OPINION | This article contains political commentary which reflects the author's opinion.
Is. . . is Jack Dorsey becoming self-aware?
— jack⚡️ (@jack) August 14, 2021
This link, tweeted by Twitter founder Jack Dorsey with no context or explanation, is to a PDF of Murray Rothbard’s The Anatomy of the State.
Big whoop, right? Some edgy tech intellectual is posting political theory. Fire up the press.
Except Murray Rothbard wasn’t some off-brand Karl Marx or Keynesian economist, Murray Rothbard was pretty much the og anarcho-capitalist.
Allow me to illustrate using Dorsey’s book club pick:
“Briefly, the State is that organization in society which attempts to maintain a
monopoly of the use of force and violence in a given territorial area; in particular, it is the only organization in society that obtains its revenue not by voluntary contribution or payment for services rendered but by coercion.”
. . .
The State provides a legal, orderly, systematic channel for the predation of private property; it renders certain, secure, and relatively “peaceful” the lifeline of the parasitic caste in society. Since
production must always precede predation, the free market is anterior to the State. The State has never been created by a “social contract”; it has always been born in conquest and exploitation.
Um. . . Jack? You okay, buddy?
Don’t get me wrong, I’d consider anarcho-capitalism a big improvement from whatever totalitarian BS Dorsey has been pushing in his website’s policies. (I personally would consider anarcho-capitalism a big improvement over just about any ideology, but that’s a Rachel S thing and not a COTR thing so we don’t have to talk about that right now.) It just seems. . . a little off brand.
But it’s more than off brand, it’s oddly self-aware. Consider this section about how the State maintains its power:
[T]he majority must be persuaded by ideology that their government is good, wise and, at least, inevitable, and certainly better than other conceivable alternatives. Promoting this ideology among the people is the vital social task of the “ intellectuals.” For the masses of men do not create their own ideas, or indeed think through these ideas independently; they follow passively the ideas adopted and disseminated by the body of intellectuals. The intellectuals are, therefore, the “opinion-molders” in society. And since it is precisely a molding of
opinion that the State most desperately needs, the basis for age-old alliance between the State and the intellectuals becomes clear.
Does. . . does Jack know that Rothbard is talking about him? That today’s intellectuals– vitally, the opinion-molders– are the social media thugs who carefully tailor and restrict the information and thought allowed to reach the public.
You know, the kind of person who bans a sitting President from his platform.
It’s impossible to tell what Dorsey was thinking, if he is being successfully radicalized to the extremes of libertarianism, if he is being self-aware in his consideration of Rothbard, or if he’s trolling, if he’s blissfully unaware of how the theories put forth in The Anatomy of the State are playing out in real time.
Libertarian figures are choosing to be optimistic. Spike Cohen, Jo Jorgensen’s running mate for the Libertarian party in 2020, tweeted a welcoming message, and former Representative Justin Amash offered his gif of approval.
There it is.
Welcome aboard, Jack.
— Spike Cohen (@RealSpikeCohen) August 14, 2021
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) August 14, 2021
And another Twitter user came in with a devastating, but not inaccurate, burn on the Libertarian Party:
Jack did more to spread libertarian philosophy in one tweet than the LP in a decade lol
— Ti Kawamoto (@TiKawamoto) August 14, 2021
Maybe this is a one-time anomaly that we’ll forget about in a week and never dwell upon again. Maybe though, just maybe, it’s the start of a shift in the landscape of social media. Maybe it’s not too late to fix the jungle of insanity. Probably it is. But one can hope.