Re: The End of Privacy ?
Tue, 7 Jul 1998 17:19:41 EDT

In a message dated 7/7/98 12:08:58 PM Eastern Daylight Time, writes:

<< No, merely outcompete them. Government is already a serious drain on the economies of the world and cannot last much longer in its present state. Possibly not even eighteen months, if we're lucky.>>

Our economy is doing wonderfully, we're turning in budget surpluses, the people are even satisfied with our scandal-ridden president, and you think that there's a significant chance of government ending in 18 months?

<<>Are you kidding? It's not the train or bus ticket (about 35 dollars or so
>every few hundred miles via Greyhound) it's the finding a place to stay and
>job after one arrives at where ever one is going.

So they can afford to move, they're just scared of doing it? Personally I could have worked as much as I wanted when I was living out of a backpack in 1996, I just didn't want to be programming Windows apps when I had better things to do.>>

It's not the moving it's the settling that's the problem. Particularly if one has to worry about a family. What about those with children or parents or spouses requiring the kind of accessible, good medical expertise that is generally found near cities? The point here is that moving is not nearly as easy as you seem to think for enormous numbers of people.

<< >You miss the point. Instead of merely accepting that millions and possibly
>more will die via terrorist attack, I think that there is a moral imperative
>to take measures to reduce that possibility, ideally to nil.

Indeed; so why are you arguing for police-state measures which are guaranteed to make it worse? >>

I'm not.

<<>namely that there will always be
>crazies with the intent to do enormous amounts of damage,

Yes, there will. And the risk to me is?>>

If you're going to be thinking only of yourself then this discussion will almost be moot. But, to give it a try anyway, the serious damage that could be done to many of the institutions that provide much of the stability in this society could have and probably would have a detrimental effect on your welfare.

<< >and that such
>crazies will sometimes be able to organize into terrorist cells,

And the risk becomes even lower, because otherwise they won't have the power to cause those enourmous amounts of damage for a long time.>>

Depends on where the cells derive their support from and who's in them.

<< >and that no
>matter how free or minimalist we make government, the terrorist threat will
>always exist.

You have evidence of this? That the risk to me from crazies in a minimal state is higher than the proven risk of letting governments take more power (governments have murdered far more people this century than private killers)?>>

You're arguing that it is more dangerous to let the government STUDY (which is how this discussion began) terrorist groups so that tactics with which to most effectively counter them, within legal parameters, than it is to ban the government from conducting such studies and developing such tactics?

<< > So it's not a matter of getting blown to kingdom come for
>principle, but a matter of pragmatism: the way to reduce the threat is not
>PRIMARILY by reducing the motivation.

You reduce the threat by *increasing* the motivation? Bizarre.>>

Well now that depends. An effective counterterrorist force with effective tools might serve to reduce the motivation of terrorists to attack certain targets in particular ways. The presence of the Secret Service, for instance, reduces motivation to attack the president. While terrorists are for the most part psychotic, they are not necessarily suicidal.

<< >As far as, say, being scanned automatically when I enter a
>dense population area, or any public, for nuclear/biologica/chemical weapons
>can say that I don't regard that as an invasion of my privacy. If I don't
>any such weapons, the scan will tell them nothing.

And when a new law is passed to scan you for things you do carry, what will you do? Go to jail, I presume. Does the phrase "innocent until proven guilty" mean anything to you?>>

I'm not talking about any such new laws. And the phrase means a lot to me. But you don't have to be proven guilty to be searched.

<< >If you're referring to terrorists, like McVeigh, frankly I think it
>makes perfect sense to develop such scanning measures BEFORE they lay their
>hands on NBC warfare materiel.

McVeigh was not a terrorist in his mind, but a freedom fighter. Do you seriously expect me to believe that he would have blown up that building if Waco had never happened? Yet you're arguing for more Wacos, while I'm arguing for less. Which will be more successful at reducing the number of attacks by the McVeighs of the world?>>

Frankly it doesn't matter much to me WHAT McVeigh was in his mind. What he did was horrible and immoral and caused FAR more damage than good to his cause. But that's completely besides the point. As is Waco or similar situations. Nowhere have I argued for MORE such situations. Your entire reply here is way off the mark.

<< >That cult in Japan, the Aum, tried using a
>variety of biological measures against Tokyo and the HQ of the U.S. Seventh
>Flt. in Japan, including the spraying of anthrax spores and the Q fever.
> None
>had any detectable effect

Exactly. No detectable effect, even with the level of funding and dedication that they had... and note that one of their attacks was against the US government, and wouldn't have happened had that government not existed. I don't know what the motivation for the other attack was. >>

Yes, an attack was made on the U.S. government, and yes, if the government did not exist obviously it could not be attacked. Yes, there was no detectable effect, except for the subway attack.

But, terrorists will undoubtedly acquire more knowledge of the effective implementation of NBC warfare; the Aum example was merely to show that such attacks are quite possible. If they had more information, and if they weren't stopped, the number of deaths and injuries caused by them would undoubtedly be much higher.