Comments on: On assumptions /rants/on-assumptions/ sealed abstract class drew {} Sun, 27 Mar 2016 22:51:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Patrick Weigel /rants/on-assumptions/comment-page-1/#comment-7472 Wed, 18 Jan 2012 02:53:22 +0000 /?p=1239#comment-7472 The “Internet is self-healing” is something that is true, and brings up a peripheral issue regarding Wikipedia. Specifically, their (probably Jimmy Wales’) decision to “black out” the English site for a day.

This seems an example of a disproportionate response. It further has the disadvantage of being:
1. Hypocritical (my characterization of the blackout would be destroying the internet to save the internet);

2. Ineffective (if the internet is self-healing, won’t the blackout be useless as the missing information is supplied by other means? Either passively (cached copies are delivered automatically when the blacked out pages are requested) or actively (when the information-is-free brigade spends all day making the content available)?

By: Drew Crawford /rants/on-assumptions/comment-page-1/#comment-7467 Mon, 16 Jan 2012 02:24:38 +0000 /?p=1239#comment-7467

Is that an improvement?

Of course, it is an improvement, in two key measures: One, that I have a much larger impact in my state proceedings than in my federal ones. And two, that the possible damage is limited to me moving 100 miles and changing a driver’s license, versus moving a thousand miles and changing citizenship.

Many of seemingly useless laws were enacted for good reasons as patches for good laws.

This line of reasoning assumes, first, that such issues can be corrected in principle, then that they can be corrected in principle through government action (the same process that failed to correct them formerly), then that they should be corrected through government action, then that the person that should take the action is specifically the United States government, specifically Congress, specifically through legislation, then that the particular legislation being proposed is minimally invasive to meet its purpose, and lastly that it will in fact be (or has a high likelihood to be) effective. I find each link in this chain individually to be highly improbable, let alone their strength in concert.

To say this another way, Chesterton assumes the fence was built by a rational, benevolent actor. I see no evidentiary basis to support that assumption.

By: James /rants/on-assumptions/comment-page-1/#comment-7466 Mon, 16 Jan 2012 02:03:04 +0000 /?p=1239#comment-7466 Lack of time at a the federal level would push a significant amount of legislation down to the state level. Is that an improvement?

I’m also not sure that perpetual reformation is ideal. Many of seemingly useless laws were enacted for good reasons as patches for good laws. G.K. Chesterton’s quote midway down the linked page seems to apply here:

By: Hal /rants/on-assumptions/comment-page-1/#comment-7465 Mon, 16 Jan 2012 01:55:47 +0000 /?p=1239#comment-7465 While not a bad post, it would be a heck of a lot better if you took the knife to your own assumptions with as much care as you have the others that you’re declaring a pox on.

Political systems and cultural systems are not easily routed around. There’s very little chance that your modest proposal will even last a few femto seconds in the real world. Frankly, it’s a proposal that pretty much everyone has thought about in the bong workshops of the college dorms. Doesn’t mean it’s silly, but it isn’t anything new, really.

Further, I’d say that the complex, massive systems such as we find ourselves embedded in and reliant upon really won’t work with such repeated review. Which is why, most likely, such systems haven’t evolved such . Making the mechanics expensive simply isn’t going to be selected for, regardless of how good our intentions are.

There’s no natural reason why things should be destined to work out okay. Control over communication and interaction is soon going to be absolute. The natural state of the system – at least as far as recorded history has shown – is despotism, authoritarianism, and by and large feudalism.

What we currently have is a tremendous fluke of circumstances. Now the system wants it’s ball back and is not playing footsie. The opponents of SOPA, et al, may be naive, but they certainly do understand that they’re losing something unique and precious. That’s hard to take. My feeling is that we’ve probably already lost, but perhaps not.

Ask the Chinese how much control the government has over their internet. Maybe it’s not absolute, but thanks to all the techies working at Google, Facebook, Cisco, Apple, Nokia, etc, etc, they soon will have pretty close to absolute control. And given the way the political wind is blowing, perhaps our government may well soon adopt as well.

It’s a nice fantasy to assume that the INTERNET will conquer all and that we’ll just route around the insanity. But I’m quite sure that it won’t.