Justice and Punishment

John K Clark (johnkc@well.com)
Sat, 4 Apr 1998 22:46:05 -0800 (PST)


"den Otter" <otter@globalxs.nl> On Sat, 4 Apr 1998 Wrote:

>[centralism] means that some crucial things just aren't left to
>chance (free market forces).

A politician's silly idea is far more likely to turn out to be random noise
than the workings of the market.

>if you think my system is based on "love" please read again. It's
>based on a rather cynical idea about human nature really.

You think everybody is stupid and evil except for the leaders of your
centralized government. Yes I know, checks and balances, but they're only as
good as the people who implement them. With such massive surveillance in
place and the assumption that officials can quickly and easily determine the
truth, your system has no room for error, if there is the slightest mistake
in the astronomically complex checks and balances required your system will
quickly turn into hell. My system is more fault tolerant, if one PPA goes bad
there are plenty more fish in the sea.

>The internet owes its existence to the computernetworks of
>centralized states, mainly the US.

Most of the hardware is in nations, it has to be, except for Antarctica every
square inch of the Earth's surface is in some centralized state, but no state
owns the Internet, pays for it, operates it, or, despite their best efforts,
makes rules about it.

>It can also "work" because it's very limited, all bits 'n'bites and
>no physical contact.

Physical contact is a sensation that tells us about the outside world,
sensation can be simulated with enough information, information is just
bits 'n'bites.

>it is still a playground of the more advanced layres of society;

And growing rapidly.

>most people are *not* connected.

But most important people are.

>most of all, the net is something you can turn off and ignore with
>the touch of a button if you don't like it.

When the world's economy becomes deeply intertwined with the net turning it
off would be like a nation turning off its electrical power grid because it
decided it didn't like it anymore.

>With the aid of brainscans and the like we'll be able to reduce the
>vagueness in psychology.

If you invoke magical machines any system will work.

>yes, there *is* something like "common sense".

But the trouble is it's not very common.

>sometimes good products are suppressed because they threaten the
>position of some big powerful company that happens to operate in the
>same niche.

On a few occasions big powerful companies have tried that and it has caused
great misery, for the company. IBM had one of the best research and
development labs in the world, they fully understood the power of a
microprocessor but didn't want to make a cheap computer based on one because
it would hurt their mainframe business and they figured if they didn't do it
nobody would. They were wrong. When Apple started to grow at a phenomenal
rate they panicked and knew they had to something fast but were unprepared
with their own technology so they had to start selling an INTEL- Microsoft
machine that was given the misleading name the IBM PC, the most colossal
business blunder in history. IBM's fate was sealed when a few years later
when they refused to make a machine more powerful than some of their
mainframes based of Intel's new 32 bit chip the 386. Compaq didn't hesitate
to do so and the rest is history.

A more recent example is Motorola, a few years ago they owned the analog
cellular phone market, when digital phones became available they saw no
reason to change and figured if they didn't do it nobody would. They were
wrong and now the company is in trouble.

>Only a powerful state can put these things right, thus achieving a
>higher level of progress and product quality for the consumer to

You've got to be kidding. Janet Reno is going to show Microsoft the correct
way to write an operating system?

>Indeed, democracy sucks and I should rule the world.

One slight modification on that and it would indeed be a perfect system.

>government workers (like police etc.) would be paid according to the
>amount and quality of their work, and be fired when found inadequate,
>just like in any market-oriented company.

Every politician elected in at least the last 50 years has said almost the
exact same thing in his campaign speeches, but it has not happened, it has
never come close and it never will.

>Imagine Microsoft as a PPA for ex, providing mediocre yet somehow
>"appealing" services and taking out competition left and right by
>any means necessary.

I can't imagine it. Why is this PPA so powerful? It's doing some very
expensive things so it's easy to see why service is only mediocre, but why do
its customers stick with it and keep pumping it with more money than any
other PPA?

>I belief there are such things as objective facts

I agree, but we won't always agree what those facts are or who can best find

>Dispite (undoubtedly) heroic efforts, anything only vaguely
>resembling a libertarian party is pitifully small in any country of

The Libertarian party is irrelevant as are all political parties.

>Anarcho-capitalism on the other hand is IMO based on the false
>premise that people will just turn en masse to libertarianism once
>they get the chance (or have been "educated"). Well, it ain't gonna

I know. The world I describe won't happen because politicians pass laws or
because somebody with a golden tongue convinces the average man it would be a
good idea. It will happen because the present nation states will not be able
to continue and something will be needed to replace it. This will be a
dangerous transition because the PPA system is not the only thing that could
take its place, for that reason I hope things don't happen too quickly.
I don't know how fast the bottom will fall out, all nations might collapse
as fast as the USSR did. I hope not.

>I think a centralized and maybe somewhat totalitarian system based
>on values of maximal freedom (allow anything as long as no-one gets
>hurt without consent) is the best way to go. Utopic? Sure. But not
>any more than anarcho capitalism. The former may fail because of
>corruption of the leadership, while the latter fails because the
>common man just ain't no libertarian

I'm not counting on the average man being one bit more libertarian than he is
right now, I am counting on a system that would make non libertarian laws
harder to enforce. I don't like you reading dirty books so I vote for a
prudish politician who says he will stop you, why not, it's no skin off my
nose. The really beauty part is that you still must pay your taxes so you
end up paying for your own harassment. In the world of Anarchy I still don't
like you reading dirty books but now if I want to stop you I must write a
check to the book police, and a big one because you can write checks too.
Lots of people want to tell you how to live your life but they don't want to
pay for the privilege, in fact most think their advice is so wonderful you
should pay them. I imagine lots of people will be whining about how ungodly
things have become and be nostalgic for the good old days of censorship,
drug laws, gambling laws, sex laws, suicide laws, slander laws and Janet Reno.

John K Clark johnkc@well.com

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