Die Freundschafft, die der Wein gemacht,
Würckt wie der Wein, nur eine Nacht.
In Gefahr und grosser Noth
Bringt der Mittel-Weg den Tod.
Sich selbselbsten überwinden ist der allerschwerste Krieg;
Sich selbselbsten überwinden ist der allerschönste Sieg.
No community is easier to govern than one that rejects the very concept of community."The Dark Tower"
What happens in the leadup to war is that government officials make claims about the enemy, and then those claims appear in newspapers (“U.S. officials say Saddam poses an imminent threat”) and then in the public consciousness, the “U.S. officials say” part disappears, so that the claim is taken for reality without ever really being scrutinized. This happens because newspapers are incredibly irresponsible and believe that so long as you attach “Experts say” or “President says” to a claim, you are off the hook when people end up believing it, because all you did was relay the fact that a person said a thing, you didn’t say it was true. This is the approach the New York Times took to Bush administration allegations in the leadup to the Iraq War, and it meant that false claims could become headline news just because a high-ranking U.S. official said them.
We are humans, living in a human society, with human values and purposes, and the associated processes and conflicts, at every point of social scale. Furthermore, we are a process, with a past and an unguessable future, at every point of social scale.
It is patently an act of incredible destruction to increasingly, globally and inescapably “control” important domains of human lives, relationships and society with extremely superficial centralized mathematical models of what humanity is.
There will be unintended consequences. They will be horrifying, and we may not even grasp what we've lost.
Lack of respect for the human right to privacy by governments and corporations will lead to mass surveillance, gamified control and microtargeted propaganda.
Every one of these is dangerous, but gamified control is by far the worst of these, as it directly attacks the concept of equality which many human rights are fundamentally based on. "Equal access to public service"? Well sure you had the chance to have a good enough score to be allowed in this part of town. It is your own fault that you are a bad human. Giving up privacy will place governance in the hand of unthinking uncaring algorithms. If you the think the human bureaucrats were bad, wait until you experience the automated ones. But even worse: these three mechanisms empower authoritarianism and are easily abused to reinforce power of a ruling caste.
Modern technology makes it easier to ignore the basic human right to privacy than to respect it. I therefor would not compare privacy to free speech, like Snowden does. Free speech is easy. In my opinion it is far more reasonable to compare privacy to the right to a fair trial: having fair trials is significantly harder than despotism. And in a similar way, most people care very little about fairness in court, unless they are directly impaired, and many are willing to throw it away if they believe some evil is using it to hide from justice.
10 months ago in Quotes
Under the guise of freedom of speech nowadays falsehoods, and even more critically just plain noise is pervasive; the freedom to shout nonsense is inhibiting the freedom to hear a reasonable and diverse set of opinions and facts. Most (loud and repeated) messages are by corporations and other groups too; because that channel simply has more resources - and that's unfortunate not because corporations are intrinsically evil (which they aren't), but because people are intrinsically social and groups of people often quite the reverse; so that corporate "speech" in the form of campaign finance typically is plainly corruption - albeit legal, even if most of its constituent individuals are reasonably moral people. In short; we know the evils of censorship and have robust traditions to at least oppose that; but we do not have similar traditions vs. overload and deception, and indeed our (entirely reasonable) protections against censorship make us more vulnerable to these rising problems. Is there a solution? Who knows; but any solution certainly is not on the public radar yet let alone nearby.
10 months ago in Quotes
Sure, torturing Uyghurs is kind of sucky. But do you realize the depth of the pain of the Chinese people, who even now, 70 years after the Communists took over, still nurse all the psychological wounds that came from 100 years of humiliation? Look, China has had a glorious 5000 years of history as a civilization. So this means that when you hurt the feelings of the Chinese people, you're wounding them to the core of their very beings, because that history runs so deep. That might make them seem a bit more sensitive, almost like cry-babies to your eyes, but that's only because you don't understand their pain. Whatever torture the Uyghurs are experiencing is nothing like the pain the Chinese people feel when a soccer player besmirches the moral character of the CCP.