1997-06-10 - Re: Thoughtcrime (Re: My War)

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From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Message Hash: 9ee0bbc9d206486249ef4fae44fa6ed9ede3eec6dc2b73669c547bd471bdd332
Message ID: <97Jun10.153453edt.32257-1@brickwall.ceddec.com>
Reply To: <>
UTC Datetime: 1997-06-10 19:56:31 UTC
Raw Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 03:56:31 +0800

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From: tzeruch@ceddec.com
Date: Wed, 11 Jun 1997 03:56:31 +0800
To: cypherpunks@cyberpass.net
Subject: Re: Thoughtcrime   (Re: My War)
In-Reply-To: <>
Message-ID: <97Jun10.153453edt.32257-1@brickwall.ceddec.com>
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On Mon, 9 Jun 1997, Lucky Green wrote:

> Furthermore, let us assume that there are a number of individuals who enjoy
> looking at hard core child pornography.
> The question then is: does going after the distributors provide a benefit
> to the children being (potentially) used for such pictures?
> The answer is clearly no. By limiting the distribution of an individual
> picture, you increase the total number of pictures required to satisfy
> market demand. That means more children will be required to meet demand.

This assumes that supplying the craving for pictures will not increase the
desire to do acts in the real world enough to increase the number of acts

C.S. Lewis once described society as a convoy - and that there was little
disagreement about ships not running into each other.  But he also made
the point that it may be proper to require ships to be seaworthy so they
won't run a risk of running into other ships because they cannot avoid it.

Looking at synthetic child porn may be purely a thought crime, but it
involves breaking a lot of societal taboos.  If someone does not have the
self-restraint to not look at mere pictures, will they have the restraint
to avoid comitting actual crimes?  Pornography is not like reading Rosseau
or Locke since rational enlightenment is not the goal.

Logic != Emotion

But what happens when we deal with individuals who are entirely driven by
emotions, and by the basest emotions possible?

Although you can argue that people may be able to look without touching,
the reason they are looking in the first place involves a release of the
beast within.  How many such people are we willing to trust to keep that
beast on the chain.  The law is currently structured to answer "none" to
this question, and this may be the proper answer.

With guns and explosives, there is greater likelyhood that someone will
injure themselves or their own property on a destructive binge.  This type
of expression is more benign, though I don't think it represents the
better angels of our nature.  But I see no threat to me personally from
such people.

Similarly with most drugs - if the dealers could use the courts to settle
problems like stolen merchandise there would be less violence.  I might
demand someone go to a secure area before taking a drug which will deprive
them of their reason, and not be let out until it is recovered.

But I would not want to have someone leave the two components to a binary
nerve gas on a shelf, with the owner's promise that they will never fall
off and accidentally mix, or believe that the owner will never get angry
and decide to destroy something.  Something intrinsically capable of mass
destruction is also something that can be regulated.

Something that is in and of itself a turning away from reason and giving
in to emotion, and the ultimate destination of that path if it is followed
will result in injury to others, especially innocents, is something that
should be regulated.

This form of "information" is an addictive drug, with the side effect is
that it destroys others much more than it destroys the abuser, and it
doesn't wear off after a drying out period.  (Or could I suggest that they
could watch as much as they want in a secure area, but could not get out
unless they were chemically castrated?)

This does not mean that I am any less a civil-cyber-libertarian, since I
have even more problems with current enforcement of most laws.  That is a
different issue.  I am saying that it should be illegal, not how such laws
should be enforced, and not that we should shred the constitution in
pursuit of these people.