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[liberationtech] Privacy, Moglen, @ioerror, #rp12

Douglas Lucas dal at
Sun May 13 18:17:24 PDT 2012

Hi everyone,

Pavol Luptak <wilder at> wrote:

> I believe that if ever there will be a better society than this one,
> it has to be based on voluntary decisions and non-coercion.

I wish I could accept that all coercion is wrong, but building a society
based on voluntary decisions and non-coercion wouldn't work, in my opinion,
because both concepts are gray areas, both concepts admit of degrees.
Especially where there are vast inequalities in power. For example, when a
ginormous company buys big blinking billboards outside my home to assault
my visual field, I'm coerced into seeing them, since my need to leave the
house isn't very optional, isn't fully voluntary. That's not an argument
against billboards or for central planning or anything else, really, except
to say that "voluntary" and "non-coercive" are not as simple of terms as
they might first appear.

However government winds up organized, I think we need (some degree of)
regulations and social insurance -- and thus, coercion -- to keep things
fair. Otherwise some of us gorillas will rig the system to keep hoarding
most of the bananas. Show me a different world in a thousand years and
maybe I'll change my mind.

Pavol Luptak <wilder at> wrote:

> People are greedy, they were and they will. They care about their
> self-interest. It's evolutional.

Dmytri Kleiner <dk at> replied:

> It's funny that this claim is made so often, when no psychological or
anthropological evidence exists to support it.

People have been arguing about this and these definitions since Plato's
depiction of Thrasymachus and presumably earlier. I think the best bet is
to design transparent and accountable systems that don't depend heavily on
how you want to define human nature.

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