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Google's coup: The internet's first rule book. State of security operations The regulator's rule book for deciding what is permissible on today's roads is very thick indeed.

Google's coup: The internet's first rule book

The content, behaviour and performance of "stuff on roads" is massive, and grows by the day. Try hot-rodding your lawnmower – or deciding that on Thursdays, you will only make left turns, and see how far you get. By contrast, the regulator's rule book for deciding what is permissible on the internet - its content, behaviour and performance - couldn't be simpler. There isn't one. And that’s the case for most countries in the world.

So today’s internet is an anarchy, where users can drive what they like. For almost twenty years, internet engineers have persuaded regulators not to intervene in this network of networks, and phenomenal growth has been the result. But that’s changing fast. Unnoticed by almost everyone, so did the EU. "It’s the revenge of the unemployed Telecomms Regulator”, one seasoned observer in Brussels told us this week. A whole new rule book. Is a social system founded upon individual rights. Barbaries, résurgences, résistances. Matthew Yglesias » Politics as a Vocation. By Matthew Yglesias on December 19, 2009 at 10:01 am Everyone thinking about health care or climate change or really any other major issue ought to take some time this weekend and read Max Weber’s “Politics as a Vocation.”

Matthew Yglesias » Politics as a Vocation

I quoted the final paragraph on this blog before with specific reference to the health care debate, but it’s not that long and the whole thing is brilliant and important. I first started thinking about Weber and contemporary politics thinking about foreign policy. Especially this: We must be clear about the fact that all ethically oriented conduct may be guided by one of two fundamentally differing and irreconcilably opposed maxims: conduct can be oriented to an ‘ethic of ultimate ends’ or to an ‘ethic of responsibility.’

There’s a whole long essay here, but to boil it down to its essentials the point is that there’s a place for the ethic of ultimate ends but that in politics you need an ethic of responsibility. And the same applies in other arenas of the political. Yglesias Reads Weber. Matt Yglesias, reflecting on the politics of the past few weeks, quotes from passages of Weber that I've quoted here many times. However, there is an abysmal contrast between conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of ultimate ends–that is, in religious terms, ‘The Christian does rightly and leaves the results with the Lord’–and conduct that follows the maxim of an ethic of responsibility, in which case one has to give an account of the foreseeable results of one’s action.

I would add just one point to Yglesias' reflections on this contrast. It is possible to harbor considerable doubt about the "foreseeable results of one's action. " This uncertainty greatly complicates the commitment to an ethic of responsibility. Pascal's wager weighs the scale too heavily in favor of ultimate ends by positing an infinite reward for preferring the ultimate over the here and now.

"Des immigrés parfaits" I have been a student and observer of French politics since 1968.

"Des immigrés parfaits"

In that time I've translated more than 130 books from the French, including Tocqueville's Democracy in America. I chair the seminar for visiting scholars at Harvard's Center for European Studies and am a member of the editorial board of French Politics, Culture, and Society. You can read some of my writing on French politics and history here and a short bio here. From time to time I will include posts by other students of France and French politics (accessible via the index link "guest"). My hope is that this site will become a gathering place for all who are interested in discussing and analyzing political life in France.

Read my novel, Shooting War.