The Venus Project: What do people think about the Resource Based Economy predicted by Jacques Fresco?

I see lots of encouraging intentions - in fact I was delighted to find intersections in some of Fresco's work and my own - but I also encountered quite a few problems with Fresco's proposals.

The main problematic issues as I see them:


(I)

Fresco frequently alludes to the idea that we can't solve resource scarcity issues using the same old tools that got us into the current mess. Unfortunately, he does not approach technology and science with exactly the same rigor, instead elevating them to a vaunted "solution"s status rather than acknowledging that they are really inherent to many of the challenges in modernity. Alas, this is magical thinking.

Breaking this down...As a former IT expert with some twenty years of experience with complex computing technologies, I would say that relying on computing and technology to manage production and resource allocation is extremely foolish. Technological determinism - or "technology as panacea" in this case - is a consequence of not knowing how fragile and easily disrupted technological systems inherently are, especially as they increase in complexity. A la Kurzweil and others, it's become a bit of religious conviction that some sort of tipping point "is bound to occur" that frees humanity of its labors and existential challenges. From the perspective of someone who has spent nearly half of his life installing, building, programing and maintaining all manor of technology-dependent "cybernetic solutions" to complex problems, I'm here to tell you it simply will not work. Certainly not in our lifetime...and probably not ever. It is instead a romantic religious conviction cradled in a love of science fiction...and nothing more. Well, actually, it is something more...because such reliance (on any scale) inevitably leads to abrupt and calamitous unintended consequences.

Along the same lines, the scientific method should certainly be part of a larger toolbox in problem-solving...but we shouldn't place it on a pedestal. It has been much too easy to "capture" scientific research and decision-making and processes with opposing values sets, so that science can be used to justify completely different conclusions or reinforce preexisting biases. This is in large part because - in the same spirit as Fresco - many folks romanticize "logical" deductive reasoning, imagining that it is somehow independent of emotions, interpersonal relationships, spiritual perceptions, cultural conditioning, or indeed somatic patterns and proclivities. But it isn't - reason is one small part of a larger organism we call "consciousness." The reductionism inherent to Fresco's investment in science is just a problematic as relying solely on reading pigeon entrails - it excludes too much of the human experience. To appreciate what I'm alluding to, consider reading my essays on Sector Theory and Managing Complexity.

Which leads to the next point...


(II)

Values hierarchies are a reflection of moral development; without specific attention to how we mature our ethical frameworks individually and collectively, there will be no stable solutions available to replace the current self-destructive maelstrom. Human beings will undermine any and all systems whenever their values diverge from it. This is a central consideration of my own Level 7 proposals, and unless I’ve missed something, Fresco seems to rather polyannishly sidestep it (i.e. saying instead that it “will emerge naturally” as resource abundance is actualized - see Values | The Venus Project). I don’t entirely disagree with his sentiment here, but I also think moral development itself should be a more consciously and carefully considered facet of any effective proposal.


(III)

There is very little acknowledgement of the current population problem in the Venus Project. Our planet actually can't sustain the Earth's current population at developed countries' consumption levels - even if we "build everything to last" and maximize the efficiency of production as Fresco proposes - and certainly not for the population projected over the next hundred years. Sorry...it's just not possible. So reducing population has to be part of the mix...which again invokes issue #2 above. It's also a fundamental test of Fresco's target to produce "only what is needed;" folks routinely confuse needs and wants for all sorts of complex psychosocial reasons. Until families around the globe embrace the reality that it is immoral and reckless to have more than one or two children, all proposed systems will inevitable be under tremendous pressure to stratify the "haves" and "have-nots," simply out of practical necessity. Fresco tries to brush such concerns aside with his conviction that people will change their minds when presented with "scientific proof" of what they need...but again, this is more evidence of romantic idealism.

With these prominent exceptions, I actually agree with much of what Fresco says about property, currency, democracy, pilot projects and so forth. I just have different ways to address the same challenges. And that raises one last critical concern: the distributed and diffused nature of human social function. I think one reason many libertarian socialist proposals encourage reliance on community-level organization is because that is where humans are most comfortable - their circle of relationships can only be so big, and their engagement in self-governance and indeed productive activities can only extend as far as our wiring for emotional and social intersubjectivity. This sidestepping of subsidiarity is a major flaw in Fresco's understanding of human beings, which frankly presents to me a bit like how someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder might see the world; again, it misjudges the relationship between moral maturity and prosocial choices.

(See my Level 7 website for further discussion of many of the issues alluded to above….)

My 2 cents.

From Quora: https://www.quora.com/The-Venus-Project-What-do-people-think-about-the-Resource-Based-Economy-predicted-by-Jacques-Fresco/answer/T-Collins-Logan

Why did the Supreme Court decline to hear the case regarding the right to bear arms in public, Peruta v. California?

Thanks for the A2A. So here’s the really funny thing about this situation….

You’ve got two Constitutional originalists/textualists who wanted to proceed with these cases - Justices Gorsuch and Thomas. The assumption of pro-gun-rights folks is that, because these two Justices are hard-right-leaning, then “obviously” they would uphold District of Columbia v. Heller’s distinction that the 2nd Amendment need not apply strictly or exclusively to militia (which contradicted U.S. v. Miller and some 70 years of stare decisis), and perhaps expand upon it. Which is actually a really, really funny assumption, because that is what the U.S. Constitution says the “right to keep and bear arms” is for: a well-regulated militia. That was indisputable - both in a historical context and in any reasonable originalist or textualist reading of the 2nd Amendment…until Heller in 2008. And yet…well, there’s the rub…because really Gorsuch and Thomas are what we would call “fair-weather” originalists/textualists, in that they mainly apply that standard when it suits their conservative ideological bias, just as happened in Heller. In the current instance, however, authentic textualism/originalism clearly would NOT serve gun advocates.

In any case…aside from this rather humorous irony, I suspect the main reason SCOTUS sidestepped this issue is because it would be inherently “activist” to issue a ruling on these laws that potentially could spawn a reinterpretation of every gun restriction on the books around the U.S. - and years of litigation along with that. Again, though…judicial activism is SUPPOSED to be something that conservatives dislike. And yet…not in this instance. :-0

So basically, it was a reasonable and sound decision to avoid a de facto rewriting of established law, while also avoiding exposure of an underlying hypocrisy among right-leaning judiciary and citizens in the U.S. It’s really a win-win for everyone involved.

But of course hypocrites understandably tend not to see it that way. :-)

My 2 cents.

Comment from Andrew Mateskon: "Take a look at the hilarity of the most famous textualist, Scalia, in Green v. Bock Laundry. Suddenly, the written word as known by the authors doesn't matter, but the context and surrounding law does."


Well at least he’s being partly intellectually honest in admitting that strict textualism “produces an absurd, and perhaps unconstitutional, result.” LOL. But to then invent his own arbitrary “benign fiction” for what the word “defendant” really meant in 609(a) is of course equally absurd. It seems textualism is a bit like the literalism of religious fundamentalists: “Since this is what we want the text to mean, this is what it literally means. Then we need not have any doubts.”

Comment from Matthew Moore: "Actually read DC vs Heller. You will be enlightened. The individual (non-militia) view is based on the 14th Amendment and the speeches and writings of it’s authors and ratifiers."


Oh I’m pretty familiar with it. The point is that Scalia’s majority decision is not remotely justifiable purely on a textualist basis. Instead, it’s a fishing expedition for a particular ideological reading outside of the actual text itself. It’s the epitome of hypocrisy in that regard. I’m not saying the favorable arguments don’t have merit…that is a different discussion… I am saying that they just don’t have textualist merit, not by any stretch of the imagination. That is what I mean by “fair-weather” textualism/originalism.

What does the end-game for critics of gun-control look like?

Unfortunately many such “debates” in the U.S. have been cast in really extreme, black-and-white polemics. It’s sad…especially because a functional democracy depends on people working out their differences…but IMO the folks at the top who have pretty much all of the influence and power are quite happy to keep it for themselves, and let the rabble fight tooth-and-nail over issues like this one. I’ll expand on this point in a moment, but first….

To break down the “endgame,” I think you have to look at it from multiple angles. Here are a few of those:

1. As I have friends and family who are lifelong NRA members, I can say that, for them, this is really about government staying out of the average person’s business. When pressed (by me) on this issue, a lot of the high-minded rhetoric they might use in public kinda flies out the window, and we get down to a heart-felt statement like: “I just want to be left alone.” Usually there are a few more colorful ways they might express this idea…but that’s really at the core of their feelings about gun control. So for them, the “endgame” is…well…to be left to their own judgement and desires. As long as no one is being harmed (by them), the government should just leave things be.

2. From the research I’ve done on the U.S. firearms industry, a very different endgame is in play. They want to sell weapons. And the larger the variety that can be sold, the more money they will make. In fact that’s pretty much why we have the AR platform for civilians now: after military sales began to drop off, firearms mfrs worked hard to change laws so that modified versions of military hardware could be sold to civilians. Also, the more fears about guns or ammo scarcity can be stoked, the greater the rush to buy more guns and ammo - so that has also been a factor in increased sales. And all of this worked - the weapons industry made a killing (so to speak). If you follow the money behind the lobbying, legislation and elected officials who expanded military-style weapons sales into America’s heartland, or who funds radio talk shows that stoke people’s fears about gun and ammo scarcity, you’ll find some owner-shareholders of U.S. gun makers who are now very happy with their investment in this…er…marketing and advertising.

3. From the perspective of the NRA, I’d have to say the endgame is at least in part about maintaining that organization’s political capital - their institutional status and influence. It doesn’t really matter who is beating the drum on a given weaponry issue, if the NRA membership comes to believe in the rhetoric, then the NRA has to snap to attention and lobby on behalf of the new trend…or they will lose their position of authority regarding guns.

4. Remember those “folks at the top” I mentioned? Well they have another endgame in mind that often involves techniques like dividing and conquering, engineering lots of “panem et circenses,” and offering us a heaping bucket of nationalistic populism on the side. It’s become pretty clear that their endgame is to keep large portions of American citizenry so at odds with each other that we can never see the forest, and keep beating our heads against the trees. These elite are delighted to stoke the fires of passion for the Constitution at one end of the spectrum, while at the same time generating propaganda about how “the liberals are going to take away all our guns,” and then funding lobbying efforts to - for example - restrict the data that law enforcement collects on gun usage in America, so that everyone can remain completely in the dark on the real statistics. It’s not that those statistics would necessarily benefit one side or the other…that’s not the point. The point is that it keeps us ignorant and therefore at each other’s throats. And what’s really interesting is that, when you discuss gun control anywhere in the U.S., you will hear EXACTLY the same arguments from the pro-gun crowd, and EXACTLY the same arguments from the anti-gun crowd. And how can this be? Well, I think it’s because the wealthy elite have worked hard and long to ensure polarization in the populace, spoon-feeding everyone their lines in a farcical play, so that they are so distracted by each other they don’t see the man behind the curtain. And what’s the endgame of those particular wizards? To remain unnoticed as they play puppet master to us all….

So that’s what I think the endgame is, from a number of different perspectives. There are some other positions in the mix…but they seem pretty rare. I think mine is one of them. The “endgame” I’d like to see, as someone who enjoys plinking on the back 40, is that the culture of violence in the U.S. be healed, those who are disenfranchised and oppressed be re-integrated as a valued part of society, and mental illness be addressed very early on in people’s lives (in other words, approached like physical illness, and proactively treated). Ultimately, I think such measures will lead to a world where guns no longer have such a destructive impact on society. But we have a long way to go…and for now, the proliferation of weapons that are becoming more and more lethal isn’t going to do anything - IMHO - but fan the flames of polarization and destruction.

My 2 cents.

From Quora: https://www.quora.com/What-does-the-end-game-for-critics-of-gun-control-look-like

Post-Postmodernity's Problem with Knowledge

Sell Sell Sell


This may actually be a pretty straightforward problem, with a challenging but nevertheless obvious solution. Here's my take....

I would propose there are nine primary forces at work in present-day knowledge generation, dissemination, evaluation and integration, which I would sketch out as the following inverted values hierarchy:

A. Titillation to entertain or make money.
B. Arrogant ideological agendas.
C. Tribalism and groupthink.
D. Extreme, self-protective specialization of informational domains and language.
E. Democratization and diffusion of knowledge.
F. Appreciation of an ever-increasing complexity and interdependence of all human understanding.
G. An understandable fluidity of exact knowledge.
H. Critical self-awareness.
I. The humbly inquisitive ongoing search for truth.


What seems immediately evident when looking these over is that personal and collective values have tremendous influence on the efficacy of a given approach to knowledge - and, perhaps most importantly, this influence can and does defy any institutions created to sustain a more diverse or fruitful values system. For example:

1. If the profit motive reigns supreme, then titillation to entertain or make money will trump all other variables. This has clearly had a role in news media, where entertainment and sensationalism have far outpaced accuracy or depth. More subtly, this has also had an impact on scientific research, where competition for grant money has distorted methodology and data in order to attract sufficient funding.

2. If a particular belief system is venerated above everything else, then arrogant ideological agendas destroy truth in favor of persuasive propaganda - especially when combined with tribalism and groupthink. We see this with religious indoctrination and exclusionary bias (i.e. denial of empirical evidence), with conservative news media that promote neoliberal political and economic agendas, and with the refusal of institutions of higher learning to allow truly diverse or controversial perspectives among their events and curricula.

3. When democratization and diffusion of knowledge is prioritized above every other value, then we end up with the armchair Dunning-Kruger effect, where folks believe they have mastered a complex discipline after reading a few Internet articles, and are then able to confidently refute (in their own estimation) the assessments of more educated and experienced practitioners in that field. Social media seems to provide considerable reinforcement of such knowledge-distorting self-importance - as do participatory systems and institutional dialogues that refuse to qualify or evaluate sources of information or their veracity, and give all input equal weight.

4. With extreme self-protective specialization, we end up with isolated islands of understanding that do not fully comprehend or appreciate each other - and in fact often can't function harmoniously together in society. One consequence of this are graduates of universities who are preoccupied with scholastic performance at the expense of actual learning, or who cannot understand their field in a way that actually adds value to its execution in the real world. In other words, an education system that rewards one narrow flavor of performance, while devaluing creative productivity in order to generate compliant specialists.

There are also some nasty values combinations in the post-postmodern era that seem increasingly pernicious in the destruction of knowledge, mainly because they deliberately exclude F, G, H & I - that is, the humbly inquisitive ongoing search for truth, fluidity of exact knowledge, critical self-awareness, and appreciation of ever-increasing complexity and interdependence. Really, whenever these four characteristics are deprioritized or absent, insight and understanding tends to be thoroughly crippled. But let's briefly take a closer look at each of these fundamentals....

What is "critical self-awareness?" I think it could be summarized many ways, such as taking one's own opinion with a grain of salt, or having a healthy sense of humor about one's own understanding, or being able to effectively argue against one's own position and appreciate its flaws - i.e. some of the central themes of postmodern thought. The "humbly inquisitive ongoing search" is certainly a kindred spirit here, but also implies that our journey towards the truth is never-ending; it's not just humility about conclusions, but about the process of seeking itself. Appreciating the "fluidity of exact knowledge" is an additional variable to balance out other, less rigorous impulses. It means there will be few black-and-white conclusions that are accurate; that ambiguity and imprecision are inevitable; that assertions should be tested in small arenas for limited periods, rather than as sweeping revisions; and so on. This fluidity does not, however, insist on a nihilistic or dismissive orientation to qualitative truth; on the contrary, it can recognize and integrate absolutes while remaining keenly aware of context. And, finally, "complexity and interdependence" means that we will of necessity be synthesizing a collective understanding together - there isn't much opportunity for elitist leadership or vanguardism, except perhaps in a few highly abstracted or technical areas. In other words, functional truth is perpetually intersubjective. At the same time - again as a balancing factor to the diffusion and democratization of knowledge - we will also need to appropriately weight the insights of experiential "experts" to help us navigate complexity.

These four characteristics can be viewed as attitudes, character traits, virtues, priorities, beliefs, operating assumptions, etc. The point is that if we prioritize these four above all considerations - subordinating our other beliefs, reflexes and desires to them - we can begin to formulate a healthy, fruitful relationship with knowledge, both culturally and interpersonally. If we don't prioritize these characteristics...well, then I suspect we'll keep making the same kinds of errors that have led us into our current state of apoplectic befuddledom. We simply can't afford to constrain the four essential qualities of truth-navigation in a straight jacket of what really should be extraneous and subordinated values and habits. And thus we arrive at a proposed values hierarchy that maximizes the utility of any approach to true and useful knowledge:

A. The humbly inquisitive ongoing search for truth.
B. Critical self-awareness.
C. An understandable fluidity of exact knowledge.
D. Appreciation of an ever-increasing complexity and interdependence of all human understanding.

E. Democratization and diffusion of knowledge.
F. Extreme, self-protective specialization of informational domains and language.
G. Tribalism and groupthink.
H. Arrogant ideological agendas.
I. Titillation to entertain or make money.

As you can see, this is simply an inverted version of the current status quo. Okay...if we can entertain this thesis, how do we get from here to there? Well I think education about this issue will help, but really we need to evaluate what is generating the memetic force of competing values hierarchies, and disable or de-energize that force wherever possible. How is it that titillation to entertain or make money has gained such prominence? Or that arrogant ideological agendas or tribalism and groupthink have usurped both the scientific method and common sense? Why has extreme, self-protective specialization so often shattered collaborative, interdisciplinary exchanges and synthesis? And how has the democratization and diffusion of knowledge rallied itself into such a farcical exaggeration...? Is there a common denominator for all of these trends...?

Well I think the answer is pretty straightforward, and I along with many others have been writing about it for a long time - it was Aristotle, I believe, who most clearly identified the same core issues we face today. The central problem is our highly corrosive form of capitalism. But perhaps I should forsake my own confidence for a moment and - applying the very virtues I've exalted here - humbly offer that a culture of acquisitiveness, infantilizing consumerism, competitive egotism and blindly irrational faith will likely not facilitate the four essential qualities humanity requires for thriving and productive knowledge. And I do believe this is a cultural decision - one in which we have all become complicit, and have all reinforced through tacit acceptance of the status quo. To break free of our shackles, we will need to let go of some of the habits and appetites we most covet and adore. But I could be wrong. Perhaps we can achieve equilibrium through our continued bluff and bluster, through ever-greater fabrications, self-deceptions and carelessly conspicuous consumption. That seems a risky bet to me...but again, I might be mistaken.

What are some great reasons for protecting the environment?


It depends on your moral orientation. For example:

1) If your moral orientation is doing everything for I/Me/Mine, then you could justify protecting the environment because it supports your individual existence, health and goals. For example, polluting the air and water where you live will make you sick. Unfortunately this leads to NIMBY attitudes that ignore pollution or destruction of “other people’s” environments.

2) If your moral orientation is more about your family or tribe/community, then you could justifying protecting the environment to create a safe and healthy place for your family to grow up and thrive, or your tribe/community to flourish. Unfortunately this can still lead to NIMBY attitudes that impact other families and tribes.

3) If your moral orientation is around the well-being of the human species as a whole, then clearly you could justify protecting the environment for all of humanity’s continued life and well-being. However, this can still lead to unintended destruction - and harm to humans - if the connection between a given environmental impact and human well-being over time is not fully understood.

4) If your moral orientation embraces a love and appreciation for all life on Earth - inclusive of humanity - then it becomes easier to justify actions that contain or restrict environmental destruction of any kind. When all life is valued and appreciated, it is much clearer and more imperative to protect it. As you can imagine, however, this tends to create tension with the I/Me/Mine, tribal and all-humanity moral orientations, because those are not interested in containing or restricting their own behaviors for anyone or anything else.

For more about this, see: Integral Lifework Developmental Correlations

My 2 cents.

From Quora question: https://www.quora.com/What-are-some-great-reasons-for-protecting-the-environment/answer/T-Collins-Logan

Which is more useful for society to believe in, free will or determinism?

Thanks for the A2A Robert.

Historically speaking, the answer to this question has generally depended on what utility is being sought, and by whom. For example:

- Theological determinism and religious fatalism have been quite helpful in pacifying followers within many different religions over time. So from the perspective of the religious elite who are interested in the conformance of followers, it has been quite a useful tool.

- In the same way the Divine Right of Kings - which has a similar flavor to theological determinism - helped stabilize the right of succession and pacify the unruly masses. So again, for Kings and Queens it was extremely useful.

- In any form of democracy, if the people believe that they have “free will,” this can provide a similar pacifying utility when the democracy doesn’t really represent the will of the people. Here again, it is quite useful for anyone in an elected position of power - and for the folks who bankrolled their campaign - to encourage this belief among the electorate in order to maintain an oligarchic status quo.

- It is also quite handy for owners of corporate monopolies when consumers believe they have “freedom of choice” - that market competition is providing better products at lower prices, whether or not that is actually the case.

- In the U.S., we routinely see the enhancement of free will promoted in competing political ideologies. Quite often, however, the outcome of persuading voters that one ideology is better at promoting or providing free will than another is usually increased oppression and exploitation of those same voters. In other words, just as with the previous examples, the “belief in free will” is most useful for the hucksters trying to establish or maintain their own influence.

Now, lest anyone think I am being overly pessimistic, I personally think it is vitally important in a democracy for the electorate to both believe in and insist on free will. Because whenever voters become fatalistic or begin to think their vote doesn’t really matter, they tend to abdicate their civic responsibility and obligations, and disengage. The greatest corrosive force to democracy is apathy - which is essentially letting other forces determine outcomes, instead of actively participating to shape an outcome. The challenge, however, is to protect and educate democracy sufficiently for the voice of the people to be artfully expressed using their own judgment…instead of their just being conned by snake oil salesmen.

My 2 cents.

From Quora: https://www.quora.com/Which-is-more-useful-for-society-to-believe-in-free-will-or-determinism/answer/T-Collins-Logan

To what extent is the intrusion on our privacy for the sake of the society's security ethically justifiable?

This is a great question.

First I would ask: what are we trying to protect with security measures that invade privacy?

If it’s about identifying threats to the existential safety of citizenry, the most effective way to do this is likely not through surveillance, but through strengthening interpersonal relationships, interculturalism, community engagement and dialogue, other methods to encourage social and cultural interdependence and communication, and education about what developing threats look like and how to diffuse them. There is a recent video that highlights how a shift in social awareness could be key to helping someone who is at risk of perpetrating radical violence:



At the other extreme, there is a reliable history of governments making errors in both identification and punishment of people suspected of destructive threat. In fact you could say that the track record there leans strongly in the direction of oppression: false imprisonment, religious persecution, targeting political opponents, irrational fear-mongering, enforcing lockstep ideological groupthink, disenfranchisement of non-conformists, etc. Which is what the 1st, 3rd, 4th, 9th and (more broadly) 14th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution were written to counter. (Along these lines, for those interested in the subtleties of how a “right to privacy” has played out in U.S. history specifically - and how it is has been viewed from a legal and Constitutional perspective - I recommend reading this brief but concise overview: Is it Protected by the Constitution?)

There is also an increasing body of evidence that identifies the root causes of violent extremism around the world - things like poverty; lack of education; suffering under oppressive regimes; disinformation and propaganda that demonizes “the other” to deflect blame away from the actual causes of shared suffering; lack of personal hope 0r economic mobility; and so on. I should think investing in addressing these underlying issues would go a long way towards attenuating conditions that lead to violent extremism, and thereby remedy threats.

So if you are trying to prevent catastrophic violence, there are probably much better ways to go about it that spying on people - and most of them seem like a much better approach in terms of “bang-for-buck” as well.

In addition, if intrusions to privacy are intended to protect or ensure individual and collective liberty, then I think there is an ironic contradiction there. What is liberty if not an ample degree of personal sovereignty; control over one’s own destiny; the same opportunity to improve one’s lot in life that everyone else has; freedom to think and say one’s own thoughts; freedom to travel everywhere; freedom to associate and assemble with others, regardless of their views; freedom from persecution, bullying, violence or hate speech simply because of personal beliefs, skin color, gender, social status or nationality; freedom to feel safe from unjustified intrusion when inside one’s own home, or from invasive searches while walking around or driving in public; and so on? Once we begin sacrificing some of these liberties for the sole purpose of allowing ourselves to “feel safer” from any boogeyman the government identifies on our behalf…well, where does it end? How much freedom are we willing to sacrifice to receive such uncertain (and often unsubstantiated) benefits…?

This speaks to a basic cost/benefit calculation. Consider a law that mandates, while driving on public roads, we wear a seatbelt “for our own safety.” This came into being from many years of statistics that showed not wearing a seatbelt clearly and indisputably increased injury and death from car accidents. Of course, there were still many people who refused to wear a seatbelt because they thought such a law was too invasive - it infringed on their personal sovereignty, and they didn’t want a “Nanny State” reaching that far into their personal habits or choices. There are a few of these rugged individualists still around, to be sure. But in this instance the cost/benefit calculation is very clear, in terms of being supported by a wealth of data: a small personal sacrifice in freedom - and one that has little impact on one’s driving ability - creates substantial benefit. Add to this that car accidents - both serious and small - have a high frequency and nearly universal probability, and the decision becomes a no-brainer.

But what are the cost/benefit variables for intrusive surveillance? How much freedom is being sacrificed, and for how much substantive gain in safety? The odds are infinitesimally small that any individual will be harmed by acts of terrorism…and yet every individual is expected to sacrifice their expectation of privacy “for their own safety?” It is a bit like insisting every person who gets onto a plane provides a DNA sample to the Airline and takes out an expensive life insurance policy - after all, the plane could crash, investigators often have difficulty identifying crash remains, and airlines can be held financially liable for damages. Wouldn’t that seem a bit extreme? Sure, because not that many airplanes crash…in fact, it’s extremely rare and is the safest form of travel. Still…it’s a lot riskier to fly on a plane than to expect to be killed or injured in a terrorist attack. So why isn’t the same logic considered around national security? Why are greater sacrifices expected for low-probability events, and for less provable benefit? I think these questions are at the heart of the balance between individual freedoms and individual responsibilities regarding collective security - this is how civil society is constructed after all.

There are many subtleties to the question of what liberty is and how to promote and protect it, and for those interested in that discussion I would offer my essay: The Goldilocks Zone of Integral Liberty. At the end of the essay, there are the beginnings of an evaluation method for freedom using the variables, metrics and principles outlined in the essay - I think this is the (eventual) approach we need to take to evaluate various cost/benefit arrangements throughout civil society regarding liberty.

My 2 cents.

(From Quora question: https://www.quora.com/To-what-extent-is-the-intrusion-on-our-privacy-for-the-sake-of-the-societys-security-ethically-justifiable)