The following is a fictional dialogue between a hacker and a blogger regarding their particular functions. It is done in homage to Gustave de Molinari’s Souriées on the Rue Stain-Lazare in 1849. Please be sure to also read my earlier fiction, such as An Agorist Anecdote or Trapped! A First-Person Narrative on Unchosen Positive Obligations.
Weekday, mid-afternoon. A blogger is furiously typing away on her laptop when a cloaked figure hovers into the coffeehouse, orders a quadruple shot expresso, and then squints in her direction. He grabs his coffee when it is served by the barista, and then he heads to the very table where she’s sitting; she glances her eyes up momentarily from her laptop screen towards him as he approaches her.
Blogger: Haven’t seen you around in a while.
Hacker: I figured I’d stop by and say hello.
Blogger: Why? It’s not like the last time we talked it was exactly…pleasant.
Hacker: If I sit down, maybe we can resolve our differences?
Blogger: Whatever. I just want to finish this article really quickly first.
Hacker: Fine by me. I’ll wait.
A few minutes go by while the blogger types furiously, and then spends a few minutes proofreading while the hacker lazily sips his coffee, gazing out the window occasionally. Suddenly, the blogger slams her laptop screen closed.
Blogger: There! I’m finally done!
Hacker: Good for you. Would you like a cookie?
Blogger: Don’t be a smartass.
Hacker: Too late.
Blogger: You’ve always been like that! Why can’t you take anything seriously?
Hacker: Oh, but I do. Remember the DDoS against the FBI?
Blogger: Of course, I…
Hacker: …blogged about it. Yeah, I know.
Blogger: That only proves your frivolity. It didn’t actually change anything for the better. And now the Bureau has a more convincing pretext for harassing individuals due to whatever they’re labeling “cybercrime” this week!
Hacker: Au contraire, my dear English major (who can’t add numbers together to save her life). It showed that the FBI, as well as the State, is not the omnipotent God or almighty Oz they falsely imagine themselves to be. They can be hurt.
Blogger: Perhaps, but all I’m saying is that your DDoS may have more caused more harm than good, in the endgame. Besides, you’re an engineer who can’t write anything worth a damn to communicate ideas, even if it was just a habeas corpus to get your sorry butt out of jail.
Hacker: Touché! Then again, I always thought programming languages were more important than, *ugh* human languages, simply because they weren’t executable.
Blogger: Not everything worthwhile must perform some function you’ve designed it to do. Don’t you have any appreciation for art?
Hacker: Well, I did appreciate the sleekness of the MacBook Air’s hardware casing. Does that count?
Blogger: I give up. You’re hopeless.
Hacker: How so?
Blogger: I always got the impression that all that mattered to you was your ability to bend reality to your will, even if was just for the lulz, as you’ve put it.
Hacker: Lulz are the icing on the cake, no doubt, but what I do is more than simply just culture jamming.
Blogger: Then what is it that you do, exactly?
Hacker: I demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design; I am the literal embodiment of spontaneous order.
Blogger: Look, I don’t like central planning either, but I fail to see your productive capabilities. It’s always seemed to me that you enjoyed screwing things up for people, yet for some reason, you’ve mostly limited yourself to targeting those who falsely imagine themselves to be our rulers.
Blogger: Fair enough; I do accept it as donations from my readers.
Hacker: Doesn’t the coding of crypto-currencies qualify as a “productive capability,” as you’ve put it? And you’re welcome, by the way.
Hacker: Ah, isn’t that destructive?
Blogger: Actually, no. It’s already been shown that the assassination of specific individuals within government is less costly and more effective than a typically protracted war in the long run. The only real problem with making that practically happen is the lack of financial incentives to do so, which is perfectly understandable given the abnormally high risk involved. Commonly, people are doing everything they can just to survive, never mind pursuing entrepreneurial ventures, and certainly not revolutions of any kind.
Hacker: Seriously, are you suggesting people don’t want freedom?
Blogger: What I’m saying is that they’re so demoralized that they’d preferred to be carried from despotism to liberty on a feather-bed, as old man Jefferson put it.
Hacker: Honestly, I don’t know what that’s like. I’m plenty motivated as it is; some people would say too much so. I happen to agree with Ken O’Keefe – there’s a lot to be optimistic about, quite frankly.
Blogger: Maybe I was wrong about you. I must admit I alternate between righteous indignation and conflicted apathy.
Hacker: Boy, that’s a mouthful. Why don’t you just say that you oppose the Establishment on your own terms, not according to “movement” gurus who try to dictate that political crusading is the only path to liberty?
Blogger: Hey, that’s a good article idea! I’ll be sure to blog that, and since neither of us believe in the Rip-off That Dare Not Mention Its Name, you won’t sue me for copyright infringement!
Hacker: That’s why I get paid the big bucks, darling.
Blogger: Your sarcasm aside, my greatest fear is that after all these years, I feel that the effectiveness of my outreach is limited to bickering about nuance, as if it were fodder for the echo chamber.
Hacker: I don’t know about that – you seem to also reach those within the mainstream servile society by exposing them to original ideas they never heard from anyone else, gauging from just the comments section.
Blogger: You actually read those?
Hacker: Sure do; did you think I read your blog just for the articles?
Hacker: Don’t blame me for your comment section flame wars! They’re highly entertaining with all of the non sequitur fallacies and similar junk from Munchkin heads who project themselves as being all that.
Blogger: Granted, but it’s almost as if I’m performing Sisyphean labor. I don’t know, it’s not the work itself that I mind, but rather, will it make it an actual difference in the world, even if only in a small yet measurable way?
Hacker: Who cares about what they want? Do you enjoy it?
Blogger: Like for its own sake?
Hacker: Yeah; what other version is there?
Blogger: Yes…yes, I do, actually. It allows me to share with others in a way my First Realm lifestyle does not currently permit me to do. Not unlike how a kettle’s spout allows steam to escape, thereby preventing a buildup of dangerous pressure.
Hacker: Right, so stop complaining that your already good thing doesn’t do more than you expect it “should.” Besides, aren’t you the one complaining every once in a while that the problem with conspicuous consumption is that it brainwashes people into needlessly wanting more and more and more, even after they’ve gotten everything they’ve genuinely wanted, solely just so the stockholders and the upper management of these Madison Avenue advertising agencies can pocket obscenely more profits, and not from authentically serving their fellow man in the marketplace, but rather through manipulative ads; in other words, they try to scam their customer base into buying things they don’t want, using money earned from jobs they hate, in order to impress people they don’t like?
Blogger: Thank you for bringing that to my attention. I guess I never saw that particular connection before; as you well know, I hate hypocrisy, and I try my hardest to walk the narrow line of integrity. Ignorance is the only real excuse for betrayal of one’s principles, because it’s accidental, but what else can I say? Ethics are hard.
Hacker: Yet, are their core, ethics are also quite simple. How difficult is it to understand the Golden Rule of the non-aggression principle?
Blogger: True, although even the NAP is often lampooned by constitutionalist American patriots because they admit behind closed doors that they don’t know what aggression is; maybe they don’t understand that it’s a synonym for coercion?
Hacker: It’s possible, but just to speculate, it seems to me that these patriots are often recklessly hot-headed; just look at the Malheur fiasco last year where some of them squatted at a birdcage.
Blogger: You acknowledge that there is such a thing as being reckless? Isn’t that a case of the pot calling the kettle black?
Hacker: No, because what I do is carefully weighed and measured, whereas American patriots are so emotionally driven by…whatever…that they throw themselves upon the gears of the State, just to end up as a pasty mush. If they only understood that “America” is nothing more than a tax farm, then I’d think they’d realize that their advocacy of a more genteel (or soft and cuddly) tax farm is rather just quite silly.
Blogger: No kidding, right? To see the farm is to leave it.
Blogger: Perhaps I have misjudged you.
Hacker: And I you.
Blogger: Maybe we compose an interlocking duality of sorts, as in a division of labor; I deal with the vernacular, you handle the more technical.
Hacker: About time you figured it out. I’m sure you’ll understand, I couldn’t just tell you the answer about the true nature of our relationship, for you had to discover it on your own.
Blogger: I see that now, thank you. The struggle to understand must be an individual effort, complimented with the various personal contributions and assistance of relatively few others. Hell, back in the day, Robert Steele said that if we bloggers self-organized and attached ourselves like leeches to specific things, we’d become the intelligence Minutemen of this century.
Hacker: Well, I better be going; coffee’s gettin’ cooler, and something you said earlier sparked an idea I want to capitalize on.
Blogger: Capitalize? Figuratively or literally?
Hacker: Does it matter which?
Blogger: No, I guess it doesn’t.
Hacker: Anyhoo, you’ve got a lot to think about in the meantime.
Blogger: Yeah, I do. I might even blog about it.
Hacker: Consider meditating on it instead, just for your own personal growth; remember, not all truths need to be said.
Blogger: How true! Well, take care; I might even miss you until I see you again.
Hacker: While I appreciate you being flirty, sweetheart, I’d prefer not to go there.
Mischievously grinning, the hacker stands up, grabs his coffee, and winks at the blogger as he leaves the coffeehouse. After he’s left, she sighs wistfully, and then opens up her laptop. Clicking on her word processer, she begins typing up a new article, which starts by saying, “How I Met My Soulmate at Starschmucks.”