Demonizing Denning

Timothy C. May tcmay at
Thu Oct 6 01:04:10 PDT 1994

Phil Karn wrote:

> We definitely have the upper hand on this issue. Dorothy Denning may
> be a naive pawn of the government. She may hold beliefs that appall
> the rest of us. She may have lost whatever credibility she had in the
> crypto community by her position. But I still prefer to attack that
> position and the (il)logic behind it rather than to resort to
> attacking the person expressing it. Especially when the argument
> itself is almost a no-brainer.

I agree with Phil. I don't have much respect for Dorothy Denning's
views, feeling she has sold out to the Beltway mentality, but I can't
see the point of demonizing her, any more than I can see the point of
demonizing Jim Bidzos or Mitch Kapor, or lionizing Phil Zimmermann.

(Before you grep your archives and gleefully rebut me, I did at one
point call her "the wicked witch of the East." But this was a result
of overenthusiastic punning, and some anger. I haven't had any
opportunity to deal with her in the past couple of years, but I'd like
to keep that option open, and not foreclose it with vicious insults.
Attack the postion, not the woman, as they might say.)

Practically speaking, a bumber sticker saying "Denning--Clip her"
might be understood by as many as one out of ten thousand of those who
read it....not a very convincing meme. (Yes, "crypto anarchy" is
equally arcane, vaguely disturbing, and equally unconvincing...but I'm
not sporting a bumper sticker on this, nor do I expect to convert the

--Tim May

Timothy C. May         | Crypto Anarchy: encryption, digital money,  
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