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Gingrich, "crypto coalition" & dysfunctional philosophy

From: [email protected] (Anonymous)
>The gov't may well lose this fight eventually, but a few heads are gonna
>get broken before either side wins. This fight is playing itself out on
>the level of policy now, but it's much bigger than a policy issue. And the
>"revolution" of Newt and his legions of weenies (I say nothing of Clinton
>and his legions of weenies) is bullshit: he's an empty opportunist who's
>riding a fractious coalition that'll make Clinton look like a libertarian
>if it ever gets control of the country. And right now he's cluing in to
>the fact that he can score some points on encryption issues: he's got his
>eye on the snowballing WiReD coalition, which *no one* knew existed until
>a few years ago.

a short comment on Gingrich: I think he is one of the few politicians with
balls enough to make tough choices such as budget cutting. of course people
detest someone like him. he has horrible approval ratings in the single
digits. people would rather have politicians lie to them that no tough 
choices are necessary in the future, or that if any are, all the 
grandmothers in the country will be conviently exempted. I don't see 
Gingrich at all as an opportunist in the sense of Clinton, i.e. someone 
who has no intrinsic moral compass
that governs his decisions and positions on issues. to the contrary Gingrich
has definite convictions on various issues. he is willing to compromise
on them frequently to get a consensus, however.

but my main point in writing was that I thought I would highlight this 
phrase given to us by A.Nonymous: the "crypto coalition".
or it might be called the "computer coalition". I think I see a few
faint glimmerings of a new political movement, potentially.
the recent Washington Times editorial on the Exon pornography law,
encryption, and the superiority of allowing people to develop tools
to screen what they don't want to so, could be considered a
portrayal of some of the key philosophies.

its very interesting to contemplate that the online crowd could become
a more well-organized political coalition that has influence in politics.
its clear to me this is happening weakly and informally at the moment.
(i.e. people on the internet having similar philosophies, hence voting
with the same aims, although not organizing to do so yet).
a key ingredient I see working against this:

the "coalition" has a lot of libertarian sentiments, and libertarians
tend to be anti-government and almost disdainful of even participating
in politics.

one might differentiate between cybernauts who are interested in reforming
our government and using the Net as a tool to do so, such as Jim Warren, and
people at the opposite end of the spectrum of "participation" such as
TCM, who seem to advocate that political battles be simply rejected
or ignored as irrelevant to the future of "cryptoanarchy". (although recent 
noises of his I quoted were distinctly uncharacteristic.)

if anyone is going to have influence in politics, it would be the former
type. but at least in the places in cyberspace where I hang out, I tend
to see more of the latter type: extremist libertarians who almost seem
to suggest that government is inherently unclean and dirty, no matter
what form it takes. I think these are the types that would hate a
government and advocate disenfranchisement with it no matter what 
direction it took, even if a libertarian was
elected to a powerful office. (its an interesting question to contemplate).

it seems to me to be largely a philosophy of alienation bordering
on nihilism.

now, I have been trashed in public for this position before, but the
philosophy of "us vs. them" applied to government in my opinion is the
wrong paradigm and only contributing to the problems, imho. an organized
"cyberspace coalition" could have tremendous political power to the point
that all the key annoying laws (such as the Itar etc.) actually become
election issues brought into mainstream consciousness. the editorials
I have seen about the Exon amendment etc. are steps in those directions.

I've seen TCM argue on this list against this, such that we should just
give up on telling congress what is important to us etc.  it was a position
that was not unanimous, and in fact quite controversial however, and 
remarkably PM once argued against it. (heh. love the fireworks on this list.
they are quite unpredictable at times).

I'm all for replacing a dysfunctional government. but people here seem
to advocate that this happens automatically when one has certain 

there is a whole other approach to "cryptoanarchy" that no one here
has ever suggested, but which could be tremendously effective: "infiltrate"
political positions with people sympathetic to that philosophy, and work
to change the entire structure toward it. "infiltrate" is a scary word,
but IMHO nothing any different than demopublicans appointing demopublicans
to office would be going on.

a very interesting, key quote by someone here went to the effect: "if
TCM is right, nothing the government does matters. if TCM is wrong, 
nothing we do matters". a fascinating psychological justification for
a sort of nihilism. but at the root of it is a kind of laziness and
hostility to organization or groups in any form, IMHO.

in fact the libertarian extremists here seem not only to hate government,
they seem to hate the whole idea of groups accomplishing things, about
the idea of groups coming to consensus. this is a quite remarkably
cynical ideology.

I'm going to make a prediction: I think the people who are interested
in organizing the "cyberspace coalition" are starting to come together
right now, and that over the long run, this entity will be far more
beneficial in advancing a better reality through cyberspatial technology
than all the people who advocate disillusion, antagonism, resentment, 
and nonparticipation in groups and government, to the point the latter 
approach will be generally discredited. in other words, we have a powerful 
system that can be changed from the inside instead of abandoning it. at the 
moment, I've not seen any proof that a dedicated group couldn't reform it from
the inside, only a lot of cynical conventional wisdom that such a thing
is inherently impossible and useless to try.

the comment I quoted displays the conventional wisdom on this list, 
that the encryption issue is "us vs. them", "people vs. the government",
etc.  what would A.Nonymous say if someone who was elected began to 
embrace the position that encryption is a right? I'm sure he would find
some new reason to be disillusioned with government. that's the position
of radical libertarians. no matter what form government takes, no matter
who is driving it, they hate it. 

the first lesson for radical libertarians bordering on anarchists 
that love this list is not that Oppressive Government is  the problem, but 
that Government Is Always Bogus. a rather infantile philosophy that reminds
me of the way children defy authority or structure merely because it
is an authority or a structure, not because of any particular disagreements
they have with the underlying philosophy it expresses. (or rather, they
manufacture the disagreement with the philosophy as required, such that
the reasoning is, if an authority stands for [x], then I am against [x], and
against that authority).

and this is precisely the dysfunctional
philosophy to life I am referring to that I think will be discredited in 
the long run as intellectually vacuous and actual counterproductive to
any kind of progress.

from what I have seen of Gingrich, he might be a potential leader of this
kind of "computer coalition". he is the congressman who has taken stands
on encryption issues and other key cyberspace issues that seem to suggest
an internal awareness of constitutional rights superseding momentarily-
politically-fashionable government legislative whims. of course I'm
putting on my flameproof longjohns as I say that.