Editor’s Note: This is not an invitation to debate politics with me. I don’t give a fuck about your political views – I really, really don’t. And, while I’m open to new ideas and perspectives that force me to re-evaluate my positions, I no longer see how it’s possible to have constructive, respectful discussions of that nature in our current hyper-politicized atmosphere. I’m posting this here mostly for posterity, not because I want to talk about it endlessly. If you disagree and want to debate it, do it somewhere else.
I’ve been following the whole Bitcoin thing from a distance. The greedy capitalist in me is kicking himself for not jumping on earlier when I first heard about it a couple of years ago (I could be RICH and would be able to buy all kinds of illicit things like drugs, assassinations and Teslas!). The pragmatist in me is still waiting to figure out where this whole thing is going and is mildly concerned that I’ll get in too late. And the guy in me that failed freshman algebra in high school is still struggling to understand how the hell the whole thing works.
All of this is to say I haven’t formed any solid opinions on BtC yet, so I’m interested in those of others. Charlie Stross posted his opinion on the occasion of a precipitous 50% loss in value of Bitcoin after China stopped allowing their citizens to contribute. He wants to see it “die in a fire”, and his reasons are very interesting.
But that’s not why I’m posting.
At the end of the article, he very succinctly expresses a belief that I strongly share in regards to certain popular political movements – in this case, comparing Libertarianism to Leninism:
…I tend to take the stance that Libertarianism is like Leninism: a fascinating, internally consistent political theory with some good underlying points that, regrettably, makes prescriptions about how to run human society that can only work if we replace real messy human beings with frictionless spherical humanoids of uniform density (because it relies on simplifying assumptions about human behaviour which are unfortunately wrong).
The problem with most political theories is that they rely way too much on an idealistic view of the public with absolutely no mitigation in place to account for them. One of the reasons American democracy works as well as it does (and I argue that, despite a lot of problems, it still works) is because of the set of checks and balances that are intended to account for human flaws. It’s not American democracy that’s broken, it’s the erosion of those checks and balances through consolidation of power and the encroachment of “national security” as an excuse to hide more and more information.
It’s not perfect, but I still believe it’s the best of the options out there.