[TAG] Hydrogen fuel (non-Linux)
ben at callahans.org
Sat May 29 05:12:29 MSD 2004
On Thu, May 27, 2004 at 03:21:41PM -0600, Jason Creighton wrote:
> On Tue, 25 May 2004 08:52:07 -0400,
> Ben Okopnik <ben at callahans.org> wrote:
> > > One thing that has helped me determine what the limits are is
> > > remembering that there is no such thing as good government. Strong libel
> > > laws? Free speech suffers. Weak/no libel laws? People will abuse free
> > > speech to hurt other people.
> > >
> > > There's no good choices in governement; only endless tradeoffs.
> > There _is_ a good choice in government, actually, and it's absolutely
> > implicit in what you've written above: a minimum necessary number of
> > those who will make the best compromises. However, the reality is that
> > politicians are *always* power-hungry - and we're all out of statesmen.
> > Cincinnatus, where the hell are the children of your spirit? We need
> > them desperately.
> What I meant by "there's no good choices in governement" (I could have
> made this much clearer, BTW; sorry.) is that no choices made by a
> governement will result in a utopia. No possible choices will result in
> a society full of happy, hard-working people with a crime rate of zero.
> Not gonna happen.
[gently] No amount of Open Source implementation is going to bring about
world peace, either. Sorry, my friend; that's not a reasonable
expectation from a government. Utopia - at least the closest definition
I can manage - would be an _internal_ and _individual_ state, not
subject to management by external agencies, and particularly not a
[ Beginneth a Political Rant; folks who like Big Government should hit
'Delete' *NOW*. Everyone else, set mental filters to 'Stun'; I'm-a
gettin' on my high horse. ]
What good government can do is govern. Protect, run some infrastructure
- between Mike and my sweetie in Baltimore (she's a flaming liberal, but
a stunningly brilliant lady who writes on medical issues in our society:
<http://respectfulofotters.blogspot.com/>), I've come to agree that some
programs are definitely better run by the government - facilitate a
society in which individual achievement is not hindered... and otherwise
stay the hell out of the way. As to _creating_ things, utopias or
otherwise, any government that purports to do this or even attempts it
fills me with horror, loathing, and an overwhelming desire to RUN AWAY
at top speed. The bastards are selling something, and what they're
selling, I'm not buying. I've *lived* there.
> And before I realized this, I had believed that a utopian society was
> possible. If you had asked me point-blank "Do you believe that a utopian
> society is possible?" I would have said no. At one level, I knew that
> was impossible. But in my heart of hearts, I thought "If only this
> country was put under proper management...".
I hear what you're saying, and it's not an uncommon viewpoint. From my
perspective, though, it's also a tremendously dangerous one. It says
that you trust _a_ government - no matter that it's only a notional one
- to bring you happiness, and that's a screamingly vulnerable handle to
give to politicians (just the kind they *love* to get you by, too.)
> But even under the best of management, there would still be injustice.
> People would still exploit others for personal gain. People would still
> kill each other, still steal. No amount of government programs can
> change that. No amount of money thrown at the problem can change the
> basic nature of people.
Oddly enough, I'd disagree with that. You _can_ legislate morality;
history provides as many examples as you'd care to look for. No, you
can't stop the psychos - but most people, when their basic needs are
satisfied and their general comfort is assured, don't need to go rob or
murder someone for gain (which is not true in a society which has a huge
disparity between the haves and the have-nots.) However, the only way
that government can bring that about is by getting the hell out of the
way in most of the relevant cases - and *that* isn't what governments
do, by their nature. Politicians want more power, and anything goes when
that's on the line.
I don't want to idealize the past, but the more I study Roma Antiqua,
the more I despise the current state of the world governments in
general. When the reputation (Dignitas and Auctoritas) of your family
(well, /gens/) is the most important thing that they have, and what you
do in public life reflects directly upon that, you get the Julii (i.e.,
Gaius cognominated Caesar), the Gracchi, the Aemilii Scauri, etc. OTOH,
when how much you can steal is what benefits you and your cronies and
has no repercussions beyond your term in office, you get - well, Bush.
> Some things can only be justified by the fact that anything else would
> be worse. War is probably the most notable example. It's not good; It
> is, in fact, a great evil. It's just that sometimes (very rarely)
> everything else is worse.
Agreed, in spades - at which point I must note that I do not consider
the current horror being perpetrated by our government to be a "war"
under that definition but "murder most foul". If nothing else (and there
is a HELL of a lot "else"), I want an accounting of what it is in Iraq
and Afghanistan that is worth one single American life. These kids are
dying over there for a...
I have to stop now. It's too much. The frustration of not being able to
DO anything directly, to change this, to bring them all home, will kill
me if I think about it too much.
So, how about that Local Baseball Team? Do you think they'll trade Young
But Promising Rookie, or what?
* Ben Okopnik * okopnik.freeshell.org * Editor-in-Chief, Linux Gazette *
-*- See the Linux Gazette in its new home: <http://linuxgazette.net> -*-
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