[FoRK] Dude, where’s my job?

J. Andrew Rogers andrew at ceruleansystems.com
Thu Jan 15 09:28:24 PST 2009

On Jan 15, 2009, at 8:41 AM, Stephen Williams wrote:
> Somehow, regressive, hostile, and obstructive people have to be  
> brought into the modern world.

People have been saying such things for all of human history and it  
has never worked even once, largely because there is no society on the  
globe that is not teeming with people like this. It is an accident of  
birth that one militantly provincial fool may live in San Francisco  
and another in the Sudan but it does not change what they are, it just  
changes their predilections when it comes to militant provincialism.  
There are reasonably enlightened individuals, but no enlightened  
populations anywhere on the planet.

And that ignores that there is considerable disagreement over what  
consitutes "regressive, hostile, and obstructive".  Depending on who  
you ask, that would be *you*.  And I.  And every other person on this  
mailing list.  Intolerance backed with political power is a double- 
edged sword, though that rarely seems to bother the people wielding it.

> This points to a policy of withholding this technology on an anti- 
> nuclear proliferation like basis.  Since this should include a  
> number of Arab countries that have lots of money, this is probably  
> not workable.  And it gets into too much moralizing perhaps, but I'd  
> vote for it.  Clean tech for clean countries (laws, policies,  
> cultural tolerance (i.e. informal law and practices)).

First, when has this ever worked as a practical matter, and especially  
today?  Second, why would you condemn the enlightened people in those  
countries, a minority everywhere, to a life of technological poverty  
simply because they share political boundaries with someone you  
disagree with?  How many eggs are you willing to break for your omelet?

Speaking of regressive perspectives, I thought were supposed to have  
matured beyond the point where we thought it was possible -- never  
mind a good idea -- to impose our utopian ideals on other people by  
brutal force, which is what you are advocating.  This is a perfect  
example of why wanton military intervention is politically so easy to  
rationalize in societies the world over.

I thought we just got done condemning governments for doing this, and  
now it is a good idea again? It is no wonder that history repeats  


J. Andrew Rogers

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