Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the fair-minded dept

When law enforcement abuses citizens, some people choose to focus on any aspects of the citizen’s behaviour that might have brought on the abuse. One such example happened this week when a woman was tazed by border patrol agents and a commenter accused her of asking for it, prompting JamesF to win most insightful this week with a reversed version of the comment:

Its so easy to just blame the civilian. If the cops would have just acted within the bounds of the law, she wouldn’t have been tazed. They were confrontational, aggressive and generally behaved like asses.

Meanwhile, the FBI disappointed everyone this week by accusing the world’s cybersecurity experts of being either uninformed or unfair on the subject of encryption, since “their letter contains no acknowledgment that there are societal costs to universal encryption”. Ninja won second place for insightful with a thoughtful and sad response:

And pervasive surveillance has zero cost in his mind, it seems. I’ve seen and talked to people like him. They don’t give a fuck about rights and the well-being of others as long as their narrow view of what is right is implemented.

I’ve been in discussions with people that advocate dictatorships are good because people are too ignorant to be left free and allowed to choose things and otherwise live without some totalitarian ruling them. And I don’t mean some crazy ass out there, oh no. One of them was in his 25’s, about to become a father and is generally a good person. This is scary.

He may actually be genuinely ‘depressed’ even if it’s a consequence of his total ignorance of how encryption works. This is scary. And it’s even scarier when you think that people have been trying to explain those types about encryption and why a ‘golden key’ destroys it for a while now and he simply refuses to learn. As I said, he is not alone out there.

For editor’s choice on the insightful side, we start by looping back to the story about border patrol for an anonymous response to the idea that their victim’s nervous behaviour was the problem:

Perhaps the reason she was nervous, was that she had just been pulled over and interrogated by a gang of thugs who can quite easily hurt or kill her without fear of reprisal and for the sole reason that they didn’t like her. That would make me nervous as well.

Next, we’ve got a response to the Texas politician who said “I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first” while the state failed to pass its new pro-innovation bills. That One Guy noted that the opportunity for riffing was too good to pass up:

“I can appreciate Tesla wanting to sell cars, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Tesla had sat down with the car dealers first,” she said.

“I can appreciate Emile Berliner wanting to sell records, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Berliner had sat down with the orchestral musicians first,” she said.

“I can appreciate Karl Benz wanting to sell automobiles, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Benz had sat down with the horse-drawn buggy makers first,” she said.

“I can appreciate the movie industry wanting to sell films, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Movie Maker had sat down with the live theater companies first,” she said.

“I can appreciate Fred W. Wolf wanting to sell refrigerators, but I think it would have been wiser if Mr. Wolf had sat down with the ice sellers first,” she said.

Over on the funny side, we start out with a response to the big ISPs that are already hating the way they have to play fair under new net neutrality regulations. First place goes to JD for a theory about why they are so upset:

The ISPs are probably just terrified that the FCC will treat them the way those ISPs treat their own customers.

“I understand you’re upset. We’ll send out an FCC staffer to talk to your lawyers and sort everything out.”
“Oh thank god.”
“They’ll be there between 8am and 6pm either Tuesday the 17th or Wednesday the 20th.”
“But … those aren’t …”
“Thank you, have a good day. ::click::”

For second place, we head to the story of an Australian ISP that has promised free lawyers to people targeted by copyright trolls, prompting an anonymous commenter to balk at the audacity:


For editor’s choice on the funny side, we start with another nod to Ninja, this time for his reaction to the legal showdown between Godzilla’s rightsholders and Voltage Pictures:

So we conclude in the battle between Godzilla and Giant Bots hypocrisy wins?

Finally, we return to the FBI’s demands for impossible encryption backdoors, where DannyB took James Comey’s baffled despair and boiled it down to something simpler:

Experts say the sun rises in the East.

Others say that:
I’m no expert on where the sun rises or where it shines but there are a lot of smart people in silicone valley and if they put their mind to it, the sun could rise in the West.

Those narrow minded people who say the sun rises in the East are not being Fair Minded.

That’s all for this week, folks! We’re off tomorrow for Memorial Day, and back on Tuesday.

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Comments on “Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt”

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Anonymous Coward says:

RE: Ninja’s statement:

Anakin Skywalker: I don’t think the system works.
Padmé: How would you have it work?
Anakin Skywalker: We need a system where the politicians sit down and discuss the problem… agree what’s in the best interest of all people… and then do it.
Padmé: That’s exactly what we do. The trouble is that people don’t always agree.
Anakin Skywalker: Well, then they should be made to.
Padmé: By whom? Who’s going to make them?
Anakin Skywalker: I don’t know. Someone.
Padmé: You?
Anakin Skywalker: Of course not me.
Padmé: But someone.
Anakin Skywalker: Someone wise.
Padmé: Sounds an awful lot like a dictatorship to me.
Anakin Skywalker: Well, if it works.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Democracy is based on the assumption that a million men are wiser than one man. How’s that again? I missed something.

Autocracy is based on the assumption that one man is wiser than a million men. Let’s play that over again, too. Who decides?

from the n0tebooks of Lazarus Long (Robert Heinlein)

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Actually I think the problem is that the political system no longer promotes consensus-building or pragmatism. 100 people don’t have to all be right, nor do they all have to agree on anything — but they need to have a mechanism that facilitates their cooperation, not one that exacerbates and trivializes their competition.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

It is more a case that the people who enter politics,do so to impose their, or their parties views and beliefs on the state, or world. They are people who will not compromise or cooperate any more than they need to to gain and hold power. Often their cooperation within a party is more a means to climb the greasy pole to a level where they can dictate policy. As ever with such people, they can be friendly to your face, while waiting an opportunity to sink a knife in your back.
To a large extent society has not figured out how to deal with such people, other than letting hem have official power, to avoid them forming war bands, where they will be the hindmost directing the attack on society and other bands, while staying out of the violence themselves as much as possible.

Leigh Beadon (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

I dunno. Honestly, I don’t buy the angle that the world’s problems boil down to “people suck” nor do I buy the idea that we have to choose between letting power-hungry people screw us over officially or attack us illegally.

I think the issue, even as you frame it, remains systemic and cultural: the political system as it currently functions permits the people you identify to become powerful, and even translates their negative characteristics into political advantages. The broader culture of political discourse promotes ideological factionalism, frames compromise as weakness or defeat, and draws little-to-no distinction between objective challenges and subjective values. The structure ensures that leaders must spend more time fighting to remain leaders than they do actually leading, and while it’s great that said fighting is now done with media and psychology instead of bullets and blood, it still creates the troublesome situation where progress is almost unheard of, taking place only for brief stints on the tiny little islands of political security that crop up during the storm.

That’s why some people’s brains go straight to autocracy, of course — it seems like the exact opposite, with a leader who needs waste no time on remaining leader and can focus all efforts on improving the nation’s lot and that of its people. But of course that’s not true either: the ongoing war for power in an autocracy is a war between the dictator and everyone else, with his position in fact relying on informal support from a wide variety of self-interested parties. Sure, in the event of a genuinely benevolent, wise and well-liked dictator, things might appear to be going great — but that’s even rarer than those brief moments of political security in our current system. Plus, even if it is achieved, it is inherently unstable since a functioning social order relies so heavily on one person.

Anonymous Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

In my view, religions fail when they claim to be ‘the one true’ point of view. This is also the fallacy of political parties, there is no other point of view. Whatever their ‘platform’ decides’ is the only way to go, and as long as their ‘faithful’ retain ‘faith’ then that is, from their perspective, the only way. Oh, and if the party decides next year to reverse their course, so be it, that is the only way. Look at who are making those decisions.

There is always another way.

That other way may be right, or it may be wrong. It might be right today and wrong tomorrow, or it might be wrong today and right tomorrow. This depends upon how people think about what is right and what is wrong. Or, how strong their faith is, and what that faith is in.

Science says one thing, various religions say something possibly different, or maybe the other way around, and poor average citizen is stuck between faith and knowledge. Knowledge is sometimes reversed, though more times it is mitigated. Yet it is often the case where average citizen is so indoctrinated to the faith of what to believe that the adjustments of science are ignored to the point of proven facts are no longer facts. (I decided not to include a link here to the Indiana legislature trying to change the value of PI because of some patent and the change might have saved some money, ergo the value of faith, at least in some corners).

So, to settle my ramblings, faith is the issue. I have no quarrels with religious faith so long as it is not forced upon me either by proselytization or through legislation. Some people need faith to exist, and that is not a problem. Where faith becomes a problem, at least for me, is when faith is blind. Blind to any other way of thinking, or believing. Politicians work to create faith in their party, right or wrong, the party decides.


Ninja (profile) says:

Double score! I’d have said in a scrabble game.

I particularly liked the most insightful from James. It shows precisely why blaming the other party instead of trying to fix your own wrongs is so dangerous. Once you offload the burden into the other party you make yourself the victim and because the others are the bullies it doesn’t matter if you go evil on them. Instead we (and I mean we as groups, as individuals, as species) should stop taking sides and seek something that helps everybody even if it’s not what both sides think to be in their best interests.

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