Re: Surveilance was: Transhuman fascists?

From: Zero Powers (
Date: Thu Mar 30 2000 - 12:35:41 MST

>From: Dan Fabulich <>
>'What is your name?' 'Zero Powers.' 'Do you deny having written the
> > >This is false. Transparency is not enough. You need transparency, the
> > >capacity to recognize wrongdoing, and the capacity to do something
> > >it.
> >
> > None of these requirements seems like much of a hurdle in a transparent
> > society.
>If a despot is in power and you know it, getting the capacity to do
>something about it is quite a hurdle indeed.

You *keep* assuming that a despot will or can take power in a constitutional
democratic transparent society. This simply does *not* make sense to me.
It has *never* been done. You have posited *no* argument which makes me
believe that it ever will or could be done.

> > >LOTS of data-crunching, you just forget it's going on. Can you imagine
> > >system like this if it depended on human agents to type in what the
> > >cameras were seeing?
> >
> > The point is that its not going on by *my* machine. The crunching is
> > done on the server. My box just reads the results to me, no big deal.
>As a
> > result I don't need to invest in a big powerful server to benefit from
> > data on the web. Government, with all its fancy shmancy hardware can't
> > anything on the web I can't do. This undercuts your "the big guys will
> > better use of it so they can crush you" argument.
>Look, my whole argument is that you can't guarantee yourself access to the
>server, even if you can assure yourself access to the cameras. Remember,
>these servers are government owned and government run. The government can
>take away the servers, and THEN where would you be?

Now you are assuming that the servers would be government owned and run. I
never suggested this. I don't even know that the sytem would need to depend
on any central "servers." Even if some sort of central server were
required, it would seem to make much more sense to me if the servers were
distributed, robust and redundant without any one hierarchical controlling
body. Think Usenet.

And even if it was necessary to have some sort of central oversight
committee (which I doubt) there is no reason why it would have to consist
solely of government employees.

And, further, assuming that (1) it is necessary to have a centralized server
system and (2) it is necessary to have a single hierarchical controlling
body and (3) it is necessary that the hierarchical controlling body be made
up exclusively of government employees, again as long as the body and its
personnel and its decisions and its actions were sufficiently transparent,
it would not matter.

> > >For the curious, you do it like this: You seize control of a small
> > >and lie, claiming that you intend to seize no more. (Whoops! Those
> > >cameras aren't lie detectors, are they?) You seize control of some
> > >territory, and lie, claiming that you intend to seize no more. Repeat.
> > >Granted, I left out the hard part, which is actually seizing the
> > >territory, but the principle is tried and true. And unfortunately,
> > >cameras can't detect intentions any better than the modern press.
> >
> > Except that the act of "seizing" *any* territory in the US makes you a
> > criminal and the feds will swiftly give you an extra large helping of
> > Montana Freeman - Branch Davidian treatment.
>In a democracy, you might run it differently. Instead of seizing control
>of "territories," as such, you start picking off minorities. This is
>legal in a democracy, and while it might be looked at askance, no one is
>going to run over and attack you simply because your state has done
>something offensive to a minority.

Have you ever *heard* of the US? Have you ever been there? I don't know
what you have read about democracy, but you obviously have never seen ours
in action.

>The most vivid example we have of a
>despot rising to power where there was once a democracy was Hitler. If
>you wanted to be a despot in America, you'd do it the way he did it.

Well much as that might make for an interesting thought experiment, I'm not
going to pursue it further. I don't see any despot rising to power in the
US or in *any* similarly constitutional democracy. Keep singing that same
song if you want, fact of the matter is it ain't gonna happen.

> > OK now look at it this way, for all the reasons you just said it would
> > difficult to overthrow a despot if he had access to ubiquitous
> > For all those same reasons, it would be just as hard (if not harder)
> > the despot to take over in the first place.
>Not if the despot manages to get a mandate from the people first. Hitler,
>you'll recall, had the popular vote. How would a transparent society have
>prevented Hitler from rising to power?

A constitutional democracy like that in the US (transparent or not) would
have prevented Hitler from rising to power. Because it is simply
unconstitutional to become a despot in the US. The only way to do it is to
(1) *drastically* amend, or throw out the constitution or (2) militarily
take over. One *last* time, that is *NOT* going to happen.


"I like dreams of the future better than the history of the past"
--Thomas Jefferson

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