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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