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The Privacy Curve - Scott Adams' Blog

The Privacy Curve

If you live in a dictatorship, personal privacy might be the only thing keeping you out of jail. And you need that privacy to plan your revolution against the dictator.

If you live in a Republic, such as the United States, you still want some privacy because you don’t want the government to have more power over you than it already has. But the issue is not a life-and-death situation in most cases. Citizens keep an eye on the Republic so it can’t get too far out of hand.

But here is the interesting part: Would you need privacy from the government if you lived in a true democracy, in which every citizen voted on every topic? My guess is that you would not need privacy because most of what you want to do would be legal. And there would be no real “government” in terms of power or leadership. Only the bureaucracy would be left to execute the will of the people.

Thanks to state propositions, the government in the United States is moving from a Republic to more of a pure democracy. And I would argue that the Supreme Court is essentially voting with the majority on social issues and making us less of a Republic than ever.

My hypothesis is that personal privacy (from the government) is neither good nor bad by its nature. What matters is that your privacy level matches up with your political system. If you live in an oppressive regime, the more personal privacy the better. But in a pure democracy, so long as you don’t violate the law, no one cares what you do on your own time. In fact, now that I know my neighbor also likes to wear a kilt and watch the BBC, I have someone to hang out with on weekends.

Would you agree with the general proposition that the more political freedom you have, the less privacy (from the government) you need?

Scott

In Top Tech Blog, when will Elon Musk make a gigantic vacuum cleaner to suck up all the broken satellites and other space debris in orbit around the planet? And when do I get my electric airplane?

Bonus comic:

My book seems to be catching on.

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