Hackers, Spammers and Priests

I have always admired those who adhere to an “ideology”, for it reflects a discipline, a commitment, to an intellectual principle. Now, sometimes the whole effort goes wrong, as did the Soviet Union’s communist ideology. But still, it beats a chaotic system of no profound definition, like  . . . well, like that of the Philippines, where the courts don’t serve justice and the legislature is a gaggle of well-named shapeshifters under the influence of the moneyed and the Constitution is roundly ignored. But, hey, executive is good, for now, holding the place together peachy keen.

Today our topic is the ideology of hackers, spammers and priests. Here are Humpty Dumpty’s short form definitions:
  • Hackers: marauders who deface, disrupt or steal someone’s proprietary computer programs and information.
  • Spammers: volume distributors of unwanted information aimed at selling things or jamming computers with an abundance of transactions.
  • Priests: preachers who live weird lifestyles and insist the rest of us live our normal little lives along the lines the preachers dictate.
You may not immediately grasp how the priests are related to computer thugs, but kindly bear with me.
The most prominent band of computer hackers is “Anonymous”, a lose confederation of mischief makers who always attach a “good reason” to their mischief. They have adopted the stylized mask of Guy Fawkes, a Spanish Catholic rebel, as their logo. Never mind that he was convicted of treason and would have been hanged had he not jumped from the gallows platform and broken his neck.
Anonymous hackers are praised in many circles. They are the rebels in white hats, the Pancho Villa style popular heroes, banditos expressing the public’s pent-up frustration and outrage. In their minds of their fans, they are closer to Batman than the Joker, more like Zorro than the corrupt, brother to Robin Hood, raiding the rich to feed the poor, not like the Sheriff of Nottingham.
Of course, that picture is entirely wrong. That is simply a fiction, a popular folk tale.  A lie.  Because hackers are nefarious destroyers of good will and good work.  Lunatic, self-justifying troublemakers who destroy wealth and add to poverty.  They are what they criticize, totalitarians of a different cloth, consumed with the fiction that they and only they are on the “right path”.
Doesn’t that sound like a priestly position to you?

Indeed, read the Anonymous mission statement, shown in the picture above, and you see the same threats and intimidation used by extortionist gangsters. Or clan leaders, come to think about it.

Pancho Villa’s real name was José Doroteo Arango Arámbula and he was a general in the Mexican army when he was not raiding.  Batman of course was millionaire Bruce Wayne.  Zorro was Don Diego de la Vega, a nobleman seeking justice against those who would harm his family. Robin Hood was, according to some, the Earl of Huntington, a nobleman dispossessed of his land and goods, taking up the people’s cause against authoritarian injustice.
Philippine hackers command no such honors or glory.  No one rallies around their leadership. Most shake their heads in dismay, or even disgust.  They are a small band of people whose sense of right is very wrong. Indeed, they presume to DICTATE what is right, and what is wrong. They sit at their computer tables and plow into other people’s private lives, judge, jury and executioner.
They are talent and skill misdirected and misused. They could be working earnestly to create good will and constructive solutions but they choose instead to destroy.
They are more like the brutal Sheriff of Nottingham than Robin Hood. More like the Joker than Batman.
The wild-eyed crazy lady down at Seventh and Flower in Los Angeles, shouting madly at the pole holding up the street light, has about the same delusional vision of self. The same kind of self-justification and artificial reality that creates its own values and distorted acts. Rationalizations of bad behaviors abound.
Hackers may have an ideology, but they are the opposite of mankind striving for the highest road.
Spammers are often hackers with a different method. They impose their messages on people who don’t want those messages.
One popular spam destruction technique is the “denial of service” flooding of a web site with messages. Legitimate visitors are eventually locked out by the volume of messages. Computers around the world are kidnapped and harnessed to fire obstructions at the target site. Top Blogger Raissa Robles has recently apparently had her site effectively shut down by such an attack. “Database error” we’d get when trying to visit. Because some clowns with a keyboard and ideology determine that others ought not have the right to express themselves. Little lord jesuses with a very very small j.
This site is currently undergoing what looks like the early stages of a budding, building, spam-based denial of service attack. The daily volume of spam attacks is relentlessly upward bound. It started with two or three a day. Now hundreds per day. Soon it could be thousands.
I’m not a technology buff. I have no staff and no budget. If the spammers win, JoeAm goes off the air.
  • It’s no loss for me. It is rather like getting fired and retiring early.  I go to the beach.
  • A gain for the hackers? How, they have built nothing.
  • A win for the Philippines? Only if your mirror of values was built in a fun house of distorted images.
These are idealists with rotten ideals. Like NPA rebels. Extortionist gangsters who have no idea about economic well-being or social justice or who is really punished by their acts.
Do you think the government is punished by a defacement of a web site and interference with normal online business? Or are innocent people who need the government’s help punished?
I tell you, these idealists are scoundrels. They harm the innocent.
That’s where we get to priests
RH has been put on hold by the Supreme Court. More specifically, by Catholic judges on the Supreme court who cannot seem to grasp the distinction between government and faith.
The justices look to me like hackers, hijacking the government’s earnest good work for their narrow religious ideology.
The priests are spammers. They live a lifestyle that is bizarre, unable to commit to a wife because Jesus might get jealous. Yet they instruct the rest of us, whether we belong to their union of faithful or not, how to live a proper lifestyle. Their relentless bombardment of the air waves, the newspapers, the pulpits, the halls of congress and the judicial benches floods the Philippines with muck the rest of us simply can’t get through.
They have an ideology. They bludgeon the rest of us with it, and prevent us from doing our honorable good works.
Hackers, spammers and priests. Cut of the same cloth.
Comments
28 Responses to “Hackers, Spammers and Priests”
  1. Edgar Lores says:

    1. This essay invites reflection.2. Definitions of ideology: 2.1 “A system of ideas and ideals, esp. one that forms the basis of economic or political policy. Examples: capitalism, socialism.”2.2 “The ideas and manner of thinking of a group, social class, or individual. Examples: sectarianism, secularism."3. The question is: Is ideology necessary?3.1 Bill Clinton summarized the No case: “The problem with any ideology is that it gives the answer before you look at the evidence. So you have to mold the evidence to get the answer that you’ve already decided you’ve got to have. Building an economy, rebuilding an economy is hard, practical nuts and bolts work.”3.2 Unwittingly, Bill also provided the reason for the Yes case in that last sentence. To build an economy, you must decide what kind of economy you want: a market economy (capitalism); a command economy (communism); traditional economy (barter system); mixed economy (China and US).4. The lesson of a mixed economy suggests that there are good and bad aspects of hackers, spammers and priests. JoeAm has cited the bad aspects so I will try to cite the good ones, if any.4.1 Hackers improve the security features of operating systems. They find the loopholes in the code. As such they are viruses, and we know that viruses strengthen the immune system. The Anonymous group is credited with uncovering cover-ups on the controversial Steubenville rape case going the rounds.4.2 Spammers. Hmm, I am stumped. The only good thing I can think of is that they give you a link to products that you would never use, and sites you would not have been aware of in your limited existence. They broaden your experience. So there!4.3 Priests. Hmm…Hmm. They officiate at your christening, when you are not fully aware, and at your death, when you are no longer aware. In between, they tell you how to behave and show you how not to behave. Are these good things? Perhaps not to the first two items, but there are many, many lessons to be learned from hypocrisy.5. In sum, ideology is necessary as a guide but we must not adhere to it like flies on sticky paper.

  2. Bill Clinton is one smart dude.4.1 I admire hackers who retire and then go to work at legitimate jobs improving security. I don't admire hackers who deface and interrupt services. I also don't admire Wikileaks, as I think even governments are entitled to privacy.5. Yes, that is true. As a discipline, ideology is excellent. As a religion, it is artificial. And my main point is how the Catholic Church is clogging up the secular democratic system which, if allowed to work freely, would create a much more prosperous and opportunity-rich Philippines. They are pursuing their rigid ideology with no regard for knowledge or sensitivity toward women.

  3. andrew lim says:

    To continue the computer theme: There was a time when all we had was DOS and Windows, courtesy of Microsoft. These days, we have iOS, Linux, Android, etc.But some guys created agnostic processors (a real thing) that can operate on several different operating systems. You can compare the CBCP as defenders of Windows, insisting it as the only viable operating system. What we are working for is a society that can allow several operating systems to exist at the same time.

  4. Very clear way to characterize it, Andrew.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I prefer a person with principles to one who has nothing but ideology and religion. – mb

  6. Yes, me too in most cases, depending on the principles, of course. Ideologies are a form of discipline that easily become self-sustaining, no matter whom they hurt.

  7. JosephIvo says:

    I hate principles but I like a sound, and for the time being, proven hypothesis. Even more I prefer a good laugh.

  8. Hypotheses are well-principled opinions. Laughs are principles thrown to the wind, along with hypotheses, facts and ideologies.

  9. Cha says:

    The internet revolution is changing the way we see the world. And that only goes for old folks like ourselves. For the generation younger than we are, this is actually the world they have grown up in/ are growing up in. Cyberspace to them is a seemingly borderless world where boundaries are ambiguous if not non-existent; and privacy and ownership are more like moving targets. If it's out there, then it's good for the taking. If I can get to it, I can do what I want with it. I think that hacking and spamming, just like common thievery in the real world, is becoming less to do with ideology and more about a combined sense of invincibility and entitlement. Cyber Robinhood steals and net Zorro wreaks havoc because they can and no one seems able to stop them anyway. The new template for both parenting and education should move toward a stronger grounding on ethical behavior. In a cyber world where the rules are unclear, not easily enforceable, or simply ignored, our children need to have a stronger internal compass that enables them to choose right from wrong.As for the priests, I think we might not be able to get much help from them on this one. They're alraedy too far behind as it is already.

  10. Cha says:

    P.S. And as you can see, I have finally figured out how to spell already:)

  11. Quite the vivid picture you draw of young people, operating in a borderless, orderless world. It fits right in with the blog I am writing for Saturday, finding order within chaos, rather being reactive to chaos, thereby succombing to it. The priests are beyond reach, for sure, but I did muse about them plugging up the avenues for progress. Not unlike that hairclog in the shower drain, I suppose. They are busy blocking the elections, blocking the legislative laws, blocking anything that smacks of progress. Then they complain about poverty.

  12. I have a peculiar kind of dyslexia. Misspelt words look fine to me.

  13. Cha says:

    Chaos and I used to be inseparable. Then I grew up. :)Saturday then.

  14. JosephIvo says:

    Talk to Korean banks about hacking, there is more going on than kids copying (=stealing) music, more than Robin Hoods and Zorro's. Beside education we need good cybercrime laws too and powerful and capable policing and a cyber army devision. (and laws preventing priest to interfere with secular affairs?).Priest should shut-up for a while lecturing about sex and everything related to it (until their last molested child is fully recovered = passed away?) It would free up plenty of time and energy to fight for more important issues.

  15. @Cha, I'm still aspiring to grow up. @Jose phivo, that Korean attack was pretty malicious, evidently tracked back to a computer in China. I hope they can track it all the way to the to the source. Hacking levels the playing field a bit between the big powers and the small. All it takes is a computer and a genius to bring commerce to chaos (word of the day).Your solution re. priests is superb.

  16. Anonymous says:

    So I take it that the Philippine Catholic Church is some kind of cult? citizens have now choice, no way out, and everyone has to submit or face arrest?Are there any other religious clubs in the country that fall in the same category?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Maybe Islam in the Southern Philippines plays the same role? The Middle East?

  18. The difficulty is when the religious "clubs" start to impose their will on the State which by Constitutional order must care for all members of all clubs and even people who belong to no club. When one, or two, clubs become dominant then its problematic. Women are disadvantaged in both of the large clubs and that is problematic. I have no idea why women sign up, but, hey, one of my failures is figuring out women. ahahahaha

  19. Edgar Lores says:

    This analogy is so deep… But it posits that an operating system (an ideology) is necessary to make things work. The processor upon which the operating system works can be likened to the universe with its basic physical laws.The existence of several valid operating systems points to plurality. People will choose the most appropriate operating system depending on many factors: familiarity, friendliness, comprehensiveness according to their needs, available apps, etc. Operating systems need to be upgraded regularly (which the Church isn't doing) otherwise they become outmoded.But operating systems work on different types or classes of hardware processors: from mobiles, to tablets, to laptops, to desktops, to minicomputers, to mainframes, to supercomputers. These can be likened, at one level, to the various human spheres of activity in which ideologies are extant: politics, economics, philosophy, psychology, religion, science, etc. At another level, there can also be the concept of a Universal Computer. Still at another level, there is the Chaos beneath it all.Nah, this is too deep. I'll go have my dinner of noodles, and read the book I'm reading, and listen to the music I'm listening. BTW, there is something about Charmaine… Thanks to commenter who introduced her.

  20. Attila introduced her. That "something" is the (sex?) appeal of a smart woman with passion and a great voice. Blues lovers call it "soul".

  21. Anonymous says:

    Joe,Off topic but you might find this interesting – mbhttp://javisrandomthoughts.blogspot.com.es/2013/03/the-future-of-journalism-is-not-based.html

  22. Religion is boys and mens club. No women allowed. In all heaven-themed movies, I DO NOT SEE WOMEN AS ANGELS. ONLY MEN.So, women, give it up! Women made men sinners by offering the forbidden fruit to men. This is the fate of women programmed by God. DONCHA LOVE GOD?

  23. Philippines is near this close to block offending articles about God. benign0 Aquino's recently created Commission on Religion whose premise is to have harmonious relationship with all religion within will have any suffer extra-judicial extra-terristrial consequences if they found offensive articles about religion. The "harmonious relationship" is biased towards Muslim world.

  24. The article is on-topic, actually, as my commentary on ideologies fits with what Brias is saying that we are defining a new reality that we operate within, whether it be ideologies or factoids that aren't true. Indeed, he makes the point very well that I have been struggling with, watching all the surreal argument about the Sultan and the suicide girl. Thanks for the link.

  25. Ha! Yes. They (women) did it! I'll try that religious argument on my wife this morning and see if I get lunch.

  26. "Commission on Religion", eh? That looks like a blog abnout to happen. I can recognize "juicy story" when I see it.

  27. Edgar Lores says:

    She reminds me of Liza Minnelli. First, nothing much to look at. Second, the basic talent is there: the voice, the range, the vibrato, the emoting. But above the talent is the delectable diction. And above that is what I would call “fusion”, the unity of talent, body-mind, song and message that produces magic. I once saw a clip of Liza sitting down, talking to an audience conversationally. Then she begins to tell a story through song – and the transformation is remarkable. She “becomes” story and song, words and music, but the elements are fused – inseparable.Ah, thanks, Attila.

  28. Ah yes, the wonderful diction and punctuation. Also a gracefulness that is simply hypnotic. One need not even understand the language to understand the meaning.

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