Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bloody Devil #19 and the comment of the year

The Bloody Devil Award is for people who fisk objects of public derision but who also pepper the post with gratuitous but intensely satisfying insults.

Lots of people have roundly condemned that fucking wanker, Andy "spiv" Burnham, for his piece-of-shit comments on censuring the internet.

Two of the best are the line-by-line fisking by Harry Haddock, and the howl of fantastic rage from Counting Cats In Zanzibar. So excellent is this latter rant, that it entirely deserves the receipt of Bloody Devil #19. Here's a sample...
I am now forced to use one of my Gran’s phrases, “It’s neither fair nor right - like the darkie’s left tit” because Andy Burnham’s idea is neither fair nor right and frankly I’m gunning to get CC R18 rated. What precisely is he worried about the children seeing? Oh, and “think of the children” is the first refuge of the scoundrel. That’s the first thing that’s wrong with it.
...

I have no idea what sort of bizarre world Mr Burnham imagines the bubble-wrap generation are growing-up in. Mr Burnham is quite simply a Righteous wanker. He is self-fellating himself over a non-issue and trying to make life a little bit more miserable for us for reasons of his own self-aggrandisement.
...

They are utter scum and (in a sane World) possibly more to be pitied than laughed at. Think of this: the greatest exponent of AGW is a politico who knows fuck all about fluid mechanics, helioseismology, climatology, computer-modelling or anything to the purpose. He even won a bloody Nobel Prize! This is The Endarkening folks. Please hold on tight and obey seat-belt rules…

Your humble Devil will get around to giving that evil cunt Burnham a fucking kicking soon enough but, in the meantime, I'd like to leave you with a comment from Ian B (an occasional and welcome commenter at The Kitchen) which appeared over at the Counting Cats post.
So, anyway. What’s going on?

It’s not much use thinking in terms of Left and Right. What we call the “Left” have always been friends with those we term the “Right”. The communists are gone, wiped out in the 80s. So what we’re left with are upper class social authoritarians, fabians, whatever you want to call them. And as the book I linked to above shows, they have always gone hand in hand with business interests. Most obviously, look at whose names those big charitable foundations who have been so crucial to the success of the modern total state operate- Rockefeller, Carnegie, RW Johnson, Ford… both “the left” and Big Biz pushing constantly for the hive society, in which we subjects are moulded by the school system to be servants of that corporate (in the broadest terms) state. Free-marketeers, genuine ones, libertarians, get little support from big business for that reason. They don’t want free citizens, they want good little workers churned out for them by the schools. And so on.

Our ruling junta are technologically and scientifically ignorant, yes. But they’re ignorant about everything they wish to control- human nature, economics, everything. It doesn’t matter.

Controlling things means pushing those things into the hands of elite-insider corporate groups. Taking the internet, their goal is to kill the small, independent site. By heaping on compliance costs, they can simply force the small website owner (like me) off the web. At the moment, I can run a website for a few pounds a year- I can buy a domain name in a few minutes, some shared hosting, I’m up and running. That horrifies them. It’s so difficult to control.

Once it’s gone, it’ll be almost impossible to get back, like the High Street killed by the out-of-town development. As the small websites vanish, the business infrastructure that supports them will disappear too, such as webhosts. Web presence will be consolidated into the hands of those who can afford the compliance- big business, big charity, NGOs, governments. Anyone else will be forced to ask for a voice at sites run by corporations- “you may have a blog if you follow our AUP”. And those corporations, even those not actively part of the Big Guv movement, can be easily brought to heel- a few people to be called in for a chat with the minister.

I don’t think there’s anything really we can do to stop this. They have, for the moment, won. I haven’t seen a single useful suggestion of strategy for stopping The Enemy, in all my travels on the web. There are blogs moaning like buggery, but nothing practical being done, because these people are ignorami at everything useful, but incredibly organised and skilled at political control- because that is all they care about. They can have a scare up and running and everyone screaming for Something To Be Done before we’re even out of the pub. They know we’re beaten. They know that there’s nothing we can do. They know that we could get ten million people marching through Trafalgar Square (licensing permitting) and it wouldn’t get mentioned on the news and would have no effect.

Probably the key historical thing about the ascent of Blair to the purple was that that marked the historical turning point when they had won; when they had reached that critical mass of control of the hegemony they had been working towards since the Webbs began their little society. They have bulldozed every resistive attempt out of the way; they know they cannot now face a mass revolt, for they have successfully remodelled the population to such a state that that cannot happen. Yes, there are still a few angry stranglers yelling swearily about it, but they can be cheerfully ignored. The memory of what was is now down the hole; even those few resisting have no personal experience of a free society and can only try to piece together narratives of how things might have been; for the rest, the past has been refashioned as such a terror that none now would dare return to any aspect of it. Even many who think they are resisting cling instead to something they call conservatism which when analysed reveals itself as nothing but a desire to return to the earlier stage of progressive authoritarianism when cruder force was used.

We’ve lost. We’re not losing. It’s over. It makes me sad, it makes me incandescent with fury, but there’s nothing I can do. The barbarians aren’t at the gates. They aren’t inside the gates. They’re in the palace, and most of the population are convinced that barbarianism is just what the place needs.

And just personally, I feel a grim sense of “I Told You So” that cheers me not a whit. Ten years ago I was saying, the governments will take control of the internet and destroy its freedom, and all I heard was utopian bollocks about how it routes around censorship and can’t be controlled and we’d be free forever now and technology had saved us. And I was saying, enjoy it while it’s here and dismissed as a depressive Eeyore. Well, the information society is going to be, already is in many ways, a tyranny of degree unimaginable to past generations, a tyranny of which historical tyrants could only dream. The first society in which there is truly, absolutely, no place to hide. We’re on its cusp now. Fun’s over, kids.
"It will soon be possible to assert almost continuous control over every citizen and to maintain up-to-date files containing even the most personal details about health and personal behavior of every citizen, in addition to the more customary data. These files will be subject to instantaneous retrieval by the authorities. Power will gravitate into the hands of those who control information."—Zbigniew Brzezinski, 1970

This is how your humble Devil feels in his darker moments but, nevertheless, I shall continue to rant and rave and argue that my position is right; I shall continue to shout and swear and try to convince people to, at the very least, think about their political beliefs.

It may be futile, I shall not go gentle into that dark night and I shall "rage, rage against the dying of the light."

29 comments:

Andrew said...

I find it interesting that, according to today Telegraph, Burnham is planning to have talks with Obama to sort out the Internet in the English-speaking world as if that world was constituted by the UK and the USA to the exclusion of anything else.

I am not entirely sure that we have lost. Surely, what matters is the location of the servers - that's why ate least one German site (pi-news) is run from a server in the USA to avoid legal action in Germany or the unwelcome attentions of the German government. Dissident sites and blogs will simply move to hosts based in countries that aren't fussed about these things. I dare say porn sites already have, but let's face it, does anyone access one of those by accident? The ones I've come across all have warning screens inviting you to confirm that you're over 18 ...

Devil's Kitchen said...

Andrew,

"Dissident sites and blogs will simply move to hosts based in countries that aren't fussed about these things."

That absolutely does not matter. The EU Racism and Xenophobia Directive framework (that I highlighted a couple of years ago) allowed for the prosecution of EU citizens or those resident in the EU no matter where the site was hosted.

DK

Jock Coats said...

Two comments...

Does anyone really bellieve that Andy Burnham could "self-fellate"? I doubt it! He's even a political wiener.

I'm with Andrew, and people like David Friedman on this - they may make things awkward, but there will always be clever people trying to break such things and we will keep ahead of the censors one way or another. Not that we should be complacent of course, and we will need to work hard to keep ahead, but I really do think the horse had bolted and no amount of nailing the door shut is actually going to change that.

Ian B said...

erratum-

Should be "angry stragglers" not "angry stranglers". Heh.

Regarding hosting overseas- I think that'll make not a whit of difference. They've already started making laws that govern what you do abroad- kiddie fiddler legislation, and the upcoming Persecution of Prostitutes And Their Clients bill makes it illegal to do it with a "controlled" woman anywhere in the world. (Even apparently if you don't have sex with her!)

Legal clevernesses don't work with them. They just bulldoze them out of the way, regarding them as "loopholes" to be plugged.

Jock- the "clever people will get around it" thing is a fallacy IMV. Indeed cunning people can find ways to do anything surreptitiously. But the whole point of the web is being public and visible, not private and invisible. Speakign personally (as this is personal) my business is a website on which I sell my adult comics (a delightful saga of a girl with big boobies and pointy ears). If they censor it, I have no business. I can't "go underground". It's like saying a publican can become a bootlegger. Not practical for somebody who deosn't want to risk prison for their art.

If they bring this scheme in, I will have to close down. The thought of submitting the entire story for scrutiny by puritans is just asking for a dawn raid and the subsequent life ruination.

I don't care if somebody else can sneakily pass copies around PGP encrypted to their close friends. I need web presence, visibility, to be linked to, to advertise, to be able to take credit cards and receive money and operate a business and bank account. I have to operate in the light. Without that, the erotic adventures of Lucy Lastique are history.

DK, thanks for the kind words and publishing my Eeyoreistic comment from CC. I find it hard to be optimistic right now. They're taking my ciggies away, the pubs away, now they're going to take my pr0n and my business. This isn't just aerie-faerie political speculation. This shit is really happening, and I can't think of a way to stop it, and frankly I'm really scared.

mister_choos said...

"Should be "angry stragglers" not "angry stranglers". Heh."

I think we could do with more of the former myself.

Yes people will find a way around things, but not everybody. Many people won't be arsed that blogs like this and many more types of things are shut down. They'll allow enough bread and circuses for the proles. as long as it keeps them quiet.

It was mentioned about the English speaking world being more than the US and the UK. Well Australia just about counts too, and they are already implementing a fluffy friendly "thnk of the children" type of chinese firewall. Once its in, its so easy to extend.

Alot of Chinese have found their way around this using things like Ultrasurf. But does anybody rmember the EU plans for software only being allowed if it is approved? Even if you only use it to look at blogs like this, they will use the fact that you have an illegal program on your PC and lump you in with kiddy-fiddlers.

I would say the outlook is pretty bleak!

PDF said...

"Regarding hosting overseas- I think that'll make not a whit of difference"

Then you're an idiot. I'm in the UK, I host my blog anonymously overseas - and there is no way in hell anyone unequipped with a US court order, could get balance-of-probability proof (never mind beyond-reasonable-doubt proof) of my identity.

And yet you're also kind-of right: Burnham's comments are just ignorant grandstanding coupled to a boring and harmless, if pointless, proposal (i.e. making ISPs offer the choice of normal services, or services where NetNanny bollocks is enforced at the ISP server end).

Burnham is a particularly loathsome cunt, and his twattery has helped me in my wavering on tactical voting this time round (at least until I get around to reading whatever 'fey liberal traitors' nonsense the Tories are saying about C4's I'm-a-dinner-jacket speech). But this isn't The End Of The Internet. It's not even *anything*, unless you're a small operation trying to offer child-focused content, in which case it's an annoying extra cost.

PDF said...

"But does anybody rmember the EU plans for software only being allowed if it is approved"

[fx: explodes with laughter at the loony]

Anonymous said...

It's all because of the children, as usual.

I have been on the internet since the time that there was only Compuserve, AOL and a tiny handful of independant ISP's
Paying the phone bill was bad enough, so I used a fake credit card number generator to blag Compuserve trial subscriptions. To ensure continuity of email ( the blagged Compuserve accounts only lasted a week or two ) I had a Hotmail account, way before Microsoft took it over.

Even before that I was frequenting private BBS's using a split rate 75 1200 baud modem.

In all that time ( and finally getting to the point ) I have NEVER come across kiddy, or violent pr0n.
Obviously it's out there, we all know that, but it's not something which you stumble upon by accident.

Ian B said...

Then you're an idiot. I'm in the UK, I host my blog anonymously overseas - and there is no way in hell anyone unequipped with a US court order, could get balance-of-probability proof (never mind beyond-reasonable-doubt proof) of my identity.

Fine, I'm an idiot. I'm an idiot whose domains are registered overseas and whose websites are hosted overseas. Grrrrrreat.

So then, they make a law that any British citizen who owns a domain anywhere in the world must inform the authorities, and what do I do? Hope they don't find out?

I process credit cards. You think VisaCard won't be asked politely to inform the guv who they're trading with? To protect the kiddies of course. Of course.

Like I said, hiding isn't an answer. I love my work, but I'm sure as fuck not risking jail for it. This thing isn't just about bloggers. In fact, it's barely about bloggers at all. There are more types of websites than blogs.

mister_choos said...

[fx: explodes with laughter at the loony]

Quite right too.It's hilarious.

If you think that if that legislation comes to pass that it won't be used as an excuse to inspect your hard drive to see what else is on there, then you have greater faith in the state than I do.

Still I'm sure you have nothing to hide, do you've got nothing to fear right?

Are you sure? Frankly, I'm not sure what is illegal anymore. And if you're hosting your blog in another country, they'll never be able to trace you will they?

Martin said...

DK,

What IanB is describing as classical fascism as described by Stanley G. Payne is 'A History of Fascism'.

FWIW, I've done a secular fisking and analysis of Burnham oover at my own blog. It also deals with other outstanding matters.

Roger Thornhill said...

In this case Porn may not save us. "Mainstream" porn might just move from the http://www. domain to a http://xxx. domain and all that money may just not be there to solve the problem. Not sure.

If Andy B thinks this is just to protect children then he is either liar or a useful idiot.

This is a fencepost, and I will be blogposting about it when I get a chance.

PDF said...

"If you think that if that legislation comes to pass that it won't be used as an excuse to inspect your hard drive to see what else is on there, then you have greater faith in the state than I do."

On the contrary, I'm sure that if legislation banning the use of unauthorised programs were to come to pass, it would be used as an excuse for hard-disk fishing expeditions. And I'd emigrate.

But that's like saying "if legislation banning masturbation in private were to come to pass, it'd be used as an excuse to raid people's bedrooms in general". The point is, there is not and never will be such legislation; the paranoia is in thinking that there will.

John B said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PDF said...

This thing isn't just about bloggers. In fact, it's barely about bloggers at all. There are more types of websites than blogs.

Sure - but porn, blogs and news are the only things for which the legislation, even on the most extreme interpretations being floated here, would have more severe consequences than 'meh, we've got to renew our "suitable for kids" license, that's annoying, don't forget to post the cheque and fill out the form'.

North Northwester said...

" We’ve lost. We’re not losing. It’s over. It makes me sad, it makes me incandescent with fury, but there’s nothing I can do. The barbarians aren’t at the gates. They aren’t inside the gates. They’re in the palace, and most of the population are convinced that barbarianism is just what the place needs."

Maybe so.

And so we fight.

The Penguin said...

http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=41476913724

The Penguin

Roger Thornhill said...

PDF:"Sure - but porn, blogs and news are the only things for which the legislation, even on the most extreme interpretations being floated here, would have more severe consequences than 'meh, we've got to renew our "suitable for kids" license, that's annoying, don't forget to post the cheque and fill out the form'."

Explain why I need to ask permission to publish, for this is what it is. It is "guilty until proven innocent". It is "permission to" not "stopped if". Why do I need to ask anyone before I express my opinions?

Chalcedon said...

That Aussie German was arrested in the EU re his holocaust denier posting at his site in Australia. He had not broken UK law but he had broken the law technically in Germany, Poland et al because his site was accessible there and his bollox conflicted with what I consider to be freedom of expression denying laws (as in just because we find it distasteful we should not ban it as a thought crime).

So the bastards will kick your door down at 04.30 regardless of where your host server is located. The only safe place is in orbit or on the moon, and I expect you really aren't safe there either.

I'm going to but a gun. Quite legally. It's the only way to absolutely preserve your freedom for a few minutes before THEY come for you.

Chalcedon said...

FFS that's 'buy a gun' not but.

Can we have an edit button?

max the impaler said...

This suggests to me 'the law of unforseen consequences'.Once they pass this type of legislation I will dump the computer and go off the grid.I'm old enough to do this.I remember the days when we only had a radio.For you guys. brought up with all the electronic wizadry it's going to be difficult.
I will never succumb to authoritarian shitbag politicians.They can pass legislation on PC correctness,drinking,smokeing, race and whatever they fucking like but it will not make one iota of difference to the way I chose to live my life.It's true freedom or nothing, and like my forefathers I will die fighting for it.

Anonymous said...

This Burnham wnaker better get wise, and quickly. If he goes ahead with his plans, there will be an absolutely massive hate campaign against him on the net. I'm talking about tens of thousands of blogs and forums turning against him.

And if they take away our blogs (I've been working for 2 years on mine), we will just have to develop an interest in guns instead.

THEY WILL NOT WIN.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant: WANKER

Anonymous said...

If it does come the best way to deal with it is for all those that are capable to develope viruses and destroy their PC websites, there must be millions of pissed of bloggers capable of doing it. Worst thing to me is that I`m computer illiterate so cannot fight them myself.

John B said...

Explain why I need to ask permission to publish, for this is what it is. It is "guilty until proven innocent". It is "permission to" not "stopped if". Why do I need to ask anyone before I express my opinions?

No, under any reasonable interpretation of Burnham's speech, you'd need 'permission to publish' something that'll be allowed through the web filters on 'safe for kiddies to browse t'Internet without supervision' mode. Instead, it'll only be allowed on 'grown-up who doesn't need filtering' mode.

That's a stupid idea, because it's setting out to achieve something pointless which it will fail to do, and which there is already widely available software that does no worse than any new plans would (i.e. protecting kids from Everything Unpleasant And Horrid online).

But it isn't censorship, unless you think banning kids from watching Straw Dogs in the cinema is censorship.

Jules said...

Politicians are either dazzled by technology or scared by it. When dazzled by it, they waste billions trying to exploit it. When scared by it, they waste billions trying to control it. Ultimately the objective is the same: control over information to facilitate control over the individual.

These behavioural traits are a given. That oily anti-democrats like Burnham are filthiest cunts of the most rancid authoritarian order is also a given.

The macro problem is how to stop it and stop them. Without rolling back the utterly corrosive effect of the Treaty of Rome, Cameron gives me little hope. The uncomfortable truth is that it is the rank and file of our own fellow citizenry that are delivering the fall of libertarian democracy through passive acceptance of a Napoleonic EU, self-interest, indolence, ignorance and inherent stupidity.

It's over 350 years since the civil war but in the cyclical nature of life, a reboot to adjust excess is inevitable. It may not happen in my lifetime but the conscience of this nation - understood today by a worried minority - is on a direct, collision course with the grasping, frightening and broadly unchallenged ambition of the State. Call me melodramatic but there will be blood.

I just hope that when the time comes, the armed services for one can follow their prime allegiance to monarch and country in sufficient strength and turn on the State and its police puppets: clearing house with extreme and ruthless prejudice in the process.

The house is rotten from the foundations: the only long term solution is demolition and reconstruction.

What a cheery thought for 2009 - so a Happy & Free New Year to you all.

Ian B said...

But it isn't censorship, unless you think banning kids from watching Straw Dogs in the cinema is censorship.

Of course that's censorship. What childrenw watch is a matter for their parents or wards, not the state. Admission to a private place of business is a matter for its owners. Nobody else needs to, nor has any right to, get involved.

Jules said...

Look, forget the semantics and let's face it folks. Burnham, may his totalitarian gonads shrivel for all eternity, is just the very tip of the tip of the iceberg. We are watching - live and in technicolour - the rise of a nascent fascist UK state around us. Thanks to the corrupt, authoritarian EU that drives most of our legislation and our own corrupt, authoritarian government that encourages it.

This is the real problem we face: raw power for raw power's sake. The malice aforethought of the leftist EU/Labour/Blair/Brown axis and their intended nirvana of the state's boot stamping on a human face - forever. And frankly, it scares the long term living shit out of me.

Forget Enemy of the State; the Enemy IS the State.

MrDavies said...

"We are watching - live and in technicolour - the rise of a nascent fascist UK state around us. "

I'm in the UK and I'm witnessing a rise in a socialist totalitarian state. The effect and appearance is much the same though.