History makes insight seem easy. Generations later, whatwas amazing seems obvious. After decades of confirmation andreflection and commerce, the radically new and important is con-firmed. Once confirmed, the historians get to point to it. There isan “it,” at some moment. Everything important seems to follow.But at the time when that “it” gets born, its significance isnot obvious. Its importance or potential is not clear. Indeed, mostat the time don’t even get it. Most don’t see why the thing that willsomeday be “critically important” is, or was, then.Most, but not all.This book is about two souls who are not among that“most.” The one, the author, David Post, has seen a future for theInternet for as long as I’ve known him; the other, the admired,Thomas Jefferson, saw the future for a Republic, and struggledwith how to get others to see.Post is a founder of a field of legal thought called “the lawof cyberspace.” He mapped its contours before most had a brows-er. That map was an inspiration, mainly. It was bent, but only byan optimism about how people might live. He had architected aframework that seemed to him inevitable. That inevitable is not yethere.This book continues his map. And perhaps because he re-cognizes just how difficult it will be to get people to understandsomething that is so radically different, he has crafted that map onthe model of perhaps America’s greatest political architect, Jeffer-son.But like Jefferson, Post wants to show us, not tell us. Hewants you to look at things that can’t help but change how you seethe familiar. He wants to set before you pieces which when seentogether, when synthesized, change how you think about some-thing you thought was familiar. He wants that synthesized view toconvince you of just how significant this new world could be.
Professor of Law, Harvard Law School, Director, Edmond J. Safra Center forEthics.