How the left failed liberalism

Just the other day I was having a conversation with a friend where I had revealed my realization that the new left has, perhaps unwittingly, morphed into ultra-conservativism. Imagine my surprise when I found that umair haque not only echoed but elaborated in depth on this idea.

A label is not a self, for the reason that struggling to become yourself is the defining challenge of life, which should rightly take many long years, learnings, changes, difficulties, heartbreaks, miracles, realizations, loves, dreams. And yet. By instantly, zap!, choosing identity over possibility, we have limited ourselves to stasis — and so we are unable to change.

It’s worth taking the time to read it all.

Security vs. encryption

What follows is a letter I’ve just sent to my Congressman, Reid Ribble.

Dear Mr. Ribble,

After last Friday’s attacks in Paris I can’t help but notice the steady drumbeat of voices blaming strong encryption. As an IT professional, let me assure you that these voices are at best misguided. If a backdoor is built into commercially-available encryption, there is no amount of care that will prevent that backdoor from being exploited by malicious parties, whether they are state or criminal actors.

Also, it’s important to understand that only a modest amount of technical ability is needed to acquire and use encryption. Any move to weaken the built-in encryption of our computers, smartphones, tablets, etc. will serve merely to expose the less technically savvy to criminals – e.g. identity theft – and provide no meaningful increase in our physical security. Even petty criminals could continue to enjoy covert communications channels, and technically literate organizations like ISIL will not be deterred in any way.

I urge you to be a voice of reason in any conversations that may come up on this topic, and to vote against any legislation that aims to weaken our digital security. The only people who ultimately benefit from encryption backdoors are criminals and foreign adversaries.

Thanks for your time,

Scott Reynolds

Election 2010: The day before the Wisconsin primaries

Here are a few people who won’t get my vote this November.

  • U.S. Representative Steven Kagen, M.D.: In your ads, Dr. Kagen, you speak out on one hand against wasteful government spending; on the other, you vigorously participated in ramming through a health care bill that we can’t afford.
  • U.S. Senator Russ Feingold: See above; and, even though you’ve stopped running misleading ads about your opponent, they’ve left a bad taste in my mouth.
  • Tom Barrett and Scott Walker, candidates for Governor of Wisconsin: Between the two of you (and your “friends”) running negative campaigns – Barrett on Walker, and Walker on Barrett and fellow candidate Mark Neumann – it doesn’t matter what your qualifications might have been. It doesn’t even matter if you stop the negative campaigns tomorrow.

To the rest of the candidates, be forewarned: If I see any more deliberate misdirection or attack ads from any candidate, I’m liable to vote for someone else that I don’t know and whose political views I would otherwise utterly disagree with. I don’t think I’m alone.