Dicta

Programmers now have a civic duty to make privacy-respecting, open source software extremely easy to use. If they don’t, non-technical people will be stuck with privacy-stealing software, because that’s the only software that’s simple enough for them to use.(2019/2/16)

Children’s literature is charming because it edifies its readers, with good protagonists and a happy ending. We ask our children to read such literature for their moral and intellectual growth.—We no longer write such books for adults.(2019/2/16)

Unthinking men are like sleepwalkers, said Hannah Arendt; I would add that some of us for whom thinking is as natural as breathing cannot remember, or conceive, what an unreflective life is even like.(2019/2/16)

Most people strive to be normal, on the doubtful theory that whatever is normal is safe and good. But what happens when “normal” is no longer safe and good? How would they know if it wasn’t? (2019/2/16)

The antidote to the abuses of Big Tech are the very things that gave birth to the Internet itself: free, open source software and decentralized, neutral technical protocols.(2019/1/29)

As long as the business of journalism is paid for by ads, it won’t be journalism. It will be clickbait.(2019/1/29)

Racists regard people of the despised race as mere members of that race, i.e., lacking any individual identity. When racists do not consider others’ individual identity, that means they have dehumanized them. The essential moral error of racism is dehumanization.(2019/1/23)

It is the fact that racists dehumanize others that leads them to do horrible things, when they do. But this is true of all forms of dehumanization.(2019/1/23)

Dehumanization is a feature racism has in common with other of the most brutally destructive forces in human history: war, slavery, serfdom, abusive labor practices, totalitarianism, religious zealotry, and political extremism.(2019/1/23)

Think of good privacy practices as cyber-hygiene. You need to wash your data regularly. If you don’t know how, it’s time to learn. Our swinish data habits are really starting to stink the place up, and it’s making the executives, criminals, and tyrants think they can rule the sty.(2019/1/14)

“You are the product” means “Your data is the product,” which means “Your privacy is for sale.” This is why traditional, centralized social networks will never get privacy right. They can’t. It’s against their business model.(2019/1/11)

Real journalism allows free people to make up their own minds; propaganda imposes conclusions on chattel.(2019/1/2)

The desire to censor political opponents on the basis of false accusations of “fascism” smacks of nothing so much as fascism itself.(2019/1/1)

The rhetorical tactic of silencing legitimate opposition by expressing moral outrage is itself outrageous, illegitimate, and morally wrong.(2018/12/23)

Wisdom was never very popular.(2018/12/21)

We are rarely restrained by wisdom anymore. Does make sense? Am I making a fool of myself? Am I wasting people’s time? Am I acting as part of a mindless mob? Am I merely conforming? Will I regret this tomorrow? Is this rational? Am I being honest with myself?(2018/12/21)

Freedom of speech always was the freedom to offend. It wasn’t the freedom to be nice and polite. It was the freedom to be what others regard as hateful.(2018/12/21)

Since I am no longer using Twitter for my various terse observations, I thought I would put them on a blog page, irregularly but frequently updated. Most recent dicta are listed first.