Discover more from Something Interesting
Editor's Note: The Progressive Case for Bitcoin
Some additional notes and commentary on The Progressive Case for Bitcoin.
Repeat yourself if you want to be heard
An essay that people could send to their liberal friends has been a recurring request of the newsletter for a long time. I first tried to scratch that itch with an open letter to Elizabeth Warren but even though that piece got a lot of engagement and positive feedback it only increased the requests for a general purpose liberal guide to Bitcoin. So I tried here to assemble something to serve that purpose.
The piece has a lot of material that we’ve already covered elsewhere in the newsletter but the true intended audience is really the people who were sent the link by a friend, and they won’t necessarily have all the context. It is hard to write about the same things from new angles so that I am not just repeating myself but it is often my third or fourth attempt at writing down an idea that I really hit on the best way to articulate it, so I think important ideas are worth the effort to revisit.
If Trump hates it, it has to be good
I absolutely did include the tweet about Trump hating Bitcoin as a cheap rhetorical trick to prime liberals to be more receptive to Bitcoin and I regret nothing. Same idea behind using the covid mask symmetry as the opening and closing argument. Politicizing goals and values makes sense. Politicizing tools and technology is tribal garbage masquerading as meaningful debate.
I wanted to include a good example of an obviously socialist program that was built in an era of hard money but unfortunately every meaningful example was awash in historical complexity that I felt like would distract more than it would help. Do you know of a good clean example of a hard money collective government? Drop me a note with your suggestions!
The sisyphean boulder of environmental guilt
I’ve rewritten variations on this argument probably a hundred times and judging from the screenshot from Forbes in 1999 I’ll probably still be writing variations on it until the day I die, shaking my cyborg fist at the sentient dolphin nurse adjusting my Metaverse goggles.
It is bizarre to me that people feel entitled to declare other people’s fair market activities as "useless" and therefore intrinsically bad. I don’t personally find value from professional sports, craft breweries or organized religion but I would never suggest they should be banned. That would be insane. Yet all three of those activities take massively more energy than Bitcoin does.
I chose to sidestep that whole question in this post since I was worried I would lose the audience but it really does irk me. A lot of people dress up their discomfort with Bitcoin in environmentalist’s clothing while showing absolutely no curiosity about Bitcoin’s environmental impact. It is distressingly obvious that their goal isn’t so much to improve the world but just to add moral weight to rhetoric.
Imagine if we had listened to the people arguing that that the internet should be held back because we were still burning coal? Would the world be a better place? I can’t believe we still give these people op-eds.
Stop saying crypto bro
It is very fashionable to describe crypto as being all male and lily-white and that is simply not true. It is a global phenomenon across many demographics that is being adopted most quickly by marginalized people for all the obvious-when-you-think-about-it reasons.
Dismissing crypto as being "only for rich white dudes" is both wrong and unhelpful. Anyone who collapses the space down to only one group is inherently being dismissive of everyone else. Examples of diverse people using crypto are incredibly easy to find. If you think the only people who use crypto are white you are only paying attention to white people.
To be clear the space is not where it needs to be on equity and inclusion and there is lots of room for both improvement and critique. But reducing the space to a stereotype is not fighting the stereotype, it is reinforcing it. Don’t.
Liberals should not be defending banks
Supporters of Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren have way more in common with the libertarians who are all-in on Bitcoin than they do with the bankers that Bitcoin is a threat to. Convincing populist liberals they shouldn’t like Bitcoin is some next-level psy-ops by the powers that be to defend the status quo. Bitcoin is everything the Occupy Wall St movement could have ever wished for and now that it’s here they are turning up their noses at it! I don’t get it.
In conclusion (he hoped)
I hit the GMail length limit before I could get into how Bitcoin is anti-war, plus I wasn’t sure how people would react to the idea that being anti-war is a liberal posture so I skipped it. I know most people won’t click through on any of the further reading but even if I catch one or two curious people and change their minds that will be worth it. If I get into a flame war with someone about it the engagement will be good for business. I do hope I won’t have to keep rewriting this same piece every six months forever. There are more interesting things to write about!