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[log in to unmask] writes:
    [deletions]....
>
> and what NREN's purpose would be.   Everyone had a hand held button allowing
> votes to be privately registered.  There was *PROPHETICALLY* NO AGREEMENT!
>
     I wasn't there and can't match Gordon's direct observation, but in
 my experience such things don't work through overt agreement.  These
 think-tank conferences are not conspiracies.  No one has the same goals;
 all have opposed interests and no one or two elements can cooperate
 enough to impose their views and interests on the others and certainly
 not on the final government action.
 
     But what does seem to happen is that the outlines of what is possible
 begin to emerge--and what is not possible.  What was deemed impossible
 somewhere along the way, was a permanent government role overseeing the
 future development of wide public participation in the Net.
 
     Power isn't a bad thing.  Call it energy.  Something is necessary
 to move us off dead-center, to overcome inertia. Otherwise, there would
 be no change, no adaptation to new technology.  We have enough of that
 in Congress.  There's energy in money, in politics, in education, in
 media, etc.  And we have representative government not democracy.  So
 when things have to be moved forward, we get a group of the players
 together, no matter how antagonistic, in some think-tank.  The think-tank
 isn't calling the shots, it just wants to bask in the glory of being
 engaged in important public matters.  The players get to know each
 other and begin to get a feel of what isn't possible.  These are not
 arch villains; each is promoting what they, with detailed and advance
 knowledge of the coming changes, thinks will work best.
 
     I think it stinks.  But remember this is the way we got our
 American Revolution and our Constitution, distinctly minority ideas
 sold to the public.   And since we do not yet educate even the educated
 well enough to have opinions in such specialist areas, let alone the
 general public, it can be no other way.  That's how public policy on
 issues as technical and complicated as the NREN get advanced to the
 point where they can be effected.  But these are dceisions that will
 affect the very limits of our consciousness and we will have to live
 with them.  Surely the point has now been reached for public evaluation
 and comment.
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  Prescott Smith   -  Univ. of Mass/Amherst   -  [log in to unmask]
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