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Subject: [IP] more on Flight Risk

  • From: David Farber <dave@farber.net>
  • To: Ip <ip@v2.listbox.com>
  • Date: Thu, 15 Jul 2004 14:20:21 -0400


Begin forwarded message:

From: Bob Frankston <Bob2-0406@bobf.frankston.com>
Date: July 15, 2004 1:15:52 PM EDT
To: dave@farber.net
Cc: 'Paul Saffo' <psaffo@iftf.org>
Subject: RE: [IP] Flight Risk

If only it were so benign. The same argument would have applied to a
mandatory bomb shelter program in the 50's and it accepts having a 
Federal
Speech Commission to assure we don't use bad words over an arbitrary
selection of bit transports while assuring that only cooperative content
providers get distribution. It's hard to have free speech when 
anonymity is
illegal.

This isn't to say that we should ignore threats -- just that there's a 
cost
to pandering to just the fear. I shared FDR's concern about "fear 
itself".
This is precisely what happened with Y2K. The fear was unbounded 
because of
the naïve view of systems as being tightly coupled when we already have
enough threats to limit the coupling (well, except in the electric grid 
--
where are fuel cells when we need them?). There were real Y2K concerns 
but
the idea that our civilization would collapse was nutty but accepted.

It's amazing how much the press writes about the panic over dirty bombs 
or
attempts to disrupt elections because they know that rather than 
helping to
put events into perspective the same press will be the vector of fear.

It's a very interesting dynamic as if they are begging to be stopped 
before
they do it again. Such concerns are understandable as fear mongering 
does
seem to be an emergent property of the infotainment marketplace.

I want to avoid getting too political but there is a need for leadership
that can put these concerns in perspective instead of exacerbating the 
fears
and arguing that the US Constitution (just a local document) isn't up 
to the
task. It's far from perfect but, perhaps, that's why it works.

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