Eric Miller on Wed, 2 Feb 2000 02:30:29 +0100 (CET)

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RE: <nettime> a draft US political platform for 2000

If I may, I'd like to comment on a couple of items here. 

"It is time to make an end of punitiveness, to legalized lynching, as an
unfit philosophy for dealing with fellow human beings. We must-

* Start freeing non-violent prisoners. "

I agree with the principle of ending punitiveness, but what other option
do we really have?  In this free-for-all economy/society we've got going,
there needs to be some mechanism for accountability.  Faith in human
goodwill won't cut it...otherwise communism would have been a smashing
success, eh?  Put another way...I've been the victim of many a non-violent
crime.  I can't really see how removing the consequences of those actions
would help me, society, or the criminal. 

"*Bring to light and challenge the punitive attitude whether it occurs in
arguments about education, welfare, immigration, military of foreign
affairs, sexuality, or anywhere else. Even "progressives" to often fall
into this mode of thinking." 

There may be a fine line here between what you consider punitive and I
consider justice.  One of the more unfortunate truths of human nature is
that many people will take the path of least resistance in their lives,
regardless of whether or not that harms others.  In a way, by removing
societal obstacles, wouldn't this just reinforce that pattern of behavior? 

"2. A SANE DRUG POLICY We need a unified policy for all drugs, ranging
from alcohol, caffeine and tobacco, to prescription drugs to those that
are currently illegal." 

WHAT??? So you propose to remove criminal liability for society's
standards of behavior, then you want to regulate my coffee consumption? 
Egads, sir.  The libertarian in me is screaming bloody murder.  If you
want to remove the consequences for people who do harm unto others, at
least allow me to do harm unto myself at my own discretion.  I realize I'm
being a bit rhetorical here, given your expanded point, but I see a huge
contradiction here.  "Whether or not people use drugs, they should be held
responsible for violence or recklessness or direct effects on others"
doesn't really jibe with "Start freeing non-violent prisoners", i.e.
removing the reinforcement of societal standards. 

"*legalize the non-profit (or low-profit) sale of all drugs, and make sure
that there exist non-profit (or low-profit) outlets for all adults, with
adequate warnings but not browbeatings about possible dangers" 

So, we remove the profit motive from advancing the human condition, which
has driven many of the medical breakthroughs of the past century. 
Regardless of whether or not the public subsidized the initial research,
the drug companies invest in R&D to bring the academic foundations to
market with a product.  THE PUBLIC BENEFITS.  Period.  Whether or not the
research springs from tax dollars or private enterprise, there is a cost
that the public must bear to make this happen.  For better or for worse,
capitalism has proven itself to be the most efficient way to make this
happen.  Churchill had it right. 

"8. TWO WAY INTERNET ACCESS FOR EVERYONE Make sure world's knowledge
resources and expressive resources are fully available, ESPECIALLY to the
most deprived.  9. ONLY WANTED CHILDREN Work to find new ways to make sure
all children are not only wanted but that they continue to get sufficient
attention from caring adults as they grow.  10 IMPROVE AND EXTEND PUBLIC
AMENITIES in cities and suburbs. " 

How can anyone disagree with this?  I can't...but I will point out that it
strikes me as impractically utopian. 

"12. DEVELOP A PEACE COMMISSION that will offer proposals and help to end
civil wars, settle territorial disputes find creative solutions throughout
the world. " 

AKA the UN Security Council?  How is this different? 

Sorry, not to be totally contradictory...but I don't see a path to what
you envision, nor do I see that it would create a more stable society. 

Eric Miller

| Eric Miller 
| Web Technology and Development
| 503.517.3800

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