Absurdity, Allegory, Wisdom, and Poetry


"Don't you think it's a little dangerous to be handing out guns at a bank?"

-Michael Moore, "Bowling for Columbine"


I'm getting ready to invade the Jones' house down the block, because I think Mr. Jones is going to attack me with illegal weapons. I know he has these illegal weapons because I sold them to him just a few years ago. I mean, I gave him the weapons so he could use them against the Ruperts next door to him. He killed lots of them nasty Ruperts, thank goodness. (I wonder if anyone thinks I might be partly to blame for the deaths of about half a million Rupert children. Nah, probably not.) Back then, Mr. Jones seemed really really evil, but not as evil as the Ruperts, so I made friends with him.

Anyhow, now my sister says she heard a rumor that he still has those weapons (though I haven't really seen them since I gave them to him). The cops checked his house and didn't find anything, but hey, the cops are obstructing justice by not doing exactly what I tell them to do. And don't forget, a robber invaded my home not so long ago. You never know, that Mr. Jones might be planning something with the robber's friends, even though he and those guys have never been on good terms. I know Mr. Jones hasn't done anything lately, but he's probably up to something. I guess that whole robber thing has me a bit freaked out and I have to do something.

In any case, by wiping out Mr. Jones, while trying not to kill his children (though I expect quite a few to die in the invasion), I'll certainly be making my house safer. My idiot neighbors all pretty much think this is a bad idea for some reason though, but I've convinced about half my family and a few of my neighbors' heads of household that it's a good plan, and that's good enough for me.

The bonus is, Mr. Jones has lots of food in his house. Our house doesn't have much food, but we eat like there's no tomorrow! His has a lot more food than mine. Some people actually say this home invasion is about food! But I assure you it's not. I told him he'd better not destroy any of his food while I invade though. I mean I DO WANT the food. Me and most of my buddies actually have a lot invested in the food business, so we'd certainly benefit from that food. But it's not the main reason.

Anyhow, I'm sure the whole neighborhood will be safer with people like me going around killing the neighbors we think might attack us some day.

Then again, thank goodness not everyone in the neighborhood takes the initiative to invade the homes of those who it feels threatened by! I mean, the Kareeyans up on North Street actually think I might attack them! Well, I did put them in a list of evil neighbors, the same list as the Jones' in fact. They want to talk to me about it, but I ain't interested in talkin'. I just don't like them. I know they have some serious badass weaponry in that house though. Let's hope that by not talking to them, and carrying through with my attack on the Jones', they'll get the message.


"What is wrong is that we have invented the technology to eliminate scarcity, but we are deliberately throwing it away to benefit those who profit from scarcity. We now have the means to duplicate any kind of information that can be compactly represented in digital media. We can replicate it worldwide, to billions of people, for very low costs, affordable by individuals. We are working hard on technologies that will permit other sorts of resources to be duplicated this easily, including arbitrary physical objects....The progress of science, technology, and free markets have produced an end to many kinds of scarcity. A hundred years ago, more than 99% of Americans were still using outhouses, and one out of every ten children died in infancy. Now even the poorest Americans have cars, television, telephones, heat, clean water, sanitary sewers -- things that the richest millionaires of 1900 could not buy. These technologies promise an end to physical want in the near future.

"We should be rejoicing in mutually creating a heaven on earth! Instead, those crabbed souls who make their living from perpetuating scarcity are sneaking around, convincing co-conspirators to chain our cheap duplication technology so that it won't make copies -- at least not of the kind of goods they want to sell us. This is the worst sort of economic protectionism -- beggaring your own society for the benefit of an inefficient local industry. The record and movie distribution companies are careful not to point this out to us, but that is what is happening.

"If by 2030 we have invented a matter duplicator that's as cheap as copying a CD today, will we outlaw it and drive it underground? So that farmers can make a living keeping food expensive, so that furniture makers can make a living preventing people from having beds and chairs that would cost a dollar to duplicate, so that builders won't be reduced to poverty because a comfortable house can be duplicated for a few hundred dollars? Yes, such developments would cause economic dislocations for sure. But should we drive them underground and keep the world impoverished to save these peoples' jobs? And would they really stay underground, or would the natural advantages of the technology cause the 'underground' to rapidly overtake the rest of society?"

-Excerpted from "What's Wrong With Copy Protection," by John Gilmore of the Electronic Frontier Foundation


The Road Less Traveled

By Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I--
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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