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Author Topic: Did the cryptography revolution begin too late?  (Read 10186 times)
kiba
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January 15, 2011, 04:15:24 PM
 #41


That is a fair assessment. I think a good case can be made that historically what are now called "libertarian" views have been co-opted by powerful interests. Is it really that surprising that fundamentally selfish motives can be leveraged to construct large scale injustice?


Selfish motives -> injustice is unjustified. You need to reason why selfish motives equal injustice.

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I don't think anyone should (or even can) be forced to partake in any society against his or her will. Hermits have always existed. However, if a person wishes to enter society (a relationship of some sort with at least another person) then compromises must necessarily be made. A democratic community should decide (yes - likely though difficult deliberation) what that standards and social contracts are based on their values and goals. Again, a person may be cast out of society for failing to meet some social obligation, or leave voluntarily. This seems elementary to me.

Where is this social contract and how do I sign it?

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You assume it is voluntary. Consider a farmer forced off his land and into a city by a powerful landowner. He can choose to work in a factory in basic slavery. Or he can choose to starve. Some would consider that "voluntary" free trade. This is not a hypothetical example, by the way.
If the rich landowner purchase land from him, than it's fine. If the landowner took it by force, that's a violation of property right.

Working for food does not equal automatic slavery.

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January 15, 2011, 04:37:03 PM
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Selfish motives -> injustice is unjustified. You need to reason why selfish motives equal injustice.

Any such relation is difficult, perhaps impossible, to show. It is my conjecture, based on experience and intuition. Human nature/interactions are far too complex to try to nail down the validity of any such statements. I will say that I am not alone in suspecting that the relation holds in most meaningful cases.

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Where is this social contract and how do I sign it?

I think you know you are being obtuse, but I'll play along. The contract depends on who lives in the society. You "sign" it by living in the society.

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If the rich landowner purchase land from him, than it's fine. If the landowner took it by force, that's a violation of property right.

Property rights are defined by those who own lots of property. Eminent domain is sometimes used by private interests to re-appropriate land.

However, we can go on to consider specific cases where the idea of ownership of resources falls down. If I say that I own something that you need to survive (water, air, etc.) then you may agree that there is a severe limitations regarding the concept of arbitrary private property.

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Working for food does not equal automatic slavery.

I see no distinction between being forced to live in a sweat shop to feed your family and slavery. I do see a difference between that situation and a factory that is run cooperatively by employees.

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January 15, 2011, 04:50:49 PM
 #43

Any such relation is difficult, perhaps impossible, to show. It is my conjecture, based on experience and intuition. Human nature/interactions are far too complex to try to nail down the validity of any such statements. I will say that I am not alone in suspecting that the relation holds in most meaningful cases.

You need to drop all such arguments.

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I think you know you are being obtuse, but I'll play along. The contract depends on who lives in the society. You "sign" it by living in the society.

The contract is invalid. You must sign it to implies that you understand "society's rule".

The real situation is clear. Do as we say, or we use violence or throw you in jail. That is reality.

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Property rights are defined by those who own lots of property. Eminent domain is sometimes used by private interests to re-appropriate land.

This is not property right people understood in Libertarian parlance. It is understood that people, no matter how rich they are, cannot take your property away, unless you specifically sold it to said person.

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I see no distinction between being forced to live in a sweat shop to feed your family and slavery. I do see a difference between that situation and a factory that is run cooperatively by employees.

It is my opinion that slavery required coercion. A threat of violence. If there is no such threat but nature, than it is not slavery.

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January 15, 2011, 05:50:00 PM
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You need to drop all such arguments.

I am not going to discard my intuition and experience. It has helped me avoid mistakes and solve problems. Just because I cannot show definitely why intuition and experience (induction) works does not disqualify it as a useful method. I prefer deductive methods, but induction and deduction may complement each other. You may disagree on my conclusions or reject my experience as invalid, and that is fine.

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The contract is invalid. You must sign it to implies that you understand "society's rule".

The real situation is clear. Do as we say, or we use violence or throw you in jail. That is reality.

It may be. However, authority must always justify itself to the satisfaction of those it claims to represent. In a true democracy, this condition is satisfied, by definition.

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This is not property right people understood in Libertarian parlance. It is understood that people, no matter how rich they are, cannot take your property away, unless you specifically sold it to said person.

It is an academic exercise then. In reality, property owners routinely conspire to allocate resources and capital to their own ends at the expense of others. This has been repeatedly demonstrated.

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It is my opinion that slavery required coercion. A threat of violence. If there is no such threat but nature, than it is not slavery.

By that logic, I can commit all sorts of atrocities and blame them on "nature" or "acts of God." The problem with this logic is that one can predict a likely outcome of such situations; this is sufficient to show intent in a court of law.

Shooting someone in the face and denying them a means to earn food lead to the same predicable outcome: death. If they only way to earn food is by working in a sweatshop, I think one could demonstrate that the situation is coercive. In my estimation (and I would wager - the estimation of most), this is criminal.

Also, I noticed you skipped over my example about property rights over air and water. What is you stance on that?

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kiba
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January 15, 2011, 06:24:48 PM
 #45

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I am not going to discard my intuition and experience. It has helped me avoid mistakes and solve problems. Just because I cannot show definitely why intuition and experience (induction) works does not disqualify it as a useful method. I prefer deductive methods, but induction and deduction may complement each other. You may disagree on my conclusions or reject my experience as invalid, and that is fine.

My experience tells me that human beings are all evil. It doesn't matter if they have good intentions.

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It is an academic exercise then. In reality, property owners routinely conspire to allocate resources and capital to their own ends at the expense of others. This has been repeatedly demonstrated.

We have relative strong property right in the western world. Without the ability of accumulation, there is no capital. Without capital, there is no wealth. It is not an academic exercise, but an actual economic consequence.

Quote

By that logic, I can commit all sorts of atrocities and blame them on "nature" or "acts of God." The problem with this logic is that one can predict a likely outcome of such situations; this is sufficient to show intent in a court of law.

Cannot follow the logic.

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Shooting someone in the face and denying them a means to earn food lead to the same predicable outcome: death. If they only way to earn food is by working in a sweatshop, I think one could demonstrate that the situation is coercive. In my estimation (and I would wager - the estimation of most), this is criminal.

I agree that the outcome is the same. However, for coercion to qualify, a human being must actively threaten another to do something. Denial of resource a human being own is merely "not helping".

Working in a sweatshop is a lifesaver compared to the economic condition I would have to endure outside the sweatshop.

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Also, I noticed you skipped over my example about property rights over air and water. What is you stance on that?

It is up to those who possess the mean to determine what they shall do something with it. It is an extreme situation with impossible ethical choices. Save others, or yourself, or die altogether. I do not wish ill well on those who are forced to make such decisions like this.

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January 15, 2011, 08:14:21 PM
 #46

Gene, you make strong logical arguments and obviously have thought and read about these subjects in depth.  If I understand correctly your main concern is the accumulation of wealth in the hands of the few while the many live in poverty.  This concern is justified as history is rife with many examples of this sort of social injustice.  However, upon examination, you'll find this is always caused by government.  Even today, Big Business tends to grow so large because it's in bed with government.  Without government regulations and taxes to drive out marginal consumers Big Business would have a lot more competition and would not be able to grow so large and abusive.

From what I can tell you are in favor of decentralization and I agree with that.  What I don't agree with is that democracy is the best institution for governance, even local governments.  Democracy is fundamentally flawed: just because a majority of people hold an opinion, does not mean that opinion is right. Morality and reality aren't subject to the majority concentration of opinion.  I'm sure you're aware of this, so I guess what I'd like to hear from you is how you think individual rights and private property rights would be protected under any sort of democratic system.

I noticed your Ayn Rand comment in an earlier post.  I'd like to point out that associating all Libertarians with Randian objectivism is hardly fair.  I know it is the stereotype and is very easy to paste onto anyone vaguely libertarian to discredit them, but for heaven's sake that's what the mainstream media does.  Don't be like them.  Smiley 

I consider myself libertarian but have never read Miss Rand's "epic" works of literature and don't subscribe to her philosophy of objectivism, where what ever she believes is what is objective and whatever someone else believes is subjective.  That being said, I'm not completely discrediting her because she doubtless had many good ideas which helped fuel the libertarian movement.


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January 15, 2011, 08:31:15 PM
 #47

... I consider myself libertarian but have never read Miss Rand's "epic" works of literature ...

Her novels are awesome. I've just finished re-reading "We the Living". Story synopsis: The heroine, a very cool 18-year-old chick, is having sex with two guys. One is a communist with integrity, who kills himself when it dawns on him that all of his comrades have become corrupt. The other is an anti-communist who loses his integrity and descends into debauchery. This leaves the chick feeling that she has no alternative to escape the country (it's set in Russia in the 1920s), and ... I won't reveal the ending.

Both "We the Living" and "The Fountainhead" are great stories even for those with no libertarian leanings. On the other hand, her masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" can be hard going for non-libertarians, and the 50-page speech of John Galt is hard going even for libertarians.
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January 15, 2011, 09:10:48 PM
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Her novels are awesome. I've just finished re-reading "We the Living". Story synopsis: The heroine, a very cool 18-year-old chick, is having sex with two guys. One is a communist with integrity, who kills himself when it dawns on him that all of his comrades have become corrupt. The other is an anti-communist who loses his integrity and descends into debauchery. This leaves the chick feeling that she has no alternative to escape the country (it's set in Russia in the 1920s), and ... I won't reveal the ending.

Both "We the Living" and "The Fountainhead" are great stories even for those with no libertarian leanings. On the other hand, her masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" can be hard going to non-libertarians, and the 50-page speech of John Galt is hard going even for libertarians.

I've heard good things of her writings in general and do plan to read some of her books at some point.  I just don't think she is the end-all of libertarian thought.
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January 15, 2011, 10:21:59 PM
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... I just don't think she is the end-all of libertarian thought.
For sure you're right. But when Ayn Rand developed Objectivism, she pulled together many ideas in a very coherent way. Some of those ideas were unthinkable to many people at the time she published them, but have now become more generally understood. And as thinkers have moved forwards to accept those broad ideas, they can now see further and can fill in the finer details. Today, the person who might have been an Objectivist Libertarian in Rand's time, may be a market anarchist or other flavor of voluntarist.

Here's a specific example. Ayn Rand patiently wrote up explanations of how certain aspects of society could work in a Libertarian world. For example, she explained how the radio spectrum could be allocated based on market principles rather than by the favors of officials and committees. As a teenager in the 1970s I presented that argument to those with whom I was debating, and I was heavily ridiculed. People came up with reason after reason why radio frequencies couldn't possibly be allocated to the highest bidder. And yet here we are today, with mobile phone frequencies routinely allocated by auction in most countries.
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January 15, 2011, 10:33:11 PM
 #50

her masterpiece "Atlas Shrugged" can be hard going to non-libertarians, and the 50-page speech of John Galt is hard going even for libertarians.

Oh, that's just rediculous hyperbole!  I believe that John Galt's speech is only 32 pages.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 15, 2011, 10:34:02 PM
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... I just don't think she is the end-all of libertarian thought.
For sure you're right. But when Ayn Rand developed Objectivism, she pulled together many ideas in a very coherent way. Some of those ideas were unthinkable to many people at the time she published them, but have now become more generally understood. And as thinkers have moved forwards to accept those broad ideas, they can now see further and can fill in the finer details. Today, the person who might have been an Objectivist Libertarian in Rand's time, may be a market anarchist or other flavor of voluntarist.

Here's a specific example. Ayn Rand patiently wrote up explanations of how certain aspects of society could work in a Libertarian world. For example, she explained how the radio spectrum could be allocated based on market principles rather than by the favors of officials and committees. As a teenager in the 1970s I presented that argument to those with whom I was debating, and I was heavily ridiculed. People came up with reason after reason why radio frequencies couldn't possibly be allocated to the highest bidder. And yet here we are today, with mobile phone frequencies routinely allocated by auction in most countries.


Thumbs up.  I agree with you.  Also, I really like your example of radio spectrum allocation.  That one is near and dear to my heart...
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January 15, 2011, 10:44:09 PM
 #52

I consider myself libertarian but have never read Miss Rand's "epic" works of literature and don't subscribe to her philosophy of objectivism, where what ever she believes is what is objective and whatever someone else believes is subjective.  That being said, I'm not completely discrediting her because she doubtless had many good ideas which helped fuel the libertarian movement.


I read Atlas Shrugged long after I became a libertarian, and after I had many liberals accuse me of being a Rand worshipper.  I wouldn't consider the book to be a truly great piece of fiction.  It was a good read, but it's real value is as a philosophy tome disguised as a work of fiction.  The characters are stereotypes, on purpose, because they represent entire mindsets and worldviews.  On a related note, John Stossel recently did a show about the 50th anniversary of the release of Atlas Shrugged including helping the Rand Foundation announce their video contest winner.  I've yet to see the video, but if some of the losing submissions are any indication, it's got to be outstanding.

Although I can admit that I was moved by the book, I was already a libertarian.  For anyone who doesn't know about that concept who reads that book will either love it or hate it, but no one walks away from it unchanged.

Still, I would say that The Moon is a Harsh Mistress and Alongside Night were two very libertarian novels that were far better works of storytelling.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 15, 2011, 10:49:37 PM
 #53

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I am not going to discard my intuition and experience. It has helped me avoid mistakes and solve problems. Just because I cannot show definitely why intuition and experience (induction) works does not disqualify it as a useful method. I prefer deductive methods, but induction and deduction may complement each other. You may disagree on my conclusions or reject my experience as invalid, and that is fine.

My experience tells me that human beings are all evil. It doesn't matter if they have good intentions.

Then that is your root problem.  If this is how you believe people are, then you will gravitate towards authoritarianism throughout your life.  For if no individual can be trusted to have a code of honor, then only the threat of collective force could ever keep them in check.

Sociopaths only make up about 2% of the general population, but make up at least 10% of all corporate CEO's, 60% of the penal population and 20% of the career military with more than one tour of duty.

What does that tell you?

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 15, 2011, 11:14:49 PM
 #54


Then that is your root problem.  If this is how you believe people are, then you will gravitate towards authoritarianism throughout your life.  For if no individual can be trusted to have a code of honor, then only the threat of collective force could ever keep them in check.

For the record, I am an anarchist, and an anti-authoritarian.

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January 15, 2011, 11:48:14 PM
 #55

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Why do want it to be "at the expense of others" ?   Free trade is volontary : it's a win-win game.

You assume it is voluntary. Consider a farmer forced off his land and into a city by a powerful landowner. He can choose to work in a factory in basic slavery. Or he can choose to starve. Some would consider that "voluntary" free trade. This is not a hypothetical example, by the way.

Yes I do assume it is voluntary.  That's the definition of free trade.

If a farmer is forced off his land, then this land is not "his".   He was working on a land he doesn't own.  Working in a city doesn't improve his situation, but it doesn't make it fundamently worse either.
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January 15, 2011, 11:51:11 PM
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Then that is your root problem.  If this is how you believe people are, then you will gravitate towards authoritarianism throughout your life.  For if no individual can be trusted to have a code of honor, then only the threat of collective force could ever keep them in check.

For the record, I am an anarchist, and an anti-authoritarian.

You've mentioned that before, but your statements don't mesh.  Not all anarchists are the same, as some intend for anarchy to be a stepping stone to another political end; and many who say they are anti-authoritarian are really anti-current-establishment.  If you can imagine a type of authority that you could find acceptable, then you are not truly anti-authoritarian.  Honestly, I don't think that libertarians are absolutes in this regard.  I'm certainly not, as I have real problems with the concept of absence of government.  Duely limited, sure, but anarchy isn't a sustainable condition, even when it's desirable.  There are always that thin minority of the population that is truly evil, for whom the collective force of society is the only plausible limitation.  Nature doesn't like a vaccuum, and neither does politics.  It is a part of human nature for most people to look for guidance during a crisis, and a crisis is easy to manufacture within an anarchist society.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 16, 2011, 01:04:21 AM
 #57

Shooting someone in the face and denying them a means to earn food lead to the same predicable outcome: death. If they only way to earn food is by working in a sweatshop, I think one could demonstrate that the situation is coercive. In my estimation (and I would wager - the estimation of most), this is criminal.

I was going to stay out of this thread, but statements like this really have to be answered.  Let's conduct a thought experiment.  There exists an impoverished, third-world village where most of the inhabitants don't get enough to eat.  If nobody from the outside does anything, conditions in the village will likely remain the same for generations.  A businessman comes along and builds a factory on previously-unused land and offers jobs to those who wish to work there.  Everything about the working conditions and wages is disclosed beforehand.  Each villager has the option of continuing to scrounge/trade for food in the same way they have for generations or work at the factory.  Some choose to work at the factory and decide that it is better than the old way of surviving, even though the hours are long and the conditions less favorable than in the industrialized countries.  How is this coercive or criminal?

"A small body of determined spirits fired by an unquenchable faith in their mission can alter the course of history." --Gandhi
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January 16, 2011, 01:21:41 AM
 #58

Quote
I am not going to discard my intuition and experience. It has helped me avoid mistakes and solve problems. Just because I cannot show definitely why intuition and experience (induction) works does not disqualify it as a useful method. I prefer deductive methods, but induction and deduction may complement each other. You may disagree on my conclusions or reject my experience as invalid, and that is fine.

My experience tells me that human beings are all evil. It doesn't matter if they have good intentions.

Then that is your root problem.  If this is how you believe people are, then you will gravitate towards authoritarianism throughout your life.  For if no individual can be trusted to have a code of honor, then only the threat of collective force could ever keep them in check.

Sociopaths only make up about 2% of the general population, but make up at least 10% of all corporate CEO's, 60% of the penal population and 20% of the career military with more than one tour of duty.

What does that tell you?

Psycopaths make a large percentage of politicians.
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January 16, 2011, 01:57:43 AM
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I am not going to discard my intuition and experience. It has helped me avoid mistakes and solve problems. Just because I cannot show definitely why intuition and experience (induction) works does not disqualify it as a useful method. I prefer deductive methods, but induction and deduction may complement each other. You may disagree on my conclusions or reject my experience as invalid, and that is fine.

My experience tells me that human beings are all evil. It doesn't matter if they have good intentions.

Then that is your root problem.  If this is how you believe people are, then you will gravitate towards authoritarianism throughout your life.  For if no individual can be trusted to have a code of honor, then only the threat of collective force could ever keep them in check.

Sociopaths only make up about 2% of the general population, but make up at least 10% of all corporate CEO's, 60% of the penal population and 20% of the career military with more than one tour of duty.

What does that tell you?

Psycopaths make a large percentage of politicians.

Intuitively true, but if there is any group that is inclined to avoid proper phycological profiling, it's politicians.

"The powers of financial capitalism had another far-reaching aim, nothing less than to create a world system of financial control in private hands able to dominate the political system of each country and the economy of the world as a whole. This system was to be controlled in a feudalist fashion by the central banks of the world acting in concert, by secret agreements arrived at in frequent meetings and conferences. The apex of the systems was to be the Bank for International Settlements in Basel, Switzerland, a private bank owned and controlled by the world's central banks which were themselves private corporations. Each central bank...sought to dominate its government by its ability to control Treasury loans, to manipulate foreign exchanges, to influence the level of economic activity in the country, and to influence cooperative politicians by subsequent economic rewards in the business world."

- Carroll Quigley, CFR member, mentor to Bill Clinton, from 'Tragedy And Hope'
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January 16, 2011, 03:05:12 AM
 #60

I think that we're not too late.
All the technologies needed are already there (P2P, Bitcoin, TOR, I2P, Proxy, OpenVPN etc).

It is already possible.  The internet could already become one giant gray box, to which you send data and from which you receive data, not knownig where that data come from, and where are the data coming to. But that of course depends on the people and their will to do it.

The question is - will the people follow this path ? I certainly hope so, because IMHO the only other way out of the current situation is either a Global Totalitarian Government or war. I sure would pick anonymity & freedom.

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