There is a never ending argument in politics around the meaning of the 2nd Amendment to the United States Constitution. This amendment centers around the “Right to bear arms”. The common interpretation is that it grants citizens of the United States of America the right to keep and own weapons that could be used to protect themselves. This comes from an antiquated time of the American Revolution when the original thirteen colonies revolted from and won their independence from Great Britain.
“A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed.” - 2nd Amendment of the U.S. Constitution
While I agree that “we” as citizens don’t just have the right, but also the responsibility to protect ourselves from an overbearing and unjust government. However, I disagree with the argument that Guns and Bombs are the only way to do so.
Ever since the invention of the Personal Computer, the Internet, Encryption, and Coding, there has been an increasing democratization of power across the globe, and especially within the United States. These advances in technology have lead a greater change to society than even the invention of the printing press all those years ago.
“Digital technology has lead to a democratization of power, like the world and human society has never seen before.” - Chris Pietschmann
It’s difficult for many to shake the feeling that a physical weapon like guns / firearms are the best weapon to defend themselves. However, we are progressively finding ourselves in a time where these violent weapons will no longer be relavent and as impactful as they once were. Guns may make you feel safe, but that safety is largely an illusion when it come to protecting ourselves in a truly digital age.
In todays society, we can easly disseminate information (both true and “fake news”) to millions of people with ease. This is true for almost anyone on the planet with access to a computer and the Internet. The need to be able to communicate across the Internet with these technologies is becoming as important a right as the printing press has made books and reading.
There is a phrase that says “The pen is mightier than the sword”. This is a profound statement in the modern age of our society. It has been true for the last few hundred years, however, with the advancement of digital technology in recent times this statements reference to the “pen” has a broader interpretation referring to any technology that enables one person to communicate broadly to many other individuals.
“The pen is mightier than the sword.” - Edward Bulwer-Lytton in 1839
We find ourselves living in a time when political groups, both foreign and domestic, are able to use the Internet and digital technology to manipulate mass groups of people and impact change without firing a single shot or exploding a single bomb. This has been seen in the affect Russia alegedly had in the 2016 Presidental election the resulted in Donald Trump becoming the President of the United States. And, we will see this type of manipulation and affect become increasingly more common in the future.
The modern “Right to bear arms” is more about digital technology like Encryption and Code. It’s been important to learn how to read for hundred of years so you can learn and stop being ignorant to the world around you. Learning to use digital technology, and even how to code, is becoming just as important as learning how to read.
If we let our government take away our right to technology like Encryption, the Internet, and coding, we will be surrendering our modern “right to bear arms”. Without these technologies, we will no longer have the ability to control the news we hear, the things we learn, and ultimately our ability to protect ourselves from those who would like to enslave us for their own personal benefit and agenda.
“If we let our government take away our right to technology like Encryption, the Internet, and coding, we will be surrendering our modern ‘right to bear arms’.” - Chris Pietschmann
I don’t mean that you should sell your guns. If you feel those will help protect you, and you have a right to them, then please be safe and responsible gun owner.
What I am saying, is we all need to learn how to use these technologies, and learn how to identify ads and other communications that are from those working to manipulate us. And, we MUST always fight against any legislation that might be written to take away our right to encryption, computers, the Internet, our right to communicate, and our right to privacy in a digital-first age.
You may not understand what Encryption is, or how to code, but you should learn. These technologies empower us just as the printing press did previous generations before us. These technologies protect our rights for the information feed to us, our ability to learn, and our ability to stay safe in a world that is increasingly using cyber-warfare to conquer and enslave us.
These technologies protect your bank account, your identity, your car, your house, and ultimately your lives and the lives of your family. Be safe, and embrace technology as your “right to bear arms” in this increasingly digital age.