Re: poly: polymath digest for 22 May 98

From: d.brin <>
Date: Fri May 22 1998 - 12:06:39 PDT

Forrest Bishop wrote:
>I, for one, am personally creeped out by the US government's extensive
>of its citizen's private affairs, along with efforts like key escrow, the
>wiretap bill, and the things the right wing keeps bringing up, some of which
>have a degree of veracity.
>It appears that, although what you say above is more or less true (it's
>debatable), the infrastructure for a turnkey police state is rapidly
>being put into place.

I totally agree! So it behooves us to study this anomaly, without
preconceptions, and figure out WHY weak states led to awful tyrannies and
yet a strong state that knows so much about its people happens to foster
liberty. It isn't just accident or happinstance. The explanation is
actually quite simple.

Too much emphasis is placed on what the govt does or does not know. THAT
DOESN'T MATTER! What matters is what WE know about govt officials.
Putting them under relentless, spotlit scrutiny renders them (relatively)
harmless. Thus I am not a pollyanna about this issue. In fact I am far
less trusting and far more paranoid than any cypherpunk or crypto
supporter. I want all the bastards with power to be naked, whether they're
bureaucrats, plutocrats or a criminal elite. When that's true, it won't
matter what they know about me. They won't be able to harm me (much).

Whether this will work in the future.. who knows? But it is inarguably how
we got to our present condition -- a strong, nearly all-knowing govt that
leaves our freedom pretty much alone. We should understand what we've got
before denouncing it.
Received on Fri May 22 19:23:06 1998

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