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All the Perl that's Practical to Extract and Report

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  • You accept the laws that protect you from criminals and in so doing have given up many liberties. In general it is the giving up of some liberties to a greater good that moves a group of people from Anarchy to a more civilized lifestyle.

    That said -- the "Patriot Act" is a horribly scary thing.
    • It was a bitcy day and I probably wasn't clear....

      I take issue with people who trot out pithy little sound bites but ignore the full implications of them; In this case Ben's quote regarding liberties, freedom, and safety. We all give up liberties ( and I know he refers to "essential" ) in order to become part of a civilized society.

      So, is retaining your privacy regarding what toothpaste you use an "essential" liberty -- probably not, what books you read may well be. The tough question is, as you said,
      • It could be argued that this is essentially a "last 5%" kind of problem -- that there's a great bulk of things handled by the imperfect system, and that making the system perfect requires a huge amount of expenditure of some form.

        Witness: There are problems, of course, and random violence and whatnot in many places. But on the whole, people are (forgive me) benevolent, if not necessarily all that bright. Most people walk around not knowing any better and not being able enough to exact vengeances against anybody past throwing dog turds in their neighbor's mulch.

        Instead of allowing a large section of the population to carry on, the government is desperate to stop the small minority, and is willing to sacrifice much of the abilities of the large section to do so. Whether or not the large section is truly willing to let it happen remains to be seen.

        Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor...it both emboldens the blood and narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch, when the blood boils with hate, and the mind is closed...the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so. How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar.
        Keep in mind what happened to Caesar. The populace and the power structures involved generally prevent your garden-variety dictators from getting so far that the system becomes completely unhinged.

        Politics will continue. The economy will continue. Life will continue. Technology, most of all, will continue. These things may change in quality/speed of progress/etc., but they cannot be stopped by a few jerks in high official positions, or even a small-scale totalitarian regime.

        --

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        You are what you think.