Re: Brin on privacy
Mon, 23 Dec 1996 00:07:40 -0500 (EST)

Michael Lorrey writes:

> > "I used to consider myself a Libertarian. Then I read _Atlas
> > Shrugged_."

> Why? It was one of the books that made me become one. I do know of
> people who were likewise turned off by it but their excuse was an
> inability to comprehend or have patience for 30 page long soliloquies.

It was precisely because I did understand the soliloquies that I
walked away with the distinct urge to brush my teeth after I put the
book down. Ayn Rand strikes me as the type of author (ie, a cult
looking for a place to happen) much like Heinlein who must be read
while one is young and impressinable to _truly_ take root. I know
there is a great degree of truth in that statement regarding
Heinlein-- I am still in the data collection stage regarding Rand.

I read AS as a graduate student in engineering, and came to the
conclusion that Ayn Rand was an extremist of the same type but
opposite polarity as the dyed-in-the-wool socialists and communists.

I have a remarkably low tolerance for extremists of any stripe,
whether they realize they are extremists or not. See also the good
Dr. Brin, whose writings I enjoy, but whose opinions on privacy and
encryption are so oddball as to defy classification onthe normal
political axes.

Please don't even get me started on the actual quality of _writing_ in
Atlas Shrugged_ either. A literary genius, she ain't.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm the first to admit (loudly) that political
thought in America has swung far too much toward willing
redistribution of wealth, and silly, pointless, special interest
spending for anyone's comfort or benefit. The staggering amounts of
money taken out of my paychecks every other week bear testimony to
that.(*) But I fancy myself an intelligent enough man to realize that
running from one extreme headlong into the other one is likely to be a
Bad Idea.

I give the libertarians the fact that they have some good ideas-- a
few-- and a philsophy that would do us a vast amount of good, in
moderation. But I no more consider myself a libertarian than a
communist, a republican, a democrat, a babboon, or any other lesser
form of primate.

* But if I could just get my damned Social Security back, I'd
promise not to bitch about taxes for the next five years, if they
didn't go up again.

John S. Novak, III 
The Humblest Man on the Net