Re: Surveillance Technology

Paul Hughes (
Thu, 03 Dec 1998 21:51:15 -0800

den Otter wrote:

> -Somehow I get the idea that you've been reading my posts in a very
> selective manner...Happens all the time. I understand your confusion
> though, as there's something of a paradox to my ideas: use "totalitarian"
> methods to "enforce" freedom. Why? Because freedom is such a
> fragile thing, it needs to be protected. You can't just let the masses
> decide, they will enslave themselves and us with them in no time (as
> they have done thousands of times troughout history, and are still doing
> today).

Perhaps in my more irrational moments I was mislabeling your point of view. However, as much as you would like to think your value system is superior to the masses, I think you have managed to trap yourself in a logical paradox of your own making.

The real question becomes who decides who is part of the masses and who is not? And who put them in charge? History (and the present) is full of people (who think they are better than everyone else) making decisions for our own good. It is those decisions that have brought us to the over-legislated unfree society we have today - the one you and I both detest. Every single draconian law, including most victimless crimes, were dictated on exactly those benevolent grounds by the self-ordained power elite. "After all, we can't have people doing drugs, they will enslave themselves in abuse, poverty and addiction. Therefore, we will make them illegal and punish them severely if they indulge themselves".

> You see it as an "unacceptable" limitation to your freedom if you're
> not allowed to murder, rape and steal? Pretty much everything else
> would be legal(ized), you know...However, as there would always
> be people who can't even respect the simple Golden Rule, there
> would have to be law enforcement. And to do law enforcement right,
> you need as much data about a crime as possible, which brings
> in such measures as public cam systems and DNA databanks.
> See the logic? If you seek perfection, you don't have much of a
> choice (either this or you rewire everyone according to your wishes,
> which is a lot worse than what I propose).

I have no problem with your desire to see crimes of rape, murder and theft eliminated. It's your proposal about how to accomplish these goals that I find untenable. The present exercise of government power, which you want to see increased, has shown itself to be completely incapable of using that power wisely and with fairness - with examples like Burma and China most glaring. More often than not, such surveillance technology has been used to squash every type of political opinion that my threaten those elite's in power. How will your system have safeguards that prevent any such group of using that power to control another peaceful group against their wishes?

> Based on one test of questionable integrity? Yes, it *could* work for
> some, but I'm highly suspicious about the alleged success rate.

The alleged success rate is simple fact. Only 2 of the 67 released ever went back to prison. What exactly are you suspicious of?

> Also, LSD therapy as 'punishment' will hardly deter anyone, unless
> it really feels horrible, and leaves the victim a zomby. In that case
> you've effectively introduced torture and capital punishment.

I never inferred that LSD was ever to be used as punishment. My goal is voluntary *rehabilitation*. The very thought of it being used in any other fashion makes my skin crawl. If you have ever had a positive experience with LSD, you will know that it does not alter consciousness so much as it *expands* it. Since when is expanding a person's psychological freedom torture? The prisoners who participated in these LSD sessions were delighted at all of the possibilities their nervous system was capable of taking them. Most of them realized they ended up in prison because of essentially "prison walls" in their minds - a self-fullfilling prophecy. They realized that they could change their patterns of thinking to obtain more satisfying and rewarding life's without having to resort to a life of crime and desperation. No wonder Aldous Huxley referred to his own experiences as "opening the doors of perception".

> Further-
> more, this treating of criminals as 'mental patients' is a greater insult
> to personal freedom and free will than anything I have come up with.
> The ultimate arrogance, and a method that has written 'abuse' all
> over it.

Its obvious you have never taken a psychedelic. Or if you have, I feel sorry that you had such a bad 'set' and 'setting' that you couldn't reap the rich rewards they have to offer. I highly suggest you withhold opinions on things you don't have personal experience of. I seriously doubt the prisoners participating in this program, think of their voluntary LSD experiences as abuse. They enjoyed their experiences tremendously, not least of which was that it gave them the power to lead lives free of crime and desperation. I'd hardly call that abuse. Your solution of beating and torturing prisoners is another matter altogether.

> Just watch shows like "I Witness Video", "Cops" etc. to see the power
> of cameras in action. See how the criminal usually confesses as soon
> as he hears that video footage is available. See how crime drops in
> well-monitored areas. For the power of DNA indexing etc, check out
> shows "Medical Detectives" on Discovery.

Repeating what I said above:

"More often than not, such surveillance technology has been used to squash every type of political opinion that my threaten those in power. How will your system have safeguards that prevent any such group of using that power to control another peaceful group against their wishes?".

Paul Hughes