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4 posts tagged with "politics"

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Encrypt. Now.

· 6 min read

We have come to a point where end-to-end encrypting all your private data and private communications is no longer an ethical option, but an ethical duty.

Imagine a new law was being discussed in your country to make it mandatory that all buildings have glass walls. All houses would be transparent. The (stated) goal of the law is to make it harder for criminals to hide their wrongdoings. It would be difficult to stock up on illegal drugs or to operate an industrial printer of counterfeit money without the police (and, incidentally, some of your neighbours) noticing. Domestic violence and child abuse would be visible through transparent walls. Let's say that the new law will allow you to have a shower curtain, a little folding screen in your bedroom, and blankets on your bed. Except for those meagre provisions, assume that your government (and random passers-by, and potentially anyone) will be able to watch what you do at all times.

An illustration for this post generated by Stable Diffusion

Now imagine you are a regular, law-abiding citizen who can afford to lead a “transparent” life most of the time, and manage to get some limited “privacy” only occasionally. Given how hard it is for individual citizens to steer the behemoth that is the State and its government, and since you personally “have nothing to hide”, you could be tempted to simply give up and prepare to obey the new law.

But you should resist.

You should strongly oppose that bill and help build resistance to it. Most importantly, if such a law ever came into effect you would be morally obliged to disobey, to boycott.

Este domingo, no votes a los ultras

· 4 min read

Si Vox es «extrema derecha» porque está la derecha del PP, entonces Sumar y UP son «extrema izquierda» porque están a la izquierda del PSOE.

Si Vox es «ultra» porque está en contra de las autonomías (que son parte de la Constitución), entonces Sumar y UP son «ultras» porque están en contra de la Monarquía y también de «la indisoluble unidad de la Nación española» (que son parte de la Constitución).

Si Vox es «ultra» porque tiene elementos abiertamente nacionalistas y veladamente fascistas, entonces Sumar y UP son «ultras» porque tienen elementos abiertamente comunistas y anticapitalistas y veladamente antisistema.

You are not an anti-capitalist

· 6 min read

“I grudgingly forgive capitalism the misery it causes, because it’s the engine that lifts countries out of poverty. It’s a precondition for a free and prosperous society; attempts to overthrow it have so consistently led to poverty, tyranny, or genocide that we no longer believe its proponents’ earnest oaths that this time they’ve got it right. For right now, there’s no good alternative.”

— Scott Alexander

“I'm waiting for someone to, first, describe a better system than capitalism, and second, set out a realistic path for getting from here to there. When that happens, it will be worth thinking harder about the ethical flaws in capitalism. Until then, […] there is a huge amount we can all do, within the current economic system, to make the world a much better place.”

— Peter Singer

A Midjourney-generated illustration for this post

I noticed that I stumble upon “anti-capitalism” surprisingly often in day-to-day life.

I hear or read ideas against capitalism on mass media, on podcasts and on blog posts; by politicians, artists and punters. Not just criticism of, or suggestions to improve, capitalism — but outright calls to end capitalism.

Sometimes it's implicit in the message, or thinly veiled in some other way. Think all those platitudes about “creating a new system”, “putting people before profits”, “getting rid of money”, and so on.

But more often than not, it's an explicit, frontal attack on capitalism. Until 2020, one of the main organisations conforming the political party Podemos in Spain was Anticapitalistas. Also in Spain, the manifestos proclaimed by mainstream feminist organisations for the occasion of International Women's Day, year after year, paint a huge bullseye on the back of the capitalist system (“…the macabre bond between patriarchy and capitalism that wants us to be obedient, submissive and silent…”). I have acquaintances who claim to be against capitalism, puzzling as I always found that aspiration.

Opinionated FAQ about the Will Smith slap

· 8 min read

In the past 36 hours I've read and heard so much (and so bad) commentary about Will Smith slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars on live TV that in the spirit of public service I'm putting out this emergency FAQ for you dear readers to get up to speed on the facts and understand what really happened.

Is that incident important, relevant or consequential in any way?


Should we be talking about it?

Not at all.

Why this post, then?

Precisely because so many people seem to have paid so much attention. To diffuse the stupid “controversies” around it, and to encourage you to spot similar fake scandals in the future and stop caring about them.