[hackerspaces] will the fruits of our labors be used for good or for evil?

Al Billings albill at openbuddha.com
Mon Dec 5 00:37:26 CET 2011

Thanks for saying this better than I obviously did before, Mitch.


On Dec 4, 2011, at 2:57 PM, Mitch Altman wrote:

> My view is a bit different.  You don't have to agree, but please consider:  DARPA is a government agency that exists to further its goals.  It seems to me that those goals are to make things easier and better for hurting and killing other people.  It seems to me that this is why they exist.  If people working for DARPA are giving grant money away, it is to further the goals of DARPA.  This isn't to say that good things can't be done with DARPA money.  But DARPA is spending this money explicitly to further the goals of DARPA -- and it *will* be used to further those goals.
> Werner von Braun was an incredible visionary.  He wanted to explore space!  It was his lifelong dream.  He found an opportunity for funding his dream when Hitler offered to pay for him to make rockets.  Those rockets were used to destroy the lives of civilians in London in the form of V2 missiles.  After the war, he was eventually hired by NASA to make rockets that eventually became the basis of the US space program.  Was this a good trade off?  I know how I feel.  I don't want to tell others what to do, or what to think or feel.  Please make up your own mind.
> In my mind, I would rather change projects than hurt others in order to fulfill the goals of my project.  But, before changing projects, perhaps there are other means of funding it, or allowing the project to proceed.  Those other means are way worth exploring.
> One other point I feel is worth considering:  A powerful method of marketing is to associate PRODUCT X with a warm and fuzzy feeling.  Repeat that enough times, and enough people subconsciously associate a warm-fuzzy feeling with PRODUCT X, and sales of PRODUCT X go up some percentage.  PRODUCT X can be dish soap, a soft drink, a TV show, a political candidate, a banana republic dictator, green-washing corporate image -- anything the people paying for the marketing request.  PRODUCT X can also be DARPA.  If we make more warm and fuzzy associations with DARPA (by using their money for what we feel is *good*), then some people will more likely feel it is OK to work for an agency to further the goals of DARPA -- and those goals may not be in line with what you believe is of true benefit to you and those around you.  Or it may.  Again, please think this through for yourself.  And please make a conscious choice.
> Best,
> Mitch.
> an/listinfo/discuss

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