Freedom Through Technology.

Part of the "Critiques of Libertarianism" site.

Last updated 11/20/10.

Cypherpunks, high-tech libertarians, and various others mistakenly think technology will eliminate the need for government (if not outright eliminate government.) As foolish as the idea that atomic weapons will end war.


The Internet and the Abiding Significance of Territorial Sovereignty
by Jack Goldsmith. Shows why it is both desirable and practical for territorial governments to regulate the internet. See also the other related articles in Indiana Journal of Global Studies Volume 5 Issue 2 Spring 1998.
The Internet as a Threat to Sovereignty? Thoughts on the Internet's Role in Strengthening National and Global Governance
by Henry H. Perritt, Jr. See also the other related articles in Indiana Journal of Global Studies Volume 5 Issue 2 Spring 1998.
Libertarianism, Property & Harm.
Chapter 2 of James Boyle's unpublished "Net Total: Law, Politics and Property in Cyberspace". Thoroughly dismantles three libertarian approaches to the problem of harms: [common] law, natural rights, and property.
Entertainment Values
Paul Krugman's Slate article ridicules prophets of the Knowledge Economy, the Network Economy, and the "new economy". He points out a number of industries which have already matured which have had increasing returns, and explains why this knowledge makes these boosters look foolish.
Should Public Policy Support Open-Source Software?
In a roundtable discussion, Lawrence Lessig takes Eric Raymond's foolish libertarianism to task.
The God Of The Digerati
Jedediah Purdy's The American Prospect essay that dissects the adolescent fantasies of Wired Magazine.
Cyberpower And Freedom
Paul Starr's The American Prospect article that mildly rebukes high-tech libertarianism for its myopia about the limitations, problems, and origins of high tech "solutions" to government.
The Pinnochio Theory
Richard Barbrook's very harsh review of Kevin Kelly's "Out of Control: the New Biology of Machines".
Cyberlibertarian Myths And The Prospects For Community
Langdon Winner punctures some of the electronic community promises, and describes some forthcoming effects on our physical communities.
Old Rules for the New Economy
J. Bradford DeLong's criticisms of the economic naivete of Kevin Kelly's "New Rules for the New Economy".
A Critique of Barlow's "A Declaration of the Independence of Cyberspace"
Reilly Jones' Extropy article lambasting the otherworldlyness of the rather ludicrous declaration.
Twilight of the crypto-geeks.
Ellen Ullman's Salon sees a pattern of lone-wolf digital libertarians beginning to abandon their faith in technology uber alles and espouse suspiciously socialist-sounding ideas.
Of greed, technolibertarianism and geek omnipotence.
An interview with Paulina Borsook about her book "Cyberselfish", where she skewers high-tech libertarianism.
Assassination Politics
Convicted tax evader Jim Bell proposes a system of anonymous ecash awards for the murder of "aggressors", such as IRS agents. See also Crypto-Convict Won't Recant. What he misses is that his system, if tolerated, would merely force government to operate secretly rather than openly.
Did Gore invent the Internet?
Scott Rosenberg, of Salon, details the smear on Gore, and shows yet another example of how Gore and government do work, contrary to libertarian ideas that technology develops in a vacuum.
Should Public Policy Support Open-Source Software?
Nathan Newman's response at the end of a debate savages Eric Raymond for his historical errors about development of the internet and open source.
Castles In The Sea: A Survey of Artificial Islands and Floating Utopias
James Lee surveys a number of historical and planned artificial utopias, including some libertarian ones.
NEW 10/07: Floating Utopias: The degraded imagination of the libertarian seasteaders
SF author China Mieville ridicules the numerous libertarian fantasy sea-states (such as the "Freedom Ship") that envision authoritarian class-based societies, but somehow never get built.
NEW 5/09: Seasteading: Libertarians Set to Launch a (Wet) Dream of 'Freedom' in International Waters
Brad Reed takes an amused look at Patri Friedman's seasteading plans, yet another repeat of utopian libertarian daydreams for the wealthy.
NEW 6/10: The Man Who Wants To Northern Rock The Planet
Matt Ridley's Rational Optimist is telling the rich what they want to hear
Matt Ridley joins the ranks of cornucopian libertarians with a similarly error-ridden and cherry-picked set of arguments.
NEW 6/10: Matt Ridley: Optimism without limits
Liz Else, associate editor at NewScientist, shows skepticism of the Rational Optimist. Follow the link to the experts criticisms where failed banker Ridley defends himself by claining the experts are in it for the money: a standard denialist tactic from policy entrepreneurs who ARE in it for the money.
NEW 6/10: Serial Mistake-Makers on Climate Change (Part I): On Matt Ridley and Bjorn Lomborg
Serial Mistake-Makers on Climate Change (2)
Howard Friel, who wrote The Lomborg Deception, points out the weak basis of the arguments in Matt Ridley's : a circle jerk of industry-funded pseudoscience PR and bad references.

Print References

The links here are to, through their associates program, primarily because of the review information. Books without links are generally out of print, and can often be easily found at AddAll Used and Out Of Print Search. Good sites for bargain shopping for sometimes expensive new books are Online Bookstore Price Comparison and AddAll Book Search and Price Comparison. Both of those list applicable coupons. Another is

Paulina Borsook "Cyberselfish: A Critical Romp Through the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech"
A thorough and humorous skewering of the libertarian pretensions of the digerati.
Mike Davis and Daniel Bertrand Monk "Evil Paradises: Dreamworlds of NeoLiberalism"
New Press, 2007. How utopian neoliberal development schemes aim at serving the capitalist class alone, at the expense of everyone else.
Lawrence Lessig "Code: And Other Laws of Cyberspace"
Basic Books, 1999. A non-libertarian view of the threats to freedom in cyberspace both from government and the market. Makes the point that freedom comes from a particular kind of government, not no government.

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Copyright 2007 by Mike Huben ( ).
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