Few days ago, for reasons that escape me, I got curious about the fate of Laissez Faire City. If you’ve been around a while you might remember LFC as a hopeful and apparently well-funded effort to build a libertarian community in Costa Rica. That is, a hopeful, well-funded, and unfortunately badly “mis-mangled” project that died aborning.
Wanting to see if there were any shreds of it remaining, I
googled it startpaged it duckduckgoed it and found, sadly though not surprisingly, that it has disappeared without a ripple. The ‘Net that Never Forgets has forgotten it. Even its Wikipedia entry simply redirects to a page on anarchist utopian communities — which then completes the humiliation by not even mentioning it. The scamdog site that once gleefully tracked old, dead, and sometimes criminally misbegotten libertopias is also no more, taken over by a cybersquat operation that offers links to dog medicines, dogs for sale, and dog training.
Right on the first page of the search results, though, was a link to my old Wolfesblog, now kindly archived by Bill St. Clair.
But failed libertopias aside (and there’s a mindfield of them littering the recent past), I couldn’t resist clicking through a few weeks of old blog entries made by me and my fellow Wolfesblogistas circa 2003, then clicking through the links I found in those entries.
Lots of links are as dead as Laissez Faire City, of course. But I was amazed at how many are still alive and worth a visit. The scientists of AstroCapella are still making beautiful music about astrophysics despite the RIAA’s hilarously wrongheaded efforts to stop them. My favorite is still the Swift Song, even if it was commissioned by NASA.
Alan Bock still offers his ode to living the principled life.
Lots of good old stuff back there.
The thing that struck me most, though, is what has happened (or not happened) with so many of the beastly privacy threats that were making the news back then. In 2003, I was pretty sure that by now everything we bought would carry an individual RFID tag, and possibly that millions of damnfools would already be lining up for their chip injections. That hasn’t happened. Were we privacy doomsayers just being hysterical back then? Was the threat never that terrible? Or did it not happen because smart, tough people like Katherine Albrecht (and, as Ted Dunlap points out in the comments section, thousands more informed and angry people) fought back?
Other privacy threats … well, who knows? Take DARPA’s lovely [ahem] proposal for LifeLog (and more here) — a program to track every, single e-blip about every, single human being for a lifetime. That’s every email you ever sent, every webpage you ever visited, every report card you got in school, every job evaluation, every cellphone call or text message, every photo ever taken of you, every medical exam, every tax you ever paid, every ticket you ever got, every everything.
Terrible, scary sh*t. So … Was LifeLog among the many “bright” ideas of our SuperSTASI that just went away for lack of initiative or funding? Or are there computers in the Pentagon or deep below Langley whirring our life histories away right this minute? We may never know. Or by the time we find out, the news will earn 20 seconds of infamy followed by yawns. Lord knows enough real privacy threats have burdened us in the meantime.
Anyhow, it was an interesting trip down old bromidic Memory Lane.