canopic jug writes:
Aral Balkan has a blog post about
taking small steps to end surveillance capitalism. In particular he focuses on the need for federated services. He points out that the move to re-decentralize the WWW is difficult and needs to start at the beginning, using a comparison of Apple's original computers to their latest generation of tablets as an illustration.
Five years ago, when I decided to devote myself to tackling the problem of surveillance capitalism, it was clear what we needed: convenient and beautiful ethical everyday things that provide seamless experiences1 on fully free-as-in-freedom stacks.This is as true today as it was then and it will remain so. The only way to compete with unethical products built by organisations that have control over hardware + software + services is to create ethical organisations that have control over hardware + software + services and thus have at least the possibility to craft competitive experiences. We remove our eyes from this goal at our peril.
Five years ago, when I decided to devote myself to tackling the problem of surveillance capitalism, it was clear what we needed: convenient and beautiful ethical everyday things that provide seamless experiences1 on fully free-as-in-freedom stacks.
This is as true today as it was then and it will remain so. The only way to compete with unethical products built by organisations that have control over hardware + software + services is to create ethical organisations that have control over hardware + software + services and thus have at least the possibility to craft competitive experiences. We remove our eyes from this goal at our peril.
Related: Tim Berners-Lee Launches Inrupt, Aims to Create a Decentralized Web
Dat or Inrupt? Are they compatible?
A decentralized network will never work, people tend to centralize.
All new decentralized projects have failed (diaspora, Jabber...) to replace centralized ones. But more important, decentralized ones have joint into giant centralized monsters. email, a decentralized born protocol, has become gmail and outlook. Hosting is concentrating in a few big providers, small hosting companies are dying. In the old days there were a bunch of smalls ISPs, now, a few.
We, people, tend to copy one each other, particularly about thing we are not experts.
people tend to centralize.
They need something to blame, outside themselves, when things go wrong.
Both very true...but I think a bigger issue is that this is simply the nature of living in a capitalist system.
Amazon.com I believe went over a decade before it ever turned a profit. They had many, many years of paid employees to keep improving their service and paid advertising to grow their market without ever needing to pay for a dime of that themselves. People just gave them money -- on a promise that the company would eventually become profitable through advertising and surveillance. You can't really do that with a decentralized system. So all you get is small hobbyist projects eternally trying to catch up to the major players.
Investment drives centralization just as much as consumer demand. It's all one big feedback cycle. Investment dollars bring advertisements which drives consumer demand, bringing new users which bring more investment dollars until either the market is captured or the company fails. With decentralized systems, there's not really any way to get that cycle started. We need a new one. Something more than "work on it in your free time"; something which lets increasing numbers of developers pay their rent as the project grows. Crowdfunding is an option...but not really a great one so far...
Basically people need to become and stay more self motivated, and not wait for everything to be spoon fed. Abundance is spoiling us, making us bored, lazy and complacent, quick to believe anything flashed on the screen.
Yes and no...
First of all, I don't think abundance is necessarily the reason. We've always had the scam artists and snake oil salesmen, they just change their clothes every few generations. (Reminds me of something I posted last week... https://soylentnews.org/comments.pl?noupdate=1&sid=28818&page=1&cid=767835#commentwrap) [soylentnews.org]
You'll sometimes hear people saying "If you want something right, you have to do it yourself." There's a certain truth to that...but at the same time, not everyone can be an expert in every field. If I just had to grow all of my own food, I probably wouldn't have much time for software development. Or my food would really suck. Probably both. So I would say, if you want it done right, you've gotta do it yourself...and if you want it done good enough, you've gotta know who's doing it.
If we want all the benefits of modern civilization, we've gotta trust and rely on each other at some point. I think the issue is more that society is structured to distrust or conceal the experts in their fields of expertise. The guys building the bridge notice a problem, but management decides it's cheaper to take the risk. The guys writing the software catch a bug, but management decides a fix would cause them to miss the deployment date so they go ahead anyway. The problem is that instead of trusting the local blacksmith, we're now trusting some MBA who doesn't know a damn thing about blacksmithing. They don't see or feel or know what's going to happen, they only know how it's going to impact their spreadsheet. Our entire society is designed around the principle that the individual worker doesn't matter, all that matters is the company and their policies. Turns out that isn't true, but you'll still hear managers running up and down halls screaming that they "need more bodies on this project", as though a brain or even a pulse isn't strictly necessary to get the work done.
We need to learn to identify experts, and more specifically to separate the MBA from the expert he's kidnapped so that he can appear to be one too. We need to give a shit about quality again instead of just buying the cheapest crap we can find on ebay. And yes, we do probably need to do some things for ourselves when we can. I occasionally do tech support for some small local organizations, and the biggest challenge isn't getting what they want done, it's trying to figure out what they actually want in the first place. Nobody thinks about "How should this work" -- they either want MAGIC! that just automatically gives the right answer with zero input; or they want someone who can just tell them to buy something that will make their lives easier without first discussing what they do all day and what their actual challenges are.
There's also a good bit of the old "nobody ever got fired for buying IBM". There's two reason for that. The first is that IBM was generally considered reasonably competent. Maybe not the best, but definitely functional. But the second reason (which is the important one for this discussion) is that it gives you someone to sue. Which is a pretty crappy solution, but that's the one our society has settled on. Same way our healthcare costs skyrocket because we don't give a damn about preventative medicine, our IT costs skyrocket because we'd rather buy first and sue later rather than just making sure the damn thing works in the first place! Because people fall for the flashy sales brochure promising everything and nothing at the same time. Just as they always have...
As for technology...I'm not sure if computers help or hurt. We get great concepts like the web of trust...but instead we end up using friggin' Yelp. And computers and software are heavily focused on this idea of abstraction, where you more or less just assume that the other program is always going to do what you tell it to do. Just like we often assume companies will do what they promise to do. So that might not be very helpful. And if I buy a car, I can pop the hood and look around and get some idea of how well it's built; but when I buy software it's all locked away behind IP law and I can't see a damn thing...so it's harder to know if it's any good before you buy anyway. At least until we demand that changes...
damn liberals and their elitist surveillance profiteering!
"people tend to centralize."They need something to blame, outside themselves, when things go wrong.
"people tend to centralize."
Seriously, that is one stupid statement and even if you were going for funny/witty it falls flat. The answer is convenience, nothing more.
The answer is convenience...
And dat too! The convenience of passing blame... It's all part of the same show. You don't have to get all stressed out over it. "Liberals" and "conservatives" have nothing to do with the prices of rice here.
No one uses facebook because it is convenient to pass blame. That is not a part of the decision making process when anyone signs up.
Are you confusing people blaming FB for privacy violations with motivation to use their service??
Yes, there are some people that choose a closed source program over open source precisely to have somebody to blame when support is insufficient. Can't say if it's true for Facebook, but it does help Microsoft's sales figures.
Submissive people look for (central) leaders for many reasons. Passing blame is one of them, even if it is mostly subconscious.
your view of reality is warped
How is it warped? He (assuming this is a he, here...) has a very solid point.
Choosing a vendor because they have enterprise support is not the same thing as choosing them so you can pass the blame. That concept flies a tiny bit with an OS vendor but not at all with FB. All i was saying is people are not using a centralized soci media service so they can blame anyone, that is zero % of the rationale.
Jeezus! It's psych 101. People look for authority figures so they can become blobs and let somebody else take the fall. Are you so willfully blind to basics?
Take that libertarian trash somewhere else.
Oh! sorry, did I do that?
C'mon man. Try to cough up something better than that
Ditto Sir, Edge Lord Sir!
Permission to speak freely sir? Thank you sir. Your fedora is tipped at a weird angle sir!
Much better, gracias...
That isn't libertarian trash. It's fairly well-known and well-demonstrated that people usually prefer to act in this manner. I have not a clue why but suspect it's something to do with the energetic path of least resistance, i.e., this uses the least energy so our bodies favor it.
Humans group together and form power hierarchies. I'll agree with that.
While "let me be a blob and let someone else do all the work and take all the blame" may be true for a small minority of humans it is by no means the average. That line of negative thinking towards humanity leads to tyranny and class structures.
"People WANT me to be a dictator and therefore I can do whatever I want! GOD WILLS IT!"
Azuma you present a much more sane version with "suspect it's something to do with the energetic path of least resistance". In a communal structure people take on various roles. You are correct, it is about efficiency.
Fustakirich is not correct, it is not all about humans debasing themselves so they can be lazy couch potatoes. It is a little bit of a nit-picky distinction on my part but I feel it is very important.
Eh, no worse than yours, or any other of the 7.5 billion's.
Yes, there are some people that choose a closed source program over open source precisely to have somebody to blame when support is insufficient.
Only in corporate environments. Private people usually just blame "the computer" if something doesn't work.
Let ua bring this back to your post that started this:
people tend to centralize.They need something to blame, outside themselves, when things go wrong.
You walked this back a little but it is still a very minor aspect of anything. Choosing a service for support is not the same as choosing one to blame. That is an edgy comment for when you want to sound insightful at a party.
Bla bla bla, if this is a party, where's my beer??
Please, enough of your silly games, just read and at least make a feeble effort to comprehend what was written to avoid needless repetition. Fundamentals are important.
You complain a lot with very little substance. Back to your Olivye.
Have a read of cognitive dissonance. It's very well established in the literature
Simply put, most people have a far higher opinion of themselves than they really deserve
Ok back up that claim, what is your reasoning to support the claim that people use FB because they could blame them for, what exactly?
It's easy enough to set up your own blog at your own website, but were you to do that you'd have to accept the blame for fucking it up.
I think this whole argument is just two sides of the same coin. I still maintain people are making their choices out of convenience, not the more negative aspect of being able to blame the service if things go wrong; but you could say that blaming the service IS the convenience.
I think you are conflating the idea that people look for blame when things go wrong with the motivating principle that gets them to set things up in the first place. When electing politicians we aren't looking for someone we can easily blame, but when things go wrong we definitely start looking for the easy targets.
All I am saying is that people are NOT choosing to use centralized social media so they can blame them, people choose those services because they are conveniently easy to access and often have their friends and family with them. That was the original argument, not some exercise in cognitive dissonance. Which btw please go look it up, it was a little more detailed than I thought it was and you definitely used it wrong.
Now is the time for Salty Spice to sell boiled peanuts on the street corner.
PS: you run scripts to check for replies? last I checked SN doesn't notify you of AC replies.
In contrast, bad centralization is imposition.
They key is to ensure that the underlying, decentralized system or protocol remains viable as a refuge for when the centralization goes bad. Alas, email has not remained viable, because nobody has ever updated it to handle spam—nobody ever implemented Hashcash widely (you know, that core component of Bitcoin was developed first as an anti-spam measure for email).
As a result, you can't just set up your own email server easily; not only will you have to manage incoming spam, but other email services will just discard the mail you send as spam, and so the only way to communicate via email effectively is to use Gmail and the like.
The problem is not that decentralization has failed, but rather the problem is that the email protocols have been abandoned and essentially do not exist anymore.
Like Soylent Green and everything else, the problem is people! People!
Some things do need to be "centralized" (standardized), like weights and measures, and communication protocols. They just need to be scientifically logical and widely agreed upon, and of course open, in the public domain, where nobody can get the advantage. If we can make surveillance a two way affair, the state/corp might be a bit more respectful about it.
Consider that we're now trying to get rid of that lump of metal in Paris that is used to define the Kilogram.
If you can define weights and measures in terms of fundamental aspects of the Universe, then you free humanity from relying on a central authority; anyone, anywhere, can create and calibrate instruments independently.
You people are such jerks!
Dont sweat downmods around here, sometimes it is just one person with bad reading skills.
That may be the worst example you could have picked.
There are excellent mail servers that are fairly simple to implement, with really good functionality (either as a plug in or baked in) for handling spam.
I suspect you had a bad experience with email and decided it was bad. You have absolutely no idea what you're blathering on about.
tl;dr: you're talking out of your ass and it smells that way too.
There are excellent mail servers that are fairly simple to implement
I'll bite. Which ones, and how do you define "fairly simple"?
Think of the 98% of the population that don't have access to a server, have never used a command line, and sure as heck aren't likely to mess with config files.
Now, if I can buy a $100 box on Amazon and just plug it into my home router I'm in!
How do you define server?
From the POV of a technical guy, Postfix and Sendmail, as well as Dovecot and various webmail servers are actually pretty easy to set up and manage.
Non-technical people have options [cyberciti.biz] too.
One of the big drivers of centralization, and the lack of mainstream (as in the general public, rather than the tech mainstream) knowledge/use of distributed mail/social media/file storage/etc, is the lack of widespread implementation of *symmetric* internet links in the consumer space. This is exacerbated by the abusive TOS and port blocking done by (you got it!) the big, centralized ISPs.
If we'd had broad implementation of symmetric, high-speed broadband (you know, like the US taxpayer paid/subsidized those same ISPs to do to the tune of US$50 billion) over the past 20 years, you wouldn't have seen companies like Facebook, Twitter, Google (gmail) get so big and powerful, forcing more centralization.
None of this stuff is so difficult that it can't be wrapped in simple installers and managed with a reasonable UI.
Technical issues (such as asymmetric DSL and cable bandwidth) as well as greed from the ISPs created the space for other greedy folks to create these behemoths. What's more, that also drove the rise of "the cloud" (read: someone else's servers), even though most folks have plenty of compute resources to support most of what they may want to do.
I'm painting with a broad brush, but it's all there if you look at recent history. That's another driver, IMHO. A lack of knowledge about how we got to where we are, along with a healthy dose of willful ignorance have made these trends even worse.
These are big issues that cut across industries and is primarily driven by the desire to extract the maximum amount of rent from consumers, especially since marginal costs approach zero in most of these industries.
Google and yahoo have repeatedly failed to build a social network to fight friendface. Perhaps someone should adopt one of these decentralised technologies to give them an edge; i.e. a marketplace of server providers can be part of the sales pitch to pull people from friendface. Lots of people know friendface is evil and would gladly move to another option if it were demonstrably less evil.
"A decentralized network will never work, people tend to centralize."
Funny how quickly people concede a premise. I can think of a half dozen off the top of my head: DNS, NNTP, Torrent, Freenet, LDAP, ARP, Multicast, all routing protocols, and really all cloud services are decentralized in administration, though do not appear so at the UI level. Shall I go on?
The perception of centralization is not centralization. People don't centralize, they delude themselves. What you're talking about is alliance, not hegemony. Engineers go a long way to ensure that the misconceptions of the ignorant are not revealed to them. This is by neccessity. Some people react badly when the curtain gets pulled back and there is no god to explain their experiences.
The reason such surveillance is so lucrative is that it's being sold to government agencies; it's being done at the behest of government agencies; it's being paid for with other peoples resources, resources which have been stolen from folks at the point of a gun.
Nobody else really cares about such information. The consumer-info market is completely distorted by the games of paranoid governmental bureaucrats.
it's being paid for with other peoples resources, resources which have been stolen from folks at the point of a gun.
...or resources voluntarily invested with the promise that the company will eventually grow big enough to capture the market, at which point it will give great returns.
It wasn't the government keeping Amazon.com afloat for its first decade or so of existence. That was entirely venture capitalists. So yeah, I think "capitalism" is exactly the right word. Nobody is going to invest in diaspora*, because there's no profit to be made. Lots of people invest in Facebook, because their control brings profit. How are you going to force ads on people without an iron fist control over the platform? How are you going to sell consumer data to advertisers and surveillance groups? You can't. And if you aren't squeezing every last cent out of your users, the investors will go find someone who will.
Until the amount of resources put into public software just to create good software is able to exceed the amount of resources put into software just to get a good ROI, we aren't going to solve this problem.
And he's now building a second/third HQ near the Pentagon.
Google recently had a huge public kerfuffle with its employees because it came to light that they were working for the military on a project.
This stuff has nothing to do with advertising or capitalism.
amazon primary income does not come from advertising/spying revenue. Amazon does not have analytics cookies everywhere, that's google.
Well, it may not be their primary income, but they still do a hell of a lot of it. At this point they're doing physical surveillance too, setting up cameras in airports and providing software to local police across the country.
But that's not really the point. Surveillance isn't the root issue, control is. Without control, surveillance would not be possible. People would leave. But they get locked into the network, where leaving would mean losing connection with friends, losing their post/order/conversation/viewing histories, losing their entire profile and starting over from scratch. If the data was portable and the networks were open, that wouldn't be the case, you could just move to a different service and keep all of your prior connections. I've done that myself with email numerous times. But when is the last time someone invested hundreds of millions in an email provider? They don't, because there's no lock-in.
> But when is the last time someone invested hundreds of millions in an email provider?
Google must dump loads of money into gmail. Remember when having a gmail account was cool? When iphone was new and google announced email with unlimited (or it seemed so at the time) storage. Nowadays gmail is still the secondary reason why most people have a google account (with android being primary).
Spin it another way - google have repeatedly failed to sell google+ or whatever social network attempt. Why? Because it's like facebook but crappier. Now, everyone knows facebook is evil, many care but are too locked in to do anything about it. Offer a non-locked-in service, like gmail, and people will flock to it; they win kudos with the techy crowd (who brief the media, who brief the public). And let's face it, how many people have migrated away from gmail? They can get more users/ads revenue at the same time. It's a no-brainer and someone in Google should do it.
Eh...gmail was popular initially because it was legitimately that much better. I used to switch email accounts about once a year, shuffling around to find who was offering the most storage this year. 2MB accounts to 5MB to 10MB to 20MB...and then all of a sudden someone starts offering 1GB plus? Of course I switched. And now I've switched to my own server, because gmail kinda sucks these days too.
The thing is...Google invests in gmail as a loss leader. It's a great way to get people to register a Google account, which then pushes them towards other Google services in the future. Nobody is investing in gmail for the sake of gmail, and nobody really expects gmail to be profitable all by itself. But the battle to control email is already lost, so they try to monopolize the market as best they can so they can utilize that for surveillance efforts which can then bolster their other, more locked-in services.
As I said before, nobody is investing in email. People might invest in closed ecosystems of which email is a part, but nobody invests in email itself.
The reason such surveillance is so lucrative is that it's being sold to government agencies...
Capitalism permits only voluntary trade; therefore, capitalism precludes governmental allocations of resources (i.e., paying for things with money stolen from people against their will via "taxation").
You cannot just include government as part of a capitalistic organization of society; it breaks the conditions.
We voluntarily voted for the government we have. The market has spoken.
The government fabricates votes out of thin air and then hands them out equally both to the fool and to the scholar.
And, politicians buy votes with other people's money, against other people's will.
It has nothing to do with capitalism.
Wrong again, the government has the full consent of the governed. Nobody can claim ignorance any more. Those innocent days are gone. Resistance is too feeble to notice.
Stability in society is definitely related to consent among individuals.
You would be wise to look for ways of organizing society around measurable consent rather decreed "consent".
The election results are as measurable as it gets. And that would include the people who choose not to vote. What are you looking for exactly?
Under Capitalism, not only is every decision you make a "vote" for how society should be shaped, but the weight of your "vote" is dependent on well your previous "votes" served society.
Capitalism provides a much finer-grained, much more dynamic measurement of consent.
>Under Capitalism, not only is every decision you make a "vote" for how society should be shaped, but the weight of your "vote" is dependent on well your previous "votes" served society.
do they don't, most "decisions" are inertia driven, pushed by market experts and with big pockets to follow. grow up from this libertarian nonsense
That may be so, but that's argument applies 10x to Democracy; the question was "What is a better way to measure consent?" The point stands: Capitalism.
Capitalism can only measure the consent of the well to do, one dollar, one "vote". The election results measure a far wider range of the population. But likely in both, the bottom 49% are screwed. The more you think about it, the most similarities you will find.
Your comment makes no sense.
Not only does capitalism measure the consent of the poor (better than democracy, mind you), but it also measures society's consent to the poor; under capitalism, if you're poor, that's a signal that you're not much worth to society—the few who can't help it will be helped by those who have compassion, and the rest should change their ways.
Capitalism (and most of society) sees the poor as a mule. Its consent (or lack thereof) is irrelevant.
Capitalism has a good bit of control over the election results though. Poor people tend to vote less, because they can't get off work to go stand in line at the polls, or because they can't get a ride to one of the two remaining DMVs in their state to get a newly required photo ID.
And that's not even getting into the long-term structural issues...for example, corporations lobby for laws, those laws make people who oppose the agenda of the corporation into convicted felons...who then often lose their right vote. Once the ball gets rolling it gets harder and harder to stand up against it, because the people who would most want to would also be disqualified for that very reason.
Submissiveness is not an option if they want anything to happen. It's still up to the voters. You know, with all the excuses being made, I really wonder what people have to offer in place of voters taking their own initiative.
Oh, I absolutely am not suggesting "submissiveness" as a viable option; I'm merely pointing out that voting isn't necessarily a reliable indicator of peoples' preferences any more than a random sampling of TV commercials would be.
Plenty of alternative means of taking action are still available though...organize, unionize, and strike is one which has worked pretty well so far for my family in both the past and present...
Random TV samples involve maybe up to a thousand people. Voting counts over 200 million, including the non voting block (which can either be taken as consent, or 'no confidence', something we should demand on our ballots). I will take those numbers more seriously.
All those "alternative means of taking action" still comes down to us and our own ability to delegate. I don't understand the difficulty here. What do people expect? I mean, is everybody looking up to the sky, or what?
I do not think it means what you think it means.
If by full consent you mean a 20% approval rating.
Media ratings are bullshit. Your 20% is really 94.3% [wikipedia.org]. Same round numbers apply to most local elections also. If you're going to use numbers, use the ones that matter.
[Value not in citation given]
Oh? Then tell me, what is 46.1 and 48.2 in your world?
So what's your angle here? Are you an establishment shill saying "nothing to see here, move along" or are you a misanthrope saying "people are garbage and they have the garbage system that they deserve" ?
Quite some imagination you got there. The people have what they asked for. They can change it anytime. My opinion of them is totally irrelevant. Everybody's simply looking for the most advantage.
And yes, outside what's in the mirror, there is nothing meaningful to see. Believe it, or not... it's all perfectly natural and instinctive. All those books on animal psychology apply to humans too. Maybe that's why people are in such denial.
The North Koreans have what they've asked for; they can change their choice at any time.
So, unless you want to claim that the North Koreans are living under the consent of the governed, you have not made a convincing argument. And, if you did make that claim for NK (in order to remain consistent), well, then you'd be supporting a worthless point of view; it wouldn't help anyone design a society.
*sigh* such a weak tiresome old game... not worth the time
I find it rather curious. You choose to believe one number over the other. There must be a reason.
It's true that the people could change things. But they don't realize this, because the corporate media keep telling them the opposite.
But they don't realize this, because the corporate media keep telling them the opposite.
Sorry for the 2nd reply:
You choose to believe one number over the other. There must be a reason.
Yeah. I believe the one that counts. What are you getting at?
The people have what tjey asked for?
Ok, no more arguing with you, you are almost as bad as buzzy boy.
Ok, no more arguing with you
Excellent! I'm not looking for one. Especially from people who don't want to read correctly what was posted.
And I don't want to argue with riled up libertarians with misplaced superiority complexes.
Who's forcing you to stay??
Be off! You cease to amuse me
I am off, this is just another symptom of your multiple personality disorder. Apologies for the hard drop but you aren't really Jesus either.
On the contrary. In order to have working capitalism larger than a garage sale or farmer's market, a government is required to provide a regulatory structure to keep the evil down to a dull roar. Without stable currency, limits on predatory behavior, bounds on safe behavior, stable and fair enforcement of contracts, a robust transport infrastructure and all that goes with it, any attempt at "capitalism" would fall flat on its face outside of isolated local instances.
Further, your argument is like saying you can't have free software as part of a capitalistic organization of society because "people doing that break the conditions." Neither that or your claim are true, and for the same reason:
There is no "pure" capitalism. Capitalism, like any economic system, exists neither in isolation, or free of other systemic effects, or free of the nurturing environment it must exist within. It is people exchanging value, and to do that, a supporting structure must exist. The only structure we know of thus far that actually works is government.
--Democracy: Where any two idiots outvote a genius.
a government is required... to keep the evil down to a dull roar.
Bastiat tore your claim asunder all the way back in 1850: [bastiat.org]
The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority.They would be the shepherds over us, their sheep. Certainly such an arrangement presupposes that they are naturally superior to the rest of us. And certainly we are fully justified in demanding from the legislators and organizers proof of this natural superiority.
The claims of these organizers of humanity raise another question which I have often asked them and which, so far as I know, they have never answered: If the natural tendencies of mankind are so bad that it is not safe to permit people to be free, how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good? Do not the legislators and their appointed agents also belong to the human race? Or do they believe that they themselves are made of a finer clay than the rest of mankind? The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse. The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction. Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind; if so, let them show their titles to this superiority.
They would be the shepherds over us, their sheep. Certainly such an arrangement presupposes that they are naturally superior to the rest of us. And certainly we are fully justified in demanding from the legislators and organizers proof of this natural superiority.
I'll add that neither the smart people nor the moral people aspire to become governmental paper-pushers, thereby making your claim even more ridiculous.
If men are not angels, then that is a point against government, not for it.
If men are not angels
But women are, and that's why we're honored to be called "she," like other objects that are the property of a man, a boat for example....
Anyway, when do we kill all men? You've once again made an eloquent case for Emacs. If not now, when?
dispute that claim as being magical
Well hell, so do I. However, it is the only system which has been proven to be somewhat stable. No government-free entity has ever produced a nation worth the name. When one does, then your ideas might have merit when examined closely. Barring that condition, they don't.
Bastiat tore your claim asunder all the way back in 1850
That is nonsense. You and Bastiat cannot reasonably put forth ideals as viable propositions unless you have an ideal petri dish. And we don't, and we never have, and frankly, we probably never will - certainly not in the next few decades, anyway.
Just quickly, from your quote:
how is it that the tendencies of these organizers are always good?
They aren't; that argument has not been submitted. Straw man. The argument is that they keep evil within the capitalist framework down to a dull roar. Which they do.
The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse.
The organizers maintain that society, when left undirected, rushes headlong to its inevitable destruction because the instincts of the people are so perverse.
The evidence show that they do even when regulated, and when they think they can get around the regulation, they do that, too. Removing the regulations offers not even a hint of a solution. "Hey, evildoers! Now we won't even try to stop you! You'll be good now, right?" What nonsense.
The legislators claim to stop this suicidal course and to give it a saner direction.
They do make those claims; and those claims are validated by every evildoer they stop. And that list is very, very long.
Apparently, then, the legislators and the organizers have received from Heaven an intelligence and virtue that place them beyond and above mankind;
Pompous, nonsensical bullshit.
They would be the shepherds over us, their sheep. Certainly such an arrangement presupposes that they are naturally superior to the rest of us.
The system — legislators, legislation, courts, juries, capitalism — is what shows the positive effect overall. The system again, has thus far proven its worth many times over. You can conduct your business in relative peace, without fear of invasion by foreign powers, with a stable currency, in a framework of somewhat reasonable rules, over a complex and robust transport infrastructure. In a system without government — AKA anarchy — you would have none of these advantages, or the barest shadows of just one or two of them.
The argument for anarchy, which is what you are making when you suggest no government is required, is one only the evil, naive or deluded can make with a straight face.
No, it doesn't affect my claim at all, because I make no claim that the resulting system is either perfect or even working all that well. I'm just saying it's working way better than anarchy would. Looking around the world where governments have collapsed, over and over again the evidence is 100% in favor of no government = the people are screwed.
That is facile. Or possibly just stupid. So the government is made up of the fallible, the corruptible, the corrupt. Does this mean that letting the population in general exercise those same traits without any controls will be better? Of course it doesn't. And when the people have some input — as they do in our system at least (the US), there are extra-governmental factors at work all the time to steer the system, to keep it from falling completely into chaos. For instance, it is a very rare thing to see a toxic leader like Trump reach the oval office... and the system is working to pull him out of it, and it may very well succeed.
We have laws and enforcement against rapine. Against pollution. Against mugging, theft and murder. Against hit-and-run. Against bribery. Against monopoly. Etc. All of these things work to counter the chaos that you would have if your ridiculous idea of "no government" were to take root. For that reason, no one with a wet neuron will take you seriously. Certainly I don't. I just found it worthwhile to pound your head against your own idiocy.
--The 3 Functional Retardations:traditional, jingoistic, and religious.
Quit your job
I once met a man who'd been homeless for thirty years. He was one of my neighbors under a highway overpass
"Surely you qualify for housing?"
"It is my choice! Jesus did it, I can too!"
Sorry, not sufficient. You'll also have to abandon all investments, and all real estate. And refrain from ever buying anything (or else you'll pay VAT).
I once met a man who'd been homeless for thirty years.
Did he beg for money which he used to buy food? Then he was paying taxes.
Oregon has _no_ sales tax of any sort.
Let's get that dictionary: LOLROFLLMOAWTFBBQ ! (did I do it right?)
The US government has just allowed surveillance to move all the way to the edge. Your giant ISP can now spy on you at will, block you from using VPNs, MITM your encryption, and ISP alternates are being roadblocked. That's not all in place, but the decisions have been put in place by Verizonthe FCC. Just cranking the temp on the frog, now.Your giant ISP is (or will soon be) part of a giant conglomerate. No escape.
To the paranoid upthread about the government : The government knows about you. Everything already (optionally, it knows more after asking, but if it wants, it knows). Yet, it actually doesn't care about your puny little secrets. You're not important to the government, you're just one more person, who on average alternatively votes for or against the people in power. But if you're posting your government hate on SN, you're classified as mostly harmless.The corporations want to know more than the government, and want to actively manipulate you to squezze as much of your cash as they can. Stop fearing the wrong enemy.
That's why corporations love working as government contractors; it gives them access to that gun-backed cash grab.
Otherwise, they have to convince people to trade.
Daily reminder that your worldview's fatal flaw is assuming government and business don't overlap. Get either one strong enough, and they become the same thing. And I'm gonna keep pushing this in your ignorant fucking face until you get it.
It is YOUR world view that ignores the problem with a monopoly, especially a monopoly that is violently imposed (e.g., the one you call "government").
Thank the gods that there has never been One World Government; it is the competition between nation states that has saved our planet from global tyranny, and that's even despite the fact that nation states have an utter lack of respect for capitalism or the rights of the individual.
I'll borrow your phrase: "I'm gonna keep pushing this in your ignorant fucking face until you get it."
Do you think that the nation-state system is compatible with anarcho-capitalism? To put it a different way, if we implemented anarcho-capitalism tomorrow, would we still have national boundaries?
The owners of "private" property tend not to like trespassing.
And what exactly do you think capitalism + globalism is leading up to? You don't get it: government is not a first-order phenomenon. It emerges from sufficient centralization of power, wealth, and resources. Government and business are two forms of the same thing when they get powerful enough.
Getting out of the failure state is removing coercion (i.e., taxation); well, that's the [probably asymptotic] ideal.
Staying out of the failure state is achieved by competition.
Competition is maintained by establishing self-reinforcing, "anti-fragile", decentralized protocols for interaction.
Good centralization is then just a local efficiency in the solution space, and when a centralization goes bad, then participants can fall back on the underlying decentralized protocols so as to abandon that centralization and then create a new one. Spend your time figuring out how to make this description actionable.
Enough centralization will ensure that people can *not* fall back on decentralized protocols, as you put it. That's my point. For all that you insist on saying "men are not angels" at every turn, you assume far more angelic and intellectual capabilities of humanity than I do. Does that make me a tab Hobbesian? Perhaps so.
The worse mankind is, the dumber your approach is.
Still waiting for you to show me the foolproof contract-enforcement system in the absence of government of some description. Until you can produce one, your entire worldview is moot, based on falsehood. I know that stings, but it's the truth.
The point remains: Your system is the failure mode of my system; that makes my system inherently better than your system, which is why history has Civilization slipping, though kicking and screaming in defiance, towards evermore Capitalism.
Again: until you can provide us a foolproof contract-enforcement system, government of some form is necessary. Until you do, you're blowing bullshit bubbles.
I do not envy the task Azuma has set before herself.
To your credit, you are the one person who was capable, though our debates, of helping me realize the inherent contradictions of capitalism; spend some quality time with Marx, Engels, and Trotsky; and move on from libertarianism to socialism.
More reading material:
Fair enough. The anarchists came up during my reading on the Russian Revolution.
Might as well beware of both, because government and corporations are joined at the hip. We just had the story about "Amazon" Cuomo handing out a billion $ tax credit to Bezos. And Trump's first argument in favor of the Sauds is that they buy weapons from Lockheed/Northrop/etc. Let's also not forget about for-profit prisons, companies that install red-light cameras and take a cut of the fines, and banks with perpetual bailouts.
companies that install red-light cameras and take a cut of the fines
And here's a perfect example on how to fight back [thenewspaper.com]. Power to the People!
Reading that made me want to drive over and punch the Governer in the face. After the referendum had a huge majority wanting to get rid of the cameras, the prick decides to veto the change due to the significant revenue it brings in. Seriously, how is that clown still in office.
He was elected!