Sunday, November 25, 2012

The Impulse to Control

An Iranian blogger died "of shock" while being held in an infamous torture prison.  Meanwhile, a school in Texas wants to force all students to wear RFID tags while they're on campus.  Both of these have the identical motivation that the record and movie companies have when they sue and sue and sue the bejessus out of all and sundry--the impulse to control.

It's an ancient impulse, and it has good as well as bad uses.  Always, however, we have to be extremely wary of it.

The impulse to "keep students safe" while on campus is a good one.  And if it were to stop there, the RFID tag idea would probably be a good one.  However, you and I know perfectly well it will not stop there, as schools have been reaching more and more into students' personal lives in recent years.  The problem is that it is the same path that leads to bloggers mysteriously dying while being held by police.

Obviously, the recording industry doesn't even have a worthwhile fig leaf to hide behind like student protection--it's just greed, which is the most common and least worthwhile of all the sources of the impulse to control.

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