1997-05-21 - Re: Cypherpunk criminalization

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Message Hash: 20e11586dceb0ebbaa4a3b0ed72f31212d3f7ab80bfb2e0e900d5044e8b5495f
Message ID: <v03007804afa8fc5085af@[]>
Reply To: <97052117355649/0005514706DC6EM@mcimail.com>
UTC Datetime: 1997-05-21 18:58:03 UTC
Raw Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 02:58:03 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Thu, 22 May 1997 02:58:03 +0800
To: cypherpunks@algebra.com
Subject: Re: Cypherpunk criminalization
In-Reply-To: <97052117355649/0005514706DC6EM@mcimail.com>
Message-ID: <v03007804afa8fc5085af@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 9:35 AM -0800 5/21/97, Michael Wilson wrote:
>The occasion of Jim Bell's arrest provides an opportunity to consider
>a number of points:
>Are Federal Agents Evil?
>Why is there an attempt to persecute Jim Bell, one that has many
>similarities to the Olympic Park Bombing rush-to-judgment, Ruby
>Ridge, Waco, OK City, etc.?  Are we to believe that government
>agents are 'evil,' or True Believers that _we_ (those who are _not_
>true believers) are evil?  I personally think not.  I think we are

I almost never think government agents, even most rulers, are in any
meaningful sense "evil."

I've written in the past about "institutional" issues, and about
Nietzsche's "Beyond Good and Evil." The problems in the United States, with
bloated welfare roles, a "policeman for the world" mentality, an overly
litigous/litigious society, etc., come not from any personal evil on the
part of the elected or appointed officials, but rather from an inexorable
growth of certain institutions in predictable ways. Any enity, be it an
organism or an institution, a living plant like a tree or a corporation
like PGP, Inc., grows and thrives by how well it competes, how well it
bends toward the sources of food and energy, and what genes or memes it
received. "The purpose of any organism is to survive" is a telelogical
truism, of course. But it is still true. All institutions--corporations,
clubs, Cypherpunks--seek to prosper and grow, in various ways. Even if not
directed by a central nervous system.

In corporations, even individual departments seek to grow. This aids in
career advancement. "Empire building" happens with countries, government
bureaucracies, corporations, clubs, and so on.

There are perfectlylogical game-theoretic reasons why the Washington
bureaucracy has gotten so large, why every one of the 500+ Congresscritters
has a staff of dozens working for him or her, why each of the dozen or so
major Cabinet departments has dozens of buildings and thousands (even
millions, as with DoD) of worker bees, why each entity in government seeks
constantly to expand its scope and powers, and why the number of rules,
regulations, laws, emergency orders, and edicts expands inexorably every

"Evil" is not a useful way to analyze this problem. In this sense, everyone
in government is an "innocent." But the problem still needs to be fixed.

And in fixing these institutions it is unavoidable that "non-evil" persons
will be affected. How could it be otherwise? Some will lose their careers,
some their current jobs, some may even lose their lives. (No, this is not a
threat, just a statement of the obvious, a prediction.)

Innocents in Washington and elsewhere will, if they have any sense of their
own future security, seek to avoid the institutions and power centers which
will be affected by the necessary restructurings.

--Tim May

There's something wrong when I'm a felon under an increasing number of laws.
Only one response to the key grabbers is warranted: "Death to Tyrants!"
Timothy C. May              | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
tcmay@got.net  408-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA  | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
Higher Power: 2^1398269     | black markets, collapse of governments.
"National borders aren't even speed bumps on the information superhighway."