Content-type: text/html ~ Stephen's Web ~ Well, that wasn't my point, but...

Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Aug 26, 1997

Posted to HotWired 26 Aug 97

In the While I'm Here Department, well, yes, I was hoping for a response, but not quite what I got.

Silly me. When told that their own government is helping people lob firebombs at inncoents in Havana, I expected American readers to

  • Question my sources (impeccible, btw)
  • Say it wasn't important
  • Defend the practise, on the grounds that Castro is evil
  • Or even agree with me, that the American government should practise what it preaches.
Like I said, silly me. Instead what I got was a rampage about how bad Canada is, with its free-wheeling lefty-pinko-liberalist policies, and how great the good ol' U. S. of A. is.


It wasn't my point, but... Canada is better. Our poverty rate is a tenth that of the United States, our health and education standards are higher, crime is well below American rates, incomes are just as high, life expectancy is longer, and oh yeah, we've got a lot of unspoiled forest too.

But that wasn't my point. My point in my previous post was twofold:

  1. In the case of the internet, laws will apply to people, and applied according to whatever jurisdiction the person happens to be in, and
  2. Laws passed by legislatures intended to apply beyond their jurisdiction won't apply, unless by international agreement

The While I'm here entry is something I've been stewing about for some time. My angst here is again twofold:

  1. I oppose the very concept of American laws applying anwhere but inside the United States
  2. I am concerned by the double standard expressed by American governments, condemning terrorism on one hand, while using it baldly with the other

Please notice that those two points have nothing to do with Canada. As for my own Canadian government, I find it a bit two faced that we declare sanctions against Myanamar (Burma) but not against Indonesia or China. We should be consistent on this side of the border too.

We'll get into the commie-pinko-socialist rant some other time. I thought that list of good government programs, a few notes above, was a good one. (BTW a private company built a highway in Ontario recently. The opening had to be delayed because they cut corners on safety. Then the tolling computers wouldn't work properly. Typical corporate snafus. Had a government built the thing we'd be screaming about inefficiency. But more on corporate bungling in some other post...).

Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada

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