Tuesday, January 24, 2017

You Are Here


Superficially, it may look as though some technologies favor either the left or right. Guns created democracy because equal weapons create equal societies. (Just like in ancient Greece). Are guns right-wing? If you listen to the left talk about them they are. But is democracy itself right-wing?

The printing press disrupted the ability of the Roman Catholic Church to maintain a political hold on the monarchies of Europe. The Protestant Reformation and the various religious wars that followed could not have been possible without the the ability of the people to read the Bible in their own native tongues. Superficially we may look at this as a "left-wing" technology.

Birth control is obviously a left-wing technology, right? The sexual revolution would not have been possible without it. I have written a lot about this.

Bitcoin, smart contracts, blockchains, and distributed ledgers are most certainly right-wing technologies. Are they not? In the future, they may enable anarcho capitalism. Certainly, public encryption is right-wing. With it people may build assassination markets for killing politicians. That sounds like a Patriots wet dream to me.

But if you look closer you will notice that while all of these technologies score victories for one side of the political aisle or the other, something is happening in the background over a longer time scale; anarchy is being advanced.

Now why is that?

It goes to the very definition of the word technology.

Technology is defined as a labor saving device or technique. It is anything that reduces the amount of human effort needed to preform a task, produce a product, coordinate people, transact a purchase, etc. Anything that makes it easier for people to do a thing is technology.

Here I am writing a blog that hundreds of people read. In the past, I would have had to operate a wood block printing press that cost me hundreds of dollars to purchase. Just the act of printing so many pamphlets would be exhausting. I know, I took a print making class in college and did this very thing with my own hands. It can take days to set up just one print correctly. Etching a copper plate by hand is a soothing but time consuming thing. It is a truly remarkable art.

Going further back in history I would have had to copy by hand my own handwriting and walk around distributing it to publish anything. That would have taken months, and could not possibly have been profitable.

Labor saving equates to lowering barriers to entry.

And lowering the barrier to entry is ultimately identical to raising the percentage of the population that has access to power.

Peter Thiel invented Palantir; a software system that sifts through massive amounts of data to identify terrorist threats. Using distributed computing, the same software could be developed for personal use, giving everyone the ability to perform the same intelligence analysis as the NSA. The burden of hosting all of that data would simply be distributed across a network of computers. The software does the rest. Call it the Wikipedia of intelligence agencies.












In the near-term robots may put millions of people out of work and require basic income. In the long-term one could build a swarm army composed of privately owned robots controlled by a hacker group like Anonymous.

Any low-cost technology can eventually make its way into public hands.

In large numbers automated cars could be used as weapons. A drug 3D printer could synthesize chemical agents.

One day people will wake up an realize that technology has pozzed them all. The left thought history was inevitable. The right thought. . . what? It looked to the past rather than the future. They will realize that the arc of history is not so much to the left or right as up the triangle. It moves from monarchy to anarchy. This gives history a superficial appearance of marching to the left because the range of possible political systems expands dramatically leftward for a brief time before contracting back to a (hopefully) ordered anarchy. Once communism is surpassed, (fall of the Berlin Wall around 1989) the upward march continues relentlessly towards anarcho capitalism.

In the end technology moves society UP from Absolutism to AnCap, and not to the left.


Up is just the direction
























2 comments:

  1. Very interesting. It may explain why the right is divided between the liberals, sovereignists and reactionaries. They would constitute the mind, heart and soul, in front of which the left would be their negation.

    The direction of history through technological evolution would also explain the decline of the reactionary right, at least in demographic terms.

    However, your reasoning is generally true, but history might provide exceptions, such as artillery.
    France was a feudal kingdom, because if a lord didn't agree with the king, he could hide in his castle. With the advent of artillery, walls didn't matter anymore, and this gave rise to absolutism.

    In this regard, do you think there is a determined linear path, from absolutism to ancap, even with some goings and comings? Or do you think society has usually been moving up the triangle until now, but it might as well move in any direction in the future?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely. After the American Revolution there was a lurch back in the direction of centralized power with the development of tanks, aircraft, etc. Also anarchist technologies could lead to totalitarian push back. In the end, some form of government might be possible even in the most disintegrated societies. It's a winding path for sure.

      Delete