I thought I'd explain a little more why I think most conservatives might have a negative reaction to bitcoin, why libertarians love it, and why I think liberals might be convinced to love it.
I'm starting from Jonathan Haidt's Moral Foundation Theory
, which says that we all have five basic universal moral foundations:
Different cultures and people of different political or religious viewpoints feel more strongly about some of these than others. Conservatives score pretty highly on all five; liberals score very high on the first two. Libertarians... are complicated
. More like conservatives when it comes to money, more like liberals when it comes to social issues.
So: how do I think people will react to bitcoin for each of the five moral foundations?
Harm/care: if Bitcoin gets a reputation for 'that online currency that the criminals and drug dealers use' then that's bad.
Fairness/reciprocity: if Bitcoin is seen as 'that online currency that made a bunch of early adopter geeks obscenely wealthy' then that's bad.
Ingroup/loyalty: I think conservatives might feel like bitcoin is an affront to Their National Currency (whatever currency that happens to be).
Authority/respect: Conservatives probably won't like a rag-tag band of open source rebels trying to overthrow The Authorities. I'm not happy about the tone of the recent Forbes article, for example.
Purity/sanctity: Assuming we can get past the Harm/care problems, I actually think bitcoin could be positioned as the purest form of online money.
Moral Foundations Theory strikes me as probably right (and it's backed by pretty solid research, it is not just philosophical musings). I've been thinking about how to "frame" bitcoin to appeal to people on a moral/emotional level. Random thoughts:
Fairness/reciprocity: if you're an early adopter geek, start circulating your coins-- send them to MyBitcoin or MtGox and then back to yourself if you want to keep them, but make it hard to tell if there ARE any early adopter geeks holding lots of coins. And if you're talking about bitcoin, compare it to the fairness of the current system, where bankers are allowed to create (and profit from) creation of money.
What do y'all think?