Brexit, Texit, and the Panarchist Case for Panarchy

Flag-cutout-Texas-secede

Jacob Levy recently wrote an essay airing his teary-eyed dismay that so many of his libertarian friends are cheering on Britain’s bow down from EU membership. This comes to no surprise, since BHL seems to be bent on presenting us with the “libertarian case” for anything from a swollen welfare apparatus to mandatory sex-reassignment surgery. There are a few basic theses in this article, for instance, that the EU is not a regulatory monster and that all the all other EU member states are economically freer than Britain (an assertion that not even his own citation really backs up).  One point I would like to extract from Levy’s article and complain about in length, though, is his idea of secession. Namely, Levy claims that secession obviously cannot be a libertarian position, because, uh, like, what if the new country isn’t as libertarian as the parent nation, dude? From the article:

“There’s no reason for us to start with some enthusiastic assumption that secession is always better and that more-local, more-homogenous levels of government are friendlier to freedom than larger and more pluralistic ones. Nor is there any reason to assume that removing a level of government just makes its whole system of regulation stably disappear; we need to think about what’s likely to replace those regulations at the nation-state level.”

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Guerilla Capitalism in Castro’s Cuba

Disclaimer: If we’ve been away for almost two months, it’s because our dear leader, Comrade Dylan, was grounded for shooting up some church in South Carolina, during which period he couldn’t hang out with his friends or go on the Internet.
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   It’s been about 20 or so years since books like The Sovereign Individual predicted the calculated economic starvation of the state by entrepreneurial supermen trading in digital, encrypted currencies. In the jazzy world of Clintonomics, starry-eyed Silicon Valley madmen like John Perry Barlow saw in the dawn of an Internet Age a future familiar and palatable to the average Rothbardian:

The Internet is too widespread to be easily dominated by any single government. By creating a seamless global economic zone, anti-sovereign and unregulatable, the Internet calls into the question the very idea of a nation-state.

As of writing this, the Internet has toppled a total of zero national governments and has proven totally regulatable. That’s all about to not change. The trouble with Bitcoin – that messiah of ’90s cypherpunks and inevitable writing topic of fledgling amateur libertarian bloggers – is that the countries that need it the most for its intended purpose are also the countries with the least reliable Internet service.

A countereconomy that exists explicitly to circumvent regulationism is by its nature an informal “gray” market. That being said, it must at least be a profitable alternative to the formal sector. The Anarcho-Capitalist Club of Cuba, whose members are regularly harassed and beaten by police (co-founder Joisy García was given a citation for being interviewed by the PanAm Post) and barred from legal employment, began accepting Bitcoin donations in February of this year. The rest of 2015 has brought about changes in Cuba’s Internet bureaucracy and its relations with the US that have streamlined the process in their favor. Namely, a recent push by Cuban government to lower Internet costs both by simply charging less for access, and installing more Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces around the island. Another silver lining: on the very day that I write this, July 20th, Cuba and the United States have re-established formal diplomatic relations with each other. It seems the 50+ year embargo may also be on its way out.

Don’t let this good news give off the impression that Internet is flowing over in the streets of Havana. Access to it is a hot issue with the political machine and general public alike. As the Castro regime hacks its aching lungs out, that general public will have more and more political capital to depend on. What I want to bring attention to, however, is that it isn’t Bitcoin that is ending decades of totalitarian communism. Rather, the continued liberalization of Cuban politics and economics will make Bitcoin more accessible.

In nearby Venezuela, crypto-anarchists have had better luck. The monstrous costs of computing power and bandwidth that Bitcoin mining demand are offset by that country’s subsidies. What happens when the government can longer afford to pretend those subsidies aren’t an economic drain, especially when people are exploiting them more regularly to subvert the state economy?

Enthusiasm about the untamed nature of the Internet belongs in the ’90s. The World Wide Web that you and I use has become a more domestic, gentrified place now that it’s taken its place as a vital social platform for cultural and creative elites as well as major corporations. That will invite greater and greater government fetters over the years. The net neutrality non-issue of news cycles past is the most glaring example; Its loudest proponent the EFF was on the front lines demanding greater freedom by, ironically, asking the government (you know, that thing that keeps killing and imprisoning people for most of its history) to reign in the pricing of Web traffic imposed by scary corporate ISPs, monsters it created with subsidies in the first place. It’s all very reminiscent of the railroad boom of the late 19th century. The mainstream Internet provided by Comcast and Verizon in the States relies on the old phone lines, a fact that opened the door to the establishment of natural monopolies from the very start. It was only a matter of time before the state stepped in to brush its own mess under the bed and doom our cyber-posterity.

The fact that Bitcoin, which in the First World is famous for being a 21st Century “tulip fever”, is a more stable currency than the Cuban peso is a testament to the incompetence of Latin American tin-pot socialism. The fact that it is being adopted in droves is testament to the itching desperation of the average Cuban, Venezuelan, Colombian, Brazilian, et al. Should citizens of these countries use Bitcoin? Yes. Cuba’s ancaps have no other currency to turn to at this juncture. It is a life raft for political dissidents in socialist states. That number of political dissidents can only grow from here, and as it does, Bitcoin may be there until de jure regime change is possible.

TL;DR: Bitcoin use is the symptom, not a cause, of the erosion of political power structures in Latin America. Increased Internet access will depend on trade liberalization, and this fact limits Bitcoin’s ability to do its job in second-world nations. Regardless, its adoption is a signal of positive growth in these problem areas.

Club Anarcocapitalista de Cuba takes BTC donations at the following address,

19AfRwtrebmR4kSy1wwpRHY7Smj9rmKkYF

The money goes to conducting lectures on anarcho-capitalist theory

Okay I’m done shilling.

Babby’s First Incentive Problem: NPR Discovers That Soft Jazz and Rainbows Don’t Cure Heroin Addiction

The other day I was listening to my favorite center-leftist radio station on NPR (Conservatards don’t actually have a monopoly on asinine political commentary on the radio – the leftist version just gets gubmint money fo’ dem programs and is on FM). Having developed a rather thick skin from a misspent youth talking to horrible people of various stripes online, I usually quite enjoy all the exasperated guises of neutrality, the roundabout demographic pandering, and the generous use of the word “problematic” that NPR has to offer. Sometimes though it gets better than that, and I endanger myself and other motorists by succumbing to the urge to furiously tip my fedora out of the sheer euphoria that overcomes me when I hear some of the shit they say on there completely blind to the implications. The other day I mentioned was one such episode. The program begins with a female Hispanic journalist talking about noticing a lot of homeless people in the Back Of the Yards neighborhood where she works, a renowned shithole in my very own native Chiraq. Her journalistic curiosity taking over, she began asking them where they were coming from (maybe to plug the hole; it gets awful drafty in the Windy City). The nature of their answers though, is where this gets interesting. Almost all of the people she talked to told her stories with a few common themes:

  1. They were from Puerto Rico
    2. They were addicted to hard drugs of some kind
    3. They were promised by someone in Puerto Rico (Usually a government healthcare worker) that there were miracle rehab facilities in America that could help them
    4. Someone in Puerto Rico (Usually a government official) paid for their plane ticket to Chicago
    5. Someone in Puerto Rico (Often the cops) drove them to the airport
    6. There were not miracle rehab facilities in America that could help them Continue reading

Liberland is Literally No Big Deal

liberland flag Libertarian and mainstream circles alike have been buzzing incessantly about an unclaimed, teardrop shaped parcel of land between Croatia and Serbia called Siga. Czech politician Vít Jedlička calls it Liberland, and has the flag to prove it. The media reaction has been the usual cabinet-of-curiosities approach it applies to anything whacky a political outsider does in his spare time. If you’re the kind of person who has his middle name on Facebook set to “Voluntaryist”, you’re probably hyped about this. I mean, they put Murray Rothbard’s face on the money, for crying out loud. And I don’t blame you; Liberland has received (and this estimate is theirs) millions of citizenship requests, many from places like Saudi Arabia, one nation among many in dire need of a regime change.
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Dear American Right: Vladimir Putin Will Never Fuck You

You bought his poster from Hot Topic and hung it lovingly opposite your bed so his smiling face could be the first you see every morning. You watch all his speeches, and pause to unzip your skinny jeans, but only when your parents won’t be home for a while. You’ve been lured in by the bad boy image he’s built for himself, but let’s face it, conservatives: Vladimir Putin will never fuck you.

 Now I understand that consistency in their support of foreign politicians may be too much to ask of America’s populist center-right. That being said, I implore you to reconsider your involvement in the Putin fandom. I get why you like him: he’s a strong leader who demands results and gets them. He doesn’t like queers or Islamic terrorists, and is willing to send out the big guns to chase them off. Look, here’s a picture of him riding a bear! Epic meme!

I wish Putin was my dad!

I wish Putin was my dad!

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