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Quotes of the day: John Perry Barlow
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Published Friday, October 02, 2015 @ 5:44 PM EDT
Oct 02 2015

John Perry Barlow (b. October 3, 1947) is an American poet and essayist, a retired Wyoming cattle rancher, and a cyberlibertarian political activist who has been associated with both the Democratic and Republican parties. He is also a former lyricist for the Grateful Dead and a founding member of the Electronic Frontier Foundation and Freedom of the Press Foundation. Since May 1998, he has been a Fellow at Harvard University's Berkman Center for Internet and Society. He has been identified by Time magazine as one of the "School of Rock: 10 Supersmart Musicians". (Click here for full Wikipedia article)

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Any powerful technology has sauce for the goose and the gander... It's just an extension of humanity.

But generally speaking, I felt to engage in the political process was to sully oneself to such a degree that whatever came out wasn't worth the trouble put in.

But groundless hope, like unconditional love, is the only kind worth having.

Google, Amazon, Apple. Any number of cloud providers and computer service providers who can increasingly limit your access to your own information, control all your processing, take away your data if they want to, and observe everything you do; in a way, that does give them some leverage over your own life.

How thin can I spread myself before I'm no longer 'there'?

I had always thought that the idea of love at first sight was one of those things invented by lady novelists from the South with three names.

I have yet to hear anyone say something that seemed likely to mitigate the idiocy of this age.

I look forward to the day when I can be Republican again.

I personally think intellectual property is an oxymoron. Physical objects have a completely different natural economy than intellectual goods. It's a tricky thing to try to own something that remains in your possession even after you give it to many others.

I think that humor is part of what saves us from despair.

I think the 'counterculture' believes that there are ways to manage being the world's most powerful country that involve creation of consensus- ruling by virtuous example rather than by force of arms.

I'm still strongly opposed to antismoking laws, strongly opposed to any law that regulates personal behavior.

If all ideas have to be bought, then you have an intellectually regressive system that will assure you have a highly knowledgeable elite and an ignorant mass.

If you have the 'Total Information Awareness' project working, it might be relatively easy to find everyone who had bought more than a ton of fertilizer and 500 gallons of diesel in the last year, which would be a great way of spotting potential Tim McVeighs- but it would also spot half the farmers and ranchers in America.

In Cyberspace, the First Amendment is a local ordinance.

Incompetence is a double-edged banana.

It's widely assumed that you can't compete with free, and that seems like a reasonable thing to think. But this has not been my experience.

Most libertarians are worried about government but not worried about business. I think we need to be worrying about business in exactly the same way we are worrying about government.

Most scientific revelations happened after the pursuit of knowledge quit being secret and hermetic.

Our universities are so determined to impose tolerance that they'll expel you for saying what you think and never notice the irony.

Relying on the government to protect your privacy is like asking a peeping tom to install your window blinds.

So I'm just waiting until one party or the other actually gets a moral compass and a backbone.

The 'Total Information Awareness' project is truly diabolical- mostly because of the legal changes which have made it possible in the first place. As a consequence of the Patriot Act, government now has access to all sorts of private and commercial databases that were previously off limits.

The government targets 'Anonymous' for the same reason it targets al-Qaida- because they're the enemy.

The Internet amplifies power in all respects. It can grossly exaggerate the power of the individual.

The Internet is the most liberating tool for humanity ever invented, and also the best for surveillance. It's not one or the other. It's both.

The Internet may well disempower the nation state, but at the same time, it also strengthens certain specific state functions- like surveillance. As a political entity, it doesn't empower the nation sate. It creates the availability of much more data than the digestive system of the nation state could possibly assimilate.

The Internet treats censorship as a malfunction and routes around it.

The one thing that I know government is good for is countervailing against monopoly. It's not great at that either, but it's the only force I know that is fairly reliable.

We will create a civilization of the Mind in Cyberspace. May it be more humane and fair than the world your governments have made before.

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(October 3 is also the birthday of Gore Vidal and Thomas Wolfe.)


Categories: John Perry Barlow, Quotes of the day


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