Openness brings risk. We all take the keys from the car and lock the doors when we leave it parked. But for 100 years collectivists right and left declared that our open society would be easy to infiltrate and destroy. We're here. The Nazis and Communists are gone. Today, the open society, the agora, is attacked by new enemies who fear knowledge. While the need to secure our infrastructure is clear, it is more important to maintain, reward and enhance the creation and transmission of information, money, goods, services, and people.
Your computer is the result of a completely open and unregulated market in cybernetics. No government agency defines what a computer is, who can build one, who can own a computer or who is qualified to program one. The USSR excelled in theoretical mathematics and chess because the people of the mind, the initiators, the doers, the contrarians had no other outlet. Politics was forbidden and economics did not exist. Meanwhile, in America, personal enterprise continued to blossom and bear fruit.
In 1991, I was a delegate from the Michigan patron community to the White House Conference on Libraries and Information Services (WHCLIS-2). Among the guest speakers was Newt Gingrich. As a result of that, I sent a check to GOPAC and benefited from being on their mailing list for audio tapes. At some $100-a-plate dinner Dr. Gingrich said that at a previous dinner, someone asked him if he did not think that it was horrible that welfare recipients sell their food stamps for 75 cents on the dollar to buy booze and cigarettes. The professor said, "Of course not." These people are Americans, he said. "You cannot give an American a negotiable instrument and then complain when they negotiate it for something they want."
In April 2009, I attended a presentation by former KGB agent Boris Yuzhin. (See New York Times story "Graying Double Agent" here. Visit his Wikipedia biography here. Read the ZoomInfo sketch here.)
As he told it, trained in computer architecture, he was recruited by the KGB to come to American and find others to work for the USSR. The KGB heard that there were a lot of "communists" at Berkeley, so they sent him there. Not only did none of the comrades want to talk to him, when they did, it was a debate -- and he lost. He could not win a debate on Marxism because in the USSR they could not read all of the theoretical works which we in the USA can. So, he got a carrel at the library and began studying Marxism in the USA. That convinced him of the strength of an open society. He defected to our side.
ALSO ON NECESSARY FACTS
Engines of Creation
The Genius of Design