Comments: Internet Censorship Law and Censorware Politics

I think the larger point here is that there are a couple of different strategies you can take in life. One is to adopt a position, an ideology, and then fight for it. Find and publicize all the evidence you can that supports it, hide the evidence that opposes it, change your position on factual matters from day to day depending on whether they help or hurt the argument you are trying to make at that time.

The other strategy is to look for the truth, and let that be a guide to your actions. You'll still acquire positions and beliefs, but they will be flexible, provisional, always open to rebuttal and alteration. When facts are uncomfortable, you face them squarely, and let the chips fall as they may.

Now, obviously these are somewhat exaggerated and stereotyped characterizations; no one is purely in one camp or the other. But I do feel that far too many people in our community adopt the first approach, putting their goals ahead of their methods, letting the ends justify the means.

I see you, in contrast, as basically a truth seeker. This is why you are so often out of sync with the rest of the community, not just on this issue, but on many issues in the past. Reading your blog, I am frequently surprised and delighted to see constructive criticism directed towards weak ideas which all too often become the conventional wisdom in the privacy community.

I can understand that this has come at a cost to you; it is one reason why I present my comments from behind a pseudonym. But you should try to take heart from the knowledge that ultimately, the truth makes a better foundation for policy and argumentation than fiction. By providing those truths, even uncomfortable ones, you are performing a valuable service.

Posted by Cypherpunk at March 5, 2004 02:57 PM

Sorry that you feel that way. I did not get paid for my thousands of hours of activism either. But when I saw footnote #1 on June 23rd, I new instantly it had all been worth it. As a nice bonus, I leveraged it into an enjoyable and well-paying career. And I've moved on, and so should you.

Posted by Jim Faith at March 6, 2004 12:07 AM

Cypherpunk: Thank you very much for your thoughtful comments. The problem, however, is that I find I win no prizes for my efforts - it's not popular, and there's no return. The cost was, in retrospect, too much.

David, err, "Jim": The key is that "enjoyable and well-paying career". It makes all the difference. For me, moving on means quitting (because of the aforementioned cost).

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at March 8, 2004 10:55 AM

How about the EFF Pioneer Award? How much does that kind of recognition mean to you, in retrospect?

Posted by Cypherpunk at March 8, 2004 05:12 PM

My saying: I love having won an EFF Pioneer Award. But I can neither eat it, wear it, nor sleep in it.

Moreover, it sadly turned out to be less recognition than one might think, because people don't hear of it, compared to the reach of attacks on me.

Posted by Seth Finkelstein at March 9, 2004 08:09 AM