RE: the power of cryptography

From: Matthew Gream (
Date: Sat Feb 12 2000 - 12:39:46 MST

Hash: SHA1


> I understood your point. And I still think your point is pernicious.

I am not sure that you understand my point.

> The very notion of "perfection means rights won't be needed" is what is
> pernicious. Seen frequently in the gun debate. ("If we lived in a perfect
> society, guns would not be needed and there would be no need for
> the Second Amendment.")

I do not intend to suggest that rights won't be needed when there is
perfection. I would suggest that the path towards perfection involves the
continuing development of rights; I would then suggest that issue is perhaps
the mechanisms used to maintain the stability of those rights.

Spears, Slingshots, Catapults, Tanks, Guns, Genetic Agents, Computing
Agents, Secret Services, Cryptographic Agents are all tools that are
plausable mechanisms to maintain and develop rights, but each are of certain
levels of effectiveness at certain times in history, and each are desirable
or undesirable (e.g. non-violent action is preferred, but unfortunately
violent action may be needed if the situation demands it). Catapults are of
limited effectiveness in a modern society. Guns may eventually lose
effectivness due to genetic, physical and computing advances (or may exist
"in principle": molecular disruptors). The same may occur with cryptography,
it may exist "in principle", but in a further advanced form: quantum

That is the big picture. Most people are concerned about the short to medium
term picture, to ensure that in 30-40 years time they will still live a
"good life". Even that, becomes an issue, because with life extension
technologies, I may eventually be able to live a somewhat immortal life.
Which means, then, perhaps I should be concerned with the big picture ?

The points from this are:
- - perfection inherently includes the notion of satisfiable rights, because
it can be seen as the development of rights towards a suitably satisfactory
- - satisfiable rights inherently include mechanisms to maintain such
rights, because without structual integrity, such rights may regress or
- - the mechanisms to maintain these rights develop and change as society
changes; obsoleting the usefulness of certain technologies at certain times,
and all it takes is one other party to advance to new technologies, and
everyone else is forced to advance (in some form, e.g. arms race or
bilateral agreements) as well, lest anyone be left in a vulnerable/weak

- - the digital world is entirely digital, and in the digital world, some
form of cryptography is the basis for all manner of rights (transport
protocols are basic "rights" between communication systems, QoS parameters
can be seen as more advanced forms of rights, cryptographic parameters and
systems are even more advancesd forms of rights, and then smart contracts,
nym systems and everything else are continually evolution of rights towards
digital entities, where digital entities are autonomous sentient entities
that can operate and mediate and wield "power" through their use of
cryptographic mechanisms).

[does anyone want to fund me full time to study this, it's killing my social
life as a hobby :-)]

> Whether or not we can ever achieve "perfection" is not the issue. What is
> wrong-headed is the very line of reasoning you have used.

I think perfection is an ideal model, important to use as a reasoning tool
to frame reality, or to trade off and look at versions of reality, and
therefore make decisions about the best sorts of reality. There is an
analogy here with models of computability. The models are ideal and not
necessarily correct or reachable, but they provide a good way to develop
metrics and make tradeoffs for the realistic results.
I do not think that you understand the line of reasoning that I am using. I
do think that perhaps I have not expressed my reasoning very well.

> I am not interested in trying to persuade you otherwise, so I
> won't comment
> any further in this thread. I just had to point out how deeply flawed your
> whole manifesto is to some of us (hopefully _most_ of us).

It is not a manifesto I subscribe to, but it is a point of discussion to
understand the problem further, that is all. A philosophical question often
resolves around the nature of how people interpret what other people say.
Some people assume that what people say is an absolute statement of that
persons beliefs, when sometimes people say things to provoke reaction and
discussion. This is why extremists, whether you like them or not, or agree
with them, are often useful -- and actually desirable -- as a catalyst for
action. The nature of the way in which the extremists go about there
activities is an issue, though. Draw a similarity to revolutionaries, who
are extremists. I hope that my use of analogies helps refine my reasoning.

I agree, no further comment from myself. Interested parties can take the
discussion up with me in personal email. I have more thinking to do. Perhaps
it was good to shout to see what response I received.

Best regards,

> --Tim May
> print pack"C*",split/\D+/,`echo "16iII*o\U@{$/=$z;[(pop,pop,unpack"H*",<>
> )]}\EsMsKsN0[lN*1lK[d2%Sa2/d0<X+d*lMLa^*lN%0]dsXx++lMlN/dsM0<J]dsJxp"|dc`
> ---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:---------:----
> Timothy C. May | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,
> ComSec 3DES: 831-728-0152 | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
> W.A.S.T.E.: Corralitos, CA | knowledge, reputations, information markets,
> "Cyphernomicon" | black markets, collapse of governments.

- --

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