Saturday, June 22, 2013

Through a PRISM darkly: the worthlessness of political "science"

“Better that right counsels be known to enemies than that the evil secrets of tyrants should be concealed from the citizens. They who can treat secretly of the affairs of a nation have it absolutely under their authority; and as they plot against the enemy in time of war, so do they against the citizens in time of peace.”
- Spinoza
The ongoing scandal surrounding the extent of our "intelligence" "services" domestic spying  proclivities continues to rumble on and yet going by the general news coverage and discussion on social media, including amongst the libertarian blogosphere one could be forgiven for thinking this issue had barely registered and no one really gives a shit.
The fact is that this is the biggest scandal of our age and with each day new revelations come to light and more claims by our worthless political class and senior civil "service" are revealed to be outright lies. Yet barely a whimper.  It seems Huxley was closer to the truth than Orwell. We really are numbed with distractions.
The extent of this spying capability combined with the promise of Big Data means our dear spooks have an unprecedented insight into our souls and concerns. They have probably already realised the D notice was redundant - not because of technology and media plurality making it redundant - but because even a modest analysis of social media interactions will demonstrate that they can rely on lethargy and apathy to do the job for them.  Hague has been running notably silent given that most of what he said at the beginning of the month and in particular on June 10th has been shown to be a pack of lies
This not only affects all of us, it is not only cross partisan and it not only shows up the British establishment to be the enemies of the people. No. It also highlights the pointlessness of many of our political and philosophical differences. There is no real debate to be had when there is a secret state at work beneath the surface of the puppet show that we all like to talk about. Degrees in "political science" (and I say this as the unproud owner of one) are worthless when faced with the spook joker in the pack, especially an game changing (and ending) oversized card like ours that clearly eclipses all other institutions. Control of accurate information is like the control of the Spice in Dune. All of the supposed "insights" gained by "intelligence studies" scholars such as Richard Aldrich are little more than crumbs from the table delivered by a handmaiden, not a critic, of our unaccountable secret state. He and his peers have no choice to be anything other than handmaidens - they are after all funded by our Dear Leaders.

Dark times indeed. 



geoff Chambers said...

That “this is the biggest scandal of our age” is something that needs demonstrating. The fact that the public is astonishingly unmoved is evident. We need an analysis that goes further than Huxley and Orwell, and I don’t even know where to begin looking for it.
I keep coming back to the regular MORI polls on trust, which have been showing for the past 20 years that doctors and scientists are the only professions trusted by an overwhelming majority of the population, while politicians and journalists are trusted by about 10-20%. This sociological fact lies behind the politicians’ reliance on climate science, and a lot of other facts about our society, I suspect.
MI5 spooks are hardly loveable figures, but they probably benefit from the confidence accorded to policemen and boffins (some people you have to trust, whatever the evidence, for your own peace of mind). The politicians who direct them are not trusted, but nor are the journalists who reveal their crimes.
So what’s the reaction of the average punter to the news that his entire internet activity is being observed? Probably: “Gosh, I hope they didn’t see what sites I was looking at last night”. Fear of being found out by Big Mummy may be as potent a means of control as fear of room 101 and Big Brother.

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