Know Your Rights
I've been mulling this post over for a few days. The first few drafts of it were far too angry. I keep marveling about how Paris continues to bring the worst out in the US, which only has a tangential relationship to the attacks.
I don't want to write about how depressingly predictable the racists in our society have been. They'll use whatever they can to beat the Xenophobic drums. This ensures their small world stays small. That's sort of understandable, though a bit distressing how much Xenophobia has become a de facto stance of a major political party.
No, what pissed me off was the intelligence flacks calling to criminalize encryption. The same refrain came up again and again, we would have prevented this attack if we could only just read all emails and texts. If only our massive surveillance was easier, we could have saved lives. It's a persuasive argument, which makes it worse that it's complete bullshit.
It seems that there is a segment of the government that hasn't met a civil right that's not negotiable in the wake of a tragedy. I don't think that they're all closet facists, either. That's a simplistic argument that misses the point. Most of these people actually think that they're helping, and are convinced that they're right.
Even if they were to abuse these powers, they are convinced it's for the greater good. With the right kind of ideology, it's amazing what you can convince yourself is the right thing to do. That's the very reasons civil rights are protected by the founding documents in the US. The very basis of our government is protecting individuals from idealogical shifts in the wind. Amending the Constitution is a pain in the ass because it relies on a real cultural shift, and even that process isn't perfect. Look at Prohibition.