Re: Re : Libertarian viewpoint on "The new war"?

From: J. R. Molloy (
Date: Thu Sep 20 2001 - 11:15:13 MDT

From: "Anders Sandberg" <>
> The risk is that we get a lot of snooping that is technically legal
> thanks to legislation passed in a panic (by politicians fearful of jets
> falling on their own heads!), but which is not done for the reasons
> intended.

Yes, that's right, and if that risk of snooping becomes real via new laws and
more invasion of privacy, then the terrorists have won -- they've destroyed
the freedom that has made the US a prosperous and safe society. So the
Libertarian position (and extropian as well) is to find other ways to defeat
terrorism without sacrificing freedom.

> As a libertarian and minarchist, my view of the current events is that
> finding and punishing those responsible is actually the job of the
> government - one of the few things it is intended for. It should have
> the right legal powers to do this, and do it in a way that helps the
> interests of the citizens. Nothing else. This means that 1) extending
> legal powers after a terrorist attack should only be done if there is
> compelling evidence that they will be necessary and useful in the
> future,

Yes, and those legal powers should be temporary, being rescinded when no
longer necessary and useful.

> 2) hurting innocents in the process of finding and punishing
> must be kept minimal. It is actually ethically better that a villain
> escapes that you (or your government, acting on your behalf) kills an
> innocent.

That depends on whether or not the escape tends to encourage other villains to
perpetrate similar crimes.

> Privacy might not be a sacred primary value, but there needs to be a
> symmetry in power between the government and its citizens. If the
> government is given the right to snoop, then the accountability of the
> government must also be ratcheted up. This is not being done right now,
> quite the reverse.

That's the problem correctly identified by Ronald Reagan, who pointed out that
governments (and especially bureaucracies) expand to solve new problems, but
do not contract in response to their own obsolescence.

--- --- --- --- ---

Useless hypotheses, etc.:
 consciousness, phlogiston, philosophy, vitalism, mind, free will, qualia,
analog computing, cultural relativism, GAC, Cyc, Eliza, cryonics, individual
uniqueness, ego, human values, scientific relinquishment

We won't move into a better future until we debunk religiosity, the most
regressive force now operating in society.

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