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Author Topic: Article mentions FTL  (Read 1358 times)

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Article mentions FTL
« on: September 04, 2009, 02:46:00 PM »


It is linked from strike-the-root.com Also a really good website if you are unaware of it.


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Re: Article mentions FTL
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2009, 12:54:57 AM »

I heard them mention this on the show.

I find it so strange that y'all see technology as increasing freedom.

   125. It is not possible to make a LASTING compromise between
   technology and freedom, because technology is by far the more powerful
   social force and continually encroaches on freedom through REPEATED
   compromises. Imagine the case of two neighbors, each of whom at the
   outset owns the same amount of land, but one of whom is more powerful
   than the other. The powerful one demands a piece of the other's land.
   The weak one refuses. The powerful one says, "OK, let's compromise.
   Give me half of what I asked." The weak one has little choice but to
   give in. Some time later the powerful neighbor demands another piece
   of land, again there is a compromise, and so forth. By forcing a long
   series of compromises on the weaker man, the powerful one eventually
   gets all of his land. So it goes in the conflict between technology
   and freedom.
   126. Let us explain why technology is a more powerful social force
   than the aspiration for freedom.
   127. A technological advance that appears not to threaten freedom
   often turns out to threaten freedom often turns out to threaten it
   very seriously later on. For example, consider motorized transport. A
   walking man formerly could go where he pleased, go at his own pace
   without observing any traffic regulations, and was independent of
   technological support-systems. When motor vehicles were introduced
   they appeared to increase man's freedom. They took no freedom away
   from the walking man, no one had to have an automobile if he didn't
   want one, and anyone who did choose to buy an automobile could travel
   much faster than the walking man. But the introduction of motorized
   transport soon changed society in such a way as to restrict greatly
   man's freedom of locomotion. When automobiles became numerous, it
   became necessary to regulate their use extensively. In a car,
   especially in densely populated areas, one cannot just go where one
   likes at one's own pace one's movement is governed by the flow of
   traffic and by various traffic laws. One is tied down by various
   obligations: license requirements, driver test, renewing registration,
   insurance, maintenance required for safety, monthly payments on
   purchase price. Moreover, the use of motorized transport is no longer
   optional. Since the introduction of motorized transport the
   arrangement of our cities has changed in such a way that the majority
   of people no longer live within walking distance of their place of
   employment, shopping areas and recreational opportunities, so that
   they HAVE TO depend on the automobile for transportation. Or else they
   must use public transportation, in which case they have even less
   control over their own movement than when driving a car. Even the
   walker's freedom is now greatly restricted. In the city he continually
   has to stop and wait for traffic lights that are designed mainly to
   serve auto traffic. In the country, motor traffic makes it dangerous
   and unpleasant to walk along the highway. (Note the important point we
   have illustrated with the case of motorized transport: When a new item
   of technology is introduced as an option that an individual can accept
   or not as he chooses, it does not necessarily REMAIN optional. In many
   cases the new technology changes society in such a way that people
   eventually find themselves FORCED to use it.
   128. While technological progress AS A WHOLE continually narrows our
   sphere of freedom, each new technical advance CONSIDERED BY ITSELF
   appears to be desirable
. Electricity, indoor plumbing, rapid
   long-distance communications . . . how could one argue against any of
   these things, or against any other of the innumerable technical
   advances that have made modern society? It would have been absurd to
   resist the introduction of the telephone, for example. It offered many
   advantages and no disadvantages. Yet as we explained in paragraphs
   59-76, all these technical advances taken together have created world
   in which the average man's fate is no longer in his own hands or in
   the hands of his neighbors and friends, but in those of politicians,
   corporation executives and remote, anonymous technicians and
   bureaucrats whom he as an individual has no power to influence. [21]
   The same process will continue in the future. Take genetic
   engineering, for example. Few people will resist the introduction of a
   genetic technique that eliminates a hereditary disease It does no
   apparent harm and prevents much suffering. Yet a large number of
   genetic improvements taken together will make the human being into an
   engineered product rather than a free creation of chance (or of God,
   or whatever, depending on your religious beliefs).
   129 Another reason why technology is such a powerful social force is
   that, within the context of a given society, technological progress
   marches in only one direction; it can never be reversed. Once a
   technical innovation has been introduced, people usually become
   dependent on it, unless it is replaced by some still more advanced
   innovation. Not only do people become dependent as individuals on a
   new item of technology, but, even more, the system as a whole becomes
   dependent on it. (Imagine what would happen to the system today if
   computers, for example, were eliminated.) Thus the system can move in
   only one direction, toward greater technologization. Technology
   repeatedly forces freedom to take a step back -- short of the
   overthrow of the whole technological system.
   130. Technology advances with great rapidity and threatens freedom at
   many different points at the same time (crowding, rules and
   regulations, increasing dependence of individuals on large
   organizations, propaganda and other psychological techniques, genetic
   engineering, invasion of privacy through surveillance devices and
   computers, etc.) To hold back any ONE of the threats to freedom would
   require a long different social struggle. Those who want to protect
   freedom are overwhelmed by the sheer number of new attacks and the
   rapidity with which they develop, hence they become pathetic and no
   longer resist. To fight each of the threats separately would be
   futile. Success can be hoped for only by fighting the technological
   system as a whole; but that is revolution not reform.
   131. Technicians (we use this term in its broad sense to describe all
   those who perform a specialized task that requires training) tend to
   be so involved in their work (their surrogate activity) that when a
   conflict arises between their technical work and freedom, they almost
   always decide in favor of their technical work.
This is obvious in the
   case of scientists, but it also appears elsewhere: Educators,
   humanitarian groups, conservation organizations do not hesitate to use
   propaganda or other psychological techniques to help them achieve
   their laudable ends. Corporations and government agencies, when they
   find it useful, do not hesitate to collect information about
   individuals without regard to their privacy. Law enforcement agencies
   are frequently inconvenienced by the constitutional rights of suspects
   and often of completely innocent persons, and they do whatever they
   can do legally (or sometimes illegally) to restrict or circumvent
   those rights. Most of these educators, government officials and law
   officers believe in freedom, privacy and constitutional rights, but
   when these conflict with their work, they usually feel that their work
   is more important.
   132. It is well known that people generally work better and more
   persistently when striving for a reward than when attempting to avoid
   a punishment or negative outcome. Scientists and other technicians are
   motivated mainly by the rewards they get through their work. But those
   who oppose technilogiccal invasions of freedom are working to avoid a
   negative outcome, consequently there are a few who work persistently
   and well at this discouraging task. If reformers ever achieved a
   signal victory that seemed to set up a solid barrier against further
   erosion of freedom through technological progress, most would tend to
   relax and turn their attention to more agreeable pursuits. But the
   scientists would remain busy in their laboratories, and technology as
   it progresses would find ways, in spite of any barriers, to exert more
   and more control over individuals and make them always more dependent
   on the system.
   133. No social arrangements, whether laws, institutions, customs or
   ethical codes, can provide permanent protection against technology.
   History shows that all social arrangements are transitory; they all
   change or break down eventually. But technological advances are
   permanent within the context of a given civilization. Suppose for
   example that it were possible to arrive at some social arrangements
   that would prevent genetic engineering from being applied to human
   beings, or prevent it from being applied in such a ways as to threaten
   freedom and dignity. Still, the technology would remain waiting.
   Sooner or later the social arrangement would break down. Probably
   sooner, given that pace of change in our society. Then genetic
   engineering would begin to invade our sphere of freedom, and this
   invasion would be irreversible (short of a breakdown of technological
   civilization itself). Any illusions about achieving anything permanent
   through social arrangements should be dispelled by what is currently
   happening with environmental legislation. A few years ago it seemed
   that there were secure legal barriers preventing at least SOME of the
   worst forms of environmental degradation. A change in the political
   wind, and those barriers begin to crumble.
   134. For all of the foregoing reasons, technology is a more powerful
   social force than the aspiration for freedom. But this statement
   requires an important qualification. It appears that during the next
   several decades the industrial-technological system will be undergoing
   severe stresses due to economic and environmental problems, and
   especially due to problems of human behavior (alienation, rebellion,
   hostility, a variety of social and psychological difficulties). We
   hope that the stresses through which the system is likely to pass will
   cause it to break down, or at least weaken it sufficiently so that a
   revolution occurs and is successful, then at that particular moment
   the aspiration for freedom will have proved more powerful than
   135. In paragraph 125 we used an analogy of a weak neighbor who is
   left destitute by a strong neighbor who takes all his land by forcing
   on him a series of compromises. But suppose now that the strong
   neighbor gets sick, so that he is unable to defend himself. The weak
   neighbor can force the strong one to give him his land back, or he can
   kill him. If he lets the strong man survive and only forces him to
   give his land back, he is a fool, because when the strong man gets
   well he will again take all the land for himself. The only sensible
   alternative for the weaker man is to kill the strong one while he has
   the chance. In the same way, while the industrial system is sick we
   must destroy it. If we compromise with it and let it recover from its
   sickness, it will eventually wipe out all of our freedom.
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