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Re: Violent overthrow?

> This may be a semantic point, but it should be made....
> David Koontz sez: "Avoiding the appearance of endorsing the violent 
> overthrow of government is prudent policy..."

Perhaps.  If the founding fathers were here today, they'd probably all be
in jail.

> Um...I think I know what you mean, but isn't it better to just say outright
> that violence really is not the way to reform government at all, save in
> truly historical, exceptional cases (American Revolution, French Revolution...)

I don't understand.  Are you saying that oppressive governments are in the
past, and that we have no need for the option to overthrow one's own government?
The Chinese at Tienimen Square might disagree.

Besides, no matter what the government say, "we, the people" have a right to
advocate the overthrow of our own government if we so choose - the Declaration
of Independence says so.  Not that I think it's necessary or desirable to do
so, but I have always maintained that the options *is* there...

> I am no code cruncher but it seems to me that the relevant "precedents"
> for a "Cypherpunk Revolution" would be the Russian democracy movement, where
> the power of ideas toppled the oppressive regime with a minimum of bloodshed,
> while the world watched....

If the United States government was ever "overthrown", this is probably how
it would be done - via computers and high-tech, rather than guns.  I don't think
that the "violent overthrow" of the United States government is possible, save
by an external force, and I'm not sure that another government's army would be
strong enough to do so.

> Point:  Violence is abhorrent to civilized conduct, undermines social cohesion,
> and is generally justifiable only as a defensive measure.  Arent we concerned
> with the state of affairs today precisely because individuals no longer
> have a sense of these kind of boundaries?  So it is important to emphasis
> that violence is part of the problem, and not to be sloppy and suggest
> (inferentially) that it could be part of the solution.

Again, I don't think it's realistic to believe that the overthrow of a
government such as the United States, the PRC, or even the CIS can be
accomplished by violence.  The American and French revolutions were
justified (and successful) in part because the central authoritarian
government was unresponsive to the needs and desires of the people, harsh
and heavy-handed in its enforcement of arbitrary laws, and ruthless in its
suppression of any sort of opposition.  On the other hand, the United States
allows (but no longer encourages) opposition - the very fact that we have
the freedom to discuss topics like this in a free and open arena says that
(at least) we still have the freedom to express the opinion that the
government is full of it, and not be dragged out into our respective
front yards and shot in front of our neighbors.  Other societies haven't
been as lucky.
Ed Carp, N7EKG			[email protected]			510/659-9560
                            [email protected]
If you want magic, let go of your armor.  Magic is so much stronger than
steel!        -- Richard Bach, "The Bridge Across Forever"