I don’t have too much to add to this subject, but I feel obligated to say something. The story to which I will link is old news, but it’s just part of the constant flow of revelations about the extent to which the NSA is committed to breaking and keeping broken security measures available to the public.
The endless means by which the NSA has worked to subvert trusted public infrastructure, going so far as even to intercept hardware during shipment to surreptitiously install surveillance equipment, is sickening. I fear that we, as a country, are so cowardly that we will allow a few thousand casualties at the hands of terrorists to lead to the formation of institutions designed to know everything about everyone all the time. It is a senseless goal whose associated efforts will put in place only an assuredly insecure environment for everyone. We want to protect ourselves by developing the means to wielding an unstoppable force against any one of us at any time. Somehow, in response to those who commandeer our own systems and use them against us, we seek comfort in developing and unleashing more powerful and dangerous systems.
As a professor of mine once put it, we are creating a turnkey totalitarian state for the taking. What will become of us when we can’t even order computers without the assurance that they won’t arrive at our doorstep having been modified to surveil us? I really loathe alarmism, but I admit feeling nauseated at the trajectory on which we currently find ourselves. We cannot afford to undercut the trust we have worked so long to create and sustain among ourselves as a country. I worry that America is chipping away at the foundation on which it stands, and these seemingly endless rolling revelations regarding the NSA & co. feels like the unearthing of expansive tunnels beneath a home I once thought solidly grounded.
I try to remind myself that there are few times in history when man didn’t appear to be on a sure path to self-destruction. Ultimately, I suppose, we must have faith in righteousness, and we must seek to constantly better ourselves and make manifest those virtues which constitute said righteousness. Though modernity is rife with comfort, placation thereby may be the greatest danger therein.
I’ll be redoubling my study of Mozi and the school’s philosophy of defensive warfare.