Re: The Colonization of Cypherspace

den Otter (
Mon, 13 Apr 1998 12:50:35 +0200

> From: Jim Hart <>


> There has been a lot of hype about colonizing space, the oceans, and
> other physical frontiers. American culture and perhaps even human
> instinct equate freedom with the physical frontier. Some government
> bureaucracy finds 1% water at a lunar pole and some libertarians,
> recalling those old entertaining industrial-era yarns about a dreamy
> future on the Moon (a.k.a. heaven), go gaga. I have more water, and
> more of almost everything else useful, in my literal backyard!
> Supposedly, mere physical distance, the mere increase of a constant
> factor in the energy and time needed to get across the oceans
> or into space, is supposed to provide some protection from the thieves
> and parasites who first steal our livelihoods through taxes, then steal
> our very lives by harassing practitioners of advanced medicine. But the
> increased cost of a physical barrier is the same for both the offense
> and the defense. Such a barrier offers no significant improvement to
> those wishing to defend their freedoms. Only a barrier of great
> asymmetry, where defense is vastly more efficient than offense, turns
> the tides towards freedom. Freedom in cypherspace, first for our
> communications, then for our financial transactions, then for the free
> flow of research and services from unlocatable medical laboratories.

"Colonizing" cypherspace is all nice and well, but it certainly isn't
a substitute for good old space colonization. At the end of the day
governments can still pull the plug on your virtual world using a lot
less resources than they would need to destroy a stronghold in
space. Also it would be extremely unwise not to have some viable
offplanet colonies in case of a large disaster (be it natural or man-

In cyberspace you have to rely on stealth; the idea is that the
government can't catch you if they don't know where you are
or what you're doing. That's very tricky, because it means that
a little slip in security procedures can expose you, and the gov
(or others) have other means besides tracing email etc. to
determine your location. And *when* they find you, you're
a sitting duck. What good is freedom in cyberspace
if you can't be free in the physical world? No, it's better to
move to space a.s.a.p. and add the options of virtually
unlimited relocation possibilities, great speed, big guns
(nukes etc.) to the defense based on stealth. Not you but
the governments of earth will then be the sitting ducks.