Technological Advancement Leads to Increasing Divergence Btwn Fiscal and Political Conservatives

As technology advances, computerized and automated surveillance, data mining, and even decision-making becomes increasingly more cost-effective. However, the cost savings associated with the implementation of such technology comes at the price of privacy and civil liberties since the government and other institutions will have much more information concerning individual behaviors. For example, the use of EZ-pass saves considerable time and money, but also allows the government to monitor the travels of people who opt in to the program. Another, more current example would be conservative opposition to the public option, which would save money but also lead to increased government intervention in healthcare.[sup]1[/sup]

My contention is that fiscal conservatives and political/libertarian conservatives can no longer claim to be on the same page. And those who claim to hold both views will have to decide what the lesser evil is for them, and pick a side.
[sup]1[/sup] Some of them dishonestly claim that it would be “a government takeover of healthcare,” but I’m more concerned with the general idea of increased government intervention for purposes of this debate.

The issue isn’t surprising.

Fiscal / Political Conservatives have always had an issue with some people, and with some issues.

Of course, the same can be said of Fiscal / Poltical Liberals.
That’s why I believe it’s goofy to have a system where you’re forced to vote on the Fiscal, Political (and in some cases, Foreign) policy views of a single candidate, when you may only agree with one of his or her views which is more than the none that you agree with of the other character.

There are simple enough ways to make it so that a system doesn’t know who a particular user is, beyond some sort of random UID number. You might know where X32J has travelled, but that still doesn’t tell you anything.

Yes, anonymization can be implemented. However, these technological cost savings extend easily to crime prevention and capture of criminals, which require knowledge of the person’s actual identity.

Also, political/libertarian conservatives want a general shrinkage of government, not just the protection of privacy and civil liberties. The healthcare issue is a bit different from the use of automated reading of car IDs, since it has more to do with the role of government than protection of privacy. Anonymization would have little relevance for this situation.

Is there a divergence between fiscal and political conservatives on issues relating to sex?

Huh? :confused: What’s sex got to do with it? :wink:

Probably not, but I’m more concerned about civil liberties (with respect to speech, association, movement, etc.) I think neither fiscal nor political conservatives are concerned with people’s social lives; that’s for the social conservatives.

Do they have genitalia?

Jeez, there are now more different brands of conservatives than there are Baldwins.

And how are all the little conservatives? :wink:

Calling it simple is naive. You can prevent the system from knowing who a user is, but that is a far cry from preventing people from taking that data and using it to figure out who you are.

It is just not that simple to effectively preserve anonymity of information. Examples of systems I am talking about are credit cards, EZ pass, RFID-enabled passports, search engine databases, and more. The accidental release of AOL’s search data supposedly anonymous search data was a good example. Something like EZ Pass is another good example since everywhere you go gives clues on who you are and where you live even if you don’t consider that it is tied to a credit card and address.

Here is some reading on how difficult it can be to retain anonymity, but there are a lot of other interesting articles and papers on the subject.
[ul]
[li]De-anonymizing social networks paper and a summary[/li][li]On the Anonymity of Home/Work Location Pairs[/li]

[*]On Location Privacy, and How to Avoid Losing it Forever, a good analysis of some of the pitfalls and difficulties.[/ul]

Is purely political conservatism even a factor in the US today? Outside of fiscal, social, religious, foreign policy, right-libertarian, or some muddle of all of the above?

Hell, who was ever a purely political conservative? Besides Bill Buckley?

Are political conservatives unusually averse to using EZ-Pass and signing up for Sam’s Club and their ilk? Leftists are often paranoid about government surveillance too, and to the extent that conservatives are wary of government monitoring it is as a proxy for government intervention in markets and everyday lives.

So, cite?

**
athelas**, breathe.

We’re not talking about leftists.

Your belief that

elides the distinction between economic conservatives (who want an economy free of government intervention) and political conservatives / civil libertarians (who want the government not to restrict civil liberties).

All you’re saying is that you’re a fiscal conservative, and not a political conservative.

The issue is that conservatives generally want a small and cheap government. One of the best ways to achieve this is by making the government more efficient.

The problem with this is efficiency can cut both ways. A large and unwieldy government with tens of thousands of people in it protects your civil rights just by its ineffiency - it’s too diffuse for any individual to know everything that the government as a whole might know and too diffuse to act as a single entity. But as you organize government and make it more efficient, you concentrate the power of government. You now have a hundred individuals who have the same power that used to be spread out over ten thousand individuals - so each of these individuals is much more powerful than their predecessors were.

I’ve just been reading about H.H. Holmes, a serial killer who murdered an unknown number of people in the latter part of the 19th century. In retrospect, it’s amazing how he got away with his crimes for so long. Literally dozens of people knew various aspects of what he was doing. But there was no one person who had access to all of these bits of information and could put it all together.

Now some theoretical central authority that was monitoring all crimes and disappearances and other suspicious activities might have looked over a bunch of supposedly seperate investigations and picked out the fact that one person was involved in all of them. That person, Holmes, would then have popped up as a subject worthy of investigation. So in that sense, it would have been great to have an efficient central authority watching over everything and catching serial killers.

But you can’t just set the dial on “catch serial killers” and ignore everything else. The only way you can have this kind of centralized efficency is to have an organization that is watching everything. Including you and me. The price we’d pay for somebody protecting us from threats and that somebody will be watching us as a potential threat to others.

Wait, you seem to be assuming that the raison d’etre of political conservatives is privacy. That is not so.

I’m using “political conservative” as basically synonymous with “(civil) libertarian.” And it’s privacy and/or civil liberties. IOW, they want to shrink the size of government in order to better ensure those civil liberties.

As Little Nemo pointed out, making government more efficient increases the power of each individual member of that government, especially if efficiency is achieved by decreasing the number of members. I agree, but I also think that efficiency ought to be broadly construed. It’s not just doing more with fewer people, it’s breaking down bureaucratic barriers, synchronizing databases, decreasing response time, etc.

Now, perhaps paradoxically, inefficiency does not necessarily protect civil liberties. The government can simultaneously be inefficient and restrict certain freedoms; it would just be less effective at achieving its goals.

So: an important factor in the aforementioned synchronization and elimination of bureaucratic barriers is the implementation of organization technology. That reduces cost, but the very means of achieving that efficiency would easily (and naturally) be recruited for the abridgment of certain rights.