Government funded the creation of the Internet, and has been trying to destroy it ever since.
They did their best to control public key crypto, threatening to prosecute the developer of PGP, Phil Zimmermann.
The RIAA and A&M records sued Napster out of business, and now they wish they could exorcise Gnutella and BitTorrent, the distributed P2P demons Napster spawned.
The blooming of the web, the GNU project, Linux, free and open source software development, and Wikipedia generated less controversy, but similarly disrupted particular industries. Gatekeepers join the unemployed.
It may seem to you that I am just writing about technology, that I want a techno-utopia. I see this as a massive reduction in the cost of communications, a massive expansion of the potential for cooperation. Technological change enables social change, it cannot replace it.
Even people dealing with this every day don’t necessarily see the trend. I misunderstood and underestimated the impact of all these technological and social developments when they first appeared. I was distracted by politics, pessimism, and bad news.
These developments give me hope. Kurzweil has written about the technological singularity. What about a social singularity? Can this pattern continue?
Nothing is certain, but I see hope.
[update] Where would we be without the efforts of Whit Diffie, Phil Zimmermann, Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds, Bram Cohen, Gavin Andresen, and Satoshi Nakamoto (and others)? We would be playing tug of war over politics, or grumbling from the sidelines. Every time someone like this lets another freedom cat out of the bag, we take a baby step in the right direction. Let’s keep going!