1 December 2001.


Having a coffee at the Coluzzi in Victoria Street, King's Cross, a new face (claimed to be a scholar of ancient Greece) declaimed that the liberty of the average world citizen had been diminishing steadily since Grecian times.  One point that he made was that the so called "slaves" in Athens in the time of Pericles had more freedom than the average Australian wage slave.  To call the non-citizens of Periclean Athens "slaves" is a cultural mistranslation.  Athenian "slaves" could, for instance, like our own wage slaves, own property.  Another interesting detail was that ancient Athens allowed unrestricted immigration, and ascribed it's incredible prosperity to immigrants.

Then again, Athenians were not burdened by a generous social security scheme like that extant in Australia, and so would have attracted only those immigrants who were prepared to work.  Immigrants who were not prepared to work presumably starved.

Back to the 2001 microcosm.   The encroachment on individual liberty is obvious.   In the state of New South Wales in Australia any citizen is (since last week) subject to a police search at any time without warrant or recourse. (All it takes to provide due cause is for a policeman's dog to walk up and go "woof".)   This happens at a time when police corruption is endemic and political interference with the media is at an all time high.

The politicians have recently moved to secure their financial resources (by passage of the reviled GST) and ignore or resist all liberal forces in the community. (such as a people's selected head of state, or any sort of internet voting or citizen initiated referendum).

All of this is quite scary when the process of technological change is factored into the social equation.  Once upon a time there was no way that the people who held the reins of power could exert their will without (at the very least) the support of a significant proportion of the population.  This was because the minion information gatherers and the minion tools of power (police & judges), were drawn from the general population & would have revolted.  That balance is changing, and the proportion of compliant population minions required is diminishing.

Information Technology is fragmenting the minion power.  "Opinion surveys" warn the government which restrictions of the people's liberty would most be resented, and surveys reveal the most effective method of molding public opinion from resentment to acceptance.

The evidence that the above statements are a rational assessment of the facts is determinable by reading the survey and advertising expenditure records of the various state governments.  Access to that evidence is likely to become a government secret in the near future.


What is an elitist?  It rather depends who is defining.

To most journalists and politicians, elitism is the rule by an inherited or religious aristocracy.  In other words, it is rule by a power group who did not gain their position by competitive selection for superior natural ability.

The vast majority of our politicians were selected because they demonstrated that they could be relied upon to vote the party line, (on pain of disenfranchisement and consequent loss of their generous pension if they ever showed "principles" and did not vote the party line).  Of course, the protective rationalization function of the mind would hide those unpleasant truths from all but the most brutally frank politicians, most would "know" that they obtained their position by "ability" not "complicity".

Many of our "A grade" polymath commentators owe their positions to emitted views that found favor with Media Lords.  (That is why so many of them so frequently make such asinine comments.)  Like their political symbiotes, the protective rationalization mechanisms of their minds shroud the truth from those maladroit wordsmiths.

To SPIN, an elitist is a person who believes that only the best and most principled & intelligent members of humanity should carry the burden of making the difficult but important decisions (about taxation rates or defamation laws or police powers) for our society.

Frequently those decisions would cause pain and suffering, but a superior leader would ignore the wishes of the people, and harden the heart, because only a superior person could make those difficult decisions for the greater good.


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