RE: virus: Power

ken sartor (
Sat, 03 Aug 1996 11:37:12 -0500

At 06:55 AM 8/3/96 -0500, Eric Hardison wrote:
>On 2 Aug 96 at 22:37, KMO wrote:
>> >emotionally balanced, educated person who had an alcohol problem.
>> Well, a drinking problem generally disqualifies one from being a
>> candidate for the lable 'emotionally balanced.' Your statement borders
>> on being a tautology. As for never having known an educated alcoholic;
>> you will. Go to graduate school. I had a roommate who was working on
>> his PhD in psychology. His progress towards his degree was slow because
>> he kept derailing himself with his binge drinking.
>That is why I said emotionally balanced "and" educated person. If I had
>used "or", the statement would have been wrong. It's quite possible for
>an emotionally balanced person to have a drinking problem simply because
>he doesn't know any better, just as it is possible for an educated
>person to have a drinking problem because he can't control his emotions.
>I think it is the job of the US government to produce citizens that
>satisfy both of those qualities ( or at least try to), but it is failing
>miserably in both areas -- especially in emotional education.

I see no evidence that emotionally balanced and educated people cannot
have drinking problems. When they do, however, they may have the
resources to hide it, perhaps indefinitely.

I do not believe the US government (or any other, real or imagined)
could possibly do the job above. For a government to even take on
the task is, to me, a scary thought.

>> As for your concerns about
>> power accumulating in the hands of the few; I
>> would suggest that thesituation you describe is the historical norm and
>> the rise of the net is beginning to alieviate that inequality by
>> bringing information, knowledge, and power to more people than ever.
>> Still, your fears about abuse of power are healthy fears.
>It is the state of the education system that worries me though. How do
>you expect poorly educated people to properly take advantage of increased
>communication and information when they don't have the necessary skills?
>It will not empower the masses, but rather extend the power of those that
>already have it.
>As for the net, have you taken a good look lately? It's becoming nothing
>more than a way to make money. Ever since the NSF started backing out,
>leaving the net with the commercial exchanges, the noise to bandwidth
>ratio has increased ten fold.

Of course what we may consider noise, others may consider valuable
information or entertainment...

>The way I see it is that our society requires classes, and it will force
>that "meme" onto any evolution of itself. If we are ever to grow past our
>infancy, we must first eliminate classes. Will that come with time, or
>must it be forced as with communism? I think we've already decided in
>here that nothing can be forced, so I think it will take time -- more
>time than we have. I expect another great war in my lifetime. I hope we
>surive. I hope the planet survives.

I believe that there will always be stratification of individuals in
any society. This is due to different ambitions, abilities,
circumstances, etc. I do not believe this is a bad thing - rather
it reflects individual freedom to chose what is important. This is
not to say that "fairness" is enforced. There was a good short
science fiction story about a society where equality was enforced (
the strong wore weights, the smart wore earphones that randomly made
loud noises, etc). Very amusing.

I the longest run, i think the job of government is to go away.
Perhaps in the analogous way that as a child (the people governed)
goes up, s/he needs less and less intervention from his parents
(the government). I do not expect this to be practical for a very
long time...