22 Mar. 2016

Greeting from America’s second finest facility. I believe the local constabulary has rejected some of your correspondence – ‘it contains numbers and symbols that cannot be translated.’ Can’t entirely blame ‘em, I find some of it a bit baffling myself… Not sure I am really your target demographic, what with all the wifi neuroviruses and such.

The following rant may explain why – you’re welcome to publish it if you like.
Western society is to an ever greater degree becoming a construct in which interaction and liberties are mediated by machines. This can engender a mindset among freedom-oriented people that technology is a tool of the oppressor and should be shunned. That mindset is wrong.

When Europeans invaded the Americas (and Africa), the indigenous peoples feared the invaders technology and generally failed to adopt it until too late, if at all. When Europeans again tried to suppress the nascent American nation with superior technology (i.e. better guns, a navy), the Americans responded in kind and then some [more]. Whose strategy was superior? Ask a Cherokee. Ask an Inca or an Aztec if you can find one.

The problem with technology isn’t the technology per se, it’s the sociopolitical structures that implement it. Machines make great impartial arbiters, and provide a way to have rules without rulers – think Bitcoin, of TCP/IP. A technocracy can be the epitome of freedom or fascism: it’s up to the programmers. Open to scrutiny and understood by all, or closed corporate hegemony. Transparent and provably trustworthy, or declared trustworthy by CEO’s and spooks.

The same power that gives life to the PRISM and the Facebook Control Grid can also facilitate the conduct of communication and business in provable privacy.
Free men and women – rational anarchists, if you prefer – must acknowledge the freedom of others to not be free, to choose bondage in exchange for ‘security’ or convenience. The majority of the sheeple want all their personal detritus safe in the Cloud. They believe anyone (else) who seeks to have a private conversation that’s not archived and indexed for posterity must be up to something. They want to outsource their opinions, appoint corporations as the arbiters of privacy, have their habits and fetishes analyzed in the name of curated contents. The will of the masses to wear the yoke will not be denied.

Corporations and governments will build abominations to suit, and refusing to acknowledge an abomination does not make it go away. To shun technology is to ignore the lessons of history. Railing against it is as productive as shaking one’s fist at the weather.

Trying to tear it down incites the wrath of titans and the disapproval of the flock. Also, it’s imprudent to sabotage the enemy’s gear when it can be captured instead. It is the prerogative, perhaps the duty, of free people to embrace the tools of technocracy, to understand, adapt, surpass, to use those tools to build structures that further the cause of freedom and transcend regimes and borders.

Joseph Konopka