There was a clash on Twitter between Nassim Taleb and Giacomo Zucco about Bitcoin and libertarian philosophy.
Taleb is a Lebanese (naturalized American) philosopher, essayist and mathematician very famous for having elaborated the so-called “black swan theory”, which is the metaphor describing the unfolding of an unexpected event of great magnitude with great historical consequences.
Recently, on the subject of libertarian philosophy, Taleb wrote on Twitter:
“HAYEK vs PSEUDOLIBERTARIANS. For those invoking “libertarianism” in front of natural calamities, some news for you: Hayek explicitly gives a role to the “state”: protection against violence, epidemics, and natural disasters”.
Friedrich August von Hayek, winner of the Nobel Prize for Economics in 1974, was an Austrian (naturalized British) liberal economist and sociologist, famous especially for being very critical of state intervention in economics. Moreover, throughout his long life, he has profoundly influenced the environment of libertarianism.
Giacomo Zucco responded to this tweet with a fierce criticism directed at Taleb, accusing him of incoherence and exploiting his popularity to promote authoritarian ideas without having the right skills to talk about risk management.
At this point, Taleb replied saying that he believes that the State is only necessary to manage systemic risks, and that there is no joking with daily reality, for instance about medicine.
Taleb also added a sentence that directly concerns Bitcoin and in particular bitcoiners.
“Bitcoin is a good idea but almost all bitcoiners are total idiots, can’t get nuances beyond fortune cookies”.
These are in fact public personal insults against each other, which add nothing to the discussion about the future of Bitcoin.
Nonetheless, this tweet reveals that Taleb has some knowledge of the subject, as one would expect from a libertarian.
“Which is why Bitcoin is an excellent idea. It fulfills the needs of the complex system, not because it is a cryptocurrency, but precisely because it has no owner, no authority that can decide on its fate. It is owned by the crowd, its users. And it has now a track record of several years, enough for it to be an animal in its own right”.
In other words, the clash between Taleb and Zucco was not really about Bitcoin, but about a different vision of libertarian philosophy.