Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke: Former Cult of the Dead Cow Hacktivist

Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke: Former Cult of the Dead Cow Hacktivist

TL;DR: In the United States, more than a dozen presidential candidates for the Democratic Party nomination are currently running, and the latest to announce entry is Beto O’Rourke from Texas. He’s known as progressive, young, suave, and for having a colorful past. Recently, Reuters revealed Beto, as he’s called, has been outed as a former member in a pioneering hacking group, Cult of the Dead Cow. 

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Beto O’Rourke: Former Cult of the Dead Cow Member

Author Joseph Menn’s yet-to-be released book, Cult of the Dead Cow: How the Original Hacking Supergroup Might Just Save the World, was recently cited for having outed presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke as being a former member of the hacktivism group, Cult of the Dead Cow.

Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke: Former Cult of the Dead Cow Hacktivist

Beto came to national prominence while attempting to face-down controversial incumbent Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who many considered once unbeatable. The race was close, but Beto lost, leaving a huge mainstream media imprint — they touted him as a fore-sure future presidential candidate simply due to the reaction he evoked from audiences and admirers (he ruled out a 2020 run altogether only months ago).

That, and his personal background includes skateboarding, arrests, playing in a punk band at one point, and basically embodying what would be considered 1990s culture. “One thing you didn’t know: While a teenager, O’Rourke acknowledged in an exclusive interview, he belonged to the oldest group of computer hackers in U.S. history,” Menn revealed.


Cult of the Dead Cow (CDC) was the inside-joke name of a group who might’ve given birth to the notion of hacktivism, hacking for a cause. For example, they routinely jail broke operating systems such as Windows to allow more people access who might not be able to pay. Menn claims he interviewed CDC members who had held Beto’s membership previously secret.

“There is no indication that O’Rourke ever engaged in the edgiest sorts of hacking activity,” Menn explains, “such as breaking into computers or writing code that enabled others to do so. But his membership in the group could explain his approach to politics better than anything on his resume.” Beto is quoted in a previous interview as affirming at least knowledge of CDC, noting, “There’s just this profound value in being able to be apart from the system and look at it critically and have fun while you’re doing it. I think of the Cult of the Dead Cow as a great example of that.”

Presidential Candidate Beto O’Rourke: Former Cult of the Dead Cow Hacktivist

Beto’s biography is replete, it turns out, with early Apple IIe experimentation and message board activity, looking for free games and media. “O’Rourke handed off control of his own board when he moved east for boarding school, and he said he stopped participating on the hidden CDC board after he enrolled at Columbia University at age 18,” Menn was careful to stress.

However, a few teenaged musings from Beto are still around, surviving as his avatar Psychedelic Warlord. Of interest to crypto enthusiasts might be teen Beto’s thoughts on money. “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. 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),” Menn quotes from Beto’s CDC post.

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