Cyber-Libertarianism

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By Nathan Jurgenson and PJ Rey:

"Cyber-libertarianism is a well-established political ideology that has its roots equally in the Internet’s early hacker culture and in American libertarianism. From hacker culture it inherited a general antagonism to any form of regulation, censorship, or other barrier that might stand in the way of “free” (i.e., unhindered) access of the World Wide Web. From American libertarianism, it inherited a general belief that voluntary associations are more effective in promoting freedom than government (the US Libertarian Party‘s motto is “maximum freedom, minimum government”). American libertarianism is distinct from other incarnations of libertarianism in that tends to celebrate the market and private business over co-opts or other modes of collective organization. In this sense, American libertarianism is deeply pro-capitalist. Thus, when we hear the slogan “information wants to be” that is widely associated with cyber-libertarianism, we should not read it as meaning gratis (i.e., zero price); rather, we should read it as meaning libre (without obstacles or restrictions). This is important because the latter interpretation is compatible with free market economics, unlike the former. The barons of Silicon Valley (e.g., Mark Zuckerberg, Eric Schmidt) are the most visible and obvious cyber-libertarians because they argue that an environment of enforced transparency is making the world a better place and use this moral claim as a justification for the immense profits they are accruing." (http://www.pjrey.net/documents/Liquid%20Information%20Leaks%2011.15.2011.pdf)


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