Neal Goldsmith on Sun, 10 Nov 2002 17:40:06 +0100 (CET)

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[Nettime-bold] RE: <nlc> Yup, I Told You So -->



When I was a lad, we were taught, in "social studies" class, the following mantra as the core of American philosophy of government:  "I'd rather let 1,000 guilty men go free, than unjustly imprison one innocent man.”  This was always explained in terms of the fragility of the Bill of Rights, the concept of the “slippery slope” and the difficult, but essential obligation to view the long-term implications, rather than acting on short term benefits.  A similar statement (to mangle Jefferson) was: If we’re not continually, actively defending democracy, we won’t stand still, we actually lose ground.


It used to be the “obvious” threat to the American Way of Life from minorities and immigrants, then the scourge of drug dealers (remember civil forfeiture?), now it’s the threat of terrorists that can be used as an excuse to be expedient, rather than stand on our founding principles (and of course, expediency can be VERY profitable for those who unduly influence government with campaign financing).  As a sign of how far we’ve descended from our ideals, the mantra now becomes, “We’d rather abridge the civil liberties of 1,000 people, than let one guilty person go free.”  


Wheeeeee, enjoy that slippery slope while it lasts, because it descends into the “perfect” citizen information system, dictatorship, and ultimately, yes, to “Borgification.”

Neal Goldsmith



-----Original Message-----
From: [] On Behalf Of
Sent: Saturday, November 09, 2002 9:39 AM
Subject: <nlc> Yup, I Told You So -->




Go to and search for John Markoff's story today on "Pentagon

Plans" (check out and then go read my "Op-Ed" on the topic



Okay, it's true, I told you so . . .


Mark Stahlman

New York City