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 [F] New York Times on the Web Forums  / Science  /

    Missile Defense

Technology has always found its greatest consumer in a nation's war and defense efforts. Since the last attempts at a "Star Wars" defense system, has technology changed considerably enough to make the latest Missile Defense initiatives more successful? Can such an application of science be successful? Is a militarized space inevitable, necessary or impossible?

Read Debates, a new Web-only feature culled from Readers' Opinions, published every Thursday.


Earliest Messages Previous Messages Recent Messages Outline (5725 previous messages)

rshow55 - 05:09pm Nov 13, 2002 EST (# 5726 of 5728) Delete Message
Can we do a better job of finding truth? YES. Click "rshow55" for some things Lchic and I have done and worked for on this thread.

Human beings live, and must live, in social groups characterized by relations of power. Here are basic rules that human organizations have to fulfill if they are to work sustainably:

Berle's Laws of Power taken from Power by Adolf A. Berle . . . 1969 ... Harcourt, Brace and World, N.Y.

The "0th" rule . . . . "Power is always preferable to chaos. ...To control chaos, people work in frameworks of power. According to Berle, these frameworks are always subject to five rules, which I think are right, and directly relavent to our nuclear peril, and the fixing of it.

Rule One: Power invariably fills any vacuum in human organization. ........... For example, American presidents neglected to give detailed attention in nuclear policy, other people took power in that area, in a tradition, very isolated from the American mainstream. That group of people, as it has developed, mostly in secret, over fifty years, now holds much power. But not unquestionable power.

Rule Two: Power is invariably personal.

Rule Three: Power is invariably based on a system of ideas of philosophy. Absent such a system or philosophy, the institutions essential to power cease to be reliable, power ceases to be effective, and the power holder is eventually displaced.

Rule Four: Power is exercised through, and depends on, institutions. By their existence, they limit, come to control, and eventually confer or withdraw power.

Rule Five: Power is invariably confronted with, and acts in the presence of, a field of responsibility. The two constantly interact, in hostility or co-operation, in conflict or through some form of dialog, organized or unorganized, made part of, or perhaps intruding into, the institutions on which power depends.

These rules and needs are very important constraints - - considering them simplifies things, by ruling out a good deal, and giving a sense of what can reasonably be done. ( What can be done at reasonable cost is a subset of what can be explained to the communities that matter. )

We may have to use the force we have - sometimes persuasive force, or instititional relatins - sometimes lethal force - - but ideas also matter. Rule three can't long be broken without consequences. That means that systems have to make sense - because there is only so much fiction that a system can stably withstand - and also work well.

When arrangements need to be changed, leaders must look for stable solutions, with acceptable (minimal) risks to ourselves and others. For quite practical reasons - the solutions need to be as beautiful as they can be.

We can't minimize our risks without considering the needs of other people, long term -- for humanly warm reasons, but also because other people are dangerous animals, as we are ourselves.

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