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Re: Unicorn suit

I will force myself to respond to no more than three of Black
Unicorn's points, so as to avoid boring the audience:

> > ("What if your customers were Moral Majority Christians?" you might
> > ask. Then I'd say that all one has to do is tell one's customers the
> > truth.
> And this is supposed to convince moral majority christians?

No, but so what? Life isn't always fair. Since at most one religion is
right, at least n -1 religions are based on lies, and hence nearly all
religious statements are lies, defamations, etc. The connection with
free speech is deep and important: saying "Joe Blow is a Satan
worshipper" may or may not be true, but it is not the role of the
State to define truth.

What damages result, say, from my statements that Hebrew National hot dogs
are made from the bodies of Christian children and that all good
Christians should thus boycott Hebrew National products is
unimportant. Like I said, damages (and benefits) occur all around us,
but in the absence of a contract or physical aggression, too bad. (If
Hebrew National can collect from me for my rantings, then I ought to
be able to present them with a bill for saying good things about them!)

> What redress is there however for the defamed?
> Can Joe Blow really call my clients and produce forged evidence that I am 
> a fugitive white collar criminal, destroy my business and hide behind 
> free speech blankets?

In my admittedly extreme opinion, this is what cryptography will
produce: essentially unforgeable identities and messages. Joe Blow
will not be able to present himself as you, nor will he be able to
convincingly forge evidence. 

This is actually the "anarchic" situation we see all around us, in
parties, in office conversations, etc. Even on this list. People make
outrageous claims (we call it gossip) and some claims are believed,
some are not. Often the gossipmongers who make the most bogus claims
find their credibility has evaporated.

Where I differ from many, but am in agreement with the mainstream of
anarchocapitalist thought (cf. David Friedman's "The Machinery of
Freedom" or Bruce Benson's "The Enterprise of Law"), is that I don't
believe businesses/corporations have any different set of laws
applying to them than to individuals. That is, if gossip is not to be
"outlawed" between a group like ours, it shouldn't be if I hire
someone, or hire 100, or hire 10,000. One set of rules for all scales.

There's much to be said about this point; maybe another time.

> I guess it's my turn to sound angry.  When was the last time you answered 
> tmp publically?  I don't mean this to be a barb... but I just don't think 

About two weeks ago, to expand on a point he made. In general, I have
no interest in defending myself against fools who claim I am the spawn
of Satan, a pedophilic sodomite, an anarchist bomb-thrower, or a
Tentacle of Medusa.

Anyone foolish to believe rants like that _deserves_ to believe such
rants! In something that may resonate in a strange way with your Swiss
friends, I call this "libertarian Calvinism." Not only should one not
interfere with one's neighbors lifestyle choices, as a practical
matter, but to interfere is to deny that person the ability to make a
moral choice. Thus, if your neighbor drinks himself into a stupor, or
believes foolish nonsense about Tentacles and Snakes, then so be it.
(Another version: Niven and Pournelle's "Think of it as evolution in

In the context of "defamation," those who believe lies and won't
listen to "reason" (my side) are best met with shrugs. Not perfect,
but better than the alternatives of initiating force against them.

In the marketplace of ideas, all one can do is present ideas and
products as best one can. If competitors "lie" and "defame," that's
life. Ultimately, those who choose to buy a Yugo instead of a Toyota,
based on "lies" about quality, will learn. The truth will out, because
the truth produces greater ultimate fitness (the Toyota is a a better
deal than the Yugo) and the incentives move the market in this
direction. (A lot more to be said here....this is only the tip of the
iceberg on how free markets work even in the presence of "noise.")

To paraphrase a book title (which I refuse to read), "Everthing I
needed to know about free speech I learned in the phrase 'Sticks and
stones may break my bones, but names will never hurt me.'"

Call me a free speech absolutist, but I believe that.

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
[email protected]       | anonymous networks, digital pseudonyms, zero
408-688-5409           | knowledge, reputations, information markets, 
W.A.S.T.E.: Aptos, CA  | black markets, collapse of governments.
Higher Power: 2^859433 | Public Key: PGP and MailSafe available.
"National borders are just speed bumps on the information superhighway."