node created 2019/09/29
Modern Western culture seemingly has entered a failure-mode unprecedented in history, where we have nobody willing to go first, to stand out, to do what needs to be done, to enact the changes everyone else wants. We've run out of empathetic iconoclasts—people who see the suffering of distant/distributed others, and for whom that aggregate suffering outweighs the risk that might come to the comfortable-life-in-obscurity of all their closer companions. The people with hearts that bleed for their fellow citizens, but then don't shrivel back at the thought of their companions being the ones who end up bleeding.
Affection is responsible for nine-tenths of whatever solid and durable happiness there is in our lives.
We would rather forgive the evil proliferating all around us than the rebellion against it, which we mistake for the true evil.
I can understand the hesitation of my generation, indeed it is no longer mere hesitation; it is the thousandth forgetting of a dream dreamt a thousand times and forgotten a thousand times; and who can damn us merely for forgetting for the thousandth time?
"Investigations of a Dog"
Show me a people unwilling to be vigilant about their liberty 24/7, and I'll show you a government happy to lord over them with absolute power.
Friends are predetermined; friendship takes place between men and women who possess an intellectual and emotional affinity for each other. But comradeship — that ecstatic bliss that comes with belonging to the crowd in wartime — is within our reach. We can all have comrades. The danger of the external threat that comes when we have an enemy does not create friendship; it creates comradeship. And those in wartime are deceived about what they are undergoing. And this is why once the threat is over, once war ends, comrades again become strangers to us. This is why after war we fall into despair.

In friendship there is a deepening of our sense of self. We become, through the friend, more aware of who we are and what we are about; we find ourselves in the eyes of the friend. Friends probe and question and challenge each other to make each of us more complete; with comradeship, the kind that comes to us in patriotic fervor, there is a suppression of self-awareness, self-knowledge, and self-possession. Comrades lose their identities in wartime for the collective rush of a common cause — a common purpose.

In comradeship there are no demands on the self. This is part of its appeal and one of the reasons we miss it and seek to recreate it. Comradeship allows us to escape the demands on the self that is part of friendship. In wartime when we feel threatened, we no longer face death alone but as a group, and this makes death easier to bear. We ennoble self-sacrifice for the other, for the comrade; in short we begin to worship death. And this is what the god of war demands of us.

Think finally of what it means to die for a friend. It is deliberate and painful; there is no ecstasy. For friends, dying is hard and bitter. The dialogue they have and cherish will perhaps never be recreated. Friends do not, the way comrades do, love death and sacrifice. To friends, the prospect of death is frightening. And this is why friendship or, let me say love, is the most potent enemy of war.
Corporations exist solely to make money. Amassing economic power. They want, if they could get it out of government, monopolies. They want the ability to defeat their competitors. And if they can use government to do that, they will. Individuals have a whole range of interests.
The Obama Administration is dedicated to increasing terrorism. In fact it is doing it all over the world. Obama is running the biggest terrorist operation that exists maybe in history. The drone assassination campaign, special forces operations, all of these operations are terror operations.
Those who build a back door into their life will one day use it as main entrance.
[Computers] are useless. They only give us answers.
God isn't dead, he just couldn't find a parking place.
[Bradley Manning] ought to be regarded as a hero... Like the trade agreement, the public has a right to know what's being done to them by their so-called elected representatives, but there's a principle that he's violating, namely that power has to be protected from scrutiny... that's the principle of every dictatorship... you can hear it from the high priests of government. Bradley Manning is violating that.
Sure, the elimination of sexually transmitted diseases would be a great thing, but to herald it primarily for the potential of the self-centered orgy it might bring is downright depressing and reeks of a man who has never had meaningful sex.
At first, they'll tell us of all the beneficial things this could give us, and phase it in gradually. They might tell us of how it could help medicine, and we agree to let them start monitoring our food and drink consumption, along with our exercise habits. And when something good, such as a cure for some difficult to vanquish disease, comes as a result, people will see that it provided them some tangible benefit this time. And from there it will slowly bleed out into other areas of life. This slow, creeping invasion of privacy strikes me as a much more likely route to such a future than such a government having a revolution and things changing overnight.

Personal analytics on large populations will ultimately suffer from the same problem so many schemes involving information and power do. If it happens, we'll probably have welcomed it for the perceived benefits to society we can get from it on a small scale, naively believing individuals in positions of power will be benevolent rulers. Most people will act shocked when this power is abused and steadily has its limits expanded. The rest of us will sit down and say, "When we were talking about this happening 20 years ago, we were the conspiracy nutjobs, eh? I'd say I told you so and leave you to deal with it, but instead I'll thank you for screwing me over too."
You cannot strengthen one by weakening another; and you cannot add to the stature of a dwarf by cutting off the leg of a giant.
Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities.
[..] the world today is not the world of yesterday. A capitalist oligarchy runs the world and forces us to consume in order to keep the gears of this rotten society on track. As such, the biggest market for video game consumption today is the mobile one. It is a market of poor souls forced to compulsively consume digital content in order to forget the misery of their everyday life, commute, or just any other brief free moment they have that they are not using to produce goods or services for the ruling class. These individuals need to keep focusing on their video games (because not doing so will fill them with tremendous existential angst), so they go as far as spending money on them to extend their experience, and their preferred way of doing so is through in-app purchases and virtual currency.

But what if someone were to find a way to edit the saved games and assign the items and currency without effort? That would be terrible, because it would help players consume the content much faster, and therefore run out of it sooner than expected. If that happens, they will have nothing that prevents them from thinking, and the tremendous agony of realizing their own irrelevance would again take over their life.

No, we definitely do not want that to happen, so let's see how to encrypt savegames and protect the world order.
I cannot accept your canon that we are to judge Pope and King unlike other men, with a favourable presumption that they did no wrong. If there is any presumption it is the other way against holders of power, increasing as the power increases. Historic responsibility [that is, the later judgment of historians] has to make up for the want of legal responsibility [that is, legal consequences during the rulers' lifetimes]. Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority. There is no worse heresy than that the office sanctifies the holder of it. That is the point at which . . . the end learns to justify the means. You would hang a man of no position, . . . but if what one hears is true, then Elizabeth asked the gaoler to murder Mary, and William III ordered his Scots minister to extirpate a clan. Here are the greater names coupled with the greater crimes. You would spare these criminals, for some mysterious reason. I would hang them, higher than Haman, for reasons of quite obvious justice; still more, still higher, for the sake of historical science....
Anonymous pamphlets, leaflets, brochures and even books have played an important role in the progress of mankind. Persecuted groups and sects from time to time throughout history have been able to criticize the oppressive practices and laws either anonymously or not at all... It is plain that anonymity has sometimes been assumed for the most constructive purposes.
Tally v. California (1960)
Only the strong go crazy. The weak just go along.