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Source link: http://archive.mises.org/14022/who-and-what-is-the-state/

Who and What Is the State

September 27, 2010 by

I’m reading the predictable but still startling story in the New York times called “U.S. Wants to Make It Easier to Wiretap the Internet.” The idea is that the government wants to wiretap every cell conversation, every email, every transmission, and wants to put the burden of providing for that capacity on private companies. Instead of enhancing real security, providing betters services, improving technology in a way that consumers want, these private companies will have to shift massive resources toward developing some dumb bureaucratic mandate in the government’s ongoing episodes of Spy vs. Spy, or Kaos vs. Control, or whatever you want to call these ridiculous games the government plays. They aren’t really about your security. They are about the government’s security.

In any case, I began to look at the story from the point of view of politics. Who is supporting this thing? Well, the Obama administration plans to submit legislation but the driving force for it seems oddly removed from the actual Obama administration. Congress is not in the picture here much. I think the clue comes from the lead of the story: “”Federal law enforcement and national security officials are preparing to seek sweeping new regulations…” And there you have it. Law enforcement and security officials: this is the core of what is called the state. The rest of what we see and what we vote on is the veneer.

The most important books:

Our Enemy, the State, by Albert Jay Nock

The State, by Franz Oppenheimer

Man Versus The State, by Herbert Spencer

Anatomy of the State, by Murray Rothbard

Rise and Decline of the State, by Martin Van Creveld


Colin Phillips September 27, 2010 at 8:59 am

Wow, this is very strongly reminiscent of Cory Doctorow’s book “The things that make me weak and strange get engineered away” http://www.tor.com/stories/2008/08/weak-and-strange
Why is the Securitat collecting this information? Because it must. Why must the Securitat collect this information? Because it can. Why can the Securitat collect this information? To protect us from the Securitat’s enemies.

It is an interesting time to be alive.

Matthew Swaringen September 27, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Interesting is not the word I would use. It’s positively frightening when I find unfortunately from talking with others elsewhere about these issues there is a lot of people who think the government is doing this just to fill in gaps for our protection.

I’ve also been talking about the recent copyright act that’s supposed to allow taking down websites that serve no real purpose but IP infringement. A lot of people think laws that make it difficult for websites to appeal being on a banlist are just great. The government expects advertisers to keep these lists and not pay anyone that the government has been told is infringing on IP.

Greg September 27, 2010 at 1:16 pm

I was reading the same article this morning with absolute horror. They would bring all internet activity to a halt just to provide for “security”, and the Times seemed to be totally on board with this idea. Of course they would be, since the internet is killing their business.

Even more frightening is some of the comments on that story. They remind me of why democracy is such an utter failure.

Mark September 27, 2010 at 6:39 pm

From the point of view of civilization, this is bizarre. In the private sector, companies work diligently to uncover and fix software vulnerabilities that enable people to exploit the internet and gain access to personal information. The US government wants to mandate that all internet software purposefully implement a vulnerability that its agents and any other hacker can exploit to gain access to your personal information.

newson September 27, 2010 at 7:56 pm
boniek September 28, 2010 at 5:09 am

Two words: tor, freenet.

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