Cryptocurrency: Cryptophobia - Biden’s handpicked banker declares war on digital freedom...
grarpamp at gmail.com
Thu Sep 9 13:42:12 PDT 2021
Cryptophobia - Biden’s handpicked banker declares war on digital freedom...
It’s a tale of two crackdowns - and two cultures.
While Beijing scrambles to stamp out immaturity and laziness among its
males, Washington is terrified of... wait for it... cryptocurrency.
Gary Gensler, Joe Biden’s deeply establishmentarian SEC head, has
dropped a bomb on the crypto community with his sudden attack on
Coinbase, the leading crypto platform. Perhaps it was naïve for some
in the space to have imagined Gensler, once the co-chief of global
finance for Goldman Sachs, to be a promising appointee because he
spent time teaching and studying crypto at MIT.
But it wasn’t until China crushed out their booming crypto economy
that American policymakers faced the decision that seems to have led
to Gensler’s rash and punitive move.
Beijing’s successful anti-crypto turn flowed logically from their
statecraft model: crush alternate sources of power and authority for
intimately Chinese reasons, then spin it in ways that pressure America
to behave counter to national interest. In this instance, ridding
China of crypto holdings and mining meant strangling a rival to the
Party’s social credit system in its crib. For the Chinese leadership,
crypto is just another destabilizing Western innovation, upsetting
cosmic harmony—not to mention regime stability—by taking an
excessively instrumental view of the power of technology.
But for Western audiences, a crypto crackdown can be marketed and
propagandized as a heroically ethical defense against
eco-unfriendliness and social inequity. And that’s just how it has
been portrayed. That’s despite bitcoin consuming less energy than
fossil fuels, the petrodollar, or, say, China, even without taking
into account how long a way even a little nuclear power could go
toward reducing emissions for miners as well as the rest of us.
And more important still, it’s to fly in the face of the simple fact
that, in a digital age, Americans face a well-nigh impossible task in
preserving their way of life without the rich ecosystem of creating
memorable and valuable culture through crypto.
The reason is this: there’s no more powerful tool or weapon today than
the datacenter. Unlike previous tools and weapons, however,
datacenters are all-purpose and interoperable. Their computational
force can do just about anything in our almost fully digitized world.
But, at least for now, thank God, that force must be told what to do
by human operators.
That means if you’re not telling a datacenter what to do, someone else
is… and if you’re not telling the datacenters your data is in what to
do, someone else is telling those datacenters what to do to you.
At the same time, digital technology is drying up twentieth-century
forms of socioeconomic agency, as everyone now sees but many struggle
to understand what to do about. Amid the collapse of “good jobs” and
all that comes with it, damaged woke obsessives desperate for the
control over the bots, and the safety from digital disenchantment they
think that control will bring, are fighting full tilt to re-found
America on a basis of (delusional) spiritual purity and punitive
But digital, of course, isn’t at all sapping the strength of bitcoin
or the datacenters it runs on, and it doesn’t disenchant our cultural
practice of making, sharing, and exchanging soul-nourishing products
and services. Quite the contrary. Without the ability to participate
in this durably human form of life—without the ability to compel
datacenters and compute to serve us in this way—ordinary Americans
will grow ever more captive to people and institutions who wish to use
digital technology to terraform us into a new, ultimately subhuman
kind of submission.
Gensler may not see himself as this kind of digital villain. But his
biography suggests that, even if his intentions are better, his
outrageous intervention into the crypto space is all but certain to
enable the villains. His experience in crypto—via the MIT Media Lab, a
fluffy outfit tarnished by the proximity of its former head to Jeffrey
Epstein—is relatively shallow and, judging by the Media Lab program on
crypto, has always been fundamentally adversarial.
And his fanatically partisan history—as part of the Goldman group that
injected big bucks at a helpful time into the Obama campaign, reaping
rewards like Gensler’s appointment by Obama to lead the obscure agency
tasked to overhaul regulations after the 2008 financial crisis—is
hardly encouraging. The fact is that Democrats today are the party of
untrammeled corporatist power as an arm of the woke state, a schema
totally at odds with both the basic freedom and the organic
prosociality of bitcoin and crypto-backed agency.
There’s no better way for Americans to reclaim control over their
destiny in the digital age than by using crypto to command compute to
serve our soulful, human purposes. It’s not a surprise that the Biden
administration has placed itself at such radical odds with our values
and interests. But it is unacceptable. And without a concerted
response, the onrushing subhuman future being manufactured for us will
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