1997-06-01 - Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy

Header Data

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
To: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
Message Hash: 2a3856cdfb2f61fc74ecc5082954ade8e46529661b559ed2ab397979567d71b5
Message ID: <v03102808afb696432bfa@[]>
Reply To: <v03102807afb671036b89@[]>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-01 03:41:46 UTC
Raw Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 11:41:46 +0800

Raw message

From: Tim May <tcmay@got.net>
Date: Sun, 1 Jun 1997 11:41:46 +0800
To: Marc Rotenberg <rotenberg@epic.org>
Subject: Re: Rotenberg as the Uber Enemy
In-Reply-To: <v03102807afb671036b89@[]>
Message-ID: <v03102808afb696432bfa@[]>
MIME-Version: 1.0
Content-Type: text/plain

At 7:27 PM -0700 5/31/97, Marc Rotenberg wrote:

>One of the biggest problems with libertarian theories is that
>they are descriptively flawed as applied in the real world. In
>practice, perfect markets rarely exist, laws do protect rights,
>and there are a lot of efficiencies -- economic, technological,
>and otherwise -- in promoting the highest level of safeguards
>across similar activities, e.g. you get into a car, you expect
>that the brakes will work. You don't express a negotiated
>preference for how much you want your brakes to work.

One of the biggest problems with critics of libertarian theories is that
they falsely claim libertarians believe that each and every action during
each and every day by each and every agent involves complex contracts.

What we are talking about here is whether there's a need for new laws to,
using your specific example, stop companies from asking for personal

What libertarians, and hopefully other freedom-seeking people, would argue
is that government should not be interjected into mutual negotiations if at
all possible. This applies to Alice and Bob negotiating some transaction,
and it applies to Alice and Safeway, and to Safeway and Apple.

Citing the straw man that libertarians believe every driver must negotiate
a contract about how his brakes are to work has nothing to do with this
basic point.

>I don't mind the criticism if you think we're saying or
>doing something that really is bad for privacy, but
>a bunch of political rhetoric isn't worth much. And if
>you don't think we're not busting our butt to protect
>the rights of people to use strong crypto, you have no
>idea what's going on.

"A bunch of political rhetoric." This has been a waste of everyone's time.

As for the "rights of the people to use strong crypto," there are currently
no restrictions *whatsoever* on crypto use. SAFE will, of course, add a
criminalization angle to crypto use, which is a step in the wrong
direction. Once the Legislature gets its hands on crypto use at all, the
way is made easier for later extensions and clarifications of  the rules.
Imagine the equivalent situation with free speech or religion: "No American
may be denied access to the religious beliefs of his choosing, but the
practice of non-Christian religious acts in connection with another crime
will expose the pagan to a mandatory 5-year increase in imprisonment."

This is what SAFE's "crypto in a crime" provisions are equivalent to...like
making the speaking of Spanish a factor in criminal sentencing. "Congress
shall make no law" means just that.

A better tack is to take a rejectionist, no compromise stance toward any
proposed legislation which would in any way limit or criminalize crypto
use. Rely on the First Amendment.

This would leave EPIC, VTW, CPSR, EFF, etc. with very little to do, of
course, but that is as it should be.

But, then, I quit the NRA because they were too namby pamby about the
Second Amendment. I place more faith in my assault rifles than I do in the
criminals in D.C. McVeigh may have killed too many innocents, looking back
on OKC, but he generally had the right idea about hitting the power centers
of the police state.

(Shocking sentiments to most of the sheeple, but Thomas Jefferson said as
much when he said the tree of liberty had to be watered with the blood of
tyrants and/or patriots every 20 or so years. It's been about 190 years too
long since we had a good watering.)

But this will be my last message to you, Marc, as I see no point in
continuing any dialog.

--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."