[p2p-research] FreeNet

Ryan Lanham rlanham1963 at gmail.com
Sun Nov 29 20:05:18 CET 2009

On Sun, Nov 29, 2009 at 1:52 PM, Ted Smith <teddks at gmail.com> wrote:

> If we assume that things like free speech are axiomatically good, then
> those things which protect free speech are also good, thus anything
> Freenet does is good, because all it does is allow for anonymous (and
> thus free) speech.
> I assert that the morality in both situations is neutral, since no
> action is taking place between agents. I find it hard to judge morality
> when there is only a single autonomous being involved, doing nothing to
> anything but itself. You could say that the network is committing a
> moral action by transferring data to the requesting party, but since the
> network is just transferring encrypted bytes, I don't think any moral
> judgment could be made on it.

My own view is that axiomatic bads and goods are the stuff of religions, not
reason or good governance.  So, I would reject the idea that anything can be
based on a fundamental tenet.  Free speech, as the classic example goes,
does not allow shouting fire in a theater or selling pornography in a grade
school.  There are always some with higher and lower standards of these
offenses.  My standards are relatively high--I would equate them to
operations in a Nordic country.

Interestingly, moments ago Switzerland just banned the construction of
minarets.  Curious policy in the face of "freedom of religion" demanded by
the European declarations and those the UN.  On the other hand, the
fertility rate in Germany/Switzerland/Italy is about 1.3 and the populations
are not declining rapidly. The immigration is often from Turkey or other
Muslim nations such as that by 2030, Germany could be a majority Muslim
country.  That may not be how Germans view themselves.

Systems and collectives of course have morality just as a state or
corporation does.  So to allow or sanction a behavior is a moral act--like
preventing a certain type of building being built because one sees it as
culturally transformative and symbolic.

Libertarianism in the sense of live and let live is really a fairly thin
moral gruel for a society.  It's really avoidance of making a moral
decision.  It is often used as a defense for things like Pirate sites, but I
don't think it gets much traction with those of us who think a lot about
these things.

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