OT: Celebrity advice (was: Advice to a Junior in High School?)

Alex Martelli aleax at aleax.it
Fri Aug 29 10:27:27 CEST 2003

Gerrit Holl wrote:

> Alex Martelli wrote:
>> People who don't want ID
>> cards to exist, don't want government DB's to be cross-linked, etc,
>> plead much the same case -- they prefer inefficient government (whose
>> inefficiencies may help terrorists and other criminals) to efficient
>> government (whose efficiency might allow more effective oppression).
> This is exactly true. The one extreme is called 'anarchy', the other
> is called 'totalitarism' (either Communism or Fascism). It is a political
> choice to find a balance. Of course, ID cards don't mean totalitarism,
> but extreme government control, or extreme "effective oppression", does.

ID cards are a tool that can make government more efficient -- for either
good or evil purposes equally well.

Similarly, promoting Python use in government-used programming makes
government potentially more efficient.  Generally, tools are morally
neutral -- for an engineer there may be some moral (or, equally,
aesthetic -- "beauty is truth, truth, beauty") value in a specific
tool, but that's a biased viewpoint;-).

> We don't want a state that controls everything. But we

Hobbes did (he WAS pretty consistent).  But his intellectual heirs
(Locke and ff -- and the US's founding fathers were very much part
of that continuing tradition) were the ones that best developed
the case for limited and hampered government [[IMHO John Stuart Mills
is the single best // clearest // most readable thinker and writer
in that line... and not coincidentally the last major one -- other
later writers in Liberalism, such as Hayek and other Austrians, do
not really belong to the same line/tradition, IMHO, though it may of
course inspire them]].

> also don't want a state that controls nothing.

Some extreme libertarians may indeed believe they want that (but
just one look at Somalia and other cases where the state has
basically wilted should hopefully be enough to dislike THAT:-).


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