I often ponder what the TLF is all about. Of course, our official mission is “keeping politicians’ hands off the ‘net and everything else related to technology.” You can read more on our “About Us” page. But this quote from Robert Heinlein‘s 1973 classic Time Enough for Love (among my top five favorite novels) really hits the nail on the head for me:
Throughout history, poverty is the normal condition of man. Advances which permit this norm to be exceeded — here and there, now and then — are the work of an extremely small minority, frequently despised, often condemned, and almost always opposed by all right-thinking people. Whenever this tiny minority is kept from creating, or (as sometimes happens) is driven out of a society, the people then slip back into abject poverty. This is known as “bad luck.”
“Man is the measure of all things,” said Protagoras of Abdera (c. 480-410 B.C.). So it is for me: technology is ultimately a means—indeed, the means—by which the condition of humanity is improved. By “liberating technology”—i.e., defending the freedom to innovate and to profit from bringing innovation to the marketplace—we’re all doing our small part to prevent “right-thinking people” from squelching the creative minority whose toils will sometday take the species to the stars.
I can’t wait to see what the coming decades will bring. In the words of the immortal 1970s rock band, Bachman-Turner Overdrive: You ain’t seen nothing yet!
(The full version of the video—not the embedded player—includes an ad to buy the song, a new YouTube feature. Heinlein would be proud.)