Majority, Puns and All
Sam Aurelius Milam III
For many years, indeed, for most of my life, I've studied human behavior within human society. I've studied the governments that people have created and the behaviors and actions of those governments. It's sad to note that most of the useful alternative ideas that I've discovered with regard to such things have been in works of fiction. Long-time readers of this newsletter might have noticed that most such ideas that I've quoted from other sources have been from works of fiction. What excludes valid thinking about such things from the "real" world? I don't know, but that seems to be the case.
For many years, I've been attempting to restore liberty on this continent. Maybe it was presumptuous of me ever to undertake such a grandiose mission in life, but I did. I've been at it for a long time. This newsletter, which will be 20 years old after this issue, is only one of my efforts. By the nonsensical and arbitrary standards of our society, people born at the time of the first issue of this newsletter might be adults. The uncertainty about the majority of those people arises because there isn't one single standard. For some things, a man becomes an adult at 18. For some things, he becomes an adult at 21. It's been a long time since I paid much attention to that particular nonsensical, arbitrary aspect of our society. There might be other ages of majority for other purposes. I don't know but, as time goes by, the difference between being a minor and being an adult seems to be less important. The difference between being a minor slave and being an adult slave is largely academic.
Most of my comments in this newsletter, over the years, have been critical. Sometimes, I've been accused of being negative. I regard the provocation of such an accusation as a nitwit detector. People don't need to be informed of things that are good. They need to be informed of things that are bad. It's the bad things that need to be corrected. I didn't create the problems. I observed them and reported them. Sometimes, I even suggested solutions. That makes me observant and creative, not negative. A nitwit won't notice the difference.
Creative or not, my efforts haven't accomplished much. Things are immeasurably worse now then they were when I began. Government is more powerful, more pervasive, more repressive, and more intrusive than it was when I started. I haven't discovered any way to control government, to reduce its power, to prevent it, or even to limit the harm that it causes. People seem to be just as ignorant and unconcerned now as they ever were. I haven't discovered any way to keep them from being stupid. Bad government, and there isn't any other kind, seems to be an inevitable consequence of meetings between more than two people at the same time and place. The only intelligent response to bad government that I can suggest is to abandon it. The logical consequence of that is personal sovereignty. The worse a government becomes, the more difficult that is. If the government is bad enough, then the practical consequence is more likely to be prison than sovereignty. If so, then it's time to start shooting back. Still, I haven't found any other response that seems useful.
So, as the people who were born at the time of the first issue of this newsletter slowly ooze across the ill-defined boundary between minority and majority, I suggest that at least a minority of them should declare personal sovereignty. It won't make things easier for them, as I can testify from personal experience. Nevertheless, it's the right thing to do. They should divest themselves of obligations to government, all of which were unilaterally imposed upon them while they were minors. They might even give themselves new names, since they didn't have any choice about the names that their parents gave them. Then they can declare themselves to be sovereign. Think of it as a one-man-at-a-time Declaration of Independence. We don't necessarily need a majority but if enough of us do it, then a minority might be sufficient, puns and all.
from The Moon is a Harsh Mistress
Chapter 22, by Robert A. Heinlein, © 1966
at the Constitutional Convention
Comrade Members, like fire and fusion, government is a dangerous servant and a terrible master. You now have freedom if you can keep it. But do remember that you can lose this freedom more quickly to yourselves than to any other tyrant. Move slowly, be hesitant, puzzle out the consequences of every word. I would not be unhappy if this convention sat for ten years before reporting but I would be frightened if you took less than a year.
Distrust the obvious, suspect the traditional ... for in the past mankind has not done well when saddling itself with governments. For example, I note in one draft report a proposal for setting up a commission to divide Luna into congressional districts and to reapportion them from time to time according to population.
This is the traditional way; therefore it should be suspect, considered guilty until proved innocent. Perhaps you feel that this is the only way. May I suggest others? Surely where a man lives is the least important thing about him. Constituencies might be formed by dividing people by occupation ... or by age ... or even alphabetically. Or they might not be divided, every member elected at large and do not object that this would make it impossible for any man not widely known throughout Luna to be elected; that might be the best possible thing for Luna.
You might even consider installing the candidates who receive the least number of votes; unpopular men may be just the sort to save you from a new tyranny. Don't reject the idea merely because it seems preposterous think about it! In past history popularly elected governments have been no better and sometimes far worse than overt tyrannies.
But if representative government turns out to be your intention there still may be ways to achieve it better than the territorial district. For example you each represent about ten thousand human beings, perhaps seven thousand of voting age and some of you were elected by slim majorities. Suppose instead of election a man were qualified for office by petition signed by four thousand citizens. He would then represent those four thousand affirmatively, with no disgruntled minority, for what would have been a minority in a territorial constituency would all be free to start other petitions or join in them. All would then be represented by men of their choice. Or a man with eight thousand supporters might have two votes in this body. Difficulties, objections, practical points to be worked out many of them! But you could work them out ... and thereby avoid the chronic sickness of representative government, the disgruntled minority which feels correctly! that it has been disenfranchised.
But whatever you do, do not let the past be a straitjacket!
I note one proposal to make this Congress a two-house body. Excellent the more impediments to legislation the better. But, instead of following tradition, I suggest one house of legislators, another whose single duty is to repeal laws. Let the legislators pass laws only with a two-thirds majority ... while the repealers are able to cancel any law through a mere one-third minority. Preposterous? Think about it. If a bill is so poor that it cannot command two-thirds of your consents, is it not likely that it would make a poor law? And if a law is disliked by as many as one-third is it not likely that you would be better off without it?
But in writing your constitution let me invite attention to the wonderful virtues of the negative! Accentuate the negative! Let your document be studded with things the government is forever forbidden to do. No conscript armies ... no interference however slight with freedom of press, or speech, or travel, or assembly, or of religion, or of instruction, or communication, or occupation ... no involuntary taxation. Comrades, if you were to spend five years in a study of history while thinking of more and more things that your government should promise never to do and then let your constitution be nothing but those negatives, I would not fear the outcome.
What I fear most are affirmative actions of sober and well-intentioned men, granting to government powers to do something that appears to need doing. Please remember always that the Lunar Authority [tyranny previously overthrown in the story editor] was created for the noblest of purposes by just such sober and well-intentioned men, all popularly elected. And with that thought, I leave you to your labors. Thank you.
|The Diary of Cyber Sleuth: Day Eighteen
Fiction by Sam Aurelius Milam III
I've been out and about for quite some time now. Nobody has showed up yet. Maybe they aren't watching me after all.
I have at least one more thing that I'm going to do before I move on to my next big hack fest. I've had a lot of time on my hands and I've spent some of it working on the code for this. It's ready to go. I coded the program on my computer but without an internet connection, just as a precaution. Once the program was done I copied it onto a flash drive, thumb drive as some people like to call them. Anyway, the program is self-launching. When the flash drive is inserted into a USB port and the program detects an internet connection, it first connects to a particular audio stream. I remember one low-level pencil pusher at NSA who used to listen to audio streams when he thought the bosses weren't paying attention. The bosses were usually paying attention. He wasn't smart enough to hide from them. I was. Consequently, they thought he was the clever one and I wasn't bright enough to try anything sneaky.
Anyway, this pencil pusher likes country music so my code taps into a country music audio stream. I'm going to send the flash drive to him through the US mail, addressed from his mother. I expect that she knows what kind of music he likes. Hell. She's his mother. She probably knows more about him than I do. So he probably won't be suspicious when he receives the flash drive from her. I'm going to travel where she lives to mail it, right post mark and everything. I expect that, when he gets it, he'll just plug it in. That's just the way he is. More curious than cautious. He'll never make a hacker but he'll make a fine middle level manager. When he hears the audio stream he'll listen to it for at least a little while. A little while is all I need.
My program has all of the skids that I ever accumulated during my long and checkered career. The skids into agency computers won't work any more. They've all been upgraded because of the virus. Actually, that works to my advantage. I don't want the agencies to receive what I'm sending. I want it to go into little computers owned by ordinary people. Those skids are probably mostly still OK. Anyway, the code has a complete copy of this diary, or will have after I finish this entry. I expect this to be the last entry, at least for now. While the pencil pusher is listening to his audio stream, the program is going to start downloading copies of the diary onto thousands of computers, all over the world. The files will be ordinary PDF files. No compression, no encryption, simple as I can make them. Anybody with a PDF reader, any vintage, will be able to read the diary. After that, I'm going to lay low for a while and see what happens. Then I'll decide what to do next. Of course, if NSA sees the diary they'll know about the leaks from black projects all over the world. They won't find any leaks from their own black projects because I never used any of those. I'm counting on them being too proud and too territorial to pass along the information to other agencies. It's all one big agency but even the one world government won't be able to stifle the bureaucrat's incurable urge to empire building. NSA will keep the information to itself and watch the other agencies suffer. So, I should still have sufficient funds to do anything that I want to do. Of course, there isn't anything to prevent me from opening more leaks.
What's next? I've had a lot of time on my hands. I have some of the finest computers in the world. Without Cyber Dog I've had to manage things for myself and I've been most circumspect. I haven't connected to the internet from here. I've used libraries, coffee shops, wherever I could find some WIFI, and never the same place twice. And, I have something new, ready to release. I've created Cyber Wolf. You think Cyber Dog was good? You ain't seen nothing yet. With my skills, and with Cyber Wolf, the sky's the limit. I expect to do quite well for myself. Anyway, if you're reading this, which you obviously are, that means that my last little program worked as expected and that your computer was one of the thousands that I hacked over the years. Congratulations. Maybe you'll hear from me again some day.
Letter to the Editor
So far, I've never had a woman ask me first if I was on a diet.
My thanks to the following: SantaClara Bob; Lady Jan the Voluptuous; my mother; Dewey and Betty; Joseph, of Northridge, California; and FL, of Corcoran, California.
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by Steve, of Mililani, Hawaii.
Middle age is when broadness of mind and narrowness of waist change places.
Experience enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.
Someone who thinks logically provides a nice contrast to the real world.
I believe the only time the world beats a path to my door is when I'm in the bathroom.
Blessed are they who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused.
Artificial intelligence is no match for natural stupidity.
Original Source Unknown. Forwarded by Marilyn, of Bingham County, Idaho.
Birds of a feather flock together and crap on your car.
When I'm feeling down, I like to whistle. It makes the neighbor's dog run to the end of his chain and gag himself.
A penny saved is a government oversight.
The real art of conversation is not only to say the right thing at the right time, but also to leave unsaid the wrong thing at the tempting moment.
The older you get, the tougher it is to lose weight because, by then, your body and your fat have gotten to be really good friends.
The easiest way to find something lost around the house is to buy a replacement.
He who hesitates is probably right.
Did you ever notice that the Roman Numerals for forty (40) are XL?
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Sam Aurelius Milam III, editor