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Crypto, Tech, and Choice
In a valiant attempt to link the libertarian political debates of recent
days to the stated purpose of this list...
The future social environment will offer more than adequate challenges for
everyone; but libertarians should have an easier time of it than the
surviving advocates of "social justice."
People -- bless their little hearts -- are different. If you give each
person a pile of cash as high as their eye and more than 1,000,000,000
things to spend it on, they will go out in as many directions as there are
people. Students of human individuation (see "Free & Unequal" by Roger J.
Williams) have discovered the obvious fact known to all mothers that babies
are different even before birth and they continue to get more different as
they develop into adults.
Computers (the first consumer product produced by nanotechnology), the Nets
and the modern business environment, are collectively involved in a
full-scale test of the above premise. In spite of complaints from the
"Generation of Whiners," the current expansion of wealth and choice will be
surpassed by the (very near) future explosion of wealth and choice.
People with money, information, opportunity, and choice are *going* to
choose. They are not going to let themselves get pushed around by others.
Oh sure, for a while old habits may restrain them from directly challenging
traditional mechanisms of control but if they have the money and the choices
of things to do with it they won't be held down long.
This change will occur is because "the young" and "outsiders" (foreigners)
will ignore traditional restraints (since they haven't internalized them)
and explore the full range of choices available to them.
If you take an animal out of a cage, it may observe the non-existent bars
for a while and pace back and forth but it will eventually discover that it
is free. And most of us are smarter than animals.
The only hope for control freaks to continue to control us is to restrain
our range of choices. They can't count on mere words or traditions to bind
us. But the range of choices continues to go up.
Trade is way up. Wealth is way up. International travel is way up.
Migration is way up. Resource prices are the lowest in human history.
Communications costs are way down. Electronics costs are way down. We are
in a zero or negative inflation environment. The quantity and quality of
goods and services offered on the markets is at an all-time high. The
percentage of the world's countries headed by dictators is the lowest it's
What all this means is that political philosophies that depend on force of
arms to push people into line, will increasingly fail to work. Rich people
with choices will, when coerced, tend to change their investments and
business affairs into a friendlier form or to move to a friendlier
environment. Choice is real. If choices exist, they will be made. An ever
higher proportion of the world's people will be "rich" in wealth and choice
as the years go on.
Only a political philosophy that depends on the uncoerced cooperation of
very different people has a chance of functioning in the future.
I, obviously, have an idea as to what that philosophy is.
"You can horsewhip your Gascony Archers
you can torture your Picardy Spears.
But don't try that with the Saxons
or you'll have the whole brood round your ears.
From the highest Thane in the County
to the lowest chained serf in the fields
they'll be on you and at you like hornets
and if you are wise you will yield."