Libertarian History/Philosophy

Lefties Contemplate the Pain of "Cyberlibertarianism," Wonder Where They'll Ever Find a Centralized World to Manage Choice and Behavior

|

David Golumbia writing at Jacobin is steamed at the supposed "deletion of the left" by supposedly dominant "cyberlibertarians."

He starts off going wrong with a rather gross misunderstanding of what being "of the left" in American terms means these days:

The digital revolution, we are told everywhere today, produces democracy. It gives "power to the people" and dethrones authoritarians; it levels the playing field for distribution of information critical to political engagement; it destabilizes hierarchies, decentralizes what had been centralized, democratizes what was the domain of elites.

Most on the Left would endorse these ends. The widespread availability of tools whose uses are harmonious with leftist goals would, one might think, accompany broad advancement of those goals in some form. Yet the Left today is scattered, nearly toothless in most advanced democracies. If digital communication technology promotes leftist values, why has its spread coincided with such a stark decline in the Left's political fortunes?

What the left really wants is a centralized elite authority that pursues particular ends it claims to desire, often allegedly on behalf of "the people"; people who really want dethroned authority, free flow of information, and decentralization are libertarians.

Why would a left that wants to see a world shaped to its own particular desires–about income distribution, market and personal choice and behavior, and forced change in people's transportation, energy, and consumption choices, embrace a world of greater decentralization and choice? 

Rather than engaging the real reasons why the mentality implied by the "digital revolution" hasn't led to a resurgent leftist world of policy, Golumbia decides to blame those who actually recognize that there is a pretty natural connection between digital practice and ideology and libertarianism. What's more, he gets mad at leftists in the digital realm who even hold any truck with libertarians:

When computers are involved, otherwise brilliant leftists who carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with suddenly throw their lot in with libertarians — even when those libertarians explicitly disavow Left principles in their work.

This, much more than overt digital libertarianism, should concern the Left, and anyone who does not subscribe to libertarian politics. It is the acceptance by leftists of the largely rhetorical populist politics and explicitly pro-business thought of figures like Clay Shirky (who repeatedly argues that representative democratic and public bodies have no business administering public resources but must defer to "disruptive" forces like Napster) and Yochai Benkler (whose Wealth of Networks is roundly celebrated as heralding an anticapitalist "sharing economy," yet remains firmly rooted in capitalist economics) that should concern us….

The first line above is wonderful: markets and most especially the Internet (where no one knows you are a dog, if you don't want them to) are wonderful realms for mutually pleasurable and valuable interactions where, blessedly, ancient obsessions about agreement on religions, or race or culture, are irrelevant. They are even places where political belief can be glossed over, to get to where what I'm implying will stop making sense to many people even though the beautiful advantages for peace and mutual advantage of just treating certain things as irrelevent to civilized interaction are the same as in the old Enlightenment project of getting over race, religion, and gender, and nationality in deciding who we'll tolerate.

But to the leftist, one must "carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with…." and act accordingly.

The rest of the essay goes on (among many other things, including relying on Philip Mirowski's tendentious vision of libertarianism's dark soul) to make typical category errors about what he's speaking about (no, libertarian belief in liberty and spontaneous order is the very opposite of his claim that "cyberlibertarianism holds that society's problems can be solved by simply construing them as engineering and software problems"); usual assumptions that anything anyone might make a profit at is for that very reason suspect and unsavory; and a core vagueness about what exactly leftist goals are, because sometimes just saying: "managing everyone's lives and a vast roundrobin distribution of wealth in all directions via a massive national machinery of power that we then hope will do the nice things we approve of with it" can be a hard sell.

The digital revolution has given us 3D printers–which help people make guns regardless of regulation. It has given us the means to gamble from our own homes. It has given us an experimental currency outside government control and management. It has allowed communities of affinity to discover facts and arguments they would not have the means to encounter in a more centralized world of news and communication, and propelled strange candidates like Ron Paul to prominence.

All that has not been accident. It is inherent in a very libertarian-at-heart "digital revolution."

The Left alas, will have to invent its own institutions and methods to get what it wants–like, say, an attempt to register and restrict access to and prohibit tools of personal defense, picayune shaping of people's choices of fun, a huge central bank by which to manage the currency for its elite needs and enrich the well connected, and politicians who say only those things that near majorities want to hear. Wherever will the Left find its dream coming true? I feel for them.

I took on an earlier iteration of crummily argued attacks on techno-libertarians back in 2000, in a review of Paulina Borsook's book Cyberselfish.

NEXT: Donor Pledges $5 Million to Protect Detroit Art, Pensions

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. He starts off going wrong with a rather gross misunderstanding of what being “of the left” in American terms means these days:

    Rational, fact-based meritocracy, right?

    What did I win?

    1. First pick of the bunks when we get to the camps.

    2. meritocracy

      Obviously plutocrat code for “the poor get what they deserve”. Nice try Koch-puppet.

  2. Most on the Left would endorse these ends.

    Most on the Left would say they endorse these ends.

    1. The schizophrenic existence of many of today’s leftists is fascinating: they actually strive to stamp out almost everything they say (and presumably believe) that they supposedly believe in. This is another fascinating aspect of their psychology that I’m trying to wrap my head around.

      It’s like me saying I love microbrews and then every time I go to the bar I order a Schlitz. I’d go on and on about how microbrews are the way to go, and then I’d down a Milwaukee’s Best without a hint of self-awareness.

      I don’t really get it, but it has to mean something.

      1. It means you’re lying. You’re either lying to the poor asshole on the bar stool next to you or you’re lying to yourself.

        1. It’s definitely lying to oneself, but the disconnect between “I believe in free speech” and then them trying to restrict free speech right after saying that is amazing to behold, as are all the other examples of where they do that.

          It means they are suffering from a mass–and I mean mass–delusion. That’s scary.

          1. Keep in mind that lefties define “free” in an absurd manner. To them, “free” speech means I can force your newspaper or TV station to give me space/air time to say whatever I want. They see the medium itself as belonging to everyone, and if you refuse to grant me a column or a camera, you’re violating my rights.

            It’s a psychosis.

            1. Yes, going with Fluffy’s explanation below, to a leftist, I imagine that lack of access would be considered an impediment to “free” speech, as if you can’t just get up and do something instantly, you’re not free to do it.

        2. but are you intentionally lying or do you believe your own bullshit?

          1. Here’s what’s at issue: it’s all the same. For leftists, or anyone for whom ideology trumps philosophy, lying in the service of the greater good is no lie, nor even contradictory. Censorship doesn’t put the lie to their support of speech, it ensures others aren’t silenced by hurtful words. Stringent anti-competitive regulations don’t harm commerce, they ensure small businesses can stand with the big guys. Obama couldn’t deescalate our drone program, accelerate troop withdrawals from the seemingly boundless mideast theater, nor back shutting down Guantanamo, because conservatives wouldn’t take him seriously as a warrior president. He didn’t break those promises, he simply had to prioritize. For the greater good.

            1. And the childenz.

            2. When the ends justify the means, you end up being mean.

              Much evil has been perpetrated ?. for the greater good.

      2. It’s not that surprising. When you think that you’re the smartest person in the room it’s easy to think that you know enough to control other people’s behavior for the best and, at the same time, your behavior shouldn’t be at the mercy of the dumb masses.

        You are then some contradictory monster that can honestly spout two mutually exclusive ideas with conviction.

        1. when you think you’re the smartest person in the room, you are also virtually assured of dismissing any other viewpoint than yours as irrelevant, illegitimate, even evil.

        2. General BN, too true.

        3. Being the smartest person in the room, I know its hopeless to try to control of the rest of you, unless I bring brownies, and then who really has control? I’m just whipping up batches of brownies to manipulate you into doing my bidding and the rest of you are gulping them down with the 2% milk which I also brought just before you belch out ‘want more’. And instead of getting you to have an orgy with me, or rob a bank for me, or taking over New Hampshire and renaming it Killazona, I’m back in the kitchen making you another batch of brownies. Goddamn, being in control is no fun at all. That is what is so different about libertarians and leftist, they never think of the consequences of their actions.

          1. “…the 2% milk which I also brought…”

            Jesus Christ! You sadistic monster!

          2. A leash is only a rope with a noose at both ends.

          3. Well, you clearly know exactly what would work to control me at least.

            1. The leash or the brownies…?

              1. The brownies, of course.

      3. Dude. That is one of the best analogies ever.

      4. I’d say it’s more like going around saying you love microbrews and then trying to get New Belgium to start making Schlitz. Or, to make it really lefty, getting a law passed dictating that all breweries must produce 10,000 barrels of Schlitz before they can make anything else for the year.

      5. It’s a lot like the “conservatives” who claim they want smaller government and then squeal like stuck pigs at the slightest possibility of government actually shrinking.

  3. Though I understand (some) leftists’ concerns about corporate economic power, I cannot understand how any of their solutions could ever increase decentralization or individual autonomy, which many of them claim to support.

    1. Well, consider the following thought experiment:

      A rich man has 10 worthless, ne’er do well nephews. The nephews don’t want to work, but they also don’t like being nice to their uncle in the hope that he will give them some money.

      So they hire somebody to break the uncle’s legs, and tell him they’ll break his balls next if he doesn’t hand over all the money the nephews want.

      To the left, this event has increased individual autonomy and decentralization. The nephews now enjoy many more hours of spending money without having to get jobs or suck up to their uncle (autonomy) and the decision-making power about what to do with that money has been distributed among many people (decentralization).

      You see the act of abuse that takes away the uncle’s autonomy and subordinates his decision-making to someone else, but the left doesn’t care about that. Because fuck that uncle, dude.

      1. Wow, that was a good example. I think I understand now; they do not mean autonomous as in free to pursue one’s dreams and passions, but rather “autonomous” as in “free” to pursue base desires* without any responsibility for the consequences.

        Jesus Christ that’s terrifying. They basically want to reduce us to well fed animals.

        *SLD of course I have no problem with pursuing base desires, but there are (non-governmental) consequences.

        1. To Serve Man is a cookbook!

      2. Am I an old fogey or does that sum up most juvenile “rebellion” attitudes?

        1. I’m 25 and it sounds about right. I’m too old for that.

          1. Considering this was the Baby Boomer attitude it is no wonder we have helicopter parents and that there is no generation gap anymore. I mean a “Fuck You Mom and Dad I want to drop out of school, get a job, live independently, no subsidized housing, work minimum wage and I don’t want no free healthcare or Social Security when I grow older” is not exactly something yute activists are advocating today.

      3. the act of abuse that takes away the uncle’s autonomy

        Well, he didn’t build that!

        /’bama

    2. My impression is that they sincerely believe that individual autonomy is only possible in an environment where people face a minimum of constraints.

      When confronted by natural constraints (eg a limit on the amount of food grown), they want to use force to distribute the constraining resource equally, or to get the money needed to buy everyone a fair measure of that resource.

      When confronted by trading constraints (eg nobody wants to sell health insurance that covers an expensive pre-existing condition), they want to force society as a whole to manufacture/distribute everything equally to level the constraint as much as possible (we all get 10 microseconds in the sack with Jessica Alba).

      When confronted by political constraints they seek to dissolve them.

      Myopically, many of them are convinced that they know what’s best for their fellow men, and that the constraints that most bother them should be the ones that should be broken first.

      And they really don’t care a jot about the fact that the constraints they break are in reality coming at the cost of imposing a bigger constraint on the people whom they are slapping down.

      1. And they really don’t care a jot about the fact that the constraints they break are in reality coming at the cost of imposing a bigger constraint on the people whom they are slapping down.

        And that those constraints will, in the long run, negatively affect everyone.

        1. Definitely.

          Imagine how much richer the poorest 10% of the U.S. would be if the deadweight imposed by government regulation since the beginning of the 20th century had been halved? Not eliminated, just halved.

          It would be fucking mindblowing.

          1. The effect on the entire economy, not just the poor, would be mindblowing.

            1. Of the entire planet.

            2. hasn’t the needle on poverty more or less stopped moving since the great society? in relative terms anyway? I might be wrong.

      2. “First, they came for the constraints that most bother them…”

      3. And they really don’t care a jot about the fact that the constraints they break are in reality coming at the cost of imposing a bigger constraint on the people whom they are slapping down.

        It’s worse than that.

        The idea of looting their neighbor to fund their pet causes has become so ingrained in their psyche, as well as society’s, so normal, that they can’t consider for a moment that they’re doing something immoral.

        The idea that you wouldn’t confiscate wealth from someone to correct what they see as an injustice is now an alien concept. Of course, everyone would want to help and end [insert suffering here]. Money loses all objective value in these instances. It’s the government spending its money.

        PILLAGE is the default setting. And since taxation is also a default setting, this just goes hand-in-hand. *Not* spending someone else’s money, while people go hungry, is the immorality.

        1. Trying get all the thoughts together in one place….

          The other problem is that the violence required to maintain the system we have today has been completely sanitized and thus, making these decisions easy.

          We comply with the demands of the state, because we’re a wealthy people and we know that the pain will be substantial and deprive us of all that we have. So, we go along, knowing that we’re relatively well off and the personal reward is preferable. The unseen consequences continue to go unseen.

          The other prong is that of normalcy and convenience. Those 2 concepts are central to the statist and everything else is subordinate. “How many people are you willing to jail and kill to support your way of life, your system?” That’s really what it comes down to. To maintain a society in the mold that you see as optimal, you are going to have to punish a lot of people who go outside the margains of your system and provide the state with tremendous power to apply this punishment to maintain order, including the power to go to war, which it will do with or without your consent.

          What’s the price you are willing for other people to pay, in order for you to have a comfortable life? That question never gets asked.

          1. Those 2 concepts are central to the statist and everything else is subordinate. “How many people are you willing to jail and kill to support your way of life, your system?”

            They flat out won’t admit it. Ever. I’ve tried. They refuse to admit that there is a direct path between “Bob refused to serve homosexuals / blacks / Catholics in his restaurant” and “Bob was shot dead by the police”.

            “Oh, don’t be stupid,” they’ll eyeroll at you, “Bob was shot by the police for resisting arrest, not for violating the Civil Rights Act.”

    3. Their solutions are based upon the premise that we are government and government is us. They see society as being divided between the people, represented by government, and the evil rich and corporations that government protects us from. Because they believe we are government and government is us, they do not see government coercion as a bad thing. It’s us coercing the rich and the corporations because government is us.

      Then they go and complain that the evil rich and the evil corporations have taken control of the government that is us, and the only way to get the government back is to give it more power. Then it we through government can take control of the evil rich and evil corporations that currently control the government.

      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.
      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.
      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.
      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.
      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.
      And when that doesn’t work, give more power to the government.

      It’s a mental disorder.

      1. I’ve compared leftists to medieval doctors who believe that illness is caused by “bad blood,” which can be relieved by leeches. If the patient weakens: more leeches!

      2. It’s homeopathy without the dilutions.

      3. “Their solutions are based upon the premise that we are government and government is us. ”

        Which is why jews, cambodians, kulaks, ethnic chinese and ibos weren’t persecuted or subjected to genocide, they merely committed mass suicide and did it to themselves…see- THEY WERE THE GOVERNMENT!

  4. Why would a left that wants to see a world shaped to its own particular desires–about income distribution, market and personal choice and behavior, and forced change in people’s transportation, energy, and consumption choices, embrace a world of greater decentralization and choice?

    Why would someone who supports decentralization, distribution of information and oppose hierarchies write for an magazine named after a political group that opposed all three of those things?

  5. After reading that Bailey bullshit this was just the article I needed to read. TY

    1. After reading that Bailey bullshit this was just the article I needed to read. TY

      Palate cleanser…..?

      1. It was either that or eyebleach and I shouldn’t do that from where I’m currently at.

        Not that it stopped me.

        1. NICE!

          I think I saw my niece though…..I need a drink!

  6. Even if I could discern which portions of this are quoted material and which are Doherty, I’m pretty sure it still wouldn’t make a lick of sense.

  7. The left is interested in two choices, and only two choices:

    The choice to have some particular kind of sex*, and the choice to not get a fucking job.

    Any other choice you might make could potentially interfere with one of those two choices, so they don’t want any others to exist. At all.

    *I throw abortion rights in here.

    1. *I throw abortion rights in here.

      Not. Until. Saturday. Morning. Plz.

      1. I am very pro-choice, but even I realize that the reason most of the left cares about abortion is sex.

        If women became pregnant by spontaneous generation, they would still care about it, but a lot less.

        1. If women became pregnant by spontaneous generation

          Every right-thinking person knows that women get pregnant from buses, silly.

    2. I would add that the Left supports the choice to make art that some religions would consider blasphemous.

      1. Much, much less so.

        And if there was a religion that held that everybody should get to have lots of polymorphously perverse sex while not having to get a job, if anyone dared make art that blasphemed that religion the left would go ape shit berserk.

        1. Yeah but oddly they usually hesitate to criticize Islam, which you’d think would go against a lot of what they “believe.”

          1. and this may be where the intersection of left and Team lies. The left, mostly Team Blue, has to sympathize with Islam because Team Red tends to lead the charge against Muslims, certainly the radical kind.

            It extends to Arabs/Jews; Blues are far more supportive of the Palestinians and far more harsh toward the Jews while Reds are vice-versa.

      2. Depends on the religion, methinks. When progs go in for repression then they tend to go all in.

      3. Emphasis on the some. I’m an atheist, but it is funny how the left picks religions it doesn’t want to insult.

      4. “I would add that the Left supports the choice to make art that some religions would consider blasphemous”

        As do libertarians.

  8. Leftists are societal creationists. They do not believe anything can happen in society without being created by their god: government. Spontaneous order to them is like evolution to a hard-core Fundamentalist Christian. It’s blasphemy of the highest order.

    1. Every now and then I like to wander down to the drum circle here in Portland and marvel at their grasp of spontaneous order on the personal level and their love of violence on the political. It’s a wonder I don’t catch irony poisoning.

    2. “Spontaneous order to them is like evolution to a hard-core Fundamentalist Christian”

      Good analogy.

  9. Golumbia and those like him are right to be afraid. They can’t control this and the digital revolution is our playground. Progressivism needs the centralization of power to be a fact of life so that Progs can seize that power. Without it, they’re like Sauron after his Ring is destroyed.

  10. Just last night, while doing dishes, I had this optimistic vision of an exponentially growing number of individuals paying each other for services in uncrackable cryptocurrencies over secure networks, having goods delivered by private logistics companies, settling matters of dispute in forms of arbitration agreed upon by contract, living in a web of personalised social networks, going five flags, and just leaving the state behind to devour itself, wither and die.

    Today I wasn’t in nearly such a good mood, oh well.

  11. This, much more than overt digital libertarianism, should concern the Left, and anyone who does not subscribe to libertarian politics.

    We have to subscribe now? Dang, I thought freedom was free.
    Does he mean to Reason?

    1. Dang, I thought freedom was free.

      You didn’t see that pop-over thing?

    2. TANSTASFL

      1. Blew it, meh..

    3. Freedom isn’t free–it costs folks like you and me. And if you don’t kick in your $1.05, who will?

      1. There’s a hefty fuckin’ fee.

  12. otherwise brilliant leftists who carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with suddenly throw their lot in with libertarians ? even when those libertarians explicitly disavow Left principles in their work.

    This is the evil in a nutshell. Ends don’t matter, actions don’t matter. It’s whether or not you took sides with people who Think The Wrong Things. And notice that doing so must be a sign of reduced intelligence (“otherwise brilliant”) – it can’t possibly be rational self-interest.

    We’re doomed.

    1. We’re doomed.

      Hey we can watch Downton Abbey! And no slavery or Jim Crow!

  13. ###
    But to the leftist, one must “carefully examine the political commitments of most everyone they side with….” and act accordingly.
    ###

    Progressives have the same problem, and the same solution, as other fundamentalists. Problem – theory is nonsense on stilts, and if you talk to unbelievers, they will point that out to you. Solution – don’t talk to the unbelievers, and add specific doctrinal points to justify that retreat from public discourse.

  14. ; it levels the playing field for distribution of information critical to political engagement; it destabilizes hierarchies, decentralizes what had been centralized, democratizes what was the domain of elites.

    Most on the Left would endorse these ends.

    What left? Not any left that I know of. It sounds like he is confusing classic liberals or libertarians with leftists.

    What a thoroughly confused individual. It’s like saying that big corporations want totally unregulated free markets.

    1. But, KOCHTOPUS! They couldn’t actually be earning all that money by providing valuable service and goods! It’s unfair and worse, unequal!

  15. Yet the Left today is scattered, nearly toothless in most advanced democracies.

    WTF? We are living in societies very close to what were dreamed of by socialists of the early 20th century. Our politicians, even on the “right,” mouth their platitudes, which are also taught as gospel in nearly every school. And the Left is “nearly toothless”?

    1. The Jacobin is a socialist periodical. Of course they would think that any form of capitalist society (regardless of how much of that capital is diverted towards “social” ends) is anathema.

      1. GNOSTIC POLITICS IS SELF-DEFEATING IN SO FAR AS ITS DISREGARD FOR THE STRUCTURE OF REALITY LEADS TO CONTINUOUS WARFARE. — ERIC VOEGELIN

    2. It goes along with their definitions of compromise. If you don’t completely give in to their demands and let them have their cake and eat it, you’re being an obstructionist and you’re perverting the system.

    3. Meh I’d say there’s a big gulf between what they want and where we are although the education system is basically theirs. But the notion that the left is ‘toothless’ is truthless.

  16. Somewhat more surprising is that someone would establish a magazine non-ironically called The Jacobin.

    What, was The Stalinist already taken?

    1. I was thinking this too, but then thought that maybe I’m not remembering my history correctly.

    2. I was sort of alluding to this upthread:

      https://reason.com/blog/2013/12…..nt_4174669

      Do they support war, conscription, censorship, price controls, centralization, nationalization of property and executions of priests and political opponents?

      1. The Jacobins by the way were the original Extreme Left for those who still think libertarianism is a leftist thing.

        1. But Hayek sat on the left side of the French assembly, so libertarianism must have more in common with socialists than with American conservatives!

          1. I think you mean Bastiat, who by the way attacked his fellow leftists the Socialists quite a bit during his time.

            1. Yes, that’s right. My bad.

              1. No, no! It’s just fine that way.

              2. I find it when Sheldon Richman brings that up to be amusingly reactionary since he is appealing to non-existent Victorian era past!

                And since “leftist” originally meant someone who opposed feudalism and absolute monarchy the only reason classical liberalism and socialism are considered leftist is because they both opposed those things.

                That attitude makes about as much sense as saying that neo-Nazis, Communists and the Taliban are natural allies of libertarianism because they all oppose the USG.

                1. I should mention that “leftist” in an American context means someone who supports the New Deal and “conservatism” came to mean an opponent of the Great Society.

                2. That attitude makes about as much sense as saying that neo-Nazis, Communists and the Taliban are natural allies of libertarianism because they all oppose the USG.

                  …otherwise known as the LRC form of libertarianism.

                  1. So Lew Rockwell is the real left-libertarian while Richman/Long/etc. are poseurs? Hilarious!

                  2. See also: Rothbard

        2. +1 Vendee Revolt

      2. If virtue be the spring of a popular government in times of peace, the spring of that government during a revolution is virtue combined with terror: virtue, without which terror is destructive; terror, without which virtue is impotent. Terror is only justice prompt, severe and inflexible; it is then an emanation of virtue; it is less a distinct principle than a natural consequence of the general principle of democracy, applied to the most pressing wants of the country … The government in a revolution is the despotism of liberty against tyranny.

        Sounds about right.

        1. “Terrorism” by the way was coined to refer to this attitude.

      1. Moldbug: because some people love their authorial voice more than their readers’ patience.

    3. I was thinking more if The Guillotine or the Reign of Terror magazine titles were already taken?

    4. Somewhat more surprising is that someone would establish a magazine non-ironically called The Jacobin.

      That is what I came here to say. And yet you’re a conspiracy nut if you suggest some leftists really do want to put people in camps or put bullets in the napes of their necks.

  17. Have we heard from Francisco de’Anconia today? I just saw a weather report and it is -32 in central montana.

    I picture him frost covered and frozen solid with his hands poised over his keyboard.

    1. He was on a thread earlier. BRRRR!

    2. Am lynx I believe, so I think he’s still alive.

    3. I’m not particularly enjoying this gulf coast cold front either.

  18. They are even places where political belief can be glossed over, to get to where what I’m implying will stop making sense to many people even though the beautiful advantages for peace and mutual advantage of just treating certain things as irrelevent to civilized interaction are the same as in the old Enlightenment project of getting over race, religion, and gender, and nationality in deciding who we’ll tolerate.

    Holy Run-on sentences, Batman! Having a little trouble deciphering this.

    1. Marcotteian in its elegance.

    2. Thank you. Cripes Doherty is rather prone to this kind of…avalanche.

    3. Seriously, Doherty, this kind of abomination is why I’ve yet to buy any of your books. Radicals for Capitalism sounds like a great resource, but how can I trust it to be decipherable?

      1. It’s very decipherable, probably because there’s more time/attention paid to editing. VERY good, very entertainingly written and keeps your attention.

      2. Seriously, RoC at least is very, VERY good and doesn’t suffer from any of the pitfalls that blogging and web-published articles do. I highly recommend it.

  19. “Most on the Left would endorse these ends. The widespread availability of tools whose uses are harmonious with leftist goals would, one might think, accompany broad advancement of those goals in some form. Yet the Left today is scattered, nearly toothless in most advanced democracies.”

    Most? Is there a percentage of them who don’t want it? I want numbers. Names!

  20. It always blew my mind while attending classes in university at how intolerant the left was of other views but the second someone challenged them they screamed their freedom of speech was being threatened.

    It’s in school I saw the face of progressivism and it was damn ugly.

    They’re not for freedom of any kind but their own.

    In Canada, we have a distorted and disfigured view on what constitutes liberty. We’ve deceived ourselves into believing we can “balance” speech by “regulating” it. It’s perhaps one of the most hideous “intellectual” positions taken by Canadian intellectuals and its adherents.

    The results are pretty barbaric from Quebec’s tribal nationalism that tramples on individual liberties to Canada’s hate laws and the the Human Right Commission charged with “protecting the sanctity” of civil discourse.

    In other words, they all live in a bull shit world.

    1. As a fellow from montreal, I agree

  21. The excerpt featured a spelling mistake taken from your essay. Not to discount content, but spelling creates an impression.
    In the following “lead” should be “led”.
    “Rather than engaging the real reasons why the mentality implied by the “digital revolution” hasn’t lead to a resurgent leftist world of policy, . . .”

  22. Clearly creating an elite, centralized authority is the best way to promote equality, decentralization, and freedom.

  23. Scratch a Leftist, find a moron.

  24. Leftists are fascists. Decentralization strikes at the heart of their dreams of tyranny.

    1. Thomas Friedman believes tyranny is cool as long as we can all have solar panels, like those “enlightened” chinese

  25. according to peter thiel we would have colonized the solar system by now

  26. woops, that was meant to be a response for something above…my bad

  27. If left and right have any coherent meaning over the centuries, I reckon they stand respectively for some kind of equality and some kind of stability. The goals Golumbia lists clearly favor equality over stability, and thus are of the left. The waywardness of the empire-building system of institutions that owns the trademark “Left?” doesn’t change that.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.