Using Technology to Deepen Democracy, Using Democracy to Ensure Technology Benefits Us All

Thursday, March 22, 2018

e2e Was Never Liberty


Lorraine said...

In my defense, I never believed e2e equals liberty. I do believe e2e to be a necessary-but-not-sufficient condition for freedom. Does that make me a bad person? BTW e2e entered my vocabulary via you.

In my defense, I never believed the Internet was edenic at any stage of its development. I have in fact been cognizant from the start of the fact that it has its origins in the military industrial complex. Nevertheless, I prefer the way online culture worked circa 1991 to the way it worked circa 1995 to the way it worked circa 2006 to the way it works today. Does that make me a bad person?

It seems there a lot of things today that can make one a bad person.

I'm currently struggling hard with the hacker or gift economy ethos of my (and I assume your) generation vs. the FYPM ethos emerging today. I fully understand that doing open source development without pay comes from a place of privilege, but I'm having a hard time training myself not to think of DRM as a bug.

Dale Carrico said...

The primary force of my point is rhetorical -- It is the libertarian rationalization of deregulatory disruption and elite-incumbent (indicatively privileged young straight white male) upward-failure via "disruption" "innovation" "decentralization" "faux-democratization" etc. enabled by the e2e/negative liberty identification that I disapprove. I think one can grasp this point without becoming a booster for DRM in any particular construal, especially versions presently advocated by this or that industry over another. I'm all for p2p-gift economy participatory democracy utopianism (fully automated luxury gay space communism, y'all!) -- but I have never thought digi-spiritualist or corporate futurological discourses inevitably freighted with either left or right anarcho-vacuities was the route to deliver such an outcome. I think a universal employment guarantee at a living wage, with universal free healthcare, lifelong education, secure housing, reliable information, and equitable recourse to accountable law, franchise and civil rights in the context of prison abolition, community policing, and sustainable food, energy, and transportation is the way to that outcome. I once hoped online education, agitation, organization would facilitate that outcome, and maybe it has done, even granting the misinformation, false advertising, conspiracy propagation, bad manners, harassment, hate-organizing, surveillance, financial fraud, wealth concentration, and reactionary deregulation facilitated online as well. As I've gotten older I have come to question the usefulness or correctness of identifying the critique of apparently bad ideas with the assertion that those who hold them are bad people, especially given how many bad ideas I have held over the wayward course of my own explorations.

Lorraine said...

I also do not think digi-spiritualist or corporate futurological discourses have any potential to lead in the direction of fully automated luxury gay space communism. As for the communism part of that, I've been more in the ancom than the tankie camp when it comes to that, and perhaps that makes me a bad person.

I liked the early Internet precisely because so many of the technologies were still unmonetized. I basically have come to think of monetization as the devil-equivalent, but I do sympathize with the artiste types who feel they have to put their work product "below the fold" blog post or bundled into a "patreon perk" or some other bait-and-switch. I mean, if it were a creator-controlled platform I'd gladly loosen my purse strings (for whatever that's worth as I'm poor as churchmice).

Since you've outgrown attributing bad ideas to bad people, I must assume your apparently aggressive preference for JG over BIG is for some deeper reason than "because Silicon Valley favors BIG." If JG means placing people in jobs, that would seem to be to imply placing people under management. Perhaps, being anti-anarchist in principle, you see that as a good thing. If it's a reasonably ethical civil service type management I suppose I could see it as basically harmless, but I must admit that management is a word I normally use as an epithet.

Dale Carrico said...

Just yesterday I posted something about why a job guarantee is attractive to me: That piece includes a link to a piece in which I remind people why I am suspicious of BIG. I leave to the reader to determine if my opposition can fairly be reduced to "because Silicon Valley favors BIG."

I agree that I am "anti-anarchist in principle" but given that I am also a radical democrat/democratic socialist and prison-abolitionist and given that there is surely considerable practical/activist overlap among many anarchists with these positions I see little point in pushing the question much anymore except, I suppose, as a terminological squabble or as a matter of intellectual history in a philosophical context that probably isn't the best way to spend one's time anyway if one is trying to make a tangible difference politically speaking.

I liked the early internet too -- possibly because I was young when it was young and being young is awesome. It does seem to me that loud reactionary white guys made a disproportionate nuisance of themselves from the beginning (I spent a lot of time arguing with Randroids and extropians in the early days, naturally), digital divides conspicuously expressed injustices disavowed by the chief beneficiaries of these formations from the beginning (WIRED was what it was), you know all this, blah blah blah, you mentioned the beginnings of the net in military paranoia and corporate greed yourself, you know the score as much as I do. None of this is meant to insinuate you are some kind of "bad person" -- what is all that about anyway?

Managers are a pain in my ass too here in the neoliberal academy, needless to say, so I daresay anti-management utopianism makes perfect sense to me if that's what you want to focus on -- I'm just a poor precariously employed aging academic queer adjunct hoping Republicans won't install an apartheid regime for queers and POC like me and many students I love and anti-intellectual worshipers of consumer goods and marketing lies won't squash me like a bug for daring to care more about beauty and clarity than making a buck while the planet careens needlessly toward climate catastrophe.