The Law of Unintended Consequences

by Daniel Oakes | September 30, 2020

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Something creepily insidious is occurring, and it's probably a contributing factor to why those who are in the know and who don't live in South Dakota are currently suffering from a minor (or severe, if you're Joe Rogan) bout of “freedom envy.”

A few years ago I listened to a podcast by Joe Rogan with Edward Snowden. He talked about many things for many hours, and I've forgotten most of what was said. But one thing he mentioned stuck with me like very strong glue, and makes my spine tingle (or maybe it's tingling due to all that upright rowing...) to this day: he said that when people think their communications are being monitored, they inadvertently communicate differently.

This somewhat simple revelation permanently altered the way I perceive the ostensibly trivial: at the time of that podcast there was a debate in the UK about terrorists using WhatsApp, and the potential benefits of the Government being able to access private communications. Seems pretty benign, doesn't it? (I jest.) In fact, many people dismissively said “I have nothing to hide,” and that was that...

However, after a few minutes of careful consideration (beyond the obvious fact that it's abjectly insane to grant the Government snooping powers), it might occur to you that there's something slightly creepy about the phrase “I have nothing to hide.” Why should you “feel” that you should have to declare that you aren't hiding anything?

Another creepy unintended language problem has reached an absurd peak in the UK ever since Government ministers declared that pubs must close at 10pm (effectively a curfew), casual sex is banned (incidentally, there's a safe sex guide which encourages “safe” positions etc.), and you can only form groups of up to 6 people (the health Minister, Matt Handcock, has encouraged Stasi-like snooping to enforce this rule). Individuals and businesses state things like “If we follow the rules, we can still see family at Christmas” (compliance to the rules – if the rules are even effective – measured by exactly what?), and “We are doing everything we can to keep you safe” (code for: “We are doing our best to obey, please don't close us down”).

It's clear, based on the creepy subservient language we are all inadvertently deploying, that it's easy to slip into a maze of endless unintended psychological consequences when we conflate that which is trivial with that which is harmless. It's not necessarily laughable policies we should be concerned with (many of us dismiss them as harmless trivialities), but rather the type of relationship between the Government and the governed.

This latter consideration is exactly why South Dakota will be one of the last places on earth to catch fire and burn: true conservatives are extremely cautious when it comes to making alterations to the fabric of stable civilization. Someone like Biden, on the other hand, would mindlessly (in the most literal sense) piss and shit all over the tapestry of creation while his minders and followers praised his liberal progressivism.

It's becoming harder and harder to fathom what effect obeying silly rules will have on our psychological integrity. I'm concerned because I'm subject to silly rules too. Enforcement of pointless rules has always been utilized across time to program mindless conformity. This is why, I think, the world has always looked to the US as a beacon of guidance – especially now as our formerly independent minds slowly dim and die.

The world is watching you, USA (and Joe Rogan, of course).

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