Conversation With A Libertarian

I was at a conference in Minneapolis recently. I talked to a lot of people. One guy said he was a libertarian. He seemed like a nice fellow. He may be a guy who can say he is a “true” libertarian.

A lot of times, people who call themselves “libertarian” are using that term to put lipstick on a pig. Frequently they are racist or homophobic, or really just don’t like paying other people a day’s wage for a day’s work. There was a good article on Pando pointing out that a lot of people think of themselves as “libertarian” without realizing that other people call themselves “libertarian” and have some pretty nasty ideas.

So this guy said he was into Bitcoin. I just kept nodding as he kept talking. But after a few minutes I thought this guy might be sincere about libertarianism and freedom.

He worked for another crypto currency and got paid in Bitcoin (using a three-day moving average). He was involved in a Meetup in the Bay Area about Bitcoin. Two of the other organizers were on the far left politically. He reported his Bitcoin income to the IRS.

He even said that Bitcoin may not replace fiat currency, but complement it. He also said that Bitcoin itself might be replaced by something else in the future. A lot of Bitcoiners (like a lot of gold nutjobs) think that all we have to do is go to Bitcoin and everything will be wonderful. Just press this magic red button one time, set the dial right there, and everything will be okay. The fact is if you change the rules, then people just find new ways to cheat. Plus they seem oblivious to the idea that changing society in their image might hurt other people, even if other people think society is just fine. A lot of Bitcoiners sound like the Underpants Gnomes from South Park: 1. Dislodge fiat currency. 2. ???? 3. Utopia. What is step 2? No idea. So for a supporter of Bitcoin to say that Bitcoin might not be the final answer is surprising.

He also talked about how Bitcoin can be used in Africa. Apparently cel phone minutes are used as a form of currency. He pointed out that the banking system in many African countries is not that great, and that Bitcoin can do some good there. (The conference was a few weeks ago, and I honestly have forgotten some of what he has said.)

A lot of glibertarians are pretty racist (see the Pando article I linked to above). So here was a guy who actually thought that he was doing something to help people in poor countries. He seemed pretty sincere about it.

I am still skeptical of libertarianism in general. But I will say this encounter opened my eyes a bit.

Image from Wikipedia, assumed allowed under Fair Use.

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Post created on 2014-08-21_23:44:07, last modified on 2018-02-09_0:36:04

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2 Comments

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