Friday, May 19, 2006

A Certain Kind of Logic

Of course it has been interesting, watching the news unfold about the federal government spying on citizens. Turns out you don't have to be getting calls from al Qaeda, you just have to live in the USA to get into what is being called the largest database in the world.

They say they're not listening in, they're just keeping notes about who you talk to. It's part of the war on terrorism.

There's a certain kind of logic that we deal with here sometimes, for instance when we are accused of encouraging teen sexual experimentation, or when people say that we want to teach kids to believe that "anything goes." You're seeing this kind of paranoid binary moralism in the comments section in recent days, particularly in discussions of the Biblical quote: "he who is not with me is against me." The problem is, this same kind of thinking is going on down in Washington, where some big decisions are made.

Imagine there was a cult of baby-sacrificing devil-worshippers. And let's say one of them gets caught, but won't give up the names of the others. In the meantime, ritually sacrificed babies are being found all over the city, new ones every day, while this evil person sits in jail, smirking evilly, in case there is such a word.

You know that all the government would have to do to catch the others would be to go into their huge database and see who this person had talked to on the phone. At least, they sure could narrow it down. Don't you think they should do it?

If you oppose this use of a government database, aren't you a "baby-sacrificing Satanist supporter?"

There's a series of rapes, young women are being violently attacked after going on a date with someone they had recently met. Wouldn't you want to know if there was someone they had all talked to on the phone? Do you believe the NSA should refuse to use their database to prevent the brutalizing of more young women? Or should they run some database queries, put some data together, and arrest the guy?

Isn't someone who opposes such use of the database "pro-brutal-rape?"

Mexican smugglers are bringing marijuana across the Arizona border, hundreds of kilograms at a time. Their plane drops onto a landing strip in a desert canyon. A few phone calls, and a fleet of pickup trucks and SUVs has taken the stuff in every direction. Wouldn't you like to know who they called? If the NSA has the information, shouldn't they use it?

What are you, "pro-drug-smuggling?"

A married man and a married woman schedule a weekly rendezvous at the local Family Inn. They are not married to one another. They talk on the phone each morning and each afternoon, cooing sweet nothings.

Should the NSA sit idly by and let them destroy their families and shred the moral fabric of our society? They have the data, shouldn't they stop these people?

You don't think so? You're "pro-adultery?" You're "anti-family?" You, sir or madam, are despicable and immoral.

Somebody writes a letter to the Washington Post which is critical of the President. Of course The Post doesn't print it, they immediately turn the letter over to the government. Is this letter part of an anti-government conspiracy? The NSA could easily check the author's phone records, talk to the people he's been talking to, and find out for sure.

What? You don't think they'd do that?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'm with you on the goverment monitoring of phone calls. It's nothing but an attack on the sacred principle of anonymity.

You might be amused to know that, back in the 70s, a common idea in apocalytic theories was that the anti-Christ would take over because people would become so scared of rising terrorism that would allow Western governments more and more authoritative powers. Turned out that terrorism took longer to get to America than was predicted.

As for your case studies, here's another:

An individual advocates that children in public school should not be taught about sexuality in a valueless context and he is accused by the ultra-liberal Montgomery County government of being a hateful, intolerant bigot.

May 20, 2006 2:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon said,"valueless context "

Exactly what is this? A context that lacks religious undertones?


May 20, 2006 7:05 PM  

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