When the highwayman holds his gun to your head, you turn your valuables over to him. You ‘consent’ alright, but you do so because you cannot help yourself, because you are compelled by his gun. Are you not compelled to work for an employer? Your need compels you, just as the highwaymans gun – Alexander Berkman
In the context of business-level invasive surveillance, the NSA has rounded their argument thus: If you turn your info over to your company, why would you not turn it over to your government?
What is the difference if you are losing your privacy to your government when it acts as a corporation? Our corporate hegemony is erring on the side of authoritarianism. I chose this quote because Berkman, an anarchist, experienced a disillusion in watching the Bolshoi resort to horrible acts in order to advance a more egalitarian society. The ends, do they justify the means? If a security clerk can wiretap the President of the USA, then why on earth am I expected to believe the government’s interests are at stake above all else? It makes me think someone else is pulling the strings. I maintain economic forces historically motivate the position of a society’s moral compass. It is this injustice, the disparity we create in our modern savagery which leaves the mark of power, the taint of corruption, on all people. If you cannot hold governmnets accountable, then the model is obsolete. When the people unite, the governments must respect our wishes. When governments unite, it is for the interests of the very privileged and delusional miscreants who decide, for the rest of us, how we shall live. And that is wrong. It’s not just wrong, it’s stupid because it never works in the long run. I used to think the government took care of its people. When I was a small child I had small thoughts, and the paternalism in the ideology I was asked to subscribe to is the same mythology inherent in any system of power. The rulers do things mortals cannot and should not do, but the very few who strike out to find justice, to find truth, without regard for personal consequence, are vaunted only by the eternally marginalized, the educated, the difference engines in society: those with perspective, with independent vision destroy the status quo and invite not only the living, but history to take a closer look at what happens when people get all power crazy and start stomping on their peonage. Incidentally, you don’t need history books to get this knowledge anymore. Technology is being used without wisdom to subjugate populations to instruments of control. At the same time, these same powerful tools, in the hands of human beings with hearts and minds, memories and values, will free ourselves from the bondage of blind materialism that drives us from experience into the paternal, stifling arms of the prisons of our own fears and insecurities.
I just want to help the system repair itself. Justice is blind. It is up to people to lead. Snowden mentions in his expose’ that he kept waiting around for leadership until he realized leadership is conferred upon the responsible. Waiting for leadership is an invitation for trouble. Stumble into the light of day, but find the truth revealed. People want things to be so safe and sanitized. They want the good guys in white hats, high on their horses. They want the bad guys to be subhuman and wear black. I don’t want anyone spying on me or collecting my private communications because there are somethings I can’t explain or share with the world. There are things within me that make me unhappy, things I would not want to expose because, well, I gots me some problems like everyone else. Why the hell should I expect to bear the responsibility of the total ruin of the human race, granulated person by person, like a tower of Dumb. Ultimately, this psychomachia we project, this quest for dramatic characterizations of our vagaries of character and inconsistencies in passion and focus give rise to unexpected discoveries, laughter, joy. Maybe if we all stopped bullshitting each other about Big Papa Government we could all move on and live responsibly. I don’t need the Government to hold my hand. It’s the other way around. Or maybe it’s both.
I watch my little boy’s cartoons and notice the pittance of good vs. evil. The only difference in these opponents is who wins, and who loses. Both sides engage in the same acts of warfare. Ultimately, the more monstrously destructive of the two factions survives. My son’s favorite cartoon is about people who play with weaponized tops, spinning tops with strange powers.
Berkman saw terrorism as an efficient means to “sway the masses”, to massage consent to revolution. He hoped to turn the death of one asshole into a bargaining chip, but where would that lead?
If we consent to arbitrary surrender of our private lives, expect our government to become estranged from its people, our citizenry to develop new ways to cultivate furtive headspace in which to crowd the insatiable, those who live for social justice. In short, Berkman got it wrong by asking society to be responsible for an irresponsible act. Murder is irresponsible.
I must liberate my oppressors. American exclusionsim is a weakness. It is only justifiable to the oprressors. The oppressed, like the hostage of the highwaymen, is doing a song and dance to avoid scrutiny. Transparency: our government is limited by the will of the people granted inalienable rights. At no time shall our government be allowed to exist in a bubble unaccountable for its actions. There’s always talk of transparency, of a need for reform, but all I see is gridlock, cronyism and cynicism, but that’s what you get when you allow money to cajole the hopelessly ignorant and misinformed to elect those whose proclivities lean towards the lazy, the self-aggrandizing, the hopelessly oppressed and obedient leaders our status quo demands us to expect. Hapahazardly I feel my country is courting the dangers it wishes to avoid, and risks becoming its own worst enemy.
Snowden is appealing to Iceland, a country which recently nearly ratified a crowd-sourced constitution, a country who succeeded in jailing its corrupt banking agents. A country more likely to appeal to what America should be than what it has become: a cowardly bully who uses threats and violence to exact social policy. But, our government is not its people.
At the level of the individual, in the consciousness of the working class mind, it is possible to find a balance, but only through the committed contract of liberty that we can all agree upon. Implied consent is bullshit. Companies that engage in it are absorbing risks they cannot control, like someone sucking venom from a snakebite who doesn’t know any better than to swallow it.
Spit out the snake venom. And spit out the kasha, that stuff tastes nasty. I ate some last night and realized why buckwheat never really took off in the first place.
Marketing sells you what you do not need as deftly as politicians sell lies, justify morally reprehensible acts (well, we’re the good guys, so whatever we do is okey-dokey), and basically line the pockets of the rich. When will our legislators realized that they are no longer immune to prosecution? They think they’re safe? Does Snowden think he’s safe? Absolutely not. Our elected officials have a highwayman to deal with. Why on earth would they think the frankenpolice we are becoming will protect them from the scythe of ignorance. It cuts both ways. If you misinform the public while furtively seeking their unguarded desire for revolution, then you will get exactly what you were looking for, a trigger, some trouble, and a loss of liberty.
There is no custom other than oppression that invites one person to unfairly give up one’s rights to someone else. That’s crime. The limits of government found in our Constitution are important and historic because limits of power are necessary. Power corrupts, and that includes the corruption of those who would seek to ameliorate its peculiar dangers. In context, in the metanarrative our cybernetic town square becomes, it is no longer possible to cling to the old ideas of the Cold War.
When I played I Spy as a kid, the idea was to tell people what I observed, and for the person to guess what I was hinting at. With cybersecurity, that is all you get, an incomplete picture. You get Chinese mud horses. May they run far over the hills of crazyville. When you have transparency, you have perspective. I refuse to believe that a loss of perspective is what I need. If the government feels the need to collect data on everyone, well, then let everyone know what it is they found. If anything, they find truth in the totality of our experience. Combining mass data with mass analysis could ultimately lead to some kinds of unexpected praxis we most desperately need. We need perspective.
I say “we” because I’m trying to make you think I am somehow like you, that there is a collective sense of belonging I am attempting to foster. I feel like a salesman.