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Issues and Notes 1997:




Libraries (I am lobbying library officials to allow public internet access restrictions)

I STRONGLY oppose the policy, of state library officials, and the ALA's, of not allowing the restriction public library internet access.

A net nanny type of access restriction program WILL become necessary for public town libraries or else you will be providing ammunition for anti-government conservatives and liberatarians who wish to cut government spending. They will begin with public libraries if you, and the ALA, and the state library bureacrary insist on providing unrestricted internet access.

If parents can not trust their library to provide a minimal protection for their kids you will find that public support for libraries will disappear FAST.

Please don't let this happen, please lobby state library officials : to allow restricted internet access. They are the ones with the money who are forcing local libraries to give unrestricted access. Do not be a part of their ridiculous political plan. Super liberals appear to be trying to create a polarized political situation to promote their political agenda. Please do not allow them to entangle our public library system into their political agenda.

Please protect our public library system.

Sincerely, David C. Blackwell 475-9090x1678

Questions for the ALA

In most peoples opinion public libraries were founded to promote the positive aspects of our society and culture. Public libraries are thought of as a refuge of civility, politeness, non commercialism, and balanced political resources.Public libraries have always restricted access to publications of the lowest tastes thru economic triage.To continue to have public support public libraries will continue to have to support some minimal level of access restriction.

The economics of the internets has eliminated economic restrictions to publications of the lowest tastes. The ALA should allow 90-95 percent of the public library internet access terminals to be access restricted terminals. This does not count children's room internet access which the ALA apparently does allow access restriction.

By promoting (and enforcing via ALA accredition) unrestricted public library internet access the ALA seems to participate in a super liberal agenda of polarizating the politics of public library support.

The ALA can not continue to threaten public library acceditation and its dependant state funding mechanism by requiring public libraries to provide unrestricted internet access.

I would be happy with a clear ALA statement like this:

All libraries with more than 10 public internet web access graphics capable computers must have at least one unrestricted internet access. The ALA recommends that between 5 and 10 percent of all public internet web access computers be unrestricted. Other terminals may minimally restrict access to commercial web sites of the lowest tastes so that public resources are not wasted on commercial sites of obviously bad taste.

The ALA recommends that young childrens internet web access be fully restricted to material suitable for children. Only internet access in Adult library areas should allow unrestricted web access.

Trade-offs of freedoms:

Should the majority of people tradeoff some of their freedoms to protect themselves and others who may be destroyed or damaged because some people abuse their rights and deny others of their freedom and happiness.

The examples:

Freedom of speech says anyone can say anything, even to the point of stating their opinions that other or certain people should be denied their rights, life or property. Where should we draw the line and how can we balance the rights and responsiblities of free speech? Certainly advocating genocide, murder or violence should not be concidered acceptible free speech. This should include violent pornography.

Alcohol is one of the most dangerous and wide spread drugs available today.Around 20,000 people a year are killed in alcohol related auto accidents. Yet advertising and sale of alcohol is widespread.

Many weak or distracted (mentally or willfully) people need to be protected from their own impulses and from the "brainwashing" of other smarter or more willful people, who can convince some people to do things that are or can be harmful to themselves. How far should society go to protect people from themselves and others destructive people?

I have wondered why I have grown more interested in history as I've grown old. It was pointed out to me that my interest in history correlates with my realization of how much taxes are. Politicians were successful in hiding from me the realization of the percent of income taxes are. 28 percent marginal federal (plus 6 percent Mass.state ) income tax, plus 7 % ( plus 7% employee paid) social security (or 14% self employment tax), plus an additional 6% Mass div, interest and cap.gain tax. Totaling 40% tax on interest, divident, and cap.gains tax in Mass. or 34 % employment/income tax. Therefore I propose that in order to increase interest in history we first educate people on how much they really pay in taxes.

Thomas Paine
He was not an atheist but a Deist, while he said all organized religions were wrong, I prefer to say they are all correct but often misinterpreted or misapplied. I like exegesis but who has time? One can construction situations where any religious point can right or wrong or interpreted many ways.

Recommended reading: Gilder's Telecosm -
Comments on Internet law -

Interesting books: Julius Jaynes The Bicameral Mind on the origins of human consciousness

Books I'd like to have time to read: Robert Wright's The Moral Animal on evolutionary pyschology.

Writers I like:

Writers I dislike:

David Blackwell

comments of nationalism

Nationalism is, to me, a strange and transient idea. As a baby-boomer (born 1953) the US American nationalism was so pervasive, our borders so distant, our economic system so large, that it was invisible to me for most of my life.

Nationalism is a type of social organization which has evolved out of tribalism, kingdom, and empire (T,K,&E). Nationalism is dependent on a level of technology just as T,K,&E were dependent on a level of technology. The primary technology which allowed society to evolve past T,K,&E was the printing press. The daily and weekly newspaper was the central techology of nationalism. Newspapers allowed leaders to focus public attention on issues that usually promoted nationalism. Phones, radio, and television applified the ablity to focus national attention, and sometimes "brainwash" the public. These technologies promoted a heirarchicial top down distribution of information. It allowed a less dictatorial society to evolve by allowing leaders to explain and "sell" their ideas, concepts, goals, and ideals. Kingdoms and Empires were command societies where explainations where very limited and even top down communication was expensive. The choice for royal societies was order or chaos and order was usually more desirable than chaos.

Printing allowed relatively inexpensive top down communications, and it promoted widespread education and technological advance which resulted in a society organized by nationality. That means a common language and defendable borders. It also meant the suppression of tribal and local identities and of minority languages.

Successful Nationalism was also dependent on economic systems of manufacture and trade. These were in turn dependent on a common language and defendable borders.

I believe the new world wide communication technologies of the internet web will allow society to evolve past nationalism because cheap communication now can now be from anyone to many, cheap communication no longer needs to be from one to many. Techology has made borders obsolete and undefendable, useful only for short sighted politicians. Tariffs and trade barriers, at one time useful to promote local industrial technology are now obsolete and self destructive in our post industrial world society.

The idea that colonialism is to "blame" for anything seems absured and besides the point. Colonialism was a side effect of trade and "unbalanced" technology. Societies, nations with more advanced technology were able to control and "colonize" less technologically advanced societies.

While many colonial borders can be criticized most precolonial societies had not evolved past the concept of tribe or empire. There were few natural boundaries of language or nations. Few people understand that pre national languages are not fixed or standardized but elide thru many seperate dialects which are not understood by one another. While people in Boston and Texas may think the other talks funny they can understand each other. I'm told people in Calcutta can not understand people in Bombay or New Delhi though they all speak Hindi.


Technology as we know it, is now thought by most people who study it, to be dependent on capitialism and a mixed market economy. Totally free markets with no patent protection, slows technology by limiting investment in new unproven technologies.

Capitalism is dependent on a somewhat free market and absense of monopoly, and the presence of an unequal distribution of resources. Monopolies block technological advance with intrenched self interest. Free market allows new ideas and techology to replace old less efficient methods. The idea of limited monopolies for new ideas, namely patents, also promotes and speeds technological advances.

comments on racism, famine, genocide, tolerance, free trade:

While "politics, racism and colonialism contributed to the mass starvation in Ireland 150 years ago", I am surprised that this announcement does not mention the primary cause of this famine- technology.

The over reliance on a "new" agricultural technology, that of the "new" potato from America and its ablity to feed a larger population on the same land that could only feed a more limited population before. The potato virus wiped out this geneticly limited, & defenseless potato thus trigering the famine. Also involved are:

Thus the English and the Irish were doing what they thought was fair and good. The Irish divided their lands amongst their sons fairly; and the English created better, cheaper, and desirable industrial goods: pots, axes, knives, saws, plows, clothing, etc. Landlords (both in England and Ireland) improved the productivity of their farms with more productive crops and methods which required fewer farm laborers. "Modern" farmers supplied necessary food and woolens to the new industrial workers These industrial workers, (younger sons of English farmers) were, like farm laborers and tenant farmers, often little better than slaves (I have Mill English ancestors, DCB). Thus the increasing population was encouraged and accommodated by technology in various ways, instead of slowly sickening and starving little by little every winter as was more usual in the past. Part of that technological system broke with the potato fungus and those most dependent on the potato suffered the most. These facts encourage the idea that no good deed goes unpunished.

Our world society is threatened by similiar catastrophes today, but the  danger is watched a bit more carefully. (though not carefully enough in my opinion).

The politics that aggrevated the famine in Irish also effected the urban and rural poor in England and Scotland, and had lead to the revolutions in Europe, which had the same effect of temporarily reducing population.

Whenever population exceeds the ability of society (economics and technology) to feed it, for what ever reason; society will turn to the politics of exclusion and racism. I may be cynical, but I believe realistic, that our society, no matter how educated, or sensitive to tolerance, would also be turned to this evil aspect of ourselves if hit by a catastrophe of this type. (ie it does not take much to destroy all the major oil fields in the Middle East, or introduce viral infections, or bomb transportation and communication centers.)

We live in an unusual century where technological ability has increased a the same or greater rate as our world population. Usually disease, war, and related famine limits population to the technological ability of society.

AND societies with greater technological ability have OVERWHELMED those societies of lesser technological ability. For example British agricultural and industrial technology over the rest of the world in the 1800s and American colonial agricultural and industrial technology over the technologically "primitive" Native Americans. Russian industry over the rest of the Russian empire and also some of Manchuria.

Therefore I hope this curriculum would EQUALLY emphasize the importance of demographics (population changes) and technology, and not just focus on the importance of tolerance.


David Blackwell
who does not have time to make comments like this.

By the way, I think the importance of FREE TRADE is implied in these studies (of racism, genocide, nationalism) because it can reduce Nationalism (and racism), and eliminates tribalism, but at the "price" increasing multinational corporations and losing local control.

It would be interesting to study the trade-off of "Local Control" and "tolerance/racism."
Tolerance and/or free trade leads to a complicated society.

In my opinion tolerance equals free trade (and if you think workers are exploited in particular countries then have an import tax structure, that maximized the import tax revenue, which in turn is used solely to benifit workers in those countries; if import taxes are used to protect local jobs then it is not Free Trade.)

but enough of this for now...DCB.

Where do you want us to be in this 3D array?

        free market  10(z)
                     |    10(y) capitalism
                     |   /
                     |  /
                     | /
authoritarianism     |/                 libertarianism
                   / |
                  /  |
       socialism /   | 
                0    0(z) planned "market"     

me?  I guess I'd be (7,8,9)

The US Federal    Government   is too big and taxes are too high, but what do we cut or freeze?

I like the Federal Reserve (they messed up big time in the 30's but are fairly smart now) and I like the SEC, but most (all?) of the Agriculture Department farm subsides should be eliminated, they do have some interesting genome projects.

I like the Energy Department (I think) especially the Human Genome Project, and I like NIH, and NASA.

Medicare and Social Security will go broke before 2020 because of the demographics, so we had better freeze their funding levels now. You would never guess this by looking at their web sites, I'll have to find a site that explains this.This file explains it but it will put you to sleep