Friday, June 19, 2009

liberty in the age of terror

new fine book by AC Grayling - Liberyy in the age of terror - essential reading

2 things struck me while reading this (and I'm not talking about pieces of a flying suicide bomber or a policeman's truncheon:)

1. "nothing to hide, so nothing to fear" - why is this bogus

well one reason is actually that hte elasticity needed in a multi-cultural society needs space between differences - in some sense, ignorance (not in the sense of not knowing of something's existence, but not wanting to know the gory details) is bliss - while
I hate the things some people do in their privacy of their homes, I defend to the utmost their right to do those things - but in private. I'm squeamish...the only way this works is if we don't shine a spotlight into every corner of the world (panopticon/prison/bentham style). you need some grey areas, some slack, some DMZs in life....

2. the "what if the bad guys take over" is a weak argument - a more direct argument is that a surveillance state requires a lot of eyes - those eyes have absolute oversight, which means they are tempted. If you tempt enough people, you will systematically corrupt some of them (c.f. MPs expenses) - this is an all too easy intro into the "absolute power corrupts absolutely, but the technology is not magic - surveillance, control and so on will attract large numbers of the exact wrong types of operators, and they will misuse their positions and without guardians to guard them, nothing will stop rapid mission creep (police action during recent G20 demos etc etc)....the better solution is to ring fence their powers in the first place and time limit any special powers (as Grayling proposes)....otherwise we don't need to wait for the BNP to become national socialists,. we will simply be training our own everywhere

1 comment:

chiromed06 said...

Awesome blog. Will come back later for more!