Re: NEWS/FWD: Free Cyber-University

From: Robert Wasley (
Date: Fri Mar 17 2000 - 20:10:45 MST

Sasha Chislenko wrote:
> All advanced projects on the Internet that I can think of have
> been started by private individuals and companies; the role of
> the government is limited to watching for old issues (can a child
> see naked butts online?), providing general resources ($ for
> thicker carrier cables), and general regulation of development
> (such as patent laws).
> Even if the government was doing more good than harm in any of these
> areas, it would still mean that the visionary development is done by
> private individuals, and the democratic governance is only able to
> provide support for already established structures.

Regarding libraries, yes, Carnegie and many more regular people have
donated time, money, and materials for the support of the library system,
however it survives because it has been supported by public funds
beginning in the 19th century for the public good. Yes, I don't always
get what I want there, yet it has and still serves a critical function for
millions of people.

Now, if we want to champion individualism over collectivism the system in
United States is a slippery target. I can not think of any part of our
that government legislation did not provide the foundation for the "rugged
individualists" to be successful. Monroe Doctrine, easement rights for the
railroads, build up of an industrial base by both the North and South during
the Civil War, tariffs in the latter 19th century protecting American
from foreign compeition, the electronics industry during and after WW2,
program, DARPA, etc, etc, etc. Why it is a slippery target because the
result, if not intention, has been to is give private enterprise a running
start by
using its resources to get past the hardest, most costly part and then take
from there. In this way it can not provide a clear foil in the individualism
collectivism arguement as would comparison to the economic/social models
of the Third Reich, Soviet Russia, ancient Egypt or feudal China.

What history says to me that individualistic or collectivistic societies and
philosophies are premised on distorted perspectives of who and what
human beings are. We are both social (collective) and individual so our
societies need to reflect a similar balance which is no mean trick and not
always successful, but it is none the less the most correct approch.

Robert Wasley

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