Wednesday, August 13, 2008

UK citizens tracked by public bodies: Jaxtraw's comments.

The title makes sense if you know what Sensible Erection is. Here's the direct link to the SE commentary on the article, which is located here.

Jaxtraw is a frequent, insightful contributor. I especially appreciate this:

"You see, the key thing to understand here is that the people doing this are not evil. Evil people are a known quantity. They amass power and money, and gloat over it. That's a nasty thing, but it's comprehensible and to some degree predictable. When they ride over the horizon you know they're going to kill your women and rape your livestock.

"The people doing this believe they are doing good. That's what makes them so dangerous. They have no specific goal except to do more good, except the good is evil, so there is no respite from them. This is what "progressivism" is, in a nutshell; a burning, unquenchable desire to do more of the same, more effectively, without end. They will never stop.

"There's that famous quote "Evil people do evil, good people do good, but it takes religion to make good people do evil". That's a great quote, but it's wrong, or at least tragically incomplete. What it takes for good people to do evil is belief; passionate belief, and belief in anything will do if it's sufficiently strong. Religion, conservatism, vegetarianism, socialism, racial purity. Whatever.

"These people are a coalition of many cranky beliefs, but the unifying one is a belief in planning. They believe that they can make the world a better place by planning it. They believe that everything wrong with the world is due to a lack of planning. The more planning there is, the better the world will be. One day, everything will to the tiniest detail will be planned, and then the world will be perfect.

"To plan, they need information. Data. And thus, they have a religious belief in the inherent goodness of collecting data. And the more data they collect, the better everything will be, and if something isn't good now, it's because there isn't enough data on it, so it isn't well planned enough. So they can't comprehend why anyone would object to data collection; to object to data collection is to object to making the world a better place, which thus seems to them to be irrational and positively evil. They don't understand arguments about freedom, because freedom doesn't come into plans anywhere. It's not that they're evil people actively trying to destroy freedom; they don't even comprehend what it is because it's in a conceptual hinterland beyond their mental model of the world.

"'Forgive them, Lord, for they know not what they do', as a famous fictional character once said.

"The thing to remember about good people doing evil is that they are entirely implacable and merciless. You can beg an evil person for mercy; he probably won't grant it, but will at least understand why you're begging. But the good evil doer cannot comprehend why any mercy would be required- how can a person need merciful deliverance from good? So mercy there will never be."

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