Schneier points out a Solzhenitsyn quote from Cancer Ward, and it got me thinking. (Thanks, James.)
As one of the comments says, there's a cost to everything nowadays. We're richer now, as a society, than anyone has ever been at any time. We have more than enough food, we have warmth and safety in the dead of winter, we have a say in our government, we have rich, soft clothes, we have entertainment, we have long lives, we know an incredible amount about how our world works, and those of us sufficiently 'net-savvy as to be reading this blog have access to the almost all of that knowledge. But there's a cost! We paid for our food with environmental degradation. We paid for our warmth with the creation of dams, and the exploitation of fossil fuels. We paid for our freedom of goverment with the requirement for eternal vigilance thereof. We paid for our soft clothes with the time and energy it takes to keep up with fashion. We paid for our entertainment with advertisments selling us things we don't need. We paid for our knowledge with immense amount of wasted effort pursuing ultimately worthless ideas, and lastly but certainly not leastly we paid for the internet with our privacy.
There ain't no such thing as a free lunch. Everything has a cost. Most times, we don't even know we're paying it, but we are.