What Europe's Potato History Can Teach Us about 3D Guns

The next time you eat a nice baked potato, think of 3D-printed guns and reverse psychology.

Odds are you’ve eaten at least a baked potato before. Bacon bits, scallions, chives, sauces, and sour cream are popular toppings for the delicious side dish. However, while eating potatoes today is widely accepted, 300 years ago Europeans took a long time to willingly put them in their mouths. Potatoes were commonly seen in a negative light, whether they were called bland or “the devil’s apples.”

European Potato History

After the Seven Years War, resources were getting quite low, and people began to starve. When King Frederick II of Prussia, aka Frederick the Great, heard about potatoes from South America, he was determined to convince his people to eat them because they were an easily grown plant that had the ability to provide more nutritious food, faster, on less land than any other food crop, and in almost any habitat.

Frederick the Great planted a nice big field in a nearby village and explained the potatoes’ nutritional and economic virtues to his people. Unfortunately, there was quite a worldwide historical stigma against potatoes, and these prejudices made convincing people to put them in their mouths a tough sell. This approach didn't work as people didn't like being told what to eat, especially something as repulsive as a potato.

He ordered his soldiers to guard the potato field but to go easy on the vigilance at night. This move naturally piqued the people's interest.

Frederick the Great, determined as he was, came up with an even better plan: reverse psychology. If the people didn't want potatoes, he was going to make them want them. He ordered his soldiers to guard the potato field but to go easy on the vigilance at night. This move naturally piqued the people's interest.

What resource could be so valuable that the King would order his soldiers to protect it?

In the middle of the night, the locals would steal potatoes from the field and plant them in their own gardens. The King's plan worked! People have enjoyed them across Europe ever since.

Reverse Psychology

When someone either explicitly or implicitly signals to you that you can’t or shouldn't have something, it just makes you desire it more, and if you know you can get away with acquiring it, you will probably try to get it. This was the case with potatoes in Europe, and it’s also the case of 3D-printed gun files.

Tens of thousands of people quickly downloaded the 3D-printed gun files, set up mirrors of them across the internet, and eventually immortalized them on the blockchain.

When then CEO of Defense Distributed (the private defense contractor company responsible for the first 3D-printed gun called the Liberator) Cody Wilson first released a series of gun files to the public, tens of thousands of people quickly downloaded them, set up mirrors of them across the internet, and eventually immortalized them on the blockchain.

If the government and media hadn’t made such a big deal out of the 3D gun files being released to the public, fewer people would have known about their existence, and thus, fewer people would have downloaded them. Therefore, when the mainstream media and government made the files so well-known and expressed negative feelings about their existence, they unknowingly emulated reverse psychology and made their situation worse.

Immortalization

Just like it is now essentially impossible to rid Europe of all its potatoes, it is now essentially impossible to rid the planet of 3D-printed gun files. Thanks to the invention of blockchain technology, LBRY allows people to upload the gun files using their decentralized protocol and someone in another country is able to pull it up on their computer and grab it.

“To say that these files pose any danger is absolutely ridiculous,” LBRY’s CEO and founder Jeremy Kauffman says. “There’s nothing in them that’s new, novel, or dangerous.”

“To say that these files pose any danger is absolutely ridiculous,” LBRY’s CEO and founder Jeremy Kauffman says. “There’s nothing in them that’s new, novel, or dangerous.”

So long as the internet is accessible and people have functioning computers, they will be able to download these files forever unless they are under an extremely authoritarian regime. So next time you eat a nice baked potato, think of 3D-printed guns and reverse psychology.

Further Reading

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