Valley Girl Sez: Libertarianism Sux!

Matt Cramer cramer at
Wed Aug 23 21:58:43 PDT 2000

On Wed, 23 Aug 2000, Barry Rene DeCicco wrote:

> On Wed, 23 Aug 2000, Matt Cramer <cramer at> wrote:
> (Re: the role of government in the creation of the internet)
> > No, he'll be sure to tell us again that he personally invented it. You
> > underestimate the importance of the hackers, the freethinkers, the
> > scientists, the students who invented the internet that created the
> > economic miracle. The only reason the .gov wasn't involved is because
> > they didn't predict what would happen (if I had predicted it I'd be
> > philosophizing from my private island right now). Evil capitalists didn't
> > predict it either - even M$, a "high-tech" company, didn't realise how the
> > internet would change their business until about 1995. Only their size
> > and deep pockets kept them afloat for that blunder.
> Note that these scientists and students were working with government
> support. The internet is a product of lavish government funding for
> science and education from WWII - the 1990's. Doing what government does
> best for this - writing checks to fund basic research, with enough money
> sloshing around that unscheduled stuff can get done.

I'm with you so far....

> And created an
> well-funded open-source environment (i.e., the education/research
> establishment).

...up until here. The .gov "created" the education and research establishment? Sure some of the buildings, and some of the people, but the manner in which these resources are applied? That I don't buy. The notions of peer-review, open collaboration, and exploration out-date any .gov.

> Such a large, protected environment that people could
> live within it and lose sight of the boundaries between it and the real
> world.

I'm always looking for definitions of what makes up "the real world", but I digress.

> Remove that government money, and what would have happened?

The party line Libertarian (capital L) answer is that the good citizens would freely give to research .orgs since they wouldn't be getting taxed from here to infinity. Less "radical" libertarians have no problem being taxed for projects like this, we just wish we had more say in how our tax dollars get spent. Remove the players, like say Jon Postel, and what would have happened?

> Would IBM have created the internet?

Maybe, maybe not. Similarly, would the internet exist without Bell Labs, and UNIX?


-- Matt Cramer <cramer at> We can't stop the violence - because the war is not over - until you can feel love, peace, and hear silence. But I smell gunpowder...

-Wyclef Jean

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