28 May 2012

Rebranding Anarcho-Capitalism as Silverpunk

Silverpunk girl Diahann.
The words 'anarcho' and 'capitalism' both have negative connotations among the general public. 'Anarchists' are assumed to be violent people who want to destroy property and tear down society. 'Capitalists' are assumed to be greedy, heartless, and controlling entities. 'Capitalism' is incorrectly used interchangeably with 'corporatocracy.'

An additional problem is that anarcho-capitalism is very boring to most people. The original philosophy is mostly expressed in daunting books by Murray Rothbard and Ludwig von Mises. Presenting the ideas with cold logic instead of appealing to the senses isn't the way to go.

Yet the idea of rebelling against authority and preserving individual liberty is quite popular. It is arguably the underlying element of all speculative fiction genres, although it seems to be addressed most directly in the cyberpunk subgenre. It certainly is the heart of the punk subculture ideology in general. The problem is that punks are almost always 'left' economically, whether they identify with progressives, socialists, or communists.

I do not wish to go into detail explaining why this arrangement is logically absurd. I merely wish to note that economic leftists seem drawn to punk culture rather than the other way around. Free market adherents are not excluded from punk culture; they merely seem underrepresented. We could find many reasons, such as that leftists tend to be drawn more to the arts, or whatever, but that is not the issue today.

Anarcho-capitalist views need to be incorporated into an entertaining package in order to make them popular. This package includes music, fiction, fashion, and video. And I would call this package Silverpunk. I chose silver instead of gold for a few reasons. 'Silver' is more similar to 'cyber,' as in 'cyberpunk.' Gold also has negative connotations; it is 'barbarous' and 'the money of kings.' Silver, while being more associated with the 'common person' instead of those in an authority position, is still free market money as much as gold.

There is little difference between silverpunk and (for example) typical punk rock music or cyberpunk literature except that silverpunk must, at all times, oppose 'crime' as defined by anarcho-capitalists: an act or direct threat of aggressive violence (coercion) against another person's private property.

Go make some music. Diahann will like it.


  1. Great article. I find the "art of persuasion" fascinating, and I'm glad to see you thinking in these terms. It's impossible to win mind-share through rational argument; even when targeting self-described rationals, there are simply too many ideas competing for an audience. You have to shrewdly choose some psychological levers to pull, and it takes a truly brilliant person to do this well.

    I read an article (http://goo.gl/uECuz) about Peter Thiel, a billionare libertarian futurist. Are you familiar with him? His style made me think of you. For example, he wrote:

    "The 1920s were the last decade in American history during which one could be genuinely optimistic about politics. Since 1920, the vast increase in welfare beneficiaries and the extension of the franchise to women—two constituencies that are notoriously tough for libertarians—have rendered the notion of “capitalist democracy” into an oxymoron."

    It goes on to talk about his efforts at building "the machinery of freedom." He has essentially abandoned political tactics and broad persuasion in favor of a lead-by-example approach. I'd be curious to hear what you think of the article.

    1. Thank you. Well, first I would say almost impossible. Think in terms of The Matrix; there's a very small group of people who value the truth above everything, even their own self-image.

      I had only heard of Mr. Thiel in passing. Dude is cool as fuck. He's a good example of how private wealth can be more effective at advancing society than criminal taxation. You're right that we're fairly similar.

      I definitely agree with his lamentation about 'the death of sci-fi.' Cyberpunk has essentially become reality. Aside from the corporatocracy, technology is moving toward merging with the individual body. For now we have 'mobile' technology, or the iPhone/iPad. But they are essentially extensions of the human body, since they are always with us. We've become obsessed with ourselves to the point of grandiosity. "How many views/followers/messages do I have?"

      I blame the State for slowing technological advancement (by vast and constant distortion of the free markets) and taking away liberty, but the Internet has given that liberty back to a significant degree. The State is a dying entity, and I think we will live in a tremendously different world once we properly deal with that first problem: economics. I think we have about 5-10 more years of this economic crisis before precious metals top, stocks bottom, and a new cycle begins. The new cycle will be the beginning of moving away from this highly 'cyberpunk' (individualistic body extension) era and get into the sci-fi tech stuff like spaceships and nanotechnology.

  2. Would you support anarcho-capitalism if it made the vast majority worse off? Essentially, I'm asking if you are taking a totally principled stance or a partially consequentialist stance

    1. I could ask you the same thing regarding socialism.

  3. I despise utilitarianism, as I wrote about in my trolley problem article. Who would be qualified to decide what is "the greatest good for the greatest number"? You could kill 10 million people and say you did it to save 11 million other lives.

    Basically, I, as an individual, am opposed to violations of my property rights. I do think that society would be better in a condition without rulers. The more difficult question is how to get there.

  4. I like this concept, but personally "silverpunk" is a bit on the nose. I think "cyberpunk" is just fine, as the future is going to belong to the clever. The libs like to pretend they aren't going to be slaves to people like us... ha! My basement is all ready for the Collapse. >:)