What is a cypherpunk?

ken bbrow07 at students.bbk.ac.uk
Mon Feb 14 05:18:19 PST 2005

James A. Donald wrote:

> The state was created to attack private property rights - to
> steal stuff.  Some rich people are beneficiaries, but from the
> beginning, always at the expense of other rich people.

More commonly states defend the rich against the poor.  They are 
what underpins property rights, in the  sense of "great property" 
- until the industrial revolution that was mostly rights to land 
other people farm or live on. Every society we know about has had 
laws and customs defending personal property (more or less 
successfully) but it takes political/military power to defend the 
right to exact rent from a large estate, and state power to defend 
that right for thousands or millions of landowners.

> Again, compare the burning of Shenendoah with the Saint
> Valentine's day massacre.  There is just no comparison.
> Governmental crimes are stupendously larger, and much more
> difficult to defend against.


The apposite current comparison is 9/11 the most notorious piece 
of private-enterprise violence in recent years, and the far more 
destructive  US revenge on Afghanistan and Iraq. Which was 
hundreds of times more destructive but hundreds of thousands of 
times more expensive, so far less cost-effective - but in a a war 
of attrition that might not matter so much. Of course the 
private-enterprise AQ & their friends the Taliban booted 
themselves into a state, of sorts in Afghanistan, with a little 
help from their friends in Pakistan and arguable amounts of US 
weaponry. Not that Afghanistan was the sort of place from which 
significant amounts of tax could be collected to fund further 
military adventures.

States can get usually get control of far larger military 
resources than private organisations, and have fewer qualms about 
wasting them.  Not that it makes much difference to the victims - 
poor peasants kicked off land wanted for oilfields in West Africa 
probably neither know nor care whether the troops who burned their 
houses were paid by the oil companies or the local government.

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