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John Gilmore interviewed by Greplaw

CowboyNeal posted more than 10 years ago | from the spam-and-liberty dept.

Privacy 164

mpawlo writes "I have just published another one of those Greplaw interviews. This time, John Gilmore had the courtesy of answering a wide range of questions on various subjects such as terrorism and security, spam blocking, censorship, secret laws in airports and of course - sarongs. Gilmore starts: 'I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric.' Enjoy!"

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"I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric" (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018493)

Who isn't these days?!

Re:"I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric" (1)

Kjuib (584451) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018584)

I was... then I invested in GOOG... now I am hopeless... oh wait.. maybe it was LNUX...

Re:"I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric" (2, Funny)

stonebeat.org (562495) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018597)

did i see this guy at Woodstock Market???? ;)

Re:"I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018804)

John Kerry thinks he is, but he's really not [harvard.edu] .

Re:"I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019931)

me :(

greplaw? (5, Funny)

jargoone (166102) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018510)

Not powerful enough. Give me egreplaw any day of the week.

Re:greplaw? (1)

martinX (672498) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018708)

I want iGreplaw - it's easy enough for my mum to use!

Re:greplaw? (1)

red floyd (220712) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019492)

I don't need regex. I'll use fgreplaw.

Where the Gary Gilmore interview? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018512)

that would be more interesting

Re:Where the Gary Gilmore interview? (1)

scubacuda (411898) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018890)

I'm sure that Mikael [algonet.se] could interview him [thefreedictionary.com] if you provided the medium.


A wise man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018518)

I wonder when he will be taken out for thinking too much.

Re:A wise man... (2, Insightful)

JeanBaptiste (537955) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018618)

"I wonder when he will be taken out for thinking too much."

Would you care to post a list of other people that have been taken out for thinking too much?

For as much as some tend to complain about oppression in America, I'm not aware of such things actually happening.

Thanks

Re:A wise man... (4, Insightful)

jbltk (801038) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018834)

We can start with Galileo.

Then we have Sherman Austin under the Patriot Act.

http://rwor.org/a/1217/austin.htm

With the Patriot Act, there is the distinct possibility of people being silenced and no one ever knowing.

The point is not how many are being silenced now, but how many can and probably will be in the future.

First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Pastor Martin Niemöller

Re:A wise man... (2, Interesting)

killjoe (766577) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018936)

"Would you care to post a list of other people that have been taken out for thinking too much?

For as much as some tend to complain about oppression in America, I'm not aware of such things actually happening."

Well if you are not aware of it then it probably never happened.

Here let me go the TheListOfPeopleWeKilledBecauseTheyDaredToQuestionU s.gov and get the list. Oh wait a minute the US does not have a web site where they keep a list of people they assassinated. I guess that means the US govt has never assassinated anybody then.

Re:A wise man... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019151)

Off the top of my head...

John F. Kennedy
Martin Luther King
Mohandas K. Gandhi
Jesus Christ

Re:A wise man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019245)

...Malcolm X...

Re:A wise man... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019580)

oppression [pbs.org] in America

Server is going down fast... here's the text (2, Informative)

SlashdotTroll (581611) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018538)

(let me just say, that I am a tech support employee and Mr. Gilmore is inspiration people like me need to keep striving beyond tech support's internship to a technology career).

****BEGIN ARTILE TEXT****

# Who is John Gilmore?

I'm a civil libertarian millionaire eccentric. I started out in my teens as a middle-class programmer, worked my way up to senior technical jobs, then learned business in Silicon Valley. A combination of luck and skill brought me through several successful startup companies and gave me the opportunity to decide what I want to do, rather than what I need to do. I decided I want to work to keep individual freedom alive and thriving. So that's what I'm doing.

# First, I think we need to establish your take on terrorism. Is terrorism wrong?

It depends on the definition of terrorism. I like the CIA's definition of terrorism from Stansfield Turner's book "Secrecy and Democracy". It was something like, "violence or force directed at a small group of people with the intent to influence a much larger group". By that definition, the US government practices terrorism every time it arrests a medical marijuana smoker "because it sends the wrong message to kids". Is that wrong? I think so.

(Of course, the US government has revised its definition of terrorism since then, to make sure that nothing the US Government does can be considered terrorism by its new definition. Terrorism is now defined as force applied for political reasons by people other than the US Government.)

# Speaking of drugs, aren't you doing something about the drug war?

Yep, I'm in the middle of a ten-year, ten million dollar program to end the drug war. The pendulum is swinging on that issue, after decades of wasting billions of dollars and mangling hundreds of thousands of lives every year. Cancer patients get thrown in jail for smoking marijuana to keep from throwing up their chemotherapy meds. Entire countries get overrun and their leaders toppled by the US because the US doesn't like how those countries run their internal drug policies (like Panama, Nicaragua, and now Colombia). Factory workers get tested and fired based on their choice of weekend recreation, regardless of how well they do their job. Schoolkids learn right away that the government blatantly lies to them about the effects of drugs, and also learn that the government can search them at any time without any cause, raising a generation both cynical and resigned to corrupt authoritarianism.

The drug war is an ugly, corrupt set of policies that were bad when Nixon set it in motion to bash the hippie students who were hounding his ass out of office. It was ugly and corrupt when the medicine marijuana was outlawed early in the 20th century as a way to bash brown-skinned people coming up from Mexico. It was ugly and corrupt when San Francisco passed the first ordinance criminalizing drug use in the 1890s; it outlawed the medicine opium, and was used to bash Chinese immigrants who'd come to build the railroad and then settled in Chinatown. Now 90% of the people serving time for drugs are black or Latino, even though white and asian Americans use drugs in the same proportions as blacks and Latinos. Drug warriors encourage parents to turn in their kids and kids to turn in their parents. It's destroyed most of the Fourth Amendment and is well on the way to destroying freedom of thought, which is even more fundamental and neglected than freedom of movement. They're attempting to outlaw entire modes of thought, by making illegal the tools that get you to those modes.

Open societies have plenty of mechanisms by which truly rotten policies can get discovered and corrected over the years and decades. The people who profit from the drug war (mostly cops, prisons, and forced-"treatment" scams) have managed to avoid this so far. I think I can see several ways where a bit of leverage at the right time and place can kick the props out from under the policy, letting the public see what is really happening. Like the Berlin wall, once a little sunshine has been let in, the entire thing will come down in a hurry. And the result will be far better for people who never use drugs; far better for people who have problems controlling their drug use; and far far better for people who use drugs responsibly.

# Phil Zimmermann told me that the September 11-attacks made him think over his decision to release PGP as freeware. However, he reached the conclusion that it was right to release PGP and that society is better off with strong encryption. Ian Clarke goes to the same school of thought and told me that censorship is the enemy of freedom and understanding, and therefore the friend of terrorism. Seth Finkelstein got the same question and claimed "statistically, real threats are rare, but ambition and corruption are common". What is your take on the balance between censorship, encryption and national security?

There is no balance needed among censorship, encryption, and national security. Censorship is a counterproductive social policy and weakens the national security, by suppressing the flow of useful information among the honest citizenry. Widespread use of encryption also enhances the national security, by making private information more truly private, and by making systems and networks harder for dishonest people to penetrate.

# You are often quoted as stating "The Net treats censorship as damage and routes around it." When trying to get in touch with you I had to use my employer's email system, since I could net get email from my own address through. No routing around available... Is misconfigured spam filtering at the server level an increasing problem and how should it be addressed?

The third-party censorship of incoming email is an example of the exception swallowing the rule. The Internet community has always rallied strongly for freedom of speech and the press -- unless it arrived in their mailbox from someone they didn't know. Then it was time to get out the pitchforks and boil the perpetrator in oil. The damage that anti-spammers are willing to do to the free flow of information is far worse than any damage that spammers could do to the net.

You, Mikael, are the reason your email system censored my email to you. You were willing to put up with an email system that delegates its censorship decisions to third parties. Why did you do that?

My approach is for each recipient of email (or other targeted communications) to let their computer know their own interests, and let those interests guide the software in selecting which messages to show you. It's idiotic to assume that everyone else in the world will know your tastes in received email, and further idiotic to assume that any message that you didn't "solicit" is by definition uninteresting to you [Mikael Pawlo's comment: while this Greplaw editor does not want to continue being called an idiot, I have changed my email operator since this interview was conducted].

The reason people reached for centralized censorship in reaction to spam is twofold: first, they thought "unsolicited bulk email" was a special case, rather than a mere example of a generic trend caused by rapidly dropping communication costs. Second, nobody built decent user interfaces for telling a computer about your interests in a way that it could understand. It was easier to program a computer what messages "everybody" was "not" interested in, than for each user to train their own computer in what they individually are interested in.

I'm working with a programmer friend on a prototype with a very simple user interface: after seeing a message, you can tell the system how interested you were in it (on a scale of perhaps 1 to 10). One keystroke says "That one was uninteresting spam" and goes on to the next message. The system then examines those messages and tries to guess why you found them interesting or uninteresting. It shows you future messages by predicting which will be the most interesting messages, showing them first. If you run out of time or patience, you never end up seeing the ones that your training has ranked as uninteresting. The software will all be free; it's called grokmail.

# What do you think of Paul Vixie's solution to the problem?

I think Paul's approach to anti-spam makes him the Senator McCarthy of email. He was the first to reach for centralized censorship, and the first to use the resulting power to blacklist innocent ISPs as a blackmail lever to force them to join his cartel of censors.

# Isn't it time to give up one the idea of the end-to-end principle?
Would not the Internet be better off with centralized virus scanning and spam filtering?

The end-to-end principle is what defines the difference between proprietary networks and open ones: the center of the network exerts no control over the information flow between the ends. The Internet would not be the Internet without the end-to-end principle. It would be a monopolistic, corporate-controlled network like your local cable TV system. You'd need to spend years getting permission before they would let it do anything that the owners didn't see an obvious business model for.

It's certainly easy to see the disadvantages of a system that is in actual use today, such as the Internet. But think back to when Compuserve and MCI Mail and America Online and GTE Tymnet were the only ways to communicate via computer networks. They didn't talk to each other, because then you wouldn't have to buy from them in order to talk to their customers. These guys' idea of the Web was Teletext; their idea of peer-to-peer sharing was centrally-censored "discussion" forums. Tell me whether we're better off or worse off today.

# Can you please explain what sometimes is referred to as "Gilmore's inflight activism"?

You're probably referring to how I wear a small pin that says "Suspected terrorist" when I fly internationally. People tend to forget that they have to go through all that airport hassle (what Bruce Schneier calls "security theatre") because they are a suspected terrorist. Yes, when they're searching YOUR bag, it isn't that swarthy guy over there that they suspect of being a terrorist -- it's YOU. Without any evidence. YOU, and YOU, and ALL OF US, have gone from "innocent until proven guilty" to "suspects".

All I do is point this out, with a subtle little pin. Nobody whose job is airport security has ever said boo to me over it. But it sure seems to piss a small number of self-righteous people off, and I can't figure out why. If they think honest people shouldn't be seeing the word "terrorist" on airplanes, why do they provide all those fear-mongering newspapers, magazines, and television news broadcasts?

# Seth Finkelstein called your inflight activism a "millionaire's version of trolling". Where is he going wrong?

I'm looking for an "aha!", an insight, in the people who read the button -- not just a robotic emotional reaction. That's the difference between a discussion (or political theatre, or art) and trolling.

# Why are you suing the government over ID on airplanes?

There are two central issues I'm trying to explore.

The right to travel, also known as the right of free movement, is essential in every free society. It's a crime to interfere with anyone's right of free movement (we call it kidnapping, among other things). It's one of those things that is so foundational that everyone forgets about it until the bad-guys have eaten it away. The bad-guys in the U.S. Government have eaten it away for car drivers, for airline passengers, for long-distance trains, for intercity buses, and for cruise ships. They haven't gotten around to feet and bicycles yet, but the trend is quite clear. I'm suing so the courts will examine this trend. I hope they will find that the government's unilateral action in eliminating free movement of people without ID cards goes way too far.

The right of anonymity, also sometimes known as the right to be left alone, has strong foundational roots too. It leads directly into "innocent until proven guilty" and "no bills of attainder", which prevents governments from harassing people they merely dislike. It leads directly into the right to make politically unpopular speeches and protests, which is the only fragile way to prevent violent uprisings among those who have complaints about how society is run. (If we punish people merely for complaining, others who share their complaints will learn to shoot first and complain later. Complaining anonymously is one way to be heard but not punished.) We can walk the streets without permission and without "your papers please" because we have the right to be anonymous. Out of fear and ignorance among the populace, and laziness among police, most people now assume that they must show identity papers on request of any cop, government official, or even rent-a-cops. What was once, and is still legally, a right, is rapidly becoming a casualty in practice. I am hoping that the courts will agree with me that the government can't e.g. require me to reveal my identity because I'm traveling to give a speech. It's well accepted that they can't make me reveal my identity at the speech itself, and also well accepted that they can't seek to prevent me from speaking or from traveling.

# What is this I hear about secret laws in airports?

When the government violates fundamental rights, they tend to surround themselves with procedural tricks designed to keep them from getting caught. The easiest way to make tyrranical rules is to simply not publish the rules, just punish anybody who doesn't follow them to your satisfaction. The FAA/TSA bureaucrats, in collaboration with anti-terrorism people in the White House, have kept slipping little phrases and trick references into Congressional laws that purport to let them do just that. For example, the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires that every regulation be published, and says that any unpublished regulation is null and void; but another law passed just recently says that FAA/TSA can issue regulations "notwithstanding title 552 of section 5", i.e. the FOIA.

So, the "rule" that says you have to show ID in airports is plastered all over on signs, but if you try to look up the real rule, it doesn't exist. A FOIA request for it will get you a letter saying that they have a copy, but they don't have to give it to you because of such-and-such a statute. Congress passed that statute to safeguard government research on defenses against terrorism, but the bureaucrats have hacked it so that they think they can order the traveling public to do any damn thing and never publish the rule.

My case argues that this is unconstitutional, because it violates "due process of law". A basic principle of due process, which is guaranteed in the constitution, is that you have a chance to read the law (including the regulations that give all the details) before it can be applied to you. Another principle is that the law has to be sufficiently clearly written that you can tell illegal actions from legal ones. A law you can't see doesn't clearly tell you the line between legal and illegal acts.

So, it turns out I was told in one airport that you can fly without a government-issued photo ID, if you have two IDs and one of them is government issued. The signs don't tell you this. There's no regulation you can read that tells you this. You have to try it and see if they let you do it. I know someone who actually flew without any ID at all, after leaving her wallet at home. She got no hassle at all, no extra searches, no nothing. So how can they apply a "no government photo ID, no flying" rule to me, but not her? By keeping the details of the law secret, that's how. It even worked at the District Court; our judge decided that if she couldn't see the law then it must by definition be constitutional (she ruled that I had no possible way to show it is unconstitutional). Let's hope the Ninth Circuit is not as easily fooled.

# What's your take on blogs in general? Do you read any of them?

I think blogs are fun, and the ways they interact with each other and with other information sources are fascinating. I hope there are some good social scientists watching this petri dish.

I was watching, as a Dave Winer "DaveNet" reader, when the blog was invented. The basic concept was to impose a little structure on the open-endedness of web publishing, to remove some of the freedom and in return make it really simple. You want to add a paragraph, it always goes at the top. Everything gets indexed by date. New stuff gets tracked and fed to folks who want to be notified. I'm glad that we have the generalized Web, and I'm also glad that the more specialized form of the blog can ride on that.

I read a few blogs intermittently, but I'm not a compulsive blog reader or writer. You're most likely to find me reading Lessig's blog or Slashdot. (Do people consider Slashdot a blog? It is, but I think it predated blogging.)

# You are not a great fan of copy protection. But how shall intellectual property holders commercially survive in an environment where perfect copies are a part of everyday life?

I thought I knew that answer in 1989, but I wasn't sure, so I started a business to see if I was right. Cygnus Support, later named Cygnus Solutions, got paid by its customers for writing free software and giving it away for unlimited free perfect distribution. We also sold commercial support for free software, to people who depended upon it. The company started with three people in 1989. We ran it on revenues (without investment beyond the initial $15,000 that the founders chipped in). We were profitable and had 75 employees when I left in 1996. We were bought by Red Hat for $600 million in stock in 2000, because we were the world's leading experts on both a critical piece of free software (the GNU programming tools) and on how to make money from free software.

The way I found to make money from unlimited cheap/free distribution of perfect copies was to go with the flow rather than fighting it. Encourage the world to distribute your work to every person on earth; then every person on earth becomes your potential customer. Build a commercial relationship with people who depend on your work; they won't care if the rest of the world can have it, as long as they get your attention so it meets THEIR needs. Charge people for the act of creation BEFORE you create it (the same way concert tickets work); then you don't have to limit where the created work goes AFTERWARD. For a fee, alleviate the troubles that come from too much information, too poorly understood, too poorly coordinated, too poorly documented: provide rapid, correct answers to customer questions.

And, do the basics of any successful business: be honest, serve your customers, know your market well, treat your employees fairly, don't be greedy, don't do anything stupid. You'd be amazed at how easy it is to make money just by doing these things, no matter what your business model is. You'll stand head and shoulders above most of your competitors, who are incompetent at one or more of these things.

I'm sure the Cygnus business model isn't the only way to make money from unrestricted distribution of perfect copies. I was content to find one. It made dozens of millionaires from the ranks of the employees. It made me far more money than I made from working at Sun.

Now, tell me how *musicians* can make a living in an environment where oligopoly distributors steal their creative work as a "work for hire", pay them by the hour for creating it, regardless of how well it sells, lock them in by contract for their next six works, and even then cheat them on the accounting.

Then tell me how *programmers* can make a living under the same conditions (minus the cheating and the oligopoly). If we eliminated the cheating and the oligopoly, would musicians have about the same deal as programmers? I suspect that it's roughly so.

# Free software is an increasing part of the commercial software enterprises. Is the original spirit of free software withheld when companies like CA, Sun and Apple embraces it?

It depends on the details. There wasn't even a single original spirit of free software; there have always been differences of opinion and of practice. TeX and GNU Emacs and Berkeley Unix all existed in 1985, and all had different licenses and cultures.

I'm happy to see commercial software companies switching to using free software business models. They would rather make the change and survive, than not make the change and die off from their competition offering their customers the choices that come from free software models. Of course, companies will try variations along the way, some of which will be terrible and some of which will be wonderful. We, their market, get to decide which is which.

# You started the EFF with Mitch Kapor, John Perry and Steve Wozniak. That was a long time ago. Has the EFF developed as you intended?

John Perry Barlow, you mean. No, EFF has far surpassed my initial expectations. That talented crew of staff, board, volunteers, and members, has pulled together an amazing set of skills, and deployed them to keep freedom alive as the "frontier" gets mapped and settled.

# Is the EFF a millionaire's version of trolling the U.S. congress?

I don't understand. Congress doesn't seem to pay attention to us anyway; I think it's because (1) we make too much sense, and (2) we don't bribe them.

# Has the EFF succeeded? I think the cyber-rights situation is worse than ever.

EFF has succeeded in many ways. As more of the world becomes computer- mediated, new and larger challenges arise. This makes things look like they're going from bad to worse. But if you look back, you can see some major victories:

* Web publishing lets anybody say anything. Even sexual stuff, which has had an inexplicable unwritten "hole" in the First Amendment. Even politically sensitive stuff. Drug policy reform groups still can't buy billboard space without filing a lawsuit, but every single one of them has a web site and their audience knows where to find it. All kinds of information, from Bill Clinton's peccadillos to how British Government agents were assasinating people in Ireland, has come out despite overt or covert restrictions on prior forms of media. It is much harder for powerful people to suppress information than it was in 1990.
* Encryption restrictions haven't been thrown away as they should have been, but they have been liberalized to almost that point. Nobody uses "rlogin" to administer remote machines; a widely distributed Internet would be totally insecure if logins and passwords and interactive sessions were traveling in the clear, as most were in 1992. We educated a whole generation on the connections between encryption, privacy, and security. We fought the furgem National Security Agency, the super-spooks, and beat 'em at it, despite how they teamed up with the FBI and used their power to get the President to sign stupid Executive Orders. We beat them because they were wrong.
* Internet access is widespread, cheap, high speed, and competitive. Remember when EFF was championing 64-kbit ISDN as a way to speed up Internet access limited by 14-kbit modems? Remember when advocates for the poor and disenfranchised told us it was cruel and unfair for rich people to have computers and Internet access, because the prices would never come down? When the head librarian of San Francisco rejected a grant to provide Internet access in his libraries because he thought it would be a useless distraction? When early ISPs wanted to charge each other to interconnect, and threatened to Balkanize the Internet? Remember when newspapers were afraid of the Internet because it would cut into their secret cash cow, classified ad revenues? EFF was right that the new opportunities would vastly outweigh the minor difficulties that needed to be overcome.
* Many forms of expression have been rapidly enhanced by computer technology, without being throttled in the cradle by vested interests. Consumers and amateurs now regularly have better editing facilities for music, movies, drawing, and animation than the top professionals had a decade ago. Digital photography has brought the "shoot as many as you want, and keep the good ones" philosophy down from pros to consumers. The Internet and the Web synergized with digital media creation and editing, providing a cheap and powerful distribution path. High bandwidth distribution of large files, including music, movies, and software, is now automated, and EFF helped to keep these networks free to operate despite powerful opposition.

# EFF seems to be very U.S-centric. Will you launch any international initiatives?

I'm on the board of IP Justice, a nonprofit that's fighting copyright expansion worldwide, and I'm one of their major donors. I was also elected to the Internet Society board for a 3-year term a few years back; it is international (I attended its annual conferences in Kuala Lumpur and in Geneva). I funded and led FreeS/WAN, a commercial free software effort based in Greece and Canada, for years.

EFF's first goal is to be "eff"ective. It would be easy to build an organization that tries to do everything and does nothing well. Instead, EFF has managed to focus on a few key issues as needed. In the early '90s this was search, seizure, and access to the net. In the mid '90s it was encryption and censorship. In the late '90s and '00s it has been copywrong and loss of basic civil rights. EFF actually has two employees working on international copyright issues (Cory Doctorow in Europe, and Gwen Hinze elsewhere). So we're starting to reach out worldwide, but not with a big splash.

# It is one thing to be financially independent and an activist, but other individuals may not enjoy such financial freedom, but rather be constrained by and dependent on their employer's view. Should more people speak up in respect of civil liberties?

I would not encourage anyone to desert the people who depend on them -- such as their children -- in order to be an activist. Having said that, in a free market for labor, it is often possible to find an employer who is supportive of your activism. The best kind of jobs are the ones that you would've been doing whether they paid you or not. You have to look for these jobs, but they do exist.

My experience about speaking up in respect of civil liberties is that most of the criticism you get in return comes from your friends. I have had various people tell me that I was putting them in danger by being too outspoken, etc. Many people are run by their fears, and even if you escape from that trap yourself, you may find that you have to limit yourself based on your close friends' fears in order to keep the peace. (None of those people ever got a visit from government agents as a result of me speaking up; their fears were groundless in retrospect.)

# I met you at the IFWP conference in Geneva back in 1998. You wore a yellow sarong (skirt). I do not think you were practicing Iyengar Yoga at the time, at least not in the conference hall, but still - do people have a hard time paying attention when you are not in a suit and tie?

It's never seemed to be a problem.

Sarongs, which are basically a rectangle of cloth, wrapped around the waist and hanging to near the ground, are popular clothing for billions of men and women on Earth. At an international conference, I would not expect cultured people to stare at unfamiliar costumes. When traveling, I wear and learn the local clothing; people are usually happy (often amused) to help a foreigner learn to dress themself properly. At home, I enjoy showing people the costumes of other regions I've visited. I've worn a gho from Bhutan (a large, thick robe, tied tightly at the waist) in Boston, and a turban from Rajasthan in San Francisco. Actually, reactions in San Francisco two years ago to me wearing a turban really bothered me: about three out of ten people treated me as if I was an e-vill terrorist. Get over it, people; it's just a hat! The U.S. is such a provincial backwater. More people wear turbans in this world than the entire population of the United States.

I can never figure out the singular fascination that people have for what fibers other people wrap around their bodies. It gives small minds something to gossip about, and provides endless simple fun in tweaking them.

John Gilmore was interviewed by Mikael Pawlo.

This is the same civil libertarian, John Gilmore.. (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018613)

I've read many reviews of John. He is brilliant! He knows how to uphold the law theory "all are equal and equally under the law", which United States currently doesn't like to admit. John knows how to use their laws against them. Civil libertarian is somewhat a stretch; John is more of a Jeffersonian, or sometimes known as a Christian Anarchist. If anyone out there dislikes or even enjoys Eric S. Raymond, this John is the gapstop that keeps people together within reason.

PS: Moderators!
*Before you knock this user
*please recognize that Slashdot
*should at-least mirror these
*articles on *the server rather
*than having thousands of people
*click the URL. I happily read
*the article from the parent's post

You all just wait and laugh when Slashdot is charged for server crimes by the FCC. Even Yahoo News mirrors their stories for sake of all!

Re:Server is going down fast... here's the text (0, Flamebait)

volsung (378) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018687)

WTF, people? You're moderating up a copy-paste of the article text, and from a user with the name "SlashdotTroll"?

I know no one reads the stories they reply to, but do they read the comments they moderate? :)

troll? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018724)

and from a user with the name "SlashdotTroll"?

He that is without sin, let him cast the first stone.

Is this "SlashdotTroll" any more or less status than you, wherein both of you are NOT SUBSCRIBERS to slashdot? Or do you think your comments are primacy and justified because you have a 3-digit slashdotID. It seems you are against the expanding of slashdot.

Pot, meet kettle. Kettle, meet pot.

-Physics Genius

Re:troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018778)

ever heard of a karma buildup before trolling?

Re: troll? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018838)

>>>> ever heard of a karma buildup before trolling?

We'll let the moderators be the JUDGE of that.

Judge not, lest ye be judged.

-Physics Genius

Server up and fast, parent troll (3, Informative)

Esteanil (710082) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018874)

See his posting history
'nuff said

I wouldn't be so sure about that. (you slandered) (1)

Netw0rkAssh0liates (544345) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018927)

I was over reading Corante.com's article [corante.com] because GrepLaw was going awfully slow for me.

Then, performing a taceroute on grep.law.harvard that was referenced by Slashdot (thanks alot you pricks), I found it timeout.

Yet, performing a traceroute on greplaw.org, it was barely handling the load for me. And I'm on Texas' Inet2 backbone!

traceroute greplaw.org
traceroute: Warning: greplaw.org has multiple addresses; using 207.44.244.117
traceroute to greplaw.org (207.44.244.117), 30 hops max, 38 byte packets
1 * * *
2 * * *
3 * * *
4 * * *
5 * * *
6 * * *
7 * * *
8 * * * ...

Timeout

You are the troll, Esteanil! I bet you are so new to Slashdot that you don't even know what a troll is.

Re:Server is going down fast... here's the text (4, Insightful)

killjoe (766577) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018913)

"Terrorism is now defined as force applied for political reasons by people other than the US Government."

THis should read.

"Terrorism is now defined as force applied for political reasons by people other than the US or the Israeli Government."

Thank you.

Re:Server is going down fast... here's the text (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019227)

The Israeli government is separate from the U.S.?

Re:Server is going down fast... here's the text (-1, Troll)

killjoe (766577) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019805)

Technically yes but in reality when Sharon says "jump" Bush says "how high".

Troll? I'm not a troll. It's just a userID. (0, Offtopic)

SlashdotTroll (581611) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018968)

Would you rather let the mafia controll this userID or a Slashdot messenger controll this userID?

By the way, I read this story on WWW.SETHF.COM before even GrepLaw.org posted. If anyone wants stronger server that doesn't have much load, here is the SETHF.COM article [sethf.com]

This GrepLaw.org article is Old by News standards.

BTW, I secured this userID "SlashdotTroll" a long time ago in good faith to prevent abuse on Slashdot and my action is no different than Ford securing the website www.fuckford.com and www.fordsucks.com to prevent same abuse to Ford's credibility.

Haven't you ever heard of a Troll that is pro-slashdot, that tries to alure people to good articles and good news?

Re:Troll? I'm not a troll. It's just a userID. (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019131)

This would of course explain why you post at 0 by default. Certainly your karma didn't get so low by posting shit like this [slashdot.org] now did it? Oh wait, maybe you are a troll afterall.

Re:Troll? I'm not a troll. It's just a userID. (1)

SlashdotTroll (581611) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019208)

gcaseye6677,

That article was more than one year ago and it was duplicate twice! Moderators were giving away points to anyone creative and I posted to the information minister. I can barely remember.

Looking at your colorful portfolio, you are no less without blemish [slashdot.org] in trying to uphold your own offtopic troll comments.

Why don't you pull out my HighSchool picture and laugh at my funny red nose?

Re:Troll? I'm not a troll. It's just a userID. (1)

gcaseye6677 (694805) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019508)

Aw, come on. You could have found a better example [slashdot.org] than that!

Gilmore?? (0, Flamebait)

desmogod (792414) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018558)

Who the hell is John Gilmore? Only a millionairre? Shit, that's pretty piss weak. Bet he's happy though.....

Re:Gilmore?? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018563)

He's John Perry Barlow's less cool friend.

real original (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018560)

greplaw, groklaw, blah blah blah

And I thought I was alone... (5, Insightful)

ElForesto (763160) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018561)

Here I am thinking I'm the only one that argues what he's arguing. The right to travel *IS* fundamental to a free society, IDs and driver's licenses be damned! I'm glad someone with money gets it (meaning that he has the means to do something about it other than speak up).

Re:And I thought I was alone... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018733)

driver's licenses be damned!

Slow down, cowboy. Neither you or I were born with a-priori knowledge of how to drive a car. Licensing programs for operators of vehicles on public roads are not a restraint on freedom of movement.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018985)

It is, because it's *prior* restraint. No one is saying that you have the right to drive dangerously. Neither do you have a right to wield a stick in a way that endangers others. But you don't need a license to have a stick, do you? If you drive dangerously then you are guilty of reckless endangerment, and you can be prosecuted and convicted by a jury. If you are NOT driving dangerously, then you are exercising a right. Permit = permission = not a right.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019420)

Except that the first mistake is liable to be fatal.

Personally, I think a large percentage of the people driving should lose their right to drive, because they can't seem to do it in a way that doesn't endanger or unduly impose on other drivers. Taking away licensing requirements would only make this worse. Does anyone have statistics on how much the economy loses to traffic every day? Some traffic is legit (construction), but a lot of it is caused by people who just refuse to drive reasonably.

Now, considering how dangerous a motor vehicle is, and considering that nobody knows how to drive by default, how is it such an imposition to require someone to prove they know the rules of the road, and that they can drive safely, before they are allowed to drive? It seems pretty reasonable to me.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10020083)

"It seems pretty reasonable to me."

You want utilitarian government. One that reduces your risk not only of injustice, but also from chance events. The end you are after is reasonable. And, in fact, it is *reasonable* to desire to restrict the freedom of others in order to achieve it. But not all reasonable desires are morally acceptible.

I may, for example, desire to shoot an intruder in my home the first chance I get. But doing that before I even determine that he poses a physical threat to me is not right. It is putting my personal well-being too far above his. I am allowed to put it above, but there are limits.

What you are asking for is a preliminary injunction against the right of every human being in America to travel the public highways. You want the law to presume their inadequacy, despite the fact that the vast majority *can* drive adequately. This is ridiculous as a point of law: you would have to have at least probable cause (%50) to get such an injunction in any other case. But furthermore, you would have to have it against each individual person, not merely their statistical group.

Furthermore, it is very common to rant about all the stupid drivers. But it's been shown time and again that nearly everyone dramatically overestimates their own driving abilities, and magnifies the flaws of others. Every time *you* screw up, you know all of the reasons and can usually rationalize it. You also often realize that although you didn't see a person, or were going to fast, etc., that you in fact did not really endanger anyone because you were still in control. In other words, it appeared to be a mistake but you know that it was within your 'acceptable operating parameters', so to speak.

When other people screw up, you see only the alarming part: the jerky correction, the surprised look, the skid, etc. You don't possess enough data to know if they did put you in danger, nor are you likely to give them the benefit of the doubt.

So I just don't buy that people suck at driving, or that driving is very difficult, or that it takes much learning at all. Most of what we call 'learning to drive' is really gaining the ability to ignore the road safely! The more we learn the less we pay attention. And most of us are just fine with that, even if it increases our danger.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (2, Interesting)

halowolf (692775) | more than 10 years ago | (#10020100)

I think this whole drivers license showing identity argument has gotten a little out of hand. Licensing people to drive vehicles (vehicles that can be dangerous) is a good thing for society. I view driving as a priviledge not a right.

What I take from John Gilmore arguments, is that people should not be arbitrarily identified just because they are walking down the street or stepping on a plane. In a supposedly "free" societ you don't need a license to walk down a street, and you don't need a license to sit down on a plane and be flown somewhere. There isn't a good enough reason in a "free" society to just ask who you are if you are not doing anything wrong. Asking for ID as you pick up your ticket from the airport that you may of paid for earlier or something I think is reasonable so they can ensure that the ticket is given to the right person and not being stolen. Treating you as a suspected terrorist because you want to board a plane, that is not so reasonable in my books.

If you are driving a car and speeding possibly endangering other lives and the police stop you and want some identification then they seems perfectly reasonable to me. Using these forms of identification to find out who people are when they are not doing anything wrong I don't think is on. But these things are my opinions and are not facts.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018739)

The one problem with applying this logic to driving is the idea of qualification. When one is flying, one is not in control, therefore, it does not need to be known whether or not a passenger can fly. When one is driving, one is in control. Thus, to ensure the safety of others, it seems necessary to have some sort of system of ensuring qualification to drive. Now, one might argue that the same can be applied to bicycles, but cars are much more dangerous (higher speeds, larger mass, etc.). If an alternative qualification system can be proposed, not requiring ID to drive might be acceptable.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0, Flamebait)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018764)

This is coming from someone who is a stron supporter of the ACLU(I would be a member, but I am a cheap bastard)
So it is the right of some drunk driver to mow down a pedestrian and be able to get away with it because in the name of civil liberties, he shouldn't have to have a license plate and drivers license eh?
Next time someone close to you is killed by a drunk driver, think about that for a second, k?
Yes I agree that big brother should be kept out of your living room, but when you are on the road, you can very easily affect another citizen's right to "life, liberty and the persuit of happiness". This is what pisses me off most about these, "I can do whatever the fuck I feel like" civil libertarians, what you do can adversely affect other people.
Same goes with speech, you have the right to say whatever the fuck you want, but I also have the right not to listen to it if I so desire. Which is why /. moderation is not supressing free speech(cept for the abuse of the underrated/overrated modifier which easily allows mods with agendas to push said agendas without getting caugh in meta-modding, but every system has flaws), because people can post whatever they want, I can just choose whether or not I want to read every GNAA troll.
Just like you can do whatever the fuck you want on your own property, as long as you don't hurt anyone else, but once you get on the road, you have certain responsibilites. Don't want to abide by the rules? There is nothing stopping you from walking/riding a bike/taking the bus/taking a train etc. All of those things will get you from point A to point B, and your odds of hurting someone else, while not zero, are much lower than they are if you are driving a car or flying in a plane.
Simply put, if you want to travel anonymously, then don't drive or take a plane. For the rest of us, we will go along without our tinfoil hats enjoying the (relative) safety of knowing that if someone hits us, they will be hunted down using their license plate/driver's license and brought to justice.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (4, Funny)

ElForesto (763160) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018990)

So it is the right of some drunk driver to mow down a pedestrian and be able to get away with it because in the name of civil liberties, he shouldn't have to have a license plate and drivers license eh?

I have absolutely no idea how to respond to that. Perhaps I need to beat myself over the head with a blunt object to approach that level of thinking and interpretation. You might as well say "So it is the right of some mentally-unbalanced gun nut to mow down a pedestrian and be able to get away with it because in the name of civil liberties, he shouldn't have to have a license to own the gun eh?"

The license had nothing to do with the fact that the guy was ACTING IRRESPONSIBLY. You act like that magic piece of plastic is going to automatically make Daryl the Drunk into Reginald the Responsible. Do you know why people as a whole drive safely? They don't want to damage their property and/or go to jail. The truly good people don't want to hurt other people. You act like the fact that a guy spent a few hours in a line at the DMV should account for his driving skill.

I'm all for much tougher penalties for irresponsible driving practices. Drunken driving should be a felony with at least 30 days in the drunk tank. Repeat offenders should be locked up even longer (presuming we let them out, which we shouldn't). If someone demonstrates a lack of ability to handle liberty, by all means TAKE IT AWAY.

You, sir, are an idiot. There, I said what everyone was thinking. You took my opposition to prior restraint and someone managed to walk away with an advocation of reckless and dangerous behaviour. I don't know what your problem is, but I'd bet it's hard to pronounce.

Yes I agree that big brother should be kept out of your living room, but when you are on the road, you can very easily affect another citizen's right to "life, liberty and the persuit of happiness". This is what pisses me off most about these, "I can do whatever the fuck I feel like" civil libertarians, what you do can adversely affect other people.

Can. That's a really sticky word, isn't it? I *can* choose to shoot a bunch of children with my gun. Should I be automatically subjected to intense psychological evaluation before I can own that gun? Prior restraint goes against everything this country has ever stood for. You cannot in any free society punish the innocent for the crimes of the guilty.

Do people do bad things? Yeah, it happens. But if you go off the deep end trying to prevent bad things from happening, you might as well lock everyone into their own little padded room in restraints so they can't hurt themselves. (Yes, this is hyperbole. That's the point.)

This is coming from someone who is a stron supporter of the ACLU(I would be a member, but I am a cheap bastard)

That's a good thing that you aren't a member, because with your attitudes I'd doubt they'd have you.

It's obvious to me you lost someone to a drunk driver, and I'm sorry about your loss. However, your emotional problems with that should not end up being the basis of law. By taking away someone's ability to chose, you become a petty tyrant as bad as King George III and an enemy to liberty.

God gave me the right to choose, and I'll never give up that God-given right of agency and free choice. Don't try taking that away.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (-1, Flamebait)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019166)

Wow, childish name callling, that is just amazing.
If you would have taken the half second to actually digest the post instead of making a very poor attempt to shove words in my mouth, you would have realized that I didn't imply that having a license will stop someone from driving drunk, but it will make that person easier to catch. And taking away that license will help(but not totally) ensure that the person doesn't drive again. Your assumption that stricter penalties will ensure that people don't drive drunk when they are allowed to drive annonymously is pure and utter bullshit. If the person is driving without any identifying marks, then how are the police supposed to catch that person if they get into a hit and run? Hmmm? How are the police supposed to look for a stolen car? Or didn't you think that deep. Something tells me that since you are the kind of person who resorts to name calling that your arguments are very poorly thought out and you are just a parrot for others, without really understanding the consequences of your proposals.
Prior restraint goes against everything this country has ever stood for.
Your "prior restraint" argument sidesteps my argument that transportation on public roads is a priveledge, not a right. I used to play a game in high school called, "Propaganda", and your point is a classic Non-Sequiter argument, you take something someone said, and then go off on a complete tangent. It still stands that you do not have a right to drive a car, no matter how much you use arguments of being a tyrant to prove otherwise. But if you insist you have that right, then do what Martin Luther King Jr. did, engage in non-violent civil disobedience and drive without a license or a license plate. But something tells me that you won't, because as much as you like complaining on /., you will do nothing to stand up for your beliefs.
I don't believe there is a God, so that doesn't give you the right to create one and pretend that somehow that diety gives you the right to do whatever you please. You failed to make one argument on why a license plates somehow violates your rights. Instead, you just produced a lot of emotional dribble.
Come back to me when you grow up and can have a big boy argument, till then please actually read what others have to say and respond to their arguments in a mature fashion instead of resorting to childish name calling, k?

Re:And I thought I was alone... (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019317)

"Your "prior restraint" argument sidesteps my argument that transportation on public roads is a priveledge, not a right."

Too bad the "privilege" argument is pure propoganda:

CASE #1: "The use of the highway for the purpose of travel and transportation is not a mere privilege, but a common fundamental right of which the public and individuals cannot rightfully be deprived." Chicago Motor Coach v. Chicago, 169 NE 221.

CASE #2: "The right of the citizen to travel upon the public highways and to transport his property thereon, either by carriage or by automobile, is not a mere privilege which a city may prohibit or permit at will, but a common law right which he has under the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." Thompson v. Smith, 154 SE 579.

CASE #3: "The right to travel is a part of the liberty of which the citizen cannot be deprived without due process of law under the Fifth Amendment." Kent v. Dulles, 357 US 116, 125.

CASE #4: "The right to travel is a well-established common right that does not owe its existence to the federal government. It is recognized by the courts as a natural right." Schactman v. Dulles 96 App DC 287,
225 F2d 938, at 941.

Note #3 especially. It specifically precludes the use of prior restraint tactics by government entities. Oh and by the way foidulus, I want to make you wear your SSN on a big white panel over your clothing, so in case you kill someone all the bystanders and any cops can easily identify you. And I don't want to hear that this would violate any of your rights!

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019345)

Oh, and here's another more general one:

"The claim and exercise of a constitutional right cannot be converted into a crime." - Miller v. U.S., 230 F 2d 486, 489.

I.e., that state can't use the argument, "Sure you have the right to travel... and we have the right to arrest you if you do it in our state without a license."

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019482)

You might as well say "So it is the right of some mentally-unbalanced gun nut to mow down a pedestrian and be able to get away with it because in the name of civil liberties, he shouldn't have to have a license to own the gun eh?"

The difference here is intent. A responsible gun owner does not point a gun in the direction of anyone that they do not want to shoot. If someone is doing something irresponsible with a gun, everyone around them will know and react quickly.

The difference between a car stopping normally and running down a pedestrian is about 10 ft. At a speed of 45mph, that's about .1 seconds. With a little practice, anyone can learn how to stop a car at the appropriate spot. The first time they drive, though, they won't know, and should have someone to keep an eye on them. The licensing process is simply to try to make sure that when someone is driving, they have some knowledge of the rules, and that they know how to operate a car!

I've never been shot at, stabbed, hit (aggressively), what have you. I have been in 3 traffic accidents. You want to make it even easier for people to drive, even when driving is already one of the most dangerous things you can do?

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019850)

*Counter-argument for the driver's license*

People in general severly suck at determining their ability to do something skillfully. If they are required to prove their skill before they can practice something that means a much larger portion of the people practicing will do so in a competent way.

Hence on a larger scale the pool of people driving will drive far more safely if they are forced to get a driver's license requiring a test of their skills. This will result in less people being hurt and lower costs to society. The loss will be a pretty minor freedom.

In summary:

Benefits of a driver's license: Far safer trafic and by extension less accidents and econmical costs to society.

Costs: People not being able to choose to drive without a driver's license.

*Counter argument for seat-belts*

As for not wearing a seat-belt, that doesn't directly hurt others, but it does adversely affect society in that society has to treat the extra damages incurred by not wearing a seat belt.

Benefits: Less damages to people who really doesn't want to wear seat belts. Less cost for society at large in treatments and lost working ability.

Costs: People not being able to choose not to wear seat belts.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (2, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019013)

Next time someone close to you is killed by a drunk driver, think about that for a second, k?

So, drunks won't get behind the wheel if they don't have a little government-issued laminated card?

Think about *that* for a second.

-jcr

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1)

foidulus (743482) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019202)

Um, I never said that they wouldn't. Read the post next time instead of just a single line. Guess what, that piece of plastic makes it much easier to track down whoever caused the accident, and allows police to keep drunks off the road.
God, this is why I really should stop reading YRO articles on /., the article summary is usually just a bunch of FUD, followed by a bunch of posts by parrots who tend to take 1 sentence and use it out of context to try to prove their point instead of actually debunking what was said.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1)

Etherael (651533) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019359)

You're saying no, they wouldn't keep off the road without this little government issued laminated card, but it makes them easier to track down, so it's obviously a good idea.

But...

You said not having one isn't going to stop them from driving irresponsibly anyway...

I mean, can you see where people are going with this?

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019878)

Yes, people will be less likely to drive drunk if a government-issued laminated card is required to drive. That is if such a privilege is taken away if said person is found to be driving drunk.

It really is quite simple. If we add a hurdle/punishment to something it will make most people less likely to do that. Some people will do it anyway, and some people won't. The totals will add up to less people doing it. It's just a matter of looking at these things from a statician's viewpoint.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (4, Interesting)

damiam (409504) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019237)

You'll notice he's not fighting driver's licenses any more than he's fighting pilot's licenses. It's possible to travel anonymously in a car as long as you're a passenger. Similarly, he thinks it should be possible to travel anonymously in a plane. Aside from hijacking, it's pretty hard to hurt other people while riding in a plane. And having to show ID didn't stop the 9/11 hijackers; they all showed perfectly valid official IDs under their own names. So what's the point?

Re:And I thought I was alone... (3, Interesting)

jcr (53032) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018998)

Speaking of drivers' licenses, I've always liked John's idea of a driver's license which was NOT an ID. It would prove that the person presenting it was the person who had passed the driver's test, but would not identify that person further.

-jcr

Re:And I thought I was alone... (2, Interesting)

Pigbot (797016) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019486)

I have always believed that freedom=responsibility, so the more freedom you have, the more responsible you must be for your actions. Accountability is part of this.

I don't want the police to start searching my house without a warrant, but I have no problem with the requirement of presenting identification when you are driving any vehicle under 25,000 pounds (standard license). To me, this is common sense.

Don't mean to harsh, but if someone wants to "live off the grid" and not have an id/dl then they shouldn't expect to share the same rights, since they are not willing to accept the same responsibility and accountability. Fine, live off the grid, walk or bike anywhere you want, you have that right. I just don't quite see how that extends to a drivers license that is not an ID.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10020128)

If it can be taken away *before* you abuse it, it isn't a right, it's a privilege.

Travel on the public right-of-way, via common conveyances of the time (which right now includes cars) is not a privilege. This has been upheld in numerous court cases: http://www.dlois.com/realtruth/right_to_drive.htm [dlois.com] .

Driving is a right, which means you don't need a permit. Permit = permission, and you don't need permission to exercise a right. That's what a right *is*.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (2, Interesting)

JimBobJoe (2758) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019787)

I've always liked John's idea of a driver's license which was NOT an ID. It would prove that the person presenting it was the person who had passed the driver's test, but would not identify that person further.

We call those non-photo drivers licenses...you may still get one in Vermont and several Canadian provinces (New Brunswick and Quebec, perhaps a few others.) You may also get one with a bona fide relgious objection in many states, but as we know, that goes back and forth.

To this day, the most non-photo licenses out there are found in New Jersey, which only recently elminated the non-photo license (or is trying to.)

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019150)

It's amazing when you realize that in many states in the US, someone can spend their entire life in prison for attempting to travel by means that endanger no one. Two ways are to drive without a license or to refuse a breathalizer test. Both will also lead up to the periods of imprisonment with months of constant harrassment, impoundment of property and many specific instances violating the right to travel.

Also note that things like traffic laws ARE justified, because two people cannot physically use the same portion of the road at the same time, even though they each have the right to travel. Their rights sometimes therefore come into 'conflict' of a sort, and the state is justified in implementing rules to sort out those conflicts.

Technically, however, a red light should be no more than a persistent stop sign. In other words, if you stop (or slow) at a red light and no one is coming, you should be able to go. The reason is, there is no conflict of rights here: yours is the only one in question. In practice this would lead to more injuries, but this is the thing only libertarians understand: law should not about improving life. It should not be about creating efficiency or harmony. It should only recognize and protect actual *rights*. Otherwise, what keeps the government from requiring us all to wear motorcycle helmets in our cars? Huh? No principle, just popular opinion. It would save so many lives!

Oh, and to anyone who thinks my red light idea is silly, stop and think for a second about what a flashing yellow light is. It's the same thing. Just light turning right on a red light is no different than turning right when you have a stop sign and no one else does. But there are intersections all over that don't let you do it.

Re:And I thought I was alone... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019566)

Ah, the differences between an engineer and normal people. As an engineer, I tend to think very conservatively. When laws are flexible, they are basically useless. Does anyone even read the speed limit anymore? If it really isn't safe to travel at 40 mph in a certain area, how to you get people to slow down? You don't, they drive however they want (and kill thousands every year). Most red lights allow a right turn, so when it's posted as 'no right turn on red', they probably had a reason to do that. They didn't just do it for fun.

this is the thing only libertarians understand: law should not about improving life. It should not be about creating efficiency or harmony. It should only recognize and protect actual *rights*.

OOOHHHH. YOU get it, and everyone else is stupid, huh?

I tend to think that laws are about making society function. If you don't care about social order, then you don't need laws (or rights). Libertarians are big on capitalism, right? Basically, less government and let the free market take care of everything? Well, capitalism doesn't work unless people follow the rules. Those rules are mostly put into place as laws: property laws, contract laws, antitrust laws, etc. None of those are *rights*, except property law, therefore they shouldn't be laws? Bye-bye free market.

Please, correct my misunderstanding. I just design shit, I don't really pay attention to politics. I mostly think the libertarians have a few good ideas, but don't approach them in any practical manner, and therefore I can't support them. (Engineer := practical)

Greplaw... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018567)

What a blatent fucking ripoff of Groklaw. Seriouly guys, get your own fucking ideas. You're not Microsoft you know.

ahem (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018658)

Domain Name: GROKLAW.NET
Created On: 03-Oct-03

Domain Name: GREPLAW.ORG
Created On: 11-Apr-2002

Did you hear that? Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018759)

Just as I clicked that link, I started hearing this odd sucking noise. As if a shopvac was being used to extinguish a bonfire by "sucking" the flames. Somewhere in New Jersey, someone went canatonic when you revealed the truth that their favorite GrokLaw can't hold a candle to GrepLaw's frosty first post!

Booyar' bouliabase!

Re:Did you hear that? Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018950)

PJ is really a man, now all you fucking dweebs get a life.

Re:Did you hear that? Huh? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019144)

PJ?

PJ is the anagram for pajamas. A man doesn't wear pajamas and by this confession you are not a man.

Pajamas also qualifies as a fluffy pink bunny suit that yo momma gave you for an Easter gift. My momma gave me fruit of the loom homie: I'm a man. I'ld rather live in my momma's basement than live in the same New York post-911 orphanage as you.

BTW, have you found any peices of your parents from the World Trade Towers wreckage?

Re:Did you hear that? Huh? (1)

CaptainCheese (724779) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019639)

PJ is a contraction of Pajamas (or pyjamas, take your pick.)

"A Jam Spa" would be an anagram of "Pajamas"

personally I prefer "Pyjamas"for its anagram "Jam Pays"

I feel pedanticulatedly sated...

Judge Kafka? (4, Interesting)

orthogonal (588627) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018647)

From the linked interview, on the subject of secret airport laws: (emphasis orthogonal's) "[i]t even worked at the District Court; our judge decided that if she couldn't see the law then it must by definition be constitutional (she ruled that I had no possible way to show it is unconstitutional)."

Is this the United States the Founding Fathers built, or Stalinism by way of Kafka?

Re:Judge Kafka? (1)

ImTwoSlick (723185) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018738)

Is this the United States the Founding Fathers built, or Stalinism by way of Kafka?

No. John was just putting words into the judge's mouth. He was trying to get the judge to rule on a law without giving a case for it being unconstitutional. How's a judge supposed to rule on that?

John was just using the classic straw man tactic.

Re:Judge Kafka? (4, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018919)

Dude no. Read the summary judgement. The judge should have said "ok, where is this law? Oh it's secret. Ok, that's unconstitutional." But he didn't.

Re:Judge Kafka? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019548)

No. Now you are just putting words into John's mouth. Maybe you should become familiar with a case before commenting on it.

Rights (3, Insightful)

t_allardyce (48447) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018650)

Never mind sarongs, what about the banning of thongs in Florida and Louisiana!! this is going to far by the righteous far right.

Re:Rights (5, Funny)

Tirinal (667204) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018766)

Never mind sarongs, what about the banning of thongs in Florida and Louisiana!! this is going to far by the righteous far right.

Obviously you're not thinking this through. With the current banning of thongs in two major states the resulting surplus will no doubt follow the third fundamental law of fashion: "Anything deemed unwearable by the religious right will surface within two weeks in San Francisco like a tidal wave."

Given the concentration of techies in the Bay Area, I'd say we have something to look forward to.

Re:Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019769)

Given the concentration of techies in the Bay Area, I'd say we have something to look forward to.

Ugh. Dude who wants to see all those pasty white asses around?

Re:Rights (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019902)

Lots and lots of gay men in thongs?

Easy way to get back at them. (1)

A.S. (122423) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018791)

Don't wear anything. Legions of naked pasty dorks will certainly change their mind.

Re:Rights (1)

sasha328 (203458) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019856)

Why on earth would you want to ban these thongs? [hopesmom.com]



For those not in the know, this is what we call THONGS in the Land of Oz.

Deadhead (3, Insightful)

Dayze!Confused (717774) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018700)

Which brings me to the belief that I have had that if every deadhead in this country voted this would be a different place. I can't emphasize how important it is that everyone votes. Please in the national election, everybody cast a vote. Bush won by having less than 60% of eligible voters vote and then only a marginal majority of those choose him.

Re:Deadhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018714)

That's how Clinton won, too. I was watching an SNL repeat today, and the joke was "I want to thank the nearly 50% of you that voted for me of the nearly 50% that voted of the 70% of Americans eligible to vote." Clinton never captured more than 50% of the vote.

Re:Deadhead (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018905)

I smoke pot, drop acid, have eaten shrooms more times than I can even remember (Hmm.. there might be a connection there!) and I am a voting republican.

We're out here. Just thought you might like to know.

Re:Deadhead (1)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019364)

...and I am a voting republican.

Don't worry, he'll be so high in the voting booth he won't be able to figure out which candidate is the republican.

Re:Deadhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018908)

Um, the majority of voters chose Gore; he won the popular vote by 500,000.

Re:Deadhead (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019122)

Give it up. The '60s were a long time ago.

Living near SF, I was amused by all the ex-hippies desperately trying to get in on the dot-com boom. Peace, love, and IPOs. Right. The trouble with the whole hippie thing was that it was an excuse for self-indulgence cloaked in bogus philosophy. The Left doesn't have a monopoly on this. The religious right has "abundance" [artofabundance.com] , which puts a theological spin on bankruptcy.

Neither group accomplishes very much.

Re:Deadhead (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019389)

Been hearing so much about the Bush vs. Kerry thing that it is getting rediculous. If Bush is gone and Kerry is in - what does that do? Titanic deck chairs come to mind. The problem is with the two party system and the Repubican-Democrats are not the ones to be elected.

Re:Deadhead (1)

Dayze!Confused (717774) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019460)

But if all the deadheads voted there might be enough voters to at least allow a third party to compete with the two major parties. Ralph Nader needs 5% in this election to get government funding for his party next time around, he's above 5% in the polls right now and if he keeps that then maybe, just maybe, we can look for a good run from the third parties in 2008.

Re:Deadhead (1)

IamGarageGuy 2 (687655) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019495)

Come on - be realistic here! Ralph Nader! Is this the same Nader that belongs to the same clubs as the Bush's? You assume that he would be all that different. I think it would be almost impossible to have someone that actually thought differently to be able to run for office in the US. Negative thinking I know but until the electorate actually wakes up it is a lost cause.

RIP This Story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018705)

After 40 minutes only about 20 comments? This story is dead.

wrong wrong wrong (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018717)

"The drug war is an ugly, corrupt set of policies that were bad when Nixon set it in motion to bash the hippie students who were hounding his ass out of office."

the drug war was first created to get returning GI's , from vietnam off of heroin and originally focused on treatment over criminalization. Of course later Nixon was forced by the right to increase the drug war's focus on criminalization. Oh yeah just as an aside the hippies did not force nixon out of office...he won both terms of his presidency. It was his own criminal activities that forced him out of office....not a bunch of inefectual hippies. They had nothing to do with ending the vietnam war and nothing to do with forcing nixon out of office.

Guys like this, history revisionist, asshole really make it hard for libertarian minded people to support ending the drug war. I mean any time i say the drug war is a waste of money regularly open minded people close thier doors to the idea becouse they have heard all the other consperiacy bullshit guys like this asshole have heaped on to a fairly straight forward argument. What is the saying "With freinds like this who needs enemies"

stendec@gmail.com

Re:wrong wrong wrong (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019262)

The drug war was started with the 1970 Omnibus Drug Act, not your revisionist theory of Vietnam veterans needing to smack smack.

Nixon is firmly responsible.

Re:wrong wrong wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10020056)

"The drug war was started with the 1970 Omnibus Drug Act, not your revisionist theory of Vietnam veterans needing to smack smack."

this is where i got my info:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/dr ug s/cron/

well actually i got info from watching the frontline program...but i think this link says it all....look at the may 1971 and june 1971.

stendec@gmail.com

Re:wrong wrong wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10020064)

WTF...

there should be no space in the url between .../drug and s/...

please fix to go to url

stendec@gmail.com

Re:wrong wrong wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10019305)

You dont think that the many many people who spoke out against the extremely stupid vietnam war did anything? Wow... must have been... all the people who died. Yeah, because people dying in a war makes the government stop! ... er... it didn't in WWII, because the public thought that it was justified. It was the public's reaction to the war that shamed the warmongering Americans out of Vietnam.

Re:wrong wrong wrong (4, Informative)

commodoresloat (172735) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019385)

You're right that Nixon's drug war emphasized treatment over criminalization, at least compared to the Reagan/Bush/Clinton/Bush drug war. But you're wrong that Nixon didn't see the drug war as a way to bash the hippies. He did, and he said so to his cabinet, as many of his tapes record. They also record that he thought the hippies were in league with the commies and the Jews on this. When you bash the "conspiracy bullshit" coming from the hippies you might at least compare it to the extreme paranoid "conspiracy bullshit" of their main enemy here.

Go John! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018757)

You rock, dude. Nuff said.

Earlier interview (3, Informative)

hotspotbloc (767418) | more than 10 years ago | (#10018831)

Last August [reason.com] John Gilmore was on the cover of and interviewed [reason.com] in Reason. Good reading from a great magazine [reason.com] .

Can someone add this to the "fortune" database? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#10018951)

Best quote from the article:

"I can never figure out the singular fascination that people have for what fibers other people wrap around their bodies. It gives small minds something to gossip about, and provides endless simple fun in tweaking them."

As always, he's a freak (-1, Troll)

tuxlove (316502) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019135)

From the interview:

Q: Why are you suing the government over ID on airplanes?

A: ...The right to travel, also known as the right of free movement, is essential in every free society. It's a crime to interfere with anyone's right of free movement (we call it kidnapping, among other things).


So, let's see. If I restrict the movement of strangers from entering into my house through my front door by locking it, I'm kidnapping them? I'm very selective with whom I let through my door, and have every right to be. The same goes for any private property, or property reserved for a particular purpose for which your passage is inconsistent. You just can't just have anyone wandering about nuclear plants, or onto planes while carrying bombs. His movement about the country is not restricted. He simply needs to get behind the wheel of his car and drive wherever the heck he wants to go, if he doesn't like airport security. And considering how rich he is, he could probably just get his own damn plane and stop worrying about it.

I just can't stand this guy. SO much of what he says is rhetorical, but he acts like it's apparent, obvious fact.

Re:As always, he's a freak (3, Insightful)

MultiModeRb87 (804979) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019188)

He simply needs to get behind the wheel of his car

That is, of course, if he happens to have permission from the U.S. Government in the form of a drivers' license.

The point is not that airlines or private individuals don't have the right to choose how they wish to restrict access to their property. The point is that the government doesn't have the right to force airlines or private individuals, as proxies, to restrict access to their property.

Although the kidnapping example is technically in the same category of movement restriction, perhaps a better example would be if police set up checkpoints at every major intersection, and required the identification of anyone who wished to pass. This would differ from the current system only in degree, and has been thus far prevented from taking place by both popular opinion and by the logistical nightmare that would ensue, although with the advent of cheap RFIDs, I wouldn't place too much faith in the latter, and I've little in the lasting ability of the former, given the example that you provided with your own comment.

Re:As always, he's a freak (2, Insightful)

Platupous (316849) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019752)

The distinction you are failing to make is that Gilmore is speaking of public infrastructure. Now whether or not airports are private property (many are not) may be up for argument, but not many will deny the fact that they are still part of a public infrastructure system. Note, also, that the internet is a public infrastructure.

You also make the point of ones passage being inconsistant; and use that as an example against Gillmores arguments, I fail to see how millions of passengers flying in the United States, each one who had to show ID, are demonstrating 'inconsistant pasage'.

As for your statement about people wandering around nuclear plants; this is not what Gillmore is speaking of at all, he is talking about our transportation system, so stick to the point.

I could go on, deconstructing the rest of your arguments, but I just realized I was suckered into replying to a troll. Ill leave it as an exercise for the reader to eliminate the rest of this commentators arguments. I got the ball rolling you may as well do your part. . . . . .

the right to be left alone (3, Insightful)

bodrell (665409) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019200)

I'm glad someone is working on this problem. I'm just a card-carrying ACLU member, but if I had Gilmore's resources I'd love to challenge a few laws. Like the right to not be annexed. Isn't that taxation without representation? Reagan blew so many holes in the Bill of Rights, someone has to reverse those precedents. We now have almost no protection against illegal search and seizure. States' rights are practically non-existent (especially here in Oregon, where Ashcroft has swooped down multiple times--to threaten physicians re. the state's assisted suicide law, and also to rattle a saber about medical marijuana issues).

Arrgh. Now I'm all riled up.

Join the ACLU [aclu.org] . It's safer than direct action against "the Man."

Pathetic Slimeball (0, Flamebait)

thejackhmr (643947) | more than 10 years ago | (#10019527)


the US government practices terrorism

It's really astounding how easily that angry little phrase rolls of the tounges of all these pothead disestablishmentarians. But aren't these the same junkies throwing molotov cocktails into Hummer dealers?

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