Cody R. Wilson founded the DefDist project. DefDist develops schematics for gun parts that can be produced in 3D-Printers. A confessed Libertarian, Cody answers questions about his political integrity, the gun’s structural integrity and the state’s disintegration.
Blink: Cody, Wired magazine put you on their list of the 15 most dangerous people worldwide. Do I have to be afraid now?
Cody: The hysteria our effort is generating is a function of how hateful people are (afraid) of their own radical freedom. We are futurists operating with limited resources at the limits of an unreliable technology. It is our vision that offends the most. This vision is difficult for statists to neatly appropriate (But, but, we had plans!). *That* is the power.
The homepage of your defense dist project looks like a libertarian dream come true. There are Guns, DIY, Bitcoins, and band of libertarian supporters. It seems like only the drug legalization issue is missing.
I think the drug issue is included by implication, really. The gun is a powerful analogue for any object or material good. The logic of the project extends to all aspects of human life. How can we use the Internet and productive capital to dis-intermediate State actors and expand free spheres of action? The entire market, even for currencies, should become black.
According to your profile on defense dist. you’re “a student of Bastiat, Hoppe, and Anthony de Jasay”. Could you go over your philosophical basics before we dive into the project? How much of a state would you accept in your life?
I see DefDist as practicing a kind of living “imminent critique,” to borrow from Marcuse. At least a critique of American Constitutionalism. We would all identify as civil libertarians, but Ben and I are more market anarchists. I don’t believe a State as traditionally conceived by political science is necessary for the planning and organization of society going forward. Democratic states especially are failure systems that organize massive human and economic waste, war, and malinvestment. Surely my German compatriots know the problems of political and fiscal union better than I!
I see a future of federal communities and slowly disintegrating and reactionary states. It is imperative to begin using cryptocurrencies and private commerce to starve these beasts.
What role do cryptocurrencies in general play here?
A VERY large one. In fact, this is where I’m trying to now spend my time when I’m free from the daily requirements of Defense Distributed. Cryptocurrencies should be the mechanism to fund the vision of men like Tim May. It’s interesting that we’re not seeing more accelerated adoption.
… And Bitcoin in particular?
Bitcoin is the most successful cryptocurrency for a number of reasons, but it is daily proving an excellent test case. The economy is large. The exchanges work, and work well. We’re beginning to see restaurants and service providers accept payment. I do not agree with some of the project’s efforts to court regulatory bodies and nation states, but I trust when the currency becomes captive to regulatory interests, a competing currency and genesis code will take the lead. On that subject of competition of currencies, surely this must be the future. I will say more on this in early 2013. In a video.
Please explain why you believe that is important to be armed in order to be free.
I would make a distinction here. I don’t believe it is important to be armed in order to be free. I believe it is important *to have the freedom to be armed* should you so choose to be. Gun rights begin with property rights and extend to self-preservation rights. States cannot justify this expropriation, regardless of the bleeding-heart apologists paraded on tv.
And how does 3D-printing contribute to liberty?
3D printing may very well be the technology that opens up personal, limited production in a way that contributes to community self-sufficiency outside of a large firm/corporatist model. Now I’ll introduce the drug issue- imagine the technology advanced to molecular assembly. Create your own pharmacy in the comfort of your home. This may be bigger than we know. Importantly, 3D printing may take much of production out of the traditionally legally encapsulated channels. The world may begin to achieve the social ideal of the early socialists and anarchists- we will each have greater access to the means of production.
But so far you’ve only produced a lower Receiver. Barrels and Bolts seem like a long way to go. Are they even possible to print?
Yes, everything can already be printed. The question, as you point out- is integrity and strength. We have mechanical engineers dedicated to the unique problems of barrel integrity, pins, and bolts. I see these as only interesting problems to solve, and will reveal our approach in the sweet unfolding of time.
Technical limits aside, what impediments do you expect from government organizations? You can’t deny that you’re undermining their power to limit access to certain kinds of arms. They certainly must react.
I expect any number of overreactions, censures, and hectoring. I expect to be enormously burdened, bothered, and threatened. But I will follow their petty rules where I am subject to their jurisdiction and threats of violence. And when they will no longer offer me shelter, I will go somewhere that does.
Eric S. Raymond, open-source pioneer, firearms enthusiast and libertarian thinker (We printed his controversial anti-idiotarian manifesto in Blink 03), has endorsed you back in august. How do you feel about this?
ESR understands liberty. He gets it. I cannot say the same for Richard Stallman, who I see as a common statist. Open source will be our model for licensing releases. Modified BSD, Zlib, etc. ESR’s help has already been of enormous benefit.
If you allow yourself to phantasize a bit. Share your idea of what you are aiming for.
I am but a conduit for ideology. Modern neoliberal democracy is a crumbling idol. The God has failed, to invoke Hoppe. To pretend we exist in a permanent historical plateau of civilization is absurd and desperate, and yet this is the only thing close to a political program in most OECD nations. Perhaps the hope is that technology really can allow for a movement decentralism- understanding that many of our contemporaries will cling to whatever ruin of the old sovereign orders remain.
Federal, independent but networked communities. More voting with your feet. Perhaps not unlike the city states of antiquity. History is rhyming.