From metawiki
If it seems like this wiki is hard on Libertarians and Techno-Optimists its only because they remind us of our former selves.

Libertarianism is the preferred political ideology of the technological elites.

It purports to be concerned with maximizing freedom in both the political and economic spheres, but tends to be focused too much on the economic freedom of billionaires over the well-being of the general public.

Libertarian Roots

metaculture has many roots in Libertarian philosophy. The notions of distributed power, self-organization of capital markets, and maximizing freedom, are all important components of political and economic best-practices.

This author came across the ideas behind metaculture in the 90s during the very beginnings of the DotCom boom. This was a very optimistic time, following the fall of the Berlin wall and before the events of 9/11. Libertarianism and its philosophical ally Objectivism were not widely known outside of the techno-nerd culture, who did not have the cachet that they currently enjoy. These philosophies made a lot of sense at a time when capitalism had just "defeated" communism, new technology was poised to revolutionize society, and we appeared to be on the cusp of a new millennium of peace and prosperity.

At that time, the welfare and regulatory state was exceptionally bloated, inefficient, and in need of significant reforms. The war on drugs and mass incarceration were in full swing, police had very little oversight, and neither mainstream political party advocated for reforming this status quo.

Libertarianism also ties directly into fundamental principles like the efficiency of self-organizing systems and their ability to self-correct in a way that hierarchical organization cannot. That's just like the fractal! It all seems perfectly harmonious. If we stop applying Euclidean/authoritarian control over the economy and society, it would allow the self-organizing fractal pattern of prosperity to flourish.

Libertarianism also has the reconciliation of left and right political polarization as a core value, which is very much in line with the goals of neutrality and universality. Of course, it's laissez-faire absolutism is more polarizing to centrists than either mainstream liberalism or conservatism, so it fails to achieve that goal.

Libertarian Mutations

After the 2007-2008 financial crisis and the election of Barack Obama, many of the conservative elements of the Libertarian party movement ended up forming the Tea Party movement. This is the point where the Republican party began to coopt the economic philosophy and language of the Libertarian movement, while Democrats became more Libertarian on issues of legal justice, marriage equality, over-policing, and ending the war on drugs, at least on the state level.

This left the actual Libertarian party movement in the US in limbo. Its ideas that were once outside the mainstream were now inside, but divided. Most of the old-school Libertarians ended up choosing one major party or the other, and the ones that didn't had to push their ideas to further extremes in order to remain outside of the mainstream. And then the pandemic happened.

The modern Libertarian movement is unrecognizable to anyone that remembers its glory days of the original DotCom bubble. Most progressives are totally on board with the idea of efficient regulations that minimize the administrative overhead and economic burden they cause. Very few truly advocate for pure socialism or communism, only a mixed economy where worker ownership and autonomy is increased, natural monopolies are not allowed to extract rents, and unnatural monopolies are not allowed to exist. Economic Libertarians should acknowledge this reality and stop portraying any attempt at economic oversight as communism, lest they drive progressives further toward actual communism.

Progressives also embrace personal freedom just as much as Libertarians, with the possible exceptions of gun control and the freedom of speech implications of the paradox of tolerance. Only minimal compromise is truly needed to find common ground on these issues if approached in the spirit of cooperation.

However, authoritarianism and fascism offer no common ground with the Libertarian ethos. To align with the forces of right-wing extremism in the service of economic Libertarianism is not freedom, it is pure selfishness. And regardless of what Ayn Rand says, pure selfishness is not virtue. Maybe there's a good reason that every other philosophy and religion in history is in agreement on this point except for one.

Expanding the Concept of Freedom and Oppression

The major shortcomings in the Libertarian and Objectivist philosophies come in the analysis of true freedom and the nuanced consideration of economic forces beyond our control other than taxation. Also in the ideological rigidity that free markets are the best solution to every problem, ignoring natural monopolies and perverse incentive structures in industries like healthcare and public utilities.

Striving to maximize freedom is a laudable goal. Thinking that the government is the only entity that can limit your freedom is short-sighted.

Optimizing Distributed Systems With Incentives

The power of the marketplace is the fact that it is self-organizing and optimizes for profit maximization without any oversight.

But what if the market could be optimized to generate happiness instead of just profit?

We all know that money is simply a proxy for happiness. It cannot buy love, but it can buy a bed and that is at least a step in the right direction. But once a minimum standard of living has been achieved, money does not increase quality of life. So what does a society do once it has provided this standard for nearly all of its people?

Using Gross National Happiness as the primary meterstick for economic progress would significantly alter the incentive structures provided by government intervention into the free market. This would allow the marketplace of ideas and entrepreneurship to self-organize flourish, while directing progress towards more humanistic ends than the pursuit of pure greed.

Reconsidering Libertarianism

If you are reading this and you still identify as Libertarian, perhaps these videos will help.

Why are There no Libertarian Contries?

Why I'm Not a Libertarian

Penn Jillette on why his views on Liberarianism have changed

Lynyrd Skynyrd - Free Bird

Nick Lowe - Cruel to be Kind

To give them the benefit of the doubt, most Libertarians only want to kill the poor through neglect, not a neutron bomb.

Dead Kennedys - Kill the Poor