The Things People Say

This, from Neil Harding:

Personally I have no problem with the database state and tracking people etc. There are huge benefits to be had if it is done right (and most people who object IMHO are just scared of government and use ridiculous scenarios of big brother and futuristic fascist states – they might as well go and live in a cave if they think like that).

No, bring it on. I think we should track everyone and put their location on the internet for all to see (this way we can watch the watchers), we should DNA test all babies at birth and then every rapist/murderer/criminal etc would be caught first time (and know they can’t get away with it). I know it sounds horrible that nobody could lie about their location and partake in criminal activity and easily get away with it- but what would be really horrible are all the victims who suffer because we shy away from using available technology that would protect them.

There is so much that is so wrong in this statement and there is so much that I could say, but, frankly, Neil says it all by himself. Not to mention that it’s been a long day and I’m tired.

Look at New Labour, stare it in the face and be afraid, very afraid. This is the future. God help us – well, he might if he existed…


  1. Yes, I know , I know. But really think about it. It works both ways, you might not be able to get away with a sickie or lie about being with the secretary after work or going to the lap dance club or the pub, or smoking weed with your mates after school – in fact – people would have to face up to their lives and be honest to their nearest and dearest. And best of all it works both ways, so we will know if the boss is on the golf course or the south of Frnace or whatever.

    I think it would show so many people up as hypocrites we would all become more relaxed. Nobody could pretend to be perfect anymore.

  2. Neil, you really are an idiot of the first water. I assume if the technology was available to to track peoples’ thoughts, you’d be all gung-ho for that, too.

    What is it, exactly, about the idea of a private life that you disapprove of? You have a worrying enthusiasm for the idea of being able to spy on other people – do your neighbours know this?

    Seriously, do you want to live your whole life out in the public domain? If so, then feel free to do so, but I don’t see that the rest of us who don’t want to live our entire lives in the public eye should be forced to go along with your fetish.

    “people would have to face up to their lives and be honest”

    This is an interesting variant on the old chestnut “If you’ve done nothing wrong…”, and just as nonsensical.

    “we would all become more relaxed”

    The most stupid thing I’ve seen for a good long while – in your utopia no-one would ever be able to relax.

  3. [Comment ID #2039 Will Be Quoted Here]
    And of course, abusive husbands would be able to track down their estranged wives and give them a good slap. That you cannot see the gaping flaw in your reasoning is bad enough, that an apparently intelligent man should exhibit such a staggering degree of ignorance, of both history and human nature would be beyond belief if I had not seen it for myself.

    If the surveillance utopia you aspire to is so wonderful, why did the Berlin wall come down? Perhaps all those ungrateful East Germans were nothing more than criminals, rapists and murderers desperate to get over to the decadent west in order to “get away with it”?

    Pete is right; no one ever relaxes in the panopticon, that is how it is designed to work. There, another example of both history and psychology for you; this time Victorian. The era and technology may differ, but human nature remains the same.

    I notice too, that you use the same rationale as the communist dictators you choose to emulate; those of us who object to your idea of utopia are criminals or mentally ill. If history teaches us anything, it is that history teaches us nothing. Stalin brutally murdered millions in the name of the society you espouse and yet still you espouse it. It is deeply repugnant to any rational, reasonable human being. To a misanthrope on the other hand, it makes eminent sense.

  4. Neil: “and most people who object IMHO are just scared of government and use ridiculous scenarios of big brother and futuristic fascist states”.

    Absolutely I’m scared of government. ‘Cos government is people. Neil’s presumption is that it will always be people like him, and people like him are nice, so there’s nothing to worry about.

    No need to envisage future fascist states. (Though New Labour’s favoured “civic republican” political theory looks a lot like fascism shorn of racial rhetoric to me.) Just look back half a century in this country, to when homosexual behaviour between men was a crime frequently punished by imprisonment.

    Not a fascist state. At that time one of the freest nations on earth. In many ways much less regulated than today in acts and speech. However, gay men who were honest about their lives to themselves and their friends could survive, but hypocrisy was necessary in public, secretiveness about who you’d been with and where essential.

    The categorical reasoning employed by Neil Harding in that setting says the criminal perverts (as the rules said they were) should have been hunted down, and our society made “honest” by it. DNA and tracking would have made much easier prosecuting the criminal-by-definition contacts and networks of someone who refused to condemn a lover.

    He’s adopting the mindsets of both the fundamentalist (who knows people are readily divisible into damned and saved, no values are negotiable, superficial conduct must always abide by rules) and the totalitarian (who says nothing in our lives is in our own right to determine, if power says otherwise, and power may reach in anywhere to check we are properly subservient).

    That’s not just scary, it is weird. Since he appears to have liberal views on other subjects, such as drugs.

    Which is a contemporary example, in our more fascist, but not quite there, state. There are plenty of places where being in favour of legalising drugs would get him too illogically accused of being a friend of criminals. Legalisers are not generally motivated by censoriousness about the hypocrisy that exists around drugs; they just want good sense to prevail.

    If total surveillance would stamp out the criminals-by-definition who use drugs, would that be making people face up to their behaviour? Or would it simply be obliterating the possibility of policy negotiation, the exercise of total power in favour of the status quo?

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