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BTW, Urbit has neoreactionary politics hard-coded into the network layer. I don't know if that was to be discussed in this particular talk (usually the Nock/Hoon stuff is so weird people never get to the rest), but if Yarvin/Moldbug can't keep political rants out of his documentation then I think it's fair to consider the politics as part of the technology.



Hard-coded into the network layer? Not only is this not true, I can't even imagine how it could be true...


I had to dig around in the Wayback Machine since the documentation was deleted. But the gems are still there:

"When I worry about Urbit and privacy, I worry that it will create too much privacy, rather than too little. Certainly several services not too dissimilar to Urbit, such as Freenet, have become hives of digital vice - at best.

Only social and political methods, not technical tools, can fight this filth. One of the inspirations for Urbit’s political design is James C. Scott’s classic political-science text, Seeing Like a State. Urbit is not in any sense a state, but its fabric has the regularity that, according to Scott, is essential for the construction of anything like a civilized society. But of course, a basically virtuous society, in which antisocial behavior is not tolerated and easily excluded or destroyed, can only be built from virtuous users." http://web.archive.org/web/20131014210123/http://www.urbit.o...

It goes on in that vein. After re-reading that, I guess it's debatable whether Urbit's politics are neoreactionary or merely pretty socially conservative, but they're somewhere in that spectrum.

Previous related HN discussion: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=8579542


Well, then, obviously his writings should be ceremonially burned and he should be sent to the camps. Case closed.


True, but meaningless. Any OS that has the concept of a root or admin user with total control has monarchy hard-coded into it too.


Which is not actually meaningless. Technical features like "root user" or "wheel group of root-capable users" have political implications. From `info su` [0]:

> Sometimes a few of the users try to hold total power over all the rest. For example, in 1984, a few users at the MIT AI lab decided to seize power by changing the operator password on the Twenex system and keeping it secret from everyone else. (I was able to thwart this coup and give power back to the users by patching the kernel, but I wouldn't know how to do that in Unix.)

> However, occasionally the rulers do tell someone. Under the usual `su' mechanism, once someone learns the root password who sympathizes with the ordinary users, he or she can tell the rest. The "wheel group" feature would make this impossible, and thus cement the power of the rulers.

> I'm on the side of the masses, not that of the rulers. If you are used to supporting the bosses and sysadmins in whatever they do, you might find this idea strange at first.

— Richard Stallman

My understanding of Urbit comes mostly from this writeup on Popehat [1] and an initial foray into the documentation of Nock and Hoon. However, the impression that I get of it enabling encrypted, distributed programs, does mirror Yarvin's proposed "Patchwork" system of nation-states [2], in the same way that a single root user mirrors a monarchy, and with analogous pros and cons between the technical and political systems.

[0]: http://unix.stackexchange.com/questions/4460/why-is-debian-n...

[1]: http://popehat.com/2013/12/06/nock-hoon-etc-for-non-vulcans-...

[2]: http://unqualified-reservations.blogspot.com/2008/11/patchwo...


I also have my familiarity from those same sources and I do agree that it imitates his neocameralism ideas. The mistake in my argument is that I considered the single-user system where the user controls root, so you're very right. Since urbit is a distributed system, its design will have political implications. Ironically though it would give you more control than current systems, so that's kind of an argument in his favor. As far as I could tell, I didn't see any aspects of racialism or slavery in urbit.


You could probably expand on this a bit.




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