[Vision2020] Open source and related concepts

Ted Moffett starbliss at gmail.com
Tue Apr 8 01:31:45 PDT 2008

Paul Rumelhart wrote:

There is a site called metagovernment (http://www.metagovernment.org) which
starting to ramp up that aims to garner community involvement in every
aspect of governing ourselves.  I don't know a lot about it yet, but I'm
excited about the idea.  From what I gather, you basically band together
into small communities based on geographical area (presumably Moscow
would be one such area), and you work as a group to write the laws as
you want them to be.  There is a mechanism where the best ideas float to
the top, and there are forums where every aspect of the law is hammered
out.  The idea is that these laws, and the discussions that are involved
in them, can be held up as a template for our legislatures to use to
create local laws.  There is no real power there, all there is is an
example that in all likelihood will be a much "better" law than that
which our politicians would come up with, since it was developed by
those who would be most affected by and who are most knowledgeable of
the topics.

>  When this project gets off the ground, I'm going to follow it and see if
> it works.  My gut instinct tells me that it will.  It's the same reason
> that Firefox the browser is better than Internet Explorer (at least in
> my opinion) - the community knows what they want and that drives the
> design.  A monolithic company, just like a monolithic government, is
> limited - whereas a group of intelligent individuals with like interests
> and whole ranges of expertise to draw on can be nigh unstoppable.  It's
> the difference between having to accept what is shoved down your throat,
> and choosing to use what others have built together for you to use as
> you see fit.
> If this takes off, I'll be hoping to get some of the people on this list
> involved in the project.  It is basically what Vision2020 purports to
> want to be - a place where our vision of the future of our town can be
> expressed in a positive way.
> Any thoughts?
> Paul

Your "gut instinct tells me that it will?"  Wow!  Your faith in the ultimate
goal of this effort is admirable.

But do you think this effort will stop fundamentalist religious
congregations from voting in lock step to control local or state government
in Idaho?  Do you think they will join in, or oppose, this egalitarian
anarchist vision of law making?  They use the Internet to promote their
version of dogmatism and thought control.  Consider the Idaho Family Values
Alliance, well known for promoting Idaho's 2006 Super DOMA.  Moscow's
support for domestic partner benefits is mentioned on their web page:

I do have a thought, now that you asked, that relates to the often heard
claim that the Internet is a democratising egalitarian liberation
technology.  Why in the Age of the Internet, when anyone could have
determined in an hour or two of Internet research, that the claims of the
Bush administration in 2002 that Saddam had WMD that posed a credible and
immediate threat to the national security of the USA, and had ties to Al
Qaeda,  were very doubtful propositions, did this not result in strong
hesitation in the US Congress and the US public, about invading Iraq?  How
were so many misled into believing these fabrications, exaggerations and
distortions about Iraq WMD, and Saddam's ties to Al Qaeda, when credible
sources on the Internet could have shed doubt on Bush's claims?

It seems that the Internet is only as useful as the critical and/or
investigative thinking skills of those using it; teaching critical
independent thinking is fundamental to the education of the citizenry in a
democracy, no computers or Internet required.  How did the greatest thinkers
in human history achieve what they did without computers, after all?

Which is not to say that the Internet is not a wonderful tool; but it is
merely a tool, that can be used to control and mislead, as well as
enlighten, educate and liberate.

It is well known that porno is one of the dominant activities on the
Internet.  Now there's egalitarian political liberation for you!  What
a diversion from the responsible investigations that should have concerned
every citizen about Iraq WMDs and ties to Al Qaeda, during the 2002 run up
to this disastrous and cruel war!

Ted Moffett
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