Wednesday, May 20, 2009

It’s the Phreedom One, Mark

Mark Mitchell at FPR posted another essay on we are all losing freedom left and right.

GPS, Security, and Freedom

Again, Mark, where is the definition of the freedom we are losing? He's in a car, free to travel to New York, perfectly free to not fly to New York, driving on socialized roads, and he's considering the loss of freedom associated with a GPS Nav system?

Mark says, and I quote "But this leads us to a question: is meaningful and robust freedom compatible with a world rendered secure by our technical cleverness? Does a completely secure world have any space for meaningful freedom? In a world of absolute security, or the impression thereof, would we even miss the freedom that has been lost?" Mark, I say this leads us to a question: what is meaningful and robust freedom? Is there now or will there ever be a completely secure world? How would we miss freedom we haven't even bothered to identify?

I like Mark's writing, but this essay poses questions without setting context. It is like asking someone without electricity if they watch a big screen tv – it just doesn't mean anything. The only possible answer is not, and that answer is not meaningful. How do I know if we've possibly lost freedom when I don't understand to what freedom(s) he refers?

I've asked this question of Mark already, but so far he has not chosen to answer. He may yet.

Clearly, Mark is talking about all the things a society does to increase the security of the individual's life and property. The question he asks is, does an increase in security provided by the state result in a decrease in freedom? Put that way, both security and freedom need some defining. We need a defining moment from Mark – what, in his mind, is being gained and what is being lost?


1 comment:

  1. Irony must be dead at FPR. In a post where Mark apparently argues for less security as a way to promote freedom, brierrabbit3030 says, "i’m waiting for {actually, shuddering} at the uses the criminal crowd will use this for." Is that not too cute or what? Mark is worried that GPS will make us too secure and 3030 is worried it will become another weapon (sic) in the hands of criminals.

    Conservatives just can't win for losing.