I certainly agree that extremists--i.e., those on the bleeding
edge of progress in any field--are a valuable resource, often
unjustly ridiculed for no reason other than being extreme. I'm
an extremist myself on many scales (anarchy, for instance).
Perhaps Brin's and my discomfort with cypherpunks is only that,
but I think it is more: as I said, in my experience, those who
attach great value to preventing the spread of information about
themselves I find strange. It is not a reasoned judgment, only
an emotional reaction, but it is a prejudice that serves me.
I suppose I should also note that this group in particular is
very good at finding exceptions to my generalizations. For
example, on the net in general, I find that a silly "handle" is
usually a quick way to sort out those who probably don't have
to be taken seriously. Indeed, I dicovered Extropy institute
before I started subscribing to the list, but dismissed it at
first because I had a hard time taking seriously anything
founded by guys using the names "Max More" and "Tom Morrow" (or
wherever he puts the zeros). I've since discovered that those
handles have serious minds behind them, as do "The Low Golden
Willow", "Hara Ra", and others. Outside this list, I continue
to save time by not reading anything with an name like that
attached to it, unless it is specifically referred to me, but
here on this list I can't use that filter.
So I'm sure the cypherpunks in this group don't fit the mold
of those I've met elsewhere, either.