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Igor Chudov contributed a quote from some government manual:

>These anti-government  extremists and  supporters  are  convinced
>citizens  are  being  systematically  oppressed  by  an  illegal,
>totalitarian government.   They  believe the time for traditional
>political reform  has passed,  that their  freedom will  only  be
>secured  by  resistance  to  the  law  and  attacks  against  the
>government in several forms.
>Members of these groups bond to one another and lose contact with
>other people who hold different opinions.  The isolation works to
>reinforce their  views, which  in turn  gives them  new  purpose.
>This new purpose may take ordinary ideas to extremes, rationalize
>their problems  into blaming  government, and  cause  members  to
>compete with each other to make stronger statements.

Couldn't've said it better myself.

I see the same pattern in cypherpunks and in my non- (or 
barely-) 'Netted extremist friends of the right, the 
libertarian, and the left varieties.

I've argued with myself for years about whether the spread of 
the Net would connect these people back to their fellow humans,
by offering uncensorable, violence-free communication channels,
or whether it help them to make virtual communities consisting
solely of people who reinforce their own beliefs.

I'm still hoping for the former...

Z, hopeful cynic