Staying Unknown

When I first started posting online, I used a nom de plume (Own Drummer, in case anyone’s interested) because I was nervous where this whole thing would end up.  Then a couple years in, I began using my real name to post under.  I did this for three reasons:  firstly, because I really didn’t (and still don’t) care what people think of me;  secondly, because I thought it was more honest and lastly, because I believe in that First Amendment thing.  And in the final analysis, using your own name to publish your thoughts can act as a brake on what you say to temper your speech — admittedly not so much in my case, but there it is.

Not everyone feels this way — in fact, most people don’t — and that’s fine;  what works for me might not work for everyone, and so I support the right of people to maintain their anonymity, because there are many good reasons to do so:  to keep your job (I myself lost one because of my fevered rantings);  to be able to publish uncomfortable truths without fear of retaliation or punishment  (especially under repressive regimes such as UC-Berkeley or Iran);  to avoid causing hurt to family and friends, and so on.  When people post comments on this website using pseudonyms, I respect their privacy and use them even though I might know their real names:  they want to remain anonymous for whatever personal reasons, and I’m not going to compromise that.

Of course, anonymity can be abused (and often is) because as we all know, 9.99% of people are rancid assholes and anonymity can be used to cloak malevolence, slander and just outright boorishness (to name but three).  Like all freedoms, the right to anonymity can be abused, but that’s the nature of liberty, isn’t it?  Foul trolls can say unspeakable things just as courageous people can reveal wrongdoing, but to protect the latter we need to tolerate the former.  It’s called the First Amendment Principle.

Needless to say, this noble sentiment doesn’t sit well with bastard government flunkies who want to control or lives and speech — for all the best and noblest of reasons, of course:  national security, good taste, etc. — and so we have the latest example of this bastardy:

Digital IDs should be introduced to stop mob rule and end anonymity online, the security minister has said.
Ben Wallace, the MP for Wyre and Preston North and Minister of State for Security and Economic Crime, said bullying and grooming takes place on social media because people believe they can’t be identified.
He added that websites should be able to identify people online in the same way that banks do.
“It is mob rule on the internet. You shouldn’t be able to hide behind anonymity as much as you can now… If we’re going to make the internet safer, and cut out the abuse, we’re going to have to do something more about some form of digital identification.”

And of course, bossyboots BritPM Thing May had to chime in:

“We know that technology plays a crucial part in advancing gender equality and empowering women and girls, but these benefits are being undermined by vile forms of online violence, abuse and harassment.
“What is illegal offline is illegal online and I am calling on world leaders to take serious action to deal with this, just like we are doing in the UK with our commitment to legislate on online harms such as cyber-stalking and harassment.”

Yeah, it all sounds so reasonable, doesn’t it?  It’s to protect us from mob rule, and child molesters, it’s for the childrennnn!  So of course, countless millions of perfectly decent people have to have their privacy stripped away because of the actions of a tiny minority. 

Predictably, the perfessors chime in:

Alan Woodward, of the University, of Surrey, told the Times: “I don’t think it’s technically workable. For those who persist in the vilest online behaviour, there are so many ways to mask their real identities.”

Which is true, of course.  As we know with gun registration, criminals will always find a way to transgress the law or keep their nefarious activities hidden from official scrutiny;  why should online registration be any different?  Once again, the people most affected will be the law-abiding.  That doesn’t seem to matter to these statist tools:

Anthony Glees, of the University of Buckingham, said: “This is do-able and it should be done. Anonymity on the web is a threat to our national security of the first order. Legal compulsion will be necessary and we should go for it.”

But why stop there?  After all, if national security is involved… well, no sacrifice is too great (according to the State and this Glees person).

People get up to mischief in the anonymity of their homes too — bomb-making, child-beating (a.k.a. disciplining), un-PC speech, unclothed masturbation and who knows what other kinds of anti-social activity — so let’s monitor their behavior just as we monitor their online speech, why not?

It’s been done before — or at least, written about before:

The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound that Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it, moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You had to live — did live, from habit that became instinct — in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.  — George Orwell, 1984

And Orwell didn’t know about night-vision cameras, back then.

So here’s my response to those who want to strip away our online privacy:

Fuck you.  Fuck all of you, you totalitarian bastards.  Fuck you, your government departments, your sycophantic followers and the evil that lives in all State institutions, no matter their noble purpose or intent.  Fuck you, fuck the lot of you.  I hope you all die a painful, screaming death. — Kim du Toit

How’s that for “hate speech”, you evil bastards?  And I’m not hiding behind a pseudonym, either.

Union No

Wow.  So Michigan, once the very epitome of a union-controlled state, has kicked ass with a new law:

This week the Michigan House of Representatives took up a measure to put an end to a rule called the “prevailing wage,” a requirement that forces all construction projects initiated by state government to pay workers the same wage union members make even if the workers hired for said projects are not members of a union, MLive.com reported.

The measure passed, but how it became law is extremely impressive:

The petition submitted to the House could have been allowed to become a ballot measure, and likely that is what Protect Michigan Taxpayers expected to become of their petition. However, the state legislature always has the option to submit a petition straight to the state house and that is what the Michigan Senate did when they heard the petition and then voted 23-14 to enact its provisions. That prompted the Michigan House to take up the idea and they passed it as well, 56-53.
Indeed, since the petition met the required number of signatures to be considered and since both houses of the legislature voted to approve it, this repeal doesn’t even have to go to the Governor’s desk for a signature.  It will now simply be put into service.
Hence, Michigan’s prevailing wage rule is a dead letter.

Hubba hubba.  Now go and read the rest of the article, which argues quite persuasively against the concept of federal employee unions.

 

Anarchy In Britishland

Why do I giggle like a little girl when I read stories like this one?

Villagers are praising a fire that destroyed an ‘archaic’ toll booth that charged drivers 12p in cash only to cross the Manchester Ship Canal and caused frustratingly long traffic queues. Warburton bridge toll booth is suspected to have been reduced to ash by an arsonist who became fed up of waiting waiting to cross the bridge.

But wait!  The powers-that-be are not taking this lying down:

The booth’s owners, Peel Ports, are planning to replace the destroyed structure with a more modern toll.

…and I hope this one gets torched as well, especially if it’s an expensive modern one.  For a 12p (50c) toll?  FFS.

Anyone remember the spate of vandalism directed at speed cameras in Britishland a couple years back?  I do:

When Gummint has to put up cameras to catch the people who are vandalizing cameras, that’s when we’ll know we’re winning.

In the meantime back here in Murka, we can just fall back on the old (hypothetical, that is) question of whether one should use a rifle or shotgun instead of playing with matches;  and if a rifle, what caliber?  Myself, I tend to favor the .45-70 Government, but I’m prepared to listen to other suggestions.

Action – Reaction

In response to situations such as this:

Two teenagers have been stabbed to death within days of each other as Britain’s knife crime bloodshed continues.

…a judge in Britishland has come up with a solution:

A judge has called for a drastic rethink on the way we use knives in kitchens in a bid to reduce the number of young men dying on our streets because of knife crime.
And he has come up with an idea for a scheme that could be rolled out across the UK where members of the public could take their kitchen knives to be ‘modified’ and the points ground down into rounded ends.

After all, nobody except a professional chef (trained in its use) has any need for a pointed knife, anyway.

I report, you wet your pants laughing.

 

DIY

When I resumed blogging, I toyed with the idea of starting each week with a feelgood story, but to be frank, there aren’t that many of them.  Here, however, is a fantastic one about a man who works for the council in his home town, and gives his constituents back more than they give him.  We should all have such a guy in our community.

“I got sick of sitting in useless council meetings where people just drank coffee and did nothing about the complaints that were coming through in waves.  I thought: ‘Right! I’ll just roll my sleeves up and do it myself.’ “

Needless to say, the council are trying to stop him.  And failing, because he has massive community support (and a 75% voting margin every election).  The man should get an award from the Queen.  But he won’t, of course, and I suspect he’d just be embarrassed by it.

Read the whole thing because it will make you feel good about the human race, even if only momentarily.

 

Just The Latest John Sandford Novel

Friend & Reader Drew K writes and asks me what he can bring me on Visiting Day.

Puzzled? Here’s the back story:

UK Proposes Prison Time For Offensive Online Posts

The Sentencing Council for England and Wales has drafted new guidelines proposing prison sentences of between 26 weeks and six years for social media posts deemed hostile toward a race, religion or sexual identity.
The proposals have been made in relation to the Public Order Act, which prohibits all activities “intended or likely to stir up hatred” against minority groups, including transgender people. Many of the examples in the document reference social media use.
Those “in a position of trust, authority or influence” abusing their position to stir up hatred are facing the harshest sentences. The suggested punishment will also be more severe if the offender has a particularly large online following or if he or she is associated with any groups promoting hatred based on race or religion.
Three types of offences are considered the most serious. The first of these, understandably, are “cases where activity is encouraged which threatens or endangers life.” However, more surprisingly, the other two categories are “cases involving widespread dissemination of material and/or a strong likelihood that many would be influenced.”

There’s more, but it’s all the same bullshit. Read it and laugh.

Now as for me: I’m not necessarily advocating any violence here, y’all. On the other hand, should any of you run across (or over) members of this bunch of totalitarian cocksuckers so-called “Sentencing Council” and want to go seriously medieval on their ass — “medieval” being described as one or more of the following:

or:

or even:

…why, I would be shocked — shocked! — at your unseemly behavior.

Cheesecake would be good on Visitor’s Day, too. And joke ’em if they can’t take a fuck.