Playing Hardball

It seems like everywhere I look right now, people are playing hardball.  I.e., taking tough / extreme positions and sticking to them ferociously.

The showdown in congress over the budget and Obamacare is one case. The republicans have shown that they are willing to take it to the wall, and the Dems are calling their bluff.

The incredible story of the Silk Road’s demise is another.  This article detailing the story of Silk Road’s founder and his capture is a must read.  One way of looking at Ross Albricht’s (aka Dread Pirate Roberts) motivation was to give people a “taste of freedom” — i.e., it wasn’t about making money, but was simply about avoiding the power of the state.

Then, of course, there’s Snowden and the giant ripple of stories around him.  The latest to emerge is the story of (now shuttered) supposedly-secure email provider Lavabit’s resistance to the FBI’s request to decrypt all of their customers’ data.  They responded by supplying their 2,560 character SSL keys, printed out in 11 pages of 4pt type.  When the FBI complained and the judge ordered them to supply an electronic copy, Lavabit chose to shut down instead.

I suppose this is nothing new, but it also feels like maybe there’s something in common going on here.  A certain amount of pent up frustration, maybe.  Maybe we’re all watching too many reality shows and episodes of house of cards, because on one level this is all really exciting and fun (while being terrifying when you really think about it).  

But it seems like we’re seeing more and more absolute power, end runs, and dug-in fights.  The kid would say that this is just the beginning of the revolution. Not that I know what that feels like actually, but it does kind of feel that way.

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