[extropy-chat] Witch-hunting (Was gay marriage)

Brent Neal brentn at freeshell.org
Thu Feb 19 04:25:16 UTC 2004

 (2/18/04 22:59) David Lubkin <extropy at unreasonable.com> wrote:

>Major wrote:
>>If you start treating people who have political opinions and express
>>them in a legal way as spies (which is what clause was apparently
>>about) you are right back in the McCarthy era.

>I'm trying to imagine how much freedom and life would have been preserved 
>had we had effective counter-intelligence and anti-Communist zeal instead. 
>When would the USSR have had atomic weapons, absent the spies? We surely 
>would have been able to block the Soviet imprisonment of Eastern Europe 
>without the presence of influential Communists in FDR's administration.

We had plenty of anti-Communist zeal. Unfortunately, it was used as a political tool domestically. Eventually, people stopped believing the BS.

And its not like an atom bomb is terribly difficult to build. Bohr's papers show that German scientists were well on their way towards building one of their own, and well, Russia has always had good physicists.

>I sympathize with reasoned opposition to domestic defensive measures or an 
>interventionist foreign policy. The question is what to do instead, in the 
>face of the presence of a persistent group determined to hurt us. Starting 
>from where we are today, not presupposing anarchotopia or libertopia.

Well, I'm not sure what else you propose to do under these circumstances, but clearly, handing the goverment more power to imprison and search and investigate is neither going to catch more malefactors nor increase our freedom.

The powers given to law enforcement in the current climate, if usage is any indicator, seem to be targetted towards political opponents and activist groups that disagree with the administration's policies. Of course, its not like we should be surprised, after J. Edgar Hoover's COINTELPRO and the activities of the Nixon administration. The current bunch of yokels make Nixon look like a rank amateur.  I know -I- don't feel safer knowing that the Patriot provisions are being used to investigate anti-Bush activist groups. Rather the opposite, in fact.

I sympathize with the desire to trade liberty for security, but we've seen before and we're seeing now that there are always always always hidden costs for doing so.


Brent Neal
Geek of all Trades

"Specialization is for insects" -- Robert A. Heinlein

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