What is a cypherpunk?

Justin justin-cypherpunks at soze.net
Wed Feb 16 11:48:05 PST 2005

On 2005-02-16T13:31:14-0500, Steve Thompson wrote:
>  --- "R.A. Hettinga" <rah at shipwright.com> wrote: 
> [snip]
> > Property is like rights. We create it inherently, because we're human,
> > it
> > is not bestowed upon us by someone else. Particularly if that property
> > is
> > stolen from someone else at tax-time.
> But as long as property rights are generally considered to be a tenet and
> characteristic of society, excuses for officiated theft, for instance,
> merely put a veneer of legitimacy over certain kinds of theft.  I doubt
> that RMS will ever be framed, arrested and thrown in to the gulag, his
> property confiscated; but for someone like myself, that is certainly an
> option, eh?  

Is there a difference between property rights in a society like a pride
of lions, and property rights that are respected independent of social
status?  Or are they essentially the same?  They seem to be different,
but I can't articulate why.  Obviously the latter needs enforcement,
possibly courts, etc., but I can't identify a more innate difference,
other than simply as I described it -- property rights depending on
social status, and property rights not depending on social status.

I don't think any society has ever managed to construct a pure property
rights system where nobody has any advantage.  Without government it's
the strong.  With government, government agents have an advantage, and
rich people have an advantage because they can hire smart lawyers to get
unfair court decisions.  So maybe this is just silly, in which case I
believe even more strongly that formal status-independent property
rights are not the basis of government.

Certainly there is no hunting like the hunting of man, and those who
have hunted armed men long enough and liked it, never really care for
anything else thereafter.           --Hemingway, Esquire, April 1936

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