Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

Go to first entry



<< current
E-mail address:
jhertzli AT ix DOT netcom DOT com

My Earthlink/Netcom Site

My Tweets

My other blogs
Small Sample Watch
XBM Graphics

The Former Four Horsemen of the Ablogalypse:
Someone who used to be sane (formerly War)
Someone who used to be serious (formerly Plague)
Rally 'round the President (formerly Famine)
Dr. Yes (formerly Death)

Interesting weblogs:
Back Off Government!
Bad Science
Boing Boing
Debunkers Discussion Forum
Deep Space Bombardment
Depleted Cranium
Dr. Boli’s Celebrated Magazine.
Foreign Dispatches
Good Math, Bad Math
Greenie Watch
The Hand Of Munger
Howard Lovy's NanoBot
Liberty's Torch
The Long View
My sister's blog
Neo Warmonger
Next Big Future
Out of Step Jew
Overcoming Bias
The Passing Parade
Peter Watts Newscrawl
Physics Geek
Pictures of Math
Poor Medical Student
Prolifeguy's take
The Raving Theist
Respectful Insolence
Seriously Science
Slate Star Codex
The Speculist
The Technoptimist
Tools of Renewal
XBM Graphics
Zoe Brain

Other interesting web sites:
Aspies For Freedom
Crank Dot Net
Day By Day
Dihydrogen Monoxide - DHMO Homepage
Jewish Pro-Life Foundation
Libertarians for Life
The Mad Revisionist
Piled Higher and Deeper
Science, Pseudoscience, and Irrationalism
Sustainability of Human Progress

Yet another weird SF fan

Thursday, June 13, 2013

This Argument Might Prove the Opposite of What Was Intended

I'm sure many of my fellow anti-authoritarian crackpots have come across this speculation on what might have happened if King George III's government could have used traffic analysis. There is a minor problem with it: Back then, governments could really have used traffic analysis.

In the Good Old Days, communications were done using these strange devices called letters and post offices. Post offices, in turn, were usually run by the government. (Anybody who tried bypassing the postal monopoly would be in a pile of trouble.) That monopoly meant that, although the government wasn't permitted to open the letters (and if you believe that…), it could definitely find out who was communicating with whom.

In short, the current controversy is not about some new tyranny but about reviving an old one. That doesn't make it good (especially when you consider the lengths the government went to to try to keep it secret), but we should keep matters in perspective.

Meanwhile, it might make more sense to emphasize that the statist arguments can be used by anti-statists as well. For example, “If you try keeping secrets you must have something to hide…” can apply to the government as well.


Post a Comment

<< Home

My Blogger Profile
eXTReMe Tracker X-treme Tracker

The Atom Feed This page is powered by Blogger.