The strategic problem about State bureaucrats is that they must make reasons for their existence, or they are redundant. Stalin understood this unstated but fundamental axiom perfectly: the logical conclusion of the existence of any given bureaucrat is to be able to “plan” and to “decide” whether you live or die. All other stuff he decides about and “plans” is just practising along the way to ultimate and absolute power. In the end, you live if you are a useful “resource” for the “plan”; you die if the “planner” has no practical use for you at all: what is the point of your life logically, for him? You are a mere cog, a slave.
Therefore, to continue to attain higher planes of existence, a bureaucrat simply must, must, has to, attain higher and higher levels omniscience about “his” population of masses.
Like the dog who sucks and licks his own penis “because he can” – I believe it’s called a “blow job”, though why so, I can’t fathom, nor the supposed attraction of it – bureaucrats have been “empowered” in this century more than ever before. And this was by the very technology that was in the beginning going to help individuals to circumvent the bastards and their wickedness entirely. I recall a lecture in the very early 80s by someone called Bernard Adamcziewski (I think? Please help?) at the Adam Smith Club in the IEA, (NOT the ASI !! ) on this very subject: it made us all so optimistic about the future.
Bureaucrats – many for sure – now probably want all this data because it is going to be so easy in theory to gather: in addition, there will be many, many “private sector firms” (I didn’t know there was any other kind?) whose directors and staff know nothing and care even less about issues of liberty, who will of coure )of course they will!) fall oevr themselves to help out. They think work is just a meal ticket, and not something that ought to have moral dimensions.
The Devil in the end tries to corrupt everything we touch. Although the Internet, for example, was initially created for military and government purposes as we know, out of evil came good and free protocols for ordinary sovereign individuals to be able to distribute and share data on a scale and speed unheard of in all the history of the world. Now of course, “Andy” “Burnham” wants it regulated and censored – but he’s not the first nor the last, although a more threatening one than the usual temporal crowd, for he’s a bloody clever bugger and his words are so honeyed, and will be bought by people like “million moms against guns” or whatever.
It does not matter whether the data is “secure”, or can only be “accessed” on the say-so of a “Minister”. If stuff “gets out”, this is the least of our worries. A leak will contain so very, very much stuff, such as on a “lost computer” or a “momory stickj (they are very big now as we all know, a gigabyte is almost free, 8 of them is about £1 apiece) that it will take even the putrescently-minded moles of the “News of the World” decades if not centuries to trawl through it.
No: the risk is that the database “project” may, possibly work – to time and to budget, well, more or less. What’s a few billion Sterling overspend between (state) friends? It’s just one delayed aircraft-carrier, or about three diversity-co-ordinator advertisements in the Guardian for a single “Police” “Force”. It’s irrelevant whether it works by 2012, by 2020, or by 2030. People are people. What they do, where they go, who they phone, who they email, and what about, is nobody’s damn business except their own.
And I’m not at all suggesting that it ought to be stopped by methods that could work – such as death-threats to directors of “private sector partners” – who ought to be old enough to know better than to tender anyway since the task itself is morally reprehensible – or even by well-planned and co-ordinated assaults on known data sites, designed to effectively destroy the data beyond recovery.
I should remind people that there are precedents for the punishment of some of the above actions. At Nuremberg in 1946, directors of firms that had tendered for and supplied things like “gas ovens”, incinerators and Zyklon-B, were either imprisoned or hanged. It’s all in “The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich” by W. Shirer, as you all no doubt know.
Either way, you’d better not do any of that threatening of tenderers, you people, as libertarians are peaceable chaps who get stuff accomplished by persuasion and liberal discourse. Apart rom anything, we might want the compugeek-buggers to work for us after victory, unravelling government computer chaos set up by themselves, and finding out what the State knew about whom and how, so that such intrusion could be stymied in the future.
But I have to admit: the only time I malleted a hard disk, ever – it exploded satisfyingly. I would never want to do it again, though, since I now know so much more about the intricacies and wonderfulness of its workings.