The Time Bomb Internet

Götz Hamann  and Thomas Fischermann wrote a book. The title is a little “outstanding” (in German, you would perhaps call it “reißerisch”): Time Bomb Internet. I have not yet read it, but what I hear about it gives me the impression that they researched well and that they tried to outline the problems which, of course, an important new technology brings with it. It also seems that they tried to point towards the potential crises caused by this technology.

Last Wednesday (November, 16th, 2011) evening, Thomas Fischermann (deputy head of the business editorial department at ZEIT) spoke at an event sponsored by the Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN. After the presentation, there was to be a podium discussion with the audience.

Besides the three members of Bündnis90/Die Grünen Jerzy Montag (legal spokesman of the Parliamentary Party), Malte Spitz (member of the Federal Board) and the anchorman Thomas Pfeiffer, member of the Green Directorial Board at KV München-Stad, there were Sandra Mamitzsch of the Digitale Gesellschaft e.V.  and, of course, yours truly, sitting on the podium.

After a short and – as I found – rather well-done report by Thomas Fischermann on the content of his book “Time Bomb Internet” the podium discussion started. Its calibre was rather authoritative. At the beginning, no questions at all were permitted. The questions they allowed later were usually not answered, because the anchorman kept turning the discussion around to facebook and data security. In doing so, he assigned Herrn Montag as legal spokesman and parliamentary representative of the party (!) a particularly large share of the speaking time.

Said representative made extensive use of the time assigned to him. He kept mentioning data security, underlining the important role of the EU in legislation and, last not least, giving his comment on twitter with excellent rhetorical skill and long sentences but unfortunately without any competence of his own.

Yet these were rather harmless contributions. For me, it always got bad when he demanded more laws and more serious punishment. It got unendurable when he postulated the sentence “liberty needs safety“ as an unalienable truth. Let me remind you of the following citation:

» Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. «

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790)
(According to  wikiquote Benjamin Franklin actually said this.)

Yes, it was a wasted night. What a pity that the excellent presentation by Thomas Fischermann did not lead up to an exciting discussion in truly democratic calibre (for instance as fish bowl). I am sure it would have rendered quite some added knowledge.

As it is, all I learned is that you probably no longer can vote for Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN. Isn’t it a pity?


On the next day, I saw a picture of Jerzy Montag in the newspaper. Allegedly, he was on the “death list” of the rightist terror group that is currently confusing us all. Along with Herrn Gauweiler.

🙂 Now all that remains for me to hope is that these two gentlemen are not V-men infiltrated into the  CSU and Bündnis 90/DIE GRÜNEN.

15 Kommentare zu ““A Visit With the Green Party” or “No Liberty Without Safety?””

  1. Andreas Essing (Saturday November 19th, 2011)

    Hallo Roland,

    Ich muss mich noch bei Dir noch entschuldigen, ich hatte Dich schließlich auf diese Veranstaltung aufmerksam gemacht und war auch gefrustet.

    Eine gute Diskussion kam überhaupt nicht auf, es ging darum, dass die Positionen der Grünen dargestellt werden. Nix gegen die Grünen, aber da hatte ich zum Teil den Eindruck, dass die genau wie so andere auch noch ein wenig der “Internet”-Zeit hinterherlaufen, auch wenn sie es noch nicht einmal merken.

    Schönes Wochenende

  2. rd (Saturday November 19th, 2011)

    Nein Andreas,

    entschuldigen musst Du Dich nicht!

    Im Gegenteil:

    Zum einen hat die Veranstaltung meine Vorurteile bestätigt, das freut mich immer 😉

    Zum andern hat es zu einem vielleicht nicht guten aber zumindest provozierenden Artikel gereicht!

    Und letztendlich habe ich die gemeinsame Anreise mit Dir sehr genossen. Der Leberkäse und das dunkle Bier im Männerheim waren auch sehr gut!

    Also – alles bestens!


  3. Chris Wood (Monday November 21st, 2011)

    Dear Roland, is it a special polemic trick, to ignore the adjectives? Benjamin Franklin would surely agree that “Those who give up essential security for a little temporary freedom can expect to die young”. I would include addicts who share needles, and profligates who avoid condoms in this group.
    For normal people, freedom does need security. Even free climbers would not feel very free, if they knew terrorists were fairly likely to shoot at them as they climb the rock face.

    I too dislike when politicians avoid serious discussion in public. But their behaviour has evolved due to the need to get elected. Vox populi vox Rinderviech. I and others who tell too much truth just annoy.

  4. rd (Monday November 21st, 2011)

    Lieber Chris,

    natürlich würde Franklin widersprechen, weil es in seinem Satz nicht um Folgen sondern um Werte geht! Auch Dein Beispiel passt einfach nicht. Wenn Du “Klettern” bemühst, dann ist die Sicherheit z.B. die Sicherung. Natürlich kann immer die Welt untergehen …

    Auch Deinen Schlusssatz halte ich für zu pessimistisch. Aber das unterscheidet uns ja – ich glaube ja, dass Ehrlichkeit und Realitätsnähe die Autorität verbessern.

  5. Chris Wood (Tuesday November 22nd, 2011)

    Dear Roland, what you now write about Franklin is irrelevant. You took him to mean that freedom is absolutely more important than security. But in that case, why did he quantise? Of course both are values, and bring consequences. Of course the right compromise is desirable.

    What do you mean about honesty, realism and authority? Are you just writing about how (German) people use these words? I think we can easily agree about honesty and realism, but authority is tricky. Does a man have authority just because people think he does? Does he have authority just because he is right, even if nobody believes him?

    Also “improve” is tricky. Is “greater authority” the same as “better authority”? Perhaps we can define “better authority” as authority based on honesty and realism, in which case your “belief” becomes circular and thus independent of the “real” World.

  6. rd (Tuesday November 22nd, 2011)

    Lieber Chris, für mich sind Freiheit und Sicherheit elementare Widersprüche. Wie z.B. Vertrauen und Mißtrauen.

    Und Franklin hat in meinem Verständnis nicht quantifiziert sondern qualifiziert.

    Die Diskussion zwischen uns wird aber nie ergiebig sein, weil wir in meiner Wahrnehumg vom Sprachspiel und vom Urvertrauen (wie in Gut und Böse, in Sinn und Unsinn …) in total verschiedenen Welten leben.

  7. Chris Wood (Tuesday November 22nd, 2011)

    Values and consequences are not as disjoint as you suggest. Values whose application has no consequence are worthless. They are not real values.

  8. rd (Tuesday November 22nd, 2011)

    Chris, das ist schon wieder so eine Kommunikationskatastrophe.

    Werte sind etwas moralisches und abstraktes. Mit Werten kann man eine Handlung “bewerten”.

    Folgen sind die physischen Ergebnisse von Handlungen.

    Werte haben keine Folgen … Das gehört nicht zusammen.

  9. Chris Wood (Wednesday November 23rd, 2011)

    Dear Roland, that is ridiculous. The values that people have (believe in) affect their actions, and this has consequences. Perhaps you are confusing values with concepts. “Truth” is a concept. “Truth is good” is a value. This value certainly is useful in aiding cooperation.

    Do you really think our politicians would work better if they were very honest and wise? For a start, I believe they would then never be elected. I consider Reagan and Clinton to be the most successful US presidents of my lifetime. Most Americans would add Kennedy to this pair. Reagan was not very clever. Clinton and Kennedy were hardly honest. Obama seems unusually clever and honest, but has not been very effective. Of course, certain qualities are needed. GWB was surely the worst of the presidents, and the least successful (assuming he wanted to do good for USA).

  10. Chris Wood (Thursday November 24th, 2011)

    And Nixon had rather good results. He ended the Vietnam war, and eased the tension with China.

  11. rd (Thursday November 24th, 2011)

    Lieber Chris,

    ich versuche es doch noch ein mal.

    Freiheit ist ein Wert.

    Sicherheit ist ein Bedürfnis.

    Wert und Bedürfnis haben begrifflich nichts miteinander zu tun.

    Werte für Bedürfnisse zu opfern, ist wahrscheinlich immer problematisch.

    Wer aber einen grundlegenden Wert für ein gering und vorübergehendes Bedürfnis opfert (oder dies nur fordert oder billigend in Kauf nimmt), ist diesen Wert halt nicht mehr wert (schöne deutsche Sprache!)!

    Das gilt für Politiker wie für “normale” Menschen.

    Aber in einer Diskussion zu Werten und Bedürfnissen zu Reagan, Clinton, Kennedy und Nixon zu kommen, ist einfach absurd.


  12. Chris Wood (Sunday November 27th, 2011)

    Roland, I respect your achievements, and the way you let me publish my criticism of your dubious postings. But the way you dismiss my reasoned arguments “ex cathedra” really gets up my nose!
    You proposed that we need honesty and realism in our politicians. Yet when I give examples of politicians with more or less of these qualities, and consider the good and ill they have caused, you dismiss this as “absurd”. I chose US presidents, because with recent German politicians, it is difficult to judge what influence (if any) they have had.
    You take an extreme stand on freedom, quoting a very mild saying of Benjamin Franklin. When I point out the silliness of this, you come with a pseudo-philosophical statement that values and needs have nothing to do with each other.
    I am thinking of blog-posting on free trade and on freedom and security, (where incidentally you have supported conflicting principles). But I see now that I have been taking your postings more seriously than you do, and I wonder whether I should continue. Have you reason to believe that we are influencing anybody?
    Incidentally, you should avoid writing occasional words of English. The word “outstanding” at the start of this posting does not fit. SZ often makes such mistakes too.

  13. rd (Sunday November 27th, 2011)

    @Chris: Sicher verwende ich “Outstanding” als Teil eines “deutschen Euro-Slang” und nicht im Sinne der klassischen englischen Bedeutung (die ich ja gar nicht kenne 🙂 ). Ich schreibe im deutschen Euro-Slang auch nicht für den klassischen englischen Leser, sondern für den deutschsprachigen Europäer als Zeitgenossen 🙂

    Das Thema “Freiheit” nehme ich sehr ernst. Aktuell bewegt mich, ob individuelle Freiheit ein Widerspruch zu einer emphatischen Gesellschaft ist oder ob sich diese vielleicht sogar ergänzen.

    Insofern leben wir in verschiedenen Welten und total differenten Sprachwelten … Oder auch:
    Wir regen völlig aneinander vorbei!

    In diesem Artikel habe ich doch nur meinem Ärger ausgegeben, dass ein “grüner” (!) Politiker, der zudem auch noch der “rechtspolitische” Sprecher seiner Fraktion ist, so verantwortungslos rumfaselt und “Keine Freiheit ohne Sicherheit” als ultimative Handlungsdoktrin formuliert.

  14. Chris Wood (Wednesday November 30th, 2011)

    Roland, do you think the rest of Europe messes with my language like that, or just the Germans? Anyway, who else does this? I notice only you and SZ doing it, unless one includes “check” and “Händy”. The only German word often badly misused in England is “Angst”.

  15. rd (Thursday December 1st, 2011)

    Hi Chris, I think, the whole world does …

Kommentar verfassen