Tuesday, December 20, 2011
  O ye innocents.

Listening to On Point about the proliferation of tiny drone aircraft. One caller said the usual sort of thing: "We The People need to stand up and say Enough Is Enough! We The People need to hold the government accountable! Constitution etc, Laws etc, Morality, etc." You can fill in the etc's, because you've heard the same naive crap as many times as I have.

Okay, fine. Stand up and shout. Assert your "constitutional" "rights". Hold The Government Accountable. Recite some laws and bible verses and Hayek quotes and Rothbard quotes and Rand quotes at full volume.

A little housefly-sized drone will fly down your throat and take up residence in your lungs, where it will hear everything you say, awake or asleep. The technology may not be quite ready today, but don't bet against next month.

The real question is not how much the authorities know. The Feds will always know absolutely everything they are able to know with current technology. The NSA has always monitored all available radio, telephone, and Internet communication. Information is cheap, so it's not the limiting factor, not the homeostatic variable.

The self-limiting factor is Parkinson's Law. What is the single sole solitary goal of every bureaucracy? To increase its budget and size every year. And what's the biggest danger to an increased budget? Accomplishing your stated mission. Thus no bureaucracy will ever accomplish more than a small part of its assigned mission, because that will destroy its real purpose.

DEA claims that it wants to eradicate drug usage. Yet it never happens, "despite" huge budgets. Eradicating drug usage would eradicate DEA, so it can't be allowed to happen.

That's why we're partially safe on average, despite total knowledge and total surveillance. Each agency will liquidate some of us each year to satisfy its particular blood-fetish, but it won't take everyone; it will always leave a 'starter culture' in each situation to guarantee regrowth of its favorite target.

= = = = =

Sidenote: Current discussion assumes that drones are a fairly new thing. The super-mini versions are new, but remote-controlled aircraft are very old. For instance, this 1946 Fibber episode is about a military experimental craft that needs no pilot. (When Fibber's writers included a gadget or scientific idea, they were sure it was common knowledge. They weren't trying to do sci-fi!) A few years before, the Krauts developed a guided missile with TV camera in its tip, capable of being controlled to any visible destination. Fortunately for Britain, the Krauts were defeated before they could mass-produce the device.
 


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Polistra was named after the original townsite of Manhattan (the one in Kansas). When I was growing up in Manhattan, I spent a lot of time exploring by foot, bike, and car. I discovered the ruins of an old mill along Wildcat Creek, and decided (inaccurately) that it was the remains of the original site of Polistra. Accurate or not, I've always liked the name, with its echoes of Poland (an under-appreciated friend of freedom) and stars. ==== The title icon is explained here. ==== Switchover: This 2007 entry marks a sharp change in worldview from neocon to pure populist. ===== The long illustrated story of Polistra's Dream is a time-travel fable, attempting to answer the dangerous revision of New Deal history propagated by Amity Shlaes. The Dream has 8 episodes, linked in a chain from the first. This entry explains the Shlaes connection.

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