A Critical Romp Through
the Terribly Libertarian Culture of High Tech
Pages: 265 Price: $16.80
Are nerds playing into the hands of the corporate elite? Commentator Paulina
Borsook examines the politically and philosophically libertarian world of
high-tech culture in Cyberselfish and finds it wanting a soul. In Cyberselfish,
Borsook rants about high tech culture, profiling the worlds of ravers, gilders,
cypherpunks, anarchocapitalists, and other Silicon Valley life forms. She
explores the theory and practice of what she dubs `technolibertarianism' in all
Cyberselfish is sure to raise the hackles of high techies. Formerly a writer
for Wired, Borsook made a career out of alienating the technology priests and
worshippers just enough to keep them reading. Now she is free to go whole hog
and say exactly what she thinks. Her leftist-liberal slant helps her see the `me
me me' attitudes behind the anti-government, pro-freedom rhetoric spouted
reflexively by so many programmers in Silicon Valley and its virtual suburbs.
Unfortunately, that same slant keeps her from respecting that many techies
hold these beliefs following years of struggle and thought -- and prevents her
from understanding that many libertarians are as sympathetic with liberals as
with conservatives. Still, her insights far outweigh her biases, and
Cyberselfish is a fascinating take on the Weltanschauung of mid-90s capitalists.
It seems unlikely that Borsook's dark visions of a heartlessly anarchic free
market, populated by self-indulgent code millionaires presiding over the long-
suffering masses, will materialize on schedule -- but her predictions do make
for thought-provoking reading while we wait to find out.