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Re: rant on the morality of confidentiality
Mad Vlad wants to know:
>something most anarchists here will deny is the existence of something
>that could be called *immoral science*. is there such a thing?
No. There are, however, immoral scientists. One way to skew the
interpretations of what you write, besides bringing up the subject of
morality, is to describe things in ways which do not correspond to their
actual manner of existence: "science" does not exist without those
individuals who have set themselves to pursue it. They should bear the
blame if they practice it immorally.
You again have brought up several issues which can be examined separately
and do not necessarily coexist:
. being a scientist
. pretending to be scientific
. choosing to pursue science
. being smart enough to pursue scientific research
. being successful in the scientific pursuit of truths
. giving a damn about the consequences of the effects of research as it
affects humanity or other living things (as when it is imposed upon them)
. responsibility in science
. responsibility in science as practiced by mendicants of the State
. the regulation of responsibility per se
. the regulation of the methods of science
. the support of irresponsible scientific methods, by slaves of the State
. anarchist cypherpunkery
I become exceedingly uncomfortable at the realization that I have to buy an
astronomy magazine from the store, paying yet again for info, in order to
find out some of what they're doing at NASA. To think that a responsible
citizen like myself must go out searching for the info themselves, using
whatever resources they can find or pay for, in order to become informed!
There are all sorts of things that government employees do not "share" with
those who pay the bills.
There is a book in Objectivist literature which presents the idea of
"context dropping", which is, that in order for some people to function as
if things were normal and that what they're doing is consistent with moral
principles, they must drop a part of their information out of sight, out of
thought, so that their actions appear logically related and make sense -
they eliminate elements from the given context, crucial essentials which
make the difference in its character. People like these might practice
secrecy in keeping information from others, but equally significant, they
also hide things from themselves.
So that's one thing which would explain some scientist's lack of moral
principles in the pursuit of science. Then it must be explained why so
many people aren't complaining about it. Are they insensitive to their
mistreatment, sitting ducks for opportunists? Or maybe these taxpayers are
equally immoral, thinking only about promised benefits, forgetting about
the disadvantage of losing control over the quality of their life?
It's possible for some people to override the boundaries of decency, even
if they're otherwise smart enough to pursue science. But what would you
expect cryptographers to do about it?