This is a mirror of the original post in my other blog. I will keep this one for archival purposes:

Make me believe!

Background

The Internet has been nominated for this years Nobel Peace Prize.

Conclusion

Given that the Internet has allowed a powerful global conversation to start and thus implies non-violence as well as being a platform for global voluntary cooperation, it should be given the Nobel Peace Prize. Although the prize itself is meaningless, it does have an undeniable symbolic value.

Now the analysis.

The Nobel Prize to Barack and “Scandinavian” as adjective:

One of the main reasons for Obama getting the Nobel Peace Prize was his stand and preliminary work against the dispersion of nuclear weapons. Well let’s not forget that we, the world, are still facing many dangers that are not being fought against by any politician. Instead politicians ally themselves with them to set the discourse of the day, and this is true for most societies worldwide. So it’s fair to call these dangers for what they are: Press, Radio and Television = Weapons of mass destruction!

Weapon of Mass Brain Destruction

Do you miss your brain?

Well, as much as I was disappointed with the stupidity of the Nobel committee here in Oslo last year, I don’t blame them. I guess Thorbjørn Jagland, chair of the committee, wanted to shake hands with Barack and play the cool kid in front of the world. To me that is not surprising coming from him. In my eyes he is a poster child of the manic Scandinavian obsession with and speciality for organizing peace and freedom. He also represents the historical, and current, Scandinavian pushing for the creation (notice where the first 2 UN Secretary General are from) of a One World government. And as any politician or person of power, he likes to show off. Period.

In second though, the peace organizing behavior might actually be driven by guilt or might just be categorized as schizophrenic as the track record of Scandinavian countries (read Norway and Sweden specifically) is not as peaceful or uneventful as you might think. But please, don’t get me wrong. I love Norway and the other Scandinavian countries and their people, I just want us to acknowledge collectively that we are acting sanctimoniously. If we are to change things we have to recognize mere facts first!

The point:

So before you get me going with my rant and I bore you to death: The Internet has allowed individuals from al parts of the globe to communicate  and in the process it has changed the way we think of ourselves,  people around us, country borders and the world itself. I guess we can link this to the idea of the Internet being a global conversation driven by argumentation, and this does not only apply to markets, but also has political and social implications. Thus, Discourse ethics can seem to be a valid tool to search for interpersonal relations and moral implications in this global polilogue of ours.

Not surprisingy, as I have taken my stand, I will take a libertarian approach and analize if this global conversation actually has brought us some amount of peace or, at least, less violence. Anyway far less damage than Nobel’s invention.

From Wikipedia’s article about Discourse Ethics:

Drawing on the work of Habermas and Apel, Hoppe, a former student of Habermas’s, asserts that argumentation, or discourse, is by its nature a conflict-free way of interacting and requires individual control of resources; thus, he argues, certain norms are presupposed as true by anyone engaging in genuine discourse. These norms include the libertarian principle of non-aggression, which itself implies libertarian rights. Therefore, no one can argumentatively deny libertarian rights without self-contradiction.

Now let’s see Gary B. Madison’s analysis on the subject:

the various values defended by liberalism are not arbitrary, a matter of mere personal preference, nor do they derive from some natural law. . . . Rather, they are nothing less and nothing more than what could be called the operative presuppositions or intrinsic features and demands of communicative rationality itself. In other words, they are values that are implicitly recognized and affirmed by everyone by the very fact of their engaging in communicative reason. This amounts to saying that no one can rationally deny them without at the same time denying reason, without self-contradiction, without in fact abandoning all attempts to persuade the other and to reach agreement.”

These implicitly recognized values include a renunciation of the legitimacy of violence. Thus,

it is absolutely impossible for anyone who claims to be rational, which is to say human, outrightly to defend violence …. [As Paul Ricoeur writes:]’. . . violence is the opposite of discourse. . . . Violence is always the interruption of discourse: discourse is always the interruption of violence.’ That violence is the opposite of discourse means that it can never justify itself—and is therefore not justifiable—for only through discourse can anything be justified. As the theory of rational argumentation and discussion, liberalism amounts, therefore, to a rejection of power politics.”

Thus, Madison, like Hoppe, argues that the fact-value gap can be bridged by an appeal to the nature of discourse.

While Hoppe attempts to show that the non-aggression principle (i.e., self-ownership plus the right to homestead) itself is directly implied by any discourse or argumentation, Madison’s arguments are a bit different. For instance, he argues that, because discourse has priority over violence, this validates the Kantian claim that people ought to be treated as ends rather than means, which is the principle of human dignity. The principle of freedom from coercion then follows from the principle of human dignity.

Out of this we can derive, among others, that the internet is just the platform for this global argumentation, and it’s infrastructure hosts the reflection of this argumentation as text. But the conversation itself is driven by its users. All of them.

So, give the Nobel Peace Prize to all of us, to humanity that always finds ways to do what we have evolved ourselves to be best at: cooperate!

Go back to the top for the conclusion.

I know this whole analysis is quite naive, but I had to get it out of the system.

Thanks for reading!

If you have been living under a stone the last years you did probably not hear about the Copenhagen Institute of Futures Studies. a nice think tank in what has become my favorite city in the Nordics (besides Oslo of course, being my hometown.)

These people have been making some serious research and have gathered an honest view on how the Internet is changing the world radically and making the impossible possible within the life of a single generation. A central part of this analysis relies on the view of Anarchism as the driving political force behind such a change and the freedom-by-default attitude of individuals of this newer generations. Their analysis this far has not said much on the political implications of this change but kept itself to the social and economical spheres.

Now, I am not going to argue whether you agree or not or what your views on anarchism are. We can discuss that later. For me anarchy, or better yet its synonymous acraty (α-, “no” and κράτος, “cohersion, violence”), is what you get when you take democracy to its utmost consequence.

For now I want you to take a view at a couple of things:

Anarconomy

We are witnessing a pronounced flourishing of free content and services on the internet, created and distributed by the users themselves in voluntary networks according to rather anarchic principles: Wikipedia, open source software and books, music, films, and design, which the creators make freely available.
All this challenges and supplements traditional commercial companies by offering non-commercial alternatives. This is anarconomy. In the future, anarconomy will move out of the internet and also radically change economy in the physical world when we can make our own consumer goods on 3D printers with a basis in open source blueprints.

If you want to understand more about Anarconomy you can see the review of and read the report (Danish and English) on this page here.

The Creative (Hu)Man and New Anarchism

A nice analysis on how anarchy is influencing the way we approach the world and the logic that individual use to correlate to each other can be read in this presentation given in Stockholm back in 2007 and in this explanation of the new anarchism on the internet.

All articles refered to here are by Klaus Æ. Mogensen from the CIFS.

And if you are in the mood to see an active old anarchist: Enter

Lucio

If you liked the trailer you can go get the video here. I really do not think this guy minds me linking you to that page which has a little text intro of the movie and then has some download links.