[linux-elitists] Re: More sites targeted -- another view (fwd)

Eugen Leitl eugen@leitl.org
Mon Nov 18 01:26:17 PST 2002


---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Mon, 18 Nov 2002 00:10:47 EST
From: Jhawkfred@AOL.COM
Reply-To: CHEMICAL INFORMATION SOURCES DISCUSSION LIST
    <CHMINF-L@indiana.edu>
To: CHMINF-L@LISTSERV.INDIANA.EDU
Subject: Re: More sites targeted -- another view

Is our goal as a free society only to make a buck?  I find that quite
distressing.  To me, the more important issue is the "Commons".  Key to
public access are the public libraries, not just research libraries.
However, they are no longer equal to the task.  One conundrum of the
information age is that, the more information, the more it swamps the
resources of the scattered local public institutions.  Internet access to the
free databases, helps bridge that gap.

I think one role of government is to make information available.  The
reduction in information is an attack on our civil and economic liberties.
Keeping information the exclusive providence of the wealthy and corporations
results in a slanted playing field and can stymie participation of the
citizens in governance.

For instance, the ideal of an "efficient" stock market becomes more prone to
manipulation, which requires greater regulation to avoid the Enronizing of
America.  Pub Med allows lay people, like myself, to be far better educated
than books available on the shelf at my local bookstore.  Not only does it
make me a better consumer of health services, I can better pick and choose
where, when, how and by whom I receive treatment.  Ultimately, the resource
helps control health costs and evens the playing field with HMO's.

There must be a balance.  The more powerless we make people by depriving them
of information, the less reason people have to participate in the political
process, which ultimately corrupts the economic process they are trying to
exploit.

Gary Holleran

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