- Internet & the Web
Bitcoin is for Extremists?
Another professor implies that Bitcoin is an extreme right-wing construct.
I don't know David Golumbia, an assistant professor in the Virginia Commonwealth University’s English department, but I'm sure he's a nice guy, if not a bit misinformed. Apparently Golumbia has written book which advises that Bitcoin is not so hot. It's titled “The Politics of Bitcoin: Software as Right-Wing Extremism.”
In his blog, Golumbia indicated that Bitcoin “...contributes to the spread of deeply right-wing ideas in economics and political philosophy without those right-wing associations being made at all explicit.”
Golumbia then gives a vague explanation as to why this is, referencing a book, The Overton Window and how it -- the window -- should be moved to the right.
The concept of the overton window is an old one. It is simply a way of describing a political system or how a government makes policy. There is really no right or left here. It’s more freedom or less freedom, as you see in the diagram.
In Golumbia’s view then, as the window is moved up (right), toward more freedom, this becomes just as unthinkable as moving the window down (left) toward less freedom?
Those Darned Radicals
In any event, Golumbia feels that the politics of bitcoin (my description) are intersecting the politics of Trump.
Essentially, to Golumbia, it’s guilt by association. Since one can “readily” see online the blogs and posts of bitcoin supporters, one can then assert that these ideas -- these radical concepts -- mirror the radicalism of Donald Trump.
Weak argument, but spiffy.
Bitcoin communities, the way Golumbia implies, breed hatred and discord. And yet, he mentions no blog or post. Instead, as a way to validate his assertion, he offers random tweets from those who read his blog and subsequently chide him about his judgments. He also provides links to unprofessional webpages, perhaps thinking we will not check his sources.
On the bright side, Golumbia does treat us to rather quaint blog-article from someone named Daniel Latorre. Latorre tells us the our tech needs a values talk and proceeds to explain, among a smattering of examples, that Henry Ford transformed the country. The implication was that this was bad. So if you drive to work, well, shame on you. Take a bus, a bike or a train. Have some values.
I had a professor once. He said Henry Ford was responsible for breaking up the 'nuclear family.' So I said I thought Enola Gay did that. (I know -- bad joke.) The point being, that ever since we left the caves -- left the Garden of Eden -- we have lost our values but gained intelligence, sayeth some.
Golumbia uses that most ancient of arts, with a wide brush, he proceeds to smear. This is an elementary mistake for any professor.
I’ll give another example from his blog, cited above.
“...Trump is sounding more and more like his ardent supporter Alex Jones, propagating the same falsehoods...that we see in Bitcoin discourse (and, not unironically, being himself an incredibly wealthy person who made most of his money by cheating the system).”
I leave the "cheating the system" remark with this. Trump used the system. The cheaters -- the Gambino's of Government (smear) created it. (Hey, at least I call my smears.) A reverse smear, Professor Golumbia.
Now Alex Jones. If you listen to him for five minutes, he is both exaggerator and entertainer. Unfortunately, some people probably believe all the email they read as well.
No critical thinking.
Again, Golumbia utilizes the same rhetoric he so despises, the art of the smear. Since Alex exaggerates and Trump does the same, well then, there you go. If it sounds similar it must be similar. Alex is Trump. Hitler is Bitcoin.
Now Golumbia has thrown out his wide paint brush and opted for the paint spray gun. Trump and Alex are not peas in a pod, Professor Golumbia. But it makes for good show.
Bad Free Traders!
Then Golumbia proceeds to complain about all the advertising and companies attempting to leverage the blockchain technologies for a profit. He states that they are confusing and the hype related to the selling of spin-off technologies are misleading.
Golumbia explains, contrary to popular opinion, that Bitcoin may be hackable. Then he changes the definition of hacking. Not “technical” hacking, but other hacking, he says. Meaning that Bitcoin Exchanges have been hacked and Ethereum had problems. So there!
Smear with a twist. Sort of like a kid explaining to his father that he did not crap his diapers but then admits it. (That's not a smear, but a comparison.)
The next association Golumbia provides is Hernando de Soto. He is said to be one of the world’s biggest blockchain promoters. Golumbia then proceeds to assert that Soto’s ideas are similar in nature to Trump’s.
For good measure, Friedrich Hayek, Milton Friedman, and many others are lumped in and labeled as “poisonous” neo-liberals. Economists who simply believed in free and fair trade -- as enemies to the Golumbia’s cause. Enemies of the state perhaps?
New York Times 'Worthy'
It’s sad really. To see a professor lower himself to the standards of the New York Times and CNN. You would think that as an English professor, he would at least warn us that this was a creative writing piece, since he did not offer us his own solutions or views. He just smeared people and associated guilt by similarity.
And here’s the rub. Bitcoin is not right-wing or left wing. It’s politically agnostic. In fact, it lends itself to either extreme. What?
Let me explain to the dear professor.
Bitcoin's transactions are publicly available to anyone. A good government IT guy could track all of your bitcoin expenditures, know where you shop, see where you bank and so on. This is ideal for a Nazi-style "right wing" political system where your every detail is the property of the state and its agencies. Sort of like it is today with your banks and credit cards and the NSA in the U.S. of A.
Oh and the Nazi's were not "right wing." That's another smear technique.
Bitcoin is also ideal for the left-wing apparatchiks however. A socialist or communistic government requires that your money be placed in a big pot and everyone just sort of takes what he needs. What better way would there be to ensure this fiscal slavery than to install a Bitcoin-like blockchain?
So you see, dear Golumbia, public blockchains are just what the name implies. They are fiscal chains for an unsuspecting public. This is why the underlying technology of blockchains is currently being remade. Privacy is the buzzword these days, professor -- as far as money goes.
Just read up on Monero a bit.
The public “contract-like” blockchains, I speak of Ethereum and others, may take a step toward publicity, but this only insures the contracts, which may or may not need to be publicized.
In evaluation, although I think that Golumbia is great at the art of smearing, his blog leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. Not because I necessarily support Trump, but because when you make a comparison between political ideologies, cryptocurrency and people, you need to be less obtuse and support your assertions.
And you need to know how public blockchains really operate.
Golumbia gets a 'F' for Critical Thinking and failure to do his homework.
If you have time, I suggest the following video. In the end, the speaker makes a very interesting statement about good and evil. It was an epiphany for me.
© 2017 Jack Shorebird