Valley Girl Sez: Libertarianism Sux!

Matt Cramer cramer at
Tue Aug 22 21:03:55 PDT 2000

On Sat, 19 Aug 2000, kelley quoted:

> She starts by describing the techie tribes -- cyberpunks (modern-day
> warriors), cypherpunks, ("crypto rebels"), nerverts (fetish, D&D-cum-S&M),
> extropians ("radical optimists) -- and their gods (John Perry Barlow,
> George Gilder, Ayn Rand and even Robert Heinlein). Thankfully, though,
> Borsook still has her eyes on the prize throughout her "romp" through the
> stereotypes (which are right on, by most accounts).
> Borsook gives a quick lesson in Bionomics, the underlying theorem for
> Silicon Valley techno-libertarianism, as she disdainfully calls the
> no-regulation-except-when-it-helps-us technology mindshare. Bionomics, in
> essence, is a belief in "simple rules, complex behaviors" that promotes
> capitalism to the hilt, even in its most pitiless forms. It persists
> through today, she says.

How does one explain open-source software in this frame-work? Open-source software BUILT the internet, and the model, distinctively anti-capitalistic, is showing a frenzied growth.

> "[M]ost guys for whom the system of start-up and cash-out works really well
> don't usually spend lots of time thinking about that system," is one of her
> incredibly obvious statements about the cruel underbelly of Silicon Valley.
> "It's a comfort to believe everything does best if left alone."

How did we get from the groups described above ([cyb,cyph]er-punks, etc.) to the "cash and burn" startups? I think the author is confusing two different groups of people......

> Most of Borsook's geeks-are-pigs comments, though, are shielded in the
> chapter about her previous employer, Wired magazine. Borsook does call the
> early, pre-Conde Nast Wired the "Daily Worker for the libertarian technical
> elite" and accuses it of light censorship. Yet she still seems bedazzled
> with Wired's early power to speak to a burgeoning, albeit morally
> challenged cult of nerds, giving them the ultimate media-soaked revenge.

Yep, clearly confused. "Wired"? That's media for wannabes. The geek-libertarianism has nothing to do with keeping the .gov totally out of the marketplace, but devotion to individual liberties. That's why geek-libertarian-wackos like me will carry DOJ attorneys on our shoulders into courtrooms to fight Micro$oft, but spit in their faces when they propose rubbish like the CDA.

> Most importantly, Borsook warns that while newbies of other political
> persuasions are invading high technology, techno-libertarianism still
> endangers community, compassion and small bookstores.

Bah. The techno-libertarianism has nothing to do with the next start-up, the next Micro$oft, whatever. She's looking in the wrong places. Look to the collectively organised and enforced policy of Internet RFCs, or free, open-source software to see the libertarian politics of cyberspace at work.


-- Matt Cramer <cramer at> If the jury feels the law is unjust, we recognize the undisputed power of the jury to acquit, even if its verdict is contrary to the law as given by a judge, and contrary to the evidence.

-4th Circuit Court of Appeals, US v Moylan, 1969

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