1993-02-09 - E Pluribus Unum

Header Data

From: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Message Hash: c4f3c3db4c9781c1f1539f1d84fecb343c6491fff9d1ff6c2aac02e17ca6bf6e
Message ID: <9302091706.AA25713@soda.berkeley.edu>
Reply To: <9302082032.tn29952@aol.com>
UTC Datetime: 1993-02-09 17:09:07 UTC
Raw Date: Tue, 9 Feb 93 09:09:07 PST

Raw message

From: Eric Hughes <hughes@soda.berkeley.edu>
Date: Tue, 9 Feb 93 09:09:07 PST
To: cypherpunks@toad.com
Subject: E Pluribus Unum
In-Reply-To: <9302082032.tn29952@aol.com>
Message-ID: <9302091706.AA25713@soda.berkeley.edu>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

I said, in effect:

-- Send your own mail, not from the group.
-- Be brief; the system is overloaded.

Dave responds:

>These appear to be contradictory statements. I believe that sending a
>powerful concise letter _together_ makes it more likely that it will be read,
>and even more likely that it will be responded to. Otherwise, we're just a
>bunch of nutty "individuals."

The particular advice to send individual mail stems from the following
method that organizations estimate demographics:

	"Count each letter as standing for the opinion of N people."

Were we a well-known, well-respected organization, such as, say, ANSI,
or IEEE, then a group letter carries weight.  As it is, however, the
cypherpunks are neither, and our goals, well, less than fully affirmed
by the general public.

Hence, I urge people to send individual letters.  In our context many
letters carry greater weight than one.  In the same vein, I urge people
to each compose a separate letter.  Many copies of an identical letter
are much less useful.

I wrote:
>Stress privacy, and technological defenses thereto.

This topic has many aspects.  Writing on this topic will not mean a
duplication of effort, merely a replication of concern.

>I agree. Especially the technological expertise side, as this is what
>differentiates us from the mass of other people crying about privacy.

That bit about "crying about" is exactly what I wish to avoid.  First
of all, in cryptography relying on others to grant you privacy doesn't
even work.  And second, asking for help to allow us to help ourselves
taps into deep currents in the U.S. culture.

>On the other hand I am repenting my suggestion that we _might_ include
>anything political in our missive. 

One of my own political principles is as follows:

	"If your issue becomes a partisan issue, then you've lost."

It is much easier to convince all sides of a dispute of the same thing
than to convince one side and have them convince the others.