More on Privacy

Joe Huffman has more thoughts on privacy, from a discussion a few days ago. I would not say I’m comfortable with what’s coming, but I have to agree with Alan that whether we’re comfortable with it or not, it’s coming, and there’s not much we can do about it.

One issue I have with the idea of a transparent society is that I’m not sure information flows can ever be completely egalitarian. But I look toward the fundamental idea behind the Second Amendment, which is one way to have a check on governmental power is to make sure the distribution of military power within a society is more dispersed and less centralized. That’s the same fundamental principle working with privacy defeating technologies as well; as long as they are distributed more or less equally, the weak have the power to shine the light on the powerful as much as the powerful may shine the light on the weak. It’s not perfect, but then again, the distribution of military power in our society has never really been very egalitarian either, yet we have largely remained a free society, and have arguably become more free as the distribution has become more centralized.

When thinking of “Second Amendment remedies,” to borrow a phrase from our opponents, meaning citizens having to act as a check on abuses of governmental power, I think it’s unwise to limit ones thinking purely to military matters: to small arms, to infantry tactics, and the such. This is fighting the last war syndrome. When facing an out of control and abusive government, I’d think one of these would be as useful as hundreds of rifles, as would be one of these.

2 thoughts on “More on Privacy”

  1. Who was it who said something along the lines that guerrilla war is 90% talking, preaching and propagandizing, 9% economics, and 1% training and fighting?
    It’s true of any form of civil resistance.
    For every lunch counter sit-in there were thousands of church meetings, interviews, and donation drives. And for every word in the declaration of independence newspapers and pamphlet printers published hundreds of thousands explaining and promoting (or disagreeing with) the ideas it expressed.
    All in all, 2nd amendment rights are pretty useless without the 1st and 3rd, and vice versa.

  2. I’d also add that cell-phones, “sneakernet” computer networks, even our modern digital cameras can make the next Revolution rather interesting…let’s hope that such a Revolution is bloodless (and that such technologies will help keep it that way)!

    Let’s also hope that, regardless how the next Revolution is fought, the right people–those who advocate a return to liberty–will win. Far too often, revolutions result in an increase of oppression.

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