Could Bloggers Have Stopped Hitler?

Could bloggers have stopped Hitler?

Yes, says Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio during his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize in Literature on Sunday.

“Who knows, if the Internet had existed at the time, perhaps Hitler’s criminal plot would not have succeeded — ridicule might have prevented it from ever seeing the light of day,” the author of such works as “The Book of Flights” and “Terra Amata” said.

Blogging may have it limits in that it is only as good, as accurate and as honest as the writer. But blogging is diffuse and completely bypasses the traditional gatekeepers at newspapers, magazines, television programs and even e-zines.

As one level of the media becomes corporatized, sanitized and emasculated another has arisen that can be free of all of those concerns. One doesn’t have to submit to someone else’s idea of what the right “tone” is or if a thought is “civil” or “high-minded” enough.

So, be glad that this blog is free, at least for now.

Gee, I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would say?

Peter Galuszka

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28 responses to “Could Bloggers Have Stopped Hitler?”

  1. I believe that as time goes by a battle royale will emerge between governments and citizens.

    Government will want to use the technology to "control" citizens and citizens will fiercely defend their use of the technology to maintain freedom.

    Here's an example:

    " The government [Egypt] demanded that Apple disable the phone’s global-positioning system, arguing that GPS is a military prerogative."

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Larry, If you want to ruin your day, read James Bamford’s “The Shadow Factory” about the NSA and eavesdropping post 9/11. This exzcellent book details the steps the Bush Administration has taken to spy on our e-mails.
    Plus, in Vietnam, they put people in jail for blogging.


  3. re: NSA/Bush/spying et al

    what surprises me is how quickly and easily Congress rolled over a died on this…

    Peter – do you know about license plate scanners?

    the technology to “read” your plate not only exists but it is fully mature….

    further.. GPS tracking technology is also fully mature…

    between the scanning by fixed and mobile scanners (connection to real time computers and databases).. and real-time tracking of any vehicle with a tracker – or for that matter your cell phone…

    means that if the Government is after you – and you use cars, phones.. or any virtually any technology that they can literally reach out and get you…if they want to.

    I predict .. a big black market business in technology to block scanners… trackers.. etc…

    and eventually… a virtual war between citizens who don’t want the government to track them and governments that seek the opposite…

    The problem with the Bush folks is that they justify the technology to track down bad guys but then who is in charge of the “trackers” to make sure they only limit their activities to “bad guys” that the public and citizens also are are “bad guys”?

  4. Anonymous Avatar

    Bloggers stop Hitler?

    Or do anything but waste time?

    Not likely within the current format.

    This was a fine blog when Jim Bacon had time to manage it.

    Now the zine and the Blog are running down hill fast.

    I thought Anon 5:09 had a good idea — RH should get his own Blog.

    What did he say?

    “Considering the amount of space I fill here, there wouldn’t be much discussion left at all, let alone discussion of important issues.”

    Given that view of his self-importance — which is typical of flaming Bloggers — this medium has little chance of making a real contribution.


  5. E M Risse Avatar

    Revision of earlier post.

    Peter and Larry:

    Good points.

    A fresh dose of scary reality is the continuing coverage of Mumbai attackers — “Gunmen Used Technology as A Tactical Tool” WaPo 3 Dec.

    You know how long it took the 11 September 2008 to trigger the domestic spying and turn airtravel into a hassel. (OK the Cuban hijackers started it in the 60s.)

    Imagine of the “well founded” excuses and “evidence” from Iraq, Afghanastan, China Oly and now India that ALL the hi tech tools must be “controled.”

    In fact the Internet makes the world a much more dangerous place. From bomb making handbooks to global communication and fora for radicals.

    The good side of limitations on hi tech tools?

    GPS is an excuse to be proud of Geographic Illiteracy.

    Much of the tech tools attractivenss is as a platform for advertising to promote Mass OverConsumption and for-fee diversions and entertainment.

    The solution? Balanced Communities with “eyes on the street” security at the Dooryard, Cluster and Neighborhood scales.

    Fundamental Transformation of human settlement patterns — know your Dooryarder, Clustermate and Neighbor, turst your Dooryarder, Clustermate and Neighbor.

    Fundamental Transfromation of governace structue. Know those in governance because they are your Neighbors, not some remote pol like the Gov. of Ill.



  6. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “”Considering the amount of space I fill here, there wouldn’t be much discussion left at all, let alone discussion of important issues.”

    Given that view of his self-importance — which is typical of flaming Bloggers — this medium has little chance of making a real contribution.




    I didn’t say anything about the importance of what I write, nor did I flame anyone.

    But we do have a metric here. Go add up the column inches I have written and the ones you have written ( I think you claimed none, prior to your prior post).

    Subtract my contributions, worthless though they may be from the total, or compare it to your own contributions, and I think you will see that my comment is accurate: there wouldn’t be much left.

    Even you agree the ‘zine and the blog are going downhill fast. maybe they are like restaurants and our trend has come and gone. If Bacon want’s to get rid of me, he can close the blog and the zine, same as he closed the comments section on the ‘zine.

    All I do here is look up stuff and provide numerical facts that some people eem to think are lies or personal attacks. And sometimes I like to point out obvious logical fallacies, which also seem to offend some people.

    For example I think it is usually goodbye or good-bye.

    Hope you are not offended.


  7. Ray Hyde Avatar

    “ALL the hi tech tools must be “controled.””

    Agreed, I don’t see the people getting control of too many F-16’s.

    But what good are eyes on the street whn the bad guys have high tech weapons and you don’t?

    What are you saying, that you don’t need GPS if you live in a self-contained village and never travel, or only on foot?


  8. First, I find Ray’s comments illuminating. His steadfast efforts to apply economic logic to the matters discussed on this blog are welcome as far as I am concerned.

    Second, on the matter of blogs and Hitler – I am not so sure. Bloggers didn’t stop the housing bubble from bursting, they did not uncover the corproate fraud at Worldcom and they have not prevented the liquidity crisis. Nor, for that matter, the abuses of the Patriot Act. Hitler (at first) seemed to have the support of most Germans. Haven’t we all seen the new reels of rallies with hundreds of thousands of people listening to Hitler? Would blogs have stopped his rise to power or accelerated it?

    Third, technology certainly can be abused. So can machine guns, television, anti-depressants and many other things. Phone taps have been possible since the dawn of the telephone. Somehow, American society has survived. Somehow, Pol Pot came to power in Cambodia. Good and bad things happen despite the advances in technology.

    In my mind, the real question is whether the technology advances so fast that a small group can virtually enslave a large group without the large group realizing it. License plate scanners are now simple technology. Jim Bacon’s beloved congestion tolling is accomplished via license plate scans in London for example. Your cell phone can be used as a microphone whether you are on a call or not. The “super saver” card at your local grocery store records everything you buy along with your name (actually the store’s computers record this – but you get the point). When you send an e-mail over many “free” services the content is scanned and the ads you see are based on that content. Video recognition can detect people from security camera images of them walking into a subway. Voice recognition can parse your recorded words and software can index each word and make it almost instantly accessible to whomever holds the data. GPS systems are very accurate. Maybe they increase geographic illiteracy or maybe they you walk past a famous museum when you are “out and about” in a new city.

    It’s all about how the technology is used. The same cellular location information that allows inappropriate spying by government also directs the paramedics to you in an emergency. The same number crunching computers that give “The Numerati” sometimes excessive power are also unlocking the human genome.

    I’ve often thought that it’s time to write two new books – both titled 2014 (or 2024). One would be a utopian view of how technology enabled society to solve many of its problems. The other would be a modern update of George Orwell’s famous novel.

    Also, as for Mr. Jefferson – he never had much time for journalists. Something to do with his long term affair with Sally Hemmings and the reporting of that matter. However, I think he would have rather liked blogs. Much more democratic. Can you imagine reading JeffersonsRebellion? Jim Bacon is a great writer but TJ could really turn a phrase. Everybody remembers the self-evident truths comment. I’ve always liked this one:

    “Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.”.

    Now, that’s good stuff.

  9. and for those that think the intent of the forefathers with respect to the Constitution to be a never-changing document:

    “I am not an advocate for frequent changes in laws and constitutions, but laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths discovered and manners and opinions change, with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also to keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.”

  10. and while we’re at it – here’s one for the folks at the Jefferson Institute:

    “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted freely to be expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”

  11. E M Risse Avatar

    Groveton said:

    “In my mind, the real question is whether the technology advances so fast that a small group can virtually enslave a large group without the large group realizing it.”

    An incredibly important point, Groveton.

    There is another observation along this line that makes this reality even more important:

    Society is becoming so complex via new technology that more and more are being left behind and they do not have the capacity to catch up.

    The Wealth Gap is part of this but there is much more.

  12. E M Risse Avatar

    Groveton, look forward to your book. Nearly 40 years ago EMR had a similar book(s) outline in novel format. The Shape of the Future and TRILO-G are the result.

    Larry, great quotes from TJ!

    The first one is the basis for our position on the need for Fundamentla Transformation in governance structure.


  13. E M Risse Avatar

    For more on the Genetic Capacity / Genetic Proclivities issue see Chapter 10 Box 4 The Evolution of Brian Power in SotF and Larry Letich’s book “Is Life Outsmarting Us.”

    More in TRILO-G soon.


  14. Anonymous Avatar

    Thank you Groveton.

    Recently I was reading a book called “First You have to Row a little Boat”

    In it the author describes two sailors, oe whou picks out a lighthouse or landmark onthe shore and steers drectly, doggedly, and steadfastly for it. The other works withthe forces around him, playing the changing wind, waves,and current for the most advantage and comfort.

    The author describes the former sailor as dogmatic, and wasteful of both energy and effort.

    That pretty much describes my position. Extreme dogma, whether it is liberal or conservative, republican or democrat, industrialist or conservationist, is wasteful.

    I just haven’t figured out if you can be too dogmatic about being a centrist.

    If I wanted to talk only to those that agree with me, I could go to some other blog or open my own. Teh problem withthat is that “Yes, of course” doesn;t make for much of a dialog, any more than “You should go someplace else”, does.


  15. “..more and more are being left behind and they do not have the capacity to catch up.”

    EMR is correct. Every day you can look around you and find people of whom you wonder how they get through a whole day all by themselves.

    Eventually, this will be a problem for those that believe in self determination. In math it is called multiplying by zero.


  16. I think it is funny.

    We view technology as not a continuum but instead only stuff that happens right now – and overwhelms some…

    well folks.. technology was always in people’s faces no matter whether it was 1350, 1950 or 2050.

    As a human – you can either choose to keep up with it or join the ranks of Luddie Wannabies….

    I see old geezers all the time using newfangled stuff like cell phones, GPS and computers.

    It’s really all in your own mind and your own willingness to keep up with the world.

  17. Anonymous Avatar

    Back a while Groveton said “I find Ray’s comments illuminating. His steadfast efforts to apply economic logic to the matters discussed on this blog are welcome as far as I am concerned.”

    I am glad you do Groveton because I, and others I know, do not.

    I lost interest in RH’s views when he cited a study by ‘Shirley’ and someone else to refute what Dr. Risse had to said. He made a big deal about it and called Risse’s work baseless. I bought the book and found that in the introduction the authors said they were not dealing with location / distribution issues or perhaps that the data they were using could not be used to address location based issues – which is what Risse’s work is all about. I recycled the book as waste paper so I cannot check what their disclaimer was but it made a fool of RH.

    I subsequently learned that RH lives in the same county as Dr. Risse and since the elected leadership at the Town and County levels sometimes seek his advice – as a group in public sessions and individually in private, and RH holds these office holders responsible for his not being able to develop his wife’s land – RH takes every opportunity to belittle anything Dr. Risse says in hopes of eroding his credibility.

    The problem is that when many of us see a post by him, we do not bother to read further. I nearly missed your very good post of 7:19 of the impact of the Internet, with which I agree.

    While some of RH’s observations are amusing and a few insightful, he is condescending in the extreme. He always has a better idea except to praise anyone who is critical of Risse even if the position he supports contradicts his own prior views.

    RH even suggested I do not know how to spell my own name.


  18. “RH even suggested I do not know how to spell my own name.


    Good one, you got me.


  19. Anonymous Avatar


    I’ll have to check on this when I can locate Shirley’s book amon the several hundred I own on the economics of environmental policy.

    My impression is that this post is a fabrication. I do not recall anything in the introduction or anywhere else in the book about location or distribution issues, or that the data might not be used to adress location issues. I don’t think it was in their vocabulary. In fact, as I recall, the introduction was primarily a discussion of the history of public transportation from the time it was mainly private, through the housing and transportation acts of the sixties up to the present proliferation of uneconomic systems in cities across the United states.

    That’s just my recollection, If I’m wrong and you can provide the quotes, I apologize in advance.

    The book specifically addressed the full net social cost of transit systems. One of the conclusions was that only about 2% of existing routes provided such a benefit. As far as I can recall that’s as close as they come to making location related comments. Otherwise the book had ONLY to do with the full system level social economics of transit systems. Shirley suggests that the private sector be should take over mass transit once again (and that this will result in much less mass transit, but mass transit that actually pays). Larry Gross has recently quoted later work by Clifford Winston, I believe because the later work also called for privatization. You and Dr. Risse might like “Vehicle Choice Behavior and the Declining Share of US Automakers” or “Government Failure vs Market Failure.”

    By itself, the book isn’t enough to label Dr. Risse’s work baseless. Dr. Risse has a habit of starting with a decent enough premises and then mangling the following logic beyond all recognition, using logical fallacies, faulty economics, and emotionally laden epithets and homilies. His own work renders itself baseless, in my opinion. He appears to have one over-riding dogma which is to preserve open space at any cost. The rest of his work is a blatant means to the ends fabrication, as far as I can tell, and it is devoid of merit on its own. His other ideas, such as confiscating the profits of the entertainment and advertising industries to fund our schools speak for themselves in terms of validity.

    That’s just what I think. I recognize the man has enthusiastic followers, although they seem to be mostly Anons.

    My only point in referencing Winston and Shirley, was to point out that EMR’s ideas on the alleged efficiency of shared vehicle systems are not universally shared, and there is considerable evidence to suggest that his views regarding transit are outright wrong. He is welcome to try to argue against Clifford Winston, just don’t take it out on me; I’m just the messenger.

    I think it is more accurate to say that Dr. Risse recently moved to the same county where I live, having capitalized on his earlier dwellings closer to the Zentrum. Like many other newcomers he now wants to slam the door behind himself.

    Not long ago an acquaintance described one of Dr. Rises appearances before a public board. It isn’t clear how he was invited, but as my friend described it, members of the board seemed annoyed at having to listen to a bunch of claptrap unrelated to the business at hand on the agenda.. Otherwise, I don’t doubt that he confers with some officials in private, because it is my understanding that they are both members of the same special interest and lobbying group.

    I have no desire to develop my wife’s land. I have stated this before. I merely use the conditions here as an example, which I know well, as a proxy for conditions that I know affect many other long term locals. What is true is this: I have written documents from three different administrations stating what my development rights were. I no longer have those rights, and this has affected my net worth, and my ability to borrow to run the farm. As a result of policies supported by this and previous administrations I am required to do work which has almost no potential for profiting me, but which does profit others. I freely call this stealing and slavery, and for this I blame the current administration because they have the ability to change it. What annoys me is not that I cannot develop the land, but that I can no longer save that opportunity against a rainy day, when I might be forced into it, and that losing that OPPORTUNITY has had a real, tangible effect on my net worth and life style today. Don’t confuse the difference or attempt to denigrate me as some sort of latent Developer.

    On the other hand, If I still had the development rights I once had, then when I retire I might have the time to devote my craftsman skills, engineering knowledge, and economic understanding to attempt a real green home that made economic sense. I would construct it entirely from local materials, with the goal of using the income from it to make the rest of the farm marginally profitable. That dream vanished in a puff of opportunity cost as a result of misguided and wrong ideals promoted by a bunch of well meaning individuals who believe tenets similar to EMR’s, because they haven’t thought them through, and they don’t cost THEM anything.

    I understand my writing style may seem condescending and stilted. But if you look closer you will see that much of it is direct quotations from authorities far more learned than I. I try to provide citations so anyone interested can look to see if I have quoted out of context or paraphrased badly. For condescending and insulting, I suggest you look no further than Dr. Risse’s efforts. Geographically illiterate, indeed.

    I’ll take amusing and insightful as a compliment. Thank you.


  20. Goodby:

    I missed the part where you recycled the book. Too bad. Even if you didn;t agree with the conclusions, it had reams of good data and sources.

    The introduction and overview is here,M1

    in case anyone wants to see what Clifford Shirley had to say about location and distribution issues.

  21. Anonymous Avatar

    Goodby, I see what you mean about the lack of value in the Winston Shirley book.

    You do not need to get very far to see it is more ideologues looking for an excuse to privatize profit and socialize risk by ignoring the distribution of human activities.

    The sad thing is that RH knows so little about settlement patterns and mobility that he thinks they agree with his perspective.

  22. Anonymous Avatar

    Anon 3:16 — Rather than get into a dispute with the ideologues it is better to just understand that:

    “Travel demand data generated by dysfunctional human settlement patterns and then aggregated by municipal jurisdiction or large Census defined geographies (niether are not related the organic components of human settlement is meaningless.)

    Obviously, the conclusions drawn from any analysis of this data is meaningless squared.”

    I wrote that down at a recent lecture by a former student of Prof Risse’s.

    This puts the W S book in its correct context.

  23. Anonymous Avatar

    Anon 3:40:

    I think you meant to say:

    “Travel demand data generated by dysfunctional human settlement patterns and then aggregated by municipal jurisdiction or by large Census defined geographies is meaningless. Neither municipalities of large Census defined geographies are related the organic components of human settlement.”

    If you did, that is right and that point is made very clearly in Risse’s work.


  24. Anonymous Avatar

    If you are middle aged or older and you move farther out from the Zentrum, does that make it Zentrum Silver?

    Ha Ha.


  25. Anonymous Avatar

    “Obviously, the conclusions drawn from any analysis of this data is meaningless squared.”

    Denial is a common tactic that substitutes deliberate ignorance for thoughtful planning.

    ~ Charles Tremper

    Obviously you have not read Winston’s work, and your comments are fabrications.

    All he says about privatazation is that private companies ill recognize where mass transit will pay and where it wont. They understand settlement patterns, in other words.

    Subsidizing mass transit where it does not work efficiently is a wast of millions of dollars, even after you assume that reducing mass transit will increase auto usage slightly.

    The analyisis is based on total net social benefit, which isn’t so differnt from EMR’s demand that eachperson pay their full locational costs. Winston merely shows that if mass transit user paid their full locational costs, they would pay a lot more.

    No doubt Winston is not 100% correct and neither is EMR. I jsut prefer selctive truth to slavish devotion to dogma or personalities, which I know to be wasteful.

    What Winston shows, and TMT has obbserved is that there are places where mass transit won’t pay. Even more, there are places where even the best implementation of mass transit and automotive access is insufficient to serve the demands of overdevelopment. Tysons will be our next new example, as if we don’t already have plenty.

    This is just as big of a waste as wasteful sprawl development, but somewhere there is a least wasteful mix.

    You need to get your head out of the sand and observe what is around you. If you beleive the rest of the world is profit driven narcissits, then in order to get what you want done, the thing is to do is to show that it is the most profitable path – for everyone, not just those that choose your settlement pattern.

    First you have to accept profit as an incentive that works.


  26. Anonymous Avatar

    Conservationists and Thieves both respect property. They merely wish the property to become their property that they may more perfectly respect it.


    (Paraphrased fromn GK Chesterton)

  27. Anonymous Avatar

    It’s official. Big Agribusiness now has the right to pollute. At least for now.

    “The nation’s farms no longer have to report to authorities the toxic, smelly fumes released from manure.

    The Bush administration issued a regulation Friday exempting farms from reporting releases of hazardous air pollution from animal waste to federal, state and local authorities. The rule applies specifically to the gases from manure that are often responsible for odor problems.

    Environmental Protection Agency officials said that the changes will allow responders to focus on spills and releases from factories, natural disasters and other emergencies that require urgent attention. They said it would also reduce reporting burdens on America’s farmers, saying it is difficult to estimate the pollution coming from “a herd of cows.”

    “When there is a train wreck, we need to know about it because we need to go out and look at chemical spills,” said Barry Breen, director of the agency’s Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “When there is a lagoon full of manure there is nothing our folks can do when they show up.”

    Washington Post.

    I guess it’s time to open my pig farm. Before long the neighbors will be begging for development.


  28. Anonymous Avatar

    I’ll accept ideologue as a compliment, too.

    I much prefer it to dogmatist.


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