Before the Milquetoast: When Beto Used to Be A Cool “Hacktivist”

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Before the Milquetoast: When Beto Used to Be A Cool “Hacktivist”

Yesterday, Robert “Beto” O’Rourke declared his candidacy for the presidency. We here at Paste were uh…not kind to a man who has time and time again, refused to tell voters what he truly believes in.

Paste politics editor Shane Ryan torched Beto in a well-thought out piece with an incendiary headline, writing:

What, exactly, is Beto O’Rourke’s appeal?

It’s not policy-oriented, and it’s not identity-based. He’s independently rich, and despite his grab at exoticism by transforming “Robert” into “Beto,” he’s white. As the Vanity Fair piece noted, he won his first House race by “drawing a large number of white Republican voters to his cause, which deepened suspicion from left-leaning Chicano activists.” Representing a safe Democratic district, he nevertheless voted with Republicans 167 times in six years. Even before then, on the El Paso City Council, he was carrying water for his rich Republican father-in-law, who wanted to gentrify the downtown district using eminent domain, destroy affordable housing, and build a Wal-Mart and Target.

Yesterday, I wondered how in the world anyone could like Beto more than the far more honest and equally charismatic Stacey Abrams, who also ran a losing* campaign in 2018 that captivated the nation’s attention. Beto O’Rourke’s public positions are impossible to pin down, and given how unwilling he has proven to be to say what he truly stands for, you cannot help but distrust him. In fact, it’s really the only logical conclusion one can reach given his amorphous statements.

Until now. Today, Reuters introduced us to younger Beto, who is objectively the coolest person to ever run for president. Per Reuters:

While a teenager, O’Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history.

The hugely influential Cult of the Dead Cow, jokingly named after an abandoned Texas slaughterhouse, is notorious for releasing tools that allowed ordinary people to hack computers running Microsoft’s Windows. It’s also known for inventing the word “hacktivism” to describe human-rights-driven security work.

Members of the group have protected O’Rourke’s secret for decades, reluctant to compromise his political viability. Now, in a series of interviews, CDC members have acknowledged O’Rourke as one of their own. In all, more than a dozen members of the group agreed to be named for the first time in a book about the hacking group by this reporter that is scheduled to be published in June by Public Affairs. O’Rourke was interviewed early in his run for the Senate.

Going back and reading Beto’s writing from 1987 paints a picture of a completely different candidate than the potential president being presented to us right now. This new revelation, combined with his early political writing, means that there is now a nonzero chance that Beto is the anonymous Satoshi Nakamoto, the creator of bitcoin. Obviously this is incredibly unlikely, but anyone who has read the bitcoin white paper can see the similarities between its ideals and what 15 year-old Beto O’Rourke wrote here:

Money has been a part of your life since the day you were born. It has been in everyone’s life for thousands of years. In fact, you have to go back to the ancient Chinese and Greeks to find the origins of money. Since it has been a part of your life for so long, you probably never thought about life with out (sic) it. Well, here’s your chance. Think, a free society with no high, middle, or low classification of it’s (sic) people. Think, no more money related murders, suicides, divorces, or theft. Think, no more families living below a set poverty line or children starving to death because of a lack of money. You’re probably telling yourself, “sure, this sounds great, but how would we ever accomplish this?” Well, in this short file, I will explain for you the virtues of a money-less society and the paths we must take to reach them.

To achieve a money-less society (or have a society where money is heavily de-emphasized) a lot of things would have to change, including government as we know it. This is where the anti-money group and the disciples of Anarchy meet. Anarchists profess that under Anarchy (or limited Anarchy), free trade would be established, with no governing body to interfere. Free trade to me, means that we would no longer use a system of money, but I fear we will always have a system of government, one way or another, so we would have to use other means other than totally toppling the government (I don’t think the masses would support such a radical move at this time).

We (as a people) would have to do it more or less non-violently, for if we use violence, we would never have the support of the masses of people that make up our society. Some ways of doing this, would be to slowly take the United States off the world market, and then slowly phase out our own money markets (including Wall Street). This would slowly bring the upper and middle classes of people in America together. By the time money is de-emphasized enough that it is used only for trading with foreign nations, almost all the classes of people in America would be (for all intended purposes) even.

Of course this would be extremely hard to accomplish, and it will probably never happen in our lifetime, or in our far-off descendents (sic) life time unless we do something about it ourselves, while we still can. At least we could get the movement started and keep it going in future generations.

Where the hell did hacktivist Beto go??? This guy rules! Granted, anarchists running for public office is something of a contradiction, but this is a far more coherent policy narrative than anything Beto has put out since his 2018 Senate run. Teenage Beto correctly points out how U.S. “money markets (including Wall Street)” have a pernicious effect on transferring wealth upwards, and how the very creation of money by the Federal Reserve is involved in this fundamentally corrupt process.

This missive includes many of the idealistic and seemingly impossible-to-achieve notions of anarchism, but teenage Beto’s read on class and money in America is spot-on. This, not the “I was born to be in it” crap that Beto sold to Vanity Fair, is the kind of talk that resonates in the modern Democratic Party. Shane Ryan may be right in saying that adult Beto is the candidate for “vacuous morons,” but teenage Beto is undoubtedly the candidate for vehemently anti-establishment financial policy-centric folks. What a strange world we live in.

Jacob Weindling is a staff writer for Paste politics. Follow him on Twitter at @Jakeweindling.

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