I desperately want to say that I don’t know why a clear-cut danger to large portions of otherwise healthy individuals is somehow politicized, but here we are and I’m sure I get the gist of it.
I normally don’t like being involved in politics. Confrontation is something I avoid and politics is usually full of it (instead of compromise from both sides). Last night, however, I was thrust into it by some of my classmates in college. Needless to say, they have some kind of questionable beliefs that make me genuinely scared for the future.
The night began with discussing some casual child abuse. Now, we have laws in this country about how you’re allowed to treat a child. After all, the child is unlikely to be able to know the full ramifications of it’s actions, nor defend itself when attacked and generally makes an easy target for excessive aggression. The fact that we’ve codified this as a specific set of laws should be enough for people.
However, it appears as though many people are still, at least outwardly, okay with casual child abuse. My professor was wistfully talking about how the nuns at his childhood school would routinely beat up the students there and that his fear of nuns is deeply rooted due to it. He also described how his coach on various sports teams would rough him up, to the point of black eyes and whatnot. Both of these accusations seemed not only normal to him, but acceptable and the proper course of action when dealing with children.
Many of the students in class seemed to think this was an acceptable solution to what they perceive as the current issues with children misbehaving. Instead of understanding what the problem is, working through it and finding a solution to the problem. Like an adult. Corporal punishment is a savage and backwards way of making children behave, in fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if it made problems worse later in life.
According to my class, not only has he done nothing wrong, but other than some minor slips of the tongue, he’s been great. Despite the laundry list of things that he has done in the last few months that will likely take decades to fix, if they’re ever fully fixed. Despite the very public and very obvious character flaws that both he and his VP have, especially when dealing with women and minorities. Despite all this, they want him to stay.
I wish I could say that this is an abnormal class and that there are still people who don’t think child abuse is acceptable, and that being a toxic personality on the international stage is not very presidential. However, there many more people around me that believe the same things. There are even public officials at the tax office who have been caught failing to register people to vote if they identify democrat.
I know it’s not all broken. I know there are people out there who are not blindly following this strange 50’s-esque mentality of might makes right, let the men do the talking and women and minorities need to get back into their proper places. I know these people exist… but I feel disheartened and discouraged. I’ll vote, but I’m so tired of trying to fight this that it’s almost easier to just give up.
“W-whut about the children?!“
That old chestnut. This was brought up a while ago, and I’m pretty sure I covered it — though it’s been lost to the ether (or rather, a zipped up Git repo somewhere). The Government super double pinkie swears that it will never let their backdoor key to encryption be used for nefarious purposes and that military and banking solutions won’t be affected.
Yeah. That sounds awesome. If you live in a fantasy. In a perfect world, we wouldn’t need encryption at all, because no one would poke into shit that isn’t theirs. Unfortunately we live in a world where world leaders act like teenagers and the rest of the adult population is scarcely above that. The idea that the government would have a double-plus good backdoor key that could never be used by anyone except them, and only for lawful purposes is so laughable, I’m not even sure how it became a talking point.
This, you need to remember, is using it’s allies to spy on it’s own citizens. Hoovers up as much data as it can (especially encrypted data) and stores it on scales scarcely seen before. That information could never be used to bully someone or even creep on women. I’m sure the secret FISA court, that doesn’t have any public records, has the public’s best interests at heart. Well, we’ll just have to trust them, because it’s all top secret.
So, no, I don’t think that the government can be trusted with a secret backdoor that unlocks all my communications, no matter how benign. No one should. You need only to look at Saudi Arabia, China or Russia and even the UK for regimes who routinely abuse their power to bully and influence people with information gathered by massive dragnet systems.
I am, however, afraid that this might already be too late. We’re already willing enough to hand this information over to private corporations, who only have a duty to their shareholders. We see breach after breech happen, spilling all of our personal and private information across the Internet — all to an apathetic public. Maybe I’m just part of the last generation going through the throes of rejection before privacy is fully eradicated.
Update: Can’t forget about them just bypassing normal law to request information from companies. Wouldn’t want that pesky legal process to get in the way of their investigations.