Forgive me if this is not timely, I just read through yesterday's digest..
With regards to guns in any society - "An armed citizenry in a polite citizenry" - Aldous Huxley (Brave New World). Generally, given most individuals desire not to think more than 5 seconds ahead, having a majority of the citizenry armed is a way to induce societal responsibility, not diminish it. In America, there is an odd societal meme that states that protecting oneself,family, and property with lethal force from a projectile weapon is somehow wrong. See the recent case of an individual being tried for murder in California for shooting an individual robbing their home. As a US citizen, you are much better off (legally) killing your attacker with your bare hands or a bladed weapon. This legal conceptualization (the "right to stand your ground law") which has gone out of vouge in the US lately is ,IMO, one of the reasons for the increase in violence and severity of crime in the US. (There are other cultural memes at work, but that is not the subject of this discussion)
With regards to the Government encroaching on individual freedoms- that is the purpose of governments. The question is whether or not the applications of these restrictions are equitable for the stability they produce, and whether they are uniformly applied. The US government under current law has the power to arrest any person and hold them for 6 months under no formal charges, to confiscate all of their worldly possessions, and since they are technically not under arrest, to do anything they like without allowing the "accused" any legal representation. (Check the RICO act... " possession of any device capable of being used in a fraudulent manner "..." constitutes terrorism" This includes fountain pens, credit cards, etc.) As to uniform application, look at the case of Bernie S.
The question the American people need to consider is if these restrictions (i.e. virtually unlimited government authority) are equitable for the stability (Ha!) of American society. If not, then the mechanisms do exist to repeal the laws, or place other representatives in power. 2 problems : 1) I have yet to hear of , meet, or read about any candidate for any office (other than the libertarians) who had a clue about recent cyberlaws, or their effects. 2) 85% of the American people still belive that they directly elect the president, and are able to recognize Micheal "Magic" Johnson, but not Alan Greenspan (Argueably the most powerful man in the US).
The best thing going for most of us (extropians, et. all), as I have said previously, is that most of them (governments, politicians, managers, pick your Hierarchal structure) are dumber than most of us, and while they will resist change, new ideas, and thought with every fiber if their little Homer Simpson beings, we can, through patience and careful planning, bring them out of their squalor. (Whether they like it or not)
"Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded - here and there, now and then- are the work of extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty.
This is known as "bad luck."" --Heinlein
As to the ability of individuals who wish to extend the
biopossibilities of the human race having the ability to kill with a
clear conscience - "A brute kills for pleasure, a fool kills from hate"
=-Heinlein again. One of the few downsides to a universe ruled by
conscious decision and chaotic systems is the fact that "necessary" and
"desirable" are not always in sync. To take a life (of any animal, even
people) because it is desirable, is stupid, and wasteful. To take a life because it is necessary for food, clothing, shelter, survival, preservation of life or individual integrity is not something to become
"emotional" about. If "sleeping at night" is an issue, reexamine your
motivations before hand. "Thinking" implies considering the possibilities of your actions, their ramifications, and your reactions to them.
Jim Barnebee ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////Get Your Private, Free Email at http://www.hotmail.com
"The future has arrived; it's just not evenly distributed."
-William Gibson Jim Barnebee Java/VRML/WebDevelopment/Encryption/Memetics http://www.biosys.net/barnebee/ e-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////// ______________________________________________________