Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Stephen Metcalf Essay At Slate

Entitled "The Liberty Scam", and written by one Stephen Metcalf, this essay over at Slate purports to be a critique of libertarian ideology via a somewhat mangled attempt to deconstruct Nozick's "Wilt Chamberlain" argument. I may consider writing my own rebuttal when time allows - in the meantime, some of the commenters are already on Metcalf's case.


  1. I'll comment on the formulaic writing of the slate author later, but I thought this attack on Bitcoin was interesting. It seems the war has begun.


  2. Not an attack on Bitcoin itself, only on the exchange.

    Technically speaking the currency is unaffected.

  3. True that, but currencies live or die by the trust placed on them. I'm bullish on Botcoin myself. If I had the web expertise, I'd definitely get in on cashing out bitcoin to cash and back. I do expect Bitcoin to be attacked again in the future, quite often, but I think it will open the way for exchange in much the same way napster opened the way for file sharing.

  4. "The online freedom group, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) said it was dropping Bitcoin as a means of donating to its cause because of concerns about consumer protection, taxation and money laundering."

    And EFF are supposed to be an online "freedom" group?


    "I do expect Bitcoin to be attacked again in the future, quite often, but I think it will open the way for exchange in much the same way napster opened the way for file sharing."

    Perhaps - I wonder whether it'll continue to live on a knife-edge until the CPIs start seeing serious movement, or whether similar electronic currencies take off before that happens.

    And Okami - keep an eye out for competitor online currencies.

  5. I read the article and to be honest it's so standard leftie that it's starting to feel like "Groundhog Day" reading them. Remember Reagan? He's a great conservative now, but at the time the man was hated as much as Sarah Palin is now. Everyone thought he was going to start WW3, the Euros thought he was a complete nutter. He had the cojones to call the Soviet Union an evil empire. He was also so deft that any criticism of him could easily be brushed off.

    The big problem with Bitcoin is the use of it for illegal transactions because it's hard to trace back. The Russians had/have a similar thing, with a rate that varies on how much heat you cause the network. You start extrapolating what could happen. Imagine you are in Zimbabwe in 2030 when Mugabe's successor starts raiding the country again as his personal piggy bank, then you're going to start see these currencies come into their own with a support network.

    If I was in Europe, I'd move everything out of Euros. When one of the PIIGS starts the fail cascade, everyone is going to take a bath. Fiat currencies are going to go through a crisis of confidence under such circumstances and the hang ups on virtual currencies are going to diminish. It only takes one bank to get the fail cascade rolling.


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