I tweeted a couple of days ago an observation on how from WWII (the Second World War) to the WWW (the worldwide web), important stuff had changed dramatically in terms of government and people. Whilst in the former case, cryptographers and brainy bods in general spent their time pursuing the evil Nazis, these days, it would seem, their job is to pursue us all (here and here). And whilst some souls would – even now – look to reconstruct an Internet of laws (more here), it would appear that most of what the West does these days involves the “meth-head” approach to international relations.
What does this involve? Essentially, a playing of mind-games with the general public. This works in the following way:
- Knowing full well that one day all this rubbish would unspool, the game-plan says that when it does, distrust must be seeded in everything we trusted prior to any startling revelations.
- A sense of broader public distrust benefits only those intelligence communities whose day-to-day is suspecting everything and everyone anyway. It allows the security people – and, let’s not forget, the criminals sooner or later too – to use tech-based backdoors and trapdoors to undermine our belief in our systems, so that any breaking of the law later discovered can be attributed to the weakness of the maths. In reality, of course, it is always due to the weakness of our moralities.
- By rebooting time back to the beginnings of the Wild West, government agencies such as the NSA and GCHQ are using the law (for in general, it’s true, in a shady way they may be complying with it) to break down our rights instead of building them up. For this is what I mean by the term “rebooting”: a return to where the rule of law was the law of rulers. A return to the law of the mighty.
- The final piece in the jigsaw puzzle of “meth-head” international relations is that which encourages us to believe that the US and its allies are capable of “nuking the moon”. By playing these mind-games, by aiming to destroy our trust in anything, we will fear far more the unpredictable self-made outcasts than we ever feared the monolithic self-made rule-players.
The problem we have, then, with this World Wild West which Western civilisation is in the process of constructing is that we have very few means to hand to halt the trends.
From the Lobbying Bill currently rushing through Parliament to attempts to censor online thought through corporate filters instead of parliamentary debate, legislation and oversight, we are living in times of extreme prejudice.
And there ain’t even a Gary Cooper on the horizon.
Or is there?
@Spritecut Hmm. I find it too easy to believe anything for sure. & increasing levels of distrust benefit those who live that world anyway.
@Spritecut Only thing which can beat distrustful community is community where trust is valued. That, I feel, is what they’d like to avoid.
To beat paranoid behaviours which wish to extend their belief systems to everyone – to beat the “meth-head” approach to national and international relations – surely the best way, then (perhaps the only way in fact), is to create massively – even where peacefully – opposing communities of high levels of trust.
We need to trust the maths; we need to believe in each other; we need to avoid being sucked up by the paranoias of security agencies. And in order to do so, we need to create the systems that help us re-engineer what must yet again become a broadly-held understanding: that the law must be there to build up our rights, not there to break them down.
As Falkvinge says:
The news that the NSA has “broken crypto” is simply not true. What they have done is weaken the human factor creating cryptosystems.
And it’s that human factor – the weakness we all contain – which needs to be addressed here and supported.
As we have mentioned on innumerable occasions, we need to roll back the neoliberal removal of humans from their social sides if we to have any chance of recovering trust – the trust that otherwise blesses us, both as a species and a civilisation.
The Wild West was a fantastic frontier of opportunities. But it’s also an “imagined construct” whose imaginings have done great harm to many. It should not surprise us that the World Wild West is following a similar path. We can, however, in the full knowledge of history, perhaps work out a way to recover our sensibilities – and, even, recover our rights.
If the NSA and GCHQ have seen fit to reboot the law of rulers, maybe it is time we equally saw fit to reboot the battles which sought to impose the rule of law.
The rule of law not only as sanctioned by Parliament.
The rule of law as sanctioned by software coders everywhere.
Repairing the Internet something which might attract? Sure does seem that way from this laptop today.