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Stargate: Measure of God

January 14, 2010 Leave a comment

Gerak: You were not the one who was chosen. You did not witness the wonders I beheld.
Teal’c: Did they raise the dead? Heal the sick and wounded? Destroy their enemy with but a wave of their hand?

Gerak: The Goa’uld deceived us. The Ori’s powers are pure.
Teal’c: And what is the measure of a god, Gerak? Is it the scope of their power, or how they choose to wield that power? Would a god who is prepared to lead us on the path of enlightenment so contradict this divine benevolence by destroying all those who refuse to believe in him?

Gerak: Those who refuse to believe must die.
Teal’c: I understand how difficult this must be for you, Gerak. Nearing your final years, you so desperately long for the enlightenment we all seek. This is not the way to save yourself.

Gerak: I only wanted to avoid bloodshed.
Teal’c: Stay this course, and you will have no choice but to spill the blood of your brothers. And you may start with me. For if I have a choice between resistance or returning to a life of slavery, then I choose to die free.

Categories: Uncategorized

The Inquisition: Reloaded

January 14, 2010 6 comments

In a lengthy academic paper, President Obama’s regulatory czar, Cass Sunstein, argued the U.S. government should ban “conspiracy theorizing.”

Here is the ink to that paper: Conspiracy Theories

Abstract: Many millions of people hold conspiracy theories; they believe that powerful people have worked together in order to withhold the truth about some important practice or some terrible event. A recent example is the belief, widespread in some parts of the world, that the attacks of 9/11 were carried out not by Al Qaeda, but by Israel or the United States. Those who subscribe to conspiracy theories may create serious risks, including risks of violence, and the existence of such theories raises significant challenges for policy and law. The first challenge is to understand the mechanisms by which conspiracy theories prosper; the second challenge is to understand how such theories might be undermined. Such theories typically spread as a result of identifiable cognitive blunders, operating in conjunction with informational and reputational influences. A distinctive feature of conspiracy theories is their self-sealing quality. Conspiracy theorists are not likely to be persuaded by an attempt to dispel their theories; they may even characterize that very attempt as further proof of the conspiracy. Because those who hold conspiracy theories typically suffer from a crippled epistemology, in accordance with which it is rational to hold such theories, the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups. Various policy dilemmas, such as the question whether it is better for government to rebut conspiracy theories or to ignore them, are explored in this light.

Here are some quotes from a wikipedia article on Cass Sunstein. This guy knows what is good for you..

In his book Democracy and the Problem of Free Speech Sunstein says there is a need to reformulate First Amendment law. He thinks that the current formulation, based on Justice Holmes’ conception of free speech as a marketplace “disserves the aspirations of those who wrote America’s founding document.”

and

Sunstein co-authored Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth, and Happiness (Yale University Press, 2008) with economist Richard Thaler of the University of Chicago. Nudge discusses how public and private organizations can help people make better choices in their daily lives. Thaler and Sunstein argue that people often make poor choices – and look back at them with bafflement.

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There is precedent for such actions though.. COINTELPRO

In the United States, the COINTELPRO program of the Federal Bureau of Investigation had FBI agents pose as political radicals to disrupt the activities of radical political groups in the U.S., such as the Black Panthers, Ku Klux Klan, and the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee.