Re: Transparent Society

Lee Daniel Crocker (
Wed, 5 Nov 1997 14:49:33 -0800 (PST)

> I've always felt with the Cypherpunks that while they are on the
> fringe, they are pulling us in the right direction. Sometimes you have
> to go to far in one direction to bring the rest with you, even if
> halfway.
> I seem to remember an article in Wired Mag about the Extropians, and
> the disdainful letters in the letters column the next month. The
> general feeling was "It's a shame the extropians couldnt use their
> powers for good and not spend their time with their heads in the
> clouds." and painted Max and crew as juvenile daydreamers, not unlike
> your juvenile paranoids in the Cypherpunks.

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.