The Scientists

Micha wrote the following about Samuel Konkin:

Darrington tells me [Konkin] had the charming weirdness of the modal libertarian, Rothbard's intended but misfired slur (embrace it, yo! modal+beltway unite!), up to and including endearing obsessions with science fiction, communal living, and funny neck jewelry.

Jumping into the New Libertarian Manefesto, Konkin himself writes:

Seeking an art form to express the horror potential of the State and extrapolate the many possibilities of liberty, Libertarianism found Science Fiction already in the field. (Page 7)


The rest of this Libertarian society can be best pictured by imaginative science fiction authors with a good grounding in praxeology (Mises' term for the study of human action, especially, but not only, economics.)

Some hallmarks of this society - libertarian in theory and free-market in practice, called agorist, from the Greek agora, meaning "open marketplace" - are rapid innovations in science, technology, communication, transportation, production and distribution. (Page 14)

Which comes first, the free-market society or the rapid innovations in science and technology? Does the libertarian interest in science fiction reflect the former? Or, is it just more exciting to have the later quickly spawn the former within the timeline of a work of fiction (Mike the self-aware computer system in Heinlein's The Moon Is a Harsh Mistress), where technological progress leaves a coercive, regulatory system in its dust and remakes society despite its tantrums (like the RIAA feebly throwing sandbags at the tidal wave that is file sharing).

It comes as a mild surprise to me that, with this libertarian affinity (Konkin) or escapist distraction (Rothbard), however you want to look at it, there isn't more of a libertarian interest in the '90s Champaign-Urbana space rock band Hum. The band's lyrics are far too oblique to carry any discernable political message, but often reflect the beauty inherent in the kind of freedom that space travel (and other technological leaps) may provide.

The first verse and chorus from 'The Scientists' off Hum's incomparable Downward Is Heavenward:

Electrified and lit up by an outline of herself,
and smiling now as only she can be.
She said, "I made some new connections to astound them all,
in ways we've never dreamed about."
Her lovely hand is glowing from a light inside itself,
from soaking in the esters stacked for miles on a single shelf.
Holding my eyes still so she can see,
all the super-undercover custom hybrids got to me.

It's too much, you're too late. I want to see it all again.
She says, "Keep this benzene ring around your finger,
and think of me when everything you wanted starts to end."

All the techno-geek libertarian stereotypes are there. There's the dominant female romantic interest that serves as savior for the dateless Ghertner crowd who would otherwise have to fight stacked odds for female attention in the male-dominated libertarian sphere (or engineering department). There's new technological progress. There's even an ubergeeky tip of the hat to Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz. And not that this song gives any indication, but the band found their drummer after hearing him play along to a few Rush tunes in a rehearsal space.

If Hum is where left-libertarianism leads you (star gazing lyrics over the drone of layered and effected guitar tracks), maybe it is worth checking out. If you aren't familiar with Hum, is it then safe to write you off as one of my cranky paleocon brethren? If you fall into the latter category, don't worry. They still host piano recitals with music from the Habsburg Empire at the Mises Institute.

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I like Hum. I like Mises U.

I rememeber their song "Stars". A big hit in summer of '95 when hanging out with my skater cousins.

In fact, my musical interests are VERY electronique. (Notice the spelling.) I'm a huge fan of German techno, IDM, glitch, plunderphonics, musique concrete and other "cutting edge" sounds. Think Aphex Twin and the like. Yet I'm more like Anthony Gregory in my associations and general viewpoint. I'd prefer a world half full of primitivist communes if it were more libertarian.

Stars was a very good tune,

Stars was a very good tune, especially for a freak radio hit. Usually only a classic rock station would tolerate a track with that long of an interlude and only from a pre-established "classic".

If I were you Kyle, I would

If I were you Kyle, I would name my first child Kyrie.

Holy shit I just realized

Holy shit I just realized his first name is actually Kyle... I always read it Kyrie!

Um, I ain't dateless. That

Um, I ain't dateless. That personal ad worked wonders. Seriously.

Which comes first, the free-market society or the rapid innovations in science and technology?

This is a rhetorical question, right?