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Comment: Build or support alternatives where you are... (Score 1) 71

by Paul Fernhout (#48466113) Attached to: DHS Set To Destroy "Einstein" Surveillance Records

Whatever makes sense with your skills, resources, and connections... These alternatives are there to provide the seeds for a next generation. They can be things like non-profits, for-profits, hobbies, community organizations, libraries, social networks, barter exchanges, citizens groups focused on one important local issue like a better library or better infrastructure of some sort, a movement for a basic income, LETS systems, or whatever. A healthy society has a good mix of subsistence, gift, exchange, and planned transactions. If you think the system is out of balance, then create or support counterbalancing forces (in a legal, healthy, and optimistic way). Tiny non-profits across the USA are suffering from lack of leadership and members as TV and the internet and dual-income families soak up all the otherwise spare volunteer time. The "old" USA from a century or so ago had those strong traditions of a mix of all those things, and such a mix is at the root of "Democracy" IMHO.

I used to think Debian provided one example of alternative governance, although lately mostly bad news on that front regarding the systemd issue. Hopefully it will move past that and become stronger through some self-reflection.

Search on "Michael Rupert Evolution" on his "From the Wilderness" site for some related interesting reading where he tried to move to another country and it didn't work out (an extreme case, and I dismiss his worries about "Peak Oil" as overblown, but he had some insights there about building where you are now and are connected).

Comment: You might like: "Marxism of the Right" (Score 1) 197

by Paul Fernhout (#48431651) Attached to: Is a Moral Compass a Hindrance Or a Help For Startups?

"This is no surprise, as libertarianism is basically the Marxism of the Right. If Marxism is the delusion that one can run society purely on altruism and collectivism, then libertarianism is the mirror-image delusion that one can run it purely on selfishness and individualism. Society in fact requires both individualism and collectivism, both selfishness and altruism, to function. Like Marxism, libertarianism offers the fraudulent intellectual security of a complete a priori account of the political good without the effort of empirical investigation. Like Marxism, it aspires, overtly or covertly, to reduce social life to economics. And like Marxism, it has its historical myths and a genius for making its followers feel like an elect unbound by the moral rules of their society.
    The most fundamental problem with libertarianism is very simple: freedom, though a good thing, is simply not the only good thing in life. Simple physical security, which even a prisoner can possess, is not freedom, but one cannot live without it. Prosperity is connected to freedom, in that it makes us free to consume, but it is not the same thing, in that one can be rich but as unfree as a Victorian tycoon's wife. A family is in fact one of the least free things imaginable, as the emotional satisfactions of it derive from relations that we are either born into without choice or, once they are chosen, entail obligations that we cannot walk away from with ease or justice. But security, prosperity, and family are in fact the bulk of happiness for most real people and the principal issues that concern governments."

I would add "community" and "health" as public goods government should also help support.

BTW, to underscore the point that charity only tends to work well in communities where people are well known to each other (either that or an abstract gifte economy like JP Hogan wrote about), see:
"Switzerland's shame: The children used as cheap farm labour"
"Gogniat, his brother and two sisters were "contract children" or verdingkinder as they are known in Switzerland. The practice of using children as cheap labour on farms and in homes began in the 1850s and it continued into the second half of the 20th Century. Historian Loretta Seglias says children were taken away for "economic reasons most of the time⦠up until World War Two Switzerland was not a wealthy country, and a lot of the people were poor". Agriculture was not mechanised and so farms needed child labour.
    If a child became orphaned, a parent was unmarried, there was fear of neglect, or you had the misfortune to be poor, the communities would intervene. Authorities tried to find the cheapest way to look after these children, so they took them out of their families and placed them in foster families. ...
    The extent to which these children were treated as commodities is demonstrated by the fact that there are cases even in the early 20th Century where they were herded into a village square and sold at public auction. ...
    "Children didn't know what was happening to them, why they were taken away, why they couldn't go home, see their parents, why they were being abused and no-one believed them," she says.
    "The other thing is the lack of love. Being in a family where you are not part of the family, you are just there for working." And it left a devastating mark for the rest of the children's lives. Some have huge psychological problems, difficulties with getting involved with others and their own families. For others it was too much to bear. Some committed suicide after such a childhood.
    Social workers did make visits. David Gogniat says his family had no telephone, so when a social worker called a house in the village to announce that she was coming, a white sheet was hung out of a window as a warning to the foster family. On the day of this annual visit David didn't have to work, and was allowed to have lunch with the family at the table. "That was the only time I was treated as a member of the family... She sat at the table with us and when she asked a question I was too scared to say anything, because I knew if I did the foster family would beat me." ...
    The Farmers Union agrees with the principle of compensation, but is adamant that farmers should not have to contribute. You have to understand the times in which these children were placed into foster care, says union president Markus Ritter. Councils and churches had no money. Farming families were asked to take children who had fallen on difficult times or had one parent so the farmers were fulfilling a social function. Does he acknowledge abuse occurred? "We received a lot of feedback from children who were treated really well⦠But we are also aware that some children were not treated properly." ..."

Of course, either big business out of control or big government out of control (or both at once) is a terrible thing, like a fire let loose to rage and burn everything good in its path. Libertarian criticism is often valid, even if solutions put forth by "propertarian" libertarians may be found wanting in various extreme aspects. (BTW, there are also "Libertarian Socialists" lwhich are better represented in Europe, and that is what the rest of the world outside the USA thinks of when people say libertarian -- an example being Noam Chomsky.) So, given that our society is no longer small-scale enough for some older social processes to work well (short of rethinking and remaking our infrastructure, which is maybe a good idea in any case), we need to think about a healthy balance, which can be a very hard thing to achieve or maintain.

Comment: Re:Debian OS is no longer of use to me now (Score 1) 574

by Paul Fernhout (#48431315) Attached to: Debian Votes Against Mandating Non-systemd Compatibility

"You are personally going to migrate your employer's systems because you personally do not like something, something every single major distro is moving too, and the top kernel developers are already using?"

No, AC, he said he is going to migrate his *personal* systems and those of an apparent volunteer organization he is affiliated with. Read more carefully next time before launching into the personal insults...

Comment: The Ben Franklin / Copyright "Pirate" connection (Score 1) 55

by Paul Fernhout (#48431235) Attached to: Machine-Learning Algorithm Ranks the World's Most Notable Authors

"Ben Franklin and others who owned printers realized that copyright didn't apply to them, so they promptly began making copies of everything - books, sheet music, etc."

I had know that for much of US history there was no respect for foreign copyrights (from other countries). I never saw anyone connect this to Ben Franklin's success before. Interesting!

Now that I look:
"Benjamin Franklin, Copyright Pirate"

"Benjamin Franklin, the first IP pirate?"

Comment: Small nuclear vs. solar PV vs. a singularity (Score 1) 516

by Paul Fernhout (#48431185) Attached to: Rooftop Solar Could Reach Price Parity In the US By 2016

I agree we may well see cheap compact nuclear fission reactors in the 2020s like from Hyperion., Also, it is a sad truth that we could build much safer reactors if engineers had been asked to prioritize safety over other things (Freeman Dyson's TRIGA design being one example) and if the USA has not focused on a Uranium nuclear cycle that intentionally could be easily weaponized (instead of Thorium).

Still I'd expect solar will actually continue to fall in price by the 2020s too. It would not surprise me if PV was in the 15 cent per watt range by 2030 (or even less) other things remaining constant. Consider how "cheap" used "solar collectors" in terms of tree leaves are in the Fall in the USA. Solar panels potentially could be printed as cheaply as aluminum foil using advanced nanomaterials and special inks.

We haven't really seen anything like the amount of research in PV we will probably see when it reaches grid parity everywhere and people really invest in it in a huge way equivalent to previous investments in fossil fuel production and research. Some people (myself included) have been predicting this turning point for a long time, and it has been dismissed and ignored. It is easy to say PV progress will never get to grid parity until it actually happens. That has been true even though the trends for decades show a clear line towards zero cost (no doubt it will go asymptotic at some point to just be dirt cheap though).

Unfortunately, in our short-term-oriented society in the USA, until PV is cheaper than the grid it is only a niche thing for special circumstances or motivated environmentally-minded people. That has been what has been funding it as only a relative trickle of investment. Once PV is cheaper than the grid, assuming a good solution to energy storage exists (fuel cells with nickle-metal hydride storage, Lithium ion batteries, molten salt batteries, compressed air, or something else), it will be economically foolish to use anything else to generate power than PV. And then, sometime after the stampede, we will see enormous sums of money flow into PV research and production. Electric utilities may collapse all over the place as his happens because grid power becomes too pricey once the cost of delivery exceeds the cost of on-site production. Except for the value of their right of ways as internet conduits, and maybe the value of their copper wires, I would guess that most utilities if properly accounted for, given decommissioning costs and outstanding long-term debt in sunk costs, most utilities may well have a negative net worth right now given any forecast that includes these trends.

Personally, I still think it possible that hot fusion or cold fusion will displace PV (as well as nuclear fusion) in the near future. Those could potentially be really really cheap. Even if fission gets cheaper and better (including potentially as small batteries), I don't see it could compete with workable fusion (and probably neither could PV for most applications).

We'll likely also see energy efficiency increase greatly. The current best construction in Europe is to build passive solar superinsulated houses without furnaces; search on "no furnace house".

I'd love to see the solar roadways thing work out... Or even just for parking lots or driveways.

Still, as I said elsewhere, the same reasons PV s getting cheaper (cheaper computing leading to cheaper collaboration and better designs by cheaper modeling and newer materials and so on) are the same sorts of reasons we will also see much cheaper nuclear power. Of course, there are other trends that all interact with that as well... A post by me from 2000:
"[unrev-II] Singularity in twenty to forty years?"

Comment: Reduced lead leading to reduced crime? (Score 1) 111

by Paul Fernhout (#48414949) Attached to: Interviews: Ask Malcolm Gladwell a Question

In the Tipping Point you advance the argument that it was better policing against minor infractions that reduced crime.
"Economist Steven Levitt and Malcolm Gladwell have a running dispute about whether the fall in New York City's crime rate can be attributed to the actions of the police department and "Fixing Broken Windows" (as claimed in The Tipping Point). In Freakonomics, Levitt attributes the decrease in crime to two primary factors: 1) a drastic increase in the number of police officers trained and deployed on the streets and hiring Raymond W. Kelly as police commissioner (thanks to the efforts of former mayor David Dinkins) and 2) a decrease in the number of unwanted children made possible by Roe v. Wade, causing crime to drop nationally in all major cities -- "[e]ven in Los Angeles, a city notorious for bad policing"."

However, it looks like the drop in crime is most closely correlated with the fall in environmental lead (mostly from reducing the used of leaded gasoline). Since other places have seen their crime rate fall without drastic changes in policing, what do you think of the lead and crime connection? See also:
"America's Real Criminal Element: Lead; New research finds Pb is the hidden villain behind violent crime, lower IQs, and even the ADHD epidemic. And fixing the problem is a lot cheaper than doing nothing. "

Comment: How is this different from "Seed Savers Exchange"? (Score 1) 100

by Paul Fernhout (#48408129) Attached to: Group Tries To Open Source Seeds "Seed Savers Exchange is a non-profit organization dedicated to saving and sharing heirloom seeds. Since 1975, our members have been passing on our garden heritage by collecting and distributing thousands of samples of rare garden seeds to other gardeners. "

Comment: Thanks for the informative history lesson! (Score 1) 260

Looks like we turned down the wrong path a few decades ago...

When Lessig argued "Eldred vs. Ashcroft" there was some point where the justices said, essentially, well no one has ever complained about copyright extensions before in terms of that being a taking something of value from the public (breaking the previous bargain struck at the time the work was produced), so extensions must be OK. That was probably not true, but Lessig did not have much of an answer for that. My memory of that may be a bit fuzzy, but I think that was the gist of an important point in the case as far as precedent.

More craziness and the law regarding the "owners" of so many copyrights these days:
" In 1886, . . . in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company, the U.S. Supreme Court decided that a private corporation is a person and entitled to the legal rights and protections the Constitutions affords to any person. Because the Constitution makes no mention of corporations, it is a fairly clear case of the Court's taking it upon itself to rewrite the Constitution.
                    Far more remarkable, however, is that the doctrine of corporate personhood, which subsequently became a cornerstone of corporate law, was introduced into this 1886 decision without argument. According to the official case record, Supreme Court Justice Morrison Remick Waite simply pronounced before the beginning of arguement in the case of Santa Clara County v. Southern Pacific Railroad Company that:
                          "The court does not wish to hear argument on the question whether the provision in the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws, applies to these corporations. We are all of opinion that it does."
                    The court reporter duly entered into the summary record of the Court's findings that:
                            "The defendant Corporations are persons within the intent of the clause in section 1 of the Fourteen Amendment to the Constitution of the United States, which forbids a State to deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."
                    Thus it was that a two-sentence assertion by a single judge elevated corporations to the status of persons under the law, prepared the way for the rise of global corporate rule, and thereby changed the course of history.
                    The doctrine of corporate personhood creates an interesting legal contradiction. The corporation is owned by its shareholders and is therefore their property. If it is also a legal person, then it is a person owned by others and thus exists in a condition of slavery -- a status explicitly forbidden by the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution. So is a corporation a person illegally held in servitude by its shareholders? Or is it a person who enjoys the rights of personhood that take precedence over the presumed ownership rights of its shareholders? So far as I have been able to determine, this contradiction has not been directly addressed by the courts. "

Comment: Try eating more vegetables, fruit, and beans (Score 1) 334

by Paul Fernhout (#48351019) Attached to: Americans Rejoice At Lower Gas Prices

to get more fiber and micronutrients: In practice, it is what we're eating. Exercise just makes us want to eat more afterwards. Enough fiber and micronutrients shuts off our "appestat" and we feel full on less calories. See, for one example, Dr. Fuhrman's approach, which suggests people aspire to one pound cooked and one pound raw veggies every day (hard to do, but even getting close yields great benefits):

That said, exercise is generally *great* for your overall health, including boosting immune function by getting the lymph moving. And outdoors exercise in sunlight under the right conditions can help with vitamin D deficiency.

See also:
"Nutrisystem, Jenny Craig, MediFast and Weightwatchers offer only traditional foods from the Standard American Diet that are known to be the root cause of obesity and other common diseases. The portions may be smaller in size and in the number of calories but their nutrition is negligible and too low as confirmed by the Aggregate Nutrition Density Index."

Getting back to the main topic, in the same way, if we were producing power locally-to-the-neighborhood like via Solar PV or maybe someday hot/cold fusion, we would be less likely to have unpaid-up-front external costs like cross-country pollution, economic risks, or maintaining the US military in the middle east. Then our economy and society would be a lot healthier. Energy efficiency also works like local energy production and so generally is a great thing. Consuming foreign il is an invitation to disaster, like the USA has not learned its lesson from the 1970s!
"We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.
    All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem.
    Energy will be the immediate test of our ability to unite this nation, and it can also be the standard around which we rally. On the battlefield of energy we can win for our nation a new confidence, and we can seize control again of our common destiny."

Sadly, the USA took the wrong path to the feel-good-in-the-short-term Reagan years back then... But thankfully some people did not give up, and the cost of solar PV continues to fall and energy efficiency improvement continue to be made despite it not being a level playing field because the price of fossil fuels and nukes don't account for many negative externalities. But we could have been there in the 1980s, and saved decades of military costs and health costs and pollution remediation costs incurred since then.

Comment: Modularity & Hygiene & Complexity & sy (Score 1) 450

by Paul Fernhout (#48349839) Attached to: Joey Hess Resigns From Debian

From what I read here, systemd is a lot less modular by bundling in a lot of services. Linux has had the virtue of modularity at is core, as exemplified by narrow-focus command line tools piped together to get work done. Modularity is something like cleanliness. If you leave crumbs all over your kitchen all the time, it generally isn't itself the problem. The problem is when roaches and mice move in and you can't get rid of them due to the crumbs you still leave everywhere. Granted, cleanliness (and modularity) can perhaps go too far (the person who scrubs the kitchen flour every five minutes). So, what is a healthy balance here? I don't know enough about the details to weigh in on that. You ask for specific problems, and while a reasonable sounding request, that is also a bit like asking people to send pictures in of specific roaches and mice. The specific problems are important of course, but what is at stake is the bigger picture, not stamping out each individual roach. What matters is increased risk. The more general issue is the management of risks from complexity, whereas modularity is one of the best (but not the only) approach for doing that.

I've seen how lack of modularity can damage other software communities -- particularly the early Squeak community, like I wrote about here
"I sympathize. I think the biggest issue of Squeak is issues with modularity and managing complexity. These issues translate to frustration for maintainers (and users :-). Anyway, I had related frustrations to yours many years ago and they are why I ended up doing a lot in Python and Jython on the JVM in the last decade, even to the point of working on PataPata. ... I think the most important single issue in maintaining any large system is managing complexity (documenting intent maybe comes next, including well-named variables and methods and functions). This has never been a priority for Squeak IMHO. ...
    There are several ways to manage complexity, which include:
* modularity (namespaces, packages like Java or GNU Smalltalk or Debian, letting someone else do that hard work by leveraging libraries or VMs or languages, like Squeak does by using a C compiler to generate the VM)
* cleverness (brilliant redesign, like traits was hopefully going to be)
* laissez faire, and also to each his or her own image (that is what we have now, and it is not that bad an idea, if the *core* is small and well thought out, like Spoon, so the *image* instance becomes the *module*. But alas, it is not, witness how confusing Morphic is to unravel).
    Modularity is the one way to manage complexity which seems to work best in practice, although the others have their role. However, if Squeak images could easily talk to each other and share some state, and we had Spoon-like remote debugging and development, then we could have just one application per image, and that would be easier to maintain (it would be modular to a degree but in an unusual way). But I would still suggest such a system built on well-though out (clever) modules would be more powerful and easier to use than a mess of spaghetti code, even if we had only one application per image."

With roots back to here in 2000:
"Squeak complexity in 2.8 has become a complex cat from the simple kitten complexity of 1.13(?) in 1996. Back then, Dan Ingalls wrote on 10 Nov 1996 those prescient words: "The Squeak team has an interest in doing the world's simplest application construction framework, but I suspect that we will get sucked up with enough other things that this won't happen in the next two months (but who knows...)."
    Squeak 2.8's complexity is now quiet (in terms of walkbacks) and stealthy (in terms of growing between releases without a complaint). And the complexity could be deadly. Witness the recent issue Stefan raised about some Squeak fonts possibly violating a Microsoft EULA. The question should never even arise of the legal integrity of the core release. We might as well just leap right into those jaws of complexity. ... "

Granted, Squeak has finally much improved since those years -- but the cost to the community as enormous from all the missed opportunity... Squeak limps along, and is a better and better system, and spinoffs like Amber Smalltalk and Pharo are awesome, but so many other systems grabbed Squeak's mindshare that Sqeuak faces big uphill struggle at this point. It never got to be the Flash replacement it could have been in browsers, or the Java-killer, or lots of other thing it could have been (the alternative to Python...).

For its own flaws (including those inherent in JavaScript), NodeJS seems to have gotten modularity right and can support that picture I painted above for Squeak of special-purpose application-focused servers talking to each other:
"All you people who added node_modules to your gitignore, remove that shit, today, it's an artifact of an era we're all too happy to leave behind. The era of global modules is dead."

Maybe what frustrates so many Linux developers is to see such an obvious problem going ignored, like for a master chef to have a new restaurant owner come in who is intentionally throwing bread crumbs all over the floor because is "looks nice"? Or, for another analogy, like an experienced firefighter being forced to live in a wood house overflowing with years of un-recycled newspapers supposedly protected by some funky new smoke detector system that is unproven and behind the scenes is implemented using a rat's nest of unlabelled wires?

That said, again, I don't know enough about systemd to know if it does indeed make good overall tradeoffs. I'm just building on the complaints about it I've read here. Things can be too clean. Humans need bacteria to survive. Evolution tends to produce odd efficiencies of unexpectedly interacting systems. So, I'll continue to watch how this plays out...

But Joey's biggest complaint seems to be about the social process. It seems to me that all social systems tend to attract parasites and rent seekers eventually. It can be hard to manage that sometimes without moving on and just waiting for the inevitable collapse before recolonizing. As Clay Shirky says:
"A Group Is Its Own Worst Enemy"
"What matters is, a group designed this and then was unable, in the context they'd set up, partly a technical and partly a social context, to save it from this attack from within. And attack from within is what matters. Communitree wasn't shut down by people trying to crash or syn-flood the server. It was shut down by people logging in and posting, which is what the system was designed to allow. The technological pattern of normal use and attack were identical at the machine level, so there was no way to specify technologically what should and shouldn't happen. Some of the users wanted the system to continue to exist and to provide a forum for discussion. And other of the users, the high school boys, either didn't care or were actively inimical. And the system provided no way for the former group to defend itself from the latter.
    Now, this story has been written many times. It's actually frustrating to see how many times it's been written. You'd hope that at some point that someone would write it down, and they often do, but what then doesn't happen is other people don't read it.
    The most charitable description of this repeated pattern is "learning from experience." But learning from experience is the worst possible way to learn something. Learning from experience is one up from remembering. That's not great. The best way to learn something is when someone else figures it out and tells you: "Don't go in that swamp. There are alligators in there."
      Learning from experience about the alligators is lousy, compared to learning from reading, say. There hasn't been, unfortunately, in this arena, a lot of learning from reading. And so, lessons from Lucasfilms' Habitat, written in 1990, reads a lot like Rose Stone's description of Communitree from 1978.
    This pattern has happened over and over and over again. Someone built the system, they assumed certain user behaviors. The users came on and exhibited different behaviors. And the people running the system discovered to their horror that the technological and social issues could not in fact be decoupled. ..."

So, systemd sounds nice in practice -- let's bundle all the important services together and finally get all the bugs fixed *this* time -- but in practice, experienced developers worry that the bundling creates a big technical and social problem of maintenance and debugging and related discussions and management.

I might have succeeded in 2000 with rallying Squeakers to make a better system back then, sparing years of frustration and bit rot for so many people, but there were several people (including a "lawyer") who claimed Squeak was just fine as it was, that the quirky non-open-source-recognized license did not matter and that modularity was not an import priority and so on... I'm glad those issues have been mostly fixed for Squeak in something lie Pharo, but it took many years of painful reality for the community as a whole to wake up to them become priorities, losing many good people along the way -- even losing Dan Ingalls to JavaScript...

Comment: Holocaust Survivor Leaving US - Sees What's Coming (Score 5, Interesting) 231

by Paul Fernhout (#48349391) Attached to: Berlin's Digital Exiles: Where Tech Activists Go To Escape the NSA

Granted from 2005:
"I had been stationed in Germany for two years while in the military, so I lit up, and commented about how beautiful the country was, and inquired if he was going back because he missed it.
      "No," he answered me. "I'm going back because I've seen this before." He then commenced to explain that when he was a kid, he watched with his family in fear as Hitler's government committed atrocity after atrocity, and no one was willing to say anything. He said the news refused to question the government, and the ones who did were not in the newspaper business much longer. He said good neighbors, people he had known all his life, turned against his family and other Jews, grabbing on to the hate and superiority "as if they were starved for it" (his words).
      He said he was too old to see it happen right in front of his eyes again, and too old to do anything about it, so he was taking his family back to Europe on Thursday where they would be safe from George W. Bush and his neocons. He seemed resolute, but troubled, nonetheless, as if being too young on one end and too old on the other to fight what he saw happening was wearing on him. ...
    I have related this event to you in the hopes it will serve as a cautionary anecdote about the state of our Union, and to illustrate the path we Americans are being led down by a group of fanatics bent on global economic and military dominion. When a man who survived the fruits of fascism decides its time to leave THIS country because he's seeing the same patterns that led to the Holocaust and other Nazi horrors beginning to form here, it is time for us to recognize the underlying evil inherent in the actions of those who claim they work for all Americans, and for all mankind. And it is incumbent upon all Americans, Red and Blue, Republican and Democrat, to stop them."

What has really changed from the Bush years of great significance in that regard?

See also:
"They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45"
""What happened here was the gradual habituation of the people, little by little, to being governed by surprise; to receiving decisions deliberated in secret; to believing that the situation was so complicated that the government had to act on information which the people could not understand, or so dangerous that, even if the people could not understand it, it could not be released because of national security. And their sense of identification with Hitler, their trust in him, made it easier to widen this gap and reassured those who would otherwise have worried about it.
    "This separation of government from people, this widening of the gap, took place so gradually and so insensibly, each step disguised (perhaps not even intentionally) as a temporary emergency measure or associated with true patriotic allegiance or with real social purposes. And all the crises and reforms (real reforms, too) so occupied the people that they did not see the slow motion underneath, of the whole process of government growing remoter and remoter."

Jews who moved to Israel seem to me overall to have interpreted "never again" in terms of who has the most guns. But there is another perspective on that, which is to think that "never again" should be about militaristic bureaucracy getting out of control. A culture like the USA (or Israel for that matter) can be full of guns and people who know how to use them, but still infested with militarist bureaucracy infesting every aspect of life (including via perpetual full-surveillance "schooling"). Like bureaucracy, humans have had a long association with fire, and fire is useful to warm our homes and cook our meals, but it is a terrible thing when it rages out of control.

That said, how should we behave when we are essentially trapped in the middle of such a (currently) slow moving disaster? It seems always possible it could turn around instead of get worse. The USA is a different country than Germany, with a different history and different traditions. And social and economic life often sucks for immigrants in new countries, like shown by Michael Ruppert's experience moving to Venezuela (ignoring how I think "Peak Oil" is a non-issue given Solar PV and likely fusion):
"The important distinctions about adaptivity are not racial at all. US citizens come in all colors. American culture is the water they have swum in since birth. A native US citizen of Latin descent who did not (or even did) speak Spanish would probably feel almost as out of place here as I do. They would look the same but not feel the same. And when it came time to deal collectively with a rapidly changing world, a world in turmoil, a native-born American's inbred decades of "instinctive" survival skills might not harmonize with the skills used by those around him.
    Another one of my trademarked lines is that Post Peak survival is not a matter of individual survival or national survival. It is a matter of cooperative, community survival. If one is not a fully integrated member of a community when the challenges come, one might hinder the effectiveness of the entire community which has unspoken and often consciously unrecognized ways of adapting. As stresses increase, the gauntlets required to gain acceptance in strange places will only get tougher. Diversity will become more, rather than less, rigid and enforced.
    Start building your lifeboats where you are now. I can see that the lessons I have learned here are important whether you are thinking of moving from city to countryside, state to state, or nation to nation. Whatever shortcomings you may think exist where you live are far outnumbered by the advantages you have where you are a part of an existing ecosystem that you know and which knows you. If the time comes when it is necessary to leave that community you will be better off moving with your tribe rather than moving alone."

The USA still has the strength, as exemplified by a true "Promised Land" of NYC (rivaling Israel for Jewish resettlement), of being a place where diverse people have learned to live and work together, perhaps better than anywhere else on the planet.
"The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools, and Societies"

A language that doesn't have everything is actually easier to program in than some that do. -- Dennis M. Ritchie