Daniel September 16, 2013 1:28 PM

Yet here is a truth: the US Constitution was not conceived in the spirit of hacker culture. In fact, the preamble clearly states that one of its primary objectives is to “insure domestic tranquility”. Nowhere does the constitution guarantee “the freedom to tinker.” It just doesn’t exist. And while it is true that the Bill of Rights was conceived of as limitation on the powers of an expansive government they were just that, carve outs that didn’t change the underlying point. The underlying point being that even though the NSA may have gone too far, the impulse behind its actions is firmly rooted in the vision the Framer’s had for a just society. The NSA may be guilty of excess but let us not confuse that with being guilty of being wrong.

David Blewett September 16, 2013 1:32 PM

Daniel: I think you need to read the Bill of Rights more carefully, particularly the 10th amendment. Yes, there are specific rights declared. However all those not specifically named are still reserved.

Bob Fleischer September 16, 2013 3:27 PM

Surely the framers weren’t trying to outlaw the kind of political activity that just won them their freedom. Certainly they wanted citizens to be able to meet, discuss their grievances, and plan actions including actions that would change the government. They didn’t want to limit some future Sam Adams to just being a brand of beer. 😉

Perhaps they wouldn’t understand a “hacker culture”, but they very much would understand the need of a “revolutionary culture”.

name.withheld.for.obvious.reasons September 16, 2013 4:24 PM

The framers were indeed hackers; Franklin, Jefferson, Madison, Paine, Hamilton, Jay, and Washington all performed acts of encredible improvisation. Franklin was a first rate hardware hacker, compiler designer, and programmer. Madison was the code master and tech implementation guru. Jefferson was a part-time hardware hacker and philanthropist (Bill Gates ain’t got nothin’ on him). Washington was a brilliant field tech and troubleshooter (if he could stay out of the lodges). If you study United States history, the 18th century was a most unique time. The beginning, and dare I say also the end, of the enlightenment. Okay, so a bunch of well-to-do white guys write some stuff on some hemp paper…what they wrote was a radical transformation of social governance. And both Jefferson and Franklin spoke to the its fragility. Find me the likes of [wo]men that will risk life and property on an ideal today!!! No one comes close.

We should all be ashamed of our disregard for the heritage that we were so lucky to inherit. I know; slavery, suffrage, immigration, etc.–what is different is it can be transformed. Try that with a theocracy, oligarchy, monarchy, or communism. Our republic is in essence a completely upgradable and modular political system. The engine is us, our ideas its fuel.

nonamerican September 16, 2013 4:31 PM

Find me the likes of [wo]men that will risk life and property on an ideal today!

There are loads of them. Edward Snowden is one.

Dirk Praet September 16, 2013 7:35 PM

Prescient in what way ? In seeing the technological possibilities or the country that defeated the nazis becoming a fascist police state itself ?

Geoffrey Mason December 29, 2013 3:15 PM

Love Dan Perkins.

Yep, the iIternetz/World Wide Web was around in 1994 and we were being surveilled at that time as well. We were being surveilled in the 1980s when we all used Usenet.

Miranda v. Arizona was decided 47 years ago. COINTELPRO was going on from at least the 1950s through the 1970s. George Orwell’s “Nineteen Eighty-Four” was published in 1949…

It won’t stop unless we make it stop.

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