The following article, “Is TikTok a National Security Risk?”, was originally published by the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, 2022 as answers from adult students to the question posed in the article’s title. See here. The author’s commentary on various excerpts is in blue or otherwise in the larger font.
Despite the hysteria about China and the CCP infiltrating the world and in particular the U.S.A., there is a far greater contagion infecting the hearts and minds of western culture — a disconnection between how many would like the world to be and reasonable means to achieve it, not to mention whether these goals are even possible or worthy.
The dogma that underlies many of the answers endangers the “can-do” American culture that has significantly contributed to, if not propelled and perpetuated, the arc of modern history in the Americas and in other parts of the world. Although many Americans are proud of this legacy, it is not wholly ours.
Centuries before the creation of the U.S. government, what was to become the Americas became a refuge. Immigrants came here for many reasons, but a change from their particular status quo was the common denominator. Many risked everything to gain the freedom to take greater responsibility for their futures. Regardless of their origin, they were the seeds if not the standard bearers of “rugged individualism” and “American exceptionalism” — before these notions were co-opted by those in the American government and used as an excuse for a litany of hegemonic efforts — they were simply entrepreneurs.
Both conservatives and progressives are trading the very essence, the fundamental principles, of what was good about the evolution of these identities for the illusion of protection by the government, in this case from technological innovation that we are only just beginning to understand — think Sam Bankman-Fried. Oh yes, many are calling for more regulation, but there will always be fraudsters, and the government will always be one step behind. Just like Enron, Madoff, and now SBF.
Once this charade, this sophisticated Wizard of Oz-like dynamic, is recognized and appreciated for its impossibilities by a critical mass of persons, then culturally we can move forward with addressing any threat in a far more responsive, adaptable, and cost-effective manner through the unbridled principles of entrepreneurialism bounded only by the non-aggression principle.
So in a free society, if the government cannot protect us from ourselves, from what we view and what we allow our children to view, whether it’s TikTok as a trojan horse, Twitter censorship, Google data theft — the Enrons-of-today — then who will?
The short answer is each of us. It starts with the individual. Sovereignty is in the individual, not some arbitrary nation-state. If we cannot manage or we lack individually, then through delegation to entrepreneurs seeking to serve that demand. Only then, can we grow individually and by sum as a society.
Each of us always has a choice. In every moment, we can consciously witness all the choices before us. We can consider how making each possible choice affects ourselves, those, and the environment around us. Then pause. Which ones resonate in logic? In intuition? Most importantly, which one resonates in the heart? If not, back up and re-examine the options. The alignment of logic, intuition, and the heart is about as good as it gets.
What does this process, this extra effort in critical thinking and greater self-awareness give us? Wisdom. It is earned, never granted, and never easy. It is an investment in the self. We grow in unforeseen ways. We advance best practices for any solution whether we solve them directly or indirectly by casting our votes with entrepreneurs who have skin in the game.
As we grow individually, we create market forces that inspire and ignite curiosity and creativity in others to specialize and solve any problem far more effectively than any government official or bureaucrat could possibly dream — not due to lesser intelligence, but a better alignment of incentives and greater appreciation for risks; both of which, fail to exist within the political class and its immediate environment — not just with the U.S. government, but all governments.
And most ironically, the yielding of choice or power to our government plays perfectly for the CCP in that our government becomes a little more like it — I cannot think of a better example of a race to the bottom.
Note: The views expressed are solely the opinion of the author.
Source: SC Striebeck for Wisdom of Anarchy, borrowing heavily from assorted writings by Murray N. Rothbard and Deepak Chopra summarizing Vedic philosophy in the Seven Spiritual Laws of Sucess in commenting on “Is TikTok a National Security Risk?”, as originally published by the Wall Street Journal, Dec. 13, 2022 5:59 pm ET
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