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Tim O'Reilly Steps In To Debate Open Government and Linux 45

PatrickRIot writes "Aeon Magazine ran a longform critique of Open Source politics last week titled 'Open Sesame: "Openness" is the new magic word in politics – but should governments really be run like Wikipedia?' It referenced Tim O'Reilly and the man himself has stepped in at the bottom of the page for a detailed and lengthy rejoinder. 'I'm a bit surprised to learn that my ideas of "government as a platform" are descended from Eric Raymond's ideas about Linux, since: a) Eric is a noted libertarian with disdain for government b) Eric's focus on Linux was on its software development methodology. From the start, I was the open source activist focused on the power of platforms, arguing the role for the architecture of Unix and the Internet in powering the open source movement. ... One thing that distresses me about this discussion is the notion that somehow, if open government doesn't solve every problem, or creates new problems as it solves others, it is a failed movement. The world doesn't go forward in a straight line! The "open" democracy experiment of 1776 is still ongoing; we're trying to figure out how to use technology to adapt it to the 21st century and a country with a hundredfold greater population.'"
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Tim O'Reilly Steps In To Debate Open Government and Linux

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday February 05, 2013 @07:47PM (#42803235)

    That's the brilliance of the Founders in finding a way to overcome the problems endemic to the Roman Republic to ensure that a republic can (and will) survive the predations of corruption.

    I'm kind of confused as to what brilliance that is, exactly. It's only been a little over two centuries and we've already got:

    • - Endless war
    • - Plebs vs. Patricians
    • - Hatred of foreigners
    • - Bread and circuses
    • - Absurd national superiority complex, going far beyond necessary pride in one's country
    • - Senators putting on good theatre and handing out grain to ply the mob
    • - Bribes in all the right places (we call them 'lobbyists', of course, much more genteel)
    • - Threats about those damned Gauls, I mean Communists, I mean terrorists
    • - Some form of slavery; to our credit, we did get rid of outright slavery, but migrant workers are far more politically correct, hey?

    Of course, we don't have the sanguine entertainment of the sands, but the US is batshit about sports, and the Romans didn't have the options of Hollywood and Call of Duty to provide a virtual equivalent to bloodshed.

    We really haven't solved any of the problems the Roman Republican had, except for keeping people fed. It'd be harder for a Caesar to rise up and drive a whole stinking mass of politicians out of D.C., but I'd argue the Founding Fathers pointedly did not solve that issue - they were absolutely against the idea of a standing army directly loyal to the Republic.

    At any rate, it's still a damned better system than direct democracy, absolutely. Democracy sound great, and probably is great - until you find your behavior isn't liked by a simple majority.

Money can't buy love, but it improves your bargaining position. -- Christopher Marlowe