglars using hammers to steal is, “rather worrying” and then say that carpenters do good work with hammers. None of this has anything to do with hammers as a tool, and yet she would offer that the regulation of hammers is a possibility that is reasonable, rational and perhaps desirable. No one with any sense would advocate the regulation of simple tools, and yet, because Bitcoin is a simple tool that can transmit ‘money’ it is immediately assumed that the State must have something to do with it. It simply does not follow.
Since people insist on conflating Bitcoin with money, ‘The Ethics of Money Production’ by Jörg Guido Hülsmann:http://mises.org/books/moneyproduction.pdf
is worth buying and reading. Money is a good like any other. As is true with hammers and saws, there is no reason whatever to expect that money should not be manufactured by private individuals and it is entirely correct and beneficial for the public that it should not be regulated by the State, or anything other than market forces.
The problem with discussing Bitcoin as a form of money is that it is not money at all… but this is a digression. Bitcoin, whatever it is, is neutral, just like guns and hammers and all tools are neutral. You as a human being can take actions with it that are either ethical or unethical.
No one has the right to tell you what you may or may not do with your Bitcoins or your goods. If you are trading voluntarily, inside mutually agreed terms and not harming or defrauding other people, then no one has any sort of moral claim against you or your property.
If you do not accept this, then you, by extension, accept that the State (for example) has a claim on the things you own and do, and they have a legitimate reason to control you and your possessions and transactions, wether you act through voluntary exchange or not.
This is the fundamental difference between people who advocate that the State should regulate everything and the people who have a complete understanding of the true nature of human beings and right and wrong.
We, the ethical people, do not want to enforce our will and personal beliefs upon others. The Statists on the other hand, are hell bent on controlling everyone, in every area of their lives in every thing that has been invented and which has yet to be invented.
It is clear who the ethical people are in this equation, and more than that, as a purely practical matter, the State ruins everything it touches. Just look at the built in 2% inflation rate of Sterling as an example. It is designed to steal two percent of everyone’s stored wealth year on year. The absolute last thing that any new invention needs is the corrupting and destroying hand of the state upon its neck.
Academics like Catherine Flicks are used to justify the intervention of the State in everyone’s affairs by spreading FUD through their poorly designed studies and briefings. In the age of the internet however, these presentations can be refuted wherever they appear, both by inline commenting and hyperlinking.
Bitcoin and the systems that are sure to evolve from it and run in parallel with it are now an inevitable reality that is going to permanently disempower the Statists and dismantle the violent ‘society’. One day, Bitcoin will seem as natural and beneficial as sunshine, and the good of it, untouched by the State, will be apparent to all.