The genuine Left, of course, seeks exactly the opposite. Not to democratize the machines from within but to defeat them by extending scope of conflict: breaking down local boundaries; nationalizing and even internationalizing class action and union representation. As political scientist E.E. Schattschneider wrote a generation ago: “The scope of labor conflict is close to the essence of the controversy.” What were the battles about industrial and craft unionism; industry wide bargaining sympathy strikes, he asked, but efforts to determine “Who can get into the fight and who is excluded?”
Yes, Barro admits, most donors would be poor, but the risks are small, and people make all sorts of life choices, and we should let them literally sell parts of their body if they need the extra money to say, pay the rent, or part of their child’s tuition, or the next month’s groceries.
This potential disabling of insubordination strikes me as the real worry here, rather than concerns about “privacy” in and of itself. I guess that’s unlikely to worry journalists like Joshua Micah Marshall who “basically identify with the country and the state” and think of the state as “something you fundamentally believe in, identify with, think is working on your behalf.” For such people, the struggle against injustice is – perhaps with “notably rare exceptions” – something in the past.
But the story of America is the story of people with reason to fear power. It’s the story of how very dangerous it can be to find oneself outside of the overclass, how relentlessly the state and the moneyed work to crush difference. Marshall’s notion that men like Manning and Snowden should simply have backed off and played by the rules is one of the most consistent and dishonest messages in American political history.
We need to think coherently about what we find scary here. The problem isn’t so much that we haven’t set up a legal architecture to preserve our online privacy from the government; it’s that we haven’t set up a legal architecture to preserve our online privacy from anyone at all. If we don’t have laws and regulations that create meaningful zones of online privacy from corporations, the attempt to create online privacy from the government will be an absurdity.
People tell me constantly: there’s vast throngs on terrible terrorists out there, and we have to give up our freedoms to fight them! And I ask: where? Who? In what numbers? Of what destructive capability? How do you know? Where’s your proof? Always: nothing. No meaningful response at all. They just know.
A funny thing happened the other day. As part of “Abenomics”, the Bank of Japan has been buying long-term Japanese government bonds. This has seemed to have the expected positive effects - Inflation is up, inflation expectations are up, growth is up, consumption is up, exports are up, and the stock market, despite a recent drop, is way way up. But here’s the funny thing - Japanese long-term government bond yields kept going up over most of the last month (meaning JGB prices went down).
In still other words, what if we chose to accept the fact that every few years, despite all reasonable precautions, some hundreds or thousands of us may die in the sort of ghastly terrorist attack that a democratic republic cannot 100-percent protect itself from without subverting the very principles that make it worth protecting?
CNBC’s intrepid Eamon Javers just tweeted this a few minutes ago. It shows three quick burst of gold trades, all downward movements, taking place 62 milliseconds before the release of the jobs numbers at 8:30 this morning.
I’m not sure what to make of it, but it looks an awful lot like some gold traders have found a way to get the jobs number at 8:29:59:838. The better-than-expected payroll number led them to short gold which is down 2.4% so far today. There could be other explanations, but I can’t think of them.
If you want to make the case for socialism to me, here’s how you should do it: tell me that this is really a much more gradual process than early socialists had in mind, that state socialism in the twentieth century was an abomination that needs to be both practically and morally dismissed as a failure, and that we will see socialism one day and it will grow out of the social democracies which, despite their imperfections, seem to be lovely places to live.