Most every human on earth has benefited from advancements in technology. For example, farming has become so productive that each farmer now feeds more than 125 people. The technologies of electricity generation and distribution have allowed billions of people around the world to enjoy light even after the sun has set. Airplane technologies have revolutionized the way that people travel. It is hard to think of the world without the mechanized and electronic aids that we all now take for granted.
History has shown that technology is a wonderful thing when it is left in private hands. Private individuals and businesses use technology to make their lives better and their businesses more efficient. In the private marketplace, technology is generally used for good. However, history has also shown that the opposite is true when technology falls into the hands of government. When government employs technology, people become worse-off and their work and businesses become less efficient. In the government marketplace it is not the positive uses of technology that excel, but rather the malignant and devilish ones. In the extreme, the government’s mastery of technology leads to mass death and property destruction.
Consider motorized transport. In private hands, automobiles and trucks provide the world with unparalleled mobility, freedom and the efficient transportation of goods. In government hands, however, transportation technology is used to produce military tanks, artillery tractors and the ominous MaxxPro MRAP vehicle that will soon become commonplace on local U.S. roads.
The same goes for air transportation. The Wright brothers did the world a great service by advancing their flying machine past the prototype stage. Today, private airlines shuttle millions of paying customers around the globe each year. In contrast, a government airline is populated with bombers, fighter jets and military cargo planes. Over 40,000 German civilians were killed in Hamburg alone during WWII by Allied bombardment while 20,000 British civilians were killed by the German Luftwaffe during the London blitzkrieg. Boats and underwater submarines fall into the same category: In private hands they are wonderful modes of transportation, whereas in government hands they are mobile missile launchers capable of hitting civilians anywhere on earth.
Nuclear power is used in the private sector to bring electricity to millions of people around the globe, whereas governments use nuclear power to threaten and coerce other governments and their citizens. Over 200,000 residents of Hiroshima and Nagasaki were sacrificed in order to demonstrate to Russia that they were up against a government that was unafraid to use nuclear weapons.
Guns are used by private individuals to protect their families and businesses from criminals who might otherwise rob, assault or kill them. Governments, however, use gun technology in the fighting of unnecessary foreign wars and in the coercing of citizens into obeying unjust laws. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security has acquired almost two billions bullets, many of them being of the hollow-point variety. Think about the implications of this: A domestic police force has purchased enough ammunition to equal five bullets per citizen. Guns in private hands mean freedom and peace, whereas guns in government hands mean subjugation and violence.
Remote control airplane technology has made for an enjoyable hobby for millions of private individuals. However, the same technology has been used by governments to develop aerial drones that permit high-altitude surveillance and bombing. It is estimated that drone bombings in Pakistan have killed 49 innocent civilians for every government-labeled terrorist. By the end of the decade it is expected that more than 30,000 drones of all types will be buzzing overhead in the U.S.A. According to National Geographic Magazine, miniature drones are being developed by the Air Force under the slogan, “Unobtrusive, pervasive, lethal: micro air vehicles.” Outrageous, isn’t it?
It is not only drones that are being used to spy on hapless citizens, though. The Internet, developed largely by private individuals and businesses (in contrast to Al Gore’s propaganda), has provided a revolutionary means for people to communicate in ways that have never existed to date. However, Internet traffic is now being funneled through government spy centers that record and decode all manner of electronic communications. The $2 billion Utah Data Center is expected to track everything from bookstore purchases to travel itineraries. The same type of spy center is being constructed in Ottawa at a purported cost of nearly $1 billion.
Smart phones are suffering the same fate. In private hands smart phones play an increasingly important part in the expression of freedom. However, those same phones are being built with back-doors that allow government spies to violate the privacy of free citizens. For example, it is known that the company ZTE produced phones that were found to carry a back-door that was hard-coded into the phones’ Android software. Recently, the FBI started pushing vendors to provide back-doors in their telecommunications software products such as Skype and Hotmail. In fact, it is now virtually impossible to determine the myriad types of back-doors that might exist in the silicon chips and software that are now employed in modern phones and computers.
Database technologies have allowed the introduction of credit cards and many efficiencies in the business world. However, those same technologies are used by governments to identify tax violators and to track and inspect personal activities. At least 72 government-run “fusion centers” are currently operating in the U.S.A. These centers allow the sharing of private information about citizens amongst various federal agencies as well as state and local governments. In private hands the health care industry uses databases to deliver its services efficiently, whereas in government hands databases are used to monitor drug purchases and to prosecute doctors and patients who violate government mandated drug laws. There are now many stories of people being arrested for buying “too much” over-the-counter cold medication, including Diane Avera who spent one year and jail and paid a $20,000 fine for transporting Sudafed over state lines to her home in Mississippi.
Optical image recognition, used by private individuals to convert pictures into computer readable data, is used by governments to enable automobile license plate scanning for the purposes of tracking, billing and cross-referencing to criminal and tax databases. In the UK, automatic number plate recognition is currently used by police and government officials to track the movement of private vehicles in real time. As The Independent wrote in 2005, “… the National ANPR [Automatic Number Plate Recognition] Data Centre will be able to cross-check its database against all vehicles lawfully taxed and insured.” In fact, existing traffic cameras are being connected to a national surveillance network whose data will be stored for up to five years. With these technologies in place, untold numbers of innocent citizens will face wrongful prosecution simply for being at the wrong place at the wrong time.
In private hands technology enhances life and lifts man’s free spirit. It provides for higher productivity, greater capital investment and increased standards of living. In government hands, however, technology hinders life, lowers standards of living and promotes greater tyranny and, oftentimes, death and mayhem.
So what is the answer? The answer, of course, is to become a Luddite when it comes to marriage of government and technology. Any use of technology by government must be opposed because history has proven beyond any doubt that government is incapable of using technology responsibly. Indeed, even pencils and paper should be dispensed to the government and its functionaries only as absolutely necessary. Only when government is deprived of the use of technology will the future of mankind shine brighter.