New Cory Doctorow Article: The Problem with Nerd Politics

(Via Boing Boing) Cory Doctorow wrote a great article for the Guardian, The Problem with Nerd Politics, wherein he discusses two kinds of problematic political stances, that he calls "Nerd Determinism" (The view that, no matter what the administration does, dedicated hackers will be able to get around the blocks and spyware) and "Nerd Fatalism" (The view that no nerd, once embroiled in the world of politics, can hold to his convictions, but will be eroded into stupid policymaking.)

On Nerd Determinism:

Without customers, the people who make phone-unlocking tools will only polish them to the point where they're functional for their creators. The kind of polish that marks the difference between a tool and a product is often driven by investment, markets and commercialism.


Without self-revealing, easy-to-use tools, the benefits of technology are only extended to technologists.

And on Nerd Fatalism:

It's true that politics has internal logic, and that habitual participants in politics are apt to adopt the view that politics is "the art of the possible" and no fit place for ideals. But there's an important truth about politics and law: even if you don't take an interest in them, it doesn't follow that they won't take an interest in you.

So we can design clever, decentralised systems such as BitTorrent all day long, systems that appear to have no convenient entity to sue or arrest or legislate against. But if our inventions rattle enough cages and threaten enough bottom lines, the law will come hunting for them.

The article is excellent, and I've got nothing I can add to it that Cory hasn't written.  Here's the link again.  Read it.